M/V DESERT VENTURE
Places We Go – Beyond the Waterfront
Annual Fall Road Trip Out West
November 15, 2008
The last entry left us still in October! And I am still not up-to-date! It’s a fact that once we tie up to dirt our lives get pretty complicated – something we try very hard to avoid. But, for us complications are not that bad, they just pull us away from the boat and cruising, which is where we like to be the most. This trip is an annual road trip we take back to where I grew up and spent most of my adult life. My girlfriend (that moved to Oregon a very long time ago) and I refer to Wyoming and its neighboring states as “Out West”, to differentiate from “the west” or the “west coast”. Wyoming is everything you would imagine western stories and movies being about – rugged – but beautiful country, moutains, plains, deserts, cowboys and cattle, sheepherders and sheep, deer and antelope roaming, elk, snow, sub zero temperatures, lots of wind, and the list goes on and on. So each year we go “Out West”.
We took some time to settle into our winter slip on Hayden Island, in Portland, OR. While in that process we bought a car to see us through the next few winters that we plan to spend in the Pacific North West. We had not owned a car for several years – getting by walking, with public transportation, renting cars, and the gracious and much appreciated loan of friends’ vehicles. But the time came when we really needed to have full access to our own vehicle and so it was that we bought a 2004 Impala. Captain calls it our “beater car”, but it really is nicer than that. Suffice it to say that both the Captain and the First Mate are happy with our choice. In fact, we were quite happy with its performance as it got us safely, comfortably, and economically through an almost 3000 mile road trip. Nice!
We started our trip by visiting friends in Olympia, WA. After a great weekend with them we headed out I-90 across Washington, Idaho, and Montana with our first family destination being Central, WY where my parents and other family live. The first two pictures are of Moses Lake, WA and the Wild Horse Monument overlooking Moses Lake.
We spent a few days catching up with the Wyoming group and then off we went to Colorado where we got to spend a week with my oldest son and his wonderful family.
Neither of us had been on the portion of the trip east on I-90. It was a beautiful trip, seeing the fall colors of Washington and Idaho. Montana was beautiful, but doesn’t have quite the variety of fall colors that Washington and northern Idaho enjoys. This next picture is of Montana colors. Wyoming has even less color, mostly bright yellow and golden leaves and evergreens for the main colors…so you can see why I love it on the west coast of America – and the Pacific NW in particular. Regardless of the season, the NW is green and something seems to always be in bloom – whether it be shrubs and bushes or flowers.
The weather was incredibly accommodating, considering the time of year. In fact, I worried about this trip, as the west had already had two significant snow storms. Most of the areas we traveled to get to Wyoming had received somewhere between three and four foot of snow, which had all disappeared by the time we went through, leaving things greener than before the snow. We saw some incredible cloud formations. We generally aren’t out and about on the boat when the weather creates those kind of clouds. It was great watching them. One cloud was very unusual in its formation. The very oddest thing – we were sent a cruising log from other boaters on a trip out west, that featured a cloud very much like ours, but not on the same day or in the same location. And I thought our cloud was “special”!
We had some rain on the way home, with a smattering of snow/sleet as we drove through the canyon, in Utah, on the way north to Price, UT. We could see they had had some snow in the night, but the roads were wet, and the sleet was melting as it hit the ground, making for safe travels, for which we were very grateful. As we departed Idaho on our return trip, where we made a brief stop to see family and friends, rain started and welcomed us back to Oregon. Appropriate, don’t you think? J It wasn’t too bad, but it was rain and was a reminder of our winter ahead of us. (Had we only known then what we had a head of us for winter!) We managed to arrive back in Portland, get the car unloaded, pick up some groceries, and get back aboard before the real rain came. Now we call that Great Timing!
And now you know a Place We Go – beyond the waterfront.