Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DAY 28

Day 28 Tuesday September 24, 2013

Today we explore the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot  monument. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a flattened catenary arch, it is the tallest man-made monument in the United States, Missouri's tallest accessible building, and the world's tallest arch. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.

We rode the tram to the top. The tram is a chain of eight egg-shaped, five-seat compartments with a small window on the doors. As each tram has a capacity of 40 passengers and there are two trams, 80 passengers can be transported at one time, with trams departing from the ground every 10 minutes. The cars swing like Ferris-wheel cars as they ascend and descend the arch. This fashion of movement gave rise to the idea of the tram as "half-Ferris wheel and half-elevator." The trip to the top takes four minutes, and the trip down takes three minutes.

The observation area is at the apex of the Arch, 630 feet in the air. The view was awsome!

This stop pretty much wraps up all the places we planned to visit on this adventure. Three more days on the road and we’ll be home.

Here are some photos.

DAY 27

Day 27 Monday September 23, 2013

Independence to St. Louis, MO

Today we had the opportunity to revisit our favorite German town on the Rhine. It is nestled on the banks of the river, its hills are covered with vineyards and Germanic culture wraps it all into a package called Hermann. You don’t have to fly across the sea to find it it’s right at the junction of SR19 and SR100 on the River Missouri in the State of Missouri.

Ten years ago the Fredericks, Lindleys, McCalls and Pritchards spent the night at the Hermann Hill B&B after the H-D 100th anniversary. We all vowed to return someday and today we did.

We turned off  I-70 onto SR19, an outstanding motorcycle road, for a 20 miles ride south to Hermann. We rode 19 from Hannibal, MO to Hermann in 2003. This year we wandered Main Street and had lunch at the Hermann Wurst House, German potato salad, bread pudding. The Wurstmeister insisted we sample 6 of his special sausages. Oh yeah, it was good. If you are ever riding in Missouri don’t miss this bite of old Germany on the Missouri River.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

DAY 26

Day 26 Sunday September 22, 2013

Kansas. Today we completed our west to east journey across the state. Yesterday we experienced the western side where we saw the Rocky Mountains fade in the rearview mirror as the terrain flattened out into the high plains, all the way to Hays, KS.

We were up and out on the road by 9:30 this morning and the scenery remained the same for about a hundred miles or so, then almost imperceptibly the land started to roll. Like a sailor watching the sea swells growing in the ocean, the rollers became hills and valleys. Up a hill and down into valley, cross a small stream and up another hill.  I must say it was a lot more interesting then yesterday.

In Topeka I-70 becomes part of the Kansas Turnpike and continues as such until the Missouri border. A word of caution, if you’re navigating with a Garmin GPS and it tells you to turn at exit 197 and at exit 202, don’t do it. Just keep following the St. Louis signs.

Traffic through Kansas City, both KS and MO was fairly dense.

Tonight we repeat our lodging from Day 4, The Drury Inn in Independence, MO, one of the nicer places along the way. It’s the home of the 5:30 Kickback, cocktails in the lounge. Hey, it’s almost 5:30 now. Gotta go.

No photos today.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DAY 24 -25

Day 24 – 25 Friday – Saturday September 20 – 21

Friday morning we left Green River, UT and headed for Idaho Springs, CO. Once again the drive across I-70 proved to be outstanding. Once past Cisco UT we began to back track some of I-70 that we went over on Day 10 of our trip, including the beautiful Glenwood Canyon. It’s amazing, we have now seen it coming from the east and coming from the west. With the change of direction the view changes completely.

Idaho Springs was founded in 1859 by prospectors during the early days of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush; the town was at the center of the region's mining district throughout the late nineteenth century. During the late twentieth century, the town evolved into a tourist center along U.S. Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 40, which ascend Clear Creek Canyon through the historic mining district.

The town today is squeezed along the north side of Interstate 70, with a historical downtown on its western end and a strip of tourist-related businesses on its eastern end.

Our bed for the night was at the H&H Motor Lodge, when was the last time you stayed in a place called a motor lodge? It’s old and kind of funky, from the outside I had my doubts, but the room was freshly painted, carpeted and furnished. All’s well that ends well.

Dinner was at Hilldaddy’s Wildfire Restaurant. Pot roast, mashed potatoes with broccoli and brown gravy, does it get any better then that! It was good.

Dinner was so good we went back to Hilldaddy’s Wildfire Restaurant for breakfast, ‘cause you don’t get a continental breakfast in a motor lodge. Yes, it was good.

With a full tank of fuel we headed east on I-70 towards Denver. A couple of tunnels later we put Denver behind us along with the mountains and all those beautiful vistas we have been enjoying the past days. It’s high plains country east of Denver, flat rolling land growing, cattle, corn, and sorghum all the way to our nightly destination, Hays, KS.

The flat rolling lands soon put Judy to sleep, mumbling something about how f….. boring
it was. With all the excitement of the drive we opted for lunch at Denny’s and dinner at Applebee’s.

Tomorrow it’s IndependenceMO.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

DAY 22-23

Day 22 – 23 Wednesday – Thursday September 18 – 19, 2013

I’m wrapping up two days of travel in this post. We had a tearful good by with Diann and Paul Wednesday morning and started working our way back home. Ahead of is the Loneliest Highway in America, US50. As you might suspect from the name, there is not an abundance of traffic, towns, gas stations or much of anything else on this road.
We stopped in Austin, NV for lunch at the International Café & Bar, very funky. Good food, strange people.

We ended the day in Ely, NV, the sight of the big copper boom in 1906. When copper prices fell in the 70’s Kennicott Copper closed the mines. Guess what, copper prices have gone sky high and the second copper boom has come to Ely.

The Best Western Park Vue was our bed down spot and The Nevada Hotel & Casino provided us with a great prime rib dinner, the best I’ve had in some time, for fifteen dollars a plate!

Another day on US50 and the road seems even more desolate then yesterday. We found lunch at the Delta Freeze in Delta, UT. Laugh, but our BLT and grilled ham & cheese were very good. The people smiled and were most pleasant, unlike lunch in Austin. After miles and miles of US50 we made it to I-70 and headed for Green River, UT.

I-70 is got to be the most wonderful road in our Interstate system. I can’t describe how awesome the drive was this afternoon . Another breathtaking experience and speaking for two old asthma suffers, we understand breathtaking.
We are checked in at the Comfort Inn in Green River, had a very nice dinner at The Tamarisk restaurant. By the traffic it appears to be the place to dine in Green River.

Tomorrow we head for Idaho Springs, CO


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DAY 21

Day 21 Tuesday September 17, 2013

Yesterday was a rest up day, it gave me a chance to get current with the blog and take a nap in the afternoon. Today its laundry, organize for packing and gas up the Hunchback. The plan is to head home in the morning, Wednesday.

 Here is the schedule;

Dayton to Ely, NV
Ely to Green River, UT
Green River to Idaho Springs, CO
Idaho Springs to Hays, KS
Hays to Independence, MO
Independence to St Louis, MO
Gateway Arch
St Louis to Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro to Cordele, GA
Cordele to Home

 Going home is sort of anti-climatic. Our hosts in Daytona have been wonderful, taking us to all the sites, providing us with facts and history about the area and preparing a home cooked dinner every night. Diann and Paul are the world’s best hosts. Best of all, they are my family. Niece Diann Gardner is my brother Chris’s daughter and Nephew Steve Black is my sister Marie’s son. We lost track of each other 40 some years ago. In 2010 another distant relative Ashley Pritchard found all of us and we started to communicate again. Diann and Paul drove across the country in 2011 and visited with us in Clearwater.  She invited us to come to Nevada. She even offered to give us her home for our stay in Nevada and she did just that. Nephew Steve drove down from the Sacramento area to see his long lost uncle. He joined us on the Virginia City and Squaw Valley journeys. Steve was happy to know that he had an uncle that was still alive!

We had an excellent dinner at J’s Bistro in historic Dayton to wrap up this wonderful family reunion.

Love you guys!

Monday, September 16, 2013

DAY 19

Day 19 Sunday September 15, 2013

Today is our Squaw Valley adventure. A drive back up to beautiful Lake Tahoe and we are headed north on the east side of the lake.

We met a bunch of bikers at one the Lake Tahoe overlooks that wanted to adopt Judy.

We follow Hwy 28 through Tahoe City, CA to Hwy 89 which takes us to Squaw Valley road and the Village at Squaw Valley.

This was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The beautiful drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was topped off with the Aerial Tram. The scenic Tram carries visitors 2,000 ft to High Camp at an altitude of 8,200 ft above sea level. At High Camp, tourists have access to the facilities of Squaw Valley, including a pool, roller skating, dining, shopping, and high-altitude disk golf. The views are incredible!

Mountain Biking is huge here, there were 10 bikes on our ride to High Camp. One of the riders said that he hoped to make in down in ten minutes! I hope he made it down in one piece.

We had a picnic at Donner Pass and unlike the Donner Party, we left full and contented. If you’re not familier with the Donner Party, look it up.

Our return to Dayton took us through Reno, a small Las Vegas with high rise hotel-casinos sticking up from the landscape to tempt the gamblers.

The next couple of days will be quiet rest up days for these travel worn old folks as we prepare for the return home portion of this western adventue. We’ll be heading for St. Louis and the Gateway Arch.

Here are a few photos, including some of my western family, Niece Diann and Paul and Nephew Steve.

Day 18 Saturday September 14 2013

Yahoo! Howdy partners, put on your boots and saddle up old Nellie we’re headin’ for Virginia City. It sprang up as a boomtown on top of the Comctock Lode--the first major silver deposit discovered in the United States in 1859. Though at its peak in the late 19th century it had over 15,000 residents, the mines' output declined after 1874

Folklore indicates that the town got its name from a man named James Finney who was nicknamed "Old Virginy". Finney was credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. His real name was James Fennimore, and he had fled his home state of Virginia after killing a man. During the 20 years following the Comstock success about $400 million was taken out of the ground.

Virginia City could be considered the "birthplace" of Mark Twain, as it was here in February 1863 that writer Samuel Clemens, then a reporter on the local newspaper, first used his famous pen name. Virginia City historical documents state that Clemens was mugged on November 10, 1863, as he walked over the hill from the south while returning to Virginia City. The muggers relieved Clemens of his watch and his money. The robbery turns out to have been a practical joke played on Clemens by his friends, to give him material to write about. He did not appreciate the joke, but he did retrieve his belongings—particularly his gold watch (worth $300), which had great sentimental value. Clemens mentions the incident in his book Roughing It (published Feb. 1872), apparently still sore about it.

We had the good fortune to witness a parade focusing on an assortment of local folks having fun. The drive up the canyons to Virginia City made me wish we were on the Harley.

Take a look.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

DAY 17

Day 17 Friday September 13, 2013
Today we visited Lake Tahoe. Diann and Paul took us on a circumnavigation of the lake stopping at at all the great photo op places and treated us to a picnic lunch on the North Shore of the lake, another beautiful day with my family in the Sierra Nevada’s.
Here are a few facts from Wikipedia; Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. At a surface elevation of 6,225 ft, it is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. its depth is 1,645 ft, making it the second-deepest in the United States (the deepest is Crater Lake in Oregon at 1,945 ft, 300 ft . Additionally, Lake Tahoe is listed as the 27th largest lake by volume in the world at 122,160,280 acre·ft.The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe.Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area's economy and reputation. Mountain and lake scenery are attractions throughout the year. The Nevada side also includes large casinos. Highways provide year-round access from Reno, Carson City, and Sacramento.
There are a few facts, here are a few photos.