Finally had a chance to take a road trip with a friend this past week, we've been talking about it for a couple of years and voila! A spot in schedules opened up before the weather turned too cold so off we went. Started off with some amazing lakes and mountains, the Wallowas, at the far eastern corner of Oregon that are generally too far away so I haven't seen them for twenty-odd years - (mountain-top tram was closed, though, drat!) then ambled down and onward into Idaho (obliterated a tumbleweed at high speed, saw some rocks), down into Utah (gosh, the Salt Lake has a terrible stench - no wonder there's no resorts anywhere around it), across Nevada (lots and lots and lots of nothing til the far border).
Near Carson City the genuine Western ghost town thing was pretty cool when we went up into the steep hills - Virginia City has turned into a tourist trap due to it being easily reached from Reno but the other towns like Gold Hill were very atmospheric and old-timey in a 'real deal' way. Spent a bit of time goggling at the dusty, abandoned buildings and mining whatnot and explored the still-functional creaky wood and brick hotel from the 1800 gold rush days.
After that it was into the Sierras and down into California (barely got through before they closed the highway due to a forest fire - yikes - flames leaping out of the trees as we whizzed by) and then the world of hot concrete and palm trees. I used to live down there so that wasn't too interesting and we rather quickly worked our way into the mountains, lakes and wiggly roads that eventually brought us out at the coast. Hwy. 1 is a thing of beauty and my companion humored my tendency to roll down the windows and breathe deeply every time we went through a Eucalyptus grove, the sweet scent is a favorite of mine.
Up we went, following the coast (cows, lighthouses, wild pampas grass, little villages, trinkets, giant redwoods, coffee!) all the way into our own Oregon again (more lighthouses, fresh fish, myrtlewood, books, rocks, kites, coffee!) and then upward to the very tip where the mighty Columbia river pours out into the Pacific (amazing sunsets, fudge, foamy sea, coffee!) then home.
Lots and lots of driving, I felt like I'd been driving forever, but what a great thing to get a ticky in our personal ticky-boxes. Now I get to do laundry, etc. etc. and go soak a bajillion bug-bodies off the front of the car. Hope your week was a good one too.