Posts Tagged 'Utah'
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In the dark early morning hours of June 28, TotalAdventure once again set out across North America. TotalAdventure was on his way to Portland,Oregon to see his 3 month old Grandson, and also see parts of the 48 States not seen in the Summer of 2020. The continued worldwide COVID crackdowns had eased a bitt, bit still made seamless travel impossible. Even the Canadian border remained closed, and it was hoped it would open in July in time for TotalAdventure’s return to the East.
The first 600 miles were high speed and effortless and I arrived in the sleepy Southern town of Tallahassee, which happens to be our capitol. Florida is a large and diverse state . Sophisticated city dwellers of the large International Latin & New Yorker Metropolis 600 miles away do not appreciate being legislated by Bible Belt moralizers. As the joke goes, “Why is the capital of Florida in Alabama ? “
Alabama is a State of the Old South being pulled in seperate ways – those who want to be part of the New South and those who wish to remain in the past.
TotalAdventure spent the night in Montgomery and traveled though Selma the next morning.
TotalAdventure explored the Civil Rights Battlefield city of Selma. Now peaceful, the genteel old buildings are a bit run down. One of the only restaurants in town has some great BBQ !
The next stop of the day was Tupelo, Mississippi, at the Birthplace of Elvis Presley. Not only is it a shrine, but also a National Landmark.
The family was so poor ,the house had no s electricity or running water. The outhouse was shared with 8 other families.
The second day finished up in Memphis ,Tennessee, just across the Mississippi River from Arkansas.
Beale Street, not quite as lively as the French Quarter, was in recovery mode from COVID and music was back on the menu, along with fine BBQ.
Most of the the time crossing the Mississippi is on a high steel bridge ,hundreds of feet over the water. TotalAdventure decided to do it Mark Twain style – on a car ferry across the 1.5 mile wide River from Hickman KY to a cornfield 20 miles north of New Madrid MO.
One drives off the ramp of the ferry onto a road through miles o Missouri cornfields, , some of which go in circles. Even the map gets confused. Finally we come upon roadsigns. Missouri has lettered routes as well as numbers. The signs are frequently used for high-calibre target practice. New Madrid was the site of one of the most powerful earthquakes in US History. In 1812 and earthquake of 8.2 reversed the flow of the Mississippi, destroyed the town and was felt as far away as New York. It can and will happen again.
FromNew Madrid it was Westward bound through the hills of the Ozarks. The Ozarks are higher mountains in Arkansas. Watch the video to see the ferry ride and the Ozarks ! At mid day on July 1 I dined on Porterhouse at Antoine’s in downtown Kansas City.
In Kansas City it rained for about 10 minutes. After that, I did not see rain again for the entire trip. After lunch the X 2 did a high speed crossing of the Kansas cornfields.
Considering the human eye can see 7 miles distant at flat ground level – that’s a lot of corn !
By mid day on Friday July 2, TotalAdventure reached the Rockies at Boulder Colorado. Spnt the night at a lodge at 10,000 feet in Nederland ,where the temperature dropped to 40 at night.
The TotalAdventure X-2 Crosses The Continental Divide For The Third Time. TotalAdventure spent 4th of July Weekend in Aspen. I had also worked there in the Winter of 1979 -giving me the taste for Adventure Travel as I hitchiked around the West.
Only A Week Into The Trip – And Already Crossing Into Utah. From Aspen it was on to Dinosaur National Monument, which is in both Colorado and Utah.
In Salt Lake City ,stayed at the very nice Little America Hotel and went around the Mormon Temple which was under reconstruction, for the first time since being built by Prophet Joesph Smith.
I then swam in Great Salt Lake, which you can experience in the video. It was amazing to float on top of the water,whcih has ten times the salt volume of an ocean. It is not a pleasurable undertaking, but more of a bucket list thing. Bugs swarm, the water smells and you have to walk half a mile each way in 110 degree heat to actually get to the water. See above.
By late day , almost to the Nevada border, I crossed the Bonneville Salt Flats on 1-80. The world’s fastest car has driven there, breaking the sound barrier at 1,220 km/h (760 mph) set October 15, 1997.
Spent the night in Elko, Nevada, a poor mans Vegas. TotalAdventure hit a $50 jackpot, which paid for a steak dinner and cocktails.
In the morning the X-2 drove north through the Black Rock Desert, not far from where Burning Man is held. Crossed the line into Oregon at Denio Junction.
11 Days and over 4000 miles after leaving Miami, TotalAdventure was in Portland !
We reached the Westernmost Point of the journey at Tillamook ,Oregon. After 3 trips across the USA in the last 12 months, it was hoped the X2 would journey North through Washington State and on the British Columbia, as a Northern Route home through the Great White North.
On the morning of September 10th, I awoke for an early morning dip in the Pacific before heading Eastbound the the Atlantic. Pulling out of my AirBnb Santa Monica garage I was soon eastbound on the 10 and then north on 15 to Las Vegas. Most of this TransContinental Adventure has been off interstates, but they will be used into Utah and again in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.
Fires raged in the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, sending thick smoke down to I-10. Some of the smoke from all the California and Oregon fires spread all the way to the East Coast ,dimming sunrises in New Jersey. This southern smoke band would follow me. I managed to always be a day ahead of it, until Colorado where I changed my itinerary because of it.
Normally I would spend a night in Las Vegas, but the wide open fun loving town is a bit clamped down for the moment due to COVID. In the video you can experience a very quick trip up the Strip. I did stop for some video poker at an empty slot hall in Mesquite, Nevada and walked out $ 30 richer. From there it was about 40 miles across extreme Northwest Arizona to St.George Utah where I would spend the night. Changed from Pacific to Mountain Time.
The next morning I was up with the sun and off to Zion National Park. It was an introduction to the the incredible Utah geology. On the way I visited Hilldale, on the Arizona border. Hilldale is the town known for the highest number of polygamous families adhering to the original Book of Mormon. I saw groups of wives out shopping together dressed in 1800s style farm dresses and driving pickups.
Bryce Canyon National Park was the next stop. Now the temperature changed drastically according to elevation. St.George had been expecting a high of 100 degrees and this evening near Bryce the temperature slipped to 32 – I was glad to have a gas fireplace in my cabin for the night.
In the morning I continued through Bryce and then headed Northeast to Teasdale where I would explore Capitol Reef National Park with an old childhood friend I grew up with in Germany. We took a 6 mile hike up a canyon.You can see all the national parks in the video at the top of the page.
The final two nights were in Moab – home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National park. In Canyonlands the X2 did amazingly well on rugged roads, in spite of the warning signs.
Finally I turned around where a spring had flooded a section of road turning it to muck. Without 4WD,I did not want to risk spending $1000 to be towed !
Crossing from Utah into Colorado, the smoke from California finally caught up, turning skies from bright Western blue to greyish white and encasing mountains in haze – diminishing prospects for photo and video acquisition.
Highway 50 climbed rapidly higher into the Rockies and by lunchtime I had reached Telluride, for the first time in 30 years. The big changes are to be expected. What was once a laid back Wild West type town with great skiing with a few bars up and down the main drag was now clogged with tourists even in off season September – looking for parking and lining up for $ 6 lattes. Tourism was higher than in the summer when people had been more cautious of COVID.
The second night in Colorado was spent at the home of an old friend from the East. His wife is an Olympic ski champion.
On Friday September 18th the X2 crossed the Continental Divide. For the next 1000 miles I would be tracking the Arkansas River from its’ glacial small steam origins to the wide river flowing into the Mississippi.
Spent the night in Syracuse,Kansas . The next morning , driving across table top flat land and crossing from Mountain Time to Central Time, I entered my 50th State – Oklahoma !
I stopped for lunch in the Panhandle town of Guymon and then went on to the Texas Panhandle.
Stopping in Amarillo for the night, I stayed next door to the Big Texan. In one of my very few indoor meals of the trip, I dined on Rocky Mountain oysters and delicious Texas T-Bone that was about 20 ounces. The 72 oz steak is free if eaten in an hour. That’s 4 1/2 pounds, 2 kilos of meat. It comes with salad and baked potato which also must be consumed. If not finished in one hour the price is $ 72.
I-40 Eastbound the next morning. Back into Oklahoma. At Oklahoma city, the California smoke finally ended and the skies were clear once again, over the rolling Southern Plains.
Spent Sunday night in quiet Little Rock and toured the Capitol city the next morning. The Clinton Library , on the Arkansas River is an architectural masterpiece but closed by COVID.
In Stuttgart I stopped for perhaps the best BBQ I’ve ever had with chopped ribs in a sauce that tasted like plums, coffee and super hot spice ! I bought a gallon jug to take home, which I carefully rationed over the next month.
From Arkansas into Mississippi I began a straight run back to Miami. Overnighting in Hattiesburg and then through Mobile Alabama to Panama City Florida for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Across the beautiful Panhandle . Though TotalAdventure has been located in Miami for over 18 years, I have never been to the Panhandle. Overnighted in Perry and then to Sarasota, a surprisingly young and thriving town on the Gulf of Mexico.
Back to Miami for a dive into the Atlantic Ocean. Watch the video above !