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Old 05-18-2011, 09:44 PM
culver culver is offline
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Sometimes I love the USA- My near coast to coast trip

Recently I finished my 5th (almost) transcontinental trip. There is something truly special about driving all the way across the country. I wasn't able to take my time but this trip will still be one of my most memorable. I though I would share a few of the photos and stories with you all...

First, the route. My objective was to get from the south east to California with a stop over in Las Vegas. It was two days to Vegas and then a LONG day out of Vegas to California. My first day was 17 hours in the saddle. The second wasn't as long. In Vegas by 5p the second day was my goal. Worries about long days behind the wheel turned out to be unfounded. The previous transcontinental drives in were in the 90s but it was no harder today vs then. In fact the advent of GPS, cell phones and even modil internet service made much of the trip feel far more connected than I ever felt before.

For the second half of the trip I had a choice; north or south. From Las Vegas you can't go due west. I was going to go south but my friend in Vegas suggested it would be a good idea to see Yosemite. Google suggested the Yosemite route would only add an hour or so to my day's drive. Look at those squiggly lines! Heck, let's do it!

Change is one of the great things about the transcontinental drive. Sometimes it creeps on you, other times it's there. Around the Mississippi and into Arkansas wet was the word. I didn't drive a Chevy to the levy and the levy I saw was was anything but dry. I don't think I saw anywhere near the worst of it.

Speeding the miles away things started to dry up. By the time I saw my first glimmer of Route 66 in Texas it was surely dry. This is also about the time I had my first story for the trip. I'm driving through some sleepy if not just plain empty town in Texas when I saw my first Route 66 sign. I just had to get a picture so I hung the old parking lot U-turn. Well you would think in a town with only 2 east-west streets they wouldn't be one way... they were. The "Do Not Enter" signs helped me figure this out and I quickly reversed course but not before catching the eye of one of Texas's own troopers.

Pull over, assume the position... The officer actually handled the whole situation exactly as I would want a trooper to do. He was polite and friendly. Of course my license and registration were all checked but given the honest nature of the mistake and the way I quickly corrected it he gave me a warning. No, not all cops are bad and this one added nothing negative to my travels.
...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 01-floods on the mississippi.jpg (67.3 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 02-Chevy to the levy but it wasn't dry.jpg (66.2 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 04 Wide open spaces of Texas.jpg (135.6 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 05 Kicks on route 66.jpg (133.0 KB, 9 views)
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:46 PM
culver culver is offline
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As Texas passed into the distance you could see the vegetation getting shorter and more scrub like. The skies were clearer and the horizons further away. Welcome to New Mexico and my stop for the night. The next morning I saw my first snow covered peaks. At the base of those peaks would be the town of Flagstaff. While those were my first snow covered peaks they would not be the last!

The decent into Vegas offers some stunning views of the Colorado river down stream of the Hover Damn. From the new bridge there isn't much to see and I didn't have time to get pictures... maybe next time.

Not much to say about Vegas other than I got rained on shortly after arriving. Yes, for the first time on the trip rain was falling and in Las Vegas of all places.

I had assumed the trip out of Vegas would be the more interesting part of the drive. I would spend little time on the freeway and was looking forward to seeing the Rockies. SR 95 out of town reminds one that if you have 1/2 a tank it's time to start looking for gas. Years back I foolishly assumed that I didn't need to look until I was down to a 1/3rd tank. But for the kindness of strangers I would have been walking 100 miles for gas.

I was a bit surprised to see some frozen stuff dusting Lida Summit (as if I would know the name without the sign) in Nevada. Sure it was in the 90s when I left but it can't be that warm everywhere...

Down the other side of Lida I finally saw what I had been searching for... a back door into California. Finally I could sneak in my produce without the boarder guards harassing me!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 07 I see Flagstaf.jpg (70.8 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 10 SR95 in Nevada really keeps on going.jpg (134.8 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 12 Nope that isn't rain.jpg (92.8 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg 13 Welcome to CA please leave your wallet by the door.jpg (146.2 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by culver; 05-18-2011 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:48 PM
culver culver is offline
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Crossing into CA you see an immense range of hills (they are hills compared to what comes next). The drive through the Inyo National Forest was beautiful. Had I not been scared of all the blind corners this would have been a great twisty road.

When I finally got to SR395 I headed north... perhaps I should have headed south like a good southern boy... what does that sign mean?

My plan was to cross the mountains via Yosemite National Park and SR120. Well in GA those clouds would mean a foggy mountain. In CA they can mean something much more foreboding. SR 120 wasn't the only one that was closed. SR 89 and 108 were also down for the count. I decided to head up towards Lake Tahoe and take 88 or 50 over the pass.

So I'm starting to see white stuff everywhere. This is rather novel given that I was in the heat of Las Vegas just that morning and happy to escape the beginnings of the hot months in the south. I'm in my car in shorts and sandals as my out side temperature indicates 24 degrees...

Still so long as the road is relatively clear I'm not too worried. I grew up driving in snow and when I got the last set of tires for the SAAB I bought 4 season tires.

Well it wasn't that bad until we got white out conditions... Not good. Time to turn back. Even that wasn't easy and ended up requiring a few things. First, it required me to get out of the car and put on my boots, jacket and long pants. I did have semi-appropriate cloths for the cold even if I wasn't wearing them.

Heading back towards lake Tahoe wasn't that easy. When I went up SR88 it was still open to regular cars. As I started to head back the sign was changed indicating that I would need chains even to head back the way I had just come! It was not a quick nor comfortable drive back down the east side.

At this point I decided my best bet was I80. I hated to head that far north given the time of day but still. It's not all bad, I would get to see the beauty of Lake Tahoe.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:51 PM
culver culver is offline
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Well the lake was beautiful as expected but Donner Pass seemed to want to live up to it's historic reputation. Traffic was stopped. I assumed for an accident but no, nothing that passive.

So what are "chain checks"?

Oh, they are places where someone sells poor southern motorist a $25 set of snow chains for $50! I chose to install them myself rather than pay $30 for 10 minutes of the installer's time. This was actually the first time I had ever put chains on a car. In comparison to putting chains on the John Deere tractor it's both easier and harder. Easier because the cable chains weigh perhaps 5 lbs vs 100lbs each but harder because you really don't have easy access to that clasp on the back side. Too bad these guys weren't on SR88, I could have kept going and saved my self about an hour of back tracking and a half hour in traffic!

BTW, as an historical aside, that train that runs on the other side of Donner Lake, well that is the location of the original transcontinental rail road, one of the great engineering accomplishments of the 1800s.

Thanks to all the delays I stopped short of my goal last night. This morning I drove the last 45 minutes or so to get into the San Jose area. It's nice to be back in the bay area but I'm still trying to figure out why gas is nearly $0.50 per gallon more around here than at home. So I have a few months to enjoy my self out hear before heading back... I really can't wait. Even though I will try to head through Yosemite during the summer, I'm still going to check the weather before I leave!
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:00 PM
FastDriver FastDriver is offline
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fun trip. i want to drive the whole route of the old rt66 at some point. i need to get a good touring car for it though. haven't decided what on yet. I think a GT40 replica would be fun. but not sure yet! I was also considering an old 60s muscle car
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:04 PM
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Kitdy Kitdy is offline
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That sounds like a lot of fun. Was it solo or with someone else?
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:05 PM
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Fleet 500 Fleet 500 is offline
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Very good photos. Keep them coming.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:50 AM
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Roentgen Roentgen is offline
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Woah Jealous! I love the idea of massive road trips!!

Glad you had a great time :-)
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:12 AM
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Ferrer Ferrer is offline
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This looks, sounds and feels excellent.

Big fan of massive raod trips as well.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:50 AM
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I love road trips, especially out west. I've done a few myself, nothing quite that long and solo (TWSS) but road trips are fun nonetheless.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:24 PM
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NSXType-R NSXType-R is offline
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Wasn't one of the Australian members planning a massive road trip?

I wonder what happened to that.

Cool road trip man, I would love to go on one, but I have no time. Money is less of an issue, but time is the biggest issue.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:13 PM
culver culver is offline
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The trip was a solo trip. I'm in California for work this summer. I've been itching to do this drive for years but the combination of price and time (time mostly) kept me at home. Once the need arose the time part worked its self out. If gas were still $2 (or less) and if I had yet more time I would have made a longer trip of it. I might take a bit more time on the way back at the end of the summer.

Here are a few more shots:
Rest areas in Oklahoma and Texas
The Colorado from near the Hover Damn
More from the Inyo national forest and a mountain pass
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 00DSCF0831.jpg (122.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg 00DSCF0890.jpg (128.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg 00IMG_1190.jpg (140.4 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg 00DSCF0992.jpg (117.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg 00DSCF1010.jpg (163.7 KB, 4 views)
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:16 PM
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You did it in a Saab... what else?
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NSXType-R View Post
Wasn't one of the Australian members planning a massive road trip?

I wonder what happened to that.
Not sure about anyone planning one, but I drove from Perth to Sydney at the start of 2008. It was great, there's a thread on here about it somewhere.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:06 PM
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NSXType-R NSXType-R is offline
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Originally Posted by pimento View Post
Not sure about anyone planning one, but I drove from Perth to Sydney at the start of 2008. It was great, there's a thread on here about it somewhere.
I found it!

Aussie Invasion 2012? - Ultimatecarpage.com forums

Whiteballz.

He better still be committed.
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