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Thursday, June 12, 2014

24 States in 27 Days - Day 26:


November 4th, 2012, Sunday: There wasn’t any ice on our windows this morning --- a gorgeous sunny day, but it was still quite chilly out. We used the last of our water to make coffee, and discovered we were also out of cocoa and cream. It felt like we truly were reaching the end of our road trip! 


Our plan was to check out Moab some more as we left the campground, so I was surprised and pleased when Brad decided he was ready to just take off, and turned north onto 191. The road was calling! 


We spotted a hot air balloon as we cruised along, and pulled over a couple of times to get some pics.




After a short jaunt on I-70, we exited onto hwy. 6/191, for a pit stop in the little town of Helper where we filtered water, and ate the leftover cornbread muffins. 



Soon after leaving Helper we turned onto hwy. 6 towards Provo Utah. In Provo we pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot to tap into their internet so I could check email and see when I needed to be home to retrieve paintings from an art show. Our deadline was noon the next day. After a grocery stop, we took off on I-15 north, and I helped direct Brad through the freeway maze of Provo, Orem, and Salt Lake City. We stopped for gas in Kaysville, just south of Ogden which had a nice rural feel to it compared to the Salt Lake area. 


Then we veered from I-15 onto I-84, a few miles from the Idaho border, and stopped at a rest area just south of the intersection with I-86 to make a quick pb & j. Quick because it was a nasty one! We then continued through Idaho, staying on the freeway until we came to Bliss where we had to do a quick drive through just so we could say we’d reached Bliss! 


After getting gas, we hopped back onto I-84, driving into the sunset. 



It was dark as we approached the Oregon sign and we passed it so fast, I wasn’t able to shoot a photo, so since we stopped for gas at the next exit, we decided we had to go back and try again. Hilariously, we did, heading east, back into Idaho just so we could take this last state entrance sign. We needed proof we were finally in our home state! 


We then looked for the hwy. 20/26 exit and began our backroad trek home. After a flurry of texts to family letting them know we were now in Oregon, Brad drove us off into the dark, while I worked on my laptop. Eventually Brad tired of peering into blackness for animals and was ready for a break, so he found a wide spot to pull over, I tucked things away and took over driving and was soon zooming west on hwy. 20 east of Burns. We pulled off at a brightly lit gas station to study the map together and spotted a rest area west of Burns and thought we’d try sleeping there. Arriving around 9:45, we parked in a quiet corner, quickly moved things into the cab, set the alarm for 6:00 am, then curled up in bed and almost instantly fell asleep. We heard a couple of trucks come and go but otherwise it was a very quiet campground. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

24 States in 27 Days - Day 25:

November 3rd, 2012, Saturday: We woke to another icy morning with frost inside our windows again. Burr! I was reluctant to get up. Peering around outside we saw little vegetation, just a few pines, juniper and sage brush. The lake was a very low reservoir and the sun was just starting to warm the rocky mountains across the way. Brad made coffee while I pulled out wool socks to wear like mittens


Using my neck warmer as an ear and head warmer... mmm, grateful for hot coffee! 



This sign cracked us up! 

On our way back to hwy. 64/84, we saw more deer. 




Out of curiosity, we’d clocked our milage---it was over 15 miles in to the campground - not the 7-10 I thought looking at the map the night before. 



We continued north on 84 into Colorado, stopping in Pagosa Springs where we discovered the coolest shop we’d seen yet this trip - Handcrafted Interiors. We had a great conversation with the owner, an amazing furniture artist with Oregon connections. 




After a nice break, we continued west past Chimney Rock on to Durango - a town Brad has always wanted to visit since it’s a popular destination for mountain bikers. When we parked I joked with Brad “you have an hour!” 



While he shot photos of signs, I checked out the shops and galleries. After a little more than an hour, we both were happy to be on the road again - taking hwy. 160 to Cortez. We stopped nearby at a park with a small lake for a tailgate picnic while watching some geese. Turning onto hwy. 491 we soon crossed into Utah, where in Monticello we turned north on hwy. 191 - destination Moab. 


Shortly, we began to see lots of cool rock formations and I practiced my drive-by photography with the telephoto lens and the golden setting sunlight. 



Since I used to be a Wilson, we had to stop at Wilson Arch. 



We pulled into Moab about 6:15 and were blown away by how much larger the town seemed from what we remembered 21 years ago. After getting gas then a quick visit to the nearby bike shop, it was time to find a place for dinner. We ended up at Blu Pig BBQ since Brad had been craving ribs after our delicious meal in Nashville. It was a busy place, but we didn’t wait long before we were seated, then we shared a bowl of gumbo, pulled pork, ¼ rack of St. Louis ribs and coleslaw with a baked sweet potato. They’d forgotten to bring the corn muffins with our meal, so we decided to take them to go - 4 to make up for their mistake. Breakfast! From there we went in search of the campground a bike shop fella told us about. It was almost 9:00 and dark, which made it a little hard to find, but eventually we pulled into Goose Island campground. We drove clear through, ending up back at the beginning at the only empty site: #1. After we paid, we discovered a pay slip already attached to our site’s post, but as we looked closer at that receipt, it seemed kind of bogus, incorrectly filled out, dates changed, so we put ours up and hoped someone wouldn’t be showing up later to claim it. Tucked into our bed, we could hear noisy campers nearby, and every time a car drove past, I wondered if they’d pull into our site and boot us out! It was not a restful night, but we did eventually sleep. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

24 States in 27 Days - Day 24:

November 2nd, 2012, Friday: Taos in the morning was sunny, but very cold - we woke to ice on the inside of our canopy windows. I was glad I’d worn my pants and long sleeves to bed that night, so the chill of my cold sweater and jacket wasn’t too painful.


Choosing another restaurant our new friend LIndsey recommended, we drove to Rickey’s for breakfast where we enjoyed bottomless coffee, terrific pancakes, bacon and eggs for me, while Brad had an omelet with toast. It was fun to watch the locals bantering with the chef and waitress. We tried to go to the library next for internet access but it didn’t open for another hour, so we parked in the same lot as yesterday and went photo hunting and window shopping, exploring a few shops as they opened. 





We really liked the small town, friendly feel of Taos. 





It warmed up by the time we were finished wandering downtown, so we peeled off our layers at the truck and drove to the library where we spent a few hours charging batteries and checking email. After the library we stopped in a couple of thrift shops and explored a few neighborhoods before heading out of town, north on 522, planning to turn onto hwy. 62. Somehow we missed that turn and again had to backtrack to the correct highway. 

Not too far down hwy. 62 we crossed a incredibly high canyon bridge! Of course we had to stop. It was the Rio Grande river way down at the bottom of this deep canyon. 



We walked out to the middle of the bridge, which was a bit freaky, considering how high we were! Back in the truck we continued north where we discovered a fantastic biotecture community we had to investigate. 





We felt like we’d landed on an alien planet! Oddly we also kept seeing yellow traffic signs with cows - and each sported a space ship sticker! The clouds were otherworldly too. 


As we climbed over the San Juan Mountains we stopped for some sunset photos. 



We knew it was time to start looking for a campsite, but not wanting to freeze up in the mountains we kept going until we dropped down the other side onto hwy. 84/64. On our road map I spotted El Vado campground off to the west, and thinking it wasn’t too far off the highway we headed that way and drove, and drove, dropping in elevation until we said “It’s going to be positively balmy by the time we hit the campground” and right then we saw a sign that said “ICY”! Ha! We were almost ready to turn back when we finally saw a sign to the campground. As we turned onto that road, we both exclaimed at the same time “4 miles?!” Yep, it was another 4 miles further. I’d been counting deer and rabbits the whole way, and by the time we pulled into the actual campsite we’d seen 19 deer and 6 rabbits! It was very dark and quiet at the campground which seemed pretty open and treeless---the little we could see with our truck headlights. We passed a sign that warned not to drive into the lake - whoa, ok! then chose a site near one of the few street lights, paid our fee, and settled in for the night. It was the quietest place we’d slept this whole trip! We were glad to have both down duvets that night.