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.