Cactii, Cactii everywhere and some Rocks too

Day 17. July 17, 2016 Yuma to Globe AZ

Left hotel and drove into downtown Yuma.  Saw old prison, bridge and main street area.  Struck out for Dome and saw “bridge to nowhere”.  The road to Dome had a sign saying that it was not maintained so we had to turn around and take alternate route.  Stopped by border patrol but allowed to pass. Saw tens of thousands of covered cows along the route.  Wrote card and mailed it in Tacna.  Picked up dates at park and took them with us.  Stopped at Gila Bend store and Pam was attacked by cactus.  Passed through several rain showers (drops).  Saw old bridge and dam.  Passed through many small towns on the way to Phoenix ….none of much importance.  Saw hills covered with cactus.  Passed through Superior on the way to Devil’s Canyon. The trip through Devil’s Canyon was rugged and stunning.  We can’t imagine how Dandy made it through.  Camped at Globe at the Holiday Inn Express just past the teepee.  Mileage: 317.5  our total miles not including mine to Lenoir is 4900.

 

Started out this morning with a drive thru downtown Yuma.  The weather was cloudy and 96 this morning.  We saw several old buildings, the “Ocean to Ocean” bridge and the old prison.  We also saw a lot of covered parking.  I can understand covered parking, but we all said they should put solar panels on the top of them.  We saw more ugly fences around neighborhoods and no fences around places we wished they had fenced in.  The neighborhoods were just not what any of us think of as pretty.  The terrain is flat, flat, flat, then mountains.  This is probably and old sea bed; that’s the only thing we can think of to make it so flat.   We saw more virga and later got a few drops of rain.    We drove up hwy 95 North to pick up the road to Dome.  Just passed where we were supposed to turn, there was the “Bridge to nowhere”.   We went and saw it and took pictures.  We saw funny fruits growing on bushes that look a little like tomatoes, but we think they must be pomegranates.  We then went back to the Done Road, it looked rough, really rough, and there was a big sign about it not being maintained.  We decided not to go on it and just to go back down to Hwy 80/ I8.   I would love to come back one day in a 4 by 4 with someone that knew the area.

Back on I8/ hwy 80 we went thru the Border Patrol station.  The dogs smelled our car and they asked us if we were US citizens,   We said yes, but then we agreed that we didn’t know who in their right mind would say no…

Then we saw 10’s of thousands of covered cows.  There were covered areas with fans and mist and the cows were all under these.  It really looked strange.

At Dateland we left I8 for old Hwy 80.  We stopped in the park in Dateland and we were all excited because we all found dates.  We got out of the car to pick out the ones we wanted.  We all got in the car and took off.

The sun finally came out and it was 108 degrees.  We saw lots of cacti and several dust devils.  Then we stopped at Gila Bend.  Susan keeps laughing at me because I keep pronouncing it like it was English rather than using the Spanish pronunciation.  There was a cool store off the road and we all bought several items.  Then we found a cactus near the road and took pictures with it.   Pam fell into the cactus, and got a thorn in her.  Pam, didn’t anyone tell you not to hug a cactus?

As we were driving out of town, we passed by the Space Age Motel – part of it is shaped like the “Lost in Space” spaceship.  Then we saw the Yucca Motel.  Susan said “I know yucca is a plant but that is a yucka motel”    Lunch was in the car because there was nowhere to eat.  We made Pam a banana taco to eat.   We saw the old Gila Dam.  It looked like it failed at some point in time.  We then went over the 1926 Gila Bridge and continued onto Phoenix.   After Phoenix we got on Hwy 60 and headed to Superior.  Along the way we really started seeing cacti and saw mountains covered with them.   We made it to Superior.  I thought it was going to look more western since they said movies have been made there.  Susan said, they must have put facades on the front because it wasn’t that pretty.  Then we headed into the Devils Canyon area between Superior and Globe.  Oh my.  I really can’t imagine Dandy’s drive thru this.  This canyon was truly rugged and stunning.  The drop offs and the rock formations and the curvy roads made it so interesting.  In many places we could see the old road and oh my.  I think that our road was crazy and Dandy’s would have been even crazier.

We made it into Globe and liked it so much more than Superior.  It had a cute downtown section and history.   There were several of 40s/50s motor lodges and my favorites were the “refrigerated” ones.   We then headed to our camping spot at the Holiday Inn Express.  [I guess we can all be doctors now  😉  ]  I used 15K IHG points for this hotel and it was the only brand of hotel that I have points for in this town.   We headed to dinner and saw the Hwy 70 END sign.  Yep or local NC hwy ends here in Globe AZ.   We got a picture of the sign later.  Dinner was ok, I sure wouldn’t call it fine dining but it was food.   What can you expect on a Sunday in a small town?   We then went up to the old mine before heading back to our camping site.  We are still on Pacific time because Arizona doesn’t do daylight savings time.  Tomorrow we will lose 2 hours L.

covered parking areas

covered parking areas

old prison

old prison

Ocean to Ocean bridge

Ocean to Ocean bridge

mountains outside of Yuma

mountains outside of Yuma

Bridge to no where

Bridge to no where

mystery fruit

mystery fruit

Border Patrol

Border Patrol

coming to new mountains

coming to new mountains

truck falling over sign.

truck falling over sign.

curvy road thru mountains

curvy road thru mountains

back to flat

back to flat

more mountains in background

more mountains in background

on 2 lane old hwy 80

on 2 lane old hwy 80

big mountains coming up

big mountains coming up

Susan and Pam getting their dates

Susan and Pam getting their dates

date tree forest

date tree forest

ripe dates

ripe dates

cacti on flat land

cacti on flat land

cactii and Claire

cactii and Claire

susan and Pam at the cactus

susan and Pam at the cactus

Pam and a cacti thorn

Pam and a cacti thorn

Space age hotel

Space age hotel

Gila Bend Bridge

Gila Bend Bridge

and the old dam Dandy most have driven across. It's failed

and the old dam Dandy most have driven across. It’s failed

back in the mountains, ok, i don't take many flat land pictures

back in the mountains, ok, i don’t take many flat land pictures

covered cows with fans and spray

covered cows with fans and spray

giant baseball in Phoenix

giant baseball in Phoenix

i just like mountains

i just like mountains

cactus hills

cactus hills

coming into Superior We all think we have seen this mountain in movies

coming into Superior We all think we have seen this mountain in movies

into superior

into superior

blooming cactus

blooming cactus

move cacti

move cacti

starting into Devil's Canyon

starting into Devil’s Canyon

Dandy's old road below

Dandy’s old road below

our tunnel. it's too hot to hike to Dandy's tunnel

our tunnel. it’s too hot to hike to Dandy’s tunnel

Dandy's road on the ledge

Dandy’s road on the ledge

rock formations in the canyon

rock formations in the canyon

more rock formations

more rock formations

and more

and more

valleys in the canyon

valleys in the canyon

Giant TeePee in Globe

Giant TeePee in Globe

part of the old mine in Globe

part of the old mine in Globe

Heading back East

July 16th 2016 : Day 16 : San Diego Ca – Yuma Az.

Headed out from San Diego, drove on outskirts in pseudo desert and rolling mountains.  Passed thru Descanso where we think Dandy camped and then joined Old Hwy 80.  Pretty drive, got to Pine Valley, lots of vegetation and sky is clear of smog.   Passed thru border patrol as we head south.   Drove within 100 ft of the border on old hwy.  Green turns to shrub covered mountains which then turn into piles of LARGE rocks, mountains of rocks.  Continuous mountains of large rocks. We see the wall.  Trump doesn’t need to build it.  More rocks, more mountains of rocks.  These didn’t look like regular mountains but large piles of rocks.   Down, down we went thru curvy road and mountains of more rocks. Then it turns flat. Then it turns to sand and hot.  Pass thru Dixieland (Imperial Valley) that is green and farming. Chief chop is no longer cotton it is hay.  Probably where Dandy saw Egyptian cotton, we saw only 1 field.  We went thru Holtsville and then had 20 drops of rain.  Next sand dunes, Sahara type sand dunes, and we saw part of the plank road, 3 times (the same the same part).   Crossed into Yuma, saw Ocean to Ocean bridge, then went to hotel.  It is too hot to do anything else. Drove to supper at Julieanna’s patio café.  Saw old towne and night and bridge.  Camped at hotel.Mileage: 224.8

 We headed out of the traffic and started going up and so did the temperature.  We stopped for supplies at Walmart (in California) and they charged us CRV fees for each plastic bottle we bought.  What, we bought a 24 pack of water and 3 six packs of diet Pepsi (we ran out of our diet cheerwine a couple of days ago and they don’t sell that kind of stuff around these parts).  Susan was driving and was threatened with “Strong winds possible next 63 miles”.  Luckily it was only a threat.  We drove by the city of Alpine – I guess they have never been to the Alps.   It was 86 degrees, dry and only 2000 ft in elevation.  What had they been drinking??

We left I 8 near Descanso on Hwy 79 to pick up old Hwy 80.  We first saw a sign stating “hikers, one gallon of water per person”.  So seriously, they would hike in hot and dry conditions and have to carry a bunch of weight.  I think I’ll pass. The drive on 80 was so calming.  No traffic, green at first, interesting scenery and no smog.  The green later changed to the desert we had seen before.  Partial desert – rocky but shrub covered mountains.   After we pass under I8 to the lower portion of old Hwy 80, we encounter the border patrol.  Wait we aren’t at the border. So we pull off.  They kinda of laugh at us as they explain they are only checking folks going in the other direction.  Thank goodness for that Florida license plate.    Susan’s phone then dinged and said “welcome to Mexico – your Tmobile…..”  We were that close to the border driving on old hwy 80.  Literally it was only 100 feet away.  There was a fence and we took pictures.    We drove along the border for a couple of miles.  We then started seeing the mountains of rocks.  Some of these mountains where huge and they looked just like piles of rocks not regular mountains.  Some of the piles reminded us of the Flintstones.   We then see a windmill farm on the Mexico side of the fence but the power grid portion was on the US side???   Are we stealing their power???   We then connected to I8 and drove down the piles of rocks gorge, down, down, down, giant mountain sized piles of rocks.  NO dirt, just rocks.   How could you walk that, how did they make the road?   I hope the pictures show it.   It was weird, just weird.   After the gorge, it flattened out some and got sandier.  We then saw the old road to the right but it was concrete and I’m sure Dandy’s version wasn’t.   We stopped and I made pictures while standing on the old road.  It goes for miles.   We then drove thru desert and were on hwy 115 – Evan Hewes Hwy – and saw a mining operation.  Several miles later, we saw a bunch of folks under a tent sitting around.  What??? It’s 103 degrees and we are in the middle of nowhere, I mean nowhere, nothing….   Not sure what they were doing…   in several miles we entered the Imperial Valley – we started seeing green.  They divert water in from the Colorado River and their main crop seems to be hay.  Tons of hey and all of it is covered.  I guess this extreme heat will break it down if it’s in the open.   We then passed into El Centro and on thru Holtsville where we encountered a major rain storm (all of about 20 rain drops).   The road ended on I8 but we had to travel 3 miles west bound because there was a detour on the entrance ramp.  We really didn’t want to go west again but had to.   We saw some virga – rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.

The route then passed back close to the border.   We started to see old sections of the road again and it was covered with sand and rocks and was mostly broken.  I just can’t imagine what it was like to come thru this area.    We then saw the sand dunes.  These are Sahara type sand dunes, sand in all directions.   This is a great place for a movie.  Desert, moon, outer space, …..   The variety is crazy.   Pam spotted a portion of the plank road from I8.   We knew we were going to go to the Grays Well exit to try to make it to the portion of the plank road, but when we pulled off, we saw that you now needed a permit to go to the end.  I guess they are getting more concerned about border problems (we are only maybe ¼ mile from the border).  No one was there to get a pass from so we decided to go back and take pictures of the portion you could see from the highway.  Back to the west, turn around, and back to the east.  I set the camera on continuous and started shooting where I thought the road was.  I started too early and it was storing so I missed the best part….. so we did it again, back west, then east.  At the turn around, Susan jumped out of the van and got some desert sand for Donny and Alex.   Here we go again.   This time I got it spot on.  Unfortunately I didn’t notice they were out of focus till we got to the hotel.  I’m sad.  We saw more of the border fence.  The temperature slowly climbed to 109.  It’s hot.

We crossed the Colorado River and crashed at our Hotel.  We made numerous trips down the hall and stairs in order to take advantage of the laundry facilities.  Tonight’s hotel is the Homewood suites (Hilton) we did another $50 and 12.5K points for this hotel.

We picked out a restaurant and drove thru neighborhoods.  The neighborhoods were all walled in.  Everyone had a fence, mostly cinder block.  It was like everyone had to protect their private domain.  It was strange looking.  The GPS kept sending us thru these neighborhoods and then said we had arrived.  It stopped us at a house.  The house was dilapidated, this couldn’t be right.   We started to pick a new place when Susan saw a sign pointing to an area 2 buildings down.  The restaurant was in the back of a parking area but still in the middle of the neighborhood. We went inside anyway.  The inside was like the pictures we had seen and the food was wonderful.  We saw a peacock in the inner courtyard.  We are glad we didn’t pass it up even though the location was weird.

We got to the car, it was dark and had been for an hour and it was still 102.  Next, we drove thru the historic portion of town.  My camera card died.  Ok, so we use Susan’s camera.  Ghostbusters was here, the 2 cars you always see in the movie and other stuff from the movie.  I’m not sure if they were having some kind of premier or what there.  We got pictures.  Next we went to find the old bridge.  As we were driving around we suddenly found ourselves on it.  It’s one lane bridge where the traffic light lets each side take turns crossing.  The GPS said welcome to California when we got across.  Pam then saw the lighted sign on the side of the bridge.  That is what I was wanting to see and Susan found a way to get us down below it so we could take a picture “Ocean to Ocean Highway Yuma” all lite up.  We then drove back to the hotel and crashed.

  • We meant to fry an egg on the parking lot when we got to the hotel but the laundry took too long and we forgot. We will try tomorrow.  I know it would have fried quickly.
heading east

heading east

i don't want to be near here in an earthquake

i don’t want to be near here in an earthquake

heading out of town

heading out of town

mountains changing colors

mountains changing colors

starting to get rockier

starting to get rockier

then green near old Hwy 80

then green near old Hwy 80

on old Hwy 80

on old Hwy 80

mountain road

mountain road

border patrol

border patrol

heading to mexico

heading to mexico

that's Mexico over that way

that’s Mexico over that way

turning rockier

turning rockier

still rocky

still rocky

turning green for a moment

turning green for a moment

border wall

border wall

wall and the patrol that's how close we were

wall and the patrol that’s how close we were

old town. you can see the border from the town.

old town. you can see the border from the town.

windmill farm

windmill farm

here come the rocks

here come the rocks

more rocks.

more rocks.

Piles of rocks, big piles of rocks

Piles of rocks, big piles of rocks

these pictures just don't show the scale but more rocks

these pictures just don’t show the scale but more rocks

mountain piles of rocks

mountain piles of rocks

Rocks

Rocks

rocks changing colors

rocks changing colors

suddenly we are out and it is flat

suddenly we are out and it is flat

back on old road

back on old road

claire standing on really old road taking picture down it.

claire standing on really old road taking picture down it.

sand mountains in the back ground

sand mountains in the back ground

oasis

oasis

imperial valley and green

imperial valley and green

back to sand

back to sand

back at the border

back at the border

sand dunes

sand dunes

concrete river thru the dunes

concrete river thru the dunes

more sand dunes

more sand dunes

google sat view of the plank road since my pictures didn't really come out

google sat view of the plank road since my pictures didn’t really come out

ghost busters

ghost busters

Ocean to Ocean Hwy bridge at night

Ocean to Ocean Hwy bridge at night

Cruising the coast so we missed another game.

Day 15 July 15, 2916 San Pedro to San Diego

Breakfast was crowded and Pam cooked her own.  Headed to Port of Los Angeles and saw Battleship Iowa.  Went to Long Beach and saw Queen Mary and old hotels. Also saw Lincoln Park and Parker’s Lighthouse.   Passed through numerous beach towns on the PCH.  All were very crowed and full of traffic.  Hard to make our way down the coast. Even more traffic when the road turned into I 5.  Hate traffic.  Back on PCH and still too many towns back to back.  All traffic and traffic lights.  Ate lunch (supper) Hotel Del Coronado (1888).  Drove to Mexican border and saw Tijuana. Went to Gas Light district and Balboa Park in San Diego.  Didn’t get there in time to see Madison Bumgarner play because of traffic :(. Camped at the Four Points Sheraton.  Mileage 187.7 

 Boring day until the very end.  Imagine driving in Myrtle Beach traffic on Ocean Drive through town all the way down the coast of California.  Now you understand our day.  Stop, go, stop, go, wait on people to park and turn, stop some more for no reason at all, hardly go at all.  We are not fond on the southern California coast.  Every once in a while we were treated to a beach scene but they were short lived, few and far between.  One town had five roundabouts.  Pam was excited because there were no stop signs at every corner. At the end of that town she had decided that that was quite enough.  I think Dandy made it quicker than we did to San Diego. I guess there were fewer towns and much less traffic then.

On the way we saw a sign that said: possible dust clouds next 11 miles.  We actually saw a foggy looking cloud for about that long.  We also passed a nuclear plant right across the street from the ocean.  We think it is also built on a fault line.  Not good planning.  We passed by the Del Mar race track as some type of race was going on.  When Pam asked for directions at the beginning of the route, I told her she needed to take the road until she couldn’t take it anymore.   I had no idea it would take that long to find the end.

We finally made it to San Diego and were headed out to Hotel Del Coronado – a very old, regal hotel that was once the largest wooden building in America.  Almost every important person ever has been there including us. I am winning because I have been there several times.  There is a massive and I do mean massive bridge to the island.  We went across it in all of the traffic but when we got to the other side, the congestion and road closures caused us to get in a lane that forced us back across the bridge.  Seriously.   We had to cross it yet again and find an alternate route to the hotel.  When we finally got there it was a little after 4.  We had planned to eat lunch there but there was traffic, traffic, traffic and too many bridges.  So we decided to eat lupper (lunch and supper for those who never watched All in the Family).  We finally found a parking place and made it around to the beach side of the hotel to the restaurant.  It is open from 11 to 3 and 5 to 11.  Our lupper turned into supper.  We walked the beach while we waited for it to open and that is how we missed Madison Bumgarner pitch in San Diego tonight.  We were very sad.  Supper was delicious and we were much happier after we had finished eating.

Since we couldn’t make the game, we headed down to see the border.  We didn’t cross into Tijuana like Dandy did but saw it nonetheless.   We drove through the gaslight district and Balboa Park on the way to the hotel.  It would have been great to have spent the entire day at these two places but alas, traffic.   I think Balboa Park is where Dandy camped.  It is full of fabulous old buildings and terrific gardens.  We drove all over trying to find a parking place so we could get out for a minute.  There seemed to be an event going on.  We finally saw a sign that said that Balboa Park comes alive on Fridays.  They weren’t kidding.  We finally found a parking place as it was getting dark and quickly walked through the rose and cactus gardens.

Got to the hotel to check in and found that many of the rooms had flooded…who knows why.  They gave us a room with a king and rollaway because that is all they could find.  They did compensate by giving us some points back and a few free things like parking and breakfast.  We are all tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep.  This room did cost me 10K starwood points but they did say I would get some back.  Oh and I went to get ice and this floor’s machine was broken.  Sigh.  Not my favorite hotel.

old building in san pedro

old building in san pedro

Queen Mary in Long Beach

Queen Mary in Long Beach

not a light house, not sure what it is.

not a light house, not sure what it is.

beach along the coast

beach along the coast

more beach with a pier

more beach with a pier

beach with a hill

beach with a hill

beach down a hill

beach down a hill

trees along the route

trees along the route

hotel Del Coronado

hotel Del Coronado

old picture of the hotel

old picture of the hotel

something on the side of the road for miles between the Hotel and Imperial beach. Don't know what they are

something on the side of the road for miles between the Hotel and Imperial beach. Don’t know what they are

Tijuana and the Mexican Flag

Tijuana and the Mexican Flag

the border wall

the border wall

Mexico only. we didn't go there

Mexico only. we didn’t go there

old buildings in San Diego

old buildings in San Diego

More old buildings in San Diego

More old buildings in San Diego

balboa park

balboa park

crazy cactus bush in the park

crazy cactus bush in the park

rose garden in the park

rose garden in the park

Traffic got in our way

July 14 2016, Day 14 Ventura, CA – San Pedro, Ca.

We left the hotel, Pam cooked.  It was a beautiful day although cloudy.  Stopped at Zuma Beach in Malibu to make pictures. Saw Santa Monica pier and headed to Venice Beach where we walked the canals and down thru Muscle Beach.  Drove into LA and over Mulholland Drive and up Encino Dr.  Looked down on LA from top of mountain. Ate lunch in Beverly Hills.  Saw Hollywood sign.  Traffic took up all our time, headed to San Pedro. Saw Angels Gate light house and breakwater.   Had dinner at the yacht club. Saw Point Fermin light house and Point Vincente light house.  Camped at the Residence in Torrance Ca.  Mileage 150.6 miles.

We left our nice room this morning to head down the coast to Venice Beach.  As we were leaving the hotel, we saw 4 guys scrubbing footballs.   Why???  They must like clean balls.  They all had Dallas shirts on.  It was hazy, really just the clouds that had not burned off, but it made for dull pictures.  We drove Hwy 1, the Pacific Coast Hwy.  Along the way we saw many farms with their plants under tents.  They really treat their plants nice.  I’ve heard about Happy California Cows.  I guess these farmers thought they should make their plants happy.   Susan is still lusting over the magenta flowers and has a multitude of pictures so she can figure out what they are.  Pam wants some too.

I was driving down the road, yes, I got to drive again for a few minutes and my car drove by.  Oh, I like my car.  We then saw people camping on the beach.  After that we stopped at Zuma Beach at Malibu and made some pictures.  We saw a bunch of little kids in a surfing club.  We then passed Pepperdine University in Malibu and none of us realized that it was in Malibu.  We think it would be a cool place to go to university.  When we passed by the Getta Villa, Pam called it opulence on the hill.  Then we got caught in the San Monica pier parking lot for about 20 minutes.  They tried to charge us $20, but we told them our GPS sent us in there and they laughed and let us drive thru.  I think we were behind about 10 others that had the same problem.  We finally arrived at Venice Beach and walked over the canals and walked thru the crowds down to Muscle Beach.  We don’t like crowds so we headed back to the car.

Headed to LA.  Oh my.   Traffic.  More Traffic, LA is a traffic disaster.  We drove Mulholland Dr and Encino Dr.  for the gorgeous views of LA.  They go up, up, up, up, at least a 10% grade and down, down, down, another 10% grade and curve, curve, down, up, ….  If they had snow like NC there would be a lot of dead people.   While we were up high we saw the LA smog, lots of it. That’s why our pictures look fuzzy.  Pam gave us a lesson about Nitrogen Dioxide (Smog).  It smells like chlorine and has a yellowish color. We rode down thru Belair into Beverly Hills to have lunch.  Ok, our lunch consisted of fruit we had in the car, while we were driving.  The traffic was horrendous and we were so far behind schedule.  Did I mention we don’t like traffic and are really starting to HATE LA?   We inched our way to Hollywood.  As we sat on the I10 we realized that we were not going to be able to

  • Slide down the glass slide at the top of the bank building
  • See the space shuttle at the science center
  • Drive thru Lincoln Heights
  • See the walk of fame
  • Drive by the move studios
  • Or any other fun thing that LA has to offer

Did I mention that we hate traffic!!  When our GPS said I have found a shorter route and it saves 6 minutes, we took each and every detour.  We drove back on mostly surface streets. Who knows what kinds of neighborhoods we were passing thru.  We kept our doors locked.  When we were finally able to move, it was late so we headed to San Pedro.   We went to see the Break Water and the Angel’s Gate Lighthouse.  It was finally peaceful.  No traffic, cool, breezy and not many people.

Then we ate supper at the Yacht Club (22nd Street Landing) and it had a beautiful view from our table.  After dinner we went to the Fermin Light House.  The landscape around the light house was quiet interesting and unique.   Then Pam drove up a BIG hill with a stop sign at the top of it.  It was like a 10% grade.  Of course she tried to stop.  Susan and I screamed go, don’t stop all the way, we will slide down the hill backwards.  We drove the coast to the next light house.   We loved this drive it was quiet and pretty and we said, we could live here if someone gave us a house.  Then we saw the sign which said “Caution: constant land movement next .8 of a mile”.  Oh no.   The road was not good and looked like it had moved all different ways.  We agreed, we didn’t want to live in THAT area.

Then we went to the Point Vincente Lighthouse and it was all gated off and closed.  Of course, we got out of the van and went up to the fence held our cameras high so we could get pictures.  They will never know, unless they look at my blog.  But who looks at my blog????

Then we drove up, up and up and down, down, down to our Residence Inn hotel in Torrance Ca.  Another 20K Marriot points and we are still getting free nights.  Well, last night when I booked this, I was told I would have to pay the taxes for the area which came out to be $.07.  I’m still not sure of that tax rate when the cost is $0????  We will see when I get the final bill tomorrow.

Our room is nice but NOTHING like our apartment from last night.

Marsh land near the coast

Marsh land near the coast

travel along the coast. This is NOT North Carolina

travel along the coast. This is NOT North Carolina

Cut thru the mountain, right at the coast

Cut thru the mountain, right at the coast

the beach

the beach

Pam and Claire getting their feet wet. Claire is holding Allie's Dino

Pam and Claire getting their feet wet. Claire is holding Allie’s Dino

our feet getting wet

our feet getting wet

Susan's pink flowers

Susan’s pink flowers

cliff beach - we are definitely not in NC

cliff beach – we are definitely not in NC

malibu houses I sure wouldn't want one of these in NC

malibu houses I sure wouldn’t want one of these in NC

Long Beach. Long flat beach

Long Beach. Long flat beach

Malibu pier. Got this picture from the parking lot we were driving thru

Malibu pier. Got this picture from the parking lot we were driving thru

Muscle beach

Muscle beach

more flat beach

more flat beach

sisters at Venice walkway

sisters at Venice walkway

Venice canals

Venice canals

cool feature about some cameras - continuous - you can catch the wave crashing on the rock. :-)

cool feature about some cameras – continuous – you can catch the wave crashing on the rock. 🙂

view from Mulholland Dr

view from Mulholland Dr

did i say I hate traffic???

did i say I hate traffic???

break water - like picture dandy took. Houses where he took picture

break water – like picture dandy took. Houses where he took picture

light house at end of breakwater

light house at end of breakwater

view at dinner

view at dinner

view of the shipyards

view of the shipyards

cool big tree

cool big tree

lighthouse

lighthouse

another lighthouse

another lighthouse

view from the coast at sunset

view from the coast at sunset

view of San Pedro area from the hills

view of San Pedro area from the hills

California Here We Come

DAY 13 July 13 2016 Las Vegas to Ventura CA

Left early to beat the heat in the desert.  We traveled the Arrowhood Hwy through Searchlight and sometime after entering CA picked up route 66, the National Trails Hwy.  Saw many Joshua Trees and Yucca plants as we drove through the desert.  The road was like a roller coaster (wavy) and we bounced all around. There was sand in the road some places. It was very desolate driving through the desert – hot, dry and long.  We stopped at Goffs to make pictures of the old schoolhouse.  Stopped to visit the Amboy crater – an inactive volcano and collected some rocks.  We passed a bicycle traveling route 66 in the heat near Ludlow with a huge pack, wow. Saw several dust devils along the way. Ate lunch at DiNapolis Italian restaurant in Barstow where the temp had dropped from 103 to 101. Stopped at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.  Went over newer bridge in Victorville than Dandy crossed.  Route 66 turned into I 15 south at San Bernardino County.  We started down the steep grades with drop offs on both sides of the mountain and also winds and curves.  As we go down the temp continues to drop.  Lots of lanes and people driving like madmen.  We continue to go down, down, down and finally take hwy 126 w toward Ventura.  Pretty towns with lots of beautiful flowers along the way.  Passed orange orchards. Reached Ventura and it was 69 degrees and very windy but Pam was determined to get in the Pacific.   Picked up supplies at the store and met some nice people.  Camped at the Residence Inn in Oxnard (Ventura).  Mileage: 459.1

Since we sweltered in the heat yesterday and knew we were traveling backroads through the Mojave Desert most of the day, we decided to get ourselves out of bed early and get on the road. We stopped to fill the car with gas and they wouldn’t take a credit card, any credit card.. Seriously?  So we just go to another one but I had to leave my credit card inside while I pumped the gas. Do I look like a criminal? Passed a dust hazard sign but we just laughed because our car is already a dust hazard.  We had too much time to think so we have now solved the world’s problems ie solar cars and other inventions.   Just ask us.  We searched for Searchlight but couldn’t find it.  Solved even more problems.

We made it to California.  Dandy had said “we are now in the country that left in search of”.  We hope not.  It is still desert here.  Lots of it.  We do see some white flowers beside the road – probably the result of the recent floods.  The streams are still all dry though.  There are call boxes every two miles giving us a little comfort as we travel through the desert.  I got so bored that I worked for 4 hours in the backseat.   The roads were a real mess.  They had melted in one place, they were covered with sand in others, and they went up and down and up and down and up and down.  There were several times we were afraid we would launch the car.  If It weren’t for my iron stomach I would never have made it.   Dandy camped at Goffs when he thought they had reached the California he dreamed of.  It was night time though and we are sure he was sorely disappointed when he awoke and learned he was still in the middle of the desert.  We were so bored that Pam slowed the car down just to read a road sign.   A volcano broke our boredom.  It is not every day that you see a beautifully formed  black volcano  and lava field right in front of you.  Of course we pulled off to get pictures and pick of some of the volcanic rocks.  Did you know that black volcanic rocks get very hot when it is 103 degrees?  Susan learned this fact when I wouldn’t open the door.  She put them under my seat for payback.   As we drove further we began to find remains of other volcanos.  It felt like we were in a volcano.

We passed through Bagdad and Siberia but they were both gone.  The area did look and felt like Bagdad though.  I am a biker and Susan rides too but we just about died when we saw a biker with a heavy load riding through the desert at 103 degrees along route 66.  Is he really going to ride the whole route 66 in the middle of the summer?  We were hot inside an air-conditioned car.  We saw several dust devils and were glad we were in a car and not on a bike.

Route 66 connects into I 40 briefly going into Barstow.  Sadly Stephanie it breaks off again before the end of I40 so we didn’t get to see the end or take a pic for you. Back on 66 again we stop by a bottle tree ranch, and yes, we got pictures for you.

Route 66 turns into I 15 in San Bernardino County, then the road drops off the mountain.  I mean straight down.  The temp does the same thing.  This is backwards than NC where the temps are lower in the mountains than the foothills.  California drivers are crazy.  Susan was driving again on the windy mountain roads at a good speed and some people were weaving through traffic going at least 100.  The traffic continued to be fast and heavy all around the outer LA area.  When we saw the sign for Pasadena we started singing the little old lady from Pasadena… Go granny go granny go granny go. We finally got out of the major traffic and onto hwy 126 to Ventura.  I found a place where we could have a honey tasting.  Of course they were closed when we got there.  🙁    We passed through the orange orchards and by the pretty flowers and commented that the honey would have tasted very good with all of these sweet things around.  So I found something else for us to do.  Trip Advisor recommended a big floating granite ball.  We drove through a beautiful little town to find it , but it was not to be found.  We didn’t get to go to the ball after all.  We did find a little old lady flying down the road in an electric wheelchair with taillights. Of course we said, go granny go.

When we arrived in Ventura it was 69 degrees and windy.  Pam needed her ocean fix nonetheless. Pam stepped in the cold water and was satisfied, so now we can turn around and go back home to NC :). We arrived to find that our motel room is really an apartment with 2 floors and a full kitchen.  Yea! And I only used 20,000 points for this room. It is a Residence Inn and is just outside of Ventura California.

mine on the hill near Boulder, Nv

mine on the hill near Boulder, Nv

flat road, again and again

flat road, again and again

flat road, again and again

flat road, again and again

bouncy road

bouncy road

flat road, again and again

flat road, again and again

Goffs school house

Goffs school house

Route 66

Route 66

oasis

oasis

Mountains

Mountains

all sizes and shapes but still desert

all sizes and shapes but still desert

more flat road

more flat road

another oasis

another oasis

rocks on the road - people wrote words with the rocks

rocks on the road – people wrote words with the rocks

dry river bed

dry river bed

susan picking up hot lava rocks

susan picking up hot lava rocks

mystery statue in the middle of the desert

mystery statue in the middle of the desert

Volcano and lava field

Volcano and lava field

another volcano

another volcano

bottle tree ranch

bottle tree ranch

coming into San Bernardino

coming into San Bernardino

more mountains

more mountains

our new room. My favorite place yet

our new room. My favorite place yet

and the kitchen

and the kitchen

small town near Puri

small town near Puri

go granny go. She has tail lights on her wheel chair

go granny go. She has tail lights on her wheel chair

old building I like

old building I like

flowers in the road

flowers in the road

first view of the beach

first view of the beach

Pam getting her feet wet

Pam getting her feet wet

tall palm trees

tall palm trees

It’s a one month mission: to explore strange new worlds…

Day 12 St George UT – Las Vegas, NV

Claire did not sleep well last night.  Ate breakfast and headed on a side trip to Snow Canyon where we think we found the Black Fire Desert. Trip through the canyon was beautiful – red, black and white rocks. Headed toward Vegas and the land looks like desert with only small shrubs – no grass. Crossed into Arizona through breathtaking Virgin River Gorge.  Continued to drop in elevation as we traveled down through the gorge to the river. Rode beside the river in the flatland at 2000 ft elevation.  Took 91 through Beaver Dam/Littlefield and into Nevada before getting into Mesquite.  Took 169 into Lawndale and Moapa Valley. Stopped at the Lost City Museum in Overton.  We were not able to see St. Thomas because of the recent flood.  Continued to Valley of Fire.  The rocks truly looked like flames jutting up out of the ground.  Checked into the hotel and went to get car serviced.  The temp was 113.  Ate at Table34LasVegas. Camped at Hyatt Place in Las Vegas.  Mileage -223.2

I had a restless sleep last night (what little I did get).  That started to worry me as Dandy’s journal had stated they had rough sleep and then multiple things going wrong during the day.  I’m glad the rest of our day went off well.

We had breakfast at the hotel, then took off early to try to beat the heat.  It started out in the mid 80s and we knew it was going to get much hotter.   We took a side trip up into the Snow Canyon and Red Cliffs area.    The location is only about 20 miles from where we stayed.  On the drive up, we weren’t sure if the canyon road we were driving to would be dirt or paved, but we figured we could turn around if needed once we saw it.  On the way up there, we saw some beautiful red mountains and rock formations, and near the turn off there were whitish rock formations to the left.  We were so happy when we turned into the park and the road was paved.  We paid our $6 to get into the park and drove thru it.   The sites were fantastic.  Intermixed with the red and white rock formations were black lava rocks from lava flows.  We now think Dandy might have come this way as this is the closest thing we’ve seen to the Black Fire Desert.  The black volcanic rock next to the red and white rock formations was breath taking.  The sand at the bottom was a very fine red sand and if you walked in it, it would seep into your shoes or sandals.  Someone started turning up the heat in the oven so we headed on.

Once we left the canyons, we entered more desert area.  Part of our route was on back roads but most was on I15 which is where Dandy’s original route passed.   We left Utah and entered Arizona.  We were only in Arizona for about 20 miles but we all agree, it was the most dramatic views we’ve seen so far on this trip.   We traveled down the Virgin River Gorge Canyon.  The views through the canyon were beyond belief, we kept going down, down, down, curvy road thru the sheer mountains on both sides, gusty winds (of course Susan was driving – she always gets the windy times).  Near the bottom of the canyon we saw the river and the road followed the river for the last several miles.  I know the pictures will not show all we saw, I just hope you can get a feel for it, BUT, if you are anywhere near the area, take I15 thru the 25 miles of north west Arizona.  You will not be disappointed.

Once we exited the canyon our view ahead was flat.  The change in scenery was dramatic in itself.    We then saw a triple Fed ex truck heading up into the canyon in the opposite direction.  I would hate to have to drive that route with a triple truck.

We stayed on I15 until Littlefield where we left I15 and the route switched back to back roads.  Somewhere along the line, we switched to Pacific Time.   The valleys are no longer green and we are definitely in the desert.  The temp was now about 101 and it was only 10am.   We followed the old road from Littleton to Mesquite, NV were we rejoined I15 because we could not take the old route.  It went from Mesquite to St Thomas, but a good portion of that area is now under Lake Mead. We drove to exit 93 then headed south to rejoin the route on the other side.

Along the way we stopped at the Lost City Museum which talked about the old Indian settlements in the area and about cities, such as St Thomas that no longer exist.  Susan and Pam did some shopping at the gift shop.  We also learned that even though you can see the foundations for St Thomas because of the California drought, the flooding rains they had last week did damage to the road to access and that area is closed while it is being repaired.  We were also told it was a long hike even if the road was open, and the temp was now more than 104 so we passed.   We picked up the route to head into the Valley of Fire.  On the way we had a road runner cross the road in front of us.  I guess they were smaller than I thought they would be.  We were passing thru a miniature version of what we passed in Arizona.  I’m sure we would have thought it was great but our expectations had changed by what we already had seen.

Then we entered the Valley of Fire.  Oh my, another wonderful set of views.   Susan had just been thru part of the valley back in March so she sat in the back seat and I drove.  It felt good to be driving again.  With all these backroads we’ve been taking, I’ve had to spend most of the time navigating and getting directions to things we want to see.   Pam was in charge of the camera, but I took it over when I could stop and get a good picture.   The initial portion of the road had red rocks jutting up and they truly looked like fire frozen into stone.  It was gorgeous. Then we hit a section of road that was really curvy and the pictures needed to be precise so we did a Chinese fire drill.   Susan drove, I sat shotgun with the camera and Pam moved to the back seat.  I’m hoping a lot of the shots are good.  We learned that one section of the area is where a lot of the star trek episodes were filmed, and I do say we felt like we were on another world.  I sure hope it was winter when they filmed as it is HOT out there.

We saw what looked like a ram crossing the road and a white lizard.  I just don’t understand how anything can live in this area.  I would die of heat stroke if I did.  Each time I got out of the car, I had to drink a bunch of water once I got back in.  The air just sucks all the water out of you. We decided that we are not hardy enough to have moved out here like the pioneers.

Next we headed into Vegas to the hotel.  We wanted an early day.  We called National car rental up and asked them if we should do an oil change since we have already put 3500 miles on the van.  They tried to get us scheduled and then just told us to go to Firestone as they have an account with them.  Susan and Pam took off there and I stayed and worked on the blog.  We got an oil change and got then to check the air filter and fluid levels.  We have at least 3500 more miles to go and in this heat we want the van to be in the best shape.  It’s now 113.

Susan and Pam returned.  They said they met the nicest man Vahan Aslarryan “Bear” from the Firestone in Vegas.  They enjoyed getting to know him and learning about his life and really appreciated his help in getting them on their way so quickly.  You made their day “Bear”.

Had dinner tonight with Lauren and Pete DiPrete.  I’ve not seen them in years and it was good to catch up with them.  I hope they can both get back east to visit soon.  We then drove down the Las Vegas strip to show Pam all the hotels.

Tonight we are staying at the Hyatt Place in Las Vegas.  It is 8000 Hyatt points but Hyatt just let me sign up for a promotion yesterday that I get 10% of my points back that I use before Oct 31, so the hotel was really only 7200.  Cool.

Into the Black Fire Canyon

Into the Black Fire Desert

This is really the Snow Canyon but we think dandy called it the Black Fire Desert

This is really the Snow Canyon but we think dandy called it the Black Fire Desert

more canyon

more canyon

look at the different colors

look at the different colors

now the white mountains

now the white mountains

Petrified sand dune

Petrified sand dune

Susan in front of the lava

Susan in front of the lava

More canyon

More canyon

more canyon

more canyon

on the road

on the road

on the riad

on the riad

more road

more road

going into the Arizona Virgin Canyon

going into the Arizona Virgin Canyon

see that yellow dot at the bottom of the giant granite. now zoom in and the red dot is a car. That gives you the size

see that yellow dot at the bottom of the giant granite. now zoom in and the red dot is a car. That gives you the size

thru the winding road

thru the winding road

alongthe winding road

along the winding road

more of the canyon

more of the canyon

the cliffs on both sides of the highway

the cliffs on both sides of the highway

The river thru the canyon

The river thru the canyon

the flat right after the hills

the flat right after the hills

the mini grand canyon

the mini grand canyon

a cut in the old road

a cut in the old road

cactus

cactus

the long flat road ahead

the long flat road ahead

cave in the red fire valley

cave in the red fire valley

the fire valley rocks

the fire valley rocks

into the fire valley

into the fire valley

yellow hills in the fire valley

yellow hills in the fire valley

black hills

black hills

the 7 sisters

the 7 sisters

thru the valley

thru the valley

yellow hills

yellow hills

look at the colors

look at the colors

more of the valley

more of the valley

again the different colors

again the different colors

The tall fingers

The tall fingers

flowing colors

flowing colors

the road out

the road out

Pam in a cave

Pam in a cave

113 degrees

113 degrees

The Heat is On.

Day 11 July 11, 2016 Provo UT – St George UT

Fine nights rest.  Before leaving, we didn’t get anything, not even breakfast at the hotel.   Went thru Nephi luckily didn’t have to work on car, didn’t even wash it.  Got to Fillmore about lunch picnicked there.  Our car was just beside the dance hall. Doesn’t look like it’s rained here in a while. Headed south, passed thru Old Cove Fort and saw Spanish fort that was used as protection against the Indians.  We passed thru Beaver.  There isn’t much left. Passed thru partial desert land all afternoon.  Drove to St George with sunlight still to spare.  Ate dinner on top of the cliff and camped at Hampton Inn in St George.  (see Dandy’s journal for Days Sept 28th and 29th)  Mileage – 306.1

In the morning we walked outside – what happened did we sleep through summer, it’s like 50 degrees, we all had to put on sweaters. We had checked the temperature for today and it was to get up to 100+ so we were dressed in cool clothes.

We left the hotel without eating breakfast.  This was the first hotel where breakfast wasn’t included.   We drove around for a while and everything was closed so we stopped by Walmart. They didn’t have a bakery but they did give us a recommendation.   Pam got honey in her hair while we ate and had to go to the bathroom and wash it out.

We were driving on the ArrowHead trail today.  The area was flat, flat, flat, then suddenly MOUNTAIN.  But we stayed flat on the road for a while and just traveled thru the mountain valley.  The mountains followed us for a good portion of the drive.   We passed thru several towns of not much importance. We were on a dirt road for about 5 miles and a road that was paved that was bumpier than the dirt road.   We passed by a sign Grouch’s OK Service.  That is sure not what I would want to call my place.

There were a lot of farms in the valley and the small towns reminded us of many similar small towns.   On one of the roads, there was construction.  Pam played chicken with the truck until Susan and I said PAM!   We saw a fox as a road kill but the birds beat us to it, and then we saw a rabbit that the birds beat us to. We drove by Yuba Lake, a lake with bright aqua blue water.  It was a really small lake that had ski boats on it.   I think we could have used a paddle boat across it but people seemed thrilled there was water.  Shortly after that we drove on a red road.  The pavement was probably made out of the crushed red rocks.

Even driving thru the valley we were at an elevation of about 6000 feet and saw an area where a large forest fire had been.   Then we stopped at Filmore for lunch.  It was the first capital of the Utah Territory.  We couldn’t find a place that Pam could eat in town so we decided to picnic.  We stopped in front of the old state house.  I took some pictures and we sat down to eat at the only other table in the sun.  It was next to 3 women who were also picnicking.  Sun you say, why would you eat in the sun?  Well, it’s 1pm and it’s still in the 60s and a cool breeze.   At the end of lunch we started talking to the women and I asked them if they knew where the dance hall was.  They said no.  I then said it was the Bartholomew dance hall from the 20s.  Oh, they said, that family owns a store down the road and they gave us the names of the people.   They said we should go into the state house though.  I ran over to see what was inside.   I talked to the young man at the front and told him why I was here and that I just wanted to see the pictures.  It was still $2.   I then mentioned that Dandy said he went to the dance hall and slept nearby.  He goes, this is a dance hall.  They’ve always used the 3rd floor as a dance hall and still do today.  The old floor used to be bouncy and so many people loved dancing up there.  I now think that this might be where Dandy camped since there is the wide open space in front of the building.   I was so happy I went in.

I saw a dust devil as we were driving down the road.  Pam had never seen one before.

We then got back on the road and headed to Old Cove Fort.  I don’t think it’s changed much since Dandy was there.  It’s survived all this time because it’s made of volcano rock and therefore didn’t rot like most of the forts of that era.

Our next stop was at Beaver and we just drove thru it we did see an old hotel.

We got to Cedar City and it was the biggest city we’d been in since Salt Lake City.  There we found the land locked lighthouse.  Our next stop was Summit where we saw what looked like an old filling station but it is now the post office.  Susan had mail she needed to send so we handed it to the postmaster as she was putting the mail in her car.   The temperature is now up to 83 but it still felt pleasant.

As we drove all day, the scenery changed, not drastically, but different scenes came and went.  I tried to capture it in pictures.  As we got closer to St George, the rocks became redder and the scenery more dramatic. We also lost a couple thousand feet in altitude but gained more and more heat.  We then got into St George.  It looked like a mini grand canyon with red cliffs and layered rock outcroppings.  The temperature was 103.  It is HOT!!!

In St. George where we checked into the hotel and looked at all there was to do.  There was a dinosaur museum that we discovered closed at 6pm.  It was 5:30.  We hoped in the car and drove over.  We got there 20 minutes before it closed.   We rushed thru but still, it was great.  The museum was built on top of the actual site.   This used to be the shoreline for Lake Dixie and as the water came and receded, layers of mud covered the previous layers of dried mud.  This captured many of the dinosaur footprints and even some fossils.    We finished in 25 minutes then went into the shop for 5 minutes.   In the parking lot we found “North Dakota” license plate we were missing. It had to be one of the employees.  Yea.  Now all we are missing are a few of the north east states.  We even have Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. It is really hard to find these on the back roads.  We found a license plate totem pole but none of the ones we needed were on it.

Next we headed towards the red hills in one direction of town.   I navigated on my phone again and we drove over the “not” river.  What they call a river we would call a small creek, but if it can make these rocks walls, wow.    I spotted the sign for the “horse” hotel.  Yes, this is a hotel for horses, seriously.  I guess enough people travel thru here and need a place to store their horses for the evening.   So cool.

Our restaurant find was the Cliffside restaurant.  We made reservations and headed back to change.   We drove up the side of the cliff on one side of town and got a wonderful table by the window.  You could see all the views from up above.  It was wonderful, the food, the view and the company.  What a way to end the day.

Hotel is Hampton Inn in St George.  I used 20K points for this room.

in Provo. flat.... Mountain!

in Provo. flat…. Mountain!

mountains - and lake in front of it.

mountains – and lake in front of it.

old hotel

finally found our apple orchard

finally found our apple orchard

ranch and rolling hills

ranch and rolling hills

lavender field

lavender field

green farm land

green farm land

back on the dirt road

back on the dirt road

really aqua blue lake

really aqua blue lake

old hotel we saw.

old hotel we saw.

the mountains are getting bigger again

the mountains are getting bigger again

river marsh area

river marsh area

cut in the back road

cut in the back road

old state house

old state house

picnicking out front

picnicking out front

the old and new dance hall on the top floor

the old and new dance hall on the top floor

forest fire area

forest fire area

picking apples

picking apples

old cove fort

old cove fort

our van. ;-)

our van. 😉

mountains getting redder

mountains getting redder

more variety

more variety

why is there a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere

why is there a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere

mesas and canyon

mesas and canyon

baby dino tracks at the museum

baby dino tracks at the museum

lots of footprints

lots of footprints

layers of the dried mud at the museum

layers of the dried mud at the museum

after the museum head to the red hills

after the museum head to the red hills

over the NOT river

over the NOT river

Horse hotel.

Horse hotel.

views of the area from the cliff

views of the area from the cliff

another one

another one

our table at the restaurant

our table at the restaurant

sun setting on one of the rock formations

sun setting on one of the rock formations

I thought you were supposed to float in salt water, not sink

Day 10 July 10 2016 Green River Wy to Provo UT

 Breakfast outside at foot of Kettle Mountain.  Left hotel about 9:00 am. Country is very beautiful with high mountains so artistically and beautifully colored with many colors.  The valleys are fertile. Saw only two small flocks of sheep on the way.  Got to Salt Lake City and picnicked at the lake.  Could see salt for miles before we got to the Great Salt Lake.  After lunch went to the Mormon Tabernacle but choir was not singing today.  We heard a recording and heard a pin drop at 200 feet.  Camped at Provo UT in a Courtyard by Marriott.  (See Dandy’s entries for Sept 26 and 27 Mileage: 

 Why would you stay at a hotel like this and not eat outside….so we took our food outside to the big bbq area where all of the tables were empty (we don’t know why) and enjoyed breakfast with the best view in Green River.  As we were packing the luggage into the van, the cart decided to make a run for it and Pam laughed while Susan and I went running down the parking lot after it. Mileage – 279.6

Cinderella drove “all” of us back to the beautiful rocks and scenery we took pictures of last night so she could enjoy the “ball” along with the sisters.  We took a short side trip to see the Green River Cliffs that were in a famous painting ( Pam and I didn’t see these last night. Honestly).

As we left the Green River area there was an abrupt change in scenery and geography. The rocks gave way to smaller rolling hills that only had patches of grass on them….the landscape is now very dry.  As we crossed one ridge we could see snow topped mountains in the distance. It was Sunday morning and we could certainly feel God’s presence and majesty as we drove through the mountains.

Our path took us over “Smith” Fork River to Lyman and Fort Bridger.  Lyman was like an oasis in the middle of the desert.  Suddenly it was GREEN! The town also had beautiful flower baskets hanging on every lamppost.  It seemed so out of place but also very refreshing to us.  We took a slight detour to try to get a close look at the canyon and forded two rivers that we didn’t even see.  Rivers are certainly tiny here. Sheep no longer seem to be the main industry here, instead they are raising windmills around here and doing a good job of it.  We saw several windmill ranches.  We passed one ranch with a gate covered in antlers.  We realized we missed our opportunity for a high dollar motel when we passed by an old garage motel (like those that existed when Dandy came through) that advertised $1 and up per night.  It was still in good shape.

Someone could open a business here cleaning billboards.  They are so covered with dust and dirt from the dry land and wind.  Our car looks just as bad.  I am very, very glad I didn’t bring my car.

We stopped in Evanston and did the river walk.  We took pictures of the river from the bridge.  It is about the size of a creek in our part of the country but at least we could see it unlike the two others.  Our science lesson for today was desalination and reverse osmosis.  About this time we entered “Utah!” (Tim and Nicky we can hear you screaming it).  We go down, down, “down in the valley” that is still over 4000 feet high, and we are certainly hearing the wind blow.  In fact it is blowing the car all over the place, again.  We passed several dams that held big ponds.  They must think they are giant lakes because they are water skiing on them…we are not sure how.

The people here drive like maniacs.  The road was dropping at a 6% grade for over 10 miles and it was curvy.  Susan knows how to drive mountains and was driving the speed limit, but boats and trailers were flying by even with the wind.  I can’t believe there were no accidents. We make it to Salt Lake City in spite of the crazy drivers and go straight to the Great Salt Lake to picnic for lunch.  We drove by the old Saltair but it was not at its prime as it was when Dandy came by.  We decided to head to the marina at the national park.  While we were eating at the picnic table we met Pahoo, a Navaho volunteer at the park.  He regaled us with stories of his life and his ancestors.  He told us his name meant: look at sky, pee on shoe.  Today was his birthday.  He was a real character.  Then we headed to the lake.  We all put on our beach shoes so we could get in the water.  There were tiny brine flies everywhere at the water’s edge…billions upon billions.  They made the ground black.  Pam braved the mess on the ground and waked right through them to get to the water.  Susan and I were going to follow until Pam stepped into the water and the lake tried to eat her.  She sunk in the muck like quick sand and had to literally dig her shoe out.  We decided not to follow and just laughed.  We got pics.

We headed into Salta Laka City (Nancy, Stephanie, Don, and Patrick and Kim) also known to the rest of the world as Salt Lake City.  We get inside temple square and Susan and Pam think that the temple is the tabernacle and argue with me about it.  Don’t they know the rule that “Claire is always right and Barbara gets the keyboard”.  We made it to the tabernacle but the choir didn’t.  We had to hear a recording :(.  It was still fabulous. We also got to hear the pin drop at 200 ft and heard the speaker’s voice as she turned 360 degrees without a microphone.  We were sitting in the middle of the tabernacle.  We saw the temple from the outside and went through the Beehive home (the home of Brigham Young).  I brought the van around to pick up the sisters.  As I was waiting, Susan and Pam snuck up behind me and opened the door.  I swear I thought I had a heart attack.  Do you think she was trying to get me back for last night?  We saw the capital and the huge Union Pacific train station.  We also got a picture of the arrow head at the beginning of the Arrowhead Hwy that Dandy took.    We saw an old hotel called the Grand American and looked up the date that it was built to see if Dandy had seen it too.  Don’t think so, it was built in 2001 …for the Olympics maybe? On one of our apps we found a place along the road that was supposed to have a miniature version of Mt. Rushmore that got good reviews. We had been looking forward to seeing it.  Guess where it was… In a mini golf…geez…really!   And the mini golf was closed.  Everything is closed here on Sunday.  We took the Arrowhead Hwy, US 89 into Provo.  It follows the same valley that Salt Lake is located in all the way to Provo. The mountains on the side were beautiful.  We stopped in Provo for the night and camped at the Courtyard by Marriott. We asked the man at the front desk if he could recommend a good place to eat.  As he started to answers I added, “That is open”.  He said that makes it hard. We had to settle for Red Lobster.

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Provo, UT and I used 15K of my Marriott points.  Another free night.  So far I’m not real impressed.  Turns out there is no breakfast included and the room seems smaller than usual.

view in the morning from our room

view in the morning from our room

The Cliffs of Green River

The Cliffs of Green River

Driving thru the cliffs

Driving thru the cliffs

back to the grass

back to the grass

slowly changing landscape

slowly changing landscape

mountains in the background

mountains in the background

green rolling hills

green rolling hills

more mesas

more mesas

Pretty little green town

Pretty little green town

Side trip to the canyon

Side trip to the canyon

closer to the canyon but they were really mountains

closer to the canyon but they were really mountains

antler ranch

antler ranch

into the valley and the mountain behind us

into the valley and the mountain behind us

garage motel - $1 and up

garage motel – $1 and up

cool rock formations

cool rock formations

Park City ski area

Park City ski area

green mountains in the distance

green mountains in the distance

more curves and rugged mountains

more curves and rugged mountains

New Wymoning crop

New Wymoning crop

curvy interstate

curvy interstate

cows

cows

train tracks and section of the old road beside interstate

train tracks and section of the old road beside interstate

more double decker trains and changing countryside

more double decker trains and changing countryside

more winding interstate

more winding interstate

Saltair - it's seen better days

Saltair – it’s seen better days

Sun on the mountain - yes that is snow

Sun on the mountain – yes that is snow

we found a chicken. But I couldn't throw and apple hard enough to knock that one out.

we found a chicken. But I couldn’t throw and apple hard enough to knock that one out.

The salt lake

The salt lake

pam and I. Turtle is with me. I take pictures every day with turtle and send all those and turtle shots to Allie- she loves turtles

pam and I. Turtle is with me. I take pictures every day with turtle and send all those and turtle shots to Allie- she loves turtles

Pam sinking in the great Salt Lake

Pam sinking in the great Salt Lake

Pam's feet after getting out.

Pam’s feet after getting out.

Mormon tabernacle

Mormon tabernacle

Mormon temple

Mormon temple

Beehive house

Beehive house

Pam and I are in the dog house

Day 9 – Ft Collins – Green River

We started our day at the “Camp”bells soup can at the school and rode 60 miles north to Cheyenne Wym.  Saw no coyotes on the prairie. Traveled thru sparsely settled and barren country all day.  Passed thru only 5 towns over 3000 people. Didn’t stop at a station and watch some cowboys drive some cattle in the stock yards.  Didn’t camp at a ranchman’s yard.  Was pretty hot and the wind howled all day as we drove the route.  Hay cost too much so Pam got her pillow out of the suitcase.

Country hasn’t changed and is still very desolate.  Nothing resembling purple sage growing.  A coal mine occasionally.  Rock River only town of over two hundred people.  Hills have peculiar, red, russet and gray colors.  The work of erosion has made them resemble all kinds of beings and objects.  Most of them level on top.  Camped at a hotel in Green River near the banks of the Green River which is very beautiful.  High cliffs right behind our hotel site.  (see day Sept 23rd and 24th from Dandy’s journal)

Mileage 394.2

We did get up early and headed to breakfast.  We’ve stayed at so many hotels, we forgot our room number but Pam remembered it.  We are going to have to write them down because everything is starting to run together.   On the way to Cheyenne, we passed by the giant Andy Warhol Campbell soup can.  Then my GPS got stuck and we missed our turn.  We drove several miles out of the way to get back on our route.

We hit the Wyoming border and learned that there are more people in the metro Charlotte area than the whole state of Wyoming.  We would definitely agree with that after our travels today.  We stopped by the welcome center and saw a dinosaur and got information on the Lincoln Hwy and all of southern Wyoming.  Next we headed to Cheyenne.   Downtown Cheyenne had several old buildings and the train depot.  They have large boots all around town and we took pictures of 6 of them.  We also drove past the capital and it was pretty but there was scaffolding around it so we didn’t get the true view.

 

We struck out on the Lincoln Highway and saw many interesting things.  We saw a double decker freight train and speed limit signs that can change.  We commented that it would be easy to hunt buffalo as we could see all the way to the horizon and there would be no place for the buffalo to hide.  (Like shooting fish in a barrel)   Our first stop was Buford.  It is the smallest town in the world.  Population 1.  (I guess that didn’t change the population of Wyoming much).  There is a store and gas station and there are no other towns for MILES around.  We then headed back on the route and saw the tree growing out of the rock in the median of the interstate.  There are left hand entrances so you can join the traffic circle around the tree.  There are no towns in site.   We took pictures.  Next we saw the Ames Pyramid on the dirt road hwy.  It was built to honor Lincoln.   After that we saw the Lincoln Head statue, and the Lincoln Highway Marker.  The altitude there was approximately 9000ft and it was as flat as can be with not a single mountain in site.  All the while the wind was “whipping down the plain”.   It really does … we had gusts of over 35 MPH.  (And we know this because they told us with flashing signs on the interstate).  Susan was driving and complained about the wind.  I can’t imagine driving, you can’t see the wind blowing as there is nothing to blow, and you can only feel the 35mph gusts hit the van with no warning or when you get out of the car you get blown away.  All without ANY warning.

We passed thru Medicine Bow National Forest – we didn’t understand the name as there were no trees.  We could understand if it was a National Park, but forest???  Seriously???

We drove into Laramie and saw the old town and saw some statues.  There was a festival going on and we walked thru it.  We then ate lunch at a quaint local bistro (Jeffrey’s Bistro).

When we left Laramie we were on a two lane highway with a 70 MPH speed limit. We saw a prairie dog race across the road.  Our van is covered in dust even inside all the cracks.  We’ve washed the windows a dozen times and still can’t see out. We can’t imagine what Dandy experienced on his journey with the dust and an open car.

Did we say there was nothing to see?  Our water drinking game was ANYTHING you see drink some water.  We got really thirsty.

We saw watering holes and a small salt lake, drink some water.

Did we tell you we drove almost all the way across the entire state of Wy and saw grass?   We saw a hay truck and Dandy would call it a mobile home.   We took a sip of water.  We saw a fossil cabin that is the oldest building in the world because it is made out of dinosaur bones and rocks. We took a sip of water.

Slowly landscape changed and small hills appeared but still no trees, houses, …civilization…..  It truly is amazing that there is so much land that is not inhabited around these parts.  On Hwy 30 we saw a car coming towards us about every 10 miles (hey remember they don’t have many people in the state).  Back on the interstate we saw more vehicles but most were truckers.  All this traffic was just transients.

Suddenly in the middle of the grass in the middle of nowhere we saw a refinery.  It was the Sinclair refinery.  Pam gave us a lesson on how a refinery works.  We drove thru the town “Sinclair” but it was called Parco when Dandy came thru.  The name changed during the depression when a Mr. Sinclair bought the land and renamed it Sinclair.

We went to Rawlings and saw the old prison that trip advisor says was built in 1980 but they got it wrong, it was 1880.  We saw 2 cool old houses and one was for sale if you would like to buy it.

Then we passed over the continental divide for the first time, we then passed it again and then for a final time.   We couldn’t see what side of it we were on because there was no water only grass.  So we drank to the signs.

Finally the geography started changing – we drank to that and finally started getting a little hydrated.  The grass turned into small hills.  The further west we went the more mesas we saw.  We actually saw one that looked like a giant tree stump (Paul Bunyan style).  It was big enough to fit a whole city on top.

When the geography started changing so did the speed limit, no it didn’t go down, it went up to 80 mph.  We were really thrilled to be riding on interstate for the first time as we were on the path of the highway or we couldn’t be on the path.

We actually saw 10 trees at the Table Rock exit.   Those were the first trees we had seen since……

We stopped at the Rock Springs, we weren’t impressed.

Then we drove the last 13 miles to Green River and the scenery was just breathtaking.   There were monoliths spread out over the area and we have two right outside our hotel window,

Turns out we went thru a town Purple Sage… how can you not see something like that on a back road when there is nothing much to see?  But we still didn’t see any purple sage.

After all the drink to that stuff, don’t get us wrong, the landscape is truly beautiful and the sky is bigger than we have ever seen.

Pam and I left to go to the only grocery store and it was across town.  We left Susan at the hotel to do laundry.  We are in the dog house tonight because on the way back we stopped several times to take pictures of the sun light glowing on the monoliths and the shadows they made.  Cinderella was not happy.  The clothes were washed and almost dried by the time we got back.  But, we did get some pretty pictures and we showed them to her.  She was still not happy.  She didn’t understand how far the grocery store really was….  Tomorrow we have to retrace our route so that she can see it to.

Tonight we stayed at the Hampton in for 30K points in Green river.   Our hotel is right in front of these rocks.  Check out our photos to see but check out this link to see an old postcard for the rocks.

https://www.popscreen.com/prod/MTU5NTE0MTk0/Old-Postcard-Tea-Kettle-Rock-Green-River-Wyoming-WY

giant Campbell soup can

giant Campbell soup can

giant buffalo on the hill

giant buffalo on the hill

boot in Cheyenne

boot in Cheyenne

Pam posing on another boot

Pam posing on another boot

building in Cheyenne

building in Cheyenne

double decker train

double decker train

the country

Antelope

more country

more country and old section of the highway

more views

more views

population 1

population 1

tree in a rock

tree in a rock

flintstone rocks

flintstone rocks

rocks - have a drink

rocks – have a drink

statue in Laramie

statue in Laramie

another statue, we think this one is the one on the license plates

another statue, we think this one is the one on the license plates

saw and old car

saw and old car

Lincoln statue

Lincoln statue

cut thru the mountain

cut thru the mountain

Ames pyramid

Ames pyramid

more highway now it's really flat

more highway now it’s really flat

oldest house in the world made with dinosaur bones

oldest house in the world made with dinosaur bones

old hotel in Sinclair

old hotel in Sinclair look at the car to the right.  our second old car

Lincoln highway markers

Lincoln highway markers

old road follows the telephone poles

old road follows the telephone poles

long road ahead

long road ahead

old bridge

old bridge

red russet mountains

red russet mountains

refinery

refinery

another old hotel

another old hotel

old theater.

old theater.

old prison

old prison

old house for sale

old house for sale

mesas

mesas

more mesas

more mesas

erosion hills

erosion hills

oh my

oh my

they are every where

they are every where

DSCF9436

our hotel with them behind it

our hotel with them behind it

shadows

shadows

right our hotel.  these are famous ones.

right our hotel. these are famous ones.

Rocky Mountain High

Day 8 July 8 Denver to Lakewood

Had a fine night’s rest. Ate breakfast and stopped by the store to get supplies and met nice man who gave us good advice.  Struck out for Red Rocks.  Giant, angular rocks jutting out of the ground.  Hiked up to the amphitheater in middle of rocks.

Left for Lookout Mountain afterwards. WMF Cody known as Buffalo Bill is buried there. Arriving there about 11am.  Grave is made of concrete with iron fence around it and US and Colorado flags flying over it.  Nearby is museum showing all of Cody’s old guns, saddles, bridles, uniforms and other personal belongings.  Also, Indian guns and other things which he captured.  Didn’t see scalp of chief of Red Hand who Cody killed in hand to hand fight. Grave is on very top of mt. Overlooks prairie for 50 miles around. Got to Longmont about 2:30 and ate lunch. Went to Estes Park.  Went up somewhere near St. Vrain Canyon through Estes park and Longs Peak which is 14,552 feet high which is highest in US (old US).  Came down through Big Thompson Canyon.  The scenery was wonderful. The weeping birch, short leaf pine, fir trees, and others made beautiful color schemes on the sides of the mts.  Susan drove all day.  Got home around 8 pm. Had supper. No one went to bed rather early.   We camped at a hotel in Fort Collins. (Refer to Dandy’s journal entries for Sept 21 and 22nd to make any sense of this journal entry) mileage – 181.6

Now that the journal entry confused you, let us tell you what we really did.  Since we were going to spend the day around Denver, Susan decided she needed to wear her Carolina Panther shirt.  Our car refrigerator broke so we headed to Target to get supplies and containers to put ice in.  The cashier told us all about Red Rocks, a place near Lookout Mt, so we added it to our itinerary.   After packing the car, we took off.  Red Rocks were breathtakingly beautiful.  The crust was thrust at angles and jutted into the air.   There is an amphitheater in the middle and we climbed the “too many stairs at too high an altitude“ to see the Amphitheater.  It was being set up for a show tonight.   Took lots of pictures and met folks from Florida who thought we were from Florida because of our license tag and who told us interesting places to visit in San Diego.

Next we headed to Lookout Mt. The road was curvy but not like I remembered from Dandy’s pictures.  We got to the museum and went in and showed the cashier our book and told him the story.  We showed him the pictures of granddad here and he explained where he thought some of the pictures were taken.  He let us into the museum free. J In the museum we truly saw everything granddad saw expect the scalp.  I guess they don’t show that anymore.  We also saw that Cody performed in many places in NC including Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston around 1916.  We wonder if Dandy had ever seen him perform.  There was a “kids” dress up place and Pam got in full rodeo garb.  We have pictures of her lassoing a calf and Susan.  Pam says it’s payback time for Susan.  We met Sarah and her son here and she was telling us her dad brought her here when she was little and now she was bringing her son.  As we left the museum, we asked the cashier about the hermit cabin.  He didn’t know about it and sent us into the “old museum” to talk with Bill Carl.    We decided to go to the grave first and get the pictures.  It took us a while to figure out the angle to take our picture so that it would match Dandy’s.  The area around the grave is now concrete but we think we got the location right.  We met many nice people there and each of them took a card.  As we were leaving the gravesite, a worker asked if we had seen a bear.   Susan said, “We wouldn’t be here if we had”.   Finally we went into the gift shop and met Bill Carl.  He showed us the storage area which was the museum when Dandy came thru.  The ramps would never make it past the ADA requirements now days.  They were steep. He also did not know about the hermit.  As we left we went down the back side of the mountain, ok, I found the curvy road, real curvy.

The cashier had also told us about Dandy’s buffalo pictures and gave us a map where he was sure Dandy took them.  Sure enough, we got there and the bison where there and we got pictures similar to his.  We don’t think it was the same buffalo though.

We drove from Lookout Mountain and went up thru Bolder and drove into Longmont.  We stopped for lunch at Dicken’s Opera House / Tavern.  It was originally and old Opera house and bank and the building was built in 1881.   I liked the wine vault.  It was in the old bank vault.  We left and headed towards what I think was Vrain Canyon area.  On the way I spotted a Model T inside a showroom.  We stopped and I got a picture thru the window.

We headed to Lyons and could see the tall mountains including the twin peaks and snow covered mountains in the distance.  In Lyons, we picked up Hwy 7 and drove towards Estes Park – the long but very scenic way.   The canyon driving was something else.  The rocks were on both sides going directly up, almost vertically away from us and towering above.  Most have pine trees on them in amongst the rock faces.  We pulled off to get good pictures of Mt Meeker which is over 13000 ft high and the second highest peak in the area. Near Allen’s Park, we stopped and walked around the chapel on the rock.  The road continued to climb in elevation and at the highest point we were somewhere between 9800 and 10000 feet.  We stopped to take pictures of Longs Peak which is 14256 ft high.  Did it shrink???   We passed thru Estes Park and drove back thru the big Thompson canyon.  We saw evidence of the 2013 floods including rock slides.   Carol, Jill and Nancy, we saw a bear on the side of the mountain and we got a picture.  It was beyond dramatic driving down thru the canyons.   Next we came upon the Dam the store.  I bought all kinds of jerky to taste and then we started talking to the cashier.  She told us Dandy’s route was different but that we couldn’t go that way because the bridge washed out at the big dam.  The dam store used to be at the big dam, now it was at the small dam (they moved the store) but the store started in 1906 so it was on the road when Dandy passed thru.  We drove out the road Dandy went on until we got to where the bridge was washed out.  The “big” dam, wasn’t that impressive.

After that we headed to Fort Collins and I made reservations at the Hilton Garden Inn.  It was 30K points.  L  But it is still free and it is in a good location.

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Red Rocks panoramic

Red Rocks panoramic

building with a rock over it

building with a rock over it

long hot climb up the stairs

long hot climb up the stairs

Pam and I sitting on the fence

Pam and I sitting on the fence

panoramic of the area that is not hills

panoramic of the area that is not hills

curvy road to Mt Lookout See the postcard in Dandy's journal for better view

curvy road to Mt Lookout See the postcard in Dandy’s journal for better view

Claire Oakley

Claire Oakley

Pam lassoing Susan - what happened to the horse's legs???

Pam lassoing Susan – what happened to the horse’s legs???

The picture at Mt Lookout like Dandy's

The picture at Mt Lookout like Dandy’s

Cody's grave with the flags over it

Cody’s grave with the flags over it

Buffalo - it's hot when we came thru so most are resting

Buffalo – it’s hot when we came thru so most are resting

Longmont Opera House restaurant

Longmont Opera House restaurant

Model T for the day

Model T for the day

Going on Hwy 7 to Este Park

Going on Hwy 7 to Este Park

Hwy 7

Hwy 7

Mt Meeker

Mt Meeker

Church on the rock

Church on the rock

Pretty mountain with ice river

Pretty mountain with ice river

Lookout Mt

Lookout Mt

Mt Lake

Mt Lake

Este Park

Este Park

view into the valley

view into the valley

Road we were on

Road we were on

going into Big Thompson Canyon

going into Big Thompson Canyon

Big Thompson Canyon

Big Thompson Canyon

waterfall

waterfall

Tree growing out of the rocks

Tree growing out of the rocks

More canyon road

More canyon road

Bear!!!

Bear!!!

More canyon

More canyon