Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Tuesday morning ,  November 19, 2013   (ninth travelogue of this trip).

Sunday we drove about 400 miles to Green River, UT and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (on points {grin}).  Monday we drove to Gunnison (a bit over 200 miles) and got here about noon.  We are staying at the Roadway Inn (map). 

Last night we went to dinner with Thomas (grandson) and his girlfriend Klara.  We also did a bit of catching up in the rather tiny motel room.  It is great to hear about their lives and frustrating to hear about the challenges of being a college student on a tight budget.

We planned this trip for several reasons.

First, we wanted to just plain get away.  I was tired of flying to Seattle so often and fighting the airport logistics.  That also meant a lot of time away from Pat.

 Second, we wanted to take a tourist-type trip through the north west part of the US.  We have seen some magnificent country, visited some great friends and drove a lot of miles (close to 4000!).  I think we did pretty good on that goal.

Lastly, I wanted to pick up a sleeper I bought for my ’59 IHC BC-150 truck (link to background).  If you visit the linked site, you will find out that this truck is very special to me.  I have been collecting parts for a complete rebuild for several years.  One of my crazy goals was to extend the frame and put a sleeper on the truck.  It was never built that way from the factory, but I think it will look neat and give me some storage room.  I had looked all over the US for a period-correct sleeper and finally found one that was about 5 miles from the hotel in Kent, WA.  I went to see it a couple of months ago and bought it.  Then I had to figure out how to get it home.  The photo below shows my methodology {grin}.

That is all for now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hello from Twin Falls, ID

Hello from Twin Falls, ID

Saturday evening ,  November 16, 2013   (Eight travelogue of this trip).

Today we traveled about 350 miles.  We are at the Holiday Inn Express (map).

I was looking at my Holiday Inn Rewards page and noted that for 2013 I have spent 70 nights in their hotels.  That does not include the past couple of weeks.  I have attained the Platinum level which tends to get you some perks.  Tonight they upgraded us to a really nice suite.  With a little luck, we will be able to use our points for 7 nights on this trip.

We went over some reasonable high passes (for this part of the country). What is often referred to  as Cabbage Patch hill (just east of Pendleton and rated among the worst by some truckers) goes on for what seems like forever.  We hit some pretty good snow – both falling and on the sides of the road.  We saw an SUV that hit the huge rock face on our side of the road and a jack-knifed semi that hit an embankment on the other side.  There were periods of sun, but not much.  The temperature never got over 50 and with high winds and humidity it felt really cold.

Tomorrow, our goal is Green River, UT

That is all for now.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hello from Pendleton, OR

Hello from Pendleton, OR

Friday evening ,  November 15, 2013   (Seventh travelogue of this trip).

We are in Pendleton Oregon at the Holiday Inn Express (map).  We have started our drive home.  We are trying to schedule the travel so that we can arrive in Gunnison, CO at a time that will work with our grandsons’ college schedules.  Today we left Kent and drove on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass.  At times it was snowing, but it did not stick to the road.  We had hoped to stay at a casino close to here, but they were booked full (weekend).

Last week I started my certification to teach another class at Boeing (Machine Tool Position and Accuracy).  It is the final class in a series on “laying out” multi-axes machining centers (checking/correcting all mechanical components that affect machine accuracy).  That class was held the first four days of this week on the first shift (6:00AM – 2:30PM). 

In the last post, I meant to talk about the weather on our tour of the Olympic Peninsula.  On that day, the weather was half way decent.  That was about the only day that it was not rainy and cold.  We lucked out. 

One day, the clouds cleared a bit and we could see Mt. Rainier.  After I got back to the hotel, I got Pat and we drove down towards Auburn and got the picture below.  It really is not a good picture, but it does show how majestic it is.  It has a altitude of 14,411 ft.  That is about the same altitude as Pike’s Peak, but Mt Rainier’s base is just a bit above sea level.  Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.  It is active and could produce greater devastation than Mt. St. Helens. 

That is all for now.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hello from Kent, WA – yet again

Hello from Kent, WA – yet again

Sunday evening ,  November 10, 2013   (Sixth travelogue of this trip).

We finished our trip up here with a direct drive up I-5, last Sunday.  A bit less than 200 miles.

Monday through Wednesday I taught a “Ball Screw” class.  It was held on first shift, which meant that I got to get up at 4:00 AM to be all ready to start the class at 6:00 AM.  It was a small class, but we got some great things accomplished. 

Thursday, was a “day of rest” at the hotel.  We did go down the Pike Market Place and had the great seafood bowl at the Crab Pot.  We described it in this post (link)

Friday we drove up the east and north sides of the Olympic Peninsula.  Their site (link)  describes the area as follows:

Bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Hood Canal and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Peninsula is anchored by the majestic Olympic Mountains. No other place in America can match its diversity in terrain and weather in such a compact geographic area.  

By far, the most beautiful part of the drive was highway 112 on the north side of the peninsula.  The highway is a mix of near rain forest and beautiful shore.  I have included one photo that does not do the scenery justice. 

Highway 112 ends at the border of the Makah Indian Reservation.  If you drive another few miles, you come to Neah Bay, WA.  As we pulled in, there was a neat rainbow over the bay (see photo).  It appeared that most of the boats in the marina were fishing boats. 

Neah Bay is described as the most northwest point in the continental U.S.  Looking at the computer map, it appears to be the western most location in the continental US, but not the northern most location.  Here is to Google Map (link) which shows just how far north and west we were.

We commented that we have been at the southern most location (Key West) and close to the northern most location in the continental US.

The drive up the Olympic Peninsula and back was right at 400 miles!!  Long day, but worth the effort.  The only down side was the we got into the “rush hour” traffic.  I have to say that most any time of day is dicey in Seattle, but both Thursday and Friday nights were close to gridlock. 

That is all of now.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hello from Wilsonville, OR

Hello from Wilsonville, OR

Saturday evening ,  November 2, 2013   (Fifth travelogue of this trip).

We are just south of Portland at a Holiday Inn (map).  We are staying here two night (using points – Yea).

Yesterday our trip continued up US 101 along the Oregon coast.  One of our stops had a great view of the ocean.  A couple of the people at the stop pointed out several sea lions swimming not too far from shore.  Indeed, some were right below the cliff we were on.  You could see them, but they don't show in the photos.  We could even hear one “barking”.  The photo below is from that location – the sea lions were out of the photo on the left.

We continued up the coast until just north of Lincoln City where we headed towards Portland on OR 18.  Again this was a 200 mile day, but took many hours.  Well worth it, however.

This is a planned stop so that I could visit the shop of a Bonneville racer.  Marlo has been building a streamliner that is designed to be the fastest wheel drive car in the world – 550 MPH target.  He has an amazing website (link).  That website documents, in great detail, a project that was started over 14 years ago.  I was involved in the early stages of the project when I was with Gates.  We worked out the details of both the blower drives as well as the traction drives.  The car has four wheel drive with a common drive shaft.  The two blown alcohol engines are connected to the drive shaft via two unique belt drives.

The car is a work of art!  Marlo said the he has recorded over 60,000 billable hours.  Those hours are spread over several master craftsman whose work is phenomenal.  I have included a photo of the car and the “carrier”.  The carrier is also a mind boggling  piece of “engineering”.

That is all for now.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hello from Coos Bay, OR

Hello from Coos Bay, OR

Friday  morning ,  November 1, 2013   (Fourth travelogue of this trip).

Another quick update.  We are staying at the Mill Casino Hotel (map).  Most casino/hotels room rates are about half of normal hotels – not this one.  However, there are not a lot of options here.  Either cheap or expensive.  The positive side is that Pat had a lot of fun with the slots.

Yesterday was a gorgeous drive.  Shortly after we started driving, US 101 became a “coastal highway”.  It was amazing to see huge redwoods one minute and beautiful ocean waves the next.  We stopped a couple of times to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  One stop has a trail that led to an overlook of Arch Rock (see photo). 

Yesterday I mentioned the “Avenue of the Giants”.  I found a wiki site that describes the route (link).  I sure wish I had read that before we drove the route.  For one thing, we detoured back onto 101 before the end of route.  It looks like we missed what is termed the “Immortal Tree” which is 950 years old and has withstood things that would kill a normal tree.

We were disappointed about the Redwood National Park.  It is not well marked.  US 101 drives through the park, but we only saw one small sign.  We had hoped to go the typical park visitor center, but there is not one in the park from what we can tell.  Most national park visitor centers have lots of information and great videos.  That said, the drive was still amazing.

We often comment that short mileage days turn out to be long days.  We only drove a bit over 200 miles yesterday, but it took most of the day.  When we set our minds for a long drive the day seems to be shorter.  Doesn't make much sense, but it seems to be hold true for us.

We also often comment how convenient it is to travel in the bus.  For this trip, it might not be all that bad that we are traveling in the rented truck.  Some of the roads we have been on could be negotiated by the bus, but it would have taken full concentration to drive the winding narrow roads.  It would also have been difficult to pull off in the scenic view areas.

That is all for now.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hello from McKinleyville, CA

Hello from McKinleyville, CA

Thursday  morning ,  October 31, 2013   (Third travelogue of this trip).

Another quick update. 

Yesterday we drove from Grass Valley to the coast via California 20.  We then picked up US 101 and plan to take that to just south of Portland.  We are staying at the Holiday Inn (map)

The drive here was great.  The weather has improved significantly.  The drive on CA 20 took us through some very picturesque farming country.  We saw a large number of rice fields (they do not appear to call them paddies in the US.  Rice farming is quite an amazing process.  The fields are flooded and the seed is planted by airplane.  A good explanation is found here:  (link).

Once we hit 101, we began to see redwood trees.  At one point we took a detour called the “Avenue of the Giants”.  It is amazing to drive though the thick forest of huge redwood trees. 

Our drive today should include the Redwood National Park where the trees should be even more impressive.

We have about 450 miles to travel in the next two days in order to end up in Aurora, OR so that I can visit another friend from the racing world (Bonneville in this case).

That is all of now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hello from Grass Valley, CA

Hello from Grass Valley, CA

Tuesday morning ,  October 29, 2013   (Second travelogue of this trip).

I wanted to do a quick post today.  I will catch up on Wendover Airfield in another post.

Yesterday was an interesting day of driving.  We turned the windshield wipers on when we left the hotel and had them on virtually the whole trip – about 500 miles.  During part of the trip, we hit some pretty good snow.  The local TV stations are making a big deal about the big snow on Donner pass.  We did see a lot of snow, but the roads were fine.  We were not concerned, as the truck is a 4X4.

We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley (map).  With all my traveling, I build up a  lot of points.  We are staying here using some of those points.  That is a good thing, since the rates are in the  $150 range.

In a few minutes I will be heading out to visit a great friend.  Steve is the owner of RCD Engineering (link).  I first met Steve in the '90s when I was the blower belt representative for Gates.  We became good friends and try to see each other when we can.  Some folks liken us to twins.  Indeed, he is as close to a brother as I can imagine.  Tonight, we will probably go to dinner with our wives – both are Pat.

That is all for now.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hello from Wendover, NV

Hello from Wendover, NV

Sunday evening ,  October 27, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

Well, at least the title is different on this post {grin}.

As I have noted, I have spent almost all of October in Seattle.  I taught 5 days last week and flew home Friday evening.  While I was flying home, Pat picked up our rented truck.  We left Saturday about noon, on our way back to Seattle.   Our first stop was in Green River Utah, were we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.

Today we drove a bit less than 300 miles and arrived in Wendover about noon.  We are staying at the Rainbow Casino (map).  We chose Wendover because the hotels are inexpensive, Pat could drop a few coins in the slots, and I could tour the Historic Wendover Airfield.

During World War II Wendover Airfield  was a training base for B-17 and B-24 bomber crews. It was the training site of the 509th Composite Group, the B-29 unit that dropped the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.  Considering that there has been minimal restoration activity, it is in amazing condition.  When I first visited the facility many years ago, I commented that they could whitewash the barracks and replace some glass, and film a WWII movie.  This site has good details about the history of the airfield (link)

I hope to post a few pictures and more details.  However, it is late and I will only post one photo for now.

Our rented truck in front of the historic control tower

That is all for now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hello from Kent, WA

Hello from Kent, WA

Sunday Afternoon ,  October 13, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

Or, should the title be “Hello from Kent, WA – for the umpteenth time” {grin}

Yes, I am back in Kent and have been for the past two weeks.  I was able to fly back for a couple of days (Oct. 4/5), but I am staying over this weekend.  I will fly home on Thursday and then fly back on the following Sunday.  If you got lost in that sentence, it might be easier to say that I am here most of the month of October.

The good news is that Pat and I will be traveling back to Washington the last week of October and will return to Evergreen a bit before Thanksgiving.  During that time, I will teach two classes and we will play tourists for a bit over two weeks.  You can't believe how I am looking forward to that trip.  We have some neat sightseeing plans and plans to visit two great friends.

When I was here several times before this hectic October schedule, the weather was great.  However, it has been quite rainy and cold this month.  It sounds like next week will be a little better. 

Part of the reason for all of the October activity is that I am getting qualified to teach additional classes at Boeing.  Most of the new ones deal with checking for geometrical alignment problems on large machining centers.  I have done my audits for two of the classes and will finish the co-teach process next week and the following week.

That will give NTT a lot of flexibility with resources.  They are in a bind right now.  It will also keep me about as busy as I want to be.  Indeed, I am scheduled to do two Boeing classes a month for November through February (as far as the schedule goes right now).  In addition, NTT has a very aggressive “public” schedule for the first half of 2014.  I suspect they will ask me to do several of those classes as well.

Traveling has always presented a “health” problem for me, as I tend to not be as active, nor do I eat well.  I did a mini physical a couple of weeks ago when I was home and the doctor was very pleased with my health status.  Obviously we both agree that I need to loose weight, but he did not bring it up.  I kind of wish he would have lowered the boom on me {grin}.  However, I took the bull by the horns and have been eating healthy salads for lunch, cutting back of my typical “comfort foods”, etc.  In addition, I have been riding the exercise bike for 30 minutes most days.

Unless something comes up, I probably won't post again until Pat and I start our “road trip”.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hello from Rochester, MN

Hello from Rochester, MN

Tuesday evening ,  September 17, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

I am in Rochester, MN at the Hampton Inn (map).

As you may recall, I was in Seattle last week.  I got home late Friday night and left of this trip Sunday afternoon (left the house about 9:30).  Just enough time for Pat to wash my clothes.

This week I am “auditing” a vibration analysis class.  This class is new to NTT and two of us will be prepared to teach the class.  I am excited about this subject, as I did some related work when I was with Gates.  It is a pretty technical subject and will be a bit of a challenge to teach it to non-engineers. 

I will be here for three days.  The customer, an independent power generation plant is out in the boondocks in very beautiful farmland.  The weather yesterday was great, but today it is misting rain and pretty cool.

As I write this, things are going crazy with my schedule.  Pending some decisions by NTT, I could be in Seattle the first four weeks in October and traveling with Pat (via car) back to Seattle the fifth week.  Quite a bit of this “overload” is to bring me up to speed on two classes involving 3 and 5 axis machining centers.  When I first heard about these classes, I kind of wished I was involved, and it looks like that will happen.  You can't believe how many times I have said “be careful what you wish for.....”

Getting prepared to teach these new classes (I am already on the schedule to teach them in the next three months) is really challenging my love to learn new things.  My poor old tired brain is really squirming inside this old bald head {big grin}.

That is all for this trip.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hello from Kent, WA

Hello from Kent, WA

Thursday evening ,  September 12, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

Well,  I am back in the Seattle area again this week.  I left Denver Sunday morning and am staying at the now familiar Holiday Inn in Kent, WA (map).  Not very fancy, but it is convenient and the folks are friendly.

This week I am teaching Shaft Alignment (Monday and Tuesday) and Mechanical Drives the last three days.  This week the classes are being held at the Boeing Auburn “Craft College” on the early shift (class begins at 6:00AM).  The advantage to teaching the early class is that the building does not get really hot until after we are done.  The bad news is that I have to set the alarm for 4:00.

Both classes had several young apprentices for the maintenance program.  I talked to them in some detail and they have a very structured curriculum (4 years I think).  They make wonderful students, as they are eager to learn.  Boeing has 40 folks just starting the program and are looking to hire 20 more.  Like a lot of companies, Boeing is facing a significant population of folks qualified for retirement in the next couple of years.  I think that bodes well for NTT.

Yesterday Seattle hit a record temperature of over 90 degrees.  That is very unusual for this time of year.  Indeed, 90 degrees is not the norm – even in the summer months.

I have been keeping track of the horrible weather in Denver.  The national news (even the local TV station) has shown videos of the extremely heavy rain and terrible flooding.  I fly home tomorrow and they are warning of delayed flights {frown}.

That is all for this trip.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Drafted:  Tuesday morning Sept. 3, 2013 (eighth travelogue of this trip).
Posted:  Tuesday evening Sept. 10, 2013

Sunday we drove from Grand Junction to Gunnison.  We are staying at the Rodeway Inn (map).  Our stop here is very special – to visit our two grandsons who attend Western State Colorado University (link). It was a fairly short drive and we were able to have a late lunch with Thomas and Austin and their girlfriends (Klara and Kai).  That evening, we went to McDonalds to have an ice cream cone.  The reason I mention this is because both Thomas and Austin work there and both just got promoted to “swing manager”.  About the time we were going to take their picture, the restaurant got very busy {frown}.

Monday,  we got to spend quite a bit of the day with Thomas and Klara.  Klara was born and raised in Crested Butte, CO.   Pat, Thomas and I drove up there to have lunch with Klara and then we went to the coffee shop where she works and had a great cup of coffee.  That evening, we had a wonderful dinner with them.

Tuesday we met with Austin for a few minutes before leaving.  The photo below was taken as we dropped him off at Western. 

We then got a quick tour of  Hurst Hall where Thomas takes most of his geology classes.  The photo below was taken in one of the labs where he was preparing a geology map of one of the oil fields in Wyoming.

We follow our good friend's full time travels in their email blog.  Stevi and Ed post some great photos – many of which are very artistic.  I can't begin to duplicate their skills, but I thought I had better post something a bit artsy.  The photo below is of a rock that has “water pockets” that look kind of cool.  In Capitol Reef, there are whole cliffs covered by what the ranger called water pockets.   As I looked for a good reference, I find that the “creation” of the rock formation resulted from what is called the “Waterpocket Fold” (link).  Here is the picture:

I wanted to talk a bit about the formation of the “Colorado Plateau”.  This plateau is the huge area that contains Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyon Lands.  The link above has a pretty good description of the formation of the plateau.  Parts of the area were “raised” over 7000 feet and millions of years of erosion have formed the beautiful areas that are now National Parks.

Being old is not all bad.  When I turned 62, we obtained a “Golden Age Passport”.  It gives us free admission to all National Parks.  On this trip, we toured five of them.  In each of the parks, at the visitor centers, they have wonderful movies that tell about the parks.   Most are about 20 minutes long and are very professionally done.

We returned home on Tuesday 9/3/13.  That was one day short of four weeks.  Part of the trip was very hectic (at least for me – working) and the rest was quite relaxing.  We visited some of the most beautiful sights on this planet (at least we think so). 

I have to apologize for the late delivery of the final post of this travelogue.  Things have been very hectic.  I was home for just a few days and then flew to Seattle – back to the hectic life {grin}

Till next time.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hello from Torrey, Utah

Hello from Torrey, Utah

Drafted:  Friday evening August 30,  2013
Finished:   Sunday morning Sept. 1, 2013 (Seventh travelogue of this trip).

Thursday we toured Bryce Canyon and then drove to Torrey, UT.  We are staying two nights at the Broken Spur Inn (map).

Bryce Canyon is another spectacular National Park.  One of the distinctions between Zion and Bryce is that you are on the floor of the canyons in Zion, while you view Bryce from the top.  Both are magnificent!

In Bryce National Park, we took the shuttle to Bryce Point and then drove the car about 18 miles out to Rainbow Point.  Everywhere you looked the views were magical and quite varied.  Without question, I could post 100s of pictures and not do any of the park's beauty justice.  Indeed, my  rather simple camera can't begin to capture what the eye sees.  That said, here are two pictures that attempt to show the spectacular beauty of the park:

Typical Bryce Canyon View

Natural Bridge at Bryce

The trip from Bryce Canyon to Torrey is via Utah 12 which is designated a Scenic Byway (link).  Wikipedia describes it: “ …. also known as "Highway 12 — A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway", is a state highway designated an All-American Road”.   Indeed, it is a magnificent 120 mile drive.  Part of the highway is designated “the hogback”.  It is a narrow road with steep drop-offs on each side.  I tried to find photos or Youtube videos that adequately describe that area, but could find none that depict that part of the drive.  The drop-offs are at least a couple of hundred feet.  It gives a new meaning to “pucker power”.  You could spend several days exploring the side routes, but we were tired and wanted to get to Torrey.

Friday we drove to Capitol Reef National park.  That is a short distance from Torrey.  The park straddles Utah 24 and has several “pull-outs” that allow you to take pictures of beautiful rock formations.  One side trip to Goosenecks Overlook” lets you look down into a steep canyon where the river has carved several bends that do indeed look like goose necks.  Part of the park is the historic site of Fruita.  A few of the buildings have been restored and one cabin is used as a small museum. 

Most of the sites describing the park talk about driving the  10 mile “Scenic Drive” road.  When we got to the end, there was an open gate that let us take a dirt road into a narrow, steep canyon.  On the map is is called “Capitol Gorge”.  At times the road is the riverbed.  It would not be a good place to be if a rain storm came up.  By far, it was more picturesque than the “Scenic Drive”.  I took several picture trying to capture how small the car was in relationship to the steep canyon walls.  Unfortunately, the perspective of the car in the photos does not begin to show the height of the canyon walls.  Here are a couple of photos:

One view of Capitol Gorge Road

Another View Of Capitol Gorge Road
(note: car is 1/4 mile from the distant cliff --
prospective does not properly show height of cliffs)

As noted in the beginning, I am late in finishing this post.  Indeed, we are in Grand Junction at the Candlewood Suites (map).  I will try to catch up in the next post.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hello from Hatch, Utah

Hello from Hatch, Utah

Wednesday evening August 28,  2013   (Sixth travelogue of this trip).

I am including a couple of additional pictures from the front porch of our cabin in Zion.  The first one is another view of the cliffs on opposite side of the ones in the photo from yesterday.  This photo was taken in the morning sun today.  The other photo is of the mule deer that were grazing just outside our cabin.  If you look closely, one still has spots.

Another View From Our Front Porch in Zion

Deere Just Outside Our Cabin in Zion

I have never had a “bucket list” of places to visit.  Indeed, I (and Pat) have been able to visit some of the most beautiful places on this amazing planet.  That said, if I had a list, Zion would be on it.  I simply don't have the skills to describe the beauty of this National Park.  It is huge and every turn of the road yields another “Kodak Moment”.  This is one place that I wish I had a much better camera.

Today we drove through the rest of the park including the huge tunnel with windows cut into the side of the mountain.  We got a bit of a late start and did not want to short our visit to Bryce.  Thus we decided to try to find a place to stay in this rather sparsely populated part of Utah.  We finally settled on this small motel in Hatch (see photo).  It is not much to write home about, but it will serve the purpose.  The motel is part of a complex of businesses and is called Hatch Station (map).

Our Motel In Hatch, UT

There have been several miscellaneous observations/comments that I have wanted to discuss:

Weather:  We have had quite a variation of weather.  Bonneville was the typical 90+ degrees, but very dry.  When I taught in Las Vegas, it was very hot.  When I would get in the car, in the late afternoon, the car outside thermometer read anywhere from 108 to 111 (the “official” LV temperature was often reported a bit less).  Seattle was very comfortable (high 70s – low 80s).  It is interesting to note that the several times that I have been there in the past couple of months, it has not rained and the weather has been great.  The locals are quick to point out that they do not have a “rain forest” type of climate.  When we returned to Las Vegas it was very comfortable and rainy.  Indeed it flooded in parts of town the day that we got there.  Mesquite was also rainy and in the high 70s to low 80s.  Zion was comfortable (didn't pay attention to the actual temperature).  It is also comfortable in Hatch.

Speaking of rain, the Zion area had four days of heavy rain before we got there.  The were many places where mud and sand was washed onto the road in very large quantities (needed large equipment to clear the roads).

Rooms: we have stayed in just about every kind of motel/hotel room you can imagine.  We payed over $110 for a Holiday Inn Express in Craig, CO that only had one hard chair in it.  I had to sit on the luggage to work on the computer.  As I noted, the room in Mesquite was very plain.  Our cabin in Zion was also pretty basic and did not include a TV (in that setting who needs TV?).  This room is also very basic, but acceptable.  Some of the rooms were pretty old. A few had carpets that were stained, but we “think” that they were all clean.  These rooms sure make us wish that this trip was being made in our bus {grin}.

Space Needle history:
  Both the Space Needle (link) and the Pacific Science Museum (link) structures were built as a part of the 1962 World's Fair.  The city had considered tearing both down after the fair.  We visited both and are thankful that they have been preserved.

That is all for now.