Most pictures were taken with my Sony Mavica FD-7 digital camera. All images are 24-bit JPEGs and should be viewed on a 24-bit display. Quality is likely to be very poor when viewed on an 8-bit display. Some pictures (in particular, the ones which have 1280x960 versions in addition to the standard 640x480) were taken by Nathan Schimke with his digital camera. Those are generally of higher quality.
Since there are over 800 pictures just from my camera, and well over 1000 when the ones I borrowed from Nathan are included, I have arranged the actual images on a number of smaller pages, linked from the text below. Some links are to a single image, while others link to a page containing a number of related pictures. If/when Amitha gets his pictures developed, more may be added here.
Just before rejoining I-90, we entered Pennsylvania [Picture]. This part of Pennsylvania isn't very big, and soon we entered Ohio. We did stop a few times in Ohio, to switch drivers at the Ohio Welcome Center, for gas west of Cleveland in Avon, and at the last service plaza in Ohio [5 Pictures and more Ohio detail].
Next up, Indiana, which we entered just before 5 PM [4 pictures]. At 6:12 PM EDT, nearly 12 hours into our drive, we crossed into the Central Time Zone and it became 5:12. Or maybe not, since much of Indiana doesn't do Daylight Savings. So maybe it was already 5:12. But that's when we crossed the line on the map and saw the sign on the highway. We made a fuel stop at the Wilbur Shaw service plaza on the Indiana Toll Road, mainly to make sure we didn't need to stop in or near Gary. I-90 through Ohio and Indiana is pretty flat and boring, but is much more interesting during the summer than they were on my last trip through the area which was in early spring. Nearing the western end of the Indiana Toll Road, we left I-80, and also saw US 6 for the last time for a while but not for the whole trip [Picture]. We were careful not to stop in Gary [Picture].
Chicago arrival was at 6:14 CDT [4 Pictures], under 13 hours after leaving Troy. Not bad. Our arrangements for the night were at the apartment of Amitha's friend Premila, who lives in the middle of the city, near UIC and the United Center. That night, we had pizza before taking the subway into downtown Chicago, where we walked around by the waterfront, Buckingham Fountain, which was changing with the music being played in the area, and a bunch of cows painted various ways throughout the area. When we got back, the apartment had a nice view of Chicago at night, even though the picture [Picture] didn't come out so well.
Day 1 end mileage: 87691, day total: 849 miles (largest single-day total on the trip).
At 10:45, we entered Wisconsin [Picture]. The next challenge was to meet up with Nathan, who was already in Wisconsin. Cell phones are useful for this kind of thing, and Nathan directed us to a supermarket in Madison [Picture] where we waited for him. His arrival in Madison was slowed some by an accident on I-94 from Milwaukee [Nathan Picture], but it all worked out fine. We took a few hours to look around Madison, the University of Wisconsin, and to get some lunch [5 pictures and more details].
A little after 2:00, we were done with Madison. We stopped for fuel and a cooler refill, then got back onto I-90 West into the fringe of a thunderstorm which was causing flooding in parts of the area. At this point, I-90 West is also I-39 North and I-94 West [8 Pictures]. Once we got past the storm, we got to see lots of Wisconsin farmland [Picture], and passed the Wisconsin Dells, which unfortunately didn't seem to make any of the pictures. Finally, I-39 then I-94 went off in their own directions, and we were just on I-90 West [2 Pictures]. And we would be for a while...
A little after 4 PM, we crossed the Mississippi River into Minnesota. We stopped at the rest area there to check out the river and to switch drivers [15 Pictures]. Crossing Minnesota on I-90 [3 pictures], we made stops for gas in Albert Lea and for dinner at a Hardees in Worthington. As the sun was beginning to set, we began to see signs for Wall Drug and noticed that the sun was setting north of west [5 Pictures]. This bothered us (at least me), but I think we decided that this was possible by the time we got to the Science Center in St. Louis in a few weeks.
At some unrecorded time just after sunset, we arrived in South Dakota [3 Pictures and more commentary]. Around 10 PM, we stopped in Mitchell to try to get a room at the local Super 8. No luck, all full. They suggest that there isn't much left available in town, so back to the car and to the cell phone to call ahead to places in the next few towns. There's not much available in Kimball or Chamberlain, but closer than those is Plankinton, and they do have a room available at the Super 8. With a room now reserved, we set off to take a look at Mitchell's famous Corn Palace [2 Pictures]. I had seen the Corn Palace before, and even went inside 10 years ago, but Nathan and Amitha hadn't, so we looked. It was dark so the pictures weren't so good. We all agreed that it was just fine that we didn't get to see it in the daylight. But at least they can say they saw it, even if they now are convinced that they can just pass Mitchell's exit right by the next time they are in South Dakota. Only about 15 miles down the road, we arrived in Plankinton (Population 604, although I think it's inflated) around 11 PM. Most of the way across western Minnesota and South Dakota, I was listening to the Detroit Tigers play the Minnesota Twins on various radio stations. That game ended, and I heard on their postgame report that the Yankees-Indians game from New York was not over yet. So I tried 770 AM in hopes of picking up the New York station. Nope. But they're playing Cleveland and there's nothing but flatness between Cleveland, Ohio, and Plankinton, South Dakota. Yes! The game comes in on 1020 AM and it's the 9th inning. Yankees down 8-7. Runner on second, two outs. Cleveland's Mike Jackson walks two men to load the bases for Derek Jeter. By this point we have arrived in the parking lot of the Super 8, but I have to wait to hear how it ends. Jeter singles to right, and the Yankees win. The Cleveland broadcasters were much less excited about it than John Sterling must have been back on the Yankees broadcast. Who'd have expected to listen to the end of the Indians-Yankees game on the radio in Plankinton, South Dakota?
Day 2 end mileage: 88373, day total: 682 miles, trip so far: 1531 miles.
Around 11:10 (the second 11:10 of this morning), we stopped at a scenic overlook just before the exit for Badlands National Park [4 Pictures]. We arrived at Badlands National Park around 11:30, and spent the next three hours or so in the park. [73 Pictures and lots of Badlands NP stuff]
After the Badlands, all the billboards said we had to go to Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota [7 Pictures]. We found the icewater, did a little postcard shopping, and got lunch at the Cactus Cafe [2 Pictures] across from Wall Drug. The icewater was a little disappointing since they seemed to modernize the system significantly compared to what I remember from previous visits. I thought for sure I took a few more pictures there, including the place we had lunch and the new dinosaur out in the backyard, but I guess not. By 4:00, we were done in Wall and moved on toward Rapid City.
After a gas stop in New Underwood (by the way, there's not nearly as much pay at the pump in the west) we arrived at the Rodeway Inn [2 Pictures] in Rapid City around 5:00. We got our stuff moved into the room and decided to get a jump on Sunday by seeing Mount Rushmore right away. We only needed one car for this side trip, and we took Nathan's car. The ride into the Black Hills is very nice and all uphill [3 Pictures]. It was good to see an actual forest for a change.
Mount Rushmore looked the same as always, but the visitors center and parking was completely new. Other than the big stone presidents, it looked nothing like what I remember. So I took even more pictures than I otherwise would have. [39 Pictures and more about Rushmore]
After Mount Rushmore, we returned to Rapid City for dinner at an Italian restaurant which we liked very much [Picture], followed by dessert at an ice cream stand which made a very good chocolate malted.
Day 3 end mileage: 88654, day total: 281 miles (plus what Nathan drove to Mt. Rushmore), trip so far: 1812 miles.
After Custer State Park, we stopped for about a half hour in Custer, SD, to have lunch at a Subway. At 1:20, we were back on the road, headed toward Wyoming on US 16. Our arrival in Wyoming came at 1:51 [Picture]. Just before Newcastle, we turned north onto US 85, then north on Wyoming 585 before 85 turns back into South Dakota. These roads are really in the middle of nowhere, but were pretty fun to drive and had some interesting scenery [4 Pictures]. We rejoined I-90 for a couple of miles near Sundance, but quickly left it again to take US 14 toward Devils Tower. We got there a little after 3 PM, and left the Saturn in a post office parking lot so we didn't have to take both cars into the park. [10 Pictures and more about Devils Tower]
We left Devils Tower around 3:50, and headed west on US 14 toward I-90 again. US 14 in this area is a wide, straight, 2-lane highway where you can see the road for miles ahead. After getting back on I-90 once again [6 Pictures of things between Devils Tower and the Bighorns], we stopped for gas at an unmanned Texaco in Gillette, WY. An hour and a half later, at 6:10, we made it to Sheridan, and left I-90 for a few days. We made another fuel stop and grabbed a quick dinner at an A&W. The Bighorn Mountains were next, and we wanted to get across before dark. We headed up into the mountains at 6:45 and we wouldn't get out until 9:00, but we did get down before we lost all of the light [28 Pictures and more of the story of our Bighorn crossing]. We lost daylight quickly after getting back down into the basin. We crossed the Bighorn River [Picture], which seemed to be flooded, since there were lots of trees coming up out of the water near the bridge. After this, it started raining bugs. We were hitting bugs so quickly, it really sounded like it was raining. We stopped to clean windshields in Lovell, then finally arrived in Powell for the night a little before 10 PM. We checked into the Super 8 where we had a room reserved.
Day 4 end mileage: 89134, day total: 480 miles, trip so far: 2292 miles.
Just before 10:30, we arrived at the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park [Picture]. Our first stop in the park was an overlook on the east entrance road with a nice view of the mountains [2 Pictures]. A bit later, we stopped at another overlook, this time with a view of Yellowstone Lake [7 Pictures]. Our next stop was at Yellowstone Lake itself [6 Pictures]. We got a good look at the lake, skipped some stones, and got to feel how cold the water is, even in late July. Just up the road, we stopped at the Fishing Bridge area [2 Pictures] to look around and to top off the gas in the cars.
The first thermal area we visited was the Mud Volcano area [41 Pictures and more detail about the Mud Volcano area]. Just up the road a bit was the Sulphur Caldron [4 Pictures]. From there, we did some backtracking down to Fishing Bridge and continued along the shore of Yellowstone Lake. There was significant construction through this area and we got to drive dusty, rough roads for a little while. We kept this dust with us until Seattle. Fortunately, that was the worst of the construction we would hit in the park. It was well past lunch time by now, so we went to the Grant Village area for lunch and to pick up some souveniers.
After lunch, we visted the West Thumb Geyser basin, named because it is right on the shore of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake [34 Pictures]. On the way from West Thumb to Old Faithful, we made our first crossing of the Continental Divide [3 Pictures] (we crossed back a few miles later), then stopped at the Kepler Cascades [6 Pictures]. Late in the afternoon, we arrived at the Old Faithful area and the Upper Geyser Basin [42 Pictures and more on the Old Faithful area].
It was starting to get pretty late, and we still were about 30 miles from our motel room in Gardiner, so we skipped over the other geyser basins in the area in hope of seeing at least some of them tomorrow. On our way up the road past Madison, we saw plenty of elk. We made a brief stop at Roaring Mountain, which was pretty much quiet, but worth a few pictures [4 Pictures]. In Mammoth, we stopped to take a picture of some elk who were mingling with the tourists [Picture]. Then we crossed into Montana (picture tomorrow), left the park, and checked into the Super 8 in Gardiner around 8:45. Dinner that night came from a little place across the street called Helen's Corral [3 Pictures].
Day 5 end mileage: 89353, day total: 219 miles, trip so far: 2511 miles.
Our first stop was to see the Petrified Tree [4 Pictures], located just before the Roosevelt area. Soon after that, we ran into a traffic jam, which in Yellowstone means there's something to see off the side of the road. This time it was a bear [3 Pictures]. After the bear, we arrived at Tower Falls, where we hiked down to the base of the waterfall [16 Pictures]. Next was the trip south over Dunraven Pass [5 Pictures] toward the Canyon area.
We got to Canyon Village around lunch time, so we stopped for some chicken at a cafeteria there, and hit the gift shop and post office. After lunch, it was time to go see the Canyon. We started along the North Rim at Inspiration Point [12 Pictures]. We then took the walk down the trail to the brink of the Lower Falls [22 Pictures and more on the trail]. We skipped the Upper Falls area in the interest of time, and moved over to the South Rim for the famous view from Artist Point [19 Pictures]. From there, we took the road from Canyon to Norris across the center of the park. There aren't many things to stop and look at along this road, but we did see another bear (but couldn't get any pictures) and some of the most thoroughly burned areas from the 1988 fires. We got to Norris, and took some time to walk around the Norris Geyser Basin [48 Pictures and the sad story of Echinus Geyser].
After Norris, it was time to head back north toward Mammoth and our motel in Gardiner. We didn't have time for the other geyser basins between Old Faithful and Norris. Something to do next time. On the way up toward Mammoth, we spotted our third bear of the visit (compared to 0 the first two times I was here) and this time, it was pretty close to the road and we got some better pictures [4 Pictures] even though we didn't actually stop. We didn't have much time to spend at Mammoth, being dinner time, but we did take the Upper Terrace Loop road and stopped to see a few things [12 Pictures]. We were hoping to find something to eat in Mammoth before leaving the park for good, but the only options we found were a place that was too expensive and a place that had burgers and other fast food, which we didn't want. So we left Yellowstone and searched for some food in Gardiner.
We entered Montana and left Yellowstone [5 Pictures] around 7 PM. Back in Gardiner, we walked into the main part of town to find some dinner. After checking out several menus, we ended up having a good dinner at a little restaurant called Bear Country Restaurant on the main street bordering the park.
Day 6 end mileage: 89449, day total: 96 miles, trip so far: 2607 miles.
A little after 2:30 PM, we crossed Lookout Pass, entered Idaho and the Pacific Time Zone [2 Pictures] and it became 1:30 PM. We were not in Idaho [Picture] for long, as it's only a little over 70 miles across up here. We came down out of the mountains into Coeur d'Alene, when the cell phone rang. It was Andrew calling from Seattle to see what time to expect us. The call was cut short when we went into a valley and the cell phone lost its signal. By the time it got to be 2:30 again, we were done with Idaho and entered Washington. Unfortunately we were not able to get any pictures of the sign welcoming us to Washington, but we do have pictures of other signs in eastern Washington to prove we were there [3 Pictures]. In any case, this was state number 46 for me, the first new one on this trip.
There is not a whole lot to see in Eastern Washington, especially once you get past Spokane. We made a gas stop just west of Spokane in Four Lakes, where we were disturbed to see that gas prices were still rising, now up to $1.459/gal. This area is very dry and hilly, fairly typical of the intermountain west, but nothing at all like what people think of when they think of the Pacific Northwest [2 Pictures]. Andrew called again and we finalized meeting arrangements. One interesting thing happened out here -- the Saturn turned 90,000 miles [Picture]. By the time we got to Moses Lake, things started to look a little more lively. There is apparently enough water in this area for irrigation, so an assortment of crops were growing. For a stretch, there were signs on the fences facing the interstate indicating what kinds of crops were being grown in each field. We passed the town of George, Washington, where some clever person named a restaurant "Martha Inn". I guess they greet customers with "Welcome to Martha Inn, George, Washington." We didn't stop to see.
Approaching the Columbia River, we stopped at a scenic overlook [7 Pictures] just before the steep downgrade to the bridge we were about to cross. This was some pretty good scenery, but it is tough to compete with what we had just seen and what was yet to come. The most memorable thing about this stop was the dry heat and intense sun. On the west side of the river, we had a pretty steep climb up the other side of the valley. We soon passed the western end of I-82 [Picture]. At this point, there started to be a few more trees, and we were definitely going steadily uphill. A strong crosswind was also very evident coming in from the south. Just before we really got up into the Cascades, we stopped for a little more gas (even though we could have made it) in Easton, and paid our highest price per gallon in the trip at $1.549. From here, it was a very pretty ride up into the mountains. We passed the exit for Stampede Pass, which you hear about all the time if you watch the Weather Channel, but that road doesn't seem to go anywhere. The fact that there is a lot of snow up here is evident everywhere. They have all kinds of radar and electronic signs and chain-up areas. The number of trees continued to increase as we made it to Snoqualmie Pass. As we headed down the other side, we opened the window and got our first taste of the cooler, moist air of the Pacific Northwest. What a huge difference from the other side of the mountains. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures coming across the pass or down toward Seattle. I thought for sure we took some, but they aren't there.
As we got closer to Seattle, we called Andrew to update him on our estimated arrival time. Traffic started to build more and more, and by the time we got to Bellevue and I-405, the traffic was pretty heavy. We followed the directions onto Mercer Island where we were to meet Andrew. He wasn't there yet when we arrived, so we looped around the area a bit. When we went back to the off-ramp, he was there (standing at the top of the off-ramp) and we followed him to his place, which he just moved into a few days earlier. Mercer Island is a very nice place. It's an island in Lake Washington, which is the lake which lies east of Seattle and west of Bellevue. I-90 crosses over Mercer Island, and Andrew's place is just a few minutes off the highway. The balcony looks west over the northern part of Mercer Island [3 Pictures], with part of Lake Washington visible off to the left and Mount Rainier visible off to the right on a clear day. Much more on Mount Rainier later.
After moving our stuff in, we rested a bit and decided on what to do for dinner. Andrew suggested a place in the city, and we took the Saturn over. We took the floating bridge on I-90 into Seattle, and headed up I-5 toward the restaurant. The place was called Ponti Seafood Grill, and was very nice. We got a table outside overlooking the canal which connects Puget Sound to Lake Washington via Lake Union. I've heard Seattle has great restaurants, and this was a good example of one. I don't know about the seafood, but the lamb dish was outstanding. After dinner, we drove back through downtown Seattle.
Day 7 end mileage: 90198, day total: 749 miles, trip so far: 3356 miles.
From there, we left the car at the Park and Ride and took a bus into Seattle. We walked around downtown [7 Pictures] quite a bit, spending the most time at the Pike Place Market area [19 Pictures]. We walked back down along the waterfront toward the stadium area and again were in the main downtown area [16 Pictures]. We met Andrew outside his office at Tera Computer [Picture] to choose a dinner place. We decided on another restaurant highly recommended by Andrew, this one up by where he used to live north and east of Lake Washington in Kirkland. Since "the mountain was out", Nathan was able to get a picture of the very impressive Mount Rainier as we crossed the bridge on I-90 from Mercer Island to Bellevue [Picture]. Cafe Juanita [Picture] is a small place with a nice menu, much of which sounds very good. After dinner we went back to Andrew's place [2 Pictures] to relax, and help unpack some books onto his bookshelves.
Day 8 end mileage: unrecorded.
At this point, we split up for the afternoon. Andrew went to work, Nathan went to Tera as well for his interview and to look around Seattle some more, and Amitha and I took a ride to see the Pacific Ocean. It's surprisingly far away from Seattle. But if you drive from New York to Seattle, you have to go see the ocean. We picked the Ocean Shores area as our destination. To get there, we went down I-5 through Tacoma and Olympia, picked up the famous US 101 [Picture] for a few miles, then Washington 8 [Picture] and finally US 12 [Picture] until it ended back at US 101 in Aberdeen. We got back on US 101 North [Picture], but the other north, this one toward where we just were, but the long way around the mountains. A few less-interesting roads later, we arrived at Ocean Shores State Park and the Pacific Ocean [7 Pictures and more on the Pacific].
The ride back to Seattle was going well, with just a quick fuel stop, until we hit Tacoma at rush hour. I-5 was slow all the way from Tacoma to the junction with I-405. We made it back to Mercer Island to catch a bus for the downtown area with just a little time to spare.
Game time. Safeco Field, during the second Mariners homestand ever in this $500 million park. We all met in our seats in the upper deck in right field. Joining us also was Blake Roberts, a long-time member of the OBFLB. I've known Blake through e-mail for several years, but we had never met in person. As always, it was great to meet another league member. The Mariners were playing the AL East's Orioles, so I was even able to root for the M's and not feel bad about it. [46 Pictures and much more on the stadium and game].
After the game, we went to Tera and got an after-hours tour of the place. Nice offices, and a nice balcony where we got a view of downtown Seattle at night [6 Pictures].
Day 9 end mileage: 90538, 2-day total: 340 miles, trip so far: 3696.
After leaving Rainier, we returned to the dry intermountain west. Lots of dry mountains, and some irrigated farmland, the usual western look. We were back on US 12 into Yakima, where we stopped at Pizza Hut and to get gas. At that point, we chose Pendleton, Oregon, as our destination for the night and called ahead from the parking lot to reserve a room at the Motel 6 there. As we headed on down I-82 East (which really goes southeast) we lost our daylight. Shortly after 10 PM, we crossed the Columbia River into Oregon [3 Pictures] for my second new state of the trip and number 47 lifetime (I need North Dakota, Alaska, and Hawaii). A little before 11, we made it to Pendleton and the Motel 6 for the night.
Day 10 end mileage: 90879, day total: 341 miles, trip so far: 4037 miles.
We continued east and quite a bit south on I-84 through some very desolate areas heading toward Utah [4 Pictures]. At 5:44, we arrived in Utah [Picture]. Shortly after that, we reached I-15 [Picture]. As we continued south toward Salt Lake City, the Wasatch Range began to rise to our east [2 Pictures]. We called ahead to Sue in Salt Lake City around 6:30 and she said dinner would be waiting for us and also warned us that I-15 could be closing for construction soon. It turns out it would be closing at 7, but only south of where we needed to get off anyway. We got to Salt Lake City a little after 7 [3 Pictures] and found Sue's place at 7:25. We had some good spaghetti at Sue's and relaxed while watching a tape of The Princess Bride that night.
Day 11 end mileage: 91441, day total: 562 miles, trip so far: 4599 miles.
From there, we condensed into one car, and Sue took us out to the Great Salt Lake at Saltair Beach [10 Pictures and more on the lake]. From there, we took a ride up Little Cottonwood Canyon [5 Pictures] to Snowbird Ski Resort [10 Pictures and more on this side trip].
Back in Salt Lake City, we decided to go see a movie. We met a few of Sue's friends at a theater to see The Mummy which had some interesting effects, but I thought a pretty weak story. I couldn't help but think I had seen a lot of this before and I think it was called Raiders of the Lost Ark. But you can't complain about a $1.50 movie ticket, and it was fun anyway. By the time the movie ended, there weren't many restaurants still open, so we ended up taking out from Wendy's. Back at Sue's place, a few of her friends [Picture] dropped by and we watched a little television.
Day 12 end mileage: 91448, day total: 7 miles, trip so far: 4609 miles.
We went to dinner at a nice little Italian place called Al Forno's. From there, we went to the Delta Center to see the New York Liberty play the Utah Starzzz in a WNBA game. Those who know me probably don't believe that, but it's true. It wasn't bad, for a basketball game. When we got back to the apartment, we went to the roof to see about taking some pictures of the city from there [Picture] but there was a tree blocking most of downtown, and my camera's not much for night photography. These are two things which could have been different if we visited after the SLC tornado of 1999 instead of before. The Delta Center was damaged by the tornado and their last few home games were moved, and maybe the tree which was in our way didn't have quite as many leaves and branches after the tornado..
Day 13 end mileage: 91525, day total: 77 miles, trip so far: 4683 miles.
After lunch, we entered Arches National Park. As soon as you get in, there is a Visitor Center [Picture], where there are exhibits about how the arches formed and suggestions on what to see if time is limited, which ours was. The park road goes right up the side of a hill, and we made a quick stop for pictures of the entrance area before continuing in [Picture]. At the earliest viewpoints, there are plenty of incredible rock formations, but no arches [5 Pictures]. We passed the Petrified Dunes, but I have no pictures. These look like sand dunes, but are rock. We stopped to wait for some construction near the Balanced Rock [4 Pictures].
Our biggest stop in the park was at the Windows area. Here, there are several arches all in one area and trails to most of them. We walked to the North Window and Turret Arch. [19 Pictures]. Even though time was short, we had to see the most famous arch, the one we saw on the welcome to Utah sign and on people's license plates, Delicate Arch. There are a few ways to see it, one of which is the Delicate Arch Trail, which takes you right to Delicate Arch. Unfortunately, it's a strenuous trail and 3 miles each way. We just didn't have time. We had to settle for the Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trails [8 Pictures]. By now, it was really getting late, so we just headed back out of the park. A little after 3:30 we were out and back on our way. There is just far too much to see here. Our visit of under 3 hours was great, but we missed most of it. Next time, a day or two, to make sure we see most of it and can walk some more of the trails.
I decided to go back up to I-70 a different way, taking Utah 128 [Picture] from near Moab, up along the Colorado River. This was a very nice ride, traversing a canyon and following the shores of the Colorado right up to I-70. The different color rocks along the canyon walls really are spectacular. It took a little longer than expected, since some sections are narrow and winding.
We got back to I-70 at Cisco, Utah [Picture] and entered Colorado just before 5 PM [Picture]. In western Colorado, the cliffs and canyons turn more into mountains, which are still very dry [Picture]. We stopped shortly after 5 for gas in Grand Junction, and it seemed everyone else in the world wanted to stop too. From there, we went through quite a bit of construction, but kept moving pretty well. The traffic came to a stop at Glenwood Springs [2 Pictures], so we stopped for dinner at a KFC there. This is a touristy spot, being the main road into Aspen. We heard something on the radio that I-70 through Glenwood Canyon was open again, so it had been closed, explaining the backup. We got dinner to go, since we'd just be sitting in traffic for a while anyway.
It took a while to get through the canyon, but once we got past the area where there had been an accident, things went smoothly. I-70 through this canyon is another example of a place where you just can't have an interstate highway, but it's there. It's just amazing that it exists. And it serves some very small places [Picture]. We have no pictures, but luckily Nathan took some on his way through a day earlier [4 Pictures]. From there, we did a LOT of climbing. First, we made it to Vail Pass, which seemed to be about as high as any interstate could possibly be [Picture]. But then we went higher. The road went up again toward the Einsenhower Tunnel, this at an insane 11,100 feet. Unfortunately, it was pretty much dark by the time we got to the tunnel and the picture of the sign [2 Pictures] is pretty much all black.
I'm sure the scenery on I-70 from the tunnel area down into Denver is spectacular. Unfortunately, it was now dark and starting to rain. Much of the descent into the Denver metro area was rough, with rain and road spray combining with relatively heavy traffic. When we put on Denver radio, we heard reports of roads being closed due to flooding from heavy rains a little earlier. Since our destination was Boulder, we got off I-70 at I-76 to take I-25 North a bit to US 36 which would take us to Boulder. Apparently, that combination isn't possible, because by the time the ramp from I-76 put us onto I-25 North, we were already past US 36. So we took some side streets, passing multiple John Elway car dealerships, and got to US 36 and made it into Boulder after 10 PM. After the last part of today's ride, it was good to get into the room. Of all the days on the trip where we tried to do more than we could, this was probably the extreme. If you want to go from Salt Lake City to Denver, and see some things on the way, take two days.
Day 14 end mileage: 92176, day total: 651 miles, trip so far: 5334 miles.
Back in the room, I found that Amitha had successfully retreived John, and we were once again a group of three, though now in just one car.
Day 15 end mileage: 92284, day total: 108 miles, trip so far: 5442 miles.
We went back down US 36 and I-25 to I-70 East in Denver. Unfortunately, there was no time to see much of Denver [2 Pictures]. It doesn't take long to go from Denver Metro to the high plains [Picture]. We stopped for gas and soda in Aurora, which somehow was in the middle of nowhere even though we weren't far from the city or from DIA. A little before 1, we stopped for lunch at a Sonic Drive In in Burlington, and put gas in the car. After 1:30, we were back on I-70 and around 1:45, we entered Kansas [2 Pictures]. There is not a whole lot going on in Western Kansas. There is farming and flatness, mainly [3 Pictures]. At 2:17, we entered the Central Time Zone, and it suddenly became 3:17. We passed Hays, Kansas [Picture for Rick]. For most of Kansas, I-70 is also US 40 [Picture]. We also passed Russell, Kansas, and the big Bob Dole sign.
We made a stop for gas in the middle of nowhere at Wilson, then stopped in Junction City for dinner at a Sirloin Stockade [Picture]. This was a buffet and was nothing special. Oh well. From there, we also called ahead to get a reservation at a Super 8 in Lawrence, a few more hours down the road. At Topeka, we were detoured from I-70 onto I-335 and the Kansas Turnpike. We were going there anyway, but this just meant we didn't get to go through downtown Topeka. At 9:30, we made it to Lawrence and settled into the Super 8 [Picture] for the night.
Day 16 end mileage: 92872, day total: 588 miles, trip so far: 6030 miles.
We set out from Kansas City to cross Missouri around 11, making a gas stop in Blue Springs. At 1:40, we stopped in Danville for lunch at a Hardees after finding the McDonald's too crowded. From there, we went right into St. Louis, arriving late in the afternoon. From I-70, we got off on I-170 south, to I-64 east, getting off at Kingshighway to find Charles' place. We moved our stuff in to his apartment, which had been nicely organized to make room for us [12 Pictures]. We stayed around for a little while, then decided to go to dinner at the Tap Room. John stayed around for "Swing night" at the dance club upstairs, while the rest of us went back to the apartment to watch Antz.
Day 17 end mileage: 93175, day total: 302 miles, trip so far: 6332 miles.
It was already late morning, so we decided to skip lunch at Crown Candy. That decision was helped by the fact that we were walking right through a German festival called Strassenfest [2 Pictures]. But before lunch, Amitha got a caricature done [Picture], then we walked over to the Kiel Center [3 Pictures], home of the St. Louis Blues. On the way back, we caught a glimpse of Busch Stadium [Picture]. Now, we were hungry enough to get some food - bratwurst [Picture] and a blooming onion [Picture]. We walked around Strassenfest a bit more [3 Pictures], walked through an impressive war memorial [2 Pictures]. We walked back toward the car, getting a picture of a hippo [Picture] which lives atop the building which houses Protospace.
Then it was on to the St. Louis Science Center [7 Pictures], where we met up with Steve and Trina Blythe. The main attraction there for me was the Omnimax movie about Alaska, which was very good. We also spent some time seeing the rest of the place, which was also well worth it. We even had to wait several minutes to cross the museum's bridge over I-64 and US 40 when some government officials, possibly the President, passed by. There was a Governors' Conference in town - more on that later.
After the Science Center, we were ready to find dinner. I didn't want to leave the midwest without trying some ribs. Steve, Trina, and Charles didn't know any good local place to get good ribs, but Steve knew of a K.C. Masterpiece in Creve Coeur, so we went there. The three of us who got the "ribs, ribs, ribs" combo had PLENTY to eat, with full racks of beef ribs, pork spare ribs, and pork baby back ribs. They were good, but I think I'd just go with the baby back next time.
We said goodbye to Steve and Trina after dinner, and the rest of us went back into the city to see the Arch [6 Pictures]. Unfortunately, the arch and the entire park was closing at 8 because participants in the Governor's Conference would be there, so we only got to look from a distance. We would have to come back to the arch in the morning before leaving St. Louis. This did give us a chance to walk around the neighborhood where Charles lives, next to Forest Park, where the World's Fair was held almost 100 years ago. We walked through the businesses and restaurants, stopping for ice cream at a Baskin Robbins, and to see a nice fountain a few blocks over. There was no shortage of coffee shops open on this Sunday night, and my coffee-addicted passengers decided they liked this area a lot. We also found a movie theater just a few blocks from Charles' apartment that he didn't know was there. After the walk, we went back to the apartment and watched the Tera video and other things.
Day 18 end mileage: 93175, day total: 0 miles (Charles did all the driving today), trip so far: 6332 miles.
But before all that, we needed to get to the Gateway Arch. After leaving Charles' apartment and getting breakfast from the Basically Bagels place again, we left Charles so he could head to work and we went to the Gateway Arch [12 Pictures].
After 10:30, we were done with the Arch and ready to hit the road. We almost immediately crossed back over the Mississippi River after over 2 weeks on the other side, and entered Illinois [Picture]. We finally left I-70 behind and went east across southern Illinois on I-64 [Picture]. After a gas stop in Carlyle around 11:30, we arrived in Indiana [Picture] before 1. We stopped for lunch at a Burger King near Evansville. At 2:06, we made it back to the Eastern Time Zone and it was suddenly 3:06. That's the toughest part about travelling east. You lose an hour once in a while for no good reason. It's much better to travel west. This part of Indiana is surprisingly interesting, with lots of hills, trees, and even a National Forest [2 Pictures]. This is nothing like the flatness and farmland of the northern route across the state on I-80/90.
Just before 4, we crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky and the city of Louisville [5 Pictures]. We kept moving across the rolling hills and horse farms [2 Pictures] until a stop near Lexington for gas. For a while near Lexington, I-64 joins up with I-75 [2 Pictures], but we stayed on I-64 right into West Virginia, where we arrived shortly before 7 PM [Picture].
We continued on I-64 until the Charleston area, where we met up with I-77 and I-79. Charleston looks like another nice place to look around, but again, no time. When I-77 and I-79 split [Picture], we stayed on I-79 North. We stopped not much further up the road for dinner at a Hardees in Big Chimney. We drove up most of I-79 at dusk or in darkness, but even so, we could see what a nice area this is. The mountains are much smaller than some of what we saw out west, but impressive. One of the best parts about this drive is that 770 AM was coming in loud and clear, so I got to hear Sterling and Kay broadcast a Yankee game for the first time in almost 3 weeks. That made the drive go much more quickly. I'd like to drive I-79 through here during daylight some time. Shortly after a 10 PM gas stop in Weston, we arrived at our destination for the night, a Super 8 in Fairmont.
Day 19 end mileage: 93824, day total: 649 miles, trip so far: 6982 miles.
We got onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike and stopped at a service plaza almost right away. On the turnpike, we passed the infamous Breezewood exit, where I-70 runs out onto US 30 for a while before picking up again as an interstate [Picture]. Why can't Pennsylvania build normal interstate to interstate interchanges like other states? It's not that difficult. One nice thing about the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the tunnels. We went through three of them while on the turnpike [4 Pictures]. Just before noon, we left the turnpike, taking one of those famous Pennsylvania indirect interstate to interstate interchanges, and went north on I-81 [Picture]. We last saw I-81 just a few hours into the trip when we were on it in Binghamton for a few miles. Actually, we were headed more east than north. We passed Harrisburg, and when I-81 meets the western end of I-78 [Picture], we got on I-78 East [Picture]. We stopped at a Mobil in Strausstown which was also a boot and ammo shop, it turns out, around 12:30, then for lunch at Pizza Hut near Allentown [Picture] a little after 1. Lunch took a little longer than we'd like, since the lunch buffet was over, and we weren't back on the road until after 2. We passed Allentown, seeing the rides of Dorney Park off to out left. At 2:36, we crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey, for our 21st and final different state of the trip [Picture]. We continued across I-78 until we hit I-287 [Picture] and some very familiar territory. The thing that was different this time was the obvious effects of the drought. Any farmland we saw in New Jersey was pretty much dried up, and even patches of trees had nothing but brown leaves, here in early August.
We made a quick stop at a rest area on I-287. By this point, the Yankee baseball pregame was on the radio, and the game would take us all the way home. We entered New York state [Picture] at 3:45. From here, the Saturn can drive itself back to Troy. We took I-87 and the Thruway [Picture], stopping at Sloatsburg for a few minutes. It was cloudy and we hit a little light rain, but nothing to cause any trouble. Around 5:30, we made it to exit 23, and headed up I-787 [Picture] through Albany, arriving in Troy [Picture] at 5:47. We dropped John off, then it was off to Highland Ave. And in plenty of time to rest a little before heading over to watch some softball..
Day 20 end mileage: 94348, day total: 524 miles, trip total: 7506 miles.
The weather we had was amazingly good. We saw some drizzle on the first day and drove through some heavy downpours north and west of Madison, but after that we didn't see rain again until Seattle. And even there, we had very good weather with only a few sprinkles. The worst rain we saw was while coming down out of the Rockies into Denver, but after that, we only saw some light rain on the day we drove through Kansas City and across Missouri, and a little light rain when we were almost home. We missed the big tornado in Salt Lake City by about a week, but having just been there, the news reports and pictures meant a lot more than they would have.
This web page took almost as long to prepare as it took to go on the trip to take the pictures. Work began on August 13 and wasn't complete until September 1. It could change if anything interesting comes up when Amitha gets his film developed.
Thanks to everyone who came along on all or part of the trip, who let us stay with them, and who gave us the time off to make this possible and affordable. Who's coming along next time? I guarantee there will be a next time.
E-mail domain: teresco.org, username: terescoj+pics - Wed Sep 1 21:30:52 EDT 1999