Now that my epic road trip is over and I’ve mostly recovered by sleeping a lot, it’s time for a recap.
The Pictures: Of the over 1000 pictures and videos I took, I selected 55 to touch up and upload to my Flickr photostream, so check those out. Some of them were used in my updates, but many were not.
The Experience: Driving through so many different places in so short a time was quite ambitious, as some people mentioned before I left. It was exhausting and expensive, yes, but it was also one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life, well worth the money and occasional hardship.
There were also many moments of pure serenity, especially the final two evenings when I camped out in the mountains in Wyoming and at the Oregon/Idaho border. Contrasted with the busy and noisy east, the remote places of the west seemed even more precious than before.
This morning near Hells Canyon was another cold one, though not as bad as Wyoming. Once the sun came up, the temperature rose quickly, a dry desert heat befitting the wild canyon.
I scheduled a ride through part of Hells Canyon on a jet boat with a tour company called Hells Canyon Adventures. Since the previous two weeks of driving went more or less perfectly, I arrived there with plenty of time to spare and the experience was wonderful.
Between Idaho and the northeast corner of Oregon, mountains tower up to a mile and a half above the wild Snake River that flows between them. It is home to mountain goats, black bears, rattlesnakes, trout, salmon, and giant prehistoric sturgeon lurking at the bottom of hundred-foot-deep pools. To read more about the canyon, click here. You could also read about the Snake River, which is really cool. And then you could click on more links and follow the articles through the tunnels of Wikipedia until you end up reading about Wankel engines.
Speaking of engines, the forty-foot jet boat I rode on (blue one in the picture below) had three 5.9 liter Cummins engines producing nearly a thousand horsepower.
I have many pictures from the gorge, and video going through class four rapids. Plenty of good stuff from the entire trip will be up soon on my Flickr account. For now, one picture of the southern end of Hells Canyon:
Last night in Wyoming was really cold. When I woke up it was 45 degrees and the low for today was 34. I stayed warm enough, though the cold did interrupt my sleep.
I left quickly after I woke up, using the heater for the first time, and drove down to Jackson, WY and over Teton Pass into Idaho. I spent most of the day on rural highways rather than interstates, so my view of the mountains was up close and majestic. I also saw a badger by the road somewhere in Idaho.
My first stop today was Pompeys Pillar National Monument, a large rock formation upon which William Clark carved his signature and the year, 1806. It is the only remaining physical mark left by the Lewis and Clark expedition.
I am at a truck stop in Glendive, MT for the night. The temperature is a glorious 63 degrees, the sky is clear, and I am less than six hours from Yellowstone. This is the northernmost point of the trip.
I started the day by sleeping in for a full eight hours with no alarm for the first time in weeks. Of course, I’ve never actually awoken to my alarm on this trip, as I always somehow wake up about three to six minutes before it would’ve gone off.
My friend made French toast for breakfast and I decided that was a good reason to open my Vermont maple syrup. Then, after a relaxing morning, we went to the Caribbean barbecue restaurant in her little town.
I’ve had barbecue in Reno, Kansas City, Asheville, and probably other places I’m just not thinking of right now. Kansas City and Asheville remain my favorites, but the Caribbean style was quite unique and tasty. It also had some fun little features…
I awoke to the humid heat of direct sunlight on my truck’s canopy at eight a.m., at a rest stop on the Ohio turnpike. There are so many toll roads in the northeast and it was annoying.
Anyway, I had an easy drive across Ohio and Indiana this morning, and took a small detour into Michigan, my 48th state. While there I saw a sign for a distillery, and since I skipped the one in Tennessee that I’d planned to see, I dropped by and bought a small bottle of gin.
I saw Canada today. I didn’t go there, just gazed lovingly at it from America.
This morning I ate breakfast at the hotel in Manchester, NH. I created a bagel sandwich with two packets of cream cheese, some egg, and several thin slices of bacon. I also had some Fruit Loops mixed with crispy rice cereal and chocolate soy milk. And I took four little boxes of cereal for the road. I’m such a child when it comes to free food.
While I ate, I sat near a TV and listened to the news. My favorite story was “man crashes motorcycle into a bear on Father’s Day”. Oh, New Hampshire. You are a lovely place.
In Vermont I got some pure maple candy and syrup, and enjoyed the former in small nibbles for several miles. When I get home I shall make pancakes and put the syrup to use.
After that was a long drive across New York State to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.