"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paula and Dotti's Trip to Oregon

Day 1

heading out
 We left Wichita Falls about 8:30 am.  Dotti plugged in a mystery novel around Vernon and we listened to it most of the rest of the way.  We stopped at an awesome little store in Chillicothe called Valley Pecans.  There are several stores along the way that had great looking Mexican yard art, but we decided to go on.

 In Dalhart we stopped at a Dairy Queen and ate tacos.

We made it to Colorado Springs by 7 pm.  Great timing.

Gas prices here are much higher than around Wichita Falls, plus I noticed my Kia Sportage doesn't get the gas mileage it's supposed to get.  I checked it at 75 mph on cruise and it's only getting around 24 mph. 

I made the motel reservations in Colorado Springs, so I only have me to blame but it was less than awesome. The staff was friendly and after we got the comforters pulled down to the corners of the duvet covers, they weren't lumpy any more.  Both beds actually looked like there might be a dead body under the covers. Dotti searched and found no visible signs of bed bugs so we lit out for Pikes
Peak.  We drove through Manitou Springs which had banners advertising "Pikes Peak Run." It was crawling with people and I nearly sent a couple to the hospital. ; ( Not really but the pedestrian traffic was unbelievable!) No place to park even in the pay areas. Since we got here so early, we made our way towards Pikes Peak. At the turn off, I noticed we had less than a quarter tank of gas and decided to let it wait 'til tomorrow. Glad I did because during the short drive back to a gas station, it went down almost to empty! There were several steep grades which really sucked the gas out!
The mountains are beautiful! But man are they intimidating to drive in for a Texas girl accustomed to the wide open spaces.  I felt claustrophobic.  The rock walls go straight up in some places and there are warning signs along the way "falling rocks". There's nowhere to go but onward.  

 So -- from that experience, I decided we're not going through the mountains to Salt Lake City.  We'll go up to Denver and Cheyenne and across Wyoming.

Several times I've looked at the mountains and thought they were cloud banks!  Just not use to seeing this.  The temperature was almost chilly when we came out of the Bean Bandit  Mexican Restaurant.  Lol Won't go back there when we come home. First place I've ever been where the menu says if you get more than two small bowls of chips, you have to pay extra.

 I'm fixing to dig out the Tums and go to bed! Strange how the mind works.  I've been looking forward to this for a long time and I'm already home sick.  I miss my peeps and my critters and most of all my Grandson!

F*** the beauty of the mountains! F*** Pikes Peak!

I want to just turn around and go home.

Day 2

Apparently, I grew some balls during the night because I woke up thinking, "I said I was going to drive up Pikes Peak.  I'll feel gutless for the rest of my life if I back out now."

So we got some breakfast and took off for Pikes Peak.

entering Pikes Peak.
When we arrived at the first gift shop going up Pikes Peak, we stopped to look around.  I felt queasy and short of breath.  On a video Dotti was watching about the Pikes Peak adventure, I heard that queasiness is one of the first signs of "altitude sickness".  So we decided not to go.

Just kidding!  as Seth would say.

We headed on up the mountain. 

The higher we went, the worse my symptoms got but I was determined to do this! By the time we'd driven above the timber line, I felt like I might have to pull over and barf, but there was no place to stop or turn around.  There were cars behind us and cars coming down -- so I continued on.  When we neared the summit, there were dark gray rain clouds blended with the color of the pavement, creating an optical illusion that the road was where it wasn't.  My discomfort increased dramatically. It felt like panic lodged in my throat.  When I'd first heard that the road to the top had been paved and guardrails installed, I was disappointed because then I knew I wouldn't be able to get a t-shirt that said, "Guardrails are for Sissies". In my opinion, now, having been up to the summit and back down -- the guardrails are a blessing.  However, they are too few and too far between.
nearing the summit of Pikes Peak.  Wow! What a trip!
The Summit was crawling with people and people on bicycles.  I felt pressed to go on back down before all those folks on bicycles decided to go down too.  So we didn't even go into the visitor's center. To hell with eating donuts at the top.  I couldn't have gotten them down anyway.

I can't say I was one bit less scared going up this time than I was the first time with Ronnie many years ago, and coming back down, at least until we got back into the trees was not for the faint hearted, either,  but we made it.

I think part of this trip is to face some of the
What a View! from 14,110 feet up
long held demons that had become part of my makeup during forty five years of marriage.  I felt like I had accomplished some life long goal when we got back down into the trees.

BUT, I had had enough of winding roads, speeding up to make better time, slowing down for safety's sake, so we went back to the interstate and headed for Denver and Cheyenne Wyoming.

The southern part of Wyoming is so wide open, it occurred to me that even though the term, "Big Sky Country" refers to Montana, we were definitely in bigger sky country than I'd ever been in before.

tunnel through  the mountain near Green River Wyoming
You can see forever and it was different than anything else I had ever experienced.  On the winding uphill and down hill highways -- which by the way were awesome in Wyoming -- I could see  traffic  below and ahead of me for ten miles. Tiny long trains snaked through the valley below me.

The southern part of the state looks like desert. 
Not a tree in sight most of the way across the state. One thing that struck me so different than the sparsely populated areas of Texas out west, is that even out in the middle of nowhere, in Texas, you see mail boxes and you know some one lives out there some where. Not so in Wyoming. No body lives out of the small towns in Wyoming. There were no gates with brands  or ranch names and I never saw Sheriff Longmire either. Wyoming is so sparsely populated, it only has 3 electoral votes.

The buttes and mountains and rock formations were awesome but driving, I didn't get many pictures.  I did video our trip through the tunnel near Green River Wyoming for Seth.
By the time we arrived in Ogden, Utah it was dark and I couldn't tell what was around me.  Our Best Western Motel room was AWESOME!.  The bed felt like Heaven.  I thought about stealing the comforter -- but I didn't.  Best Western provided hot breakfast so we took advantage of that and hit the road again.  Ogden, Utah is a beautiful town -- at least what I saw of it. There were flowers baskets everywhere.  The city even has them hanging on the street lights. Seeing mass plantings of color seemed like a very distant memory.  It reminded me how thankful we should all be for the goodness we have in our lives.

Mountains around Ogden, Utah
We passed one of the big Mormon temples for the FLDS.
Idaho has the best rest stops all along it's freeways.  These are well maintained places where we and others felt safe to get out, walk around and stretch our legs.  They had clean restrooms and vending machines. By the time we reached Idaho, I was beginning to feel my two and a half days on the road.  I pulled into several to take a power nap.
Utah and southern Idaho were both "big sky" country with lots of long stretches where we saw no sign that anyone lived outside the cities.
It was mid afternoon when we entered the state of Oregon.    

1 comment:

  1. Catching up on your posts! Actually, people do live out in the middle of nowhere, you just can't see them-- and they have to go to the post office to get their mail. My mom and stepdad have a cabin "off the grid"-- you just have to take back roads to get to some of these places.

    The no guardrails on that Pike's Peak road-- yikes. Just imagine me behind my 16 year old stepson last summer as we took a bike ride DOWN; he was hauling ass and I was just about frantic: BRAKES! BRAKES!

    Honestly, you didn't miss out on anything with those donuts. I didn't like them. If you want to try a relaxing trip up, try taking the cog railway-- you see wildlife and scenery along the way, and you don't have to drive. It's pretty awesome.

    Thanks for sharing pics. I want to go to Oregon now, too!!