To the Midwest and back in our Big Rig

We just returned from our three week, 7200 mile road trip –  a drive that took us from here in Oregon down the Columbia River Gorge, across I-80 through mountains, corn & soybean fields, and along miles and miles of desert in Wyoming and Nebraska.

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We saw bighorn sheep in the Gorge, and pronghorn antelope grazing along the expressway in Wyoming. In Nebraska we left the highway and began making our deliveries.  We stopped in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.  I walked along side streets & parking lots with the Pup – and of course the truck stops we stayed in for the nights and weekends.  (to view the photos as a slideshow and read the captions click on the first photo in each group)

We left I-80 behind in Illinois to complete the deliveries from our first load, and pick up our next.  The drive took us into Chicago lined with pavement and buildings, and along two lane country roads lined with fields of corn & soybeans –  and acres of Midwest farms.

We left our trailer in Indiana and drove north, towards my reason for being on this trip. I grew up in a small town in Michigan, and have not been back for 10 years now.  It was time to go back, and walk the street where I grew up once again. By now the landscape has transitioned to familiar wildflowers & weeds –  the architecture and layouts of the towns, the way the air smells and the people talk and live all strikes a chord.

From home we once again bob-tailed north, to Mackinaw City.  Each Labor Day the Mackinac Bridge closes for six hours to allow walkers to cross the bridge.  The bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsula’s of Michigan on I-75.  It’s a five mile bridge over the Straits of Mackinac or the meeting of Lakes Michigan and Huron. I have written more about my experience in my previous post: 10,000 Steps.  You can also view photos via my Facebook album: Mackinaw Bridge Labor Day walk 9.4.17

Time to head southward, and home.  The beginning of our trip took us back over some of the same roads we arrived on.  In Nebraska we headed south to Denver, and a drive through Colorado on scenic highways that wound us through the mountains.  We drove through the Rio Grande National Forest, the road reaching 10,857 feet.  We saw Elk but no snow yet.

We made deliveries in Colorado.  While Hubby unloads the trailer I am free to wander. Mostly it’s just a industrial park or a lumber yard.  But sometimes I get lucky, and we get to walk along scenic roadsides.  This was our delivery in Durango, Colorado.

As you can see, the landscape has changed once again.  This time to more desert landscapes cut with mountaintops.  As you know, Colorado is pretty high. We were at least 5000 feet high most of the time, and even in Arizona we were still at 2000 feet. As we drove through the passes in Arizona the rocks changed from red to black to pink to white.  We saw rainshowers, sunshine and rainbows while in AZ.  These photos (below) were on the road from Colorado, through New Mexico and into Arizona.

Just over the border in Arizona we left the interstate and found ourselves on a section of  Route 66 in Holbrook.  Hubby stopped the truck long enough for me to take some photos at a historic landmark along old Route 66.  You can view a few more photos on this Facebook album: Historic Wigwam Motel

We stopped in Tucson for the weekend, rented a car and headed out to Tombstone for a look-see.  It didn’t disappoint!  You can read all about our day in this blog post: Tombstone, AZ.  With Sunday to rest and do chores, we found time to take a walk around the truck stop and snapped some photos of the local flora.

We finished our deliveries in Tucson, and Phoenix.  It was so HOT in Phoenix, we were happy to leave it behind.  But … we didn’t clear the heat until the next morning when we arrived in Los Angeles.  The road ahead was a familiar one.

One night in Los Angeles – and a walk to an iconic burger joint.  Picked up the load that would bring us home, and off we went for a two day drive south.  I-5 is the most familiar road, as most of our trips either begin or end, or both, on this route.  But that doesn’t mean the scenery is any less beautiful.

By the time we reach the border of Oregon and California I am pretty beat.  21 days in the passenger seat isn’t easy.  So I  am afraid I just sit back and wait until the wheels take me to my own driveway.  Next trip I will try to snap some photos from the road in Oregon.  I will say it’s great to be home.  The laundry is done and the six new t-shirts we brought home with us are all put away, ready to wear on our next adventure.

 

 

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Sightseeing in California

I recently packed my bags, loaded up the Pup and took a short road trip with Hubby in the Big Blue Truck. Destination: California! Our first stop was Sacramento to visit friends. We took a day trip to Amador Flower Farm and walked the daylily fields. And you know we filled the back of her car with plants to take home!

Heading south to Long Beach, Hubby and I went to see the Queen Mary, docked in the harbor. Christened in 1934 by Queen Mary herself, she has carried royality, WWII troops and war brides, presidents and heads of state, movie stars and celebrities across the Atlantic.  The RMS Queen Mary has been in her Longbeach berth since 1967, and used as a movie set for numerous movies including The Aviator, Pearl Harbor and Parent Trap 2.

Just down the road we found ourselves on board another ship, this one with a very different purpose. The battleship USS Iowa, the largest battleship in the US fleet. We were able to tour the ship from top to bottom. I even had the privilege of being able to see areas of the ship off the tour route to view several of the murals on the ships bulkhead. She served our country from 1939 – 1990, and carried the nicknames “The Big Stick” (1952), and “The Grey Ghost” (Korean War).

 

While these ships have very different missions, they also shared a common purpose. Both ships earned their keep in the service of their countries during the war:RMS Queen Mary carrying Winston Churchill on diplomatic missions – USS Iowa transported Franklin Roosevelt across the Atlantic for the same reason. From a bygone era to more modern times, their current roll telling their stories is priceless.

*S.  If you need me, I’ll be in the garden. 

To view photos individually click a photo to open the slideshow.