Monday, July 25, 2016

Elk ≠ Moose

I have an appointment scheduled for Monday in Boulder.  Our route was going to deliver us there a day early, so we hunted for diversions between Port Angeles, WA, and Boulder.  However, it stands to reason that that terrain was chosen as the Oregon Trail because it presented no diversions.  The most notable stops would have been Flaming Gorge and Hells Canyon - so now we know just how influential Dante was amongst the pioneer set -  but they were too far off the road.

Instead we arrived more than a day early and spent it in Rocky Mountain National Park, again.

The route to Estes Park from Fort Collins goes up Big Thompson Canyon, a 25-mile climb really popular with triathletes.




Rocky Mountain National Park is usually mountains everywhere you look.  Today, Rocky Mountain was mountains and elk everywhere we looked.






This view below represents as close as we came to our route from Walden to Fort Collins the night before, maybe about three miles as the crow flies.  Ain't no roads out there, little tour bus.







All the elk were nice looking, but still not moose :(



And then you descend off the Front Range through Ward and there sits Boulder.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Beauty Of Nowhere Special

Today was ultimately bulk driving, from Trementon, UT, to Walden, CO.  When there was no room in the inn, Walden, CO became Fort Collins and then Windsor, CO.  In between was just passing road and rocks, but it never really turns out to be just road and rocks, does it.

Just outside Vernal, UT...



And if you drove down the road just a ways more...


And then just a little ways more...



And then just a little ways back in time...


Then half a state further along, the road approached the Northwest corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, which is not a corner of the park with an entrance so almost no one approaches it that way.  They look tiny now, but tomorrow they'll be 13k ft mountains.





And then on the other side of the Front Range, which is the prism that turns almost all of Mother Nature into something either magical or ferocious...



Thankfully we got magical.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Suzy Died Of Dysentery - And Base-Jumping

A huge touchstone of my generation is the computer game Oregon Trail.  Mom had never even heard of it, so I regaled her with tails of being told "you have died from dysentery" during "computer class" in elementary school.  It was icing on the cake that I was telling her this while we were looking at REAL RUTS ON THE REAL OREGON TRAIL.



So many people, animals, and wagons traveled this route to Oregon's Willamette Valley in the years following 1843, that the tracks still remain in 2016.  For the next couple of days, Mom and I are driving the Interstate that effectively mirrors the Oregon Trail trail: west across southern Wyoming/northern Colorado, southern Idaho, and into Oregon.  Hopefully neither of us will contract cholera while doing so.

Route of the Oregon Trail

Later that day we stopped in Twin Falls, ID, to see...two falls in a big gorge, which is spanned by a big bridge.



It's one of the few places (maybe only place) where base jumpers can jump legally, so instead of even finding the falls, we watched a movie/TV production film a jump!

Stepping over a perfectly good railing
There they go (two people were strapped together)...







If anyone's contracting cholera, it's those people base jumping into green water...

On to Utah!

The Great Salt Lake at the very very far edge

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ge-I-Guess I'm Wrong

There's an awesome game on-line called GeoGuessr.  Given a StreetView picture, you have to guess where in the world that street is located - using only the information the picture provides.

If I had been given an image from today's drive, I would never have guessed Oregon.  I would have guessed someplace in Arizona that had just happened to maintain a river this late in summer.  

Oregon, is this!


Not this!


But oh ho! Neither would I have expected Washington State to be this:

Mt. Rainier

Mt. St. Helens
Ge-I-Guess I'm wrong.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Anti-Squee Brigade

Today's route heads through Forks, WA.  Those in certain circles know it as the setting for the Twilight books.  Mom and I couldn't care less.  Case in point: Mom keeps calling it "Fish" because she knows it's a single word that starts with "F" but can't remember which one.  I guess it's better than the alternative...


The Forks' Chamber of Commerce is basically a shrine to Twilight.  Tourists can pose for photos with life-size cardboard cutouts of all main characters, dress up as the doctor character (complete with blood donation bag....har har har), and buy shirts that say things like "Forks Loves to Suck".  So.

No one really brings up the reality that none of any of the movies was filmed in Forks.

This anti-squee brigade was headed to the Northwest of the Olympic Peninsula to do a Kelzie-in-a-boot-friendly hike.

"Look Ma!  I'm going to the Olympics!"

First, to get there, you head north.  The one thing that the Twilight movies did get correct is how everything just drips with green.


Once you almost reach Canada again...that's Victoria, BC as a strip beneath the clouds on the left...


turn left toward the Pacific.


From Ozette Lake, the Cape Alava hike covers 3.2 sedate miles, including lots of boardwalk, to reach the Pacific Ocean.







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