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I was living in Canada at this time of this trip and then I measured driving distances in kilometers (km) but in this document the corresponding miles will also be given following in brackets.


Day 49 - Saturday July 31 - Vancouver to Powell River, British Columbia

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Today we were up early, quietly had a cup of coffee, took our bags out to the car and were ready to say our "Good-byes" and set out on the first stage of the return trip to Mississauga! We left Anna's at 6:35.
 
We took Lions Gate Bridge to the North Shore and BC-1 to Horseshoe Bay with ample time (!) to catch the first ferry, BUT today was the first morning at the beginning of a long week-end! At seven o'clock we were stopped and had to pull off to the side having joined the end of the line-up for the ferry. Cars were handed numbers depending on which ferry they planned to take and this prevented any cars from trying to push in. We witnessed a couple of cars that tried to do just this!
 
Three kilometers (1.9) and forty-eight minutes later we passed through the toll booth, so made it into the line-up for the second ferry, and almost three hours after leaving Anna's we boarded the ferry. We disembarked at Langdale at 10:20 , two hours later than we had hoped.
 
We spent an hour in Gibsons, first to go to the Information Office to make a reservation in Powell River for that evening. We decided we should do this in view of the long week-end and the heavy ferry traffic. Then we went to Gramma's Pub for breakfast on the balcony, where we were entertained by a large dog swimming after Canada geese until out of sight. Apparently, according to people watching from Government Wharf, the dog finally landed on a breakwater on the other side somewhere! In the meantime the owners were searching for it. The lady told me that they had just acquired the dog two weeks previously .... from the pound!!
 
From Gibsons, I drove out Gower Point Road, excited to be showing LP some of the sights Anna had shared with me. Instead of enjoying the beauty of the area all LP wanted to know was, "Why are we going out here? Isn't this a dead-end? Or didn't you see the sign?" What a guy!
 
At first I thought that we might just as well drive directly to Earls Cove. Then on second thoughts I decided - "To hell with you! I'm going to show you different places whether you like it or not!" I planned to enjoy the trip.
 
We took the road into Roberts Creek, but only stopped briefly before continuing north to Sechelt. Here I wanted to take a look at the totem poles outside Totem Hall on the Sechelt Band lands, commemorating the achievement of self-government in 1988.
 
After Sechelt I turned onto Redrooffs Road, went round Halfmoon Bay, showed LP the bridge to Beaver Island, drove past Mount Daniel, El. 1,545 feet, and intended to go into Garden Bay. When driving along Ruby Lake, which I did not recognize, I realized that I had missed to turn off for Garden Bay. At this point we thought we should proceed to Earls Cove to ensure a place on the next ferry crossing.
 
When we arrived at Earls Cove at 2:00 there was already a line of cars unable to board the departing ferry. Hence we decided to join the line immediately, and made sandwiches for lunch at the back of the car! An hour later we boarded the ferry for the magnificent cruise across the Agamemnon Channel, around the eastern tip of Nelson Island and through the mouth of Jervis Inlet to Saltery Bay. The pristine beauty of the area was quite breathtaking.
 
It was extremely hot in the car waiting to disembark at Saltery Bay, which we did at 3:58 We drove into beautiful Mermaid Cove where giant stumps of yesteryear's forest remain. This cove is home to a 9 foot bronze mermaid, an underwater landmark, and prime diving spot for divers from around the world.
 
Arriving at Westview on the outskirts of Powell River (pop. 13,400/El. 180 feet) at five o'clock, we looked for the location of the ferry terminal, then checked into our motel. Knowing that we planned to be on the first ferry (for sure, this time!) next morning, we wanted to do some sightseeing before dark. We drove north through town to the MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. viewpoint, with its many historic plaques. From here one has an excellent view overlooking the historic pulp mill and "The Hulks", a breakwater created with old ships. Then we continued north to Lund at the end of the road or "The start of Highway 101"!
 
It was 7:20 when we left Lund for the return drive to Westview, where we arrived an hour later, having stopped for a while at Mowat Bay Park on the shores of Cranberry Lake. We walked to the McMaster Pub and enjoyed the last rays of sunset during dinner on the balcony overlooking Malaspina Strait, the northern end of Texada Island and the Strait of Georgia.

Day 50 - Sunday August 1 - Powell River to Duncan, British Columbia

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Although the scheduled departure time for the ferry was 9:15 , we had a big day in front of us with much to see and we did not want to take any chances of not being on that ferry. We were told the night before that we should not have a problem if we were at the dock by eight o'clock. To be on the safe side we had set the alarm and arrived at the ferry terminal before 7:30 ... before the gate opened...the first car in line!
 
I left LP to bring the car into the ferry parking lot when the gate opened, and I walked down to the end of the jetty to watch people fishing for salmon. Although the fish could be seen jumping out of the water every now and again, no one had any luck catching anything. I returned to the car about 8:45 just as the ferry, "Queen of Sidney" (built in Victoria, 1960, 336 feet 4 inch overall length, 138 car capacity, passenger capacity 989, horse power 6,000, service speed 18 knots) was arriving from Little River, the Comox terminal on Vancouver Island.
 
The crossing from the mainland took almost two hours...two hours filled with breathtaking beauty, a feast for the eyes...behind Powell River against a backdrop of mountains, layer upon layer, and ahead a mountain range capped by the Comox Glacier.
 
Landing at Little River, I hoped to get some closer views of the glacier. We did not go into Comox as it is on a peninsula, but instead went into Courteney (pop. 11,700/El. 82 feet) looking for the Information Center and a good view of the glacier. We found the first but not the second, mainly because we did not have the time. When stopped at Buckley Bay Rest Area I noticed the following sign on the beach:


"Oyster Lease - shell fish:
Taking or destroying of shell fish
on this lease is prohibited by law."

At this point in time I began to use the tape recorder to note the details of our travels. LP had decided that I would probably do all the driving, and since I could not expect him to make the copious notes I required for later use in the production of these photographic journals, the tape recorder was the answer. LP said, "This is scary. Next thing you will want a portable computer so you can type notes as you go!"
 
In Qualicum Beach (pop. 4,400/El. 30 feet), I stopped at the Information Center for tourist leaflets, then turned off Hwy. 19 to cut across to Hwy. 4, the Port Alberni Road. We went into Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, looking for a picnic table where we could have our lunch. We could find no tables and the parking lot was quite full, so we decided to go on further.
 
Proceeding inland, we came to beautiful Cameron Lake, and looking across the lake we noticed several railway trestle bridges. We pulled off to the side for a picture of one of them. Then the road was not only following the shoreline of the lake but was also at the base of a precipitous cliff. In fact, at one point the rock was overhanging the road, but there was nowhere to stop for a picture of this. The scenery was magnificent. Soon after this we arrived at Cathedral Grove, and were lucky enough to get a parking spot. There were so many cars, but we were in the right place at the right time, when someone else was pulling out! We spent over an hour and a half at Cathedral Grove.
 
First we had our lunch, then both LP and I went for a long walk on the loop trail through this wonderful forest of grand old trees to the Cameron River and back. There were interpretive signs telling the story of the forest at various points along the way. Also we were lucky enough to see a small patch of Indian Pipe, a small rare plant which only grows in forests.

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From Cathedral Grove we retraced our route back to the coast, then continued south to Nanaimo (pop. 60,100/El. 98 feet). We lingered for a short time on the main street, Front Street, but I did not recognize or remember anything from when the children and I arrived in Nanaimo to take the bus to Victoria for Bert's and Betty's wedding (1978).
 
By now it was 4:30 and leaving Nanaimo to drive south on Rte. 1, the Trans Canada, I noted that Victoria was only 109 kilometers (67.7) ahead, or an hour's drive or maybe one and a half hours!! I wondered how long it would take us!
 
At 4:50 we reached Ladysmith (pop. 4,900/El. 31 feet), a town located on the 49th parallel. Although we did not stop here, Ladysmith has a fascinating history. Coal baron, James Dunsmuir needed a shipping port for the coal from his mines, and created this town at the turn of the century during the Boer War.


From Cowichan 1993 Visitor's Guide.
"When James Dunsmuir...received word...that the British forces had finally relieved their besieged countrymen in Ladysmith, Natal - South Africa, he decided to name his new town "Ladysmith". Many local streets are named after British generals who served in that war".

After passing through Ladysmith we left the Trans Canada for a ten minute drive along a sideroad to Chemainus (pop. 3,500/El. 20 feet). We parked the car facing Willow Street near the Mural Information Kiosk (closed) and the Museum. LP stayed in the car to read his book whilst I scouted around to see as many murals as possible!
 
The story of Chemainus is a truly appealing one. Basically it was a lumbering town with a sawmill, dating back to 1862. The mill became one of the largest in the world and when it closed in 1983 Chemainus could have been "just one more depressed, dying, abandoned one-industry town."
 
Foreseeing the mill closure, the local citizens and leaders established a Downtown Revitalization Project, which has resulted in Chemainus having the largest permanent outdoor art gallery in Canada. The larger-than-life murals depict the history of Chemainus, "The Little Town That Did."
 
A new sawmill was opened by MacMIlllan Bloedel Ltd. in January 1985, but now Chemainus also has another productive industry, namely tourism!
 
I found Heritage Square (Chemainus), "A meeting place for all people", a most interesting place. Besides the mural, No. 12 - "Native heritage", by Paul Ygartua


[mural sponsors 1982-86: British Columbia Lotteries, Chemainus Medical Community, Chemainus Valley Historical Society, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Municipality of North Cowichan and Robertson Little & Co. Ltd.] there are also the sculptures,
"Joss and Stefan", by Glen Spicer, and "In Search of Snipes"

"On a moonlit summer night in 1913 two strangers found their way into Chemainus. While socializing with the locals they were told of the snipes hiding in the forest and that this would be a perfect night to catch them. They were shown the secret place in the woods and instructed to hold a lit lantern in front of an open sack into which the locals, acting as beaters, would drive the snipes. The townsfolk then stole back to the village. After hours of waiting the boys realized that they had been innocent victims of a bit of mischief and returned to the village to join the others and share a good laugh. Snipes, like dreams, can be captured. Through hard work Chemainus embraced its snipes when yesterday's dreams became today's reality."

Having wandered around looking at the murals, taking pictures and really enjoying myself, I returned to the car. LP and I then had an icecream cone and decided that as it was getting late we should make a motel reservation ahead in Duncan, another place where I wanted to spend more time. This we did before driving down to the bottom level at the waterfront. On the way down we paused at Pacific Shores Inn on Willow Street to see the 1991 mural, No. 27, "Spirit of Chemainus" and the sculpture on the widow's walk, "The Spirit Captain".
 
It was only a fifteen minute drive into Duncan (pop. 4,300/El. 49 feet), known as the "City of Totems", the result of the Totem Poles Project, conceived in 1985. Most existing carvings were found in fine art museums and private collections, so the project made it possible for this culture to be shared in a more accessible environment.
 
We found our lodgings, the Falcon Nest Motel, unpacked the car and freshened up before going Downtown. First we went to the Duncan Railway Station to see the collection of unpainted totem poles there, then to the corner of Trunk Road and Cowichan Way for two colorfully painted ones, and on to the Courthouse Complex where stands the world's largest, in diameter, totem pole.
 
By now it was time to call it a day! We had fish and chips for supper and returned to our motel.
 
What a day! - an hour on a jetty, watching and chatting with fishermen, a two-hour ferry trip, a hike in a forest amongst some of the world's tallest trees, a stroll through an open-air art gallery and viewing native art sculpturing.
 
At 4:30 Victoria was 109 km (67.7) away and 2 hours 8 minutes later we still had 62 km (38.5) to go!

Day 51 - Monday August 2 - Duncan, British Columbia, to Port Angeles, Washington

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With only a short distance into Victoria we did not leave the motel this morning until quarter to nine. We stopped near the Cowichan Community Center in Duncan for a picture of the world's largest hockey stick, this being mounted on the side of the building. We also went to the Chamber of Commerce for a local map so we could travel the byways in preference to the main road between Duncan and Victoria!

We took Trunk Road to Tzouhalem Road, made a detour around Mount Tzouhalem, a dead-end road, and wending our way south we stopped at a historic monument, commemorating the landing of the first group of pioneers at Cowichan Bay, 18 August, 1862. A stone seat is located on each side of the cairn.

Up to this point we were driving on quiet country roads through farmlands. We crossed a number of bridges over tidal creeks, which, judging from the map, were the delta of the Koksilah and Cowichan Rivers flowing into Cowichan Bay.

We took another break at Hecate Park on Cowichan Bay where we found another historic plaque:-


"H.M.S. Hecate 1839 - 64, Hecate park

On August 18th, 1862 the H.M.S. Hecate sailed into

Cowichan Bay carrying settlers to a new life in the Cowichan Valley. These farming pioneers went off to establish the first major agricultural settlement north of Victoria.

In commemoration of the 127th anniversary of this historic landing and completion of the Hecate Park as an Expo

'86 Legacy Project this plaque is dedicated by the Board of Cowichan Valley Regional Office on this 18th day of August, 1989 Cowichan Valley Regional District"

Soon after leaving Hecate Park we drove through Cowichan Bay (pop. 3,358), a working fishing village, a place in which I think it would be worth spending some time if one had the time to explore! I certainly hope I will have the opportunity and the time to return to Vancouver Island for a longer visit at some later date.
 
From here we turned off the Cowichan Bay Road onto Cherry Point Road, and driving up the hill from the actual point we passed through some fairly dense forest. Really the area is a mixture of farms and forest and there are some lovely houses, not necessarily big mansions, but most attractive homes with pretty, well-manicured gardens. LP also pointed out an area where there were a lot of grape vines growing, this just prior to passing a big barrel which would indicate a vineyard and winery.
 
One hour and twenty-seven kilometers (16.8) after leaving Duncan we rejoined the Trans Canada Highway, and six kilometers (3.7) further along, having passed the turn off for Mill Bay (opposite Brentwood Bay where some friends used to live), we came to the start of the Malahut Drive. We spent fifteen minutes at a viewpoint from which we could look out over Saanich Inlet and the San Juan Islands to Mount Baker in the State of Washington. On very clear days, Mount Baker is also visible from Vancouver.
 
Minutes later we reach the Malahut Summit (El. 1,155 feet), with magnificent views of Washington's snow-capped Olympia Mountains in the distance. From the Summit we had an incredibly beautiful run down towards Victoria, passing the entrance to Goldstream Provincial park and driving through a gorge at the end of the Malahut Drive.
 
e stopped for gas on the outskirts of Victoria and arrived Downtown (the corner between the Empress Hotel, The B.C. Parliament Building and the Inner Harbour waterfront) at 11:25 , having done only 72.8 kilometers (48.6).

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Proceeding directly to the Port Angeles ferry dock, we spent some time trying to decide what to do! We were too far back in the line for the 3:00 sailing, but were informed that we should have no problem being on the 7:30 ferry provided that we rejoined the line around two or three o'clock. This meant that we could use the car to drive around for two to three hours.

We drove west to Montreal Street and down to Dallas Road, which took us past "MILE 0" of the Trans Canada Highway, then did a circuit through Beacon Hill Park, stopping at the world's tallest totem pole.

From Beacon Hill Park we went to Clover Point, which juts out in Juan de Fuca Strait offering panoramic views in all directions. Then we followed the Scenic Drive around the coast to Oak Bay with its magnificent ocean vista. Gardens everywhere were a splash of colour and, the day being clear enough to see distant Mount Baker was an added bonus. Besides the historic plaque about the landing of cattle, there was another marker at Cattle Point indicating the direction and distance to various prominent features. To the south Mount Olympus, Washington, (El 7,954 feet), was 38.6 km (24) whilst Mount Baker (El. 10,778 feet) was 115.8 km (72) to the east.

Going on from Cattle Point, we drove along Cordova Bay Road until the junction with Highway 17 to Swartz Bay. We ran into some very heavy traffic, which at first I thought was long week-end ferry traffic, but we discovered that an air show was in progress. We were heading in the direction of the Victoria International Airport! Leaving the main road I took a different route to show LP the pretty seaside town of Sidney, then I swung by Charles's and Marie's before returning to Victoria.
 
When we arrived back Downtown shortly before 2:30 we went to put the car in line for the 7:30 ferry. The one and a half hour crossing to Port Angeles being an hour and a half trip meant that we would not arrive in the U.S. until 9:00 ! We gathered our things together, bought our tickets, found out what time we had to be back at the car, then set off to spend the next several hours sightseeing on foot.
 
We spent about half an hour watching the "Coho" (Port Angeles ferry) being loaded for the three o'clock sailing. Then we walked around the Inner Harbour to Milestones where we had our lunch watching the activity on the water. After lunch I had to do some shopping and found the gift I wanted for Rebca for her Bat Mitzpah, a bear carved in B.C. jade. This accomplished we walked through the luxurious Empress Hotel, where English afternoon tea was being served, on through the Conference Center and over to Thunderbird Park. Here we watched an Indian carver working on a bowl in the shape of a chum salmon.
 
LP then returned to the car and, on my way to the museum, I walked past the Helmcken House, built in 1852 where it stands to this day. It was the home of newly-weds John and Cecilia Helmcken. John Helmcken, a doctor and clerk for the Hudson's Bay Co. at Fort Victoria was one of the country's Fathers of Confederation.


Plaque by Helmcken House

The majestic Garry Oak tree is one of Victoria's symbols. Its knarled branches and dark green glossy leaves create an almost mystical appearance where the trees grow in groves, some say reminiscent of the forest where druids in ancient Britain might have gathered. The specimens of Garry Oaks at Helmcken House have been here for hundreds of years long before the house was built. Early photographs show Dr. Helmcken standing beside this one and the tree does not look very much smaller then.

The Helmckens acquired the site for their house in 1852 from Cecilia Helmcken's parents, Governor and Mrs. James Douglas, who lived where the Royal British Columbia Museum is today. It is well known that Douglas appreciated the native flora, scattering wild flower seeds from his horse-back rides and reserving nearby Beacon Hill Park for all to enjoy. Likewise these Garry Oaks were left by him. The Garry Oak is also known as Oregon Oak. Its range is from Vancouver Island in the north to Marin County, California in the south.

I also stopped in at the Royal British Columbia Museum to take a quick run through to see if it was as good as I had remembered. I was not disappointed. Entry to the museum is free after 5:45 ! I promised LP that I would return to the car by 6:30 , so had a mad dash from the museum, but I made it!!

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Proceeding directly to the Port Angeles ferry dock, we spent some time trying to decide what to do! We were too far back in the line for the 3:00 sailing, but were informed that we should have no problem being on the 7:30 ferry provided that we rejoined the line around two or three o'clock. This meant that we could use the car to drive around for two to three hours.
 
Once on board (7:27) we made our way to the upper deck, where I spent most of the trip in the Center of the prow. I had the best spot for terrific views as we left the Inner Harbour, Mount Baker to the east, Olympic Mountains ahead and a glorious sunset over Juan de Fuca Strait to the west. As a matter of fact as the sun set in the west the moon was rising in the east,
 
As we sailed beyond the shelter of any land and once the sun had disappeared it became very cold on the deck. Eventually I had to give up and retreat inside, though I still went out every now and again to check on the sights - I did not want to miss anything!! {In this respect I guess I am still that same person full of fervor, the same enthusiasm people saw in me over three decades earlier!}
 
The ferry had been late leaving Victoria so it was 9:30 when the "doors" opened ready for disembarkation. We finished up last in line through Customs, but were through quickly (they just wanted to finish up and go home!). Then we had the fun of looking for a motel in a strange place after dark!

Day 52 - Tuesday August 3 - Port Angeles to Yakima, Washington

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Upon leaving the Travellers Motel in Port Angeles we went to the Information Center and left from here at 8:40 Although due in Yakima by nightfall we figured that we could still make it even by going west and south around the Olympic Peninsula!
 
As we headed out of town on US-101 we drove past an interesting courthouse and other historic buildings, but it was too early in the day to start this type of sightseeing. What can I say? I am an insatiable traveller and would like to spend more time here, as everywhere else, to see and learn "the story behind the scenery.


The Story Behind The Scenery" is the sub-title for many books in the U.S., each about a specific area to reveal the awesome beauty of our Nation's scenic wonders

Nevertheless we did stop, having only driven 32 kilometers (19.9), for a beautiful view over a lake. As the road passed through a dense forest of huge trees we could hear waterfalls cascading down the mountainside. We continued stopping and starting, the road following the shoreline of Lake Crescent, glorious in the morning light.
 
After leaving the lake the road climbed for some distance and fireweed was in flower everywhere. We passed through an area where there was some farming, then through a forest with some interesting signs, e.g.


1930 first harvest

2024 next harvest

which gave people some idea of what is being done for forest management. At 86.7 km (53.9) we crossed the Sol Duc River for the third time and a bit further along my nostrils picked up the scent of burning wood, a scent which brought back childhood memories. Besides fireweed, foxgloves added to the colour along the roadside.
 
Rounding a corner 107.0 km (66.5) we decided to make a detour into Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. It was an incredible drive with snow-covered mountains visible ahead until we penetrated the forest! It was also an open range area so we had to watch out for cattle.


At this point a button was accidentally moved on the tape recorder and it was difficult to understand the playback, hence I did not have a good record of the day's progress and had to rely on memory!
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The round trip into the Hoh Rain Forest and back to US-101 was about fifty kilometers (31.1). We pulled into a viewpoint to see one of the largest Sitka Spruce trees in the U.S., and could have stopped at a number of places on the way in, but decided to go to the end of the road first. Parking was a premium, but again we were fortunate! We visited the Information Center, then set off for a 15 minute hike along a short trail! We either missed the signs or misunderstood them and had a much longer hike than originally intended, going all the way around the Spruce Nature Trail. This we really enjoyed and were glad that we had made a mistake, in spite of "Time". (As my cousin Alice would say,"The enemy is after us!" - the enemy being "Time".)
 
The walk through the forest was sublime and the interpretive signs along the way most informative. I took many pictures of the forest and of the signs. At the outset we saw a group of people with backpacks and llamas laden with saddlebags setting off on the much longer trail to the high country. It was about 1:15 when we got back to the car and left to return to US-101.
 
Our next interlude was on the cliffs above Ruby Beach, where we had a picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Proceeding south from here along the coast there were quite a number of pull-offs with access to various beaches and driving past we caught glimpses of the ocean. How I wished we could stay by the beach for a while!
 
As on any summer trip anywhere we ran into road work, a new surface being put down, and after some delay a pilot vehicle escorted the waiting cars across the new work. This prevents anyone from going too fast and causing windshield damage!


Notes more detailed again - discovered fault with tape recorder!
It was 3:21 236.5 kms (163.7) when the pilot escort ended. I noticed a hill which had been completely cleared on one side and I thought it looked unusual. After passing Quinault Lake on our left, we saw more forest signs indicating a section clear-cut 1950, and another thinned 1960. We crossed the Hoquiam River near Aberdeen and left US-101 for US-12 just prior to crossing the Wishkah River. This linked us up with State Rte. 8, a freeway into Olympia (pop. 33,900/El. 36 feet), the capital of Washington. Hwy. WA-8 joins with US-101, which terminates at I-5.


US-101 originates in Los Angeles and runs up the western seaboard through California, Oregon and Washington. In Washington it circles around the Olympic Peninsula north of the Olympic National Park, then south to Olympia.

From I-5 it was easy to find the Capitol, and I did my usual tour, three quarters of an hour passing quickly. The Legislative Building was completed in 1927.
 
I had entered a door at ground level and, walking along a corridor where the floors and walls were all of marble, I expected to find my way to rotunda. But I was not even in the right building! I was in the Insurance Building.
 
Leaving Olympia we followed I-5 to the outskirts of Tacoma, where we exited onto WA-512 first, then WA-167 to WA-18, on which we could cut through to I-90. There may have been a shorter route into Yakima, but we decided that, since we still had about three hundred kilometers (186.4) to cover, the freeway would be the fastest way!!
 
We left the Interstate near North Bend to get gas and I phoned Sarah to let her know where we were and hence our estimated time of arrival! Continuing on, the area in the vicinity of Snoqualmie Pass (El. 3,022 feet) was very beautiful and obviously a ski resort area.. The town of Snoqualmie (pop. 1,500/El. 423 feet), adjacent to North Bend, is 37.0 km (23) before the pass bearing the same name. Descending from the pass we drove by Keechelus Lake, created with the building of a dam across the Yakima River.
 
It was almost nine o'clock when we drove into a cloud of dust, and wondered what it was! In the waning light we discerned it was from mobs of cattle. The lights were coming on in Ellensburg (pop. 12,44/El. 1,577 feet), a Center for the cattle industry, and hence the mob in the stockyards. 6.4 km (4.0) beyond Ellensburg I-90 branched off to the east to Spokane, whilst I-82 south to Yakima began.
 
As the road climbed the Manastash Ridge we were able to pull into a rest area which afforded a wonderful view overlooking Ellensburg against a glowing red backdrop from the sunset. We crossed the Umtanum Ridge (El. 2,265 feet) by 9:30 , then dropped down into the Yakima Valley.
 
Soon after leaving the Interstate we found a phone at a gas station and called for final directions, which were very easy to follow (the numbering of streets always makes it easier to find places, especially after dark!) We arrived at 9:56 and it was just great to see both Sarah and Dan.
 
Sarah had hors d'oeuvres ready within minutes of our arrival and a delicious dinner - a long, relaxed meal with much conversation. After this we were given a tour of the house, then unpacked our car.


ITEM OF INTEREST

According to AAA map Vancouver to Yakima is 458 km (284.6 miles) /Traveling time 5 hrs. 34 mins.

Since I was doing all the driving and was using the small tape recorder for all my "notes", I was trying to play it back each night to write up my journal. However, I could see reaching a point where I would not want to do it every night and, hence, would have to buy more tapes and transpose them all after arriving home! I started this method of keeping a record of everything on leaving Vancouver on 31st July.

Day 53 - Wednesday August 4 - Yakima, Washington

Today was quiet and very relaxing, a welcome change after the last three days into which we had packed so much! Besides it was lovely just to sit around with dear friends talking and catching up with all the news. Sarah and Dan have a beautiful home on a hillside overlooking the valley and Yakima, and we appreciated this lovely view whilst enjoying a leisurely breakfast on the balcony.
 
In the afternoon Sarah and I went to her local stores and into Downtown Yakima (pop. 54,900/El. 1,065 feet) to pick up literature from the Chamber of Commerce and the Yakima Tourist Information Center.
 
From here we went to "Yesterday's Village", a revitalization project, which looks like an excellent idea, but which is not doing well. We spent some time browsing in a large antique store. Dan's office being nearby, we also dropped in to see him. And, of course, Sarah and I were just enjoying visiting with each other.
 
After Dan returned from work we had a swim in their pool, after which he took us for a drive around Yakima's Scenic Route north of the city, then Downtown for a Chinese supper. Before retiring for the night plans were made for our trip to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument the next day.

Day 54 - Thursday August 5 - Day trip to Mount St. Helens

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After yesterday's lazy day, or better yet, after a day of recuperation we took to the road again! The only difference was that we went on a one-day round trip and Sarah drove Dan's car.
 
We again had a pleasant breakfast on the balcony, finally headed out for Mount St. Helens by 8:40 We traveled on US-12 through Naches and passed the junction of WA-410, a scenic route to Seattle. Soon after this I noticed lots of unusual vertical rocks, which appeared hexagonal in shape, possibly an area of columnar jointing.
 
Following the course of the Tieton River the road penetrated deeper into the Cascade Range, the landscape changing from barren hills to forest. Beyond Rimrock we drove through a tunnel and came out by the Tieton Dam which forms Rimrock Lake. Stones encased in wire mesh lined the side of the road to protect it from rock slides or falling rocks. We stopped to look at and photograph a waterfall which consisted of several falls as water cascaded into a deep valley.
 
Reaching White Pass (El. 4,500 feet), we could see mountains, some with snow on them and tall conifers lined both sides of the road. A few minutes later, our road, clinging to a precipitous cliff with a deep valley to the left, rounded a corner and there before us rose 14,411 feet high Mount Rainier, a magnificent sight indeed. We pulled into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Viewpoint. Here we had a good view of Mount Rainier as well as the Palisades, the rocks of which were similar to those I had seen just after leaving Naches - columnar jointing, as a result of rapid cooling of a basalt lava flow.
 
Having passed the junction of WA-123, one of the routes to Mount Rainier, we saw evidence in the form of stumps with loggers' cuts in them that there had been very big trees here. Logging was still taking place on the hillsides around Packwood, but there was also some farming as the valley of the meandering Cowlitz River widened.
 
At Randle we took a half hour coffee break and decided to have some pie, too. We had such a long wait we wondered whether `they' were picking the blackberries and making the pie! Mine was eventually brought, but Sarah waited another five minutes or more and when it came her pie was burned!

1993_08_05a.jpg The restaurant was located on the corner of US-12 and the National Forest Road, Rte. 25, which we had to take to Mount St. Helens. We left town at 11:45 and soon after we were driving through the forest. We stopped at Woods Creek Information Center for maps. Foxgloves were growing wild along the roadside and we encountered a number of hairpin bends, the road climbing constantly. At 12:15 we were between mile 13 and 14 at an elevation of 2,370 feet and at 12:20 the elevation was 2,600 feet. Two minutes later we turned off Rte. 25 onto Rte. 99, Windy Ridge Viewpoint now only 25.7 km (16.0) away. We reached Wakepish Creek, El. 3,700 feet at 12:27, then rounded a corner and behold...our first view of Mount St. Helens. A little further along there was a Viewpoint from which we could see not only Mount St. Helens but also Mount Adams. [Mount Adams is also visible from the balcony of Sarah's house.]

From this point on there were a lot of opportunities for stopping and we spent longer at some places than others. On reaching the 4,150 feet elevation we crossed Independence Pass. At Meta Lake Sarah and I listened to a ranger talk about Mount St Helens, and the story of how Gary Rosenquist photographed the first moments of the May 18, 1980 eruption from Bear Meadow and his narrow escape to live and tell the tale. Here we also saw the miner's car caught in the blast near Meta Lake, or what was left of it. At the Donnybrook Viewpoint there was a great view over Spirit Lake, the contours of which were greatly changed on that fateful day. Also much of its surface is covered with floating remnants of the forest that is no more.
We arrived at Windy Ridge, the end of the road, shortly before two o'clock. First we listened to a ranger, who had survived that terrible day, talk about life returning to Mount St. Helens. She seemed to infuse her audience with her excitement of being a part of the earth's evolution, both its disruptive forces and its healing powers. Man needs to take stock of his place in the scheme of things. His disruptive powers are catapulting ahead at a speed greater than the healing powers!
 
Then we climbed the "sand ladder", even LP, who took charge of the video camera, for the spectacular views in all directions. This was quite a strenuous climb and I was hot, very red-faced and out of breath by the time I made it to the top and caught up with Sarah and LP.
 
Walking down the "ladder" was not as strenuous but could be treacherous as one's foot slipped easily on the loose pebbly pumice. Back at the parking lot I walked a short distance along the trail towards the crater as I had spotted some wild flowers.
 
On the return journey we stopped at Bear Meadow for refreshments, it being a long time since coffee and (burned) blackberry pie at Randle! We had sandwiches and a drink, bought some posters and were on our way again by four o'clock. Ten minutes later we were back in the forest, the destruction having extended to the Mile 6 marker, 15.3 km (9.5) from Windy Ridge.
 
We were back at the junction of Routes 99 and 25 at 4:23 , and turned onto U.S.-12 in Randle by 4:54. On reaching Naches the temperature outside the car was 94°, 12° higher than it had been at Windy Ridge. We arrived home at 6:40 , exactly ten hours from the time we had set out, and we appreciated a refreshing dip in the pool. In the evening Dan and Sarah took us out for a delicious meal at the Yakima Golf and Country Club.
 
This was a day to remember. I count myself fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity of visiting a place such as Mount St. Helens, a place where such a catastrophic event took place within my lifetime. One usually visits such places and the mind cannot comprehend the numbers, such as `what you are looking at was caused by something which occurred millions or billions of years ago!' It is so hard to imagine such time, but Mount St. Helens is different. It happened 13 years ago.

Day 55 - Friday August 6 - Yakima, Washington (HAAS Golding Farm and Toppenish)

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Dan departed early this morning because he had meetings in Leavenworth about 145 km (90) north of Yakima, but he had made arrangement for us to visit the HAAS Golding Farm, a 1,600 acre hop farm.

We left the house soon after ten o'clock, took US-12 to I-82, and went south through Union Gap to US-97. We exited at S. Wapato Road, which took us to Larue Road, and we arrived at the HAAS farm at 11 o'clock. During the next hour we were given a most interesting and informative tour of the various buildings. We strolled along the perimeter of a field of hop vines, so could see first hand how the trellis is constructed for ease of caring for and the harvesting of the crop. Nearby was a small plot of young plants of various varieties of hops, also a glasshouse for starting new seedlings.

It was great going with Sarah because she knew what kind of questions to ask...different varieties of hops have a difference in bitterness; a trained person knows by their smell when the hops are ready for picking; the cut vines are layered in trailers for easy lifting onto hooks along a conveyor rail; the cones are removed from the vines and a belt carries them through to the kilns where they remain for 24 hours; after drying they are transported by conveyor belt to the press for packing into bales; the bales, weighing 210 - 215 lbs. when packed, are then ready for shipment to various breweries.
On leaving the farm we drove east on Larue Road to go to Toppenish. Stopping for some pictures on the way, I walked down a sideroad for a view I wanted of a field with Mount Adams on the horizon. When a vehicle came by I stepped over to the side of the road and....what a shock! Sticking in the soles of my sandals were dozens of three-cornered jacks, something I had not seen in years!
 
Toppenish, like its Canadian counterpart, Chemainus, depicts its history in murals on its walls. LP stayed in the car to read his book whilst Sarah and I went exploring. We had a sandwich at the Ice cream Parlour before taking the wagon ride with Mike and his mules. Toppenish has as its motto "City Where The West Still Lives", but also calls itself "City of Murals".
 
The painting season is from April through to about the end of October. The first twenty-two murals were painted in four years and more were to be added this year, 1993. A date is also selected for a special event - a "mural-in-a-day". This is a mural which is painted usually in about eight hours or less and is the work of a number of artists.
 
The Mural Society has an arts committee and an historical committee. The first considers the artist's easel-sized small version of the proposed mural to ensure high standards of artistic quality, whilst the second committee works with the artist to make sure of the mural's historical accuracy, oftentimes requiring changes in the design (from '93-94 Yakima Valley Visitor's Guide"). After a mural has been completed it is given a UV coating to protect the painting from the elements.
 
CVB - Central Valley Bank - a mostly glass building wanted a mural and asked the Mural Society that if they built a wall could they have a mural - they would also pay for it! ["Murals cost thousands of dollars each, and the Mural Society funds them all with donated money" from Yakima Valley Visitor's Guide]. "The Old Saturday Market" by Idaho artist, Robert Thomas, is that mural on a 100 foot long wall built at the edge of the parking lot especially for the painting.
 
Two other murals, "When Hops Were Picked By Hand" and "The Crossroads To Market", were also painted by Robert Thomas, who was born and raised in Toppenish.
 
It was a really hot day, so we decided not to visit the Yakima Nation Cultural Center (saving this for next time!), but to go straight home. We arrived back just on four o'clock and right away went for a swim. Dan returned from Leavenworth earlier than expected and we passed a relaxing evening at home. We had barbecue salmon for supper and later, went swimming again.

Day 56 - Saturday August 7 - Day trip to Mount Rainier

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We started out the day in a leisurely fashion, breakfast on the balcony being a daily routine. Max, Sarah's and Dan's son, was due to arrive around noon, however, and LP and I thought that he should have some time with his parents without us in the background. We decided, therefore, to take a run up to Mount Rainier, and left the house by 10:15
 
I drove out Powerhouse Road to see if there was a quicker way onto US-12. Along this route we saw a sign for Indian Rock Painting State Park, and although I stopped to read the sign we did not take time to see the paintings. Since we were going into wilderness territory we thought we should have a full tank and stopped for gas in Naches. Our next stop was by the fast-flowing Tieton River, below impressive rocky outcrops on the hillside. An hour after leaving the house we entered the Wenatchie National Forest, the point at which the evergreen trees start.
 
We had only driven forty-eight kilometers (29.8) and were following the course of the Tieton River when LP remarked, "This road is quite spectacular, and we haven't got to the good stuff yet!" and I quite agreed with him. Then we came to that part of the road where the blocks made up of rocks in wire netting were built up on one side of the road. It is a severe slide area with very steep cliffs along one side of the road. I was keeping my eyes open for the view of the distant waterfall we had seen two days earlier when on our way to Mount St. Helens. We had stopped at two waterfalls on the same creek, Clear Creek (I think) a little further upstream. From this particular site we also had a lovely view down the valley to Clear Lake.

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Continuing on US-12, we went over White Pass and turned onto WA-123. There was a beautiful forest with very tall trees along this road, and within a short distance we were soon at the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. [The tape on the recorder ran out today so an account of distances and times is minimal, but for me it was such an exciting day I did not need the tape to remember what we did!!]
 
We turned off WA-123 to go to Paradise via Stevens Canyon Entrance where I used the Golden Eagle Pass for entry to the National Park. Until later, when looking at the map, I did not realize that road doubled back so far around Backbone Ridge.
 
Our first stop was at Canyon Falls on Nickel Creek. We were here for about ten minutes waiting to get a picture without people either clambering around the base of the falls or standing to pose at the top!

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From here the road crossed Box Canyon, went through a tunnel, then traversed the mountainside above Stevens Canyon and below Stevens Ridge. At the end of the canyon the road followed a long curve, crossing Stevens Creek. It turned back along the canyon to climb up to The Bench, and doubled back on itself again at a higher level.

We pulled up again at Louise Lake where there were lots of wild flowers blooming, especially lupine and Lewis monkey flower. We had a clear view of Mount Rainier above the lake. On the opposite side of the road was a pretty waterfall.

The next interlude was at Inspiration Point, from which there were truly magnificent views of the Tatoosh Range, Rampart Ridge and the road which eventually reaches the Nisqually Entrance of the Park.

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Arriving at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center the parking lot was full. It was the same story a little further up the road at Paradise, but we drove around the lot several times and luckily, someone eventually pulled out! This was somewhere around 1:30 and 147.7 km (91.8) from `home'.
 
I walked back to the Jackson Visitor Center (El. 5,400 feet) to pick up some information on the trails. LP and I then spent the next four hours hiking above Paradise. From the parking lot we set out on the Skyline Trail, the first section being a rather steep climb. The scenery was breathtaking and I felt an inner excitement just from being here. The trail took us across alpine meadows which were a profusion of beautiful wild flowers, some of which I recognized and some I did not. We left the Skyline Trail for a detour to Alta Vista, (El. 5,940 feet), then back onto Skyline, until we left it again for Glacier Vista (El. 6,336 feet). To reach this point we actually had to traverse a patch of snow! But having come this far, I did not intend to leave without at least being able to see one of Rainier's many glaciers. From this vista we could look down on the Nisqually Glacier where, scattered on the glacier, there were about eleven tents for people who were camping there.
 
By this time it was late in the day and large numbers of hikers were descending the trail from higher altitudes, many having been to Camp Muir at the 10,000 feet level.
 
Rainier was the eleventh U.S. National Park (not counting at least four National Monuments) which I have been privileged to visit, and I planned to visit several more before this trip was over. I never cease to be amazed at the great opportunity people are given to visit and to enjoy the marvels of our planet.
 
Here at Mount Rainier, as in other National Parks, one is surrounded by the wonders of nature, from the delicate beauty of an alpine meadow to the harshness of a glacier, both of which summon up a feeling of reverence. At the same time, however, I am disturbed that man, himself a marvel of creation, cannot live in peace with himself, neighbor with neighbor and nation with nation. Nor can he live with nature, which is evident in observing how many people ignore the signs to keep on the trails and seem insensitive to the fact that unchecked footsteps can destroy in an instant a small plant which has taken decades to grow and survive in the harsh mountain climate.
 
We returned to the Visitor Center via the Deadhorse Creek Trail and had a meal at the restaurnt before leaving Paradise shortly after seven o'clock. We arrived `home' at 9:20 , looked at the video we had taken during the day, then watched a movie with the family. It was late when we retired for the night.

Day 57 - Sunday August 8 - Yakima, Washington downtown and trolley ride to Selan Gap

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This was another day around Yakima. We were up late and had a morning swim followed by brunch. What a lovely way to enjoy a visit!
 
As I wanted to return to the site of the Indian paintings, Sarah and I did this before going Downtown for the 2:00 Trolley ride to Selah Gap. We spent half an hour at this small State Park, walking along the cliff to view the paintings on the rocks. Although partially destroyed when an irrigation flume was built years ago across the face of the cliff, the prehistoric pictographs are still visible.
 
The rocks at this site are also interesting in that they are fragmented, similar to the Palisade along US-12, but the fragmentation is both vertical and horizontal. Swallows have built their nests below the overhanging rock.
 
To reach Indian Rock Paintings State Park, we had driven out Powerhouse Road, and when leaving we attempted to return to Yakima via a different route. We turned onto Cowichee Canyon Road, went up one part which turned out to be a dead end, returned and tried another branch which took us uphill to the Scenic Drive.
 
We arrived at the Yakima Electric Railway Museum, W. Pine St. and S. 3rd. Ave., a few minutes before Trolley 1776 departed from the depot. The trolley travelled on tracks in the middle of the street through Yakima, then along the side of the road through orchard country north of town.
 
The trolley stopped on the historic Pegram Truss Bridge over the Naches River just west of where it flows into the Yakima River. Continuing on the line reaches its highest point along the sheer vertical cliffs of Selah Gap, then passes "Convict's Cave" before dropping down into the town of Selah. Arriving at the terminus in Selah at 2:40 , the trolley turned around and returned to the Selah Civic Center for a fifteen-minute stopover. When ready for departure the driver/engineer called out, "All aboard! Anyone not here raise your hand!"
 
It was another hot Yakima day (temperatures had been in the 90's for several days) and one of the passengers came on board with a bag of popsicles, which they handed around to everyone. This also created a certain amount of camaraderie among the passengers of Trolley 1776, on that Sunday, the 8th. August, 1993.
 
On the way back to Yakima the trolley driver invited the children aboard to go forward, one at a time, to receive instructions, then drive the trolley. The `young-at-heart' adults were also given the same opportunity, and Sarah coaxed me into taking a turn so she could take a picture! We arrived back at the Museum at 3:30.
 
An artesian well had been pointed out to us along the route of the trolley. The warm water from the well is used at the adjacent car wash and at the Yakima City Creamery. It has been used in the city since the early 1900's.
 
Not having had my camera with me the first time that Sarah and I had gone Downtown we then spent half an hour at Yesterday's Village, located in the historic Fruit Exchange Building, and at the adjacent Track 29, both located in the heart of Downtown Yakima. Track 29 is a unique shopping area, where the shops with old-time store fronts are built in restored box cars along one side of a boardwalk, whilst on the other side the stores are located in actual train cars headed by a real engine. The whole concept is most interesting and it is rather unfortunate that it is not doing well.
 
We returned home by 4:20 Sarah planned a special meal for our last night in Yakima, but one to which everyone, including LP, made a contribution. His was to set the table! I was responsible for dessert, "Wine and Berry Compote", a new recipe which Anna had given me whilst in Vancouver. Sarah, Dan and Max divided the rest of the meal - salad, meat (BBQ steak) and vegetables - between them. After dinner all five of us went for a walk in the neighborhood. Although dark, you could still see that there were some lovely homes and gardens. On returning home Dan and I cleared away the dishes, and before turning in for the night I tried to organize our things ready for our departure next morning. We also enjoyed a last swim.

Day 58 - Monday August 9 - Yakima, Washington, to Lincoln City, Oregon

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We did not rush to get away early this morning but left when we were ready. I did laundry so everything would be clean for the next stage of our trip. We had no firm plans and no predetermined route other than being in Salt Lake City by the 15th!
 
Our farewells said, we left at 11:15 taking US-12 east to I-82 south through Union Gap and thence to US-97, which goes through to the Columbia Valley.
 
We passed a young orchard with trees about 3 feet tall being watered by overhead sprinklers. Beyond the turnoff for Toppenish the road started to leave the valley, going up into dry hills, bare except for some sagebrush and a little brown grass. At the top of the hill we caught a glimpse of Mount Adams.
 
Dropping into a rather narrow valley, the trees ahead indicated a river or creek, which we crossed at the bottom of the valley. To the right were some rocky "battlements" (!) which followed the creek as well as the road. We noticed a sign like one we had seen earlier: "Delay of 5 vehicles is illegal - slow vehicles must use turnouts". Since we were still going downhill we had to have been following the creek downstream. Whilst descending, the countryside changed and we approached an area where the hillsides definitely had more trees on them. In fact we drove in among pine trees and some other trees that looked a bit like scrub oaks. The next sign along the way read, "Chain-up lane ahead", an indication that we would be climbing.
 
As we started the climb through pine-clad hills we passed a group of people cleaning up the roadside. We had seen bags of garbage earlier and I had commented to LP at the time that a clean-up crew had been through. Many roads and highways in The States are divided into two-mile stretches, which are adopted by local community and service organizations as well as businesses, taking on the responsibility of keeping that section of the highway clear of litter.
 
At 12:20 95.0 km (59.0) we reached Satus Pass (El. 3,107 feet), and after a short distance of road construction we had another long climb, only to go down again. In other words we were constantly going up and down and I suspected that there would be many long descents as we neared the valley of the great Columbia River.
 
Up to this point there had been little or no sign of habitation, but ten minutes after Satus Pass we approached Goldendale (pop. 3,300/El. 1,509 feet). Glancing over my shoulder to the right I noticed Mount Adams, so pulled off to the side for pictures. From here Mount Adams was quite spectacular and probably more so than its sister mountains, Mount St. Helens (prior to eruption) or the much higher Mount Rainier, in that it is a single snow-capped mountain, dominating farm country, or at least that is how it appeared to be from Goldendale. No doubt if one were to drive closer the approach would be through wooded foothills and mountains.
 
Five kilometers (3.1) further along the road we came to a viewpoint from which, on clear days, four mountains are visible: Mount Hood in Oregon, (11,245 feet) - 80.5 km (50), and in Washington Mount St. Helens (8,365 feet) - 112.7 km (70), Mount Adams (12,307 feet) - 72.4 km (45) and Mount Rainier (14,410 feet) - 136.8 km (85).
 
In less than two kilometers we went over a hill and were driving down a steep descent towards the Columbia River. I do not know what I expected the Columbia to be like, but I was surprised by the badland-type cliffs and the coulees along the river valley!

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Although we intended to take WA-14 along the north bank of the river, we drove the 3.2 km (2) down the cliff face into the valley to go to the Visitor Center there, by Maryhill State Park. On the way back up the cliff we pulled over for pictures from a headland, looking over the river in both directions. I had to step carefully because of some pretty, but very prickly yellow thistles.
 
Back at US-14 we detoured east to Stonehenge, which was built as a memorial to W.W. I soldiers. Overlooking the Columbia River from a 600-foot bluff the Stonehenge Monument is a replica of England's pre-historic Stonehenge.
 
Again, I contemplated my surprise at the bare hills and the desolate countryside. Although it was greener in the small towns along the river, I know I had not expected it to be as desert-like as it was!
 
For a short distance we drove at the base of some fairly dark, almost black, rocky outcrops - I really need a geologist along on my trips! At the Spearfish Overlook there was a historic sign about Lewis and Clark seeing Indians fishing here in 1805. The dark, rocky cliffs above this lookout were quite crumbly.
 
Just after passing the turnoff into Dalles Dam 173.3 km (107.7) the view was quite awesome. Downstream the canyon appeared to narrow whilst across the river there were landslides where whole sections of the hillside have slid towards the river. On the Washington side were vertical cliffs and our road went through two tunnels. We also noticed that a barge was being pushed upstream.
 
Around three o'clock we stopped in Lyle to buy lunch supplies at the grocery store. Certainly we had had a late breakfast, but we were now beginning to feel hungry, and this was the first town through which we actually drove! West of the town we came to the Chamberlain Rest Area, a very pleasant spot with lovely shade trees and picnic tables with good views 188.5 km (117.1) , (3:16 - 3:50).
 
We were hardly on the road again when our progress was slowed down due to roadwork. We were almost at water level at the base of high precipitous cliffs, which came right down to the white line at the side of the road. In other words there was no shoulder!
 
Crossing the White Salmon River we approached a range of mountains, layer upon layer in beautiful blues down to the river's edge, with Mount Hood to the left or south of us. We turned in at a sign for Fish Hatchery (Spring Creek National Fish Hatcheries - one of the oldest salmon hatcheries on the Columbia River) but we could not get near it for parked cars. In fact there were so many cars we barely had room to turn around! The cars belonged to the wind-surfers! There must have been hundreds of them board-sailing on the river. Back on US-14 we could not even find a safe spot to stop for pictures, although there were a number of turnouts. There seemed to be crowds of people or cars everywhere. From the leaflet, Map & Guide to Points of Interest In & Around Klickitat County....."Board sailing conditions in the Columbia River Gorge have been pronounced second to none, world-wide."
 
Continuing on, the road took us through a tunnel, and when we went through a fourth one, I also noticed a train tunnel. I had forgotten that we had a train line running parallel with us. Heading into a fiord-type area of the river, we thought there might be many tunnels, but there was only one more for a total of five in the gorge area.
 
The scenery could be described in terms of grandeur. It was beautiful on a grand scale. We suddenly realized that we had been on the road for about six hours and had barely gone 250 kilometers (155.3)! (This reminded us of a similar day in Australia when we had only covered 80 kilometers (49.7) by three o'clock in the afternoon!) We decided it was time to ignore the scenery for a while and put some miles behind us quickly!

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We left US-14 at the junction with I-205 and went south over the Columbia River into Oregon and onto Oregon City. Whether it be late or not, we wanted to get off the freeway, and besides we needed to get gas! From Oregon City 342 km (212.5) we took OR-99E through Aurora (pop. 614/El. 130 feet), where we saw a sign for Pacific Hazelnut Candy Factory, but thought it was too late to expect it to be open, so we were not tempted to stop! Going through the Portland area the traffic was busy, as in any big city, but after leaving the freeway we saw more of the countryside, which was much greener than in Washington along the Columbia.
 
We saw a large area of hops growing and wondered if they were part of the HAAS operation, then driving through Hubbard (pop. 1,815) - 364.5 km (226.5) - we wondered if there were any poor dogs around! Near Woodburn (pop. 14,005) - 368 km (226.7) - we again saw hops and other agricultural farming: vegetables, lots of nurseries, many different berry crops, blackberries trained on fences for easier picking, peaches and apples. Around Brooks - 384.2 km (238.7) - there were fields of onions and beans, hay in the distance, a sod farm, corn, garden markets and huge sprinklers swinging in a large circle of maybe 50 feet radius. We were driving through a very fertile and prosperous area with mountains both to our left and to our right.
 
In another ten kilometers (6.2) we were entering Salem (pop. 111,575/El. 171 feet), the capital of Oregon and the states third largest city. Our road crossed over I-50, and we drove along beautiful tree-lined streets with some very attractive houses. We arrived at the State Capitol by 7:15 398 km (247.3). Of course we were here too late for me to tour the inside of the building, which was somewhat different from other Capitols I had seen previously (seven all told, I think - Wyoming, Utah, South Carolina, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana and Washington). The Capitol is a structure of modern design, built in 1938 of Vermont marble. It is topped by a golden statue, symbolic of the Oregon pioneers. In spite of the fact that we could not go inside we still spent three quarters of an hour here, in that directly opposite the Capitol I discovered a most interesting plaza in which are set many slabs inscribed with Oregon history, legends and folk tales.
 
Perhaps we could have stayed in Salem, but we decided to take advantage of whatever daylight was left and even continue after dark if necessary in order to make it to the coast, a good starting point for the next day! Although it was getting late the day had been a relatively relaxed one.
 
Leaving Salem and heading west we appeared to have mountains in front of us, certainly hills, rolling hills and rich farmlands, and we passed several wineries along the way. We were both simultaneously reminded of Hwy. 8 west of Kitchener, Ontario! By 8:40 it was becoming fairly dark but was more so because of a stand of fir trees right to the road's edge on both sides. Then descending from Murphy Hill Summit (793 feet) tree branches almost met above the road, creating a tunnel.
 
Shortly after nine o'clock we reached Lincoln City (pop. 5,900/El. 114 feet) and found lodgings at the Blue Heron Motel on Devils Lake. We drove to Lighthouse Square where we had dinner at McMenamins Lighthouse Brewpub (a great meal, including drinks, for $15.15 less $3.00 seniors discount!!). We also went to the supermarket for supplies for the next day - beer, wine, milk, and other staples!

Day 59 - Tuesday August 10 - Lincoln City, Oregon to Idleyld, Oregon

1993_08_10.jpg A beautiful day dawned, although, when first looking out across Devils Lake from our motel window, mist hung low over the surface of the water. We left the motel at 8:26 and within minutes stopped at the beach in Lincoln City, a lovely seaside community, where I walked half way down a long flight of steps for some pictures.

Five minutes later we pulled up again, this time by the beach and I would have loved dearly to take a stroll along this Pacific Ocean beach or any other for that matter! Traveling south on US-101, we decided we should only stop if there was something special to see. It was obvious that we would not get very far otherwise!! Maybe I could have my walk if we were still by the beach at lunch time!

So much for our decision! We found ourselves pulling over to the side of the road again to look at a river where it empties into the ocean (9:00 to 9:08 ). We had now traveled 10.5 kilometers (6.5)! We crossed Drift Creek (sign: covered bridge further upstream) and stopped again, this time to look at the driftwood in Siletz Bay. We crossed the Siletz River, then stopped at Boiler Bay 23.2 km (14.4), where a number of people were using binoculars to watch seals swimming around boats off the coast.

Looking ahead along the coast we could see fog rolling off the ocean, dispersing almost as quickly as it started. Noticing a sign for CAPE FOULWEATHER - ¾ MILE, we drove the short distance off the highway into Cape Foulweather, so named by Captain James Cook. We spent quarter of an hour here, then stopped again about four kilometers (2.4) further along for another picture looking north to the foul weather! Sitting in the car looking south towards the Newport lighthouse, LP said that, whilst I was looking back to Cape Foulweather, he was looking forward to fairer weather!
We should have been covering more territory! After being on the road for two hours we entered Newport (pop. 8,400/El. 68 feet), a distance of only 43.6 kilometers (27.1)! The Oregon Coast, however, was too beautiful to bypass, otherwise we should have taken a different route. At least we did not have a set destination for the day - just Salt Lake City four days hence! Commenting to LP how much I loved the coast, his response was, "Yeh, and deserts and mountains and cooking and....!"
 
In Newport we made a detour to see the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, which was dedicated in 1936, and did not stop again until 10:52 63.1 km (39.1) when we drove into Seal Rock, an early coastal resort town, which is now a residential community, known for its craft shops. We spent twenty minutes at Seal Rock State Park, which is interesting from a geological standpoint, due to the exposed faults in the rocks. People in the car next to us were taking out art equipment, and, in fact, there seemed to be quite a number of people, laden with paints, easel, stool, etcetera, all heading for the beach. From the headland there were wonderful rock formations, and the `artists' were settling down to do watercolour paintings of the rocks to the north. I spoke to one of them and learned they had come from as far away as Illinois for a week-long course.
 
We were amused by the sign: "On The Rise Bakery on the yeast side of town" as we drove into Yachats (pop. 635), a rather lovely looking seaside resort, where the road went down almost to sea level, only to rise again following around the cliffs. I felt very much as if I was driving The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, so much like it was this section of the Oregon coast.
 
Approaching Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, trees and a thick carpet of ferns covered the steep slopes to our left whilst high vertical cliffs dropped down to the water on our right. It was incredibly beautiful, reminding me of Mount Defiance on the Ocean Road! Pulling off to the side of the road, I could discern seals swimming below the high cliffs.
 
As we continued on, trees formed an arch over the road in some places. We passed Cook's Chasm without stopping, but thought that we should have spent more time at Cape Perpetua, the highest point (El. 800 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Basalt forms the shoreline here and there are a number of rock formations to be seen: Devil's Churn (split in rock which narrows to a few feet) and Cook's Chasm (a similar fissure, where the wave action has undercut the rock to form caves and blow holes). My next trip (!) to the Oregon Coast will have to include more time at Cape Perpetua!
 
By now it was noon and I started to look for a beach where we might have our lunch and, with this in mind, we left the highway at several points, such as Rock Creek campground and Devil's Elbow State Park. From the latter we had a better view of the historic bridge across the ravine and Cape Creek. Returning to the highway, we crossed the bridge, at the south end of which US-101 immediately enters a tunnel.
 
We stopped for a few minutes at the viewpoint just south of the tunnel, then continuing on we passed Sea Lions Cave, a paying tourist attraction. As we drove by we could see that it was a popular spot with numerous parking areas, and lots of people. On checking the AAA Tour Book I discovered that Sea Lions Cave is the only year-round mainland home for wild Stellar sea lions and that an elevator provides access for observing these mammals, whether on the rocks outside or in the 1,500 foot-long cavern.
 
From the high point near Sea Lions Cave, the road descends, winding around the cliff faces, back to sea level. Here we saw a lot of horses out on the beach and shortly afterwards came to a sign: "Stable - Beach and Mountain Rides" - this could be fun!
 
Driving into Heceta Beach, we planned to have lunch, this probably being our last chance for a beach picnic! It being a bad choice we returned to the highway, having driven over seven kilometers (4.3) through the large South Heceta Development, a project where roads and streets were being pushed through an extensive area of sand dunes.
 
In Florence (pop. 5,200/El. 11 feet) we crossed another historic bridge of interesting structure over the Suislaw River, and south of the town drove into Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. We drove out the South Jetty Dune and Beach Access Road, which went west towards the coast through the sand dunes, then turned north through grass-covered hummocks which blocked any view we might have had of the ocean. The road went on and on into fog coming in off the ocean. Unable to find anywhere to eat we turned around. We saw many dune buggies and when we stopped at South Jetty Staging for some pictures, the parking lot was filled with vehicles and trailers. From here people could take off into the sand hills in their dune buggies.
 
Proceeding south through a forest of big, tall trees, and passing Dunes City, we were back in sand hills, between the Siltcoos Dunes and the Siltcoos Lake. We noticed the sign: "Law requires slow vehicles to use turnouts", similar to those between Yakima and the Columbia Gorge. We pulled into the Oregon Dunes Overlook with its interpretive information boards. We finally had our lunch here - not by the beach as I had hoped - then spent some time on the boardwalk overlooking the extensive dune area.
 
After a late lunch we drove through Gardiner, crossing the Smith and Umpqua Rivers, then on to Reedsport (pop. 5,030), at which point we left the Oregon Coast (2:50 - 192 km - 119.3 niles) to head inland on OR-38. We entered the hills, following a beautiful valley, with a lake to our left. We visited the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, where there was an excellent interpretive Center, and although we could not get close to the elk, we could see them grazing among rolls of hay.
 
We continued traveling along the valley, which became narrower with steep rock cliffs on our right, beautiful mosses, lichens and ferns covering the cliff faces. We noticed much activity, including barges, on the lake and I think that if you were on a boat here, it would appear as if you were going into a fiord! As the road passed under a canopy of trees I thought of Stu, knowing how much he would enjoy all this.
 
Crossing the 643 feet-long Truss bridge, built in 1929 over the Umpqua River, we left the State Forest. Even so with trees overhanging the road it continued to be a beautiful drive, and the Umpqua, now on our right, was still quite wide. Whilst stopped for road construction, I noticed small trees had been planted up the hillside obviously replacing a forest which had been fully logged.
 
In Elkton (pop. 170) we stopped for a coffee break before crossing the 140-foot steel truss bridge, built in 1931, over Elk Creek and turning onto OR-138. This route, still following the valley of the Umpqua River, took us through forested areas as well as into farmlands where we saw bulls, horses and geese! Besides winding through the valley the road also climbed up and dropped down in a number of places. At one point we noticed that the riverbed was quite wide and not totally immersed in water with smooth, glacial-looking rocks being exposed.
 
The road left the Umpqua River for 19.3 km (12.0) until reaching Sutherlin, near I-5. Just before coming into Sutherlin (pop. 4,970), we saw a sign for Rochester Covered Bridge - this was the second time we had seen such a sign in Oregon, a surprise because I had associated covered bridges only with eastern states and provinces!
 
We wandered around a bit in Sutherlin looking for a back road, because maps are not very thorough for tourists who want to get onto the byways! We eventually found and turned onto OR-99 to Wilbur, a winding road which ran more or less parallel to I-5. We reached Wilbur at 4:45 304 km (188.9) and turned onto a back road with a sign to Glide, a town on OR-138, the road on which we wanted to be eventually.
 
As I was driving along the countryside reminded me of Australia - the hills were brown with some scrub trees (scrub oaks, mostly, so just needed a few gum trees!), and whilst reveling in my own thoughts, LP remarked, "Almost looks like Australia - makes you think of the road from Lithgow to Bathurst." [New South Wales] It was rather uncanny that we should both get the same feeling at the same time! We stopped along the way to have a drink (water) and take some pictures. By coming this way we had gotten away from caravans and motor homes, but not trucks!
 
Then we had a delightful drive through an area of grape vines and fruit trees, past rather attractive homes, and a creek in the valley as well as bare hills. The road twisted and turned, sometimes in the sun, sometimes in the shade. I noticed a raft shooting some rapids and although I stopped, I did not see the raft again. On studying the map more closely, I discovered that the watercourse our road was following was the North Umpqua River, with its headwaters in the mountains N.E. of Diamond Lake. Its confluence with the South Umpqua River is about 11.3 km (7.0) S.W. of Wilbur.
 
We passed two beautiful homes as the river valley widened, cattle on one side, green fields on the other. We came to quite a settlement with lovely homes and farms as we crossed the river. just prior to turning onto OR-138 in Glide. Here we spent nearly half an hour at the Information Center, where we were convinced to book ahead for accommodation, it being a busy time of year and the hour was getting late! The attendant phoned several places before finding a vacancy 8.0 km (5.0) up the road. We really had not wanted to stop so soon, but were persuaded to do so!
 
It was 6:00 when we arrived at Idleyld Park Lodge, a pleasant bed and breakfast guest house with Clay and Marjorie as our hosts. We relaxed for about an hour, having coffee in the common area, then went for supper at the Red Barn, a restaurant on the banks of the river. It had been a glorious day and the scenery had provided a feast for the eyes.

Day 60 - Wednesday August 11 - Idleyld, Oregon, to Red Bluff, California

1993_08_11.jpg Wanting to have as much time as possible at Crater Lake, and not having gone as far as we had intended yesterday, we were up with the alarm this morning. Clay had given us a discount on our room because we needed to make an early start and would not be around for breakfast. It was the first time we had stayed at a B & B, and I rather liked it, wishing we could have stayed. On the other hand LP thought the place rustic and did not feel comfortable being treated like one of the family!

It was 6:40 when we left Idleyld Park Lodge, and so anxious were we to get on the road, neither of us thought about or remembered that we needed gas!!

Leaving Idleyld we continued to drive through the forest, following the valley of the North Umpqua River, with its waterfalls and rapids. Hiking trails started from the many wayside pull-outs between the road and the river. We also passed numerous logging trucks coming down the road.

Going deeper into the mountains the road climbed above the river and we were looking down on rapids. LP remarked that we had not even stopped yet! We passed through one area where the road and the river were both between high rock cliffs as if going through a canyon. Then rounding a corner there was the sun, already up, but it disappeared from sight as we entered another very narrow canyon.

By this time we had passed Steamboat, a dot on the map! The road we were traveling was a wilderness one for sure - no towns and nowhere to buy gas! I was watching the needle hover towards empty, and had I been driving on any ordinary road I would have known that everything would be all right, but this was an unknown and winding road, climbing into a mountainous area and the car would be using more gas!
LP, too, had become quite aware of the predicament and laid all the blame on me. Obviously it was all my fault - I was the driver! The tension in the car was so great you could have cut the air with a knife. The scenery was beautiful as we crossed the North Umpqua River and went deeper into the mountains, rocky crags all about us, but the beauty of the area paled into insignificance as tension increased and all conversation came to a standstill!
 
After being on the road for an hour and having traveled 73.2 km (45.5), we reached an elevation of 4,000 feet. A little further on we passed a sign for Diamond Lake Lodge, but continued on expecting to find a town - and gas station. There was nothing!
 
At 91.5 km (56.9), tensions mounting, I turned back to go to Diamond Lake Lodge. There had to be gas there! I just could not believe how isolated the road was in these parts. Fortunately for me there was a gas station at the lodge, and we were able to fill up with the most expensive gas for the whole trip! I wished that it had been a self-serve so I could fill the tank my way - but maybe it was just as well not to know how close we were to running on fumes!!

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Back on OR-138 by 8:05 we could now start to enjoy the day. Soon after returning to the highway we noticed a rocky mountain, Mount Theilson (El. 9,182 feet), which was mostly hidden by the forest, but its summit a sharp point against the sky. We also had our first glimpse of snow patches on some of the mountains.

When OR-138 turned east at the boundary of Crater Lake National Park, we continued south to Crater Lake (8:15) 107 km (66.5). I only knew about this lake because Stu had shown me a picture of it in his geology book and thought it a really cool place. I decided then and there that I would aim to include Crater Lake on my return trip from Vancouver! Now, this aspiration was about to be fulfilled.

There was no attendant to collect any fees at the North Entrance of the National Park, and it has since occurred to me that maybe few people visit the park from the north! We drove through pine forest for a few kilometers before crossing a pumice desert, from whence we could see pine-clad hills ahead as well as snow on the mountains. We stopped at the pull-out on Pumice Desert. It was very different from anything I had ever seen before, except, maybe, going up the "sand ladder" at Mount St. Helens, - here and there an odd tree and a few wild flowers. The eruption, which created Crater Lake, is not a recent event, it having taken place about 7,700 years ago, not very old in geological time, but one would have thought long enough for trees and plants to have taken hold and hidden this desert!
Leaving the desert behind we found ourselves in among patches of snow and the scenery was incredibly beautiful - awe inspiring maybe would be a more appropriate description. To drink in the full measure of the sights it would be better to be hiking (or biking) rather than driving, but then the 53.1 km (33.0) rim would be quite a hike!
 
On reaching North Junction of Rim Drive nine o'clock - 121.7 km (75.6) we decided to circle the lake in a clockwise direction, and what a treat we had in store for us. We stopped at the various vantage points around the lake and, apart from the majestic beauty of each view, we were attracted by the chipmunks scampering around, the birds (Clark's nutcracker) and the white, pink and blue lupines blooming near the snowbanks at the side of the road. The two factors contributing to there still being snow in August were the elevation of the area and the areas annual snowfall - on average nearly fifty feet.
 
There was a large parking lot for the Cleetwood Cove trailhead. Here I walked across the road to where the trail goes down from the rim (El. 6,850 feet) to lake level at 6,176 feet, a 1.8 km (1.1) hike each way. The Cleetwood Trail is the only safe and legal access to Crater Lake's shore, where boat tours are available at the end of the trail, something for me to keep in mind for my next visit!
 
At our next stop, the location of the Cleetwood Flow, an interesting rock which was formed by a single lava flow, we could see the lake and the boats at the shoreline, and marveled at the glorious colors of the area. Although still fairly close to the rim, the road appeared to be going through areas of the crater with volcanic type rocks on both sides. Also there were interesting areas with a forest of very large trees interspersed with areas of pumice where there is virtually nothing growing.
 
Moving on, another viewpoint afforded wonderful reflections of that part of the rim around which we had driven. From here we also watched one of the tour boats head out from Cleetwood Cove to cross the lake. Behind us flowers were struggling for survival in a bed of pumice.
 
A little further along there were interpretive signs - "The Lake In Legend" - the story of the war between two gods, Llao, the Chief of the Below World and Skell, the Chief of the Upper World.
 
High snowbanks along and right down to the edge of the road greeted us as we drove into Cloudcap Overlook (El. 8,070 feet), the highest point on the Rim Drive. Here we had an excellent panoramic view of Applegate Peak, Dyar Rock and Garfield Peak as well as the formation in the lake known as Phantom Ship. Turning back we had a good view of Mount Scott (El. 8,926 feet), now the highest peak in the area but once looked down on by Mount Mazama, the eruption of which formed Crater Lake.
 
We spent some time at Pumice Castle Overlook watching the nutcrackers and trying unsuccessfully for a good picture. More breathtaking views awaited us at the Phantom Ship Overlook. The water appeared to be a lighter blue as we watched one of the tour boats circle Phantom Ship.
 
Upon leaving this overlook we immediately turned onto the road for the Pinnacles Overlook, 9.7 km (6.0) to the southeast. For some reason both LP and I had expected a hard climb to the pinnacle of one of the peaks! Instead the road, following a creek or what looked like a canyon in places, was descending, not climbing! The pinnacles are remnants of an ash flow - cemented pipes of ancient fumaroles, left standing after erosion has removed softer materials.
 
Back at Rim Drive we made a very sharp turn to drive almost parallel with the road to The Pinnacles but at a higher elevation. Skirting round 8,106 feet Dutton Cliff the road passed through a lovely forest and several waterfalls seemed to tumble out from among the trees. Vidae Falls was more out in the open and from here we had an extensive view to the south, overlooking the area through which we would be traveling later in the day. Along the next stretch of road many wild flowers were blooming, including a whole range of colours of lupines.
 
Soon after this we arrived at the Visitor Information Center where we paid our entry fee and collected maps. Then we went to the end of the road at the top of the hill - Crater Lake Lodge parking lot - 12:50 185.7 km (115.4). In the three hours and fifty minutes since North Junction where we commenced the Rim Drive we had covered sixty-four kilometers (39.8)! And quite easily we could have spent more time along the way!
 
We decided to have our lunch at the Rim Village Restaurant first as it had been a long time since breakfast, a bowl of cereal and a coffee in our room in Idleyld! After lunch we walked along the Sinnott Memorial Overlook to view the lake from the southwest, Also, whilst here, a thunderstorm and the accompanying dark clouds blew over the lake, and this was a sight in itself. Some of the crater walls were still in sunshine whilst other areas were in the shade of the clouds, and we could actually see rain falling on part of the lake. Looking out over the lake I was amused when I overheard a lady say, "There doesn't seem to be any ducks on the lake!" whereupon her husband, pointing to the tour boat on the lake 1,000 feet below, said, "There's one!"
 
We left the Rim Village at 2:40, drove back past the Information Center, then took the road to the South Entrance, linking up with OR-62 south to Klamath Falls. For a while we followed the course of Annie Creek, a canyon similar to that in which The Pinnacles are located.
 
More or less at the end of the descent from Crater Lake we travelled through a very wide valley between mountains, a vast expanse of green grass with cattle grazing. We pulled into Vanished Volcano Viewpoint from whence we could look across the valley to the peaks on the rim of the Crater Lake caldera. We drove through the cattle-raising district of Fort Klamath, which was the scene of much trouble between the Modoc Indians and white settlers in the 1870s and was an army post from 1863 to 1890.
 
Just after 3:30 we found ourselves back in civilization - a factory and lots of traffic - quite a shock to the system after the sublime Crater Lake experience and the isolated road we had traversed to get there! Then we saw our first gas station since filling up at Diamond Lake in the morning (although we learned that gasoline is available late May to November by the camper store near Mazama Village!)
 
At Modoc Point the road followed the shoreline of Upper Klamath Lake and both the road and the railway line to our right appeared to be built up on a causeway, whilst the green grass and crops to our left were lower than the road. I suspect the area was lake at one time, or at least marshland. On leaving the causeway the road went along a cliff which looked quite volcanic in nature.
 
We did not stop in Klamath Falls (pop. 17,000), though I read an interesting article


From AAA Tour Book
"A local phenomenon is a stratum of hot water underlying certain sections of the city. Piped through radiators and grids, the water is used to heat homes and offices and melt snow from sidewalks and steps".

From Klamath Falls we followed US-97 (to San Francisco!) and it was not long before we started to see sagebrush growing on the hillsides. We made a pit stop at an Oregon Welcome Center, after which we saw large flat fields, so flat they looked as if they had been rolled out, and irrigation channels with pumping stations at intervals. Driving southwest across Oregon National Grasslands, we saw a sign for Mount Shasta, which was directly in front of us but was barely visible through the clouds covering the peak.
 
At 4:33 306.2 km (190.3) we drove into California. There was a lot of sagebrush around and a steep climb which appeared to be an abrupt end to the flat fields. Then....over a rise, and we were surrounded by miles of flat fields with irrigation sprinklers. This was just before coming into the district of Butte Valley where I saw a sign for a Chamber of Commerce and thought that I might get some California information - there had been no Welcome Center when we crossed the border. We could not find the Chamber of Commerce in Dorris (El. 4,228 feet), but on the outer limits of the town, where we were stopped at a California Inspection Station and asked if we were bringing any fresh fruit or plants into California, we were handed a magazine "Golden State - Summer in California." This had some helpful maps in its.
 
Driving on, the land was so flat that 14,162 feet high Mount Shasta looked huge. It is huge! Pulling off to the side of the road, we discovered that the shoulder had rumble strips - rumble ... rumble ... rumble - a really excellent idea for any road. Passing the Butte Valley Airport, we continued to drive across the Butte Valley Grasslands" towards Mount Shasta. We pulled off the road, crossed a cattle grid and stopped by a dirt track through sagebrush for pictures of Mount Shasta.
 
Around MacDoel (El. 4,262 feet) there were acres and acres of farming and acres and acres of sprinklers. Leaving Butte Valley behind we reached an elevation of 5,000 feet and continued to climb to Mount Hebron Summit Pass (El. 5,202 feet). As we came over the summit there was Mount Shasta ahead, just so much higher than the surrounding countryside. Like Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta is over 14,000 feet, but appears quite different in that it is more out in the open.
 
We had a brief rest at Grass Lake Vista Point before we crossed Grass Lake Summit (5,101 feet), then dropped to 5,000 feet in half a kilometre (0.3). We descended another thousand feet in the next ten kilometers (6.2).
 
US-97 ended at Weed and we decided to take the freeway (I-5) for a while. This crossed Black Butte Summit (3,912 feet), dropped to 3,000 feet just before crossing the Sacramento River, then rose to 4,000 feet again. We drove through many cuttings where the soil was very red and pebbly, and between these we could see the red shoreline of Shasta Lake. Near the bridge over the lake there was a road closure gate. Just south of the lake the elevation was 1,000 feet and it was pretty obvious that we were leaving the mountains behind.
 
Ten kilometers (6.2) later we entered the city limits of Redding (pop. 66,500/El. 560 feet) and dropped further to 430 feet when we again crossed the Sacramento River. Oleanders were in bloom along the median and what a show they made! [For me, oleanders always summon up thoughts of Australia.]
 
Entering the city limit of Red Bluff (pop. 12,400/El. 304 feet) I remarked, "We really have come down in the world, haven't we?" Here we left I-5 just as the sun disappeared over the horizon to find lodgings for the night and to have dinner. Although we had started out the day on the wrong foot and vowed that we would not be so careless again, the remainder of the day proved to be one of the highlights of our trip.

Day 61: Thursday August 12 - Red Bluff, California to Sonora, California

1993_08_12.jpg

Yesterday had been a long and exciting day, and although we had hoped to be further south last night, we had not woken with the alarm this morning.

We left the Sportsman Lodge Motel in Red Bluff at 9:10 , taking CA-99 south and driving past grove after grove of walnut trees. This was to be a day vastly different from any other - new sights upon which to feast the eyes - peaches, white oleander boulevards, almonds, crepe myrtles (like those in Warwick, Queensland), and a big tree like we have in Australia - maybe silky oak!

Traveling slowly for roadwork, we had time to take in the surroundings. The oleanders and crepe myrtles were both in flower. The walnut trees reminded me of the big one we had at Upper Sturt and of French and Latin vocabulary - I used to sit high up in our walnut tree to learn these when in high school!

Although walnut groves predominated, there appeared to be more mixed farming both before and after Los Molinas (El. 216 feet). Besides the nuts and a variety of fruit trees, we also saw fields of vegetables (spinach) and some cattle. Then the area opened out into fairly flat grassland with very few trees.
Approaching Chico (pop. 40,100/El. 200 feet) CA-99 became a freeway, bypassing the city, and along the median there was a very high, beautiful flowering oleander hedge. Leaving the city limits the controlled-access freeway ended, but the road remained a double divided highway. We came into an area with grassy fields on both sides of the road, black rocks strewn all over them; some had been gathered and built into fences. From a distance they looked like a lava-type rock.
 
After this we saw a sign for California almonds and as the divided road ended, we drove through groves of almond trees. We still had 119.1 km (74.0) to go to Sacramento. I noticed a large irrigation channel full of water to our right whilst on the opposite side was a dam or maybe a larger main channel with a higher wall, and we came to a pumping station for controlling the flow of water into the channels.
 
We stopped for gas (10:35 - 10:45) - 105.9 km (65.8) in Gridley (El. 92 feet), a town which calls itself California's kiwi capital, and is twinned with Puke, New Zealand. Proceeding south, Sacramento now 98.2 km (61), we entered an extensive fruit-growing area with large cold-storage buildings. After passing through Live Oak (El. 70 feet) we saw avocados, kiwis and peaches. Then oleanders lined both sides of the road and were so heavily laden with flowers the air was full of their perfume.
 
Before reaching Huber City (El. 60 feet), the road divided again. We were still seeing walnut groves with embankments between the trees in squares, presumably so they could be flooded. I saw a sign for "Hock Farm", but did not know what this was.


According to the dictionary hock means:-

1 joint in the hind leg in some quadrupeds,

2 a light German white wine,

3 example - be in hock at the pawn shop!

We passed some huge packing sheds and trucks loaded with fruit crates. Nearby we stopped at a roadside stand where we bought fruit - four large peaches, four nectarines, four big apples of an unusual variety (sort of a cross between an apple and a pear - quite delicious) and two huge tomatoes, all for $4.00!
 
I just knew that we were getting further south when I spotted a bottlebrush at the side of the road with its distinctive red flowers looking like a bottle brush. We also saw fields of zucchini and cucumbers. The bridge over the Feather River was quite long because it also crossed wide river flats.
 
At the junction of CA-99 (our route) and CA-70 the road became a freeway and the countryside was very flat in all directions. Whilst LP and I were debating whether what we saw on the horizon were elevators or the buildings of Sacramento, a truck load of logs went by! I thought we had left logging country far behind us!
 
Crossing the Sacramento County Line we joined I-5 and at 12 noon 196.5 km (122.1) exited for Sacramento (pop. 369,400/El. 30 feet) - California's capital. We went to the Old Sacramento Information Center, then parked the car 197.9 km (123.0) - (12:24 ).
 
During the intervening 3 hours 20 minutes we first strolled through what was the commercial district during the gold rush, Old Sacramento on the east bank of the Sacramento River. Redeveloped with museums, shops and restaurants, the historical character of the area is preserved. Then we wended our way over to Capitol Mall.
 
This beautiful boulevard leads to the State Capitol, built 1860-1874. The dome 210 feet above the street was impressive. LP sat in the park, with its trees, shrubs and other plants from around the world, whilst I went inside. The Capitol warranted more time than I had, but one of the things which impressed me, was the individual display cases for every county within the State of California. Also a lit panel depicting all the Capitol buildings of all fifty states, plus Washington, D.C. caught my attention.
 
Returning along Capitol Mall, we stopped at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Wells Fargo Bank History Museum would have been worth a visit. Our reason for stopping, however, was to use the bank machine for some U.S. cash, and what a surprise I had at the end of the transaction. It was a complete transaction in that the slip showed my withdrawal, had done on the spot conversion to Canadian funds and gave me my Canadian balance - all within a matter of seconds!
 
Back in Old Sacramento, we had a late lunch at a restaurant in the Daily Union building, once the home of the Sacramento Union, "the west's oldest newspaper still in existence." From here LP wandered along Front Street and I spent some time at the riverfront. A tour boat was going down the river and the Sacramento Avenue Bridge had to open to let it pass. The entire bridge pivoted 90° on a central pylon.


I was just thinking about and wondering how we could spend more time here, when it occurred to me that by this time two weeks hence LP would already have had one day back at work! We had to press on! A question which I'm sure arises quite often with avid travelers is a difficult one to answer - "Is it better to see fewer places more thoroughly or more places less thoroughly?" I guess my vote goes to more places, because the more one sees the better flavor one has of the overall scene!

Having decided by now that we would visit Yosemite National Park before turning east, it was time to move on. We had two more things to do in Sacramento, one being to have the car serviced, and two, to find the start of US-50. I wondered if there would be a sign for this historic US highway similar to the one which Michael and I saw in Ocean City, Maryland, on April 22, 1992 - "US-50 Sacramento 4945.5 km (3,073)".
 
Leaving the city we returned to the freeway, I-5, followed the signs for CA-99, I-80 and US-50, all being the same road, and finally exited for US-50. There were no special signs! We had to exit the freeway and rejoin it in order to return to the city. We had no trouble getting onto CA-99 south and thence to a Jiffy Lube to have the car serviced. This done we were on our way and LP was responsible for some accurate navigating in order to get us from CA-99 to CA-49 via CA-16!!
 
When younger, with a whole lifetime ahead there was time to see places more thoroughly. Now I just want to see as much as I can, but in doing so I still want to enjoy what I see and retain the memories of each place without confusing one with the other!
 
Weeks later when I write my diary from the tapes recorded whilst en route, I can visualize each days trip and feel as if I am traveling it all over again.


It is now eight months since I finished writing my journal from the recorded tapes and nine months since arriving home from my trip. Sitting at the computer to type the account of my trip, I am finding that the trip is still just as vivid in my mind now as it was then. So vivid is it I am excited all over again.

My only problem is the use of tense - I am writing about things which happened several weeks ago (past tense), I am transposing information from a kilometre by kilometre live recording (present tense), and as I do so I feel as if I am experiencing everything now! If anyone ever reads this diary or record of my trip, I hope they understand what I'm saying and how I feel.
 
It was almost 5:30 280 km (174.0) when we left CA-99 to go into Elk Grove (El. 45 feet/temperature 93°). "Gum trees!" I exclaimed, "You can even smell the eucalyptus!" Gum trees, more than anything else, would be very high on my list of things I miss most about Australia and which hold the greatest nostalgia for me.
 
Just out of Elk Grove we turned onto a county road which passed by lots of farms and even a vineyard, all very prosperous looking. Turning onto Jackson Road, we were not sure if it was CA-16, the road we were looking for. We passed Slough-house (El. 110 feet) and Rancho Murietto (El. 160 feet) and finally, seeing a sign, we knew that we were on the right road. "Great navigating, LP."
 
After the junction with CA-49, we had a fifty-eight mile (93.3 km) drive into Sonora, our chosen destination for the day. The road wound through hilly country, very much like that between Mount Lofty and Strathalbyn, South Australia. The little town of Drytown looked quite old, tucked away down in a valley, with gum trees on top of the hills.
 
Amador City (El. 954 feet), old and clinging to the sides of steep hills, looked as if the whole town should be listed as heritage. The road was winding and narrow, so at the first opportunity I turned around, in the hope of finding somewhere to stop! We were able to do so near the hotel which is being restored and refurbished.
 
We continued through Sutter Creek (El. 1,198 feet) rising 252 feet in three kilometers (1.9). Then it was on to Vista Point, which overlooked Jackson. Stopping here we found a lot of information boards and plaques and realized that we were traveling through a very historic part of California. I talked to a young lady who had stopped by with her little boy. She told me that her grandfather, who was born in 1890, had come here in the Great Depression to work in the mine. He, along with many others, lived in tents.
 
After leaving Vista Point we immediately entered Jackson City Limit (pop. 3,500/El. 1,200 feet). The area was very hilly and the road descended to river level in a narrow valley then climbed again. Going on through Mokelumne Hill (El. 1,474 feet) there were many historic markers along the way, denoting mostly buildings or gulches, remains from the early days of mining through these hills and valleys.
 
We were still in mining country when we passed through San Andreas (pop. 2,150/El. 1,008 feet) and Angels Camp (pop. 2,400/El. 1,379 feet). Driving through the main street of the latter town it looked as if we were driving through a movie set for an old west film.


From AAA Tour Book
"Angels Camp inspired Mark Twain to write his famous short story `The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County', his first published success".

Near Carson Hill (pop. 47/El. 1,400 feet) an immense open-cut mine lay ahead of us - the whole hillside was being cut away. Huge rock cuttings lined the road as it approached a bridge, high above the water level, over New Melones Lake. Continuing on, the road, with steep grades, was both narrow and very winding. There were so many wayside historic markers, I would surmise that this road could tell many great stories. We could not have stopped to read them all even had we the time, because it was impossible to stop. There simply was nowhere on this narrow winding road to pull off!
 
Sonora (pop. 4,200/El. 1,796 feet) was first settled by miners from Sonora, Mexico and


From AAA Tour Book
"became one of the largest and wealthiest towns in the Mother Lode country....now relies on tourism, lumbering and agriculture"

We found accommodation at the Sonora Towne House Motel, unloaded the car, then went for a walk along the main street. We wanted to get a bit of exercise and buy a few supplies ready for the next day. We returned to our room to make some sandwiches as neither of us wanted a heavy meal before retiring for an early night.

Day 62 - Friday August 13 - Sonora, California to Reno, Nevada

1993_08_13.jpg

Today was to be an exciting day in that I had never dreamt that I would ever visit Yosemite National Park, and, at LP's suggestion, that was where we were headed. I believe that in his own quiet way, LP was finding the National Parks of America quite spectacular. I had flown over Yosemite several years earlier, having recognized the granite domes from pictures, and thought that would be the closest I would everget!

After a good night's sleep we woke early so made an early start, leaving the motel in Sonora by 7:15 ! It was only a short distance to Jamestown (pop. 2,200/El. 1,405 feet), where the names and buildings certainly reminded you of "the old west!"


From AAA Tour Book
"The first gold discovery in Tuolumne County was made near Jamestown in 1848. `Jimtown', as it was once called, has served as a backdrop for such movies as `High Noon' and `Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.' Several buildings in town date back to the 1870's".

Next came Chinese Camp (El. 1,261 feet), which I found interesting in that as we drove through the cuttings the ground made me think of Radium Hill (non-existent now, but a mine in the outback of South Australia where I worked for several weeks in 1953).
We stopped for a few minutes at a vista for Don Pedro Lake, and whilst waiting to re-enter the highway a logging truck carrying huge logs went by. Back on the road we immediately crossed the Don Pedro Dam and pulled into another vista overlooking the lake. Continuing on, going uphill along a winding road, we passed a lot of logging trucks going in the opposite direction.
 
At 8:05 we reached an elevation of 2,000 feet. We stopped a couple of times for pictures of the incredible road over which we were traveling. At the last stop we had already noticed a similar road to ours on the other side of the valley, the Flat Hatch Creek Road, going up from Moccasin. Our road was called Priest Grade, and we were also able to see parts of the Old Priest Grade, which joined us at Priest.
 
Turning off CA-49 onto CA-120, we drove through Big Oak Flat (pop. 200/El. 2,803 feet).


From AAA Tour Book
"Founded in 1850 by James Savage, who later discovered Yosemite Valley, Big Oak Flat was originally known as Savage Diggings. The name was later changed in deference to the large valley oak (11 feet in diameter) that stood in the Center of town....A few old stone and brick buildings are all that remain of the town's golden days".

We drove into pine forest after the marker for 3,000 feet (8.16) and prior to Groveland (pop. 400/El. 2,846 feet), where we stopped (8:21 ) for gas. The road became a narrow street through the old mining town. Now with many hotels and motels, Groveland, the jumping off point for whitewater raft trips on four different rivers, is only thirty-six kilometers (22.4) from the boundary of Yosemite National Park.
 
The road continued through Stanislaus National Forest, past a sign: "Watch for range cattle - 32.2 km (20)", then on to Buck Meadow (El. 3,000 feet) and thence to Vista View Point. From here we could see some rounded rocks, probably granite, on the opposite hillside. I was interested in the sign: "You are leaving Stanislaus National Forest - Rim of the World", but did not discover what was meant by this.


From AAA Tour Book
"Stanislaus National Forest...ranges in elevation from 1,100 feet to 11,570 feet... covers nearly 900,000 acres on western slopes of Sierra Nevada Range...outlines N.W. boundary of Yosemite National Park...the Merced, Mokelumne, Clavey, Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers cut deep canyons through this region".

On passing through two cuttings, I was surprised that they looked like sandstone and that sand came right down to the road's edge! We passed the 4,000 feet elevation 75.1 km (46.7), entered Yosemite National Park 79.4 km (49.3), were stopped in line at the entrance to pay fee ($5.00, except I had my Golden Eagle Pass), and picked up some literature at the Visitor Center before proceeding. At Crane Flat we reached an elevation of 6,192 feet 92.1 km (57.2), and in the next ten kilometers dropped to 5,000 feet. From Meadow Overlook, the road wound through forest, with granite cliffs coming right down to the road. Obviously a fire had swept through one area, the dead trees standing like sentinels.
 
It was an amazing drive going into the park as the road edged around granite cliffs and passed through several tunnels. Then, meeting the road from El Portal and Arch Rock Entrance, we turned east to Yosemite Village, following the fairly fast flowing Merced River. On crossing the river we proceeded along the two-lane, one-way Southside Drive, pausing at numerous points of interest. The first of these was sign about the meeting of President Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite in 1903. It became obvious that we would be stopping frequently at short intervals, so I decided not to record all the distances and times whilst on the 24.1 km (15.0) Yosemite Valley loop, but just to enjoy the beauty and grandeur surrounding us.
 
The magnitude was unbelievable, the more so because we were in a valley with towering cliffs rising above us. El Capitan, its summit 3,600 feet above the valley floor, looked much the same from one spot as from another 3.2 km (2) further down the road!
 
The valley was filled with large trees and often these formed a canopy over the road. Information boards, one about the geology of El Capitan and another about Black's Hotel, 1869, and early tourists to the area, were both very interesting. [I often wish that booklets were available with all the information given on these boards, as they usually present details not found elsewhere.]
 
Camp Curry, at the head of the valley, was an extremely busy place, with its large permanent tents on wooden foundations, bicycle rentals, food outlets, regular campgrounds and stables where horses could be hired for trail rides. I suspect that Yosemite is one of the busier National Parks because of its accessability from major population areas such as San Francisco!
 
Leaving Camp Curry we drove along Northside Drive for the return trip to complete the valley loop. We had to retrace our route back on Oak Creek Flat Road to within a short distance of Crane Flat, where we turned east 148 km (92.0) on Tioga Road, which crosses the park and the Sierra Nevada Range. By 153.5 km (95.4) we had climbed to 7,000 feet, where we paused at a pullout for an information board - Historic Tioga Road. The first Tioga Road, located a little to the north was built in 1883! Again, I was amazed at the variety of beautiful wild flowers - lupines, daisies, fireweed, asters, monkey flowers and others with which I was not familiar.
 
The road continued to climb to 8,000 feet 167.5 km (104.1) at which point we were 500 feet higher than El Capitan, which we had viewed from the valley floor. Near here we saw a mountain lake and there was a myriad of wild flowers alongside the road. Then we noticed patches of snow on the mountains ahead of us! Again we were stopping at intervals to view or photograph various points of interest. The Sierra Junipers were wonderful old trees growing out of the rocks and one could not help wonder how they survive. Beside the road and below the rock cliff were some very pretty red flowers (Hummingbird Trumpet or California Fuchsia).
 
A little further along, near Yosemite Creek Canyon, there were masses of purple daisies everywhere. We were surrounded by granite, a lot exposed in the valley and the hills or mountains appeared to be totally granite with junipers sparsely scattered over them. Then we noticed one of Yosemite's best known landmarks, Half Dome, and spent some time at Olmstead point. From here we had wonderful views of Tenaya Creek valley, towards Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome. Here, also one can view the large boulders strewn randomly on the landscape. Known as glacial erratics they were carried down from the Sierra crest and deposited here when the last ice sheet melted.
 
Olmstead Point was named after Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City's Central Park and first chairman (1864-66) of the Yosemite Park Commission.
 
Arriving at Tenaya Lake 198.8 km (123.5) we drove around the small parking area a couple of times trying to find a spot where we could stop. We were hungry and wanted to have our lunch, but this lake with its beach was a popular family attraction. Just when we thought that we would have to give up someone pulled out! We had a most pleasant sojourn here and after eating I walked down to the sandy beach.
 
The view was truly incredible and the drive amazing as we left the picnic ground, the road following the shoreline, and round, bald, granite mountains surrounding us. It was not long before we had stopped again, this time at Tuolumne Meadows (El. 8,600 feet). What a surprise to see a meadow at this elevation - quite flat and at the base of a completely bald, white-granite hill.
 
The countryside started to change, and although there remained a lot of granite rocks, the mountains were bald above the tree line, we started to see red in them. We reached Tioga Pass (9,945 feet) at 3:06 pm. 222.6 km (138.3), and immediately left Yosemite National Park via the East Entrance. Four kilometers (2.5) later we stopped briefly at the tree line near Ellery Lake (El. 9,538 feet), where there were snow patches on the mountains and the red rocks really started to show.
 
From Ellery Lake the road began a long, winding and steep descent, and even with gearing down, we still had to use the brakes a lot. We pulled up at several vantage points for views looking back towards Tioga Pass. In seven kilometers from Ellery Lake we dropped 1,538 feet and were still going down! Before reaching the T-junction where our route (CA-120) ended, and where we turned north on US-395 sagebrush reappeared.
 
We stopped by the roadside overlooking Mono Lake, where, even though it was a distant view, we could see some unusual formations at the water's edge....


From AAA Tour Book
"tufa spires and knobs formed of calcium carbonate that have been exposed as the lake's water level has dropped. Tufa, pumice and obsidian are protected by state and federal laws, and may not be collected or damaged".


From Webster's Dictionary
:tufa: soft porous rock (calcium carbonate) formed as a deposit around springs obsidian: dark coloured, usually black, hard vitreous lava, resembling glass, used as a gemstone"

Continuing to descend, we dropped to 7,000 feet at 256 kilometers (159.1), then in the next six kilometers (3.7) climbed again to Conway Summit at 8,138 feet, after which our progress was halted for a few minutes for roadwork. A bank of black clouds appeared ahead, then lightning and we drove into heavy rain. The black sky was to the west, blocking out the view of the mountains, whilst to the east there were white fluffy clouds. Ahead we had some grey and some blue sky, whilst behind, the sun was still shining on the mountains!
 
Coming into Bridgeport the elevation was 6,465 feet, and over the next thirteen kilometers (8.1) we ascended again to 7,000 feet. In another five kilometers (3.1) we reached Devil's Gate Summit (7,519 feet), after which we dropped back to 7,000 feet 308.3 km (188.8) and 6,000 feet 321.4 km (199.7). We were driving through a very rocky canyon with a fast-flowing stream at the side of the road. The trees were somewhat stunted through the deep canyon which was very narrow in parts.
 
The canyon opened out into a big bowl for Walker (El. 5,400 feet) and became a very wide and flat valley as we went through Coleville (El. 5,160 feet) and Topaz (El. 5,040 feet). Everything was so vast you could see clear blue sky, clouds, both fluffy white and heavy black, and an area where the rain was falling. The valley was very lush with lots of cattle and horses, and cottonwood trees began to appear along the roadside.
 
As we drove by Topaz Lake (5,050 feet), we crossed the California/Nevada border 351.3 km (218.3) (5:14) - it was raining again. We continued north after passing the turnoff for Las Vegas, traveling through Carson Valley, a fairly flat area surrounded by mountains. Near Minden (El. 4,720 feet) we discovered that the temperature was 82°F!
 
Then we drove into the capital of Nevada 405 km (251.7). - (5:55) - Carson City (pop. 40,400/El. 4,660 feet), named for Kit Carson when founded in 1858, and designated Nevada State Capital in 1864. I entered the Capitol from the rear, but it was too late to look around. A security guard asked me to leave but was kind enough to give me a leaflet about the Capitol.


From AAA Tour Book
"The original silver-domed Capitol, with later additions and restorations, is still in use. ...... Carson City lies along US-50, `the loneliest road in America', which was once part of the Pony Express Trail across central Nevada - the route consists of long stretches without roadside services and passes through such historic mining towns as Austin, Eureka and Ely".

We were seriously considering US-50 as our route for the next day to cross Nevada to Utah!
 
We had a long climb out of Carson City, and over the crest of another hill we entered a valley with flat fields and large herds of cattle, bare hills surrounding the whole valley. They were certainly bare to the east but those to the west, which looked more like mountains (east rim of Lake Tahoe) could have been forested. The hills did appear to be bare, but as we approached them (Washoe City - El. 5,111 feet) they were green with sagebrush. A roadside sign read:


"The man who drives half asleep
Is now buried six feet deep"

We reached the outskirts of Reno (pop. 133,900/El. 4,490 feet) at 6:50 (447 km - 277.8 niles) and were Downtown ten minutes later. There were no vacancies at the two large casinos at the south end of town, so we looked for the main casino area, eventually finding it and the reasonably priced, centrally-located Reno Royal Motor Lodge.
 
We showered and changed, then walked around the corner to the Eldorado Casino, where we had dinner and played, unsuccessfully, the slot machines until about 1:30 !!! Boy! Were we tired!

Day 63 - Saturday August 14 - Reno, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah

1993_08_14.jpg

Having gone to bed so late last night, or more correctly, early this morning, we had changed our minds about the alarm for an early start. I knew that Reno to Salt Lake City was a tall order, but doable, especially on I-80 across uninteresting Nevada!! What I did not know was that we would not take the interstate, and that Nevada was far from uninteresting.
 
We managed to get away from the motel before nine o'clock and in a matter of minutes were on I-80 East. With Reno about 10 kilometers (6.2) behind us we drove out of the valley and entered a rocky canyon, where the hills were bare except for sagebrush. Then at 28.0 km (17.4). I noted that the road looked to be the worst stretch I had ever seen anywhere for litter, mostly bottles, on both sides of the freeway.
 
The road appeared to be descending constantly, the hills becoming higher. All different colors were showing up in the rocks, both in the cutting made for the road and where there was erosion. It was gorgeous!
 
Shortly before 9:30 we left I-80 at Exit 46 to go into Fernley (El. 4,153 feet) and thence to Alt. US-50. As we crossed a flat stretch of pretty desolate looking country there looked to be a salt lake to the distant left (on the map - `Alkali Flat'). At Hazen (El. 4,004) there were three stores and a couple of trailers! The ground was very flat with dried lakes which looked like salt pans and reminded me of the area around Port Augusta in South Australia. After traveling 83.5 kilometers (51.9) (9:53 ) we came to the junction of US-50 from Carson City. Earlier, near Fernley, I had photographed a sign:
 
"Hwy. 50 - The Loneliest Road in America"
 
and already this was starting to mean something!
 
Needing gas, we stopped at the first gas station we saw after the sign for Fallon, thinking it might be another one horse town! However, five kilometers (3.1) further on we came to the heart of Fallon (pop. 6,400/El. 3,960 feet),...


From AAA Tour Book
"one of Nevada's largest farming districts, created from the barren desert through irrigation following the completion in 1914 of the Lahontan Dam on the Carson River"

We passed the junctionof US-95 to Las Vegas and just out of town saw irrigation channels and a large acreage of corn.
 
Then it was back to the salt pans and again I could not help but think of Port Augusta and the Flinders Range. We passed a sign for an archaeological area (Grimes Point - Hidden Cave and a petroglyph trail). Hills, rounded on top and rocks, of a reddish-brown color, were on one side of the road, dunes or sandhills on the other side and, in parts the road was built up above the salt flats. I noticed at one side of the road something like the pink algae along the road to the Coorong (South Australia).
 
There were also some really high sandhills to the north, whilst to the south there appeared to be some water with a large pile of salt near it, and we stopped briefly 137.8 km (85.6) - (10:45) for pictures of the sand dunes and the salt harvest. The dunes, named Sand Mountain, ...


From AAA Tour Book
"are composed of grains of sand that sometimes create a low moan as they shift, and are one of the few `singing mountains' in the country"

Going into the hills, we went up and over, only to go down the other side towards another salt pan, and another range of mountains, which appeared rockier than the previous ones. At 162.4 km (100.9) we went over the next rise and could see one.. two.. three more rows of hills in front of us, also our road stretching out across the plain towards the first row. On taking a closer look at the map we decided this pattern would continue across Nevada, crossing range after range of hills or mountains, running north-south, with wide desert troughs or basins in between!
 
We passed the turnoff for Fairview Peak Earthquake Faults 9.7 km - (6.0) to the south, and a little further along a white cross, with flowers on it, reminded me of the white crosses Anna and I had seen in Montana. At Middle Gate junction we noticed a windmill, sprinklers in operation, green fields and cattle, contrasting with multi-hued mountains and erosion along creek beds.
 
At LP's suggestion we turned around 180.4 km (112.1), backtracked for three kilometers (1.9) and turned off US-50 to take NV-722, a detour of just over ninety kilometers (55.9 niles)! Approaching the next range, there was a beautiful old house right at the corner as the road turned into a very rocky canyon. There was much tumble weed, both living and dead, as well as some beautiful white flowers. Eighteen kilometers later, the winding road, which became quite narrow as it climbed, reached Carroll Summit (El. 7,452 feet) where the trees, small pines and juniper, were very stunted. The descent, similar to coming up, was not quite as winding. Then we saw the first house we had seen since entering the canyon twenty three kilometers (14.3) earlier!
 
Leaving the hills behind we came out onto a broad, flat, bare plain, and after a while a big salt pan came into view. The area was very colorful, with the bright yellow flowers of the sagebrush in bloom. We passed another farmhouse or ranch with green fields and big wheels for irrigations pipes. On the east side of this desert valley the road turned NNE as it started to climb again and afforded a wonderful view of the salt lake back in the valley.
 
A sign at the side of the road read: "DUST HAZARD" and, although there were times when we could see dust blowing in various parts of the different valleys, we did not actually drive through dust ourselves. We were on a very straight stretch of road and could not see where it went. Teasing LP, I asked him if he had brought us on a dead-end road, because it sure looked like it!
 
Then before we turned into the hills and more or less were traveling west again, the road curved almost north following the eastern flank of the flat valley, but slightly elevated above it. After going over a crest we could see the next valley and a lot of dust blowing in the air, in the form of willi-willies. This broad valley seemed a little less sparsely populated, and there appeared to be some farming - cattle and a lot of sheep. Here, too, we encountered a unique sight, a police car going in the opposite direction. I could not recall having seen a trooper or policeman since leaving Sacramento!
 
We rejoined US-50 west of Austin (pop. 400/El. 6,575 feet) at 12:40 and, at the same time, left the valley to head over the next range. On the outskirts of the town we stopped by a historic sign overlooking some derelict mine workings.


From AAA Tour Book
"Popular legend says that Austin sprang up in 1862 after a Pony Express horse kicked over a rock that capped the mouth of a silver-laden cavern just west of the present townsite. Within two years Austin boasted a population of 10,000 as bullion poured from its 11 ore-reduction mills. By 1867, some 6,000 mining claims had been filed"

Also, from where we stopped, we noticed a large stone building on a hilltop and realized that it was ..


From AAA Tour Book
"Stokes' Castle, built in 1897 for Anson Phelps Stokes, an eastern financier who had considerable mining interests in the area. Built of hand-hewn granite slabs, the deserted three-storey replica of a Roman tower can be seen for miles in the desert".

Driving through town we continued to see old mine workings and the evidence of bygone mining days. We stopped for a view looking back over the town before the final climb to Austin Summit (El. 7,484 feet). As near as I could tell, we had crossed seven valleys, or basins as they are called, and seven ranges by the time we reached Austin Summit, the mid point across Nevada.
 
Descending eastward from Austin Summit, I laughed when I saw a sign for a National Forest in this land of sagebrush and salt pans! The west side of the hills were totally bare but we did start to see a lot of juniper on the eastern slopes. Actually Nevada's Toiyabe National Forest, which covers 3,861,166 acres all told, lies in different areas of the state.
 
We reached the bottom 288.2 km (179.1) only to ascend again almost immediately. We were having a day of real ups and downs!! (Or is it downs and ups!)
 
Next came Scotts Summit (El. 7,267 feet), and some crosses at the side of the road, followed by another broad plain before going back into hills and climbing to Hickison Summit (El. 6,564 feet). After this I thought the valley ahead of us must be at a much higher elevation because we had a long climb to the summit but did not descend very far at all and were looking almost straight out on a very wide valley.
 
Realizing that we had a very long day in front of us, Salt Lake City being our destination, LP decided to give me a spell for a while from driving. At this point we were about one third of the way there and had been on the road for 4¾ hours. By these calculations the day's trip would be about 14¼ hours and we could expect to reach Salt Lake around 11:15 provided we had no major stops!
 
Soon after this, however, we had a 25 minute lunch stop at a turnout with a picnic table, but no shelter from the sun, only a wonderful view across the plains to the mountain ranges. The so-called hills as I have been referring to them are really mountains, their peaks around 10,000 feet and higher. After lunch I resumed driving and as we approached the hills again there were cattle grazing. We passed the junction with Scenic Route NV-278 from the north, along which lies Garden Pass Summit (El. 8,686 feet).
 
As we came into Eureka (pop. 800/El. 6,837 feet), there must have been some sort of sale, fair or rodeo (quite possible since it was a Saturday) because there were lots of horses, horse trailers, carts, etcetera, just off the road.


From AAA Tour Book
"During the town's heyday in the 1870's, its lead-based economy and the attendant smelters led the town to be called the `Pittsburg of the West! The population, which at one point reached nearly 11,000, supported 100 saloons, several newspapers, hotels, an opera house, five fire companies and a brass band".

LP noticed the sign:
 
"The Loneliest Town on the Loneliest Road"
 
By now, it being almost 2:45, we decided to phone for a motel reservation in Salt Lake City, emphasizing the expected lateness of our arrival! Then we drove on through Eureka, noticing the historic Opera house and Courthouse building along the main street, and ten minutes later we reached Pinto Summit (El. 7,376 feet) - 397.6 km (247.1). A sign, "Your public lands managed by Ely District" seemed to indicate that a much of the area was public land. Looking north there was much dust in the air in the valley between here and the next summit, 6,517 feet Pancake Summit, which we reached at 425.8 km (264.6).
 
We made a short stop for a drink and filled our mugs with cold water, then we were off and up again, this time to Antelope Summit (7,433 feet) - 445.9 km (277.1). It was quite hilly coming down from this summit and at first there was not the same wide valley. Rather the road went through a canyon for about nine kilometers, before opening on another wide valley. Over the last few days we had seen signs for open range and to watch out for cattle, but now there was one to watch out for sheep. Then came Robinson Summit (7,607 feet) - 484.6 km (301.1) and a little further on we approached and passed a mining operation which I thought looked similar to Kennecott's Bingham Copper Mine in Utah.


From AAA Tour Book
"Kennecott Copper Corp.'s renowned Liberty Pit produced more than $550 million in copper, gold and silver deposits. Kennecott also operated the giant Ruth Pit, which produced from about 1905 to the late 1970s".

Upon arriving in Ely (pop. 4,800/El. 6,421 feet) US-50 combined with US-6 and US-93 to become Grand Army of the Republic Highway.


From AAA Tour Book
"Founded in 1868 as a silver-mining camp, Ely bloomed with the arrival of the Nevada Northern Railway, which chugged into town in 1906 bedecked with flags, bunting and sagebrush wreaths.....in late August the town pays tribute to the Old West with the celebration of Pony Express Days and Horse Race".

After Ely the road, now marked on the AAA map as a scenic route, cuts across a corner of the Shoshone Indian Reserve. We left the hills for yet another valley, after which we climbed to the highest summit for the day, Connor's Pass at 7,723 feet 547.6 km (340.3). From here we could see a mountain with snow on it! At Major's Place, only a name on the map(!) - one building with boarded- up windows, US-93 departs south for Las Vegas, and US-6 and US-50 continue east, heading across another valley and into another mountain range. We stopped for some pictures of the next range, which was quite impressive. You could see a road, which appeared to be our route, winding up into the hills for some distance, but when we got closer our road went around a corner and not up the one straight ahead Thank Goodness!
 
With interesting rock formations all along the road, we turned NE to skirt around the base of the mountains we had seen in front of us, before turning to go through the mountains, each peak with its own unique rock formation. We stopped for more pictures just after Sacramento Pass, (El. 7,154 feet) - 585.0 km (363.5). To the right we had really craggy mountains and were coming into some very unusual formations, rocks piled on top of rocks to make weird shapes.

1993_08_14a.jpg

At 5:32 601.0 km (373.4) we left US-50 and turned onto NV-487. We needed gas and hoped to get it in Baker; we had planned originally to fill up in Major's Place! We stopped at the general store in Baker (El. 5,318 feet) where we were able to get gas and purchase other liquid refreshments!
 
We left Baker 609.3 km (378.6) at 5:57 , and, instead of continuing our journey, decided to take Colt's advice to see Great Basin National Park. From Baker we took NV-488, a nine-kilometer (5.6) drive to the Visitor Center at elevation 6,825 feet. The Center was closed but a ranger who was just leaving gave us the National Park newspaper and a map. Whilst here I phoned our friend, Colt, and left a message on his answering machine about our late arrival in Salt Lake City!! Also we moved things around in the car to squeeze in a couple of young people who needed a ride back to their campground!
 
The following is a synopsis of our climb to the Trailhead for the hike to Wheeler Peak (13,063 feet):
 
Feet Km (Miles) Description
6,825618.2 (384.1)Visitor Center
7,000621.0 (385.9)
7,500622.9 (387.1) stopped for about three minutes at the campground to drop off the two young people
8,000625.4 (388.6)
8,500627.5 (389.9)
9,000629.5 (391.2)
9,500632.0 (392.7)
10,000636.9 (395.8)Trailhead parking lot
 
The road actually ended at a campground a kilometre (0.6) beyond the Trailhead. We made a lot of stops on our way down for views, looking both up to the mountains and out onto the plains. It was unfortunate that we could not have been here an hour earlier (have to put the blame on our late night in Reno!), because, as we descended, the setting sun was already creating long shadows over the landscape.
 
We returned to NV-487, (now 7:45 - a 1 hour 48 minute major interlude!), drove north for a short distance, then were able to take a short cut across to US-50 and soon 675.6 km (419.8) - (7:56 ) crossed the State Line - "Welcome to Utah". We also crossed into a new time zone, changing to Mountain Time from Pacific Time and in the process lost an hour! No wonder it was so dark - our new time was 8:56 !
 
After leaving Baker we had traveled across another broad valley, so when we started to climb we realized that we were going through the range of mountains we had viewed form Great Basin National Park. Reaching the summit there was no sign for the name or elevation (probably Skull Rock Pass, 5,675 feet), just a sign for the 8% down grade. There were sheep at the side of the road and I had to brake suddenly for a deer darting in front of the car. Although dark you could tell that the road was winding through a canyon.
 
When lights appeared, spread out before us, we assumed we were out of the mountains. We were on a long straight road, it being a long time before we reached the lights. There were just a few street lights, then we plunged back into blackness, until reaching Delta, where we would say "Farewell" to US-50 (until maybe later in our trip).
 
We came onto an extra wide, brightly lit street, probably the main street of Delta. I thought the street so wide, there was room for a football field on it! We branched off on US-6 to Salt Lake City, still 225.3 km (140.0) away! We decided that a slightly longer route may be a faster one, so in preference to staying on US-6 we turned onto UT-132 for a 48.3 km (30 mile) drive to Nephi where we could meet up with the interstate.
 
We joined I-15 north in Nephi at 11:30 pm. 895.7 km (556.6) and drove non-stop into Salt Lake City, arriving at the motel, Royal Executive Motor Inn at 12:56 am! At such a late hour I was really glad that I knew from my visit the previous year (1992) where to go in Salt Lake and that I-15 would take me almost there.
 
[12:56 am M.S.T. = 11:56 pm P.S.T. I had calculated that with no major stops we could reach Salt Lake City by 11:15 pm - not bad considering we stopped for lunch (½ hour) and visited Great Basin National park (1¾ hours)! Also when we had been on the road for 4¾ hours we were about ⅓ of the way. Therefore the whole trip should have taken approximately 14¼ hours. Our actual time was 15 hours 3 minutes!!]

Day 64 - Sunday August 15 - Salt Lake City, Utah

1993_08_15.jpg

Having arrived so late the night before we intended to sleep in this morning, but were woken about 7:30 , however, by the phone. It was Colt calling to say he was tied up with a family matter until around noon, when he would meet us at the motel.
 
Unable to go back to sleep, I showered, and by the time LP was up and ready for breakfast, I had tidied the room, which was a mess after our having just dumped everything the night before!
 
After eating we walked along North Temple to Temple Square where we listened to a guide talk about the Tabernacle and we were able to go into the building. LP had been resisting going there, but once he was inside and heard the choir which was practising after the broadcast), he became interested and decided he would like to attend the organ concert later in the day.
 
We returned to the motel to meet Colt, who was obviously held up longer than he had anticipated. So I stayed behind and LP went back to the concert. When Colt eventually showed up he and I walked over to Temple Square to meet LP at the conclusion of the concert.
 
It was mid-afternoon by this time and we were all ready for a meal. I wanted to eat at Dee's Restaurant, between Temple Square and the motel, because I fancied having a taco salad, having enjoyed these at Dee's a couple of times with Alice the previous summer (1992). Following lunch, we returned to the motel and made final decisions on what we would do for the remainder of the day. I was really excited about being back in Salt Lake and Colt was truly happy to see LP.
 
Since it was already rather late in the day, Colt suggested we still had time to see Kennecott's Bingham Copper mine, where we spent over an hour. The open-cut did not look much different from last time, even though much ore would have been removed in the intervening year - the "hole" is just so big!
 
We watched the movie and as we looked around the display in the Visitor Center, LP and Colt discussed Alice's accident. LP was convinced that Alice should have sued Kennecott for their negligence - bright yellow paint is prominent along steps and ledges now, but last year there was NO paint. He almost went into hysterics when the attendant at the Visitor Center asked after Alice!
 
I had spoken to her and commented about being there last year when my cousin had fallen. I had made no mention of her name nor any of the circumstances surrounding the accident, and her immediate response was, "And, how IS Mrs. Smith? Say `Hello' to her for me." You could have blown me away with a feather! It would seem that Alice is known at the mine as `Mrs. Smith, who did not sue'!!
 
After leaving the mine Colt directed us on a back route, UT-111, due north to see the Great Salt Lake, and, along the way, we stopped for me to take some pictures of the superb view from a hill overlooking the valley and the mountains.
 
Upon arriving at the Great Salt Lake, I left LP and Colt at the car whilst I walked around and through Salt Air, the building which had been closed for some years after being badly damaged by storms. When here last year the whole area had been roped off.
 
After spending about half an hour at Salt Air we returned to the city and went to "This is the Place" monument in the hope of watching the sunset. However, we were here a few weeks too early to do this, in that the monument is located in a State Park, which closes its gates at 8:00 At that time a ranger shows up to tell anyone in the park that they must leave NOW! Although unable to stay for the sunset, we did have a few minutes to look at the monument which commands a wonderful view over the valley, the view Brigham Young had when he said, "This is the place."
 
Driving through the University of Utah campus to Red Butte Canyon we continued to look for a good vantage point for viewing the sunset. Finally giving up on this quest, we decided it was time for dinner and asked Colt to suggest a restaurant.
 
He took us to Ruth's Diner up Immigration Canyon, a restaurant which had started out as a "diner" in an old railway carriage. So popular a place has it become that there was a line-up and we had at least a half hour wait. During this time we had a drink in the beer garden, after which we got a table for dinner on the patio under the trees. It certainly had a delightful atmosphere, but the evening turned out to be rather chilly and we had to get our coats from the car. We returned to the motel for a reasonably early night, having arranged to see Colt again the next day.

Day 65 - Monday August 16 - Salt Lake City, Utah

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We had been on the road for a week, so I needed to take advantage of the motel's laundry facilities. While LP slept in, I got the washing under way and walked to the corner store for milk. I managed to get all the laundry done before Colt arrived and before LP went to the noon organ recital at the Tabernacle.
 
Colt had a couple of errands to run, so I went with him in his car. Afterwards we went to the Utah Tourist Information in the Old City Council Hall, an historic building opposite the Capitol, and to the City Information Center. Our next stop was the garden in front of the Beehive House, once the home of Brigham Young, in the hope of seeing some humming birds like there were last year. I wanted to try to catch them on film with my video camera!
 
On our way to meet LP at Temple Square, we walked through the main floor of what was until 1987 the grand and luxurious Hotel Utah, now open to the public; the upper floors have been converted to office space for the Church of Latter Day Saints.
 
Back at the motel it was decided we would get subway sandwiches at the corner and bring them back to the room to eat. Another decision was that some reservations should be made for at least the first three nights out of Salt Lake City as we would be traveling in some isolated areas, which were also top tourist areas! With all this business out of the way, and having had our lunch, we could then relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
 
We went for a drive to show LP some of the beautiful area around Salt Lake City, all of which I had seen previously, but which I enjoyed equally as much as I did the first time.
 
Leaving the city we drove up Immigration Canyon, past Ruth's Diner, over Little Mountain Summit to UT-65, over to I-80 through Parley's Canyon and back to the city - a pretty impressive drive. We then found our way onto I-215, and thence to UT-210, which goes up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird, Alta and Albion Basin.
 
We parked at Snowbird and took the aerial tram to Hidden Peak (El. 11,000 feet), returning to the bottom twenty minutes later on the same tram. There were more wild flowers blooming than last year and we had the good fortune to see a large mountain goat. The tram operator, Matt, who was the same one I had gone up the mountain with last year, suggested we should go to Albion Basin to see the wild flowers. LP also suggested that Matt might like to see what I do with my albums, but we would have to return for this and the flowers next morning!
 
Back in the city, Colt had to leave right away for a business meeting, but wanted to have supper with us later in the evening. LP and I drove to Smith's Supermarket, where we were able to do some banking, bought some supplies for our lunches, also more film, and extra tapes since I was no longer writing up each day's recording as we went along, having decided to do this after arriving home! We also tried to find a liquor store, but without success!
 
When Colt returned we went to the Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant in the restored Rio Grande railroad station. After dinner we went up State Street for pictures of the Capitol at night, and over to Main Street, looking down on the floodlit Temple. Then we went back to the motel as it was time to call it a day. Our stay in Salt Lake City was just far too short.

Day 66 - Tuesday August 17 - Salt Lake City, Utah to Torrey, Utah

1993_08_17.jpg Intending to return to Little Cottonwood Canyon to see the wildflowers in Albion Basin, we took our time getting up and under way, leaving the motel shortly before nine o'clock. It was a fifty minute drive to Snowbird where we waited to see Matt. He enjoyed looking at the section in my album on Snowbird and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

After this we continued up the canyon through Alta (pop. 397/El. 8,650 feet), which became a...


From AAA Tour Book
"mining town of 5,000 people when silver was discovered in 1865...had six breweries, 26 saloons and more than one hundred killings in the first few years. The 1873 devaluation of silver put an end to Alta's heyday, and the town languished until the first ski lodge was built in 1940".


Now Alta is


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"most famous for its wildflowers, skiing, summer hiking and mountain biking".

Two kilometers (1.2) beyond Alta the road into Albion Basin was gravel so we turned around after about three kilometers (1.9). Besides, we had gone far enough to see and take some pictures of all the beautiful wildflowers, and it was high time we were on our way if we were to make it to Torrey, where we had our first booking!
 
At the foot of the canyon we turned onto UT-209 W, stopped at Smith's for fresh rolls and bread, also got directions for a liquor store a few blocks away, and finally entered the interstate, I-15 at 12:40 83.4 km (51.8); the temperature was 75° F. We only drove on the freeway for fifty-eight kilometers when we exited for US-6 (one of the routes which coincided with US-50 on our way to Salt Lake City from Nevada) and US-89, near Spanish Fork (pop. 11,300/El. 4,580 feet)...


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"When Father Escalante with Father Dominguez passed through this area in 1776, he recorded in his diary the valley was the fairest of all New Spain. In 1850, Mormon pioneers settled the area".

We stayed withUS-89 when highways US-6 and US-89 split, US-6 going southeast and US-89 south.
 
Gradually the reds and yellows of the rocks and soil started to show through the trees on the hillsides. I noticed an unusual and interesting fence, the posts being all different shapes and sizes of tree branches used just as they came.
 
After driving through Fairview (pop. 960/El. 6,000 feet) - founded in 1859, we stopped briefly in Mount Pleasant (pop. 2,094/El. 5,924),


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"originally called Hambleton...settled mainly by Danes in 1859...Chief Blackhawk signed a peace treaty in what is now the Old Pioneer Museum".

From here I took a picture of what looked like a cirque (a circular recess confined by steep mountain walls, in the mountains ahead, which were part of the Wasatch Plateau. After Ephraim (pop. 3,030/El. 5,500 feet) - settled 1854 - and a short distance before Manti there were some large stockyards with lots of cattle in them.
 
Becoming too late to wait for lunch until Sigurd, where I had thought we might stop in the same park Alice and I had eaten the previous year, we decided, instead, to take a break in Manti (pop. 2,300/El. 5,530 feet),


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"named after a place in the `Book of Mormon'...settled in 1849 and incorporated in 1851, one of Utah's first incorporated towns...most famous for `Mormon Miracle Pageant' performed on Manti Temple grounds each July".

We noticed a picnic table in a small park just below the Manti Temple, and after lunch I walked to another nearby park where there was a beautiful statue of Moroni, the Mormon prophet who appeared to the 17-year old Joseph Smith.
 
Continuing on we went through Sterling (pop. 280/El. 5,500 feet) - settled 1881,


from Utah 1993 travel guide
"now known for nearby Palisade Lake State Park"

and Gunnison (pop. 1,300/El. 5,200 feet),


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"called Hogs Wallow when settled 1860...later named for Captain John W. Gunnison, who had written a book favourable to the Mormons and in 1853 was killed by Indians near Sevier Lake".

Our next stop was for gas in Salina (pop. 1,943/El. 5,147 feet) -


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"settled on October 17, 1863, Salina (Spanish for salt) has nearby salt deposits and mining operations".

Here we renewed our acquaintance with US-50, but only for a very short distance west. Like Stu, I would love to take US-50 right across America, and even more so now after the sections we have already driven.
 
From US-50 we turned onto UT-24, a route which would take us into the heart of Utah's color country, and we had not gone very far before we paused for some pictures. There was one peak which LP thought looked like the one at the beginning of Paramount Pictures! We passed Alice's and my picnic lunch spot on the way into Sigurd (pop. 383/El. 5,220 feet) - settled in 1873 by Mormon pioneers - and on the other side of town we saw the large operation of the Georgia-Pacific Gypsum Company.
 
We observed hundreds, maybe thousands, of cattle throughout the valley in the area of the Koosharem Reservoir, along the edge of which were a number of camper vans. "Koosharem" (pop. 183/El. 7,000 feet),


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"meaning red clover in an Indian language, is near the site of a large treaty conference of local settlers and Indians in 1873".

Leaving Koosharem the road climbed for about 16.1 km (10.0) to Summit (El. 8,406 feet) and going over the crest we were afforded a wonderful view of the country that lay ahead and all the amazing colors of reds, yellows and many shades in between.
 
Although we had seen a lot of cattle I was still surprised to find a cheese factory in the type of terrain through which we were traveling, but there it was, the Chappell Cheese Company, and an outlet store! I bought a pepper cream cheese, some Long-horn cheddar and cheese curd, called Squeaky Cheese, all of which we enjoyed very much. Then it was on through Loa (pop. 530/El. 7,000 feet) -


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"settled in the 1870's...named after the Mauna Loa Volcano by a former Mormon missionary to Hawaii"

and Lyman (pop. 235/El. 7,200 feet) - established 1895, and


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"named after LDS Apostle Francis Lyman who advised the people to move their town to a higher elevation near a spring"

and more fence posts with a lot of `character'! I commented on the fact that the sign boards as you enter California towns announce their population and elevation, those in Nevada give the elevation, and now here in Utah the date when founded!
 
Stopping at the General Store in Bicknell, we finally found a place which stocked ginger ale, apparently not a popular drink in these parts! Ginger ale was the mix I needed to go with my brandy. Bicknell (pop. 340/El. 7,200 feet)


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"settled 1875... was first called Thurber Town until Thomas Bicknell donated a library in 1916."

It was only a twelve-kilometer (7.5) drive from Bicknell to Torrey, but we pulled over to the side of the road several times for pictures of the red cliffs. We drove to the eastern side of Torrey (pop. 140/El. 6,800 feet) arriving at our motel, the Wonderland Inn, at 6:35 (415 kilometers (257.9) since the motel in Salt Lake City).
 
We unpacked the car, had a drink, then decided to go for a drive down Scenic Byway-12. I knew there was a terrific view looking over part of Capitol Reef National Park, which we would be visiting the next day. We paused along the way to quietly watch a deer at the side of the road.
 
Larb Hollow National Forest Scenic Overlook was as far as we went before turning around to go back to the motel, so I don't think we actually reached the summit (El. 9,200 feet). We did have a great view, however, and on the return drive saw the sign for elevation 8,000 feet. Neither of us felt like having a restaurant meal, so we made sandwiches in our room.
 
The day had been most enjoyable and here we were in `Red Rock Country', ready to explore some of Utah's five National Parks, which was for me a truly exciting prospect. I had already visited two of them, Zion and Bryce, the previous year.
 
I had no idea what LP's reaction would be, but suspected he would be bored and spending a lot of time in the car reading his book on Richard Wagner! I know it takes all sorts to make a world, but this land, this area of Utah, which contains some of the world's most spectacular geological formations, is so magnificent on such a grand scale, one has to be impressed by it. I still had to discover whether LP would be impressed or whether he would remain impervious to such grandeur!

Day 67 - Wednesday August 18 - Torrey, Utah to Monticello, Utah

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The car packed for departure, I went to the office to check out, then returned for my camera as a couple of shots had caught my eye! It was a glorious morning, although probably going to be rather hot, but I was sure the scenery would be breathtaking.
 
We left the Wonderland Inn at 8:40 , but in less than five kilometers (3.1) we pulled into both the Best Western motel (on the north side of the road) and the Stagecoach Inn (on the south side) to look at and photograph the coloured cliffs which looked magnificent in the morning light.
 
The entrance to Capitol Reef National Park was only seven kilometers (4.3) from our motel and no sooner were we within the park boundary than we were stopping at the various points of interest, so much so that in my excitement my recording was somewhat intermittent! Therefore the chronological order of my pictures (and I took lots!) tell the story of this day better than my words!
 
We made brief stops at "Twin Rocks", the view of "Shifting Rocks" and "Chimney Rock", and at the latter I walked up the trail for a short distance. Next we pulled into "Panorama Point" with its view west to Boulder Mountain, and where exposed rocks revealed their glaciation marks. Beyond Panorama Point a gravel road took us to the area called "Goosenecks", where Sulphur Creek winds through a canyon, 800 feet below the rim. LP and I both walked along the trail to the brink of the canyon.
 
There were two further points of interest, the "Fluted Wall" and the story of "Buried Climates" before we finally reached the Visitor Center, having been on the road for 1¾ hours and covered all of 19½ km (12.1)!! At this rate the day was going to be a long one!! I obtained a map at the Visitor Center and we decided to do the 40.2 km (25) round trip along the Scenic Drive.
 
On setting out from here we observed a mother deer with two fawns grazing among the tables in the picnic grounds, and after this, we picked up a leaflet which described the geology of the area at different vantage points along the way. We did not think the numbers were well marked and hoped to find more of them on the return drive.
 
Reaching the end of the paved road LP said, "You're not going to drive on any gravel roads, are you?" to which I replied, "No", but I also said that I did intend to hike along the road to see what was around the corner! I set off, leaving LP in the car with his reading!
 
I really enjoyed the walk because it gave me the chance to look first hand at the surroundings, the rocks, the dry creek bed and the vegetation. As I walked I told myself, "Just to the next bend, then I will turn around!" I had done this two or three times when I heard a horn behind me - it was LP, driving on the gravel road! He pulled ahead to a safe place where there was room for him to stop to pick me up
 
No wonder LP came looking for me! Fifty-five minutes had elapsed since I had left him and I had walked two kilometers (1.2)! Having come thus far we mutually decided that we should go to the end of the road. Two trails leave from there, one starting at elevation 5,400 feet and rising to the "Golden Throne" at 6,500 feet, the other which goes into Capitol Reef Gorge and which was at one time the only road through the area!
 
By the time we arrived back at the paved road it was already almost 1:30 p.m and our total mileage for the day to this point was 39.4 km (24.5). LP commented, "We are on the verge of a new record - five hours out from the motel and covered forty-two kilometers (26.1)!" [He was referring to the day we drove from the Gold Coast in Queensland when we managed to drive 85 kilometers (52.8) by three o'clock in the afternoon.]
 
We spent a very peaceful half hour at Doctor Inglesby Picnic Grove having lunch in the shade of some large old cottonwood trees and within earshot of a babbling creek. Nearby we looked at what may have been Fruita's oldest orchard and I picked a few grapes, which though small were very sweet, from a rambling vine.


From CAPITOL REEF Official Map and Guide
"By 1917, the tiny Mormon community of Fruita was bustling on the banks of the Fremont River. With skilful irrigation of the good soil of the valley, Fruita became well known for its productive orchards and the quality of its fruit. Flooding sometimes occurred but the town was spared any serious destruction. After Capitol Reef National Monument (later to become Capitol Reef National Park) was set aside in 1937, the farmers and their families gradually moved away. The heritage of these pioneers is preserved in an old log schoolhouse, where socials, dances, and church meetings were once held, and in other structures scattered around the still-thriving historic orchards and fields of Fruita."

We stopped at the Visitor Center to pick up some extra maps and from here immediately turned onto UT-24 East 2:43 - 52.1 km (32.4). We drove through an area of steep cliffs capped by yellow domes, similar to those we were able to see from Scenic Rte.-12 the night before - maybe Capitol Dome and/or Navajo Knobs. Again there was much to look at and we could have made numerous stops - battlement type cliffs that looked like grey ash, a steep descent after going over a summit, and crossing the Fremont River. At one point the road was going along a straight stretch, fairly flat on both sides, but I thought the surrounding `wasteland' was just unbelievable country.
 
It was 64 kilometers (39.8) from the Visitor Center to Hanksville where we left UT-24 and turned onto the Bicentennial Highway, UT-95, which took us south on the east side of the Henry Mountains (including the 11,506 feet high Mount Ellen). At North Wash the road went through a canyon where there was a pulloff near a small stream. The footbridge over it led to a trail from which to view a number of geological features.
 
At Hite Overlook we had an excellent view of the Colorado and the waters of Lake Powell. We could see the bridge over which we would be driving, the rugged country on the other side of Lake Powell, the boat-launching ramp at Hite Marina and we watched a school of fish in the water, probably bass, for which Lake Powell is renowned.


From AAA Tour Book
"186-mile-long Lake Powell, which is created by Glen Canyon Dam...one of the highest in the United States...second largest reservoir in North America...has about 2,000 miles of sandstone shoreline...reaching hidden canyons, sandy coves and inlets and winding through red cliffs."

Going on our way again we went through a deep cutting which took us down the side of a cliff into the valley, winding around as we descended. Suddenly there it was -the road and the view I had determined to see this trip, the view on the front cover of the 1993 AAA Road Atlas - "Utah Bicentennial Highway Route 95 along Lake Powell!"
 
The road actually crossed two bridges, the first one over Dirty Devil River, which we had not seen or noticed from any viewpoint, the second one over the Colorado River. Winding up the hill after crossing the Colorado River we paused to take pictures of some of the rock formations. After Cheese Box Butte the country tended to flatten out somewhat and we seemed to get into an area with more juniper trees, also pinion pine - an area which could almost be called a forest!
 
We turned onto UT-275 to Natural Bridges, but when we reached the Visitor Center at the entrance to the National Monument we discovered that in order to see the bridges we would have to travel along a nine-mile (14.5 km), one-way road which was under repair. We decided it was too late in the day for this so did an about turn. Besides we had also seen rain falling from two separate rain clouds!
 
At 7:06 275.5 km (171.2) we passed the junction of UT-95 with UT-261 south and with that, according to the AAA map, went all the dots denoting the road as a scenic route! "I guess we wont have anything to look at for the rest of the way!"..... "Did I say nothing to look at?"
 
There were red cliffs still and out to the northeast there were all kinds of hills and canyons in the distance. We also saw a balanced rock and could not help wonder how long it would remain in such a precarious position. We started down a steep grade and could see for miles, an almost 180° view, and straight ahead of us in the distance as we traveled east were snow-capped mountains, possibly in Colorado. Later, as we approached a long wall of rock, we caught a glimpse of where the road passes through it, a huge cutting which surely was man-made! After about six kilometers (3.7) we turned into the cutting and could see the drill holes for blasting. At the end of the cutting the road went into another canyon. The back side of the wall (red cliffs) up which we had just driven, slopes away from the crest of the cliff, is yellow in color and looks as if it has all sorts of swirling water marks on it.
 
Out in the middle of nowhere we came to a speed limit, 40 mph, then 30 mph for no apparent reason! But the reason became evident as we went around a bend - the road, a particularly steep climb, was used by recreation vehicles from Lake Powell.
 
Our little car did not think much of such a steep hill, but we caught up to a house trailer, followed by a van and boat trailer being followed by a car with its hazard lights flashing, all going at a snail's pace. So we had to go at a snail's pace, too! "Mind you," I said to LP, "maybe we would have to anyway!" Then there was a clear stretch and I passed them all at 25 mph, on double lines going uphill!! - quite daring!
 
After this we came to the end of UT-95, turned onto US-191 north and soon drove through Blanding (pop. 3,800/El. 6,000 feet).


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"Albert R. Lyman and his family settled Blanding on April 2, 1905."


From AAA Tour Book
"Originally a trading Center for the surrounding stock ranches, Blanding was settled in 1905 as result of an irrigation project that still waters abundant crops of hay and grain. Several trading posts in Blanding deal in Indian arts and crafts...Beginning just southwest of town is the 100-mile loop known as the Trail of the Ancients, along which can be seen many remnants of the Anasazi Indian culture that flourished A.D. 300-1300."

The town had a paved median, two lanes in each direction, plus a turning lane in the middle - it was so wide you could hardly see from one side to the other! Leaving the town we seemed to be back in sunflower country, and after crossing a dam wall we started to see much bigger pine trees.
 
An absolutely beautiful sky was developing with many different shades of pinks, purples, blues, yellows and peaches. The colors faded quickly, however, as we drove into Monticello (pop. 2,000/El. 7,069 feet) we were unable to find a suitable place from which to take any pictures.


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"Settled in 1888, this green, pleasant town reminded some settlers of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home, Monticello. (In Utah it's pronounced Monti'sello')".

This was also our destination for the night so we looked for the Navajo Trail Motel where we had a booking.

Day 68 - Thursday August 19 - Monticello, Utah to Moab, Utah

1993_08_19.jpg



This morning we left Monticello at 8:50 , traveling north on US-191, an unknown range of mountains due east from us (maybe in Colorado), and ahead the La Sal Mountains with pockets of snow. Crops were growing around Monticello, and beyond these we went into hilly, canyon-type country again.

After photographing the formation "Church Rock" we turned west onto UT- 211, the Scenic Byway to "Newspaper Rock" and "The Needles" area of Canyonlands National Park. Sunflowers were growing right to the edge of the road on both sides and to the southwest we had another range of mountains, the Abajo (Blue) Mountains.

A steep decline took us into a canyon where huge rocks hung right over the road. This was about 500 feet before Newspaper Rock in Indian Creek Canyon. Newspaper Rock is a State Park embracing campground, picnic area and a large cliff mural of ancient Indian petroglyphs (etched) and pictographs (painted). We spent ¾ hour here looking at the Indian drawings and talking to David McDonald, an artist who was selling his rock art, pottery and T-shirts and from whom I bought a piece of rock art for a souvenir.

From here we continued on through a canyon into Canyonlands National Park. The rocks were quite rounded, much more so than any we had seen previously. Then the canyon which was open range country, widened considerably and cattle were grazing on the land below us. The landscape became completely different with meadows, trees growing along a creek, a dam, signs of farming, great rounded promontories of vertical pillars with domed tops as well as all kinds of unusual formations. We passed a very green valley with large irrigation sprinklers on wheels and two huge haystacks.
 
We noticed just how red the soil had become and as we came around a bend in the road, we ran into some light rain, which turned into a heavy shower. We had seen rain falling from about ten kilometers (6.2) back, but after driving through it, we had blue skies ahead. In parts some of the soil looked quite sandy, rather like sand dunes with sagebrush growing on top of them.
 
At 72.5 km (45.0) we crossed the park boundary and four kilometers (2.5) later spent ten minutes at Canyonlands Visitor Center. The building, made of local stone, was so in keeping with the surroundings, it blended well into the landscape. My Golden Eagle Pass admitted us without paying the $4.00 park entry fee!
 
Our first stop was at the "Wooden Shoe Arch" Overlook, where besides the distant view of the arch on the horizon, there were samples with explanations of both the White and Red Sandstones.
 
Next we planned to go to Elephant Hill, but changed our minds when we found we had to drive on a rough road, because we knew that we would not be able to see everything even by staying on the surfaced roads! Instead we did a loop through the campground and picnic area. Here the rocks were like giant mushrooms and the picnic tables were located under them granting some shelter from the sun.
 
Not far from here was fascinating "Pothole Point", where LP and I spent ¾ hour strolling along the circular trail over the slickrock. A series of small rock cairns marked the trail past the depressions called "potholes", these having formed in the Cedar Mesa sandstone as uneven erosion took place.
 
Because we were here during the dry summer season the pothole life was dormant below the cracked mud. On the other hand I found the pothole gardens interesting, especially the "cryptobiotic soil", a living community of simple plants, [algae, fungi, lichens and moss] and cyanobacteria. A sign at the start of the trail informs visitors about the cryptobiotic soil, which is slow growing and very fragile. If trampled on it would take many years for it to regenerate.
 
Another thirty-five minutes slipped away at Big Spring Canyon at the end of the road 89.2 km (55.4), where I went along the trail over the rim and far enough down into the canyon to see where the spring was located.
 
Retracing our `outward bound' route, we paused for twenty-five minutes at "Roadside Ruin", an Indian granary where corn, seeds and nuts would have been stored. A short trail takes visitors past a variety of plants used by the Indians and described in leaflets available at the beginning of the trail.
 
We made a brief stop at the Visitor Center before leaving the park and returning to Newspaper Rock where we had a picnic lunch.
 
Then, back on a fairly straight stretch in open country I wanted to take a picture of a lone windmill. As I walked towards it I could hear animals making strange sounds and realized it was the `barking' of prairie dogs warning each other of my intrusion. Not being as used to seeing humans as those at Devil's Tower in Wyoming or the ones at the Prairie Homestead in South Dakota, these prairie dogs were quite timid and it was difficult to find them and even harder to point them out to LP.
 
By the time we turned back onto US-191 we had driven 154.6 kilometers (96.1), were only 21.1 kilometers (13.1) north of Monticello, from whence we had set out in the morning, and now had 64 kilometers (39.8) to drive to Moab!
 
We noticed red cliffs with arch shapes appearing on them and we thought the partial erosion could be the beginnings of arches! We stopped for a few minutes at Wilson Arch, the first real arch we saw, that is apart from Wooden Shoe Arch which we had viewed from a distance. However, we did not make the steep climb up to the arch.
 
On pulling into "Hole 'N The Rock" we felt it was going to be one of those commercial tourist attractions, so decided to go on. Actually it may have been quite an interesting place to visit, because, reading about it later, I learned that a 5,000 square foot home had been excavated from solid stone by Albert and Gladys Christensen!
 
Continuing on, the rocks at the top of the ridge to our left looked similar to a lot of beehives all bunched together - domes all packed tightly. The road followed the base of a wall, then descended a hill into Moab (pop. 4,150/El. 4,000 feet).


From Utah 1993 travel guide
"Mormon missionaries established the Elk Mountain Mission here in 1855. Moab was named after an isolated area in the Bible."

Surrounded by red cliffs itlooked like a very green basin with lots of trees.
 
As we entered the town a streak of lightning looked as if it were touching the very top of the cliffs. We had no trouble finding the Prospector Lodge, the motel at which we had a booking. We unpacked the car, relaxed for a while, but thought it too early to quit for the day! We decided to go for a drive!
 
We crossed the Colorado River north of town and drove into Arches National Park, even though we knew we would be returning the next day. It was a really weird landscape, high cliffs with dark orange sand dunes at their base, other huge towering cliffs standing alone and the La Sal Mountains silhouetted against the eastern sky. I was at a loss for words trying to describe the scenery!
 
Returning to town we went to the grocery store for provisions for supper that night and for meals the following day. We were back at the motel before seven o'clock and an early night made it easier for an early start the following morning.
 
Although we had driven only 266 kilometers (165.3) for the whole day, we had seen a wide variety of fantastic country, including some amazing formations.

Day 69 - Friday August 20 - Moab, Utah

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When the motel office opened at 8:00 we procured ice for the cooler and refilled our coffee mugs. Then we were on our way for a day of adventure, having chosen to stay in Moab for an extra night! After crossing the Colorado River we called in at the River Tour office to enquire about the evening cruise. Not wanting to commit ourselves, however, in case we found better things to do during the day and could not get back in time, we decided against making any bookings! It was almost as if I had a premonition that something would prevent us from being there! But, more of this later.
 
Traveling north on US-191 we climbed from the river valley and at the top of the hill, we had red cliffs, the reddest I thought we had seen to date, to our left whilst there was a plateau to the right. In actual fact the road had followed the Moab fault line.
 
Seventeen and a half kilometers (10.3) from town we turned west onto UT-313 to Dead Horse Point, a State Park, and the northern section of Canyonlands National Park, known as "Island In The Sky". There was a mixture of blue sky and clouds, some white and some black, and we were getting a few spots of rain.
 
The road wound round considerably and after driving through a steep cutting, traveling east we went round an almost 360° turn so we were going west on top of the cliff up which we had just driven! After this we were driving on what appeared to be a plateau without any sign of cliffs or unusual formations. After about six kilometers (3.7), however, distant views made you aware that you were still in Canyonlands. Heavier rain fell and we were disappointed that it was so overcast, but it was also interesting to have a view over such a broad expanse of land and be able to see individual rain showers.
 
Canyonlands National Park covers a vast area and contains three distinct regions, each with its own point of entry, "The Needles" district, where we were yesterday, "The Maze"


From Canyonlands Official Map and Guide
"The Maze country west of the Colorado and Green Rivers is Canyonlands at its wildest. It ranks as one of the most remote and inaccessible sections in the United States. There is the Maze itself, a perplexing jumble of canyons that has been describes as a "30 square mile puzzle in sandstone." Beyond are the weirdly shaped towers, walls, buttes, and mesas of the Land of Standing Rocks, Ernies Country, The Doll House and the Fins. People come to this wilderness of broken rock, little water, and stunted junipers and find intangible resources hard to find elsewhere: solitude, silence, and challenges demanding self-reliance. The 600-foot descent to the bottom of the Maze is a plunge into the heart of this country. Until the park was created few individuals had explored these canyons".

an isolated area reached from the west by 4-wheel drive vehicles, and "Island In The Sky". It was this latter area we were visiting today and we crossed the park boundary 48.0 kilometers (29.8) from Moab. Three and a half kilometers (2.2) later we reached the Visitor Center, where we spent ¾ hour, having arrived in time to listen to Mary Beth, a Geologist/Ranger, give an informative and interesting talk about the area.
 
Continuing on from here we approached "The Neck", a narrow neck of land which connects the "island", a high, broad mesa (6,000-6,500 feet El.), to the "mainland", and crossing "The Neck" (El. 5,800 feet) big canyons can be seen in either direction. Once on the "island" the road traverses a great plateau. We drove first to Upheaval Dome, the terminus of one arm of the road, but to see this feature required a 30-45 minute trail hike. We could not do this because we wanted to be at Grand View Point by 11:00 to hear the ranger talk about the geology of this fantastic area. Besides it had started to rain quite heavily.
 
On the return drive we made a short detour to Green River Overlook (El. 6,000 feet). To reach this point took longer than we anticipated as the road was a corrugated dirt one and deteriorated making progress slow. We were six minutes late arriving at Grand View Point, but the ranger had been held up and arrived at the same time! The view was a grand one indeed, and a number of people gathered around for the talk. We learned that the incredible view overlooked a hundred miles of canyons between here and the horizon. Part of the White Rim Trail, a 100-mile (160.9 km) 4-wheel drive route, could be seen on the White Rim Bench 1,200 feet below. The rivers, Colorado and Green, are another 1,000 feet below that.
 
Then disaster struck! LP was setting up the video on the tripod and I had changed the regular lens on my other camera for the telephoto lens. The camera would not work! I exchanged lenses and tried again - still no luck!
 
There was nothing for it but to return to Moab and try to find a camera shop. On the return journey it occurred to me that just maybe all I needed was a new battery. I could not remember when I bought the last one and between all the trips last year (Texas, Florida, and Utah) and Florida and the current trip this year my camera had been doing overtime!
 
In all the turmoil and upset of having to return to Moab, no thought was given to keeping records, other than we arrived back in town at 1:08 160.9 km (100.0). We bought a new battery, found a bank machine for some cash and purchased gas.
 
LP suggested that we visit Arches National Park at this point in time and return to "Island In The Sky" for sunset. There was just so much to see and it was truly unfortunate to have lost this precious time - but we could think of worse places for such to have happened, such as Windy Ridge at Mount St. Helens or at Crater Lake!
 
Two kilometers (1.2) after entering Arches we stopped at the Moab Fault Viewpoint, from which we could see an excellent example of a fault line. Over the next thirteen kilometers (8.1) we made several stops to view various formations. I walked a short distance along Park Avenue trail, and should have (but did not) take advantage of LP's offer to meet me in the Courthouse Towers area at the other end of the (1.6 km) one-mile trail
 
From this area, Courthouse Towers, we viewed the formation "Three Gossips" and the "birth and death of an arch", namely where a new arch was beginning and the remains of what was once an arch. The next stop was to look out across ancient or Petrified Dunes, these being sand dunes which had hardened into sandstone. Then came Balanced Rock (El. 5,000 feet), a feature which just did not seem possible - a rock so large, balanced in such a precarious position!
 
Near here we paused for lunch and managed to find a picnic table where one end was sheltered from the heat of the sun in the shade of a juniper. Shade trees were few and far between. After lunch we did the 8-kilometer (5.0) return drive to The Windows Section and back to Balanced Rock. If my camera battery had not died I may have been able to hike to at least one of the arches in this area, but having lost so much time we opted to see only what could be viewed from the car or wayside stops for the most part.
 
On returning to Balanced Rock, we then drove the fourteen kilometers (8.7) across Salt Valley to the Devils Garden, at the end of the paved road. LP stayed in the car, but I wanted to experience walking among the fins. These narrow rock fins formed when parallel fractures in the Estrada Sandstone weathered and widened. In between two of the fins there was a big pile of red sand and at the base of another one was dried cracked mud, but also some soft mud with animal tracks through it.
 
I told LP that I would only be gone for ten minutes, though I am sure he had his doubts after the experience at Capitol Reef, and with good reason! I enjoyed the walk so much and kept going in one direction for over that length of time! As it happened my favorite picture of the entire trip would have been missed if I had turned back sooner!
 
On the drive back from Devils Garden we turned off the main road to go to Delicate Arch Viewpoint. We walked up the trail from the parking lot onto a ridge of rock from where we could look across a valley to the most famous of arches, Delicate Arch. Ascending the rock ridge it was possible to view Delicate Arch against the sky. Although we were some distance from the arch I was surprised at its size, which could be judged by the size of the people who had hiked to it and looked like ants! It was also in this area that I observed parallel crevices in the sandstone, the beginnings of erosion which eventually would form fins.
 
Before leaving Arches National Park we tarried at the Visitor Center (5:50 - 6:06) because LP wanted to talk to the ranger and ask some questions about the construction of the road into the park. You would not know this road, constructed in 1958, was even there unless you happened to notice the tops of cars creeping along the cliff face! President Hoover had declared Arches a National Monument in 1927 and it was not until 1971 that it was designated a National Park.
 
By now it was later than we had expected it would be when we left Arches, but we were determined to go ahead with our plan to return to Canyonlands. Soon after turning off US-191 onto UT-313 dark clouds appeared and looking towards the La Sal Mountains, we saw a beautiful rainbow.
 
Realizing that it would be dark when we came back from Grand View Point, we made several stops on the way out, first at the viewpoint opposite the Visitor Center and again at "The Neck" Overlook. LP also dropped me off by "The Neck" so I could walk across it and take pictures of the canyons north and south of the road.
 
Then it was full steam ahead to Grand View Point, where other people were gathering with their cameras. We took pictures from two different lookouts before heading back to town. We saw a deer with large antlers beside the road, but it was too dark for any pictures. Back on US-191 we could see car lights in the sky! Actually they were from cars on the road on the cliff face in Arches!.
 
It was almost 9:30 when we arrived back at the motel, a longer day than we had anticipated, but it would have been longer had we gone on the boat tour on the Colorado River. In spite of the extra mileage and the loss of time it had been awondrous day.

Day 70 - Saturday August 21 - Moab, Utah to Pueblo, Colorado

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Today was the beginning of the end! After six fabulous days in Utah our vacation time was drawing to a close and we had to turn the horses for home! I was even more enraptured with the parks of Utah than before and very pleased that LP had not been bored by it all. In fact he was amazed by the vastness of this area and seemed more impressed with it than he had been by the Grand Canyon years ago!
 
I noticed some crepe myrtles, like those in Warwick, Queensland, in flower as we drove from the motel to the Visitor Center before leaving Moab. I bought two books on John Wesley Powell, the great explorer of the Green and Colorado Rivers, one in "The Story Behind The Scenery" series and the other "In The Footsteps Of John Wesley Powell". The latter book, `an album of comparative photographs of the Green and Colorado Rivers, 1871-72 and 1968' had been referred to by the ranger at Canyonlands during one of the talks we heard.
 
Before truly getting under way I made one further stop on the outskirts of town, this time for a couple of pictures of the Colorado River, the water of which was quite red. By 8:40 we headed north on US-191, continuing to enjoy the scenery as we did so. We had a wonderful view looking towards Arches National Park and could recognize the formations of the Devils Garden, to which we had driven yesterday. We wondered what the green/blue of soil or rocks was - a similar colour to that of the copper roofs in Ottawa - we had seen it when driving in Arches and now here again near the highway! We were driving along a fairly flat valley between Arches and the hills to the left, which were low buttresses of a yellowish color.
 
Still driving on flat land, we approached high eroded cliffs, which we had actually been able to see for miles but could not tell how far away they were. Then LP pointed out the vehicles traveling on the interstate ahead of us. At 9:16 50.0 kms. (31.1) we joined I-70 which runs along the foot of the cliffs.
 
It was our intention today not to linger along the way too much, but to drive as far as possible, but this did not prevent me from using the tape recorder to keep a record of all there was to see en route. Therefore part of this day's journal will be more like a synopsis of my recording, the numbers referring to the distance in kilometers (miles) from Moab! 58.9 (36.9): I-70 started to wind around through barren hills; 70.0 (43.5): we crossed some flat land and could see for miles - mountains, rugged cliffs, and barren hills; 90.8 (90.8): first sighting of an oil pump; 93.3 (58.0): another pump, and in the distance canyonland-type country on both sides of road; 113.0 (70.2) the cliffs to the north still running parallel with us and there was a sign, "Bookcliff Area"; 122.0 (75.8): mountain range ahead of us, and a little further on a sign - "Denver 288 miles".
 
We crossed the state line into Colorado at 128.3 km (79.7), leaving Utah behind, but we both determined that we would have to return again someday! I thought it interesting that almost immediately after crossing the state line we found ourselves in some rocky, hilly country. 141.0 (87.6): `canyonlands' to the north appear to run into a mountain range; 148.0 (92.0): there looked to be a number of farms and dwellings to the north; exits for Loma and Rangely; 152.3 (152.3): oil refinery on our left and the Colorado River on the right; 154.6 (96.1): crossed the Colorado River and approached exit for US-6. The river at this point was wide and full to the brink.
 
I wondered if this was the same US-6 we had traveled on in Nevada and Utah. According to the AAA Atlas US-6 seems to join I-70, leave it in Colorado for a short distance, then becomes a part of the same interstate again through Denver and from there follows I-76. Obviously there had been a system of US highways criss-crossing the country prior to the construction of the interstates.
 
At 168.1 km (104.5). we left I-70 to return to the last town, Fruita (El. 4,498 feet), where we stopped (10:34 - 10:48 ) at the Colorado Welcome Center. This was one of the most pleasant welcome Centers I have been in. The ladies manning the place were both very pleasant and most helpful and they made one feel good about visiting their state. There was also complimentary coffee for travelers.
 
We were back on I-70 by 179.5 km (111.5) and for a while had canyon cliffs on both sides of the road but not right up to the road. 188.4 (117.1): having had enough of freeway driving, we left I-70 at Grand Junction for US-50, the route we had used for the most part across Nevada. 190.6 (118.4): there were a few spots of rain, which quickly developed into a heavy shower. In fact the rain became so heavy I could barely see, even with the wipers at top speed. I pulled over and stopped for a few minutes until it lightened. What a mixture! - there was blue sky, sun shining and this heavy rain. The shower was very much like the kind Mary Beth, the geologist/ranger at Canyonlands, had described in her talk at Grand View Point - a downpour of short duration. Although we did not know it at the time, this was to be the pattern of the weather throughout the day, blue skies, sunshine, white clouds, black clouds, drizzle, heavy showers and sudden downpours!
 
We had to take US-6 E through Grand Junction (pop. 29,000/El. 4,591 feet) to get to US-50. The city was named for the junction of two rivers, the Grand, as the Colorado used to be called, and the Gunnison. 197.5 (122.7) (11:05 ): on US-50 east to Delta; 198.6:(123.4) crossed the Colorado River.
 
The road was going up and down, descending into coulees and out again, as it crossed fairly deep rolling country, devoid of trees. 235.0 (146.0): we had a mountain range to the north, canyon country to the south, and we were going through some deep cuttings. Cornfields appeared to go right up to the canyons, and we saw a chicken farm, also large haystacks, all of which indicated the land was fertile here.
 
In Delta (pop. 3,800/El. 4,970 feet) we replenished our lunch supplies at a superstore (259.9 kms.), and driving through the town we noticed a few rather interesting murals on some of the buildings. 271.5: we passed the Louisiana Pacific Company plant (possibly a paper mill?) with lots of logs (maybe aspen). I was intrigued by the name because we had seen a similar name, linking an eastern state with the Pacific, in Utah, the Georgia Pacific Gypsum Company!! We had seen many cornfields whilst driving through this valley and at 277.0 (172.1), passing Olathe, there were large plants or factories and a sign: "Home of Rocky Mountain Sweet Corn." About this time we also noticed that the air was becoming quite chilly, and it was raining again! I thought that already there must have been a downpour because there was so much water on the road you could feel it as you drove through it.
 
We bought gas 292.2 (181.6) in Montrose (pop. 8,900/El. 5,820 feet); 305.8 (190.0): left US-50 to enquire about the road to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument. In spite of the weather I was determined to see this park, reached by SR-347.
 
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, covering 20,800 acres,


From AAA Tour Book
"contains 12 miles of the deepest portion of the Gunnison River gorge. Some of Earth's oldest base rocks have been cut by the river to a depth of 2,700 feet. The top of the canyon narrows to about 1,100 feet, but down by the river the canyon narrows in places to about 40 feet".

As we proceeded up SR-347 we saw an unusual road sign, one I don't remember having seen before, a lying down S...; 314.1 (195.2): end of SR-347 at the park boundary. By the time we reached Jones Summit (El. 8,266 feet) we had risen 2,446 feet in 22 kilometers (13.7)! We paused briefly at Tomichi Point, but the clouds were so low they hid most of the view. It was still drizzling when we arrived at Chasm View, but at least I was able to see the canyon and the river below.
 
By 324.9 (201.9) we were at "Sunset View", the clouds had drifted away and we were in sunshine. Here we appreciated the opportunity to relax and have our picnic lunch under clear blue skies. A small bird, a Green-tailed Towhee, darted in and out of the bushes (low scrub oaks) and chipmunks were obviously used to human visitors. After a very pleasant forty-minute sojourn we continued to High Point (El. 8,289 feet) at the end of the South Rim road 326.2 (202.7).
 
After a few pictures we were ready to go on our way, but stopped again at Sunset View for more pictures. By this time the storm clouds were gathering again! It was as if they had parted for my benefit, and LP teased me a lot about my determination to have a picnic in a storm! We also stopped once more at Tomichi Point, where we could see the canyon momentarily. 336.1 (208.8): as we left the National Monument the sun was shining over the area, whereas it had been completely shrouded in cloud on our way up (one of the reasons why LP teased me for hoping to have a picnic in the park!). However, dark clouds moved in quickly and by the time I had recorded my comments about the sunshine it had started to drizzle!
 
346.7 (215.4) (3:18 ): back at US-50; sign: "CERRO Summit in 4 miles"; since we were climbing, I assumed we would continue to climb for the next four miles; 357.1 (221.9) (3:28 ): Cerro Summit (El. 7,958 feet), followed by a long descent through rocky mountains; 3:34 : Cimarron; 372.5 (231.5): "Blue Mesa Summit - 4 miles" and another climb, the speed limit being exactly what I was doing! Our car would not go any faster! US-50 is an unbelievable highway and it really was too bad that we were driving this historic route in such adverse weather conditions. 379.2 (235.6) the summit, followed by a rocky canyon as we went down again! 386.0 (239.8): another summit. We were certainly traveling in a mountainous region, just a gorgeous area and I bemoaned the fact that again the sky was dark with heavy clouds overhead. 396.1 (246.1): crossed Blue Mesa Lake on the Gunnison River; 397.6 (247.1): Sapinero; 402.8 (250.3): crossed Blue Mesa Lake again and were back in rain, just when we thought we were going to drive into sunshine!
 
Blue Mesa Lake floods many different canyons and is quite extensive, a fact which was evident when we kept crossing various sections even after we thought that we had seen the last of it! 420.5 (261.3): entered Gunnison River Canyon with the lake extending into the canyon and the road following its shoreline; 425.5 (264.4): finally the lake ended and we travelled along the river through a green valley with more mountains in front of us. Somewhere in this vicinity is the confluence of Taylor River and Tomichi Creek which together become the Gunnison River.
 
We reached Gunnison (pop. 4,600/El. 7,703 feet) at 4:31 and I realized we were driving in a valley which is higher than the summit of Mount Kosiusko, Australia's highest point! Black clouds were looming overhead when we stopped 437.0 (271.5) at McDonalds (4:36 - 4:49) to get our coffee mugs filled, and I had to run through pelting rain to return to the car. I wondered if we were trying to get ahead of the storm which kept following us! 478.3 (297.2): coming into a conifer forest.
 
Then at 489.0 (303.9) US-50 started the long climb to its highest point; 491.1 (305.2) (5:28 ): "Monarch Pass Summit - 11.3 (7)"; 12 minutes and 11.4 kilometers (7.1) later 502.5 (312.2) (5:40) we reached the summit, elevation 11,846 feet. I still find it hard to believe that I have driven a car to such a height! We had just crossed The Great Divide and had a descent of 6% grade for the next 16.1 (10). We would be leaving the mountains behind and LP passed the comment, "almost finished the tourist stuff!!"
 
526.5 (327.2): Poncha Springs (El. 7,469 feet); 534.7 (332.2) (6:09): "Welcome to Salida" (pop. 4,700/El. 7,036 feet) - judging from the description in the AAA Tour Book Salida could have been a good choice for spending the night, but we wanted to press on. It was here that we met the Arkansas River, which has its headwaters many miles to the north.
 
At 541.7 (336.6) (6:15 ) we entered Big Horn Sheep Canyon - saw two deer at the side of the road; 546.2 (339.4): Wellsville; 570.1 (354.2): the canyon continues - it was very narrow with high rocky cliffs with barely enough room for the two-way road (US-50), the Arkansas River and a railway line, all having passage through the canyon.
 
572.6 (355.8): Cotopasci - we seemed to be following the same canyon downhill, down, down, constantly, and the small towns or settlements had developed where it widened out every now and again. 577.6 (358.9): rocky mounds or hills covered in large rounded rocks; 586.2 (364.2): Texas Creek; 587.3 (364.9): back into the canyon - LP remarked, "These canyons are geologically like Snowbird and different from those we saw in Canyonlands - different kind of rock, the newer morphic, whereas all the others were sedimentary." We went through a very long stretch of canyon, the road winding back and forth and we still had the three R's - road, river and railway!
 
608.0 (377.8): we left Big Horn Sheep Canyon [66.3 kilometers (41.2) and 1 hour 8 minutes from where we had entered it]; sign - "Royal Gorge South Rim exit in ½ mile"; 609.3 (378.6): we thought we would go round the Royal Gorge South Rim, but on reaching the South Gate we found it closed at 7:00 , so had to return to US-50; 609.7 (378.8): we crossed the Arkansas River and climbed out of the valley to a summit; 624.5 (388.0): Cañon City (pop. 12,700/El. 5,332 feet)


From AAA Tour Book
"at the head of the Arkansas Valley, where the Arkansas River bursts from its canyon confines to begin a 1,900-mile, open-country run to the Mississippi".

After leaving Cañon City we were on a roller-coaster road, going through bare hills and leaving the mountains further behind us.
 
656.0 (407.6): the land, ranch-type country, was now considerably flatter, though still rolling slightly. There were virtually no trees, other than those near a house, that was, if you could see a house! The mountains were a dark blue silhouette against the western sky. We could see a few dark figures of cattle off to the left as we crossed the prairie, which looked very similar to Alberta after coming out of The Rockies. Putting things in perspective we had just come out of the US Rockies.
 
669.6 (416.1): the outskirts of Pueblo; 681.0 (423.2) (8:02 ): Pueblo (El. 4,695 feet/pop. 98,600 -it had been a while since we had been in such a populated area!). We had some trouble finding a motel with a vacancy. When we drove past the Rambler Motel it was showing `NO VACANCY' but passing it as we came back along the same street the sign had changed to `VACANCY'. They were releasing a reserved room, and we were the lucky ones! We discovered that it was the opening day for the Colorado State Fair held annually in Pueblo! We unpacked and settled into our room, then walked next door to a steakhouse where we had a terrific steak dinner, a great end to a most interesting day.

Day 71 - Sunday August 22 - Pueblo, Colorado to Lake Quivira, Kansas

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Having gone to bed early and had a good night's sleep we did not mind rising with the alarm this morning. After breakfast we packed the car and left the Rambler National 9 Motel by 7:07 We were on the interstate, I-25, within three minutes, and driving north we had mountains much closer to the prairie than those through which we had traveled the previous day. I-25 traversed low rolling hills and by the time we had gone 32 (19.9) we were much closer to the mountains.
 
41.1 (25.5): Fountain City (El. 5,546 feet); 46.8 (29.1): heading due north the mountains were to the west of us, but by 51.0 (31.7) we also had some straight ahead of us, although not as high as those to the west. As we approached Colorado Springs, narrow-leafed yuccas covered the hillsides. 57.9 (36.0):Colorado Springs City Limit (pop. 281,100/metro pop. 389,900/El. 6,012 feet) - there were mountains on two sides, north and west, of the city.
 
When we left I-25 63.7 (39.6) - (7:47) to take US-24 East, it seemed strange being back in a city with tree-lined streets after all the rugged terrain through which we had travelled during the past week. The temperature was 64°F. 70.0 (43.5) (approximately): sign for Limon - 71 miles, which also meant we were on the eastern outskirts of Colorado Springs. Now, driving east, the mountains were definitely behind us and we were starting the long haul across the prairies!
 
80.5 (50.0 ): I was excited to see some antelope and hoped we would see more closer to the road, but these were the only ones I was to see, although I did not know it at the time. Wild flowers alongside the road included lupines and lots of yuccas, which had been in flower when Anna and I travelled west two months earlier, but now there were only the seed pods.
 
Passing through Falcon, we drove NNE on a very red road with a torn-up railway track to the side; there were many ranches, lots of cattle and a few hawks or falcons flying around. 104.1 (64.7): Peyton - had you blinked you would have missed both Falcon and Peyton! 119.3 (74.1): Calhan (El. 6,057 feet). After all these years I still find it hard to believe that when driving across such flat or gently rolling country you are at such a high elevation! Also in this area I noticed that in addition to snow fences dirt has been heaped along in rows to act as a further break against blowing snow.
 
We continued to go through a number of small towns; 134.7 (83.7): Ramah (El. 6,094 feet) - lots of cattle around; 142.1 (88.3): Simla; 152.5 (94.8): Matheson; 168.0 (104.4): saw a number of hawks, also water lying in the fields, and I could not help wondering what this meant! 178.7 (111.0) (9:12 - 9:25 ): Limon (pop. 1,800/El. 5,360 feet) - we stopped here for gas.
 
LP was to share the driving from here on as we intended to be traveling on interstates for the most part. Hence he was the driver upon leaving Limon. Except for one short stint in Nevada, I had done all the driving since LP's arrival in Vancouver! 179.5 (111.5) (9:26): we left US-24 for I-70, and with Kansas City 838.5 (521) ahead we had a long drive in front of us!
 
Although out on the prairie, flat countryside all around us, I continued to keep copious "notes" on the tape, because I find that all my notations keep alive my memory of all the various areas we pass through, whether they be areas of scenic wonder or areas where people choose to settle and make a living. Twenty minutes after joining the interstate we passed Arriba (El. 5,228 feet), and ten minutes later Flagler, where there were large grain elevators, the only feature to break the skyline when approaching a town. Otherwise there were only the odd clump of trees indicating a homestead, and of course, there are the telephone poles which stretch endlessly across the landscape!
 
There were more big elevators at Seibert and near here we again saw water in the low-lying areas of fields! Also near here repairs were being made to the road and we were diverted into a single lane at a slower speed on the westbound section of the highway; 272.6 (169.4): Stratton - end of roadwork and we returned to our side of the road; there were huge, cultivated fields of sunflowers, all facing the sun. These confirmed that what I had seen earlier were indeed sunflowers. Besides these, cattle and a lot of corn, we saw other crops, too, but I was not familiar with them and could not recognize them all; 10:37 - exit for Burlington (pop. 3,400/El. 4,165 feet) - the elevators here sported a sign: "HAPPINESS IS A BIG CROCK OF BEANS", which made me think that beans were harvested in this area.
 
321.3 (199.6) (10:47) - "WELCOME TO KANSAS" and as we crossed the state line there was a sign: "One Kansas farmer feeds ninety-two people plus you." A few minutes later we left the highway for the Kansas Welcome Center and LP wondered if I would get a Kansas Kup of Koffee!! 333.6 (207.3) (10:56 - 11:15) - at the Welcome Center I learned that I-70 is named the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway. Not only was Eisenhower a native of Kansas, but he is also known as the "Father of the Interstate Highway System." Before going on our way again, I phoned a friend Dora and left a message on her answering machine that we were heading in their direction!
 
340.5 (211.6): exit for Caruso - big elevators, but of a different style from those in Colorado; 346.9 (215.6): Goodland (pop. 5,000/El. 3,687 feet) - some interesting stories about this town


From AAA Tour Book

Goodland was once known for its rainmaking companies, which began to appear in the 1890s. The idea came from a man named Melbourne, known as the "Australian Rain Maker," who would induce rain by pouring sulphuric acid on zinc to release hydrogen, which would unite with the surrounding oxygen to form water. There was no immediate reaction after Melbourne's experiment, but within a day heavy rains occurred.

Earlier the town had proved equally inventive: In its war with several nearby communities for the county seat, residents employed a combination of armed force, false arrest, staged trial and theft to obtain county records. Goodland can also claim that it is the home of America's first patented helicopter.

The brick surface that remains on Main Street and some side streets was laid in 1921 by Jim Brown, an Indian whose skill was such that he reputedly could lay up to 150 bricks a minute - as fast as five men could supply him - so accurately that no later adjustment to the bricks was necessary.

Twenty miles northeast of Goodland, a historical marker indicates where Lt. Col. George Custer discovered the bodies of the 10 cavalrymen felled in the Kidder Massacre of 1867.

extensive cornfields, also irrigation pipes; more fields of sunflowers; sign near the Edson exit: "Kansas Number I Wheat Producer"
 
Time passes quickly and this was certainly true here in Kansas! At 376.8 (234.1) 11:39 suddenly became 12:39 - it was the change from Mountain to Central Time! I noticed a sign for Fort Hays, made more widely known through the film "Dances With Wolves." There were acres and acres of sunflowers on both sides of the road.
 
391.7: exit for Levant; 406.4 (252.5): exit for Colby, birthplace of Samuel Ramey, the famous opera singer, - Prairie Museum of Art and History, also Kansas State University Experimental Station; 420.0 (261.0): exit for Mingo - all along the way we saw huge sprinkler systems for irrigation of crops; 438.0 (272.2): two oil pumps on the horizon; 1:15 - exit for US-40 W and Oakley. Near the exit for Grinnell there were a lot of oil pumps in the midst of a field of sunflowers. After Grainfield, we passed the exit for Park where we could see not only grain elevators but also a church spire on the horizon. Although the next town was approximately 12.9 (8.0) ahead, the grain elevators were visible from here The landscape around here really was pretty flat; exit for Quinter and Castle Rock
 
490.1 (304.5) (1:43 - 1:56) we left the highway to do some shopping as we needed supplies for our lunch. Back on the highway a car from Missouri passed us and I asked LP if he knew what the motto "Show Me State" meant. He suggested that Missouri people don't believe anything, so they want you to show them! Sounds good! 528.7 - 529.2 (328.5 - 328.8) (2:17 - 2:51) - the rest area where we stretched our legs and had our lunch.
 
The next exit was for Ogallah (a similar name to a town in Nebraska - Ogallalah); sign: "Sunflower Bank proudly serving Kansas for 100 years." - we had seen many crops of sunflowers and I suddenly realized that the sunflower is the state's floral emblem. The sign for Ellis, "the boyhood home of Walter B. Chrysler", but so far I have not been able to find out who he was!! 3:03 - exit for Ellis; 3:13 - Exit 157 - Sternberg Museum on the campus of Fort Hays State University, and the Historic Old Fort Hays Museum.
 
Obviously there were many fascinating places to visit in this seemingly uninteresting prairie state, and being the insatiable traveler that I am, I would like to return to Kansas for further exploration!! In our "dash" for home, we were really missing a lot of interesting `stuff', but a lifetime is not long enough to see it all and choices have to be made! Exit 159 - Fort Larned National Historic Site


From AAA Tour Book
"regarded as one of the best preserved vestiges of the Santa Fe Trail - Indian Wars era"

573.0 (356.0): passed a large dome (?) and the water tower for Hays (pop. 17,800/El. 1,997 feet). Although we still had over a hundred miles to go before reaching Abilene, Eisenhower's hometown, there was a sign just out of Hays for Abilene: "Eisenhower Center - old town: 3 mansions, 6 museums,- History, Heroes, Hospitality"
 
We continued to see many oil pumps, something which surprised me because I had not thought of Kansas as being an oil producing state, although I don't know why. 584.0: exit for Russell - from here one could take US-281 north to Osborne, where at a rest area...


From Kansas Attractions Guide by Kansas Travel & Tourism
"A bronze disk marks the geodetic Center of the U.S. - an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This site is the controlling point for all North American land surveys. It is a reference point for all property lines and city, county, state and international boundaries tied to the triangulation network of the U.S., Canada and Mexico".

Further north, also on US-281 lies Lebanon near the Nebraska border....


From AAA Tour Book
"a stone monument 2 miles northwest of Lebanon marks the historical geographical Center of the 48 contiguous United States as determined by the gravity method".

The location has been officially established as the exact Center of mainland U.S.A.
 
Just prior to the exit for Dorrance 633.0 (393.3) - (3:50) I realized that the land had become more rolling and there were more trees than we had seen previously. Again I noticed the stone fence posts, of which I had seen quite a number. In fact near the exits for a number of towns in this area were signs:


From AAA Tour Book

"Post Rock Country"...."Undeterredby the lack of trees, early farmers quarried their fenceposts from the Greenhorn limestone, which underlies a 200-mile-long, 10- to 40-mile-wide swath of the Smoky Hills region"....and "Post rock, a form of limestone common to this region of the state, was used extensively from the late 1870s to the mid-1930s for fenceposts, and in building bridges, homes, churches and other buildings".

681.9 (423.7) (4:22): saw a herd of buffalo to the south, also some pigs; sign: "Home of Astronaut Steve Hawley"; 4:36 - Salina (pop. 42,300/El. 1,222 feet) next three exits; 715.0 (444.3) approached the junction with I-135 South to Wichita. We passed the biggest elevators that I think I have ever seen....


From AAA Tour Book
"A large flour mill and massive storage tanks capable of holding 60,146,458 bushels of grain attest to Salina's position as the major trade and distribution Center for one of the greatest hard wheat belts in the world".

East of Salina and between crossing the Saline and Solomon Rivers there was a lot of water lying in the fields.
 
Needing gas, we left the interstate (753.9 - 4:59 ) at Abilene (pop. 6,200/El. 1,155 feet), where "Wild Bill" Hickok was marshall in 1870, and


From AAA Tour Book
"Dwight D. Eisenhower, destined to be a World War II general and 34th president of the U.S., spent his boyhood years".

It was absolutely gorgeous driving down the tree-lined street with magnificent homes or mansions. We stopped near Eisenhower's home, and I walked over to his statue, Centerd in a grassed area between the library and museum.
 
Before leaving Abilene I tried phoning Dora again and this time I spoke to her instead of the answering machine. She gave me the directions for going straight to their place. 760.7 (472.7) (5:37): back on I-70, LP taking a rest from driving; 790.1 (490.9): we stopped for about ten minutes at a rest area, and after this we drove into some hilly country, where the road was not as flat and even went though some stone cuttings; 826.8 (513.7): working oil pumps in among trees; 831.0 (516.4): cattle grazing on bare hills, which were green and not the brown expected at this time of the year. We seemed to be quite high up and could see for many miles all around.
 
Unfortunately we had to by-pass Topeka (pop. 119,900/El. 940 feet), the capital of Kansas and I had to miss seeing this state's Capitol even though we were so close! We did not want to be too late arriving at Dora's and Keith's! 897.0 (557.4)(7:05) - we collected a ticket for the toll as we entered the Kansas Turnpike, called "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway"; 938.0 (582.8): we crossed the Kansas River; 973.8 (605.1) - we exited the turnpike one exit too soon, so had to go south to K-32, which took us east to I-435. We were back on the freeway by 8 o'clock 984.1 (611.5).
 
We crossed the Kansas River again, soon after which we exited from the freeway onto Halliday Drive and thence to the entrance to Lake Quivira. Here we had to report to the security gate, where we were to get final directions. A lady, who happened to be there at the same time, very kindly offered to lead us in and drove ahead of us right to their house. We arrived there at 8:16 , having driven 992.9 (617.0)! It was really good to see both Dora and Keith again and to renew our friendship.

Day 72 - Monday August 23 - Lake Quivira, Kansas to Cloverdale, Indiana

1993_08_23.jpg

I slept in this morning and when I woke LP was already up and Keith had gone to work. After breakfast Dora took us for a drive around the man-made lake showing us the amenities and telling us all about the enclave, Lake Quivira. We had an interesting and relaxed morning and were sorry that we had cancelled the original arrangement to spend more time with our friends. [We had been influenced into changing our plans several weeks earlier in case we had to take a different route home due to the terrible floods in the Mid-west this summer.]
 
Following a light lunch we left at 12:22 under sunny skies, and at 3.4 (2.1) passed through the entrance to Lake Quivira. Within half a kilometre (0.3), we stopped to clean the windshield and here I noticed that we were adjacent to a railway line and the Kansas River, and we could see the muddy banks where the floodwaters had been. A few minutes later, on I-435, we crossed the Kansas River almost immediately as we drove north to I-70, reaching the junction at 15.1 (9.4).
 
We turned east, and after some distance found ourselves facing the tall city buildings of Kansas, Missouri. There did not appear to be any big buildings in Kansas City, Kansas. We again crossed the Kansas River 30.5 (19.0), this time just before it flows into the Missouri River, the headwaters of which Anna and I had seen weeks before in Montana!
 
I noted at 79.0 (49.1) that we had returned to a land of pollution, all kinds of it, more traffic, more people and dozens of billboards! It was such a shock to the system after experiencing the solitude and the rugged wilderness of "the West."
 
We realized that we were obviously in Missouri when we passed the turnoff for the Confederate Memorial, Battle of Lexington 107.5 (66.8) - (1:42), but we had seen no indication of the state line, and no Welcome Center - just lots of billboards! After that there were cornfields, hills, rolled hay, chicken farms and farms a lot closer together, I think, than those in Kansas, which, apart from the fields of crops, had looked more like ranching country.
 
By 132.0 (82.0) our bright sunny and hot day had become overcast and a few spots of rain began to fall; 197.0 (122.4): we were driving in sunshine, but the sky ahead was black - I was still staggered by the amount of traffic! 203.0 (126.1): we were practically under the dark clouds, and there were flashes of lightning as we left the blue sky behind; 208.1 (129.3): we crossed a great wide muddy expanse, which looked as if it had been washed out by an overflowing river; 209.9 (130.4): we approached the Missouri River with much water well outside its banks; 210.4 (130.7): we finally crossed the river proper.
 
In the meantime the situation with the current storm had not changed - we had forgotten about it, crossing the Missouri River having created a diversion; 216.5 (134.5): we could still see blue sky and black clouds, and although we continued to drive in sunshine, the number of lightning flashes increased and we could smell the rain! We also became aware that the road was wet because vehicles passing us were throwing up water.
 
I-70 is located to the north of Columbia, MO, (pop. 69,100/El. 738 feet), where...


From AAA Tour Book
"the University of Missouri, the first public university west of the Mississippi River, opened its doors in 1839. Its school of journalism, founded in 1908, is distinguished as the world's first".

As we by-passed the city 225.0 (139.8) - (2:56) it started to rain and we were in the midst of a heavy rainstorm when we left the highway at 3 o'clock looking for somewhere to have the oil changed, the car being due for a service. As we were going to have a long wait, we decided to add a quart of oil instead. It had stopped raining and, even though it was still very black in the direction we would be traveling, we wanted to move on.
 
235.0 (146.0) (3:26) - sign: "St. Louis 121 miles" and it started raining again; 250.0 (155.3): the rain was pouring down and had been since it had started. I was `crawling' along the interstate with the emergency lights flashing! 270.0 (167.8): the rain eased up slightly, but the sky remained black and there was still lots of lightning. In fact the lightning became rather scary as it branched out like upside down dead trees! 278.5 (173.1): another deluge; 311.5 (193.6): still teeming, but the sky started to look a little lighter and at 312.5 (194.2) I was able to turn off my blinkers. Ahead there was some light sky, which looked like the edge of the storm. What a storm it had been - over 80.5 (50.0) and the emergency lights blinking the whole time! I had never driven in anything like it before!
 
320.0 (198.8): the rain was a lot lighter but had not given up completely; 328.0 (203.8): we neared the edge of the storm clouds and the light of the sky ahead was almost blinding after being dark for so long!! At 335.0 (208.2) right on the edge of the bank of black clouds, we left I-70 to get gas, and during this time the storm blew ahead of us!
 
336.6 (209.2) (4:47): we were back on I-70, the sky pitch black again, and once more we were driving through pouring rain. The storm was traveling in our direction and I realized that in fact two hours earlier we had driven towards the storm, and since then caught up to it, driven under it and provided we kept going without stopping we might have been able to keep ahead of it!!
 
At 4:55 we passed a sign: "St. Louis 50 miles" and I kept thinking, "`They' don't need this!' - all this rain around here, and the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers just to the north of St. Louis! 355.6: the road seemed to turn and we were driving along the cloud front - it had stopped raining! Although we saw a sign "93°" I did not think it that hot, but it certainly was very muggy. 391.0 (5:22 ) - it was exactly five hours since we had left the Andersons' and just ahead of us was the bridge over the Missouri River. Looking down onto the river there were barges like the ones Anna and I had seen on the Mississippi River after crossing that river from Wisconsin into Minnesota. Between 5:30 and 5:41 we saw three different temperature signs:- 89°, 97° and 91°!
 
Through traffic by-passes St. Louis via I-270, which we left to pause briefly at the Missouri Welcome Center (5:45 - 5:51) - 422.0 (262.2), which was closed. Stopping here, however, gave us the chance to see that there was still a lot of floodwater around. Soon after returning to the highway we crossed the Mississippi River and at 423.4 (263.1) (5:54) we crossed the Illinois state line.
 
447.8 (278.2) (6:08): we rejoined I-70, which at this point was a single lane. There looked to have been a lot of damage, probably due to the floods, to the road in the westbound lanes; sign: "Indianapolis 220 miles, Effingham 76 miles." We just made it in time to the Illinois Welcome Center before it closed at 6:30 Although we would not be dallying at this stage of our trip I wanted to collect some leaflets on places I had visited previously, and maps and information for future use! We were actually back on the interstate by 6:30 and as we traversed Illinois we saw mostly cornfields or fields and fields of what looked to be potatoes, also some sunflowers and crops something like rapeseed. Oil pumps were scattered across the countryside, which was pretty flat. Everything was very green.
 
We were making a run for home, so were anxious to put more miles behind us before quitting for the night, but stopped (7:23 - 8:12) at the Best Western Carriage Inn in Effingham 553.9 (344.2) for a buffet dinner. This gave us a good break before driving further, but it was quite dark when we were ready to proceed!
 
Back on I-70 the sky was dark except for lightning which surrounded us everywhere. It was also very windy and we wondered if our storm had caught up to us again?! Then it started to rain! Oh, no! There were only a few spots, however, but there was still a lot of lightning, particularly to the north, lighting up the whole sky, and I saw one really big flash in the rear vision mirror.
 
After crossing the Wabash River 678.1 (421.4) - (10:24) we went through Terre Haute where there were many lights, especially high ones for motels, gas stations and food outlets. We continued driving for another half hour, then decided to call it a day. We left the interstate at 11 o'clock and found accommodation at the Dollar Motor Inn in Cloverdale. We had been on the road for less than ten hours , but due to all the rain it had been a rather tiring day, more so than many of our longer days.

Day 73 - Tuesday August 24 - Cloverdale, Indiana to Mississauga, Ontario

1993_08_24.jpg

The last leg! We both slept well and did not wake early, so had a rather late start. We left the motel at 9:35 and actually went to a restaurant for breakfast. I had left my coffee in Dora's refrigerator so had not even had my early `cuppa'! It was 10:12 by the time we finally got under way and were back on I-70. Corn, the plants very tall, seemed to be the main product of the area, with cornfields everywhere.
 
Within forty kilometers (24.9) we appeared to be entering a suburban area, then passed the Indianapolis Airport 48.0 (29.8 ) and eventually we noticed the downtown skyline. We left I-70 at Exit 78 to go into the city of Indianapolis (pop. 742,000/metro: 1,249,800/El. 708 feet), and parked the car on Washington Street 64.1 (39.8) (10:56 - 11:32). There was a large and unusual fountain in the Center of the garden bounded by Washington and Maryland Streets and Capitol and Senate Avenues. After strolling through this garden I walked along Capitol Avenue to the Capitol, went inside for a fleeting look around, and returned to the car via Market and Illinois Streets.
 
We then drove around the block and parked on Meridian Street whilst I took a closer look at the 284 feet high Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Center of Monument Circle. Leaving here (11:45), we stopped again three blocks north on Vermont Street to take a picture of the Indiana World War Memorial Shrine, an impressive building. I thought that Indianapolis had some very beautiful buildings and lovely gardens. Although the city looked to be a big one it did not take long to get out of it and we were traveling east again on I-70 before noon. Now, it was full steam ahead!!
 
At 1:00 183.5 (114.0) we crossed the state line into Ohio and several kilometers later left the highway for the Ohio Welcome Center to pick up tourist literature for future use! A little further along we stopped again, this time for gas, but were back on I-70 at 1:35 200.0 (124.3). It was along the next section of highway that LP made the suggestion that instead of taking I-75 to Detroit, we stay in Ohio, going through Columbus (I would be able to see another Capitol!) and entering Ontario through Buffalo. It was tempting, but would make the trip that much longer! Decisions!
 
237.8 (147.8) (1:57) we crossed over a north-south freeway, I-75! The decision was made! We were going home through Buffalo! We remarked about the number of police cars we had seen. We hardly saw any out west, but here they were like flies along the road. In fact we saw more today than we had seen in the entire rest of our trip!
 
327.0 (203.2) (2:49): Columbus City Limit (pop. 632,900/metro: 1,377,400/El. 777 feet). We could see the skyline of the city for some distance before we exited 342.3 (212.7) to drive downtown. We parked on Gay Street, between 3rd and High Streets, and I walked around the corner onto High Street, then south to the Capitol, a very different and most interesting building, which dated back to 1861. Unfortunately I ran out of film and had left my purse with LP in the car so could not buy another one. Also, it was getting late and we had opted for a long route home.
 
Leaving the city via I-71 we were at a standstill momentarily due to the heavy traffic near the junction of I-270, the ring route around Columbus, with I-71. We noticed that there were still a lot of cornfields in Ohio, but we were also seeing a lot of trees and the countryside was becoming more hilly. We made a detour through Mansfield, as I wanted to get some cash and to buy brandy before hitting the Canadian border! Traveling on OH-13 going towards Mansfield there was a sign for a ski area, so I was right in thinking that we were getting into hilly country.
 
455.0 (282.7): "Welcome to Mansfield" (pop. 50,600/El. 1,152 feet) - Mansfield was


From AAA Tour Book
"laid out in 1808 under the direction of Jared Mansfield, Surveyor General of the United States. Native sons include John Sherman, brother of Gen. William Sherman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Broomfield and early conservationist Johnny Appleseed".

It was not easy to find our way around nor our way out of town. We finished up on US-42 where we found a bank along here, also a grocery store but they did not sell liquor. We proceeded north on US-42, which eventually brought us back to I-71
 
As we approached the interstate there was a sign which read:

Cleveland 70 miles
Columbus 70 miles
which meant that we were halfway between the two cities. Back on I-71 north 462.5 (287.4) we did not leave it again until we exited onto I-271, the Cleveland by-pass. Having had a late breakfast and skipped lunch we were beginning to feel pretty hungry so made a meal stop 542.1 (336.8) at a rather pretty rest area (6:26 - 7:06). I also phoned our next door neighbour, from here to let him know that we would be arriving home in the middle of the night. Thus if he heard noises or saw lights he would know that it was us!
 
Between the rest area and where I-271 divided and ended at I-90, one branch going to Cleveland and the other to Erie, Pennsylvania, we went under I-80, which at that point is the Ohio Turnpike and the road along which Anna and I had traveled on Thursday 17th June (9 weeks and 5 days earlier)! We were on I-90 by 7:40 594.5 (369.4) and we started to see a reddish tinge on some of the trees, reminding us that the summer was over!
 
With night closing in on us we were unable to see the surroundings, so the description of the last part of the trip was brief! 680.8 (423.0) (8:29) "Welcome to Pennsylvania"; 744.5 (462.6): passed the exit for North East (where LP buys some of his winemaking supplies); 754.3 (468.7) (9:19); "Welcome to New York Thruway" - we had crossed the New York state line and were in our fourth state for the day (second time in two days that we had been in four states). We had to stop for a ticket as the Thruway is a toll road.
 
Driving under a starry sky, there was a lot of lightning flashing out to the east. Sometime after 10 o'clock I needed a rest so we stopped for about twenty minutes at a service Center where we bought some coffee and pop and walked around for a bit to stretch our legs. We were on our way again by 10:28, with LP taking a turn at the wheel, and any stops we made were brief. We had to pay the toll when leaving the Thruway in Buffalo, and we stopped to fill up with gas 875.3 (543.9) - (11.04). The Duty Free shop was closed, but a sign directed us to the Duty Free pick-up spot on the bridge plaza, where we were able to purchase our brandy.
 
By 11:22 876.4 (544.6) we had crossed the Peace Bridge, gone through Canadian Customs and were on Q.E.W., and within an hour and a half we would be home. We called in at the gas station to get milk for morning, and at 12:50 1003.1 (623.3) we pulled into the driveway. We were home! And what a storehouse of memories of theSummer '93.
 
And thus endeth the saga of my trip!



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