Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Then it was on the road. Travelled west into Idaho where there is some of the most beautiful agricultural land (much of it for sale). Wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, corn, depending on altitude. Much of it is along the Snake River which provides water. It was hard to keep eyes on the road. Here is an example of a farm.
Further down the road, there was an opportunity to snap a picture of the Snake River itself, carving its way through the landscape.
Finally, Nevada, long, hot drive. Nevada is something to see. Huge, vast, spectacular. And despite the emptiness, also beautiful. The long hills are miles up and miles down. This picture was taken on Hwy 93 just south of the ID/NV border town of Jackpot. Clever name..... but not worthy of a visit.
On arrival in Winnemucca, I found that the rubber donut exhaust hangers on the back had broken. So spent some time this evening cobbling up a fix until I can replace them. Utilizing hose clamps and #9 wire. There will be no pictures. Just hoping I can get to a dealer for factory parts. Don't want the exhaust on the asphalt.
Finally, I have to mention the Martin Hotel. Not a hotel anyore but a Basque restaurant. Old building (1898) in a shabby end of town by the tracks. But inside some of the best food and friendly people, both staff and patrons. When in Winnemucca, don't miss it.
Tomorrow, off for a loop around Lake Tahoe on the way to El Granada on the California coast to visit our girls, Sherean and Vanessa.
Monday, August 29, 2011
So a wait for breakfast and advice from the ladies at Donna's Diner to take it to Rich's Automotive. Opens at 8:00. No luck, booked solid. However, the fine folks at the Chevy dealership got it in. Was the fuel pump. Fortunately, Aaron had stowed a spare among the parts I brought along. By 10:30 I was on the road.
The drive today was great, but I did not take many photos. Wyoming is a vast and diverse state. The drive from Newcastle to Casper was wide open spaces with a huge coal mine and quite a lot of oil production.
The drive up the Wind River was gorgeous, especially the contrast beween the irrigated agriculture and the rich browns of the cliffs and mountains.
Here is a picture.
Finally, about 6 hours late, I arrived in Grand Teton NP, just in time for this.
Sundown on the Tetons. One of the best things I've ever witnessed. Can't be captured by a camera. I did not move.
Wrapped up the day with Mexican food and drink,
Sunday, August 28, 2011
First stop today was the Badlands. Highly recommended for anyone coming this way. Nature is amazing. Three pics from my trip through.
Plus! the obligatory stop at Mt. Rushmore. More impressive than I expected. The sheer magnitude of the project and the realization of what was in the artist's eye. Amazing.
And finally, my last real stop of the day, at Devil's Tower. Perhaps the best of all the beauty I saw today. A volcanic outcropping, but still, it should not be there. Stunning.
So, today was a sight-seeing day. Tomorrow it is off to the Grand Tetons. Should be spectacular.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
This was a day of spending a couple of hours looking backwards. Some may know that I spent 23 years in Minneapolis, leaving almost 10 years ago. This is my first employer in Minneapolis, Northrup King - or rather where Northrup King was. It is now an art district. This building is actually quite huge. Many acres under roof. It stretches way back. NK was at one time the largest seed company in the world. If it was planted, NK sold it, except rice for some reason. Some of you reading this were also employees of NK, working for me at one point or other, perhaps here, or in Washington, IA.
Sadly, I'm going to have to end this entry as the wireless connection is quite poor here and I'm unable to load any more photos. Sorry! More tomorrow.
And to finish yesterday. Spent a bit of time cruising around Minneapolis visiting places that at least had some importance at some point. This is the house I owned when my son Aaron was born. Very glad someone has fixed it as a couple of years ago the porch was falling down.
This is the "big house" the largest I ever had. Can't see much of it for the trees, but that is what makes it great. Tudor style on a tree lined block. Site of much partying when young and crazy(er).
This one is of Elliott Hall, the site of grad school trials.
Finally, the end of my travels yesterday, the Grand Falls Casino and Resort in Lyon County, IA, where I am a teeny tiny investor.
Sunday, it is off to Wyoming via who knows what.
So much consumed that the Mercedes will list to port on the road today. Many thanks to the wonderful friends from the north country who gathered for the fun.
The day yesterday began with breakfast at Billy's. Billy's is a roadhouse along a county road north of Duluth. Great food and friendly people.
One final thanks to our pals up north for the hospitality. They may have a newer Mercedes, but up north, they don't get the months if driving I get in FL. It is very cool here north of Duluth this morning. It was 53 at wake-up time. There will be top down driving between here and the next stop in Larchwood, IA. Larchwood is in extreme NW Iowa and offers a stop before heading west on I90 toward the Badlands.
So, more promised tonight or tomorrow.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
This is an ore vessel that once sailed the Great Lakes loaded with taconite ore from the Iron Range. Big, but not as big as the 1000' monsters they use today.
Access to the harbor from Lake Superior is through a lift bridge. Goes up and down to allow passage of ships.
Lake Superior is vast. Here is a view of the West end of the lake.
Great food and wine enjoyed with friends tonight at the Kitchi Gammi Club. My '72 350SL and friend Cheryl's '09 SLK300 in front of the club.
Will be in Duluth one more day before heading West Saturday morning. Looking forward to some great driving.
Had my costliest gas stop so far - $68.00. I will probably notice the pain more when the card bill comes next month. But..... I refuse to resort to dollar meals at America's fast food favorites in order to afford the gas. Fortunately, a Hungarian feast and great friends were awaiting my arrival.
So, another fast-paced day with a single pic of the Northern-most dusk arrival. There will be more later in the day today.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This picture is on the road and the rain was as heavy as promised in the pictures. The new top was tight - no leaks. Yes! The wipers though, could not keep up. But the rain eventually ended and gave way to perfect roadster weather which I surely relished.
And here is a town after the rain - tiny town with a big name. The town slogan is "Where the River Runs North". OK.
And most importantly - I spent last evening reconnecting with a friend of 32 years that should never have needed reconnecting with. We all have them.... fine people that we grow apart from due to life, kids, marriages, moves........ Tragic really. No more. We talked about life and love, kids and craziness, marriages and remarriages, moves and movies...... and challenges, and sadness, and joy --- but mostly we laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Sorry about the missing years, Mary.... won't happen again.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I do have one pic taken at the Missouri/Iowa border along the Des Moines River. I must point out this was found on the Missouri side.
Everything needed for contentment.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Though I've taken the freeways from Florida to Iowa many times, I continue to be amazed at the beauty of the countryside. While it is beautiful, at the same time, I was reflecting on the struggles pioneers must have had in the Tennessee hills. Must not have been so beautiful to them.
I ended up on the west side of St. Louis suburbs. A name brand frontage road motel like so many out there. Only been on the road a couple of days and I find myself reaching for what day it is. Perhaps my mind has been everywhere but the present. Yes, it has.
Not the purpose of the trip. Resolved..... fix that as the week goes on so that I am in the present, especially for the parts of the journey that are new ground - which is the last three weeks of it. Tomorrow I get to spend time with my Dad. I'm of the fortunate ones who can say my Dad is the finest man I know. A gentleman.... and gentle man.
I promise to populate the blog with more pictures in the future.
From the Road,
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The trip so far has been great with the car running perfectly and the drive great fun with only a bit of rain. The picture is as the sun was about to set on South GA. I've made it to Atlanta, which is not bad given the 3:30 start.
I did find the fellow in the fast food line packing a pistol on his hip and arguing with the young lady behind the counter about the speed with which he was receiving his spicy chicken nuggets a bit disconcerting. Judging from his vocabulary and grammar, I would question whether or not he should be packin'. But packin' he was.
Early start to reach Illinois tomorrow. More later.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Apologies to those who just don't care....but I'm having some fun getting things ready for the Rolling Sabbatical, so I have to recap for those interested.
Aaron has completed so much in preparation of the car - Thank You. Let's see - new radiator and hoses, transmission mount, transmission hoses, new, modern ignition system, auxilary air valve (won't run without), and on and on. Me? Well..... stereo speakers - gotta have tunes.....fixed an armrest....... OK, so it is nice to have a pro in the family.
Just a couple more things.... new top going on Wednesday..... oil change..... fill the gas tank.... drive....
Did I mention, by the way, 12 mpg..... don't tell Al Gore.
Just five days until the beginning of my rolling sabbatical across America. Will sample 22 states in 30 days. I'll take time to stop and chat with the natives, take some photos, and celebrate the freedom and circumstances that make the trip possible.
The trip will be solo - just me - and Dieter of course, my 1972 Mercedes 350SL. A much-closer-to-60-than-50 man in a 40-year-old car. My Mercedes tech wizard son Aaron has made it as road worthy as possible, so I am very confident that the road trip will be uneventful in that regard.
The intent is to post to this blog as opportunity or inspiration dictates. I would say something ridiculous like twice daily, but that won't happen so I'll avoid the shackles of some schedule to post.
With that, we'll begin the final prep... more a bit later.