5/28/10: It's pretty weird to actually see it on a map, a good old fashioned paper map. It still seems unreal. Will we follow the route and schedule at all? Who knows! As long as I get to where I need to be, I guess it doesn't matter. :-)
5/29/10: This is today's progress. Wilton, California to Kingman, Arizona.
5/29/10: The reason I didn't take too many photos while driving down the central valley of CA is because it looks like this. ;-) This is near Bakersfield.
5/29/10: Oh look, mountains! Heading east out of Bakersfield.
5/29/10: A windmill farm in Tehachapi, CA.
5/29/10: First glimpses of the vast Mojave Desert.
5/29/10: Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert, CA.
5/29/10: It's interesting to note, as we drive, that the roads are not always "blacktop" as we are used to. Some are reddish!
5/29/10: The Mojave Desert is very big. And deserty.
5/29/10: Yeah, a lot of this...
5/29/10: Okay, that made me giggle! ;-)
5/29/10: Nifty rocky mountains just west of Kingman, AZ.
5/30/10: This is today's progress. Kingman, Arizona --> Sedona, Arizona --> Albuquerque, New Mexico
5/30/10: Jan finds bikers everywhere.
5/30/10: For a while the terrain looked like this.
5/30/10: I thought that was funny.
5/30/10: And then it looked like this.
5/30/10: There are actually a lot of pretty wildflowers in bloom. I don't know what these are though.
5/30/10: And suddenly there were trees! This surprised me, I didn't know we'd see this kind of area in AZ, I was imagining all desert and red rocks.
5/30/10: Snow on a mountain!
5/30/10: A lot of people have asked me if we went to the Grand Canyon on this trip. Nope. Trust me, it was tempting, and I'd thought about it, but it wasn't the sort of thing that could be done in a couple hours of side trip. I've never been there though and would like to go, as a destination unto itself. And with a whole new concept of distance now, whaddya know, it doesn't seem that far away! :-)
5/30/10: You would not believe how many of these are closed. What, people don't have to "rest" anymore??
5/30/10: Starting south on 89A toward Sedona, what a pretty stretch of road!
5/30/10: Heading south on 89A toward Sedona... suddenly there were cliffs! The terrain changes pretty fast.
5/30/10: Hey, at least there are guard rails! 89A south to Sedona.
5/30/10: Slide Rock State Park
5/30/10: Slide Rock State Park.
5/30/10: Very close to Sedona.
5/30/10: The artist (me) in Sedona.
5/30/10: Sedona. This was just a short stop, like a little teaser, since we have a long trip ahead of us. We saw a few stores, a gallery, etc. It was a fun stop, but so crowded on this holiday weekend!
5/30/10: Found this great (ahem) purse at a gallery in Sedona... yeah, it kind of looks like it's being attacked by some sort of roadkill.
5/30/10: Sedona, Arizona
5/30/10: oh pile of skulls, how I want to take you all home. Sedona.
5/30/10: Leaving Sedona.
5/30/10: Ha ha, what? I took a photo of the photo enforcement!
5/30/10: Then it got really flat and boring.
5/30/10: We saw a few of these, we decided it's a roadkill alien. Speaking of roadkill, you'd think we might see a lot of wildlife. No. Aside from crows, ravens, and assorted birds, we have seen three dead coyotes, three dead elk, and two dead unidentifiable gross things.
5/30/10: Lots of these odd little places. Tomorrow we'll stop at one.
5/30/10: Me standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona...
5/30/10: Jan standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
5/30/10: Winslow, AZ. So then we were being dorky and photographing each other at the same time.
5/30/10: Winslow, AZ. See, the flatbed Ford is right there behind Jan!
5/30/10: I can't help but flirt with cowboys...
5/30/10: Um what?
5/30/10: Those are nifty rocks.
5/30/10: Um, a teepee on a hill to the side of the interstate somewhere east of Winslow, AZ.
5/30/10: And a schoolbus on a hill too! How did that get there? If you see weird things, you can be pretty sure you're in Arizona....
5/30/10: Driving across Arizona. Parts like this can be a little on the boring side, I have to admit.
5/30/10: But at least there's some rocky stuff here and there to make things more interesting.
5/30/10: I really like these red rocks!
5/30/10: Those are also nifty rocks.
5/30/10: New Mexico! I misread this as "Land of Enhancement" at first and that gave me a chuckle...
5/30/10: What do you know, New Mexico has rocks too!
5/30/10: New Mexico.
5/31/10: This is today's progress. Not that far, really, but we spent some time in Santa Fe, and stopped a little early for the night in Amarillo because it looked like bad weather ahead. It seems to have fooled us, but that's okay, catching up on sleep will be nice.
5/31/10: After days of clear blue skies, we finally see some clouds! This is on the way from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
5/31/10: Santa Fe, NM. This is a place I would like to go back to. We were only there about an hour and a half, just enough time to see a couple places really, but that was the plan, it was just a short stop on the way to somewhere else. But, art-wise, this could be a good place for me to explore more. I'm glad we went.
5/31/10: Santa Fe, NM
5/31/10: Part of Santa Fe. I like the architecture there, and how the buildings are all brown.
5/31/10: This is what happens when Jan is driving. ;-)
5/31/10: Um, what?
5/31/10: So I was going to caption this "Gosh, in California we just call that a quickie" but that would be sort of inappropriate wouldn't it... ;-)
5/31/10: South of Santa Fe, I thought this area was pretty, I could maybe exist in an area like that.
5/31/10: This place had the biggest collection of kitschy schlock I'd ever seen. So of course I had to buy some.
5/31/10: I believe we shared a political wisecrack about how this clearly isn't Arizona anymore. ;-) I know, that's sooo not P.C.
5/31/10: Sometimes the land was green!
5/31/10: New Mexico gets kinda fancy with their overpasses!
5/31/10: Looks like some weather on the horizon...
5/31/10: We never did figure out what these markings are on this hillside, so they must be something alien-related. It is New Mexico, after all.
5/31/10: That's a big steak.
5/31/10: Woo hoo, Texas!
5/31/10: Yup, that's Texas...
5/31/10: Big hay bales in Texas.
5/31/10: Heading east toward Amarillo, TX.
5/31/10: With these dark clouds on the horizon, and storm warnings on the internet, we decided to stop in Amarillo for the night. Would have been nice to go farther east but it's okay, we're still ahead of schedule, and neither one of us wanted to be caught in a storm after dark (so far the storm seems to have wimped out).
5/31/10: Oh delicious cheeseburger and extremely strong strawberry margarita (woo wee they don't make em like that in CA!) how I love thee.
5/31/10: Jan and the big horse.
5/31/10: I want one of these horses.
6/01/10: This is today's progress, about 600 miles. Amarillo, Texas --> Little Rock, Arkansas.
6/01/10: A sunny morning leaving Amarillo, TX.
6/01/10: Why it's the leaning tower of Groom (Grooms?) Texas!
6/01/10: A historic gas station in Shamrock, TX. That's right before the Oklahoma border.
6/01/10: Oklahoma didn't have an official welcome sign (hmpf!) so this will have to stand in for it. Oh, and I feel really bad for not getting a pic of Arizona's sign on the first day. It was pretty, but I was too slow with the camera that day. I've since had lots of practice.
6/01/10: I thought Oklahoma was quite pretty. Very green.
6/1/10: Nicely groomed interstate here in Oklahoma.
6/01/10: Okay, you know you've sunk to new levels when "name that roadkill" (and try to photograph it!) is the fantastic game of the day. Seriously. While AZ, NM, and most of TX were devoid of wildlife other than large black birds, and had very little roadkill, OK and AR are teeming with squished animals. Deer, coyotes, unknown fuzzy things, and lots of armadillos. Jan has a thing for armadillos. We really wanted to see one, and we both tried hard to photograph a roadkill one, but that's hard when you're hurtling down the interstate. I did get this great photo of a dead tire though, I was desperately hoping it wasn't a tire. Alas. Tires are the most common roadkill by far.
6/1/10: Jan and I at the Cherokee Trading Post near El Reno, Oklahoma.
6/1/10: Jan's new friend at the Cherokee Trading Post.
6/01/10: That's Oklahoma City. It reminded me some of Sacramento.
6/01/10: More of Oklahoma. Quite a contrast from Arizona and New Mexico!
6/1/10: Heading east through Oklahoma...
6/01/10: The farther east we get, the more trees there are.
6/01/10: Interestingly, this was near a lake...
6/1/10: So of course "Okie from Muskogee" was going through my mind!
6/01/10: Yay, Arkansas!
6/1/10: Arkansas looks a lot like Oklahoma...
6/01/10: So here we are in Little Rock tonight. Yeah, you know my room number but not where I'm staying. Jan and I went to a buffet place for dinner tonight. I hate buffets, they are chaotic, but it was okay. It was interesting to hear some accents that I had a lot of trouble understanding, and to see some extremely fat people. I mean wow. Yeah, we are getting into a whole different world at this point! And it's really stinkin hot. It was so nice when we left CA, and then we're in the air conditioned car all day, get out and it's like "ugh." Time for bed!
6/2/10: This it today's progress. Little Rock, Arkansas --> Memphis, Tennessee --> Birmingham, Alabama.
6/2/10: Kudzu really does seem to be taking over the south.
6/2/10: Okay, so this photo sucks, but that's the Mississippi River! Wow!
6/2/10: Crossing the Mississippi River into Tennessee.
6/2/10: Why thank you Tennessee!
6/2/10: I heart Elvis! Graceland is soooo commercialized...
6/2/10: Jan hearts Elvis too!
6/2/10: Jan rockin' the Elvis merch.
6/2/10: Graceland Mansion
6/2/10: Graceland Mansion.
6/2/10: Weird monkey at Graceland Mansion.
6/2/10: Graceland Mansion. The walls in the room with the pool table are this hideous pleated fabric. Weird.
6/2/10: The jungle room!!!
6/2/10: Pretty horses at Graceland.
6/2/10: The back of Graceland Mansion.
6/2/10: Graceland. That's kinda cool, I like that one!
6/2/10: OMG, it's THE sparkly jumpsuits!!! I have to say I found it pretty cool to stand here and look at these while Elvis sang on the television.
6/2/10: Elvis' bling.
"for when that one great scorer comes
to write against your name
he writes not that you won or lost
but how you played the game"
6/2/10: Me at Graceland!
6/2/10: Jan and I at Graceland. Nice headphones, me...
6/2/10: Hey Alora, this one's for you! Look at the size of that!!! :-)
6/2/10: Thanks Mississippi!
6/2/10: That's Mississippi.
6/2/10: I spend about half the time in that seat, with the camera ready for action. And of course the camera is always ready when I'm driving too... ;-)
6/2/10: That's Alabama! We sure have seen the scenery change a lot over the last few days!
6/2/10: Um, Alabama, that's not the way the sign goes. Flying deer? Praying deer?
6/2/10: It wasn't until looking at these photos much later that I realized someone had put a red nose on the deer on this sign. It all makes sense now! Watch out for Rudolph in Alabama!
6/3/10: This is today's progress. Destination reached! Birmingham, Alabama --> Atlanta, Georgia.
6/3/10: There are a lot of trees. This is part of Alabama. It's funny to me to see a lot of mimosa trees in their native habitat. I just think of them as landscape decor! We stayed in Birmingham last night after having a lovely evening with David's mother. :-)
6/3/10: I saw a lot of these ginormous fireworks stores. And a lot of equally ginormous "adult entertainment" stores. Interesting.
6/3/10: I think Tallapoosa would be a great place to raise Appaloosas. ;-)
6/3/10: Georgia looks a lot like Alabama.
6/3/10: Hey Douglas, this one's for you!
6/3/10: We went to Cracker Barrel for lunch today. This was a game on the table. I'm purty smart I guess.
6/3/10: Playing checkers with my imaginary friend at Cracker Barrel.
6/3/10: Atlanta! That's where I'll be exhibiting tomorrow through Sunday. Jan will be off on her own adventures without me while I am here and in TN. You can read her accounts of the trip on her blog, http://jancblawat.blogspot.com in the June 2010 archives.
6/3/10: Way off in the distance is downtown Atlanta.
6/4/10: There's the table at Blade Show! Not everyone was set up yet at the other tables when I took this.
6/5/10: A better view of my side of the table. So, the big question of course is how did it go. I'd say it went okay. I have nothing to compare it to. I sold one piece at the show, one piece at the Engrave-In, and one while visiting a friend a little farther west into the drive home. I started with a big stack of business cards and have about a dozen left. I talked to a lot of people and (I think) made some pretty important contacts. I had a GREAT time. People liked my work. I'll absolutely show there again! It was fun to be with friends in the little engraver's section, but there wasn't much traffic back there... might try to move up next year.
6/6/10: The Blade Show, as seen from my table. This was first thing in the morning, it wasn't crowded yet. There is sooo much to see there, it's overwhelming!
6/6/10: Blade Show, as seen from my table.
6/6/10: Visiting old friends and making new friends. Lee G, Lynda S, me, and Chris M at the GRS booth.
6/6/10: Chris and I shared a table at the Blade Show. We had worked together on the "cheetah knife" a couple months back. So nice to finally meet each other in person!
6/5/10: I have no idea what we were laughing about, but it was a pretty entertaining weekend getting to hang out with everyone!
6/6/10: My table-neighbor, Lori R and her husband Greg. Lori is a scimshander whose work I absolutely love and admire.
6/6/10: Hanging out with Ron N, swapping stories and gossip.
6/5/10: Me and Ron N.
6/6/10: After the Blade Show finished, it was off to the Engrave-In in Monteagle, TN.
6/7/10: Villu M and Viljo M, all the way from Estonia! I can't begin to tell you how cool it is to meet everyone, especially people with whom I have been "friends" for a while via the internet!
6/7/10: Simon L, visiting from England, shows some of his wonderful antique printing plates.
6/7/10: Ray C checks out one of the tailgate displays. Kurt H, Roger B, and a whole lot of other troublemakers in the background. ;-)
6/7/10: Mike D gave a presentation about lettering.
6/7/10: A lot of people will put a few items out on display for everyone to look at, that's fun.
6/7/10: Some tables get quite the crowd of looky-loos!
6/7/10: Lots to see...
6/7/10: at the Engrave-In
6/7/10: Paul H's table always gathers a crowd.
6/7/10: Everyone gathers around to vote on their favorite engraved Palm Control handle.
6/7/10: Scott P, whose family hosts this wonderful event... what was he saying, I can't remember!
6/7/10: Now if I'd only been a little faster with the camera I would have gotten a shot of Scott's "engraved" (tatooed!) Colt .45!
6/7/10: Emily P, who graciously let me share her room, and a very large dog.
6/7/10: Okay, remember the polyphemus moth I saw at home recently (if not, go to the blog in the May 2010 archives, www.blog.katherineplumer.com). Well I saw one that night in Tennessee! And fireflies too. How cool!
6/8/10: I got an award!!! :-)
6/8/10: Emily and I walked out to the bluffs on their property the last morning I was there.
6/8/10: Me and Emily P, she's like my little Tennessee sister. :-)
6/8/10: It's a long way down. And I was tired. Dangerous combination...
6/8/10: Wandering through the woods shortly before I had to leave that morning. I loved the Engrave-In. It was a lot of fun, good friendship, awesome food, and all in all just a great time. It is SO good to put more names with faces and get a chance to talk to people in person. It was hard to leave! I really miss my friends, and I can't wait to see everyone again. For some, that will be in Reno in January. For others, it will be a year from now...
6/8/10: After Jan picked me up in Monteagle (remember, she was off on a solo adventure for the last few days), we drove to St. Louis, Missouri.
6/8/10: Somewhere in TN, those are the biggest darn tires I have ever seen!
6/8/10: Well, I confess that I slept right through the "welcome to Kentucky" sign, so here's a photo of Kentucky for you.
6/8/10: Illinois. I thought this state was quite pretty. Lots of green, and trees, and farms.
6/8/10: Illinois and dramatic clouds.
6/8/10: Entering St. Louis, Missouri.
6/8/10: The view out the hotel room window in St. Louis. Neither Jan nor I like driving in cities, ugh! It's pretty relaxing to be out on the open road in the middle of nowhere... not so much when it's a busy freeway in a city.
6/9/10: This is today's progress. St. Louis, Missouri --> Kearney, Nebraska.
6/9/10: We left St. Louis super early (6:30am, gack!) to avoid traffic. How could we not stop at a place called Ozarkland? It was kind of like the Cline's Corner place from NM, though with a more rednecky flair I'd say. It may have been only 8am, but this was entertaining.
6/9/10: I found some great new shades there.
6/9/10: I think this gun is way more my style than the machine gun that was at the Engrave-In. And look, it's engraved! Ha ha ha...
6/9/10: Now this was tempting, though thankfully I have not reached this level of desperation quite yet. ;-)
6/9/10: LOL! In my world, it's south!
6/9/10: That cracked me up.
6/9/10: Goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come!
6/9/10: In an effort to add another state to our list, we went into Kansas. This was helped in part by me ending up on the wrong road, thereby forcing us to go into Kansas! But we were going to sort of do that anyway, so it's all good.
6/9/10: And just as quickly as we went into Kansas, we went back to Missouri and headed north. Good thing I got this sign though, I didn't see one on the other side of Missouri!
6/9/10: I seriously can't believe the size of these fireworks stores!
6/9/10: We were barely in Iowa, but it still counts!
6/9/10: Ugh, sorry Nebraska, your sign snuck up on me...
6/9/10: Nebraska! So I had imagined Nebraska being totally flat and boring and treeless (yeah, I'm bad about having misconceptions like these). I thought it was pretty! The eastern part was sort of rolling, and there were a lot more trees than I expected.
6/9/10: Nebraska clouds, as seen through the sun-roof (moon roof?)
6/9/10: I have never seen so much corn in my life as I did driving through Nebraska.
6/9/10: Okay, so when you're driving down a straight road in a relatively flat area, and you see this weird rusty colored winged monstrosity going over the road, the response is something like "what the heck". It's some sort of museum I guess, but boy does it look out of place!
6/9/10: I had dinner that night with Steve L, his wife Karla (who took this pic), and his daughter Kaitlin. Steve owns an engraving tool company, and I hadn't seen him for years so it was great to catch up and meet the family. This spot where we are standing, in Kearney, Nebraska, is 1733 miles from Boston and 1733 miles from San Francisco. How cool is that!
6/9/10: Who am I to turn down a dorky photo op?
6/9/10: Standing in the workshop at Steve L's place. There was so much to see, and he kindly let me study some of his engravings and drawings. I'm so glad the route home went right through town! :-)
6/9/10: It was REALLY cool to see some of Steve's engraving up close and personal!!!
6/10/10: This is today's progress. Kearney, Nebraska --> Longmont, Colorado.
6/10/10: More green Nebraska.
6/10/10: The animals here look so happy. My horses would love that much green! They'd be so fat!
6/10/10: Farther west, it's getting flatter and more treeless...
6/10/10: Heading toward Wyoming.
6/10/10: Okay, you knew I had to photograph at least one "flashing" sign because they make me laugh. You've figured out how warped my sense of humor is, right?
6/10/10: Hello, Wyoming! Wyoming has a special place in my heart. I very nearly went to college there before deciding to stay closer to home at attend UCD. And Jackson Hole (several hours northwest of where this was taken) is an awesome place that I totally dig.
6/10/10: Stopped at a rest area just past the state line, and OMG someone had drawn a chicken in the bathroom stall! Fate!
6/10/10: I needed to stretch my legs a bit, so I walked around on a little hiking trail for a few minutes. Neato!
6/10/10: A sculpture, as seen from hiking around near the rest area.
6/10/10: Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was last here in 1996.
6/10/10: Cheyenne, Wyoming.
6/10/10: a horse sculpture in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
6/10/10: Suzie, this is for you!
6/10/10: I went shopping for cowboys here, this seemed like a good place to find one. Alas, foiled again, but I did get a nice sweatshirt.
6/10/10: I missed the "welcome to Colorado" sign because my camera had an error, so this will have to stand in its place.
6/10/10: We'd seen a few pronghorn antelope out in the fields, some alone and one nice little herd. I was cursing my inability to pull over on the interstate and photograph them, when lo and behold there was an exit and a gravel frontage road! Thus began the hunt for antelope.
6/10/10: I had to bust out The Beast (Nikon D80) for this job. Most of my pics in this album are shot on Pinkie (a diminutive Canon ELPH). I'd brought The Beast just in case I had a chance to do something like this.
6/10/10: How I hunt. ;-)
6/10/10: Pronghorn antelope.
6/10/10: Oh Beast camera, how I adore you.
6/10/10: They're a ragged looking bunch aren't they.
6/10/10: Pronghorn Antelope.
6/10/10: Aren't they cool?
6/10/10: Colorado, as some thunderstorms start up for the evening. In some ways this reminded me a little bit of a stretch of I-5 in northern part of the central valley in California.
6/10/10: I tried so hard to photograph the very impressive lightning storm while Jan was checking into the hotel. All I got was a bunch of pics of blank sky, and this one piddly picture. Oh well.
6/11/10: This is today's progress. Longmont, Colorado to Moab, Utah.
6/11/10: Near Boulder, Colorado. I can see why people would want to live here.
6/11/10: Near Boulder, Colorado.
6/11/10: We stopped at the Leanin' Tree museum in Boulder, Colorado. Now, I'd always thought of Leanin' Tree stuff as kinda kitschy, because that's mostly what I've seen of it at the feed store and whatnot. But dang I was impressed by a lot of the western art there. I even splurged and bought a nice hardcover book! I'm really glad we stopped here, that was pretty inspirational.
6/11/10: Jan at Leanin' Tree, Boulder, CO.
6/11/10: I found a cowboy! I tried hard to win him over but he was just so serious, we really didn't hit it off too well. Foiled again.
6/11/10: at the Leanin' Tree Museum, Boulder, CO.
6/11/10: Jan found a friendly bison in the yard at Leanin' Tree.
6/11/10: Leanin' Tree, Boulder, CO. It was okay to take photos outside, but not indoors.
6/11/10: I love these horses made of rusty stuff! Suzie, check this guy out!
6/11/10: That sculpture WAS pretty realistic!
6/11/10: Leanin' Tree Museum, Boulder, CO.
6/11/10: Yippee Ti Yi Oh, git along little donkey... Oh wait, that's not how it goes!
6/11/10: Denver, Colorado.
6/11/10: Heading toward them thar hills. (the Rocky Mountains).
6/11/10: We saw this sign near Buffalo Bill's grave site and thought "yeah right, there aren't any there."
6/11/10: But there were some bison there! Oh, and a note on my photo location tags, I don't know where most these things are, I'm just plunking down markers in the right state and sometimes on the right road!
6/11/10: That's disconcerting. Are we talking bison or chipmunks??
6/11/10: Heading west over the Rockies on I-70 in Colorado.
6/11/10: They're not kidding about these mountains being rocky.
6/11/10: We got into some rainy weather high up in the mountains of Colorado.
6/11/10: There are some really breathtaking views going over the Rockies on I-70.
6/11/10: It just keeps being pretty!
6/11/10: This was the longest tunnel, cripes! Jan hates driving through tunnels!
6/11/10: Wow, just wow.
6/11/10: Why are all the trees dying? Is this the pine beetle problem?
6/11/10: Gah! It's so pretty!
6/11/10: Oh, right, because the rest of it wasn't scenic???
6/11/10: You almost want to turn your head to the side to look at the landscape around here.
6/11/10: Giggle! Sorry, you had no idea my sense of humor was so warped! ;-)
6/11/10: Heading west over the Rockies on I-70 in Colorado. The photos don't really convey how incredibly huge the mountains are.
6/11/10: So the lady at the gift shop in Eagle, Colorado said that we'd be pretty impressed going through Glenwood Canyon. OMG. Okay, the Sierras are big, but these Rockies are just awe-inspiring!
6/11/10: Heading west over the Rockies on I-70 in Colorado. Traffic was awful around here, it was at a crawl for about an hour due to construction. That's the Colorado River there, by the way.
6/11/10: I saw a lot of cool clouds on this trip.
6/11/10: Definitely a change of terrain here! That's the Colorado River along side I-70.
6/11/10: Soon to be entering flat land again...
6/11/10: Heading into desert again.
6/11/10: Does this make up for missing the welcome sign?
6/11/10: It seems to go on forever.
6/11/10: It was getting well on into evening. We'd almost stopped in Grand Junction, CO for the night but decided to push onward. There wasn't anything between there and Moab, so we had to go all the way to Moab, and I wasn't sure we'd get there before dark with 43 miles of winding road ahead of us. That's NOT a road I'd want to be on at night. I was driving this stretch, and some parts were a pretty sheer drop right down to the Colorado River, the road crumbling along the side. Yikes!
6/11/10: Hwy 128 toward Moab, UT. This is listed as a "scenic route." Indeed!
6/11/10: Hwy 128 toward Moab, UT.
6/11/10: I stopped to photograph some wildflowers on the start of 128 toward Moab.
6/11/10: I stopped to photograph some wildflowers at the start of 128 toward Moab. This was a pretty desolate road.
6/11/10: At this point I was really questioning the wisdom of driving out there at this time of day.
6/11/10: Jan was just waiting for me to get abducted by aliens while I goofed around in the wilderness.
6/11/10: Hwy 128 toward Moab, UT. There's that Colorado River again!
6/11/10: Hwy 128 toward Moab, UT. Jan took this one I think, she told me I had to keep my hands on the wheel. This was where the road sort of crumbled away into the river.
6/11/10: Hwy 128 toward Moab, UT. Yeah, I was forbidden from taking photos on this stretch, it was bad.
6/11/10: There comes a point when you round the bend and suck in your breath and say "oh my gosh" because it's so startlingly beautiful. And then that keeps happening every time you round the bend because it just keeps being beautiful. Hwy 128 to Moab.
6/11/10: The red rock cliffs are awesome. Hwy 128 to Moab.
6/11/10: There's the car!
6/11/10: Seriously, it just keeps getting more amazing. I kept pulling over to take pics, all the while trying to hurry up and get off this road before dark.
6/11/10: I was in awe. We were planning to go to Arches National Park the next day, but I was feeling like I'd already seen so much amazing stuff that almost didn't matter.
6/11/10: The sun was going down...
6/11/10: Amazing. So we stayed in Moab that night, which was pretty crowded with tourists. Didn't get to explore the town at all, but that was okay. After that drive I think we both wanted to just kick back! Oh, and I have to say I was SO disappointed that the Mexican restaurant we went to that night didn't have a drop of anything alcoholic on the menu! Gasp! And just when I really could have put a strawberry margarita to good use!!!
6/12/10: This is today's progress. Moab, Utah to Battle Mountain, Nevada.
6/12/10: After a delicious breakfast of apple cinnamon pancakes at a restaurant next to the hotel in Moab (I need to try to make those!) we ventured to Arches National Park. This was not part of the "original" plan, we'd originally figured just to take I-80 through Wyoming but I happened to be looking at map late one night and realized that if we took I-70 instead, we'd go right through here, and that was just too cool to turn down. Like the other side stops on this trip (Sedona, Santa Fe), this was just a quick preview. I could spend days at Arches, and would love to hike out and see everything, but we had a few hours in the morning to pack in as much as we could. So sit back and enjoy the ride!
6/12/10: Arches National Park. Yes, as luck would have it the only Bighorn Sheep we saw was this one on this sign. :-(
6/12/10: Entering Arches National Park. That's Moab down in the valley.
6/12/10: Moab is down in a valley, and from the entrance to Arches you'd really have no idea what lies beyond. But it's enchanting from the moment you drive in.
6/12/10: Arches National Park.
6/12/10: Arches National Park
6/12/10: Arches National Park. Now, Sedona may be billed as a spiritual place, but I think Arches has it beat. This place moved me. Some of these huge rock formations look so much like human figures, and some like eagles, it's a powerful experience to see this place.
6/12/10: Arches National Park. I went on a short hike up to a cliff on which you can see Delicate Arch in the background. This is part of the way up, looking out over a valley. It was a gentle slope down that side...
6/12/10: Arches National Park. See, that's Delicate Arch way back there! It was chilly and very windy up there! This place must be amazing at sunrise/sunset on a sunny day.
6/12/10: Arches National Park. I know it's not the classic view of Delicate Arch, but that would have required a "strenuous 3-mile hike" (so said the brochure) and there wasn't time for that in the short time we were there. So this will have to do.
6/12/10: Arches National Park. This is taken in the same location as the previous shots. I didn't go right to the edge of cliff (I'm not that brave!) but stayed a few feet back. It dropped straight down into that valley. As I stood (and then sat) there with the cold wind blowing hard in my face, I was just glad it wasn't blowing the other way. Sitting up there on the cliff and taking in the view was pretty amazing.
6/12/10: Arches National Park. Aside from some ravens and little finchy birds, this was the only wildlife I saw. And it was dead. It was pretty big! Nose to back toes it was about as long as my shoe.
6/12/10: Leaving Arches National Park, headed north.
6/12/10: Leaving Arches. You'd never know it was back behind us from the way things look up ahead.
6/12/10: What the hail! We sure did see some interesting weather. It was 41 degrees and hailing at the top of the pass!
6/12/10: That's the great Salt Lake out there. It didn't smell very good.
6/12/10: That's a big pile of salt!
6/12/10: Utah, west of Salt Lake City.
6/12/10: That's not water. Or snow. It's salt.
6/12/10: I have no idea. Alien tennis ball tree with giant cantaloupe rinds?
6/12/10: We should have taken the car out there to see what it could do!
6/12/10: That's not snow! It's salt! And it feels pretty strange to walk on.
6/12/10: It looks like I'm out in some Antarctic blizzard or something. It was chilly, rainy, and VERY windy, but it sure ain't snow!
6/12/10: It's really like being in some alien landscape.
6/12/10: Nevada! None of this seemed like a place that would get much rain, but it sure got a lot that day!
6/12/10: LOL! I'll bet that's different than the one in California!
6/12/10: We both misread this as Death Star Valley at first, which was just hilarious.
6/12/10: Nevada as the sun goes down. It was stunningly beautiful. Yet these same mountains in the bright sun of morning seemed bland and boring.
6/12/10: Nevada. There's a giant reflection of my hand in the window which is why I cropped this photo, but that is just so freakin' gorgeous in that light!
6/12/10: "as the sun slowly sets in the west"
6/12/10: Here we are in lovely Battle Mountain. A sign like this in the motel room indicates this might not be the classiest place to stay. Jan had Battle Mountain in her mind for some reason but couldn't remember why, so we decided to stay there instead of going on to Winnemucca (oops). As we drove down the main drag of crummy motels, I said "I'm apprehensive about this town." Should have gone with that. I mean, the room was clean and the sheets were soft, but it wasn't a great place and dinner wasn't great. Jan figure out later that the billboard she saw years ago about Battle Mountain was one that proclaimed it as "armpit of the world". Note to self, next time stop somewhere else. ;-)
6/13/10: This is today's progress. Battle Mountain, Nevada to Wilton, California.
6/13/10: Nevada in the morning. See, the hills just aren't the same as yesterday.
6/13/10: Suddenly Jan pulled over along I-80 and told me to go pick up some of them thar volcanic rocks. I was somewhat mortified. But I did it anyway.
6/13/10: Heading toward the Sierras.
6/13/10: Welcome home!
6/13/10: It seemed strange to see the Sierras at this time of year. I've only ever seen this stretch of road in the middle of winter when the whole thing is totally covered in snow!
6/13/10: Coming down out of the mountains and into the central valley. Sacramento was a speck in the distance. That means an hour til home. This was the only day that the drive seemed kind of "ugh" to me, only because I knew we were headed to the last stop (home) and I wanted to just get it over with. That said, I would have been perfectly happy to keep on driving to another part of the country. After two weeks of driving, that had become the routine!
6/13/10: The road to home. Just five miles left. In the distance are the Sierras, which we crossed just hours before. That seemed so strange!
6/13/10: Home. It was a grand adventure. "Awesome" doesn't begin to do it justice, I had such a good time. Huge thank you to Jan for being up for a road trip! And thanks to her trusty RAV4, and to the Cap'n for coming along with us. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I miss my friends, I can't wait to see everyone again. I have seen so many amazing things. This is a beautiful country. And sometimes pretty strange. Oh, and yes Jan and I still get along great! Neither one of us wanted to kill each other by the end of the trip! ;-) I don't think there are many people I could drive across the country with. :-) Being back home is taking some getting used to. I woke up early the first morning back, ready to hit the road for a few hundred miles. I've felt restless, but it's time to get back to work and back into the old routines!
I stole this from Jan's blog. This is our route. Remember, she went and did her own thing while I was at the Blade Show and the Engrave-In. So that little gap in the red line route is where I hitched a ride from Atlanta to Monteagle with Chris.
These are all the states I had been to before this trip, sort of. I'm pretty sure we drove down the east coast when I was very young but I don't remember it, so it doesn't count. And airport layovers don't count either.
These are all the states we went through (even if just a tiny corner!) on this adventure.
This is everywhere I have been now, as of today.