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Old 04-01-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default while you were working (or whatever) part 13

Trip C (continued) March 4th to March 20th, 2012 12800 to 17914 trip miles

remember: <wow> = fill in your own superlative, we’ve run out : )

“March Madness”: Our first day back (again!) in the Newport Oregon area we got battered by an enormous rain-wind storm. Then overnight we had 4 inches of heavy wet snow, which brought down lots of power lines and trees. A sixteen inch diameter, 35 foot tall tree came down 50 feet from us in Beverly Beach campground. Some roads (even Route 101) were blocked for awhile overnight and in the morning. We had to leave the campground because of a power outage, one of many in the area. But later in the week we did more house hunting in the area, and saw a bunch of houses that were nice, but ... but the rain just continued and continued. By all accounts, it was the wettest March in history there, but it didn’t bother me as much as it bothered Marti. Anyway, after looking at a few more homes, and after great deliberations, we decided to quit looking. The reality of what it would cost us to have a more expensive house and a new mortgage, two sets of house closing costs, the moving expenses, and ... the final straw ... the additional income taxes in either Oregon or California set in, and made us decide a move there was not financially wise. We spent a lot of time (and a lot of extra mileage doubling back and forth) that could have perhaps been better used in seeing the country, as we originally intended, but on the other hand “we got this out of our system”. We’ll either stay in our current home (doing some modifications to make it better/fancier), or move to somewhere else near where we now live, either in New York State or just across the border in Pennsylvania.

For whatever reasons, good or bad, we decided at this point to head home rather than continue our sight-seeing trip. So we did a four day marathon cross-country trip. again to beat some storms (or so I said). We took some two lane roads until we could get to the Interstates (you know, the roads I generally hate), and then headed down I-84 to I-80, and took that across much of the country.

Saturday: Oregon, ~500 miles: On the way home we stopped at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville OR, mostly for one reason: they have the one and only Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose”, an enormous cargo plane developed during and just after World War II. Because of shortages of steel and aluminum during (as Archie Bunker used to say) “The Big One, WW-two”, it is made mostly of wood (actually mostly Birch rather than Spruce, but that’s what “the media” nicknamed it), and is just <wow>. It still has the largest wingspan (319 feet 11 inches) of any airplane, ever. It is powered by eight 28 cylinder radial Pratt & Whitney piston engines, each displacing 4350 cubic inches. You can see part of the inside of the plane, and the intricate wooden bulkheads, etc. are just amazing. Other planes on display are nice too.

Sunday: Idaho, Utah, & Wyoming, ~900 miles: In Idaho, we followed the aptly-named (and pretty) Snake River for awhile. We also stopped at Twin Falls, a misnomer now that one of the twin waterfalls 5 miles from town that it was named for was replaced by a hydroelectric plant. No problem, the other one is still pretty. And even better, a couple of miles closer to town is Shoshone Falls, taller than Niagara Falls, pretty wide, and very beautiful, even with its adjoining hydroelectric plant. Another neat thing about the area is the I. B. Perrine bridge on US Route 93, 1500 feet long and 486 feet above the Snake River. It is legal for people to jump off this bridge any time they wish, and we were amazed that a half-a-dozen guys did so while we were there. They’re called “BASE jumpers”, and they use the same “canopy” equipment that they use to “jump out of perfectly good airplanes” when skydiving, to do so off “a perfectly good bridge”. The whole jump is over in a few seconds, and there is no room for error, especially in not releasing the canopy fast enough. It was only in the mid-30’s and pretty windy, and it must be a hell of a rush, but this is definitely NOT on our bucket list! BTW, the gorge is beautiful, and there is even a golf course down there, right on the water’s edge; must be like the links in Scotland.

In Wyoming we got battered by wind gusts (over 50 mph according to the flashing warning signs), most of the way across the state. Marti opened the side door one time, and had the wind snatch it so hard that we both thought that it had been bent at the hinges; fortunately it wasn’t. We crossed over TWO Continental Divides, at 6930 and 7000 feet, some 52 miles apart. How can that be? Well there is actually a “no-man’s land” called the Continental Basin where water neither goes to the Atlantic nor Pacific Oceans, but just stays there. At the higher elevations we had snow along with the wind. Later, still in Wyoming, we crossed a higher pass at 8640 feet (yeah, that doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way it is). Somewhere along here, I was about to pass a UPS double-trailer truck when the driver got “hisself” all crossed up in a bad wind gust. I back peddled out of there real quick “to avoid being part of his accident”. Thankfully, he recovered it. Perhaps that’s why UPS drivers wear brown uniforms? : (

Monday: Nebraska, Iowa, & Illinois, ~900 miles: The temperature climbed fast from the low of 26 degrees we’d had in Wyoming to low 70’s in Nebraska, as we dropped out of the Rockies into the plains; we were now in the bubble of unseasonably warm air that the entire eastern part of the country was enjoying in mid-March. We kept driving so that we could get through Chicago at “O-Dark-Thirty”, when traffic would be light. Glad we did as the traffic was much lighter than during the day, but certainly not non-existent.

Tuesday: Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, & New York, ~500 miles: After Chicago we joined up with I-90, which eventually took us into the upper portion of Pennsylvania, where we turned off onto I-86. That takes us within a few miles of our home in the western part of New York State.

Great trip, but good to be home after four months.

Dick, Marti, & Glen RT09/10C190P “no more deadlines” Allegany NY
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