Sunday, May 06, 2007

Blowing in the wind (May 3-4)

Posted May 6 from Surrey BC (Note I've added pictures to last 2 posts)

Wednesday afternoon driving on I-80 west of Salt Lake we were driving on a ribbon of highway which cut through miles and miles of white salt beds. For us it looked like fields of snow. As we drove every once in a while the wind would blow the salt across the road – again looking like drifting snow and a couple of times it was almost a “white-out”.

Thursday morning as we drove I-80 it was quite cold and there was fresh snow along the road. It was so cold that I had to stop and turn on the regular “car” heater (That’s another story but the heater control for the BBB is now located under the hood not inside on the dash- I had turned it off in Cheyenne so we could use the air conditioning). When we were driving into Wells Nevada (where we turned north on US93 to go to Twin Falls Idaho) we were in a blizzard (real snow this time) for a few minutes.
Fortunately it didn’t last long. Later that day on I-84 in Idaho we saw signs that said Caution –Blowing dust -- although we didn’t actually experience it. We though – now we’ve seen it all – salt, snow and dust – all blowing in the wind creating road hazards.

It was a long day driving with a lot of up and down. The trip along the snake river canyon in Idaho was quite scenic but I did get weary of lugging the car up the side of the canyon only to drop back down to the river and start over again.

We covered slightly over 350 miles (570 km) and did WALMART camping in Ontario Oregon. Ontario folks in Ontario doesn’t seem so strange except we were a long way from our Ontario.

We stopped at the Oregon Welcome centre just east of Ontario and as I was getting out the lady in a motor home that parked beside us was looking at the licence plate and asked “Are you from Ontario?” -- When I said “Yes” she asked where – I said Sault Ste. Marie -- with some tentativeness because mostly people don’t know where that is. She said ”Wow- we are from North Bay” —(which is about 5 hours east of Sault Ste Marie on the same highway). They had flown to Calgary, rented the motor home and were making a circle coming over to Seattle, up to Vancouver Island and back to Calgary through the Rockies.

Friday the mountains and the winds continued. The descent into the Yakima River valley – 6 miles of 6% grade was quite dramatic and 20 miles or so of flat driving across the valley was a welcome reprieve from the mountains - beautiful as they are -- and for once there didn’t seem to be either a cross-wind or head-wind.

The head winds were terrible for the first hour or so after we got onto I-90 heading in to Seattle. We also had another fuse blow on the brake lights. We had come up a very long steep grade on I-90 and I had left the 4 ways on too long I guess because when I pulled into arrest area a little later I noticed that they weren’t working. I guess I’ll have to put in a 20 amp fuse since the 15 amp obviously isn’t heavy enough to handle the extra load from the tow car.

While we were in Salt Lake I had realized (well duh!!) that we would be going by Seatlle where my nephew Evan lives. He was recently married (wedding was in Victoria the same weekend we left home) and last time we had seen him was at his mother’s 65th birthday party in the Sault - in 2004. We had talked briefly on the phone when we flew through Seattle in 2005. Anyhow, I didn’t have any contact information so I had emailed his sister Megan and gotten his email address, sent him and email and gotten his phone number. So we called him and were able to arrange to meet Evan & Angie last evening. It was another long day – we were on the road at 8:30 (Pacific) and arrived Lynnwood (north Seattle) Walmart (just off I-5 just north of the I-405 intersection) at 7:15 after covering around 470 miles (750 km).

Evan lives about 5 minutes away so he picked us up rather than us having to unhitch the HHR and find our way to his house. We spent the rest of the evening visiting over a very good dinner and it was 11 (Pacific) when we got back to the BBB – which was midnight or 1am or 2 am by our internal clocks – depending on which of the time zones we’ve crossed we are acclimatized to – I think I’m pretty well operating on Central time — since I woke up ready to get up at 4:00 am.(Although I managed to get back to sleep some and didn’t actually get up until 6:00).

Tahnkfully we completed our outbound trip on Saturday and arrived at our campground in Surrey around noon and spent the afternoon greeting Will, Kevin & Sarah – more on that later.
God Bless

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