WEEK1 Aug 19 Sat - driving from ontario to new york. Drove from toronto to kingston for the 60th anniversary. Left Kingston on saturday morning full of steak and ready for the ten hour drive westward. Accident on i90 so we detoured at Phelps NY. Very patriotic town with lots of stars n stripes. Sat night slept in Cleveland West, place called Westlake.
Sun -Getting onto i80 from i90 we drove through a Troll plaza with our ez pass transponder but it wasnt clear if illinois tollway accepted it so we drove out the next tollgate and it was unmanned. Paid .90 to get out and back in again and the sign was a green ‘thank you’ all the time so maybe we paid twice? Very confusing for a non-toll user like me! Anyway i have to check online and see what my penalty is.
Stopped at a starbucks on i90 service area and forgot my wallet when paying for coffee so the guy behind offered to pay for me. I said no but thanks anyway.
Stopped for gas at the worlds biggest truck stop in IOWA (has an in-house dentist chiropractor barber) but the pump wouldn’t accept a canadian postal code so we drove further. Stopped at Dexter Iowa and the air raid siren went off next to the gas station. Apparently this is a leftover civil defence system so they just keep the thing tested. They might have put them in with the minuteman missile silos. Famous places today that i know you’d love.. we did drive bys of john wayne’s and ronald reagan’s birthplaces!
Mon – thunderboomers overnight and into the morning in Omaha, so it was definitely not a good day for sun gazing. Woke up at 6 in order to have enough time to figure out where to see the 12:58
eclipse and decided the best overall plan was to drive west and hope for the best.
Eclipse traffic was a crawl all the way from Omaha (isnt that a line from a song?) to Grand Island and we arrived at the Whooping Crane Trust migration center one hour before totality. It was here we witnessed the supernatural event. We kept checking the melting sliver of sun being covered up by the moon and then realized how much the light was fading, colours were disappearing and the wind was picking up. It felt like the world was morphing into some kind of movie set under artificial LED light with wind machines. Also, the buzzing of cicadas ceased and was replaced by voices of the people around us. For the grand finale, we were astounded by the corona leaking out from the sun into the black sky around it. The previous yellow sun on a blue sky disappeared and was replaced by a large round hole surrounded by white star light (the corona). This is when everyone realized that the sun is simply another star (just black and white). Also, a planet appeared beside the sun and the clouds on the horizon appeared pink as in a sunset. Pictures attached.
Later on we drove west toward Colorado to North Platte. This town is famous for Buffalo Bill’s homestead. Next we came upon the ‘Worlds Biggest Railyard (Union Pacific Golden Spike railyard). Huge…315 miles of yard track in a depot about 5 miles long. All the hotels here were gouging customers by doubling their nightly fees due to the special celestial event!
We stayed at the Days Inn and there was a group of tourists from the Netherlands Hailey Observatory in the lobby discussing the event and staying the night.
Tue – Drove from north platte to denver. Drove around the city for awhile but it was boring. We decided to visit Colorado Springs and were rewarded with natural and artificial wonders. Took some pictures at the Air Force Academy and went into the Air Force Chapel built in 1963 with 4334 pipes on the organ. Back to La Quinta hotel with a free dinner with happy hour. We were suffering Holly dropped her iPhone and the screen was smashed so we went to Dollar Tree and got some packing tape. The bandaid worked! Tofu pooped on the IHOP sign.
Wed – Drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and took the Trail Ridge Road which is treacherous but beautiful hit 12,000 feet and about 10 degrees C. Headed north through Boulder which was a winding road up through the mountains and alongside the rolling creek. Lots of climbers around here. Golden CO was pretty for a drivethru with the big arch over the road and a few scenic buildings downtown. Boulder creek was nice and rocky with tumbling water and lots of climbers. Rmnp trail ridge road was high and scenic with some kind of rodent making squeaks (marmots?).
A herd of 40 elk in park and a few smallerdeer im campsite.
Thu – Good Heads (Mt Rushmore) in the Bad Lands.
Fri- Walldrug is a big theme store in the badlands that started out as a drug store with free ice water. Visited the minuteman II missile nearby and also sighted some buffalo (also a wolf or coyote maybe) saw lots of antelope while driving and stopped at prairie dog town to see some prairie dogs. Met a couple from manitoba at mt rushmore.
Then we were driving fri 4-6 happy hour time had to be careful about the other guy driving. Stopped at a gas station / saloon where i had to wait until the bartender sold some beer before selling me some gas. Funny thing to have the two mixed. The regular gas is more expensive than unleaded plus because it doesnt have the 10% ethanol.
Fri rodeway in sheridan WY. Very small rooms but clean and better value than South Dakota’s.
Sat aug 26 sheridan to cody. Roadside service area had a handfull of fire fighting aircraft. One was from RCAF. Now really looking like cowtowns. Wendys had a toilet and urinal in the same room with no real privacy around the toilet.
Antique car rally in cody WY. Followed a Model A from Mississippi out of town and saw how wobbly the wheels were. Must be a rough ride. Got into yellowstone at suppertime.
Sun aug 27. 632 am
saw Castle geyser erupt for 30 minutes about 60 feet high. Waited for Grand geyser from 9am until 10
then it erupted over 100 feet high. Checked the lobby and got a second night in same cabin.
Mon aug28 - Grand Prismatic Spring had a 15 minute car lineup to get into the parking lot at 10:30am
. Drove thru grand teton to Salt Lake City. Road was slow due to construction and heavy traffic.
Tue aug 29 Layton SLC hotel. North of salt lake city mist forms at sunset after a 35 celsius day. Slc to reno dust storms and some rain with tumblweed blowing across the highway. Meddles with your mind when driving.
Wed aug 30 Reno hotel downtown was dirty and uncomfortable. Seems like everyone is driving around drunk. Gas is more expensive near the casinos and alcohol is cheap. Better to stay near Lake Tahoe.
Big nests like storks in idaho?
Thu Fire closed 395 to yosemite had to drive round itcamped with deer on thu pm
Fri fire closed 41 yosemite to fresno, took road to merced though old firegrounds.
San bernardino palm springs was nothing to see just a few old ex-hollywood star homes. Not as nice as expected.
Hot in phoenix and saguaro cactus is common. Scottsdale was an impressive resort city. Lots of new stuff and very clean. Golf cart taxis all over the old town. Had to cool off in the pool. Pubs spray mist outside to cool you off.
Sedona north of Scottsdale is a spiritual town lots of churches and most lodging hidden behind trees and red rock.
Up in Flagstaff all the cactus disappears and it is 80 instead of 100 as in phoenix. Flagstaff has a lot of university students and phoenix has the retirees.
Dust storms through navajo country into new mexico. Albuquerque old town most buildings are adobe style. Looked down on city from high level.
Into texas amarillo spied cadallac ranch then lostening to radio playing rush tom sawyer alpngside wind generators is like the dryers turning on a rush stage. Then came upon McLean Texas among what appeared to be cottonfields. Interesting it is in or near Gray county.
Okl city has bricktown canal with trendy restaurants. Oil rigs common.
Memphis horse carriages like Ok City but also mobile pub bikes on Beale St. Trolley is only a dollar to ride around downtown. But unsafe on the south side of downtown. Highest crime hood in usa.
Sat sep 9
Nashville is overpriced but entertaining. Paid ten bucks to park at graceland and was shocked by the entry price of $48 a head, then ran away. They would not give us a $10 refund for our 5 minutes of stop and go parking.
Nasville appeared to be students everywhere partying. They have these bar bikes that are oval shaped as a table and chairs with pedals at each chair. Then there’s beer on the table and a keg. One person seems to steer the ship. A lot of cowboy boots walking around. Seemed like a tailgate party on the main street down as broadway.
Opreyland had a huge mall built around it.
Ken-Trucky was full of pick up trucks and on saturday night it seems all the guys get into their machines and drive them around town to see who can be the loudest.
Most common truck on the interstate highways was Fedex. Lots of semis on the western interstates.
Bardstown ky was a pretty town with lots of restored buildings and nearby are the famous distilleries. Makers mark uses corn, red winter wheat and barley in the sour mash and fermentation finished in 3 days. They use new barrels each batch and after 6 yrs aging they are sent to scotland scotch distilleries. Famous glass blower artist had installations there for bourbon week. He did the Bellagio vegas glass ceiling. Makers mark tour for him and noah ark tour for her. Comfort inn in ohio.
Drove thru ohio to stay night in NY. Visited Holly’s friend in Ithaca. Stopped in Elmira is the gravesite of Mark Twain.
Seaman ohio into town of Hillsboro there was a Mennonite horse and buggy heading into town at about 50kph. No food tax in Ohio and tax is low at 8%.
Jamestown looks like Gananoque and has the I Love Lucy Museum. Lots of grapes grown there and market has lots of produce.
East of Jamestown into a foggy area in the morning called Steamburg. Close to Allegany river State park. Elevation of 1400 feet.