Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pictures, finally!

Eric took most of the pictures and has them on Facebook. Here are a few. I'll also post them to Snapfish.
the unofficial start--Asbury Park, NJ--- coast to coast

the official start from Wyckoff
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
James Garfield House
Lunch at beach on Saginaw Bay Michigan
Fort under Mackinac Bridge
Lake Michigan--Mackinac Bridge
Jumping for joy over eating pastis (meat pie) on the Upper Peninsula
Henry Ford and Johnny Cash stayed here (in better times) and so did we
Hurry up Eric--timer going off!
Entrance to Little Bohemia Lodge, Wisconsin--site of John Dillinger shootout
Movie set for Public Enemy with Johnny Depp filmed here
another hats off picture!
is this heaven?  no--Minnesota
in our team shirts at the world's largest buffalo

Coast to Coast- Pacific Ocean- Ocean Beach SF

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 9:Reno to SF

We made it! 4080 miles. We were a little worried about the car, since it started vibrating in Michigan--worse between 45 and 75 mph--ok around 80mph! I'm so glad I went to 3 different mechanics before the trip AND had the alignment done. (obviously not very well--thanks, Wyckoff Tire)

We arrived in beautiful, but chilly SF around 1pm, took pictures at the Presidio Gate sign and headed over to Ocean Beach for our final Coast to Coast picture and a nice lunch at Beach Chalet. Scott had the beer sampler to make up for some of the local beers he missed in some states.

Drove Eric to the dock for his 5:40 commute to the Alcatraz night tour and Scott to the BART station--didn't want to chance the Oakland bay bridge at night. Wouldn;t that have been ironic to drive 4000 miles and break down alone on the bridge? No way I was tempting fate.

Quote of the trip:
Scott: "I dont think I need to see my brother and mother for a while now. haha"
ginny: "How many mothers get this opportunity to spend 9 days with their sons? truly a blessing. it was so much fun being in a suspended time bubble with 2 adults that i love (and also really like!) Glad Gary could pop in for a few days, too."
Eric: "It was all good!"

pictures coming soon!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 8: Baker Nevada to Reno

A bully good day from start to finish--full of contrasts. Imagine starting your day at 10,000 feet, hiking in Great Basin National Park and ending in the outdoor pool/hottub in Reno.

We took the scenic drive up to Mt. Wheeler, then hiked the Bristle Pinecone trail to see the trees that are the oldest on earth.

We bid a fond farewell to the Silver Jack and headed out to route 50-- the loneliest road in America, as proclaimed in Life magazine in 1986. It wasnt meant as a compliment, but Nevada tourism jumped on it and promotes the road with a passport book you get stamped at different locations and a CD, explaining the historical significance of various towns-- the route was the original pony express and overland stagecoach path.

Quite a contrast between the stark beauty of the Nev desert landscape (next services 86 miles read one sign) and the tacky glamour of Reno. We're staying at the Peppermill, which is over the top with red, blue and purple neon everywhere. Our room is luxurious and the bathroom bigger than some studio apts.

Got to sign off now--tired, but happy for Eric and I. Scott's night is just starting at the poker tables.
380 mile day

ps got an awesome text pix of Maureen and Teddy Roosevelt--not sure if she was at his birthplace in the 20's in Manhattan? See how we're converting people. Bully good!

Day 7: Pocatello, ID to Baker NV

Got an early start today and dropped Gary off at the SLC airport. Interesting billboards in Utah:
First one: "Commit a crime with a gun in Utah and you'll end up in federal prison in South Dakota."
And on the opposite side of the highway:
"Guns and ammo - next exit."

We arrived at Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada (pronounced Ne-vaaad-a; don't give us any of that Eastern fancy accents Ne vah da) at 2:30, so had time to do tour of Lehman Caves before checking in to the Silver Jack Motel and dinner.

The tour was great--ranger's name was Eric (good omen) and his delivery was similar to Arlo Guthrie singing Alice's restaurant. you had to laugh and our Eric gave him a B+--high praise from a tough critic.

We also caught our second ranger tour of the day in the evening campfire program on wild horses. Who knew you can buy a wild horse when the government has a round up and auction with a starting bid of $135. (Gary, we may just be bringing home a little present- ha)

The stars are supposed to be awesome here. You are far away from any light pollution because the 50 people living in Baker dont generate too much of a splash. Unfortunately, the moon was half full and brilliant, so it diminished some of the starshine. Eric and Scott got up at 3 am after the moon set and got a better view. (i stayed in bed!)

a 410 mile day, 7 hours driving, but lots of time doing fun stuff. Funny how we went from the most visited park (Yellowstone) to the least visited (Great Basin) and loved them both. they each have their charms.

ps: We miss Gary.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 6: Billings,MT to Pocatello, ID

Bully good day, but a loooong one. Started out at 7:30 am from Billings and ended at 1 AM in Pocatello or Palookaville, as Eric kept calling it....and that's all I;m going to say about that! (we are dropping off the Commander at SLC airport today, so should be returning to our more normal pace!!)

Yellowstone Park was great and not as crowded as we thought it would be. Saw the upper and lower falls over the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from the South side. Also spotted an osprey and nest with a baby. awesome.

the bison were out in force. Seems like the largest alpha males like to position themselves in the middle of the road to challenge rental cars and suvs. We took many pictures of the spot(s) where Beth had her "buffalo epiphany" in 1996--which became a fabulous college essay.

Old Faithful still performing on schedule and yes, this is still a "stinky place". Gary thought the sulfur was clearing up his sinuses.

had an excellent dinner at Colter Bay in the Grand Tetons.
early day on Tuesday (is there any other kind?!) to get to airport.

Quote of the day: "coming in hot.." (car shrieking to a stop)
mileage: one million, half in the dark. haha

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 5: TR National Park to Billings, Montana

Wow- a day where we didnt hit the road until 4 pm--too busy enjoying the rugged beauty of the TR badlands and the highlight of the trip so far:
Peaceful Valley Ranch horseback riding.

I rode Little Joe (or did he ride me?), Gary on Commander, Eric on Dude (of course) and Scott on Dan ( who, shared Scott's propensity for constant grazing). There were 11 people in our group and the guide immediately sized us up and chose me to be on the lead horse right behind the guide. Yes, I was identified as the weakest link, despite the fact there was a 10 year old girl among us.

Do you think a guided trail ride is like Pittman's ponies at the Valley picnic? Well, you're wrong--it's hard work and these horses have their own ideas. They knew how to go, but you had to rein them in or they would constantly stop, dip down their heads and set you off balance, while they grazed on the grass. It was a struggle! Don;t want to sound mean, but at the end of the ride, here was my quote:
"that little girl was crying? I;m glad because I felt like it, too!" haha

Actually, it was very cool. I tried to be "one" with my horse and imagine myself in a Western movie. We went uphill, over streams, perilously close to the edge of a cliff and of course, through lots of tasty fields of sweet grass. Head up there, little Joe.

I had trouble getting off the horse, but knelt down and kissed the ground and said Thank you Jesus.

Off to Wyoming today. Good omen for me so far:
Oatmeal for breakfast. Yay! with brown sugar and raspberries.
Bad omen for Gary: put the biscuit gravy in the waffle maker!

Day 4: Minneapolis to Medora, North Dakota

Hi Folks;
Catching up on our posts today from Billings, Montana. North Dakota was a little sketchy with internet/phone service plus we are usually dead tired at the end of the day---more so now that we've picked up team member 4 in Minneapolis. Gary has the energy of the Everready bunny.

we left Minneapolis for our 600 mile day, starting with our team t-shirt picture. North Dakota could also be called Big Sky country because you get a 360 view across the flat plains. A nice surprise: fields and fields of sunflowers, stretching out in golden blankets. We had some great stopovers along the way:
- Jamestown ND with the largest buffalo statue of the world and a real life albino bison in the field (or was it a cow they stuck horns on?--it was far away)

- Salem, ND--not to be outdone by Jamestown, they've erected the largest cow in the world--38 ft high Salem Sue on one of the few hills in ND.

_ iron sculpture of flying geese along the Enchanted Highway--luckily just off the highway or I would have voted nO detour!

What you love about America:
- It's a BIG country and so beautiful. Best sunsets ever. You would think the ride would be boring but you feel like you're absorbing it all, America seeping into your veins, the familiar and the new. (OK some states are a tad boring)

-people really are friendly. I had trouble with a gas fillup (Hey i am a lady from NJ!) and the clerk not only explained how to lift the lever, but walked out and did it for me. People are always talking to you in hotel elevators and we are an interesting curiosity for them. you can tell it goes in their trip highlights--"I talked to a woman from NJ today--can you believe it?!"

Good day--despite our 2nd Arby's meal (see what's wrong with America) and booked into the Bunkhouse Inn with dinner at Little Mo's. Teddy Roosevelt National Park awaits us tomorrow.
Quote of the Day:
TR 1883: "Aren't we having a bully good time?"
Gary K 2010: "Guys, this is great. Isn't it great?"