Monday, August 24, 2009

Idaho, Oregon & California: 3 days of driving

BLOG THREE OF MONTANA TRIP 3 days of driving

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

It was a struggle to leave early and not watch the Tour de France head into Paris for the final day; traditionally a day of friendship and celebrating except for the sprint riders who will be chasing that one final stage victory at the end of the Champs-Elysees in Paris. But we knew that the program was being recorded for us back home so we left the house at 7 am after making sure we’d removed all traces of our visit to a fabulous log house!

One of the rewards for leaving early was a herd of antelope quietly drinking the rain water left in the cracks down the center of the highway; so glad that we were able to stop as we rounded the corner instead of having a hood ornament for the car! I took some photos while we waited for them to finish crossing the highway and then continued on our way knowing that all was good in our little corner of the world.

Heading south we soon reach the North Fork of the Salmon River and continued to follow that into the Sawtooth Mountain Range along the Lewis and Clark Trail. The river was a series of rapids perfect for kayak sport and hundreds of fisherman using their skills to fly fish along the banks, in boats and standing in waders in the rush of the river. I finally gave up taking photos; just too many opportunities! The day varied from broad vistas, green fields to narrow gaps between shear mountains….generally with a river flowing rapidly along side us! Did I mention the horses ….. seems to be as many horse ranches as cattle ranches; they definitely love their horses in the Big Sky Country.

We kept to the two lane highways as we drove for ten hours across Idaho and finally into Oregon where we found ourselves in the high desert. Arrived in the town of Burns before dusk and found a cute little hotel called the Silver Spur Motel. Population of fewer than five thousand and Sunday evening; not much open! Shopped at the grocery store for some picnic items and enjoyed our picnic in our room while we watched the summation of the Tour de France and posted my Blog with the final results! I enjoyed the challenge of posting the Tour results each day, but I’m glad that I will only be posting my regular Blog every few days during the balance of our trip.

Monday, July 27th, 2009 Brookings, Oregon

After an early breakfast at the motel we headed west in the desert towards the Pacific Ocean. Soon we could see the Cascade Mountain Range that said to me; we’re close to the city of Bend. I called my high school friend and he met us at a Starbucks Coffee Shop where we spent an hour catching up; we haven’t seen him since he stayed with us back in 2007. A nice break in the drive; Bend seems like a great place with many things to do and see but not on this trip. Our goal tonight is to reach the coast and head south to the border of California, and we still had many miles to travel. We were hitting more four lane highways but still not the major freeways or interstate highways, so it’s slow going at times.

We’d considered stopping by to see Crater Lake today but as we neared the area decided to continue west towards Roseburg. There we followed the Middle Fork of The Coquille River towards Coos Bay. A beautiful trip through the coastal mountains where the outside temperatures reached a high of 108° in the canyons and back down to 66° nearly sixty miles later as we crested over the peak and rushed down the mountain to the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101 just south of Coos Bay. Less than two hours later, another ten hour day, we drove into Brookings Oregon where we’d made reservations earlier in the day. Enjoyed a lovely dinner out and then back to our beautiful little Motel called Wild Rivers Motor Lodge because it is walking distance to the Rogue River just before it merges into the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed a stroll along the highway and walked across the bridge with views of the Harbor below before calling it a night.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 Redwood Forest and Highway 101 South

Our day began early as we were taking the slow way south on Highway 101 through the ancient forest of the Giant Redwoods in the northwest corner of California. The highway was full of bicycle riders, many with camping gear strapped on to their bikes. We went in and out of fog banks all morning as we meandered in and out of the forest and ocean front roads. Sometimes the roots were so close to the edge of the road that you could feel the root systems below as you drove the road, especially on the avenue of the Giants.

Along the ocean highway it was interesting to note that they had posted signs whenever you entered or left a “Tsunami Zone” between Crescent City and Eureka. The beaches are very wide and shallow in these waters making it easy for them to roll inland if generated by earthquakes in the ocean; as they witnessed in 1964 and 2006.

We stopped at the Klamath River to take photos of the golden bears on each end of the bridge that we crossed over just south of Crescent City and continued on through the stately redwoods saved from the sawmills by the creations of many National and State Parks along Highway 101.

We decided to stay on Highway 101 instead of Highway 1 when we reached the split at the town of Legget; we were traveling slowly but steady and we still had an afternoon of driving before we reach our destination of Pleasant Hill, a bedroom community near Walnut Creek for San Francisco and Oakland. The weather was blistering as we traveled inland and south towards Napa Wine Country. That is another adventure we took about ten years ago; lots of great memories.

We said goodbye to Highway 101 at Petaluma and headed east across the top of the San Francisco Bay. On our way we saw the Petaluma Adobe and decided to take a break for a short visit. It was closing time, nearly 5 pm, but we enjoyed the outside of this magnificent old home that is one of the oldest preserved buildings in Northern California, reputed to be the largest and richest privately owned Mexican estate north of San Francisco in the 1800’s. Build by Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in 1834; it has been an historical home since efforts were begun in the early 1900’s to preserve what was left of the Adobe.

We pulled into Pleasant Hill just after 6 pm for an evening of fun with our two youngest grandchildren after a wonderful dinner prepared by our son and his wife. We’ll be spending two nights here before going into the city.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 San Francisco area

Today was all about the grandkids! They are members of a swim club and at ages 9 and 6 are actively competing in swimming competitions. We spent the morning at their practice and then in the afternoon their aunt arrived (our youngest daughter who lives in the city) and we all went to the swim meet to cheer them on and eat our dinner around the pool! It was a much needed day of relaxing with family after three very long days of travel.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 San Francisco

This morning we headed into the city by way of the Oakland Bay Bridge. San Francisco has always been one of my favorite cities and we’ve many fond memories of our visits over the years. We had the morning to ourselves and after a bit of trial and error we found our way to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. It is very near City Hall in the old Library building. They have a “Samurai” exhibit at this time that was excellent.

At noon we met our daughter outside of her office building and headed towards her apartment on Russian Hill. There we unloaded our suitcases and walked to a local restaurant for lunch. We decided on the French café La Boulange de Polk around the corner; a delightful touch of Europe in this very cosmopolitan city!

Our evening was spent with young friends at the newly renovated San Francisco Natural Science Museum in Golden Gate Park. The Museum has a “Nightlife” opening every Thursday evening for adults only…’s become quite the rage in San Francisco! Check it out at .

What a fun evening: strolling through a rain forest, an aquarium and a planetarium show all in one evening! And, we were able to enjoy a drink as we strolled and also purchased our dinner about half way through. And, did I mention….dancing! Yes, great music everywhere and at one point we actually did some twinkle toe time!

Friday, July 31st, 2009 Home at last

Up early we headed east to Interstate 5 and the long road home. Our daughter came with us and we made a detour through the desert to drop her off at a Religious Retreat house near Palmdale. Yes…we came back out and took her to the airport on Sunday afternoon. We pulled into the garage just before 5 pm, tired but happy to be home. We had driven 3,423 miles in eleven days, averaging 48.57 mpg.

Thanks for joining us on our short tour of the northwestern U.S.A.

Tune in again on Friday, August 28th for our Tour of Greece....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved the way you are putting in the picture slides between the stories... as always you do a great job and I am so looking forward to your blog on Greece.Keeping Jim in my prayers today....hugs