Thursday, October 8, 2020

Road Trip 2 October to 5 October 2020

A trip up to see the kids turned into a 4 day road trip covering just about 2000 miles.

We arrived in Orem Utah on Friday evening. After checking into our hotel, we went to see Shad and Liz and have dinner at their apartment.

Saturday morning Cheryl and I went to a Black Bear Dinner for breakfast. Utah was a little weird with the COVID stuff. They did have indoor dinning, unlike California which is outdoor dining only at the time. Restaurants had it posted that to enter you must wear a mask. But only about half the people would wear them at all. After breakfast we waited until Jordy was off work to go up to see Jordy, Robby, Susi (cat) and Padfoot (dog).

Padfoot is still very skittish around everyone. Won't let anyone touch him other than Jordy, but he also wanted to be right where everyone was, just don't look at him lol. Susi on the other hand was completely fine with everyone petting and pampering her.

After a quick visit at their apartment all four of us went for a drive up to Antelope Island. Antelope island is very dry this time of year. There was a ton of haze, partly from smoke from the western states and the normal haze that Salt Lake area seems to have most of the time. We were able to see multiple buffalo in multiple locations this time. As well as a couple of coyotes and some deer.

We dropped Jordy and Robby off at there apartment and went back to Orem to our hotel to relax a little bit before dinner that night. We waited for Liz to get off work at 8pm before heading down to Strap Tank in Springville. Strap Tank Brewery is a micro-brewery named after the 1907 Strap Tank Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. Shad, Liz, Jordy and Robby joined Cheryl and I for dinner and drinks. It was a great time and great to see the kids and to see that they are all doing well.

Sunday morning Cheryl was able to get hold of her son Justin in Wellington UT and confirm that he was off work that morning. So we checked out of the hotel and headed down to Spanish Fork and over the mountain to Wellington where we picked up Justin to have an early lunch back in Price UT. The place we usually would go to in Price was no longer in business and the new place that reopened in the location was closed due to COVID. So we decided to try another place next door that was open and new, The Tangerine Eatery. The sandwiches were great. And we were able to have a good visit with Justin.

After dropping Justin off back at home, Cheryl and I headed for Goblin Valley. We had visited the park back in May 2014 and decided we wanted to go back and see it again since we were so close. We hiked further in this time even though it was hotter this time than it was in May of 2014. Still a very cool location to explore. From Goblin Valley we kept heading south to Hanksville, where we had a choice. Left would take us to Page AZ and Lake Powell or turn right heading toward Capitol Reef Park and down to Escalante. I opted for right since, when we did part of this road trip in 2014 we went left. So right would take us on a route we hadn't done before. This turned out to be a really fun and scenic drive through and above canyons. There were some great fall colors at the top. The Aspen trees were mostly yellow with a mix of burgundy. At one of the turnouts we stopped at we talked to a couple of guys and a woman on motorcycles. When they pulled up they were going on about how scary something was on the road they had just come up. Apparently they had almost hit a few cattle as they were coming up the winding road from Hell's Backbone. We also had a few encounters with cattle in the road, but I always expect that kind of thing when driving back roads in open-range areas.

Once reaching Escalante, we topped of the car with fuel and mapped a route to Bryce Canyon area. By the time we reached Bryce Canyon entrance it was pitch black out because the moon hadn't come up yet. I decided to map a route out to the US-15 to get out of the winding mountain roads at night. Didn't really feel like meeting a deer in the dark if I didn't have to. The route we end up on took us up to a little town called Panguitch, where we decided to call it a day and get a room for the night instead of trying to press on and make it home Sunday as planned (we would've been closer to 2 am Monday morning at that point).

The next morning, after having breakfast at the only diner that was open on a Monday morning in Panguitch, I plotted a course toward Navajo Bridge. This was the location we were headed to in 2014 when we couldn't get through due to the road being closed just outside Page AZ, but that also lead us to stumble upon Horse Shoe Bend for some great photos that year. So we drove the long trek out to Navajo Bridge and Marble Canyon. The route I chose also took us by the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which I didn't actually realize we would be that close to. Since that was another reason I had originally planned to go across the Navajo Bridge from Page we decided after seeing the bridge to go back and out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We took the 50 mile one way drive out to the Rim. The first 25 miles or so of this drive had also been devastated by fire in the past couple of year. But the Aspen trees are starting to grow back in abundant numbers in the burned areas. And we hit them at just about the right time. Full yellow fall colors with some orange and burgundy thrown in. We reached the North Rim, hiked out to the main point out of the parking lot and shot a few photos. It was still pretty hazy here, but clearer than Antelope Island had been.

From the North Rim it was the long trek back to St George UT and then the very long grueling drive home. Arriving back home Monday night around 10:50pm.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sunday Drive 30 Aug 2020

Yet another Sunday marathon drive. Still in COVID land 2020.

Audio book this time was "The Hunting Party" by Lucy Foley. This drive fell just short of the 10 hours 8 minutes of this book. (Still had about 40 minutes left on the book when we arrived at home.)

Started out on Ave D (CA-138). Could see quite a bit of burned areas from the Lake Fire from the past couple of weeks.

North on Interstate 5 to Maricopa Hwy (CA-166). Coming out just above Santa Maria. 

North on US-101 transitioning to CA-1 into Moro Bay area. Taking CA-1 north along the ragged edge to Willow Creek Beach Day Use area. The rest of CA-1 was closed at this point due to the current fires in Big Sur area.

We stopped at the Willow Creek parking area and had a nice picnic lunch in the car (still social distancing people) and enjoyed the overcast day. The temperature outside made for a perfect day. Not to hot not too cold.

From there, we headed back south taking CA-1 to US-101. Making a small stop at "Arroyo Hondo Old Hwy 101 Bridge to shoot a couple nostalgia photos and stretch the legs. And then back home via CA-126.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Smokey Weekend Drive 23 Aug 2020

Very smoke filled sky drive.

First out to Boron to see the new Loves service station that is being built.

Took CA-58 all the way to Barstow and drove parts of the original Route 66 down town Barstow.

Back on US-15 north bound to the Fort Irwin exit. Drove out to the Ft Irwin gate. Smoke was so thick in the air that visibility was only about a quarter mile. Did make for a very surreal but cool visual when 2 Black Hawk helicopters came cruising out of the smokey air about a quarter mile in front of us about 200 feet off the ground in formation. Disappearing back into the sky about as fast as they appeared.

Just before the main gate we turned back around and headed back to Interstate 15 south. Exiting at old CA-58 business route. Merging back onto CA-58 out at Linwood road. Exiting at Kramer Junction and heading North on US-395 to 9-mile canyon road. Taking that past Kenedy Meadows up to Black Rock Station. Back down to Kernville. Out Bod fish and back to CA-58 up through Tehachapi and back home.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Another Sunday another Drive 2 Aug 2020

Went for another marathon Sunday drive on August 2nd, 2020.

This was the longest one yet that we have gone on in a single day.

We chose a new audio book, "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty. Went to the grocery store to get some traveling sandwiches, salads and other snacks.

Started out going up US 395 toward Bishop and Mammoth. Ended up going all the way up to Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe actually looked a little bit like 4th of July weekend, becuase there were so many cars parked on the side of the road around the lake. All of the state park beaches were closed due to COVID restrictions. But that wasn't stopping people from parking outside the areas along the road side and hiking back to the beaches.

Kings Beach was also very crowded with people and most not social distancing or wearing masks at the time. So we just kept driving.

We end up going up to Truckee and catching I-80 across to just outside Sacramento. From Sacramento we headed south down US 99 and finally back home.

It was a long day of driving, about 15 hours, and about 950 miles round trip.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Sunday drive

Sunday Road Trip 26 July 2020

Sunday morning, started out with a 5 mile walk. Then decided to take a drive again and listen to an audio book. So we started "The Guest List" by Lucy Foley. 

The drive started out with a quick stop at McDonalds for a customary McGriddle combo and breakfast burrito combo. Don't reall like their food all that much, but the drive through is usually quick, so we could hit the road. Once we had food and started the book we hit the road North.

The car took us up Weldon pass and into Kernville. A quick stop at Vons to pick up some lunch food and stretch the legs for a couple minutes, top off the gas tank. We headed around Isabella to Wofford Heights area. I had noticed a sign a few years ago at Wofford Heights for highway 155, but we had never taken the time to explore it any further and find out where the road went/came out at. So today was the day. It turned out to be a pretty nice winding drive over the mountain to San Joaquin Valley to Delano.
At Delano we caught the 99 south to Famoso and the Paso Robles Highway (46). Headed west on 46 to Paso Robles. It was hot, dry and a little windy, but not to bad of a drive. Traffic wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Once we arrived in Paso and crossed the 101 freeway we went up Nacimiento Lake Dr, which becomes Godfrey Rd and eventually Chimney Rock Rd. Cheryl and I did this part of the drive back in 2016 for her birthday that year, hitting some wineries on the back loop. So we decided to see a couple of the places again this time.

We drove all the way to a locked gate on Chimney Rock Rd past JUSTIN Winery. We couldn't remember if the road went through or ended. It ended at a private gate. So we turned back. 

Jaimie and Cheryl at Dubost
We made a stop at Dubost Winery and had an awesome handmade stone fired vegetable pizza for lunch, with a wine tasting flight.

From there we caught Adelaida Rd. Trying to remember if this was the exact route we took in 2016 or not. We confirmed it was when we came across Kiamie Wine Cellars. This was a winery we had stopped at back in 2016 right before the end of the day and we closed 'em down. Great outdoor winery environment. Couple of great owners. This time around we arrived just before the last pour, again! But we made it just in time. To be greeted by the dogs. The last time we were there one of the dogs was just a puppy. He's grown quite a bit now LOL. Had a great time just relaxing and enjoying the outdoor atmosphere with the owners, and Cheryl having another tasting flight.

From Kiamie winery we continue on to Eric Seastrand Memorial Hwy (46) and head west to the coast line and US 1. I always forget that there isn't actually a signal at this spot, so a Sunday afternoon making a left turn onto US 1 is a challenge to say the least. But we made it. Headed south on US 1 down to Morro Bay area.

Since it was getting to be late in the day, decided to fill up on gas and start the trek back home. South on US 1 to US 101 past Cal Poly. South on US 101 to exit at Cuyama Hwy (166). The road that takes us back to the outskirts of Bakersfield to catch US 5 to US 138 and home. Note to self US 138 in the dark sucks!!

Overall it was a great drive. About 560 miles total and about 10 hours driving time. Almost finished the audio book, but still have 1 hour and 40 minutes to go. But I was tapped out at that point.