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Scott and Lorraine Haslip go to California Adventure Blog
1 motorcycle, 2 people, 35 days, 1 huge country. Anything can happen. Its Califonia or Bust.
Mileage: 0 | Hotel: Good Old Home | GPS Coords.:
On our around July 23rd (weather could change actual depart date). Lorraine and Scott will begin a 7,000 mile trek to California and back on a motorcycle. The 35 day trip will hit about 20 states including some of the most scenic roads in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, California, etc.
Along the way, we will no doubt be on the 'Mother road' (route 66) and lots of scenic highways. Assuming the hotels have wireless internet access, lots of pictures will be uploaded every day, including our location, mileage, gps coordinates, pictures, etc.
This website will allow you to track our progress, and leave us comments for us to enjoy as we make the long journey.
So everybody keep us in your prayers for a happy, safe trip, and be sure to add some nice comments along the way.
Thanks to Krys and Jeff at Fitness Together, Scott is getting in better shape so that the 16.2 mile RT to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite California will be a piece of cake. (yeah, right)
We have GPS, radio helmets, cooling vests and credit cards just waiting for Gas and Hotel purchases. It WILL be interesting, stay tuned.
Mileage: 0 | Hotel: | GPS Coords.:
Doing all the last minute stuff around the house. Shade the cat has to be alone for 35 days, ouch. Neighbor will help there. Mowed the lawn, hooked up all the goodies on the bike, put all the "luggage" on the bike, etc.
Mileage: 394 | Hotel: Days Inn , Youngstown, Ohio | GPS Coords.:
On the road bright and early at 7:00 a.m. Weather perfect.
Traveled the PA turnpike through lancaster county to a State Park called Shawnee. It had nice trails and a lake. We walked the "lake shore trail", 3.5 miles around the lake. Lorraine thought that 4 foot black snake was dead, thus walked 1 foot away right by it. Not dead!!!!
We then shoved off for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh really is cool to look at. As you get close, you come through a tunnel and suddenly Pittsburgh appears sort of down below in front of you. Its amazing how the three rivers come together, and the "Three River Stadium" certainly is aptly named. I was told the best view of the city was from up on the mountain peak, so off to the "Duquesne Incline" where you ride a rickety old wooden thing down the side of a sheer cliff basically. Ah but what a view.
Gotta tell you, it was great, but I was happy to get off. I always felt like the thing was going to pick "today" to have a cable snap, and nobody was gonna survive that.
The history of Pittsburgh show up thier was aweome. Like the way the exact same view looked over 200 years. THe pics from the HUGE 1936 flood. And how foggy with coal smoke the town was during big steel. We then strolled to the river and ate some shrimp.
After that, we wanted to get a head start towards Cleveland, so we put in "cleveland" into the GPS and proceeded to go around in cirles. Yeah, right, south 65. Somebody tell TOMTOM map that that onramp is long gone. Ok, so why not just bust it to the ohio border and Youngstown. Done.
Thanks for the chocolate Lou.
Mileage: 148 | Hotel: Days Inn, Canton | GPS Coords.:
Slept in late. Then drove to Warren, OH to get the left saddlebag latch fixed at a honda dealer. Laun had it fixed in 10 minutes (thanks Laun), so now we have more space for stuff.
Then onto Ohio turnpike (hey Ohio, they have this new technology now called EZpass, quit living in the dark ages). Then into Cleveland on an ungodly stretch of highway called Route 77.
Cleveland has a really nice waterfront. While the pictures might look like the other side of Lake Erie is very close, thats just a jetty. The lake is HUGE.
Rock and Roll museum is very nice, lots of cool stuff. Especially liked the "influences" interactive, where if you picked "led zeppelin" for instance, you saw the influences as "muddy waters" and the "yardbirds" and then with concert footage and music you really HEARD the similarities.
Strangely, I really enjoyed the "Ricky Nelson" wall. Interesting how he came from Ozzie and Harriet into teen superstar, then later in life was booed at Madison Sq. Garden by a bunch of folk expecting a young teen idol singing the old stuff. That was his inspiration for the song "Garden Party" which is a cool song.
Lots of clothes worn by rockers. Cool exhibits that showed you how various styles arouse, like Seattle Grunge, The London/NYC punk era, etc.
Brandon would have liked the "early rock influences" which showcased how artists not considered "rockers" started working towards rock. Like "Robert Johnson" who reportedly "sold his soul to the devil" to play guitar like he did.
No pictures allowed inside, thus the lack of documentation. You will just have to see it yourself.
Had a nice late lunch on the 3rd floor deck of RandRHOF overlooking the water, then high tailed it to Canton, OH.
We are in a hotel, ready to get up early and visit the National Football League hall of fame Wednesday morning.
So far, the weather and temperature have been kind, but we expect to get hotter as we roll West.
GPS is cool technology to have in our situation. Can't very well have someone in the passenger seat with a map on a motorcycle. Oh, and the rider to passenger helmet communications work great. We leave it off most of the time, turn it on when we need to talk. Nice work with that technology Honda.
Mileage: 135 | Hotel: Days Inn | GPS Coords.:
Yeah, third day in Ohio. But there was stuff we wanted to see here. Thanks for the NFL hall of fame suggestion goes out to Phil.
The NFL hall of fame in Canton is very cool. It is SOOOO neat to explore the history of the game and its players. Lots of really cool memorabilia and interactive exhibits.
And the hall of Hall of Famers busts is much cooler than it sounds. Man, those old timers in the early 1900's were nuts.
After the hall, we hopped on route 62 west. Also know as the "ohio bypass". What a great road after super slabs for last two days. Route 62 curves and floats and goes through Ohio amish country. Average 20 miles between towns for 100 miles. And the towns where usually 1 light and 1 block long.
Saw Ohio's longest covered bridge. Ate great cherry pie at a diner out in nowhere and arrived in Marysville at 5ish.
Ate at one of those newfangled "chipotle mexican grill" joints. Wow, no wonder they are doing so well. They do it right.
I also tried the other new craze "dipping dots" on this trip. Nitrogen frozen BB sized ice cream. I only had 1 spoonful so as not to worry my fitness trainers.
High temps today, only 85 degrees.
Pictures to come.
Mileage: 375 | Hotel: Lorraines work friend in Plainfield, IL | GPS Coords.:
Started out the day by getting up and going to the Honda motorcycle manufacturing plant in Marysville, OH.
There, they make Honda Goldwings and VTX's. The tour was about an hour long and it was tremendously entertaining. Seriously, wow, what an clean, well oiled machine that plant is. We got to see then entire process, from the welding of the frame. The assembly. Dyno testing. We saw the paint process, some by hand, some robotic. We saw the process of heat molding the ABS plastic parts. It was so cool watching a frame transform into a bike. Process takes 1.5 hour per bike.
From Marysville, our goal was to get to a town outside of Chicago called Plainfield. We had a nice road picked out. (route 30) and it turned out to be a nice relaxing road. Until the deluge. Things turned black as night in Valparaiso, Indiana and we ducked under cover at a gas station for 30 minutes. There we met another Goldwinger (George) from Illinois. George escorted us almost all the way to Plainfield. (thanks george).
Before leaving, George was telling me how bad the city of "chicago heights" was. I was born there in 1958, but it is now a really, really bad ghetto. We were to pass through Chicago Heights on route 30 before reaching Route 80 in the home stretch of a 350 mile day.
Well, we had really great sunny weather for a 50 mile stretch after Valpariaso. But right, i mean right at Chicago Heights, it began to rain as hard as I have ever seen. Buckets, Dark as midnight at 6:00 p.m. But no way I was stopping. Soaked to the bone, and then some, we continued on, laughing at the insanity for 40 more miles. You can only get so wet.
The rain came and went all the way to Plainfield, but we made it, the clothes are in the dryer, and the weather for tomorrow looks PERFECT.
Thanks Carole and Richard for dinner and a warm bed in Plainfield.
Mileage: 345 | Hotel: Comfort Suites (nice) | GPS Coords.:
Nobody needs to worry about their cornflakes.
We can attest that this country has PLENTY of corn. We saw at least 300 miles of corn as far as the eye can see.
Oh, and a freaky thing happened. I swear this story is absolutely true. We are on Route 80, 30 seconds from crossing the Mississippi River and the song Mississippi Queen by Mountain comes on the Ipod and we blasted if for the entire trip over the bridge. I have about 2000 songs on the Ipod, so I guess the odds are about 2000:1.
But it gets even freakier if I tell you that the morning we left the driveway, I fired up the IPOD on the bike speakers as Lou our neighbor took our picture, the first song from the ipod that morning. California Dreaming by Mamas and Papas. Now I have about 5 songs about California on the Ipod, but that is still about 400:1. Can you guess some of the other "california" songs I have on my ipod. One is by Led Zep.
We also saw the "world's biggest truckstop".
Today was a travel day in perfect weather. We spent about 125 miles on Route 30. Yes, the same route 30 that blesses Pennsylvania. It runs from NJ to Oregon, and the stretch in Iowa was glorious. Rolling hills, but perfectly straight roads with corn and farms and nothing else.
Matter of fact I hopped on Route 30 with about a third a tank of gas, and after 50 miles realized I was almost empty. Had not passed a single town, nor a single gas station in that stretch. All towns apparently where to the left and right of the road 5-15 miles.
Just as I started to panic, about 30 miles later, we came upon Tara, IA, a sleepy little midwest town on 30 that actually had a Red light, and a gas station. It was about 2 pm, so we had lunch, and ended our day 54 miles later in Ames.
Iowa is Lorraine's favorite state so far.
We pulled over to take a picture of a farm in Iowa on Route 30, and within 1 minute, and Honda Motorcycle dealer truck pulled over to see if we needed help. That was Sue on her way to a GWRRA goldwing rally and she invited us.
High temp today on the goldwing thermometer: 92
Krys and Jeff: I did a killer leg workout today, lots of squats and lunges and other stuff. Been working out everyday, the cords work GOOD.
Mileage: 375 | Hotel: Days Inn (Mitchell) nice one with pool. | GPS Coords.:
Slept in a little too late (7:30) and did not get rolling from Ames until 8:20, which is a mistake we will not make again in this weather.
By the time we reached Mitchell, 375 miles away in South Dakota, the temperature was 108. I think the new fangled "evaporative cooling vests" saved us. They work pretty good. We "recharged" then once using the water from the cooler and then again at a supermarket restroom.
We took the back roads scenic way to Mitchell. Route 30 to route 4. Then a long west run on Route 3 to Akron, Iowa where we had lunch in a little local diner.
Then it was route 48 to Route 29 to another stretch of VERY lonely road called route 18. Upon intersecting with Route 37 we headed north into Mitchell.
Most all the roads in Iowa and eastern South Dakoto run east/west or north/south. Its like grids.
Anyway, wow, really, really lonely roads today. Two laners with huge farms on both sides. If you broke down out there, help would be a lnng time coming.
We would always see a sign like "Manno - 12 miles". Then Manno would be a church, two houses and a post office. No gas, no business. One end to the other was about 100 feet, then corn fields for another 20 miles.
It could almost get boring. But after lunch, all we really thought about was the heat, and staying hydrated and doing what we could to cool down. Did i mention that finding shade was close to impossible. yeah, 4 foot high corn does not provide much shade.
Most farms had a 50/50 mix of corn and another low growing crop. First person with the correct answer for that crop gets a postcard.
Tomorrow we will be going to Custer for 2 days. Lots to see along the way. One stop alng the way will be someplace that has been around since 1931 when it was opened by Ted Hustead. There we will get some free ice-water. Where is it?????
Mileage: 346 | Hotel: Comfort Suites in Custer (very nice) | GPS Coords.:
We left Mitchell at 7:20 a.m. with the temperature an easy 76. It took about 5 miles for the topography to change from corn fields to grasslands/plains.
It also did not take long for the temperature to rise. By the time we reached the "Badlands Loop" 220 miles away, it was 104.
The "Badlands Loop" is a 30 mile twisty road right through the gut of the badlands for the entire stretch. It is by far the most awesome stretch of road we have hit yet. Unbelieveable. We may do it again.
Stopped about 4 miles in and did a hike - 1.5 mile round tripper up into the badlands to an opening that gave you an awesome view into the valley, and the cutout to the view was a wind tunnel to the tune of 40mph+. Felt good after the hike up into badland hills on sheer rock trail. Went through 1 liter+ of water each.
Notch trail was the one we went into, and I recommend it HIGHLY for anybody doing the loop. We got our "national park" passport stamped a couple miles later, then enjoyed the scenic ride for another 20 miles into a town called Wall.
Wall is famous for "Walls Drug Store". I don't think they sell many prescription drugs there anymore, perhaps none. But they do offer free water. That is what put them on the map back in 1931.
And my, my it was great water with lots of ice cubes. I think I had about 10 cups. By the time we left Wall, it was 108, soon to peak at 111.
It felt like a blast furnace. We stopped at a rest stop and soaked our "evaporation vests" and that helped tremendously. Really did. Also put wet towels around the neck. That worked great until we reached the exit off Interstate 80 to Custer at our 300 mile mark.
Big black clouds appeared overhead and we climbed into the black hills watching the temperature quickly drop to a beautiful 86. We welcomed the 5 minutes of raindrops, they felt good.
Anyway, Route 90W was a big interstate, but beautiful and an easy fun drive with lots to look at. It really is the only choice from the eastern cities and of course it takes you to the wonderful "Badlands Loop"
Custer seems awesome, it's in the middle of everything we want to do, especially Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake and Mount Rushmore. Can't wait.
Mileage: 110 | Hotel: Comfort Inn in Custer | GPS Coords.:
Wow, the Black Hills are awesome.
High temp today was 80, but most of the day, high up in the mountains it was 75 almost all day. A far cry from yesterdays blistering 111. Rapid City had its highest temperature EVER yesterday (110 degrees) right as we went through it around 3:30. But the heat wave is moving East, and the area of the country we are both in and headed to have cooled to normal temps. Riding in 90 degree temps anytime the rest of this trip will be "butta" compared to the two days above 108.
Ok, well today, from downtown Custer, it was a short drive to "Custer State Park" and Sylvan lake, the trail there was the best we have ever walked. 3 miles of bliss up and down the mountain among boulders and streams and crazy rocks to navigate.
From there, we drove Needle Highway, named for the rock with needle eye in it. Lots of cool rock climbing to great views there.
Then to the "wilderness loop, then the Iron Mountain ride where you see Mount Rushmore and ride crazy "pigtail turns" where you circle around a tight corner and go over a bridge back over the road you are on. One comes out of a tunnel, onto a wooden bridge, then wraps under the wood bridge and tunnel.
We then had a late 4:00 lunch in the strange town under Rushmore called Keystone and called it a day.
Mileage: 243 | Hotel: Days Inn | GPS Coords.:
A very good day.
Woke up early and took a really nice 3 mile hike at Sylvan Lake (Sunday Gulch Trail). Very difficult, very scenic.
Then we hopped on the bike and drove 30 miles, a little before Hotsprings to "Wind Cave National Park". It is the 4th largest cave in the world. We took an elevator down the equivalent of 22 stories and took a .5 mile guided tour through the realy cool cave system.
Our next stop was going to be the hotel in Kimball, NE. After 190 miles of great roads without a single car to contend with. (yeah, we would see a car going our way out every 10 minutes. One stretch was 50 miles without a house, barn, town, or tree.
But.....suddenly, out from the flat prarie land, from miles away, we saw this huge "thing" popping up out of the ground.
Turns out it was "Scott's Bluff National Park" and heck, why not. What an excellent find. Great park. We used our National Park Pass to get in and a road through tree tunnels twists you to the top for great views of the original "Oregon Trail" and the surrounding bluff area. It was awesome.
41 miles of perfect 70 degree setting sun weather later, we arrived at Kimball just in time for a huge black thunderstorm arriving right behind us.
OK, todays puzzle. See the picture of the contraptions we saw along "Sunday Gulch Trail". What did the sign on the contraption say?
Oqmi Offsvf Fpwfmuhfts - Ra Tas Sajdz
If you need a clue, look at Day 1
Mileage: 234 | Hotel: Blue Spruce | GPS Coords.:
Upon leaving Kimball, we went through the Shawnee National Grasslands. Miles and miles of beautiful prarie.
Probably is, between Shawnee then 75 miles of Nebraska nothingness, the Goldwing gas tank was below empty. On top of that, I was battling wicked crosswinds off the barren prarie, and flagman doing roadwork.
Right when I figured it was time to stop at some farmers house and ask for a gallon of gas, a little gas place came out of nowhere and we were hooked up.
It wasn't long after that that we got on 34 west, heading into Estes Park with the Rockies looming large ahead.
The ride into Estes Park is awesome on its own, but then you enter Rocky Mountain National Park and begin the big climb to 12,700 feet.
I gotta tell you, no guardrails most of the way, you go off, you die. Lots of switchbacks up the mountain, temperature dropping from 80 to 54. But, my, my, what a view for the entire length. Awsome.
We stopped at the Park center at the top, and walked the last 1/2 mile to the top. Yah, that stuff about lacking of oxygen is true. But we made it.
We then had lunch after dropping down about 4000 feet in Grand Lake and then found a hotel in Granby, CO.
Mileage: 165 | Hotel: Mountain Chalet in Aspen | GPS Coords.:
Hit the road at 8:00 a.m. with the temperature at brisk 48.
Stopped for breakfast at a great diner in Kremmling. Lorraine had a problem with a tooth that the Family Dental Center fixed right up in no time. Kremmling, CO gets the "friendliest" town award to date. We worked our way to route 82 from Leadville and up into "Independance Pass" another hairy trip up the mountain to 12,000 feet.
We arrived in Aspen at 2:00. What a beautiful city. Thanks Dad for the lodging at the wonderful "Mountain Chalet". It is fabulous! Wow, what a place - and what a workout room.
We took the "silver queen gondola" up 2.5 miles to the top. Brandon would really enjoy playing "disc golf" at the "kiss the sky" course at 11,212 feet.
Mileage: 248 | Hotel: Days in Moab | GPS Coords.:
We woke up in Aspen and decided to hike to the top of Aspen mountain on a trail called "summer road" which switchbacks up the mountain under the Gondola.
It was 4.7 miles and 3000 ft. elevation. The problem is the elevation change while alrady at 9,000. It was the hardest thing we have ever done physical. It took 3.5 hours and it was extremely hard. I was shot after the first 2 miles, the rest becomes mental. 15 degree incline at "Fitness Together" is going to be so easy after this. At Malvern's altitude, oxygen still exists.
We had lunch at "little annies" again and motored towards Utah. Route 82 is totally different on the "west" side of Apsen, vs. the "east". Two lanes and lots of commercial. We headed towards Route 70 which became a really nice road as it headed towards Utah.
We then hit our best road of the trip so far. 128 from Cisco to Moab. The first 15 miles is wide "open range", then suddenly you enter red cliff walls on both sides for 30 miles to Moab. Awesome.
Moab is a great town. Great italian at "jay's pasta".
Mileage: 202 | Hotel: Days Inn Torrey | GPS Coords.:
Got a late start (9:30) and headed for Arches National Park. Wow.
Its 18 miles of twisty road to the end of the park. So much to see. At the very end of the road is "Devils Garden". There we trekked the entire 5.2 miles of trails out to "Pinnacle Arch", "Navajo Arch" and the "Double O Arches". Awesome.
We wore "Camelbak" water carriers and sucked down lots of water from the hose. But despite this, after traveling 50 miles to Green River, Scott began exhibiting signs of dehydration. We rested up in Green River for an hour, drank lots of water and trekked on.
The last 20 miles into Torrey are though the Capital Reef National Park. Very cool. Actually the entire 90 miles on Route 24 to Torrey were scenic highway and excellent.
Mileage: 240 | Hotel: Days Inn, Hurricaine, UT | GPS Coords.:
Great day, we took Route 12 out of Torrey. Its 100 miles long and very scenic. Route 12 starts out as Dixie National forest and you climb up to 9000 feet among endless birch trees.
Suddenly, it changes into canyonlands. At one point you are walking a tightrope of a road with no shoulder and very deep canyon on both sides. You really hold on tight to the handlebars then. Route 12 curved left and right, up and down and you don't get a chance to go very fast, but there is so much to look at.
Near the end of Route 12 was Bryce Canyon National Park. It is full of rising stone that they call "hoodoo's". We took Navajo trail down to the bottom of the canyon at Sunrise Point. Sunrise point is one of many viewpoints offered of the very large and cool canyon. It was much easier going down that going up.
Ebenezer Bryce was one of the earliest rancher back in the day with the canyon his backyard. When asked about that "canyon" in the backyard, he said something that is oft quoted about the canyon. Can you tell us what Bryce said.
It was now lunchtime, and Ruby's Inn seemed to be the Bryce hotspot, but upon entering the parking lot, all we smelled was RV dump. The ended up being fortutitous, as it sent us 10 miles down the road to a place with a big sign that said "famous soup and pie". Well, you know Scott was all over that.
75 miles later, we turned right onto Route 9 which goes right through Zion National Park. That $50 park pass is getting a workout. Beats paying $20 and we figure we have saved $100 already.
The ride through Zion was sooooo cool. Just when you think you have seen every red rock, or canyon formation, it gets changed up. Zion was so different. The entire 12 miles was like a road carved out of rock. Couple of tunnels and one extremely neat switchback out of the 1 mile tunnel deep down into a huge chasm. Wonderful.
Our hotel is advertised as being West of Zion. Yeah, west by 20 miles. But we are headed back tomorrow morning to hike into the Narrows. Then its off to Vegas.
Oh, the town we are in now, Hurricane (pronounced Her-i-can) actually had a multiplex, first time we have seen anything like that in about 10 days. So we went to see "talladega Nights" and thought it was very funny. Saw some great previews also.
Stranger than Fiction
oh, and the trailer for "The Grudge 2" scared the crap out of
Mileage: 47 | Hotel: | GPS Coords.:
Woke up and headed right to Zion National park with one goal. To forge up the "Narrows".
It was probably a 4.5 mile hike, total. The key is "Walk softly and carry a big stick".
Sometimes the water was waist high, other times you had a "beach" to walk on. 1 (one) mph is about all you can travel. You frequently walk on rocks underwater that you cannot see. The stick helps with that, the depth of the water, and something to balance against the sometimes strong current.
Everybody should do the "Narrows" someday. Its COOL. Oh, speaking of cool, the water was a perfect 61 degrees, which felt great on a 100 degree day. The tall walls also offer lots of shade.
Mileage: 137 | Hotel: Stratosphere hotel and Casino | GPS Coords.:
Got up early and headed out Route 15 to Vegas.
Crazy trip for first 30 miles. Coming out of the mountians, dropping from 6000 to 1000 feet, it was all twisty turns downward with crosswinds and mountain peaks everywhere. White knuckle stuff.
But it was a mere 137 miles total, and we made it in under 2 hours.
Staying at the Stratosphere hotel for 2 days to chill.
Took the motorcycle to Desert Honda for the 8000 mile oil change (8009) miles
Mileage: 70 | Hotel: Stratosphere Las Vegas | GPS Coords.:
A beautiful day in Sunny, Hot Las Vegas.
Went for a nice 5 mile walk to the Strip and back. Went to teh top of the Stratosphere and did a huge workout at the very nice indoor/outdoor gym at the Stratosphere.
At the end of the day, we did go to "Hoover Dam" and that was cool, the spillway has not needed to be used since 1998.
Mileage: 455 | Hotel: Curry Village Tend | GPS Coords.:
Woke up early to make it through Death Valley before it got too hot.
Aftger 20 miles of horrible Las Vegas slab road and traffic, it turned into a nice enjoyable ride to Death Valley.
I had expected DV to be endless desert. And there certainly was some of that, along with a high of only 104 since we rode through early.
But both the Nevada end, and especially the California side were tons of mountains and twistys with great views.
Upon emerging from Death Valley on the California side, we found ourselves between the Sierra and Inyo mountain ranges.
The Sierra's were HUGE to our left as we traveled north towards Yosemite. No way to get over the mountians at all until Tioga Pass into the Yosemite National Park.
And wow, that was great. Another run up the side of a mountain to 10,000+. Only this range was different. Lots of green. Huge, huge pine trees. Lots of streams and lakes and green and granite peaks everywhere. The temperature graciously dipping to 64.
It was 55 miles to Yosemite Falls, our destination. But it took about 2 wonderful hours.
Wow. We both agree Yosemite is tops. Upon coming out the other side of Yosemite, we saw our game. Half Dome. The trip down into Yosemite Falls was extremely scenic and the Falls are running and beautiful.
Much more to come (pictures for today, they will get posted along with tomorrows Half Dome climb late tomorrow), but we are heading to our "canvas tent" at Curry Village. Oh Boy! No phones, no lights, no motorcars.....
Mileage: 50 | Hotel: Charlotte Hotel | GPS Coords.:
We did it.
We hiked to the top of half dome.
We started by waking up at 6:00 a.m. and hit the trail head at exactly 7. The trip starts out easy enough with some gentle uphill climbs, and a nice trip over a wooden bridge. Last chance for water is about 1.5 miles out. Then you are on your own. You absolutely need 4 liters of water to do this extremely strenuous hike. We had 6 between us. Not enough. On the way back down, a hiker used an expensive filter thingy to fill up our Camelbaks at the river.
1/100 of 1% of the folks that go to Yosemite every year do this hike. The rewards for getting to the top are awesome.
I have no idea how we made it to the top. But somehow we did. The last 1/2 mile of granite stepped switchbacks in the side of quarter-dome will kill your average man.
The trip has many parts. Gentle uphill. Then a nice trip over a bridge. Then crazy, crazy trip up 1/4 mile of steps at the falls. You are basically hanging on the side of a cliff, going up carved steps that are wet from the mist of the falls. The steps are up to 18 inches high. You thighs are screaming out "stop".
At this point your brain is already sending out about 15 signals to all parts of the body saying "no way". But you push on. A little bit of nice flat through the woods. Then, ugg, another serious push up on switchbacks carved into the side of a sheer wall.
4 miles in, you get some relief. About 1.5 miles of flat through the forest. That just prepares you for 2 miles of 5-15% grade up through the forest. You then get about 1/2 mile of gentle up down that masks the horror to come.
After 7.5 miles, you have the real test. 1000 feet rise up the side of the mountain (quarter dome) on granite steps and grades. Fall off and you die for sure. There is NO room for error. This is serious stuff. Your body is failing and the end is in sight, but when you look up, you see just all the folks way above you on the side of a steep granite slope, and you say "how the heck am I going to make that". Many don't. You see folks literally in the fetal position crying (yea saw that). Its here that many decide they have had enough.
Ok, so you force yourself somehow mentally to get to the top. But not quite. You have to go up a 600 foot 45 degree wall on cables to hit the absolute peak. Imagine two football fields damn near straight up.
Lorraine made it 1/3 way up the cables. Scott made it all the way. But it was not easy. Scott was extremely scared. Rubber gloves up, leather gloves down. Pile of gloves at the bottom.
I am already spent. I mean nothing left. But the cables need upper body strength. Had that. You hoist yourself up maybe 50 feet at a time, then hold on to a pole for dear life. I wrapped myself around the poles in a fetal position and looked only at my shoes. That is were Lorraine failed. 1/3 up the cables, she looked all the way up. Vertigo set in. You just can't do that. You have to look up only about 50 feet and make sure you have a clear path from other people. Then go for it and chill. Not looking down or up. I can tell you that any attempt to see where you came from, or where you are going will be the end of you. I made the mistake once (looking up) and it took me a few minutes hanging off a pole, looking at my shoes, before I sufficiently recovered..
Using this "do not look" technique, Scott achieved the top of the Half Dome peak. It was all mental will and pride. I could not let down my trainers (Krys and Jeff) who helped with my strength, stamina, balance, leg work and upper body. Needed it all.
Now, the falicy. Its easier to get down than up? No way. The trip down was absolutely murder. I really thought they would need to come get me. I wanted to quit after 2 miles. If you were on a treadmill, or on a circular track, you would quit, but you have to get back right, so you continue. Tired, hungry, thirsty, extremely sore, what goes up, must come down.
We get to the bottom 12.5 hours later and hop on the bike. Its now getting dark and cold. We are hungry, Scott can barely hold up the bike when its stopped. But it was 45 miles of twisty dark road before we found food and lodging (the special room for straggly lost folks) at Hotel Charlotte in Groveland. Groveland is apparently the home of the oldest bar in California. And it was a hopping place with live music and partiers.
Happy to find a room, we showered and slept like babies after Mexican food in the only restaurant still open (good food too).
So now its on to the Pacific Ocean.
Mileage: 177 | Hotel: Travelers Hotel, quite happy with it. | GPS Coords.:
Its been an intesting 56 hours.
On Thursday morning we were in Las Vegas. We went through Death Valley and ended up in Yosemite National Park. Hiked 19 miles and now 24 hours later, ended up in San Francisco, then south on Coastal route 1.
From Groveland, outside of Yosemite, it was a comfortable 150 mile trip to downtown San Fransisco. We saw the biggest "wind turbine" farm yet, both sides of route 580 west. Also saw some evidence of big brush fire over acres.
After getting through a long line to the toll both, we crossed the Bay Bridge. Very long, a big bridge, followed by a tunnel, followed by a suspension bridge.
Upon hitting San Fran proper, we went to the most tourist section available. Everything you need to have an excellent SF day can be found at "Fishermans Wharf"
There we found the famous "Pier 39" full of lots of cool restarants, mostly seafood. But we walked a bit north and found one of the finest seafood restaraunts in SF. That would be "Franciscan". Great view of the bay and Alcatraz right out the huge wall of glass.
The waiter suggested their specialty. Some kind of big sizzling plate that is placed at your table full of Dung. Crab and shrimp all sizzled up in a garlic sauce. It was awesome. Lorraine's favorite meal of the trip so far.
Mileage: 330 | Hotel: Days Inn Lost Hills, CA | GPS Coords.:
We slept in - needed it as we were beginning to really feel the effects of the hike, then hit the road. We decided not to go north as originally planned, but to see a bit of the Pacific Coastal Highway. Lorraine wanted to stick her fingers in the Pacific ocean - a symbolic end to the western push.
Very cold driving, overcast day and not at all what you would picture a california beach tour till we reached Monteray, which was sunny and bright. We could picture spending time there, but both of us were ready for the return trip east so we took a few pictures and headed out via 152/6 then route 5 toward Bakersfield. Went through Gilroy - the garlic capitol of the world. You could smell it too. Also actually drove buy a Famous Daves without stopping. (Hard to imagine!) One place we stopped for gas had a local fruit and nut stand (no comments) and Lorraine bought fresh plums, pistachios and cashews. That plum was the best she ever remembers eating!
On the road, Lorraine saw another new cow phenonema - odd - no picture cause I swear that Scott sped up to pass a truck when he saw the camera come out for another picture of cows - there were about 30 cows following each other in a line - no fooling - just walking in a straight line one at a time following eachother with no leader and going no where special. Odd. Then again, it is CA... Tomorrow we begin the route 66 journey home.
Happy 51st anniversary Mom and Dad (Hall)!
Mileage: 332 | Hotel: Comfort Suites, Needles | GPS Coords.:
Got up early this morning and with a donut for breakfast hit the road again - 1st destination was the Route 66 museum. Unfortunately, it was closed. Only open Friday through Sunday. We did get a picture of the outside though!
Started down historic route 66 which was following Route 40 for a time. It was fun, feeling rather retro, when the road got too bumpy for us to continue. It was obviously a section that wasn't maintained, so we went back to route 40 for the next many miles. Had lunch at a diner in Ludlow about 120 miles outside of Needles that was obviously a throw-back - good food and atmosphere. Scott had cherry pie for desert (I grabbed a few fork fulls), it was good but the cherry crisp in Aspen is still the winner.
After lunch we continued on route 40. We were actually going through the Mohave desert and it looked it! Now I know what mirages look like - twice I thought I saw water like a pond in the distance but it wasn't - just the affects of heat on the land and cloud shadows. I tried to take a picture of it but am not sure whether or not it came out.
Just had a swim in the hotel pool to cool off (high on the road today was 104, so we needed it) and now we're off to dinner at a Carl's Jr. Tomorrow we head to the Grand Canyon. Love to all, with a special shout out to Becca who's just moved into a new place the first of August. Hope it's beginning to feel like home. Let family know your new address ok? Peace Out :)
Mileage: 337 | Hotel: Best Western Tusayan | GPS Coords.:
Riding out of Needles this morning was nice. A bit warm, but nothing like the 100+ temperatures of the day before. Our first stop - Oatman. Oatman is a historic western town kept in it's form from the 1800's gold rush era. It has 100 year round human residents and 200 burros who eat carrots. Feeding them was fun. We had breakfast at Olive Oatman's restaurant. There is a sad story there - she was traveling with her family in a wagon train. They got separated somehow and her parents and several siblings were massacred by indians. She and her sister were taken as slaves. She was only 8. One of her brothers left for dead actually survived and set about for years trying to find his sisters. By the time he found her 10 years later her sister had died. He with the help of an older gentleman and the army arranged for her "purchase" from the indians who had enslaved her and set her free. The town was named for her.
It was also in Oatman that Clark Gable and Greta Garbo spent their honeymoon night in the Oatman Hotel. Apparently they were so plagued with paparazzi in Bollingsworth that they fled to Oatman just 20 miles away. We had drinks in the hotel and the bar and restaurant had dollar bills all stapled to the walls' ceiling; steps; railings, you name it. Naturally we had to add one of our own. The waitress said they estimated that they had somewhere between 25 and 30 thousand dollar bills in the establishment. Oatman and feeding the burros was one of our favorite things so far so we were reluctant to leave, but we needed to press on toward the Grand Canyon.
Leaving Oatman was a fascinating ride. Very windy through the pass on the old route 66. You could see places where the gold mines were accessed. We saw a restored gas station on that road just outside of town and took a picture. Stayed on route 66 for a while and saw some funky stores like the one with the retro mannequines and Edsel outside. Lunch was at the Roadkill cafe where the menu listed stuff you would never eat. Food was adequate, but it was all about the gimmick. The menu was a fun read.
On to route 40 to make up some time. Lovely drive with lots of signs saying how you too could purchase a 10-40 acre ranch and live the dream. I was tempted.
Just a mile outside of the entrance to the Grand Canyon where we were staying it started to rain. We had seen the storm on the horizon and had been thinking we could beat it for the last 20 miles or so but no luck. Almost immediately after the rain started, the hail came. Pea sized ice/snow nuggets were hitting us like bullets. Scott got us quickly under a portico which turned out to be just across the street from our hotel. We were picking the hail off of our clothes saying can you believe this? The last time we were on the same Grand Canyon road it was snowing and it turned into a blizzard (remember Bec?).
Experienced 95 degrees in Oatman, and 61 degrees and hail in Grand Canyon.
Mileage: 327 | Hotel: Anasazi | GPS Coords.:
Stayed in the hotel room long enough to check out "Chris and Betty" on the "today" show. Go Chris and Betty, we are rooting for you. Nice job today.
We then took off for the South Rim, West Side, then the "desert view" to the east, which was very cool.
We then headed east, and each turn produced more to look at and "ooh and aah".
It was 300 miles of great roads and great scenery.
Mileage: 320 | Hotel: Days Inn, Taos | GPS Coords.:
This was a beautiful day for riding. Started out riding to Mesa Verde which is a national park that protects the ruins of cave dwellers. It was the centennial celebration so trails and ruins that hadn't been open to the public were available, unfortunately they were sold out well in advance of our stop. Instead we went on a self guided tour of the spruce tree house. It was incredible to think of these people living in the cave dwellerings back in 1200s.
Then we got on the road to Durango where we ran a few errands and had some lunch. A lovely town we could picture living in (no, no plans to move.) We contemplated going on a rafting trip but the timing wasn't right for what we would have wanted to do.
Another 140 miles before reaching Taos, an art community in New Mexico complete with adobe style buildings and indian stylings. Can't wait to explore tomorrow morning.
Mileage: 315 | Hotel: Travelodge | GPS Coords.:
We left Taos after a stroll down the center of town. It was everything you'd expect a New Mexican town to be - adobe styled buildings with crafts galore. We peaked into a few art galleries, they weren't open yet, and found a few things Lorraine liked in particular. Then we hit the road.
More Mountains, ugg. (That's Scott - he's ready for some non-windy roads without steep inclines.) It was beautiful scenery, though. We drove through the Carson National Forest following a flowing stream. Very relaxing.
We had lunch in Las Vegas, NM. It's nothing like its sister in NV, rather subdued "normal" town. New Mexico, the north at least, was much like Colorado at first, changing somewhat into a drier flatter land the farther east we got. Just avoided a storm after entering TX and are happy for it. Now we're heading to the local Gold's gym for a workout and dinner later. Thanks for staying tuned and especially your comments. They give us something to look forward to after a day on the road! Bye~
Mileage: 305 | Hotel: Days Inn | GPS Coords.:
This was a lovely day and a very nice ride. Our first "no mountain" day in about two weeks. We started out of Amarillo and drove 80 miles or so before we had breakfast. Lorraine was starving and Scott had to stop and feed her or he'd have been crowned. We noticed along the way that we left the memory card for the camera in the computer. Between that and the fact that the battery died yesterday just before we got into Texas, we are very short on pictures for the Texas leg. We saw some cool things too, like the largest cross in the western hemisphere and a very tilted water tower announcing our arrival at another town.
We stopped at one of Oklahoma's route 66 museums. Apparently there are several. This one was great. We took way too many to show you, but have a representative sample below. There were displays showing restored cars and pictures of what it looked like in the 50's. There was a complete town that had every business you could think of as well as homes and a church filled with antiques from the 1800's. Fascinating. There was also an old farm equipment museum and we took some pictures we thought Dad (Phil) and Dad (John) would like in particular.
We're in for the night in Shawnee, OK. Going to the local mall to see a movie. It's funny to be in a place with enough of a population to actually have a mall and a movie theater! As you can imagine, Scott's excited about it. Till tommorow~
Mileage: 302 | Hotel: Krystal Aire | GPS Coords.:
First, back to last night. We went to the movies and saw "Snakes on a Plane". Very entertaining in a retro 1970's disaster movie kind of way. We recommend it, although if you're like me you'll spend a good part of the movie with your eyes closed and ears plugged. It rocked.
This was another great day. Took off after a good night sleep and made our first stop to wash the bike. Chores happen, even when you're on the road! We stopped at a McDonalds for lunch that was built over the highway. We could see trucks going underneath us while we ate. Wierd. Then stopped at the MO welcome center, got a map and spoke with a very nice gentleman who gave us some recommendations on what to see on our way.
One was the Precious Moments Chapel where I went on a tour and Scott polished up the bike. It was a lovely chapel, and obviously brings a lot of comfort to people, especially those that have lost children.
Then we high-tailed it to our destination via Route 96 which was also Route 66. It was a beautiful road. Called it a day at Springfield, MO where after getting a room we went to "Steak and Shake" on recommondation from Chris and Betty. Great burgers and shakes! Then we went to the Fantastic Caverns where we had a drive in tour, just the two of us and a tour guide. It was fantastic -both entertaining and informative.
p.s. Vote for Betty and Chris on today.msnbc.com for the Today Show Wedding Couple!!
Mileage: 301 | Hotel: Holiday Inn Express | GPS Coords.:
Another great day. We started out the day with a couple of stops in mind. First up was the Devils Elbow just off of Route 66. This is an old famous bridge that is just about falling apart. Some say it's one of the prettiest spots along the route. It goes over Big Piney River and was quite lovely and rustic. Then we headed to Cuba, MO. We took route 44 most of the way, but got off before the town for a nice leisurely drive down county route 8 to Steelville before heading north again to Cuba. In this town they had a series of murals painted on the downtown buildings. One section told their story of the civil war. Several others depicted life in "the old days". We took lots of pictures. Had lunch at Steak and Shake again - still good.
After lunch we headed to St. Louis to the Arch. It really is breathtaking. Spent a little time strolling around the park, then decided to take the tram to the top. During our wait for the tram, we toured the museam which had a good depiction of the tension between early settlers and native americans. They also had items that represented the early times like covered wagons, teepees, and a stuffed horse and buffalo. We recommend seeing it if you have the chance.
We had no idea what to expect from the tram. It wasn't pretty at all. After a long wait they shove 4 or 5 ppl in an egg shaped pod. Scott had to duck and we were close enough to be touching strangers. Those who know us well know how yuck an experience that is for each of us. We rode to the top, bumpy, crowded and no AC. Got off, swaying, crowded, slanted and no AC. Looked out one window and got in line to go back down. Scott was green, I was red. What a sight! (the view was ok too). Needless to say, we don't recommend this one. It was better from the ground. We've now checked into a Holiday Inn Express in IL for the night. Scott's picking up bike parts tomorrow morning (don't worry there's nothing wrong) then we're off again. All systems go for home.
We're compiling a list of "Bests/Favorites" from the trip. If you've got something you'd like to see a favorite for, let us know, we'll add it to the list.
Mileage: 325 | Hotel: Holiday Inn Expess | GPS Coords.:
The fast way to head East would have been Interstate 70, but its a yucky piece of slab full of trucks.
Instead, we headed southeast down and over to Route 50. What a joy the road was. It came in all flavors, nice gentle curves. cornfields, forest, small towns, some interesting hills.
Getting to 50 sure was interesting, we used the GPS set for "fewest miles" and darn if it did not take us on serious country roads, then through weird gravel roads in the middle of corn fields. The shortcut seemed like going down somebody's driveway to no where.
We are now only 580 miles from home and pretty much ready to get there.
Mileage: 580 | Hotel: Home | GPS Coords.:
We are home safe after a "get er done" 580 mile day in 11.25 hours.
Stopped for breakfast at a "Cracker Barrel", a snack at a "Starbucks" and lunch, resting as much as possible at each stop and then trekking on.
Its VERY good to be home, and the cat (Shade) is very happy.
The house looks great. Many thanks to Lou for taking care of both the house and the cat.
It's the next morning after our "power through" day. I wanted to share some thoughts I had as we wind up our great adventure. First, I have an amazing husband. Scott took such good care of me - us - throughout the trip. I had dreamed of a cross-country trip since graduating from college. Scott made all my dreams come true - and then some. Second, I feel a bit like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. We've been to new places and seen many beautiful sights, but there's no place like home. I'm sure the travel bug will get me again, but I'm happy to be right where I am right now. Lastly, we appreciate so much all of your comments and your off-line emails. It has been a blast sharing our trip with you and has meant a great deal to both of us knowing that we have such a wonderful group of people supporting us!
We'll be posting our list of favorites/bests this weekend. Then, of course, we'll be saying goodbye to the blog and leaving it for prosterity and memories.
Mileage: 0 | Hotel: | GPS Coords.: