Latest Update: Sunday, January 24, 2010 04:29:19    

  Email:  igorn@igorn.com

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Tomorrow I start my new job!  

Two weeks ago I decided to intensely pursue employment opportunities in the area.  I was lucky enough to get an interview with Candle Corporation in Portland Maine.  I was offered and accepted a position, and I report tomorrow morning!  The major product developed here in Portland is Intelliwatch, a program that works with Lotus Notes servers.  I will write more as I learn about the company and my job.  


Sunday, February 20, 2000

Well, I am finally in an apartment and getting settled.  The majority of my furniture and belongings are still in boxes, but I will eventually unpack!  It has been a time of adjustment for these past few days, and the final move-in item was getting my phone connected.  That did not happen until this past Thursday, so I have not been able to work on the picture web page.  I am in the process of putting the page together, so PLEASE BE PATIENT!  There are some very nice shots from the trip.

I am very sorry to be so far behind.  Thank you for checking in, and I hope to done with the page this week.  Please stop back again!  THANKS!!!


Thursday, February 10, 2000

The pictures are back!  I am in the process of organizing them, so expect to see them this weekend. 

I went apartment shopping this week.  I found a nice place in Yarmouth, and just found out that I got it!  I will be signing the papers tomorrow morning, and finally getting out of the motel.  My last night in my previous apartment was January 4, so it will be nice to have a place to call "my own."

It was an interesting week, as I did searches for job ops in the area as well as apartment hunting.  I also decided to get accustomed to different places in town, so yesterday, I went to the Portland Public Library and while there, to a very interesting lecture presented by an author of a new book about the Bath Iron Works, Maine's largest employer, and maker of destroyers.  Today, I went to the Historical Museum of Maine and heard a lecture from a University of New Hampshire professor about how newspapers in the 18th century were influenced by the events of the time.  It has also been an educational week!  Very interesting lectures, and I was impressed with the amount of people that came to listen.

Tomorrow, I move my things into the new apartment.  Not sure if my phone connection will work, so my next update may be next week.  Stay tuned for the pictures!

Thank you for visiting....Igor


Monday, February 7, 2000

Update from Westbrook, Me.

My motel is just a couple hundred feet north of the Portland city line, in the town of Westbrook.  So far, I have done a lot of driving, looking, and learning about the area.  I am being scheduled to start interviews this week, so wish me luck!

IMPORTANT INFOI dropped off film for developing today.  I should get the pictures back by Thursday or Friday.  Check into this page later this week and I will have links to my trip photos! 

Last week I settled in a little more and spent time making calls and working on the basics, like licensing, insurance, and reading the paper to gain knowledge of routine items.  I got my driver's license (bad picture) and passport photos (while I was getting pictures,) but my car plates will have to wait, as I learned the title to the car is with my stored furniture.  I thought I packed it with my car things, but unfortunately... Anyway, I am also looking around for an apartment, but waiting to see where I get a job before I make any final decisions.

On Friday, I decided to take a trip up the coast to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.  While most of the park roads were closed due to snow, part of a loop drive was open, and I was able to view some fantastic scenery of the rocky coast with crashing waves.  The snow and ice made for a unique and beautiful panorama.  It was very peaceful and quiet as there were few cars on the road.  The town of Bar Harbor was also serene, and only a few stores were open.  I had a great lunch of haddock before returning to the road back to Portland, and witnessed an incredible sunset!  It was nice to see the area during this time of year.  Quite a contrast to the usual busy tourist season.

Over the weekend I journeyed to visit Nina and David, my sister and brother-in-law.  It was a great visit, as we relaxed for most of the time.

Today, I drove through areas I had not visited before.  Again, I am trying to acclimate myself to the area.

Thanks for visiting, and please stop by again.  Especially when the pictures come in!  Send a note and let me know how things are in you world!  

Take care...Igor


Tuesday, February 1, 2000

I MADE IT TO PORTLAND, MAINE!

Hello every!  I am in Portland, Maine!  I arrived at 3:45pm, and all is well.  

Sorry for the gap in the reports...I was mostly involved with family gatherings.  I will be writing about the past few days on Wednesday, so please check back.. Just wanted to let you know that I am now in Portland!  

Thank you very much for checking in!  Until tomorrow...Igor


Thursday, January 27, 2000

A stopover in my home town, Canton, Ohio.

Today I started a little behind the norm, as I slept in for an extra hour.  I did not sleep as well as I would have liked, so I ignored the alarm!  The room was not one of the better places I have experienced on this trip, and since there was no phone in the room, I did not get to submit my daily commentary.  I finally did get on my way and continued east on Route 30.  It was very cold again this morning, but I a getting adjusted to it!

I spent the first couple of hours getting through the traffic and cities that support the Chicago region.  Finally, after crossing into Indiana, I started to get away from the majority of the traffic.  I was able to see several towns enroute, and after my arrival in Ohio, was able to follow the old Lincoln Highway, as signs were posted indicating the path.  I was glad the road was posted, as it provided for an interesting drive.  I followed the old way until I was east of Mansfield, Ohio.  The sun had set (another spectacular sunset) so I got on the new Route 30, then North on Route 77, until I reached North Canton, Ohio.

Routes traveled today: 30 - 77

Tomorrow I plan on spending some time with my brother and some friends.  As always, thank you for visiting.  Sunday, I continue my journey to New England with a visit to my sister and family in Connecticut.  See you later...Igor


Thursday, January 27, 2000

A night in New Lenox, Illinois.

It was the coldest morning so far, as The Weather Channel indicated a temperature of minus nine degrees!  The car cranked a little slower than usual, but started just fine.  Tonight, the temperature should stay in the single digits above zero.  I do not have much info about New Lenox.  It is south of Chicago, and I believe it is a bedroom community for commuters.  There were many cars at the train station when I passed by.  

When I started this expedition, I figured that towards the end, I would be doing more driving than stopping off at parks and historical sites.  As I get closer to my new home, I find myself more anxious to get to my destination.  Today was a day for driving.  It was partly cloudy, so there were some nice views along the road.  I continued my avoidance of the freeway interstates by driving down Route 30.  There are some sections around cities that are built up as freeways, but those distances are very limited.  I am still able to experience two lane roads through small towns, enjoying the sights.  I stopped at a bridge in Tama Iowa, that  was built with the words "Lincoln Highway" as the side guards.  It was an interesting homage to the highway and its purpose when originally built. 

Routes traveled today:  Route 30

Tomorrow I plan to be in Canton, Ohio, my original home town.  I will probably be there for two nights, as I plan to meet with friends.  I will update the page tomorrow.  Thank you for stopping by...Igor


Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Even colder in Marshalltown, Iowa!

I good day of driving with nice skies and cool temperatures lead me to Marshalltown, on Route 30.  This is another railroad town surrounded by a farming community with a population of 25,200.  Actually, I was surprised to see so much activity in this area, but then with the college town of Ames to the west and Cedar Rapids to the east, this makes for a nice mid-point.  Temperature wise, the forecast is for a low tonight between five and ten below!

I began my drive today just before sunup and the colors in the sky were spectacular, again.  I have been very fortunate to see so many wonderful sunrises and sunsets on this trip.  I drove north on Route 77 through Lincoln, Nebraska, and stopped in Wahoo, Nebraska.  This is the town referred to as the "Home Office" for The Late Show With David Letterman.  There is a large billboard at the entrance to the town testifying to that!  While I was there, I decided to have breakfast at the Wigwam Restaurant, and had a very good meal.  I drove around town and happened upon the Chamber of Commerce offices.  The had a sign indication that the "Home Office" was there!  The office also happened to be located on Broadway Avenue!  Being the good tourist, I took a picture!  I continued with my drive around the town and stopped at the County Court House to read some information and take some pictures.  The town of Wahoo is a neat town, and it reminded me a bit of a small community in New England.  

Back on Route 77 North, I found myself in Fremont, Nebraska.  Founded in 1856, the town derived its name from General John C. Fremont, who happened to be a presidential candidate at the time.  There is a park in town named in his honor.  I am truly amazed that I am still finding his name along my path!

In Fremont, I came across Route 30, my road to the east!  I turned right, and soon I crossed the Missouri River and found myself in Iowa.

I stopped at a Iowa State Visitor Center and Rest Area near the border and spoke with the person manning the station.  Wally was an older gentleman who volunteered his time to assists visitors with their exploration of Iowa.  We spoke of many topics, and he was a very interesting man.  Originally a farmer in the area, he was able to tell me stories of the original Route 30, "The Lincoln Highway," when it was an unpaved road through the area.  One of the reasons I chose Route 30 was that it was called the Lincoln Highway, one of the first (if not the first) transcontinental roads built.  While much of the route has been modified, there are still opportunities to see some of the remnants of the original track.  Wally also mentioned that just last year, they had a tornado pass over the rest area.  It damaged some of the building, and went on to destroy a steel bridge and seven farms.  The broken trees were still visible in some spots.  Sadly, it took two lives, and many others were injured.  It was eerie to see the trees and imagine what happened to this area that day.  We spoke of other items of history of the region, and about that time, other people came in.  I bid Wally farewell, and resumed my drive.  

The Iowa landscape consists of level land, with areas of rolling hills.  There is a lot of train traffic on the tracks that parallel the road, and while I tried to count the cars on some of the trains, the lengths were remarkable, and I lost count at a high number.  Some of them go on for a very long distance!

While at the Iowa State Visitor Center I noticed a pamphlet for Denison, Iowa, the birthplace of Donna Reed!  My next stop...Denison!  This is the location of the Donna Reed Theater and an association promoting acting and technical theater and stage work.  They have a festival every June with workshops and shows.  Next to the theater is a refurbished Soda Shop.  They also sell Donna Reed paraphernalia.  A woman named Julie was working the behind the counter and she helped me in getting some things, and she allowed me to go into the theater so I could see the venue.  She also introduced me to Christie, who was working in the theater office.  There were newspapers and article all over the place, and she apologized for the mess.  Christie was in the process of working on a grant for the theater.  My friend Carla knows all about that!  Christie was able to get me information on the June festival, and she had one of Donna Reed's dresses on display next to a picture of Donna wearing the dress.  It was a pretty dress, but extremely heavy, with all the bead work on it!  The office also displayed many pictures of Donna through her career, and some of the other actors she worked with in film and television.

I went back to the Soda Shoppe and met a dentist who overheard my conversation.  His receptionist was the niece of Donna Reed, and his wife work in a senior home where Donna's mother stayed, so they both got to meet her often.  He had very nice things to say about her, and how she never let the Hollywood attitude take her away from the small town roots she had.  Julie and he also referred me to another museum in town that contained Donna Reed's Oscar statue, but unfortunately, the museum was closed.  Sorry Carla, maybe a road trip in June will do!

I returned to Route 30 East, and after several hours, as the sun was setting, I found Marshalltown.  There was a small cloud in the sky as the sun was low on the horizon, and the cloud glowed so brightly, it was incredible!

Routes traveled today: Nebraska 77 - 30 - Iowa 30

Tomorrow, I should make it to Indiana, barring the lake effect snow south of Gary, Indiana.  Until tomorrow...Thanks for the visit...Igor


Tuesday, January 25, 2000

A cool night in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Greetings from cold southeastern Nebraska!  It seems the temperature has been dropping as I progress eastward.  I will need to become accustomed to it soon!  Tonight I am in Beatrice.  The town was named after the middle name of the daughter of one of the town's founders, and it is pronounced with the accent on the "at."  Beatrice has developed into a light industrial and farming center.

I watched a very pretty sunrise this morning as I drove east on Route 50.  It was another journey alongside the Santa Fe Trail.  Along the road I see endless acres of farmland and cattle, and intermittently I drive through a small town.  I find this so much more interesting than driving the controlled access freeways!  Each town, though somewhat similar to the previous town, seems to have its own character.  And the posted markers and information are enjoyable and educational to read.  Another interesting sight is the extremely large flocks of birds I occasionally see.  There must be hundreds grouped together at times, and the sky is blackened behind them.

My first stop today was in Kinsley, Kansas.  There was a large sign indicating that San Francisco was 1561 miles to the west, and that New York was 1561 miles to the east!  The midpoint of the two cities!  This was also the town that I changed from Route 50 to Route 56 to continue following along the Santa Fe Trail.

As the travelers in the nineteenth century would pass through this area, one point of reference was the Pawnee Rock, a sixty foot tower of Dakota sandstone.  While some of it has been used in local building, the view of the surrounding lands from the top is magnificent!

I continued along Route 56 until reaching Kansas Route 77, where I turned North.  This is the road that will lead me to Route 30, my next turn to the east.

The landscape along this route was changing, as rolling hills began to develop.  It reminded me of the drive from central Ohio to the northern part of the state.  Not as large as the Santa Cruz mountains, though.  Farmland was the majority use, except for a munitions area further north.  There were military maneuvers in progress on the lands bordering either side of the road.  As I drove, I noticed several military vehicles with large guns and also tanks pointing at me while they waited for me to pass.  Of course, it was because they needed to cross the road!  I drove the speed, not willing to push my luck!  ;-)  Also, signs were posted along the area.  At road entrances, signs read "No civilian vehicles allowed beyond this point."  On the fences, I noticed signs reading no trespassing, with a reference to laser usage in the area.  I stayed on the road!  ;-)  Even with the multiple Air Force aircraft flying overhead, I did not slow down!

My final visit for the day was at the Homestead National Monument of America.  In 1936, Congress set aside this area to commemorate the lives of the pioneers and the changes in the country as a result of the Homestead Act of 1862.  I viewed the informational video and toured the Visitor Center Museum.  There is also a several hundred acre area that has been seeded with prairie plants and left to grow as it did in the 1800s.  There is a trail with informational tablets and tagged plants through the prairie land to better educate the visitor.  Walking on the trail through the grassland, it was mind boggling to imagine how the pioneers were able to get through the lands, survey, and develop them.  At the visitor center, I met Scott, the National Park Service volunteer, who was very informative and able to answer my questions.  Interestingly, Scott was from Martinez, California (in the Bay area.)  He wanted to see what this locale was like, so he took this four month volunteer job.  The National Park Service sets him up with housing, and he provides the remainder.  He had been here three weeks and was just getting used to the area, and had not decided if he was going to stay.  I mentioned my plans, and he thought the history of New England would be interesting.   The location of the park is just west of Beatrice, which has some small town qualities.  However, Scott was somewhat unhappy with the many chain food outlets and the Wal-Mart that recently opened north of town.  I told him the story of how McDonald's wanted to open up a restaurant in Freeport, Maine.  The only way they could do it was to place the business in a one hundred year old building, preventing the normal obnoxious facade we are used to seeing.  Back to the trail, I took my hike as the sun was setting.  It was another beautiful sunset!

Routes traveled today: 50 - 56 - 77

Tomorrow, I should be in Iowa, after I pass through Wahoo, Nebraska, the home office to David Letterman's Top Ten List!  I will let you know if I see any references.  Thank you visiting....Igor


Monday, January 24, 2000

Greetings from Dodge City, Kansas.

I made it to the next state, and to the Central Time zone.  It was another good day of driving and while there was a high layer of clouds, it turned out to be a nice day.  I was unable to see the sunrise this morning due to the clouds.  Still, I was able to get an early start and head east on Route 50.

My first detour was a drive through the town of La Junta, Colorado, to see historical buildings of this old railroad town.  This was also the route to Bent's Old Fort National Historical Site.  Reconstructed on the original foundation of Bent's Fort built in 1833, the historical site displays the facilities as they were with a ninety percent accuracy, with information retrieved through drawings, sketches, and documentation.  The fort was used as a trading post and stopping place for traders, trappers, and explorers.  Even John C. Fremont was here (again, I cross the path of John Fremont!)  There are many exhibits to be seen, with rooms and buildings set up as they were when the fort was in operation, and in the summer months, there are demonstrations by park personnel in period clothing.  I was the first visitor there this morning, and other than the park staff, I had the fort to myself for two hours!  It was a great place to explore.  As for the staff, I was fortunate to meet Jennifer and Anthony, who were very helpful and well-informed.  I was able to learn much about of the fort, the Santa Fe Trail, and other historical facts about the area.  Another thing I enjoyed was walking on the upper level of the fort and seeing a train far off in the distance and hearing the whistle blow.  It was a very serene setting.  On a final note, the flag that flies above the entrance to the fort has 27 stars, as it did when the fort was in operation!

I returned to Route 50 East and continued my drive, enjoying the small towns along the way.  The road follows the Arkansas River, and occasionally, there are historical markers indicating the path of the Santa Fe Trail.  I gathered more information and at certain points, you can actually see the ruts in the ground made by the travelers of long ago.  It was intriguing to think about how people made their voyage through this area by horse and wagon.

Finally, I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, former home of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.  I did not drive around town yet, but from what I saw advertised on the drive in, there appears to be some touristy presentations!  Additionally, in my room (a Best Western,) there is a printed sign that reads:

Do Not Clean

Pheasants in this

Room

$50.00  Charge will be made to anyone who does!

........Manager

Guess I better get $50.00 bucks ready when I check out!!!!  ;-)

Roads traveled today: 50 - 109 - 194 - 109 - 50

Tomorrow I should be writing from Nebraska.  Thank you for reading about my trip...Igor


Sunday, January 23, 2000

This evening, I am in Pueblo, Colorado.

After a delayed start, I had a very nice drive and got to experience a wide variety of environments.  I stopped for the night in Pueblo, as the sun was setting, and it was a good place to position myself for a planned visit tomorrow.  I want to see Bent's Old Fort, a National Park exhibit east of La Junta, Colorado.  But more on that tomorrow.

This morning, I was packing the car before sunrise.  It was eleven degrees and it had snowed a bit overnight.  I was a little cold, but ready to get going when I noticed my front right tire was flat!  Well, I hoped it was just very low because of the cold, so I drove very slowly to a filling station across the street. Unfortunately  the tire separated from the rim so the tire would not inflate.  I called AAA and within thirty minutes a tow tuck arrived.  The owner of the repair shop and towing company, Navid, took the car to his shop and found a pinhole.  He said I could have had it for a few days, and that the cold temperature increased the speed of the leak.  Luckily, he was able to patch it and I was on my way, only a couple hours after sunrise.  I was glad that I was able to work with another great mechanic!  As I sat in his office, I looked at the numerous pictures he had on the wall.  These were photographs of many of the vehicles he has retrieved off the side of the road that slid or lost control due to snow or mistakes.  I was amazed at how people lived through their accidents when looking at the result of the misfortune.

I drove east on Route 50, and the weather was cool but the sun was shining bright.  I noticed clouds in the mountains, and knew I had to go that direction.  The drive lead me to Monarch Pass, the location of the Continental Divide.  At an altitude of 11,312, I had some snow and ice to deal with.  It was also very cold at windy at the top.  However, with all these elements in play, there were extended periods of blue skies above, which made for a fantastic setting.  Of course, as long as I was in the car it was great.  I walked around a bit, at which point the beauty was overshadowed by the cold and snow.  I was not quite properly dressed, so I went back to the car!  I know I will need to get more warm clothes in the near future!

I continued east on Route 50, and as expected, the further downhill I drove, the dryer and warmer it got.  I turned off the heater by the time I reached Salida, which used to be a riverfront railroad town, now turning to tourism.  They have a historic downtown district that I drove through with many old buildings being refurbished and used towards the new town direction of sightseeing.

My next stop on Route 50 was Royal Gorge outside of Canon City, Colorado.  The claim to fame for Royal Gorge is the highest suspension bridge in the world.  They also have the steepest incline railroad in the world.  Conversely, driving to the place you see some of the tackiest tourist traps in the world!  ;-)  Avoiding those areas, the setting is nice and there are some nice views.

The bridge is 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River and you can walk and drive over the wooden planks that cross between the suspended supports.  It is an impressive walk and looking down at the river is ominous.  It was a little windy today, which combined with the cars driving on the bridge made for an interesting walk.  As for humor, they have a sign at the midpoint of the span which reads "No fishing from the bridge."  After walking back across the bridge, I went down the incline railroad.  It is an interesting journey as you stand in the specially constructed caged cars slowly dropping towards the river.  Exploring the area near the river one can see the engineering feat of the railroad that was built through the gorge beside the river.  At one point near the drop off area, a "hanging" bridge was used to support the railroad tracks as the gorge was not wide enough to support other designs.  The hanging bridge is basically two supports that cross the river above the tracks, with supports that hold the track up above the water.  Not sure if that description works... Also, along the other side of the river are the remnants of a thirty inch diameter wooden pipe running along side the river that was used to transport water to Canon City years ago.  I returned to the top of the incline and yes, I drove over the bridge!  And the car made it without any problems!!!  ;-)

I returned to Route 50 and just west on Canon City, I turned onto the Skyline Drive, a three mile, one-way drive across the top of an 800 foot hill. (Description from Road Trip, USA.) When they say the top of the hill, they mean it!  The road follows along the crest of a ridge, with nothing but drop offs on either side!  But the views are incredible!

Canon City is also the location of Colorado's newest maximum security prison, with some well known inhabitants, such as Kaczynski, Yousef, and McVeigh. I did not stay around to see if they had a tour!  Just east of town I noticed a sign near a farm that read "Colon Orchards."  I decided not to tour that place either!!!  There really was a sign!

Finally, I found a hotel in Pueblo, and should be in Kansas tomorrow night.   

Routes traveled today: 50 - Royal George Road - 50 - Skyline Drive - 50

Again, thank you for paying a visit to the page.  Until tomorrow....Igor


Saturday, January 22, 2000

Hello from Gunnison, Colorado!

Today was a great day to travel.  And yes, I made it to another state!  And a beautiful state it is!  Tonight I am staying in Gunnison.  The town, population 4600 at an elevation of 7681 feet, was originally a trade center for the ranches in the vicinity.  Currently, besides being the home of Western State College, it serves as an access to a Gunnison National Forest and Curecanti National Recreation Area.  It is also the junction to the Crested Butte resort area.

I started out the day as usual, watching the sun rise on a new day.  Again, there were mountains to the west which provide for an interesting effect.  To continue my journey off the interstate, I headed south on Route 191 for twenty miles, then turned east onto Route 46.  This road leads around the south side of the La Sal mountains, which provided for a nice drive until I found fog.  There fog was a bit thick, and as I ascended up the slope, I learned that it snowed along this road last night.  Fortunately, the snow was not deep and the road was sanded.  During the drive, there were pockets of clear areas, and the effect was striking.  This continued for about an hour, when at last, the fog and snow on the road began to clear.  As I entered Colorado, the sky became blue with puffy white clouds.  It was very pretty.

I followed a scenic byway along Delores River that lead to Grand Junction, Colorado.  This is the location where the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers meet.  This is also the where I return to the Lincoln Highway, Route 50.  It was good to see this road again, as I was anxious to continue my journey.  I will be traveling Route 50 until Topeka, Kansas.  Depending on time, my plan is to go north out of Topeka on Route 77, then pick up Route 30 East near Lincoln, Nebraska.  

At this point on my expedition, I returned to the book that helped me decide my route.  The book, Road Trip USA, by Jamie Jensen, describes eleven trips through the United States that travel along the old paths, avoiding the interstates as much as possible.  Included are maps, points of interests, restaurants, lodging, and other items to assist in the drive.  He has a chapter dedicated to Route 50, known as "The Loneliest Road," as I mentioned earlier on the trip.  Unfortunately, Route 50 travels with Interstate 70 across Utah, which is why I took the southern route through the state.  Now, I have rejoined Route 50, so I begin reading the book again.

The first stop in Colorado is the Colorado National Park south of Grand Junction.  As I approach the entrance, there is a sign posted warning of a rockslide ahead, and that the road is closed a short distance up the way.  I drove a bit up the mountain just to see the landscape and the views, which were striking.  I then turned around and headed back to Route 50. 

Driving through Grand Junction I noticed a motel called "Prospector Motel."  I have seen so many motels with that name, even staying at one in Escalante!  It must be a very popular name, as they are not associated with each other.

I continued east on Route 50, observing barren strips of land, and soon reached the town of Delta, known as the "City of Murals."  There are quite a few buildings with very impressive murals painted on the outside walls.  By this time of day, the sun was bright, bringing out the colors.

I continued driving, and noticed that I had reached a personal milestone.  Early this afternoon, I reached 3000 miles since I began my trek!  The last time I drove my car on a "freeway" or interstate was on the approach to Monterey on January 6.  Subtracting out those miles, I have been on the back roads for over 3000 miles!  And I am only in Colorado?!?!?  I am thoroughly enjoying this.  I only wish there was more time.  Again, as I have said before, if the opportunity affords itself, take a drive on the back roads!

My final touring stop for the day was at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  In 1933, this area originally was set aside as a National Monument.  On October 21, 1999, it became a National Park.  The Black Canyon is known for its 2000 foot sheer granite walls, being the deepest gorge in the state.  The Gunnison River flows fastest through the park, dropping 2150 feet in 50 miles.  This is the quickest water flow in the United States!  This is a very impressive park.  At the overlook 2000 feet above the river, the roar is loud, and one can only imagine how loud it is at the bottom of the canyon.  They have a great video presentation which discusses facts such as that the river removes about one inch of rock material every century, how a narrow gauge train was built along the base (only halfway, as the rest of the canyon was too rugged,) and how a tunnel was built to route water to farmlands in the region.  One of the Rangers in the video, Paul Zaenger, was working today, and we talked quite a bit about the park history and the characters involved in the preservation of the canyon.  He directed me to an overlook requiring some trudging through snow, and it was worth it.  What a sight to be able to see and hear the river so far below.  Another interesting aspect is the programs they offer in the winter.  They have regular snowshoe hikes, and they also have an astronomy night to view the skies from the top of the gorge.  I would enjoy that very much.

Finally, as I drove towards Gunnison, I was able to see Blue Mesa Reservoir, an impressive body of water surrounded by towering mesas, and today, with the setting sun glistening in the sky!  It was breathtaking!  

Routes traveled today: 191 - 46 - Colorado 90 - 141 - 50  - 347 - 50

Thank you for dropping in on the page!  Send me a note and let me know how things are with you! Until tomorrow, and possibly once more from Colorado,  Igor


Friday, January 21, 2000

Friday night in Moab, Utah.

Just up the road from Monticello, Moab is an old uranium mining town that is near Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.  Since I was touring those two parks today, I ended my day in Moab. I thought I might make it to Colorado today, but I spent extra time at Arches.  I am planning on getting an early start, so I should be in Colorado tomorrow morning.

I was on the road before sunrise was to occur, but is was a cloudy morning so the sun was not visible.  Still, it was a nice morning for a drive as I headed north on Route 191.  I turned west onto Route 211 and headed for the Needles section of the Canyonlands National Park.  Along the road there were many deer.  At one point, I had to wait for a group of twenty to cross the road.

My first stop was a the Newspaper Rock Recreation Site.  This is the location of a rock wall with many petroglyphs.  These sites impress me.  There is so much unknown about what the different symbols mean and why they were used.  Many assumptions are made, but the true meaning is still a mystery.  

After exploring the petroglyphs and the surrounding area, I continued my drive.  I stopped by the Canyonlands Visitor Center and viewed their displays about the region, then took a tour of the park.  The park is a preserve of an immense wilderness of rock, and was formed by the Green and Colorado Rivers.  There are three sections of the park which provide diverse options for adventures.  The Needles section includes rock spires, arches, canyons, and a landscape of many colors.  Along the main scenic drive, there were several trails, including the one I hiked, which was to a granary where Ancestral Puebloan Indians would store their food.  

I visited the remainder of the Needles area accessible by my vehicle, thinking that next time I would like to come back with an off-road vehicle.  During my visit, the clouds began to scatter and the sky became a beautiful turquoise blue.  With the scenery, it was spectacular!

Returning back to the main road, I resumed my northern direction on Route 191 until I saw a scenic stop for an arch along the road.  I noticed a truck with a camper parked there, and the hood was open.  I met a retired couple traveling with their grandson, and they were having cooling problems with their truck.  They had camped down the road the previous night, and thought they could make it into town today.  Unfortunately, they only made it as far as the pull over area.  The gentleman's brother lived near Price, Utah, and was to arrive soon to assist them.  Like me, they were also in the process of moving.  They had lived in Houston for eleven years, and were moving back to the Price, Utah area.

I returned to the road and as I was driving, I listened to a local radio station.  They had a call in program to sell items, and what I found interesting was that when the sellers gave their phone numbers, they only stated the last four digits, since apparently in the area, they only had one prefix.  After getting used to always giving out my number with an area code, I found this amusing.  Also, I heard the following:

Did you hear about the religious skunk?

He goes to church to sit in his own pew!

...Local radio!!!

I spent the afternoon in Arches National Park.  As the name implies, there is an incredible display of natural stone arches, with unbelievable scenery.  A main scenic drive with several side roads goes through the park allowing views and access to the magnificent arches and rock formations.   Balanced rocks, salt valleys, bluffs, and stone statues are also scattered through the park.  I took several trails including some that lead underneath the arches.  Having the ability to view these up close and to see their size is amazing!

Since it was late in the afternoon, I decided to stay in Moab.  At the advice of the hotel desk attendant, I had dinner at the Sunset Grill.  The story is that years ago a man named Charlie Steen became rich mining uranium in the area.  He bought a mountain and built a house overlooking the town of Moab.  It was sold and became a restaurant, now called Sunset Grill.  Charlie Steen also appeared in an I Love Lucy episode where Lucy is looking for uranium.  I do not remember that one.  Anyway, the Prime Rib was incredibly delicious!  If you are in the area, this is a great dinner stop, if not only for the views.  Great service, too!

Routes traveled today: 191 - 211 - 191 - 279 - 191

Thank you for visiting, and hopefully, if the hotel room tomorrow has a correct phone line, I should be saying hello from Colorado!   Thanks...Igor

P. S. As I was going through the channels on the television this evening, I noticed the movie Tremors was playing.  It was interesting watching the movie for the scenery as it was filmed in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California. I was there two weeks ago!  No comment about the movie!


Thursday, January 20, 2000

Good evening from Monticello,  Utah!

With the "cello" pronounced as in cellophane, this small town resides between Moab and Blanding Utah, near the eastern border with Colorado.  It is said that the name of this town is derived from Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home, which pronounces the "cello" as in the stringed instrument.  I have no explanation for that!  

Anyway, today is the second day in a row I found myself in a motel room without internet access due to digital lines!  The person at the front desk said they allow customers to use their analog fax line.  Hum, sounds an awful lot like I used to do at IBM!  I will try to upload the page tonight.

While I am still a bit apprehensive about the car, I am making progress.  I, of course, hear sounds and feel the car doing things it did not do before.  Right...Sure!!!  What tricks the mind can play!  I was feeling much better by the end of the day, and I shall continue with my travel plans.

It was a wonderful day of touring, as I saw so many different facets of Utah.  I awoke before dawn and began my drive east on Route 24, classified as a Scenic Byway in Utah.  I entered the Capitol Reef National Park as the sun was rising.  Though there were some clouds in the area, it was another beautiful sunrise.  Capitol Reef was given this name by early explorers due to the rock towers that resembled capitol buildings, and since many of these explorers used to command ships, the rocks were like reefs, protecting the shore behind them.  A scenic drive that follows the original road goes through the park.  It stops at a very narrow canyon.  Many portions of the road become a stream crossing.  Fortunately, since there was no rain, the beds were dry I did not have to ford any streams.  However, there are warning signs for areas that are subjected to flash flooding.  The road meanders along the base of the canyon, and on several occasions I saw Mule Deer, including quite a few bucks.  I also only saw one other car along this nine mile drive.  It was very peaceful.

Returning to Route 24, I turned east to continue my tour.  A few miles down the road was an exhibit of petroglyphs.  I stopped and read the informational panels, then walked along the path to view the petroglyphs.  Some of these were made during a time around the year 1000 by the Fremont Indians.  They were given this name because of the proximity of the Fremont river nearby.  John  C. Fremont explored the area, and the river was named after him.  What has been interesting during my trip is that I have noticed John Fremont has been mentioned in many areas along my route.  The city of Fremont California, where I left from, is named after him.  Where shall I see his name again?

I resumed my trip by continuing east on Route 24,and then east on Route 95, known as the Bicentennial Highway.  Along this route, I went through the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, got to view Lake Powell, see where the old town of Hite, Utah was before they filled Lake Powell and covered it,  and I was able to see the Colorado River.  The overlooks and pullouts along this portion of the route were incredible!

My next touring stop was the Natural Bridges National Monument.  This is the location of three large natural bridges, and there is a nine mile scenic drive to view them.  These are not to be confused with arches, which I hope to see tomorrow at the Arches National Park.  The story goes that if a hole in a rock is opened by water, and continues to grow because of water flowing through it, it is classified as a "Bridge."  If the opening in the rock is created by other elements such as a continuous freeze-thaw cycle, like the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, then it is classified as an "Arch."  There is a third option, whereas a rock has an opening that is squared off, then it is call a "Window."  Hopefully I will learn more about "Windows" tomorrow.  

The views along the scenic drive is unbelievable.  The weathering and erosion of the rocks is a sight to see.  Also, many years ago, Indians settled in the area and along the groves on the side of the cliffs.  I took a trail to view the "Horsecollar Ruin."  People are not permitted close access due to the many artifacts remaining, but an impressive view can be seen.  A short drive down the road to the third natural bridge allows access to a trail that permits a hike to the bottom of the arch.  It was impressive to see it from below!

After completing my tour of Natural Bridges, I decided to do a very "touristy" thing.  I ended up being in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, all at the same time!  Yes, I went to the Four Corners Monument, the only location in the country where four states meet at one point.  Actually, it was an interesting site, and I met a couple from Illinois and they also stood in all four states.  And they took my picture with my camera, just to prove I was there!  Kind of a unique place, located on an Indian Reservation.

Finally, I drove back into Utah as I was going to position myself to go to Arches National Park tomorrow.  Now I am in Monticello, and after watching some of the eclipse, finished my daily commentary and will proceed to the front desk to upload.

Routes traveled today: Utah 24 - 95 - 275 - 95 - 191 - 262 - Colorado 41 - 160 - New Mexico 597 - Colorado 160 - 41 - Utah 262 - 191

Quite an eventful day...Thanks for viewing my story...Tomorrow, if the forecasted snow is light, I will write again from Colorado...Igor


Wednesday, January 19, 2000

I am back on the road, and tonight, in Torrey,  Utah! 

Finally, I am able to continue my journey!  I am happy to get my car back, albeit slightly poorer!  At least I know the transmission is ready for many more miles.  According to the mechanic, the clutches in my transmission were burnt due to my torque converter failing and overheating.  The transmission was rebuilt and the torque converter has been replaced, and as of 2:00pm today, I was driving my car again!  

I stopped for gas before leaving Cedar City, debating which way to head east.  My options were to either travel the same roads as I did last week before the car stopped, or drive through northern Arizona.  Since I really wanted to get past the Escalante and see the rest of Route 12, I decided to go the same direction.  It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the upper fifties.  The views today were beautiful and somewhat different than last week due to the sun angle, and the colors were even more incredible.  I made it to Escalante, and after passing my terminus point from last week, I stopped by the station that assisted me when I needed help.  I was able to see some of the same people and thank them for their assistance.

While the drive to this place was great, I did not know what was in store for me down the road.  There is an region between Escalante and Torrey  that is part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Dixie National Forest.  It is an extremely large section of land with incredibly beautiful terrain.  It has a different look than the rest of the state, and the landscape goes on forever.  At one overlook, an exhibit describes the area as being so large that the state of Connecticut could fit in it!  The display shows the different mountains and ranges surrounding the region, and I could clearly see them!  If you get the chance to come to Utah, the drive along Route 12 should be planned.  As you can tell, I am very impressed with Utah!  I was also able to view the sun setting as I was driving through this expanse, and it was spectacular!  The colors of dusk on the summits that surrounded me where indescribable!  

The road has led me to Torrey, Utah.  I should be able to get an early start tomorrow, as I am anxious to see another sunrise.  I am planning on getting to Moab so that I can visit the Arches National Park either tomorrow or Friday.

Routes traveled today:  14 - 89 - 12

Thanks for visiting...Until tomorrow...Igor (and his car!)


Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Possibly my last evening in Cedar City.

Sorry for not having much of a change to report!  However, if there is a place to get stuck, this is a good one.  The rest has been very beneficial, this is a pleasant community and Utah is a very nice state.

I was told today that I could have my car by noon tomorrow!  We shall see...

This morning, after stopping by the shop, I drove north on Route 15, exiting in the town of Parowan.  To the west of town was a place called Parowan Gap, with many fine examples of petroglyphs.  After doing a little hiking and climbing (there was a neat cave,) I drove back into town and did a little shopping.  Otherwise, I relaxed and read a bit.

Routes traveled today: 15 - an unnamed dirt road - 130

Watch for my report tomorrow night (if I have access) to see what happens!  Thank you again for reading the page...Igor


Monday, January 17, 2000

Hello again from Cedar City!   

Not much to report today except that I stopped by the shop to see my transmission being removed from the car.  It does not look like a bad torque converter, so it appears a  transmission rebuild is in order.  That could take a few days.  

I stayed around the area today in case the shop was to call.  No trip description is available.  However, if you ever happen to be in Cedar City, I would suggest lunch at Cedar Creek restaurant.  For dinner, order the Prime Rib at Sullivan's.  It was delicious.  

Sorry for the non-report!  Hopefully, in a few days I will be back on the road.

Thanks for taking a break in your day to visit mine...Igor


Sunday, January 16, 2000

Another overnight in Cedar City, Utah.

As expected, I am in Cedar City.  Chris from the transmission shop said yesterday that I should get the car back between Monday and Thursday depending on what needs to be done.  So I thought I would make the best out of the situation.  What to do?  Go sightseeing!

I was up before the dawn again, and hoping to see sunrise at Zion National Park.  It was a cloudy morning and some rain was in the area, but the glow of the sun was able to break through for a moment.

I first drove to the Kolob Canyons, which is in the northwestern section of the park. There is a five mile scenic drive that has some wonderful views.  After watching some Mule Deer wandering the parking area at the end of the drive, I returned to the highway and drove around to the southern section which is the main entrance to the Zion Canyon.  More outstanding scenery exists in this area along two roads.  On the road that goes into the main canyon, I took a self-guiding trail to an area called Weeping Rock, "a rock alcove with dripping springs."  It was interesting to see such a wet area, as I have been in some very dry settings recently.  The other road goes through the southern section of the park.  More fine views are present.  One of the most impressive parts of this drive is the 1.1 mile tunnel.  The difference between what you see on either end of the tunnel is amazing!

It was early in the afternoon, and while I was at the visitor center in Zion, they had a board posting the availability of the national parks in the area.  I noticed the road to the north rim of the Grand Canyon National Park was still open, to be closed after the next snow storm.  I have wanted to see this side of the canyon, so I headed that direction.  

It was a nice drive to the park.  There was snow in some places along the route, but the road was clear up to the park.  I had been to the south rim and was somewhat disappointed due to the overcrowded conditions and overrun areas.  Today was like being in another world.  There were five cars in the parking lot, and in all the time I was there, I saw six people!  The colors were very dramatic, especially with the white snow accenting the natural shades.  It was magnificent!  I walked around the point stopping at all the overlooks, and spent some time sitting on a rock outcropping to relax, see, and think.  It was amazing.

It was beginning to get dark, so I started driving out of the park.  Almost immediately, it began to snow, and the wind was picking up.  The further I drove, the stronger the snow was falling.  The road out of the park, Route 67, is not plowed or patrolled after dark, so I was hoping to get to the next junction before it got too bad.  Fortunately, when the snow just began covering the road, I was at the next road.  The snow turned to rain and then it stopped, so the remainder of the drive was uneventful.  

Tomorrow morning I call the shop to learn the status if my current predicament.  I will also find out how long I will be staying here.  Stay tuned for the next installment of  Transmission Blues!

Routes traveled today: 15 - 17 - 9 - 89 - 89A - 67 - 89A - 389 - 59 - 17 - 15 

Thank you for visiting...Until tomorrow...Igor


Saturday, January 15, 2000

Waiting in Cedar City, Utah!

When I woke up this morning, I knew it was going to be an unusual day. It started at 5:15am, so that I could be ready for the mechanic with the tow truck, scheduled to arrive at 6:00am.  A bit delayed (7:15), we went to the car and got it up on the trailer.  The mechanic was not used to driving the tow truck with a trailer, so we stopped by the shop, where the he convinced the owner to drive the truck and trailer (and my car!)  His name was Curt, and we spent the next three hours discussing just about every topic you can imagine.  Curt has had a wide array of experiences in his life.  We had a very interesting conversation, and the time went by much faster than I anticipated.

We arrived at the transmission shop at 12:30 and unloaded the car.  We pushed the car on the rack and a quick inspection by Chris,  the mechanic on duty, did not reveal anything initially wrong.  The rebuilding mechanic will be in on Monday and take a closer look.  I am hoping for a torque converter replacement, but a rebuild may be necessary.

Chris has an arrangement with the local Hertz office (40 miles away) for very good rates on rental cars, so I talked with them and they dropped off a car.  They will also pick it up when my car is ready so I can just leave it at the shop.  Small town business arrangements!  

After settling in to my temporary "home" I decided to take look around the town.  Afterwards, I just relaxed in my room planning for Sunday.

Oh, about my radio left behind the other night...When we got to the town of Tropic, we stopped at the hotel I stayed at two nights prior.  The lady at the front desk gave me the key to the room and it was still there.  It seems that during the slow season, many hotels have maid service only once a week, so no one had cleaned up the room yet.  

Routes traveled today: 12 - 89 - 14 - 130 (in the tow truck) / 56 - 18 - 15 (in the rental)

As always, thank you for viewing the page...Igor


Friday, January 14, 2000

Stranded in Escalante, Utah!

Today was one of those days that looked good at the start.  Sorry I did not get to upload the report as I ended up in a motel that had a phone system that would not work with a modem.  However, that was the least of my worries. 

This morning I was able to see first light from "Sunrise Point" in the Bryce Canyon National Park.  It was a little cloudy, but that enhanced some of the colors in the sky, and it was beautiful.  It was also a little windy and cold...Guess I better get used to that!  After returning to the car (and running the heater) I drove to the end of the park road, which is about eighteen miles long.  There is one road through the park and it is suggested that since the overlooks are on only one side, it is best to start from the end.  I did not notice much wildlife except for a group of eight mule deer along side the road as I drove to the south.  On my return, I stopped at the overlooks and did a little hiking and took some pictures.  The rock formations and the hoodoos are spectacular.  Hoodoos are vertical rock formations created by the constant freeze - thaw cycle that happens in the area.  The region averages two hundred days a year of freezing temperatures.  The colors are incredible.  And the contrast to the snow in some areas was striking.  

After departing the park, I headed east on Route 12 stopping at several historical sites describing mining sites and areas used by Indians as early as 800AD.  

The next city to see was Escalante, Utah.  This is in the vicinity of the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  I stopped just west of town at a Bureau of Land Management Visitor Center and picked up a map.  I then began driving over a hill that would drop me into the town.  As I was approaching the crest of the hill, I felt the car lose power, yet I could accelerate the engine.  I allowed myself to drift to the downhill side and check all my gears.  No power.  I verified that there was fluid in the transmission and ensured that the linkage was working, but still no power from the engine to the wheels.  I noticed a Sinclair Gas Station (the one with the dinosaur on the sign) towards the bottom of the hill so I drifted the car and stopped near the station.  I learned from the clerk that they do no repair cars, but that the Phillips 66 station down the road did.  Unfortunately, it was not "down" the hill!  I pushed the car along the side of the road until I was near the other station.  I retrieved the mechanic and he did a quick look and sell of the transmission fluid and it smelled as if it was burnt.  I just had the fluid replaced last week.  This was not a good sign!  Also, this station did not want to work on it as it would probably take a week and they did not have the proper tools.  They suggested a transmission shop in Cedar City, Utah.  Cedar City is 130 miles away!  Yikes!!!  The station was going to try to set up their car trailer, but the person responsible had left and could not be found.  

After a couple of hours, I was hungry so I sat in the car and made some sandwiches.  When I finished, I sat in the car for a while, when a police officer pulled up behind me.  I got out of the car and went to the officer's truck to explain the situation.  He was on his police radio talking with another officer.  He handed me the microphone and told me that he noticed my Amateur Radio license plate and that the other officer was also a ham radio operator.  I had a conversation with the other officer for a few minutes!  Quite a diversion for my current mental state!  

Anyway, the officer behind my car (Police Chief Murdoch) heard my story and asked me to have a seat in his truck while he called a Salt Lake City transmission company to see how long it would take to get one delivered to Escalante.  Chief Murdoch new someone else in town that might be able to help.  The estimated time for the arrival of a transmission would be Wednesday of next week.  I did not particularly like that answer.  Chief Murdoch gave me the card for the mechanic and garage he thought would do a better job that the Phillips 66 mechanics.  I called the other garage and after talking with the two groups, I settled on the second group to tow me to Cedar City.  I felt it was important not to have the car towed on the rear wheels for that distance.  The second garage could put it on a trailer.  It was also determined the best time to move the car would be the following morning.  We arranged to have the driver pick me up at 6:00am to start the journey.  Also, since Chief Murdoch was aware of the situation, he would have the patrol monitor my car overnight.  I was very thankful for that!

The only motels open were back through town and up the hill.  I grab my bags and walked to one of the motels and got a room.  There was only one restaurant (cafe) opened in town, and they were going to close at 7:00pm.  So...I trudged back down the hill and into town and had dinner, followed by a hike back up the hill (with a stop at the bank machine in preparation for the tow) and to my room.  

Obviously it was a strange day for me.  However, as I was shopping in one of the grocery stores I overheard some people talking about two people from the town that had strokes today!  One had been taken off life support just a short while ago.  Also, the original mechanic that was going to tow my car had a mother who appeared to have a stroke so he was taking her to the hospital.  David Letterman had an unusual day, too! 

As I was getting ready to go to bed, I went to grab my Walkman radio I listen to sometimes when I am in new places.  I did not have it, realizing I must have left it in the motel room in Tropic!  I will ask the truck driver if we can stop there in the morning, as we need to go that way to get to Cedar City!  

Routes traveled today: 12 - 63 - 12

Thanks for reading, and GOOD NIGHT!!!  ;-)


Thursday, January 13, 2000

Have you ever heard of Tropic, Utah?

Tonight I am in a small town called Tropic.  Some time ago, people from a town thirty miles from here remarked that it is usually warmer her, hence the name Tropic!  I read about it on a display down the road.  As for the name, it is cold tonight!  Tropic is located on Route 12 seven miles east of the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park.  There are four small local motels and restaurants, but only the pizza shop is open this time of year.  Guess what I had for dinner?  The pizza was good, but it was no match to my favorite, Applewood Pizza in Los Altos and Menlo Park, Ca.  

It was another great day, and I started off this morning by seeing another spectacular sunrise!  It was perfectly clear and cool so there were no obstructions to the view.  After stopping at the grocery store for supplies, I departed Ely, Nevada.

My fist goal today was to stop at Great Basin National Park, which is located of Route 50 on the eastern boarder of Nevada.  I was hoping to be able to take a tour of the Lehman Caves in the park.  I pulled over a few times enroute, as there were several roadside signs describing the history of the areas.  There is no question why they call Nevada the Silver state!

I arrived at Great Basin National Park at 8:45 this morning and learned that a tour of the caves was to begin at 9:00.  Great timing!  And this tour was the full one and a half hour journey through all available areas.  What was even better was that there was only one other person on the tour.  It was incredible.  I had not been on a cave tour for many years.  These were beautiful and Ranger Woody was able to describe in detail many facets of the caves and their history.  Since there were only two of us on the tour, we stopped at all the points of interest and he even took us further into the caves than is normally done.  Not having to walk with thirty people made wonderful difference.  He was also able to answer my questions (I know, I ask too many questions!)  

Descriptions during the tour included the details of how the caves were used by local Indian tribes as a burial place for several of their people and that the natural entrance is considered a sacred site.  Also, the only animals found in the caves were bats, a sloth, and packrats.  Packrats will use the same nest every generation, and archeologists have determined that some of the nests are 40,000 years old!  I was amazed!  The Ranger explained that by taking samples of these nests, they can look back through two ice ages and establish what plant life was around many years ago.  We went through a room called the "Dance Hall" used in the past as a speakeasy during prohibition, a meeting area for different clubs and organizations, and was also used as a set in the B movie about a mission to Mars!  One room we were not permitted into was as large as two football fields side by side.  It was closed since the room was still in the process of being formed, meaning things were falling down!  It may be quite a few years before it is added to the tour.

Much work was done in the caves in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, such as adding an entrance and exit so visitors would not have to use rope and ladders to get to the caves.  Also, on the original tours, people would have to crawl through parts of the caves.  The CCC made pathways and openings, trying not to disturb too much of the natural structure.

Before leaving the park, I spoke with some of the personnel about the Bristlecone forest, as I had visited the forest in California.  Unfortunately, due to snow, I would not be able to hike to this one.  A good reason to come back for a visit!  I was also able to ask about parks in Utah and decided to change my route a bit. Instead of going in northern route through Utah, I decided to go the southern route.  That is how I ended up by Bryce!  It will also allow me to go to several other parks in the area.

 Continuing my journey, I crossed into Utah on a very empty road.  It was my road for a long time!  I started to get hungry, so as I approached the town of Milford, Utah, I spotted a place called R & R Diner.  I had a tasty lunch, and one of the best chocolate milkshakes ever!  

My route led me to the Dixie National Forest and a beautiful road over the mountains.  I had some incredible views!  This was followed by a drive through Red Canyon.  So many colors in the stones throughout the area and two natural rock arches over the road.  I am glad I decided to take this route.  This is a beautiful region.

Tonight, when I was checking into the hotel, the owner and I were talking about the beautiful sunset.  Because of the rocks and the clouds, it almost looked like the sun had set in the east!  The reflection from that direction was incredible, but deceiving.  It was only when I walked outside to look the other direction that I realized this!  I am hoping to be in Bryce for the sunrise.  I am looking forward to it!

Routes traveled today: 50 - 487 - 488 - 487 - 21 - 130 - 14 - 89 - 12

Thank you for visiting, and please stop back again.  Send a note if you wish with comments or questions.  Until then...Sincerely, Igor


Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Hello from Ely, Nevada.

I had a very eventful day!  I made it as far as Ely, Nevada (pronounced E-Lee, as in Robert E. Lee) which is near the Utah border on Route 50.  Sunrise is at 6:58am, so I am planning for an early departure.  Also, I will be changing time zones tomorrow.  

After participating in the continental breakfast provided by the Best Western in Fallon, I headed east on Route 50.  About ten miles outside of town is an area called Grimes Point which contains a grouping of petroglyphs.  I took a self guiding trail that passed by hundreds of images etched into the rocks. Across the highway is the Fallon Naval Air Station, home of the Top Gun school.  I was able to watch  several pairs of what appeared to be F-18s take off.  

I continued east on Route 50 and over the next few hours, saw Sand Mountain, a very large sand dune that sometimes resonates (it was quiet while I was there,) passed by a bordello, and called my sister from the "Loneliest Phone."  To explain...Route 50 is nicknamed "The Loneliest Road" since most people take Interstate 80 across the west and Route 50 is quiet.  Nevada plays up this title in several ways including sign posts, stamped Route 50 passports, referring to things as being the loneliest, including the telephone I used this morning.  It sits on the side of the road with nothing around, is solar powered, and is connected to the phone system by antenna, as no wires are around!   As for the name "Loneliest Road,"  I understand, as there were many times that I saw no cars for many miles.

There is a lot of history along this road, and I stopped by many roadside displays located at Pony Express stations, old towns, and mining locations.  Further down the road, I turned onto a gravel road to drive to another petroglyph site.  I drove slowly down the road as it was a bit rough, but then suddenly, I came across an intense washboard section.  The car bounced around as I continued to slow down, the it stalled.  I attempted to restart the car, but it would not run.  Ouch, I thought, as I looked back for a half mile towards the "Loneliest Road!"  I had my ham radio two meter rig and my cel phone, and at worst, I could hike up one of the hills there to try to communicate.  However, as I looked under the hood, I noticed my coil cable had come off and one spark plug cable came off the distributor cap.  Very nice that this was the only problem!  After putting things in their place, I continued down road and did a little hiking.

My next stop was in the town of Eureka, Nevada.  This town had many mining sites nearby, and around 1880, there were up to 10,000 inhabitants.  Today, there are approximately 600.  The local industry is still mining, and the most productive gold mine in the country is here.  

I visited the Eureka Museum and met a wonderful lady and we spoke of the town.  She had great information, as she has lived in the area her whole life.  She has relatives that live in other parts of the country that continually ask her to move, but she does not want to leave.  She told a story of her own family, about her son Cory, getting hit by a car and almost losing his life, and how the community got together to help with the recovery and finances to assist him.  I got to meet Cory while I was there.  Quite a recovery, and he is winning the battle.  She also mentioned that if I happened to stay in town for the night, not to be startled at 9:00pm when a siren goes off.  It is the curfew alarm, and all children under  age 18 are to be off the streets!  Everybody agrees to it, and respects it!  Thank you for the conversation, Narline.

Eureka has a walking tour that I took with a provided flyer in hand.  My favorite building was the courthouse, built in the late 1800s.  One of the staff saw me walking around and directed me upstairs to the main courtroom.  She said the light switches were behind the door to right, and to make sure I turned them on as it would help view the room.  What an incredible room!  

Finally, I continued east on Route 50 and stopped in Ely to stay for the night.  I had dinner in a casino restaurant.  I am still not used to sharing the dining room with smokers!  ;-)

Route traveled today: 50

It was a very educational drive today...Thanks for reading the page...Igor


Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Tonight I am in Fallon, Nevada.

It was more of a driving day today, and I finally found snow!  There were also very strong gusts of wind.  But mostly, it was a cool, rainy day.  The television news broadcast tonight reported about the first snow storm of the season hitting the Sierras.  Many of the roads I traveled yesterday are closed or requiring chains.  Also, they showed a video of snow on Route 50 through South Tahoe.  It looked a lot different yesterday when I drove it!

I started the day by visiting the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.  They had some great displays including a walk through replica of a mine with descriptions of different areas and functions of a mine.  The building housing the museum used to contain the Carson City Mint, so there was an informative display with equipment and coins stamped at the mint.  There were also many other educational exhibits with a focus on Nevada.

Here is an update to my gambling situation.  As I was heading out of Carson City, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some items for the trip.  There were a twelve slot and video machines near the entrance, so as I was leaving, I dropped a few quarters and ended up winning back may losses from last night!  A first for me!  So we shall see what happens if I try another machine.  Thank you, Albertson's!!!

As I headed east on Route 50, I took a side trip to Virginia City.  An interesting town high on a mountainside, it is a bit of a tourist trap.  The most interesting part of the city is the architecture with many remarkable buildings.  There were a few museums, but they looked tacky, so I passed them by.  Also, it began to snow pretty hard, and I felt it was time to drive back down the mountain.

Afterwards, I continued east on Route 50 through the wind and rain until I reached Fallon.  It was a little early to stop, but I wanted daylight for the next leg as there appears to be some things to see.  I should be able to get an early start, too.  

By the way, Fallon is the home of a U. S. Navy base, and the "Top Gun" fighter training base.

Routes traveled today: 50 - 341 - 50

Until next time...Thank you for viewing the page...Igor


Monday, January 10, 2000

I made it to Nevada!

I finally finished my drive up Route 395, then headed east and stopped in Carson City, Nevada.  It was another great day!

I started from Bishop after breakfast and headed north on Route 395.  It was my fourth sunrise in a row, and it was as spectacular as the others.  The clear skies in the morning allow for a very bright sun!  One view I enjoy is looking towards  the west and watching the sun as it steals down the mountainsides of the Sierras.  

There were many overlooks and scenic vista points to visit, and many sights to admire.  After driving by beautiful Crowley Lake, I stopped at Mammoth Lakes.  I had never been there before, so I drove around a bit.  Something I found interesting was that the main road to the Devil's Postpile Monument that passes through the ski area is closed in the winter, and the Mammoth Ski Resort uses a portion of the road as a beginner slope. It was not too busy this morning as many skiers are awaiting more snow.  

Further north, I drove along the June Lake Loop road.  It passes by several picturesque deep blue lakes and returns to 395 by Mono Lake.  

Route 395 continues winding north through the community of Lee Vining, and traverses along the west side of Mono Lake.  This is another beautiful lake that is a very noticeable landmark when you fly over it.

Resuming my drive northward, I passed by Bodie State Historical Park, which I had visited before.  An amazing factor is that the road to Bodie is usually closed this time of year, but since there has been a lack of snow, it was still open.  This is a state run park that is preserving the town of Bodie which became a ghost town in the late 1800s.  This is another great place to visit and learn.

During the rest of today's journey, I traveled on Route 89 and Route 50.  Route 89 took me through Monitor Pass, which should have been closed by now!  I am glad it was not, as I enjoy that road.  As I was driving, the weather forecasts over the radio were reporting high wind warnings with gusts up to 70 mph for the area.  I began to really feel the wind as I maneuvered the car on Route 89.  It got worse as I drove east on Route 50, where the gusts were blowing my car around a bit as I drove down the east side of Spooner Summit.  I stopped to get a picture from an overlook and had to catch the door quickly as the wind tried to whip it open.  

Before driving into Carson City, I stopped in Genoa, Nevada.  This was the first settlement in Nevada, with interesting old buildings and of course, antique shops.

Now I am in Carson City!  After dinner, I walked to one of the casinos to see how my luck would run.  In case you do not know, I am NOT very lucky when it comes to casinos!  I have been to quite a few around the U. S., Caribbean, and Central America.  I have never walked out with more money than I brought.  Tonight, I walked in with my limit in mind, and thirty minutes later, I was back on the street walking to my hotel!  Oh well, at least I am consistent!  

Tomorrow, I will probably still be in Nevada.  Not sure what time I will get started, as there are some places here in Carson City I may visit.  Also, snow is in the forecast.  I have been on the road for five days, and this is the first forecast of snow!  Not sure if it will be on Route 50, but will be aware of the possibility.

Routes traveled today:  Route 395 - 89 - 88 - 50 - 395 - 206 - 395 - 50

As always, thanks for visiting...Igor


Sunday, January 9, 2000

Sunday night in Bishop, Ca.  

I drove a few more miles today.  Technically, I drove 60 miles North on Route 395, but I "traveled" further by seeing more interesting sites and visiting two museums.  

I started in Lone Pine by driving into the Sierras. Yesterday, as I was driving back to Lone Pine from Death Valley, I noticed a road with many switchbacks  heading high up on a mountain, then disappearing near the peak.  I found the road this morning and began my ascent.  It ended up being about twenty miles long and terminating at a trail head and campground.  No one was there and I found it to be very peaceful and beautiful.  Also, the views from the road into the valley were absolutely incredible!  I was very glad to have taken that side trip.  

After driving downhill in second gear (steep grade from top to bottom) and returning to Route 395, I accelerated and noticed blue smoke coming out of my exhaust.  I accelerated again and noticed a bit more.  Then there was no more smoke.  I suspect it had to do with too much oil being added to the engine when I had my last oil change (thanks to he mechanic) and the high revs running the engine to slow my descent.  Tomorrow I have more mountain passes to cross, so I can test my theory!  

As I continued north, I stopped at a historical site containing a gravesite for sixteen of the twenty-six people killed in the 8.3 earthquake that hit the area in 1872.  The area was hit hard by this quake.  

Further up 395 is  the Manzanar Historical Site, and encampment used during World War II to house about 10,000 Americans of Japanese descent.  All but one building has been torn down and removed, but an auto tour with posted signs shows the different areas and uses.  Also, documentation is provided explaining the story behind Manzanar.  The National Park Service is in the process of putting a plan together to create a visitor center in the auditorium, the only remaining building, and developing the site for historical purposes.  Should be interesting to see when it is ready. 

The next town I encountered was Independence.  It is the home of the Eastern California Museum.  The museum has been around since the 1920s, and there is much to be seen.  Their current special exhibit is a display of fifty pictures of the Manzanar Encampment taken during the war by Ansel Adams.  Very impressive photos. Also available are displays of relics from the area, old buildings, and many, many other items.

Finally I entered Bishop, Ca.  I had visited this town before and used this as a base for my trip to the Bristlecone Pine Forest (see October Trip page for site containing pictures.) Just north of town is the Laws Railroad Museum.  Originally set up as a train museum on the site of the Laws California station of a narrow gauge railroad, it has become more of a Western town display.  Many buildings and non- railroad equipment has been added to the museum.  Very nice displays and equipment.

So the question is, when do I turn East and depart California?  Depending on the weather and a few other places I want see, it may be tomorrow.  I heard of some interesting drives in the Mammoth Lakes area I might try.

Routes traveled today: 395 - Forest Service 1300 - 395 - 6

Until tomorrow...Thanks for looking in...Igor


Saturday, January 8, 2000

Hello from Lone Pine, California...Again!

After driving almost 300 miles, I have ended up in the same motel as last night!  Actually, the miles were spent driving to and within Death Valley National Park.  I was impressed!  I had not been here before, and had some preconceived notions of what to expect.  Quite a unique area, with some very interesting sites.  

 

I began my day by packing up the car and driving off early.  I was able to watch the spectacular sunrise as I drove towards Death Valley, which was 105 miles away.  My actual destination was Badwater, an area near the lowest point in the park.  However, as I was driving I noticed many other reasons to stop.  

 

After stopping at the Death Valley Visitors Center, I headed south through the park.  At the Golden Canyon area, I noticed a Ranger giving a talk and tour on the trail.  I joined the group and was able to learn quite a bit about the geography of the area and the history of the park.  If you go the park, one of the Ranger guided tours would be highly recommended.  

 

Following the tour, I drove to Badwater.  There is a trail out onto a salt flat that is in the area of the lowest point.  While walking out I took a picture for a family also walking the trail.  I began speaking with the father, and learned that he was the Superintendent of Schools for the Big Pine area.  We had an interesting discussion about schools, life, and challenges for the future.  After he and his family turned back to the parking lot, I continued on the trail ,  After a few minutes, I was far away from everyone.  I paused for a few minutes and stood there, amazed at how quiet it was.  There was NO sound, absolute quiet!  It felt strange as there were no noises from cars, people, or animals.  The wind was even still.  I even held my breath several times.  Again, absolute silence.

 

I began my journey back to Lone Pine from there with a stop at a place in the park called Artist's Palette.  It is an area of large multicolored rock formations.  The colors were absolutely incredible!  This is something you must see if you visit the park.

 

One other item for the day.  It appears they are filming another movie here in Lone Pine.  I had to slow to a crawl on the way to town as there was a film crew and production staff standing in the road!

 

Tomorrow I shall head North on Route 395.  I may stop at a site of sand dunes recommended by the gentleman I spoke with on the salt flat.  The dirt road to the area sounds a bit rough.  Normally that would not stop me, but since my car is packed full and riding very low, I do not want to take any chances. 

 

My routes today were:  395 - 136 - 109 - 136 - 395.  

 

I will continue soon...Thanks for stopping by!

Igor


Friday, January 7, 2000

Hello from Lone Pine, California!

Thanks for checking into the site!  I finally had a few minutes to create and upload the page.  It will not be fancy, unless I get a local connection and time to be creative.  I do not want to spend too much time on the 1-800 backup number!

(I am starting the story with today's info, but should be able to catch up with earlier info soon.)

01/07/2000 - This morning, before continuing my journey,  I stopped at the breakwater in Morro Bay by Otter Rock, a rock formation that is very dominant along the sea coast.  I was able to walk out towards the edge where it was amazing to see the power of the ocean as the waves crashed along the break.  After returning to my car, I was able to pick up a program from a radio station in Santa Cruz that  I listened to every morning during my drive into work.  I thought I would give them a call just to say thanks for the entertainment (you know me...Master Bullshitter!)  They asked if I would like to speak with them On The Air, so I said yes.  Just a short conversation about my trip and expressing my thanks for their show.  I also mentioned I would listen to them via the web in Maine.  They joked that I should call in when I get there with weather reports (right up my alley!)  They said ski reports would be nice, too!  Anyway, it was an interesting conversation.

 

My routes today were as follows:  Route 41 Route 46 Route 65 Route 178 Route 14 Route 395

 

It was a beautiful drive through many different areas and a great example of the diversity of the California landscape.  I also have been stopping at the historical markers along the roadside.  Another very interesting part of the drive.

 

I am spending tonight in Lone Pine, a small community on route 395 south of Bishop, Ca.  This is a beautiful road that follows along the eastern side of the Sierras.  You may not have heard of this town located next to the Alabama Hills, but it is the location of the access road to Mount Whitney.  You probably have seen this area without realizing it.  Many movies, primarily Westerns, have been filmed here!  See:

Internet Movie Data Base - Alabama Hills Lone Pine and IMDB - Lone Pine 

for the list of films and television shows!  Actually, Star Trek Generations and The Final Frontier  used the area!

Tomorrow...I am heading to the lowest geographical surface point in the Western Hemisphere in Death Valley.  I may even make it to Nevada for my overnight!  After that, it is Route 50 East to Topeka, Kansas, then North on Route 77 to Lincoln Nebraska, then East on Route 30 to Canton, Ohio.  After that, we shall see...


 

Until next time, THANKS AGAIN for visiting!...Igor...

 

Enroute Stopovers

Date City and State
01/05/2000 Belmont, Ca.
01/06/2000 Morro Bay, Ca.
01/07/2000 Lone Pine, Ca.
01/08/2000 Lone Pine, Ca.
01/09/2000 Bishop, Ca.
01/10/2000 Carson City, Nv.
01/11/2000 Fallon, Nv.
01/12/2000 Ely, Nv.
01/13/2000 Tropic, Ut.
01/14/2000 Escalante, Ut.
01/15/2000 Cedar City, Ut.
01/16/2000 Cedar City, Ut.
01/17/2000 Cedar City, Ut.
01/18/2000 Cedar City, Ut.
01/19/2000 Torrey, Ut.
01/20/2000 Monticello, Ut.
01/21/2000 Moab, Ut.
01/22/2000 Gunnison, Co.
01/23/2000 Pueblo, Co.
01/24/2000 Dodge City, Ks.
01/25/2000 Beatrice, Ne.
01/26/2000 Marshalltown, Ia.
01/27/2000 New Lenox, Il.
01/28/2000 North Canton, Oh.
01/29/2000 North Canton, Oh.
01/30/2000 Brookfield, Ct.
01/31/2000 Brookfield, Ct.
02/01/2000 PORTLAND, ME.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current links to view for the trip:

Colorado Highway Alerts

California Highway Conditions

Intellicast Radar

Route 395 - Eastern Sierra Highway

Route 50: Coast to Coast

Route 50: Colorado

Route 50: Kansas

Route 30: The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway Association

The Two Lane Roads Quarterly

 

This page accessed  times since January 7, 2000.