Friday, October 5, 2012

Go west, young woman! Part II

Time for another photo essay on the Great Trip West.  I'm writing to you from the comfort of my brother's pub, the Brewers' Union Local 180 in Oakridge OR, and I'm happy to say that my shiny red car has gotten me this far comfortably, safely and stylishly.  I have a few more photos to share today of the second week of the drive WEST, just a brief taste of the many small adventures and long empty roads between Colorado and here.

When we left Durango, the first stop was one of my long-time dreams...Mesa Verde National Park.  Whoa, this was as cool as I had expected.  I love thinking about what it must have been like to live in these cliff houses.
 Then off to the Four Corners, through some of the craziest open country I've ever had the pleasure of dropping my jaw over.  It was so big and open and weird that there was no way I could take photos of it.  We chased rainstorms through the desert all the way to the fine little town of Bluff, Utah, where we scored the last hotel room for miles.  The next morning the clouds and storms were still present, and made the drive through the Valley of the Gods moody and exhilarating.  I almost cried, this was so cool.
Then off through the desert until a welcome oasis: Zion National Park.  We planned two night here, to allow a day of exploring the canyon and resting up.  Zion was particularly nice because the HUGE red rocks (we've seen a lot of big red rocks in the last week) was balanced by the coolness and shade offered by the Virgin River.  Really a beautiful place.
After this, Liz and I blasted through Las Vegas (seedy and abandoned on a Thursday morning), through the desert by Area 51 where we saw a disappointing lack of aliens, and on through the evening to get her home to Nevada City.  That was a long long long drive, and it's frankly a bit of a blur although I do recall seeing Mono Lake.  Nevada City was a welcome break, and a beautiful little mountain town with charm and history and a perfect climate and I confess to fantasizing about moving there.

Then I ventured out on my own for a few days.  Had another dream-come-true by visiting Donner Pass, where I ate a twix bar.  Here a photo of the pass from Donner Lake, you can see why those poor souls with their wagon trains in the snow were unable to get over that wall of rock.
 A little time exploring Tahoe and Reno and generally enjoying the Sierra Nevadas, and then I drove and drove and drove because I decided I wanted to camp on the coast and say I had driven all the way to the Pacific.  This was a success, got the last campsite, and had a leisurely drive up the 101 and then over to Oakridge.
More soon!

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