Monthly Archives: November 2016

My Ideal Road Trip Part 4

 

Because it was recommended I take Highway 24 and then 12 though southern Utah, I drove to Green River for the night to start the adventure the next day. The town of Green River didn’t seem like much; but it seemed to be the starting point for this upcoming segment. At least it seemed as though a lot of out of state cars were there.

Leaving town, this was the most interesting building I could find. It was a building that I am sure would have a bit to say if it could talk…

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One thing I have always enjoyed doing while traveling is taking pictures of other people. You see a husband or wife taking a picture of the spouse, and realize that they will probably have no pictures of them together for the entire trip.

They are always appreciative, and I learn a bit about them. For me when traveling it is as much fun meeting other people as seeing new sights.

This was a couple from Britain; they had just come in by plane the night before. Over the years I would have to say that there are 2 nationalities that seem to be the most adventuresome travelers – the British and the Germans. You can find them in the most remote places…

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The scenery was just starting to get interesting…I would later learn that the southern half of Utah is absolutely spectacular…

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Highway 24 crosses some of the Capitol Reef National Park. While an entrance fee is not required while traversing the Park, I found one of the best deals – if you are a US Citizen and 62 or over – is to get a pass for $10 – good for a lifetime’s entrance into US National Parks. Normally it is $30 per car. I visited 4 national parks on this trip and it would have been $120.

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Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Part 7 is here

Part 8 is here

Part 9 is here

Part 10 is here

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My Ideal Road Trip – Part 3

 

Because a Lexican suggested when getting to Southern Utah that  I should drive 2 highways – 24 and 12 – I decided to drive east on I70 100-150 miles  through Utah to Green River. To get there after Ely I headed southeast on Highway 21 – up I 15 for a small stretch, then on to I70.

I have probably driven over the years a few 100 thousand miles on our Interstate system. I believe that President Eisenhower got the idea for them after seeing Germany’s Autobahns. While they have made travel easy, they are, as a rule, not known for scenic beauty. Most of them are rather sterile as far as beautiful scenery. For scenery one usually has to travel the smaller highways and roads.

When I reached the beginning of I70 it was dusk, but the scenery was the most spectacular I had ever seen on a US Interstate.

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In an effort to just get to Highway 24, I had unwittingly “discovered” the San Rafael Reef.

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Part 7 is here

Part 8 is here

Part 9 is here

Part 10 is here

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Seems an appropriate post today….

I can’t remember in recent history a Presidential campaign that had so much acrimony. I think I’d have to go back to Goldwater-Johnson in 1964.

I’d have loved to know what Lex would have had to say today. I suspect that like most of us, he would have found flaws in all their positions and in the end voted for the one he believed best for the country. At least that was my motivation.

But I believe this post of his is just as suited for today as it was 12 years ago.

“People are looking at politics as dogma. And they’re looking for heretics to burn, and devils to fight against. And they’re making it a very personal struggle.” 

I would hope that as Americans we can all come together now….

I’ll post some more of my road trip pictures tonight…

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My Ideal Road Trip – Part 2

I enjoy history. The problem is it is generally taught so poorly. Mediocre teachers want you to remember names and dates. Superior teachers have the gift of bringing the times to life, such that one could almost imagine living in that place and time. In my experience, there aren’t many superior history teachers.

If you go to Virginia City, Nevada today without a knowledge of its glorious past, you are missing most of the experience. You can get some of its background reading a classic from Mark Twain, Roughing It.

It was here that Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain. It is here that Clemens, finding mining too backbreaking and difficult, decided to try writing, having gotten a job as a reporter for the city’s newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise.

In his book, he describes many Nevada towns that rose with the discovery of more silver. Some of them are but dusty memories, like Esmeralda, while others, like Austin and Eureka, soldier on minus the silver.

It was at Eureka that I wanted to make my first stop. I had heard of an old historic hotel, and wanted to stay there.

I got there after dusk, and found the hotel dark and seemingly unoccupied. After wandering all the way around its perimeter, I call their number and got another hotel owned by the same people, the Gold Country Inn. The receptionist told me that the Jackson House is closed after the spring and summer.

Oh well. I stayed at the Gold Country Inn. Meh. It was a nice modern hotel.

Anyway, one other thing I found interesting. While I knew that Highway 50 from Sacramento was the original Stage Coach route to Virginia City, I did’t realize that the Pony Express also traveled that route all the way across Nevada. Since I am apparently in a trivia-minded mood tonight, probably boring my 2 readers, I will mention the small town of Strawberry near the Sierra Summit on the way to Lake Tahoe from Sacramento.

For years I couldn’t see a relationship between a fruit and a small Sierra town. Well, as I learned some time ago, it had nothing to do with the fruit, but a man named Berry. He was at the Lodge overnight (which is still there from the stage days) and apparently insulted a man he later learned was ex CA Chief Justice David Terry.

Upon learning who Terry was and his reputation, Berry left in the middle of the night. Those witness to this hasty retreat said that he was made of Straw.

So there.

Anyway, we have left Fallon and are on the way to the first town, Austin (which is a bit smaller than the other Austin, reportedly in Texas 😉 )

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Coming into Austin. There is a bar/saloon there that has changed little in 150 years. Still has the creaky wooden floors.

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…on to Eureka…

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If Time hasn’t stopped in Eureka, it sure has slowed down….

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Next morning I wanted to stop and see Ely, which is a thriving small town. It started as a railroad town.

As I am on the Loneliest Road, I kept thinking of the Pony Express riders across this – sometimes trying to save their lives as the Paiutes are chasing them…

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I walked around Ely a bit. I had noticed that when on the road we tend to eat the same as before without exercise, so I was trying to get some exercise in…I had thought that this was original housing for the railroad workers, and a local confirmed it.

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OK, I like old walls reminding us of other times decades ago…

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Another local told me that at one time this was Nevada’s tallest building, and if you want the “old experience” stay here…..

Next time!

Tomorrow: On to Southern Utah where I saw some of the most spectacular scenery….

Part 1 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Part 7 is here

Part 8 is here

Part 9 is here

Part 10 is here

 

 

 

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My Ideal Road Trip – Part 1

As promised, here’s an account of my little 9 day venture across Nevada, Southern Utah, Gallop NM (more on that later), and AZ.

I have also determined that there are 2 kinds of packers in the traveling universe – those who fastidiously make a list of what they need and pack over a week or so, then those like me who in the last 20 minutes throw stuff into a suitcase, figure that whatever they forgot can be later purchased…and go.

Anyway about 09:00 I jumped into my old Mercedes-Benz SL and headed east. By the way, the previous month I had done a lot of work on it putting on new motor mounts, alternator brushes, fuel pump…I had pretty good confidence that this 20 year old car would get me there and back with minimal fanfare – which it did. (Her name is Gabriela, for those interested).

If anyone is interested I can do a write up on how to keep your older car in top shape, ready to go across continents if need be.

There were only a few “must see” things I wanted to do along the way. One I wanted to travel “The Loneliest Road In America”, US 50 from Fallon NV across Nevada. I had done this 20 years earlier, while going to a National meet of my car club in Portland OR.

I went to Portland from Sacramento via Salt Lake City and Boise, if that gives you an idea of my traveling preferences. I did this just to meet up with other club members coming from the east coast. For many of us it is the journey more than the destination that makes the trip.

Anyway I am going 80 on this road, a bit bored as one could see 20 miles behind you and 20 miles ahead, and decided to go 90. Got bored at 90 and made it an even 100. You’d see oncoming traffic maybe every 10-15 minutes. Came up behind a BMW motorcycle rider and followed him for 20 miles or so, until he got bored, blipped his throttle and left me like I was standing still. At a traffic light up in the old silver mining town of Eureka, I discovered that the he was a she. We exchanged smiles.

I stayed at 100, thinking of the possibility of getting caught by the Nevada Highway Patrol and staying there for an indeterminate time. I guess you could call that the old “risk/reward” methodology.

I discovered this time, as Thomas Wolfe said, that you can never go home again. (it has been a recurring theme in my life as I have sought to revisit old places that I had known).

Traffic was a lot heavier, at least by loneliest road standards, and I kept it at 80. Which was not unreasonable as before the Feds got heavy handed with dispersing  highway funds, Nevada had no speed limit. “Save and Reasonable” was the rule.  I remember those days.

Along the first day, I retraced some of the road Neptunus Lex knew so well. I traveled up I80 – and took US 95 to Fallon east of Reno. From there I caught The Loneliest Road.

“…..The miles clicked by, and soon I was passing the optimistically named “West Fernley,” and getting off on the exit to the appropriately (if somewhat unimaginatively) named, “Farm District Road.” East Fernley flashed past like greased lightning, leaving me to wonder whether Central Fernley was ever going to get any billing whatsoever, and whether there were life-long rivalries attending to growing up on one or another side of a town with a population of very nearly 8500 people…

Lex, writing Friday Musings, Feb 25, 2005

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I was coming into the metropolis of Fallon. By the way as far as I was concerned NAS Fallon was pretty much Fallon.

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I wanted to get on base and hopefully hoist a Guinness for Hizzoner, but without a DoD card, that was verboten. My usually reliable Garmin took me to this back entrance.

Somewhat reluctantly but sensing Lex smiling, Gabriela and I headed for the Loneliest Road.

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Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Part 7 is here

Part 8 is here

Part 9 is here

Part 10 is here

 

 

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