Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We are Home

Yesterday we made it back to home in McHenry.
Total miles traveled was 6,068 in 40 days away from home.
Everything was fine here except the weeds were having a ball in our flower garden. The grass will need to be mowed as soon as I can pick up the branches and twigs from all winter and spring collection.
It is good to be back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crossing Wyoming

Today we drove across the state of Wyoming on I-80, traveling from Salt Lake City to Cheyenne Wyoming (430 miles). Most of the scenery across the flat of Wyoming is quite similar. Take a hard look at the following picture. Then to see the rest of the trip across the state, close you eyes and repeat the image about 300 times to see pictures from the rest of the trip. To be fair to the state, there actually are some scenic views as you cross as well as some major up and down mountain passes. Few extreme circles on scary mountain sides, but at one point I saw an altitude sign that said we were at 8,640 ft. We also crossed the continental divide on the route.

Typical scene down highway I-80 heading east.

This is the Wyoming State Capital in Cheyenne. We were over a day too late to tour the inside (Saturday pm at about sunset). One advantage to taking pictures this time of the year is that the leaves on the trees do not block your view.

Statue outside the capital. Anyone remember the symbol on the Wyo state car license plates.

Chicago had their Cow states. Cheyenne has their Boot statues. They are about 10 ft high. This is a photo near their Visitor Information center in Cheyenne. They are supposedly scattered all over Cheyenne.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Salt Lake City Tour

Today we did our tour of Salt Lake City. Our motel was within walking distance of the Temple Square and also the State Capital so we headed out on foot in the morning 40 deg air. With a light jacket and walking we kept warm.

In 1994 the State Capital underwent a very significant upgrade to do needed maintenance and significantly more resistant to earth quake damage by rebuilding the support pilings to add shock absorbers. They claim the building may sway 2 feet now if needed during an earthquake.

In the afternoon we drove about 20 miles SW to the Bingham Canyon Mine. This is the largest open pit mine in the world and is visible from the Space Shuttle. It is more than three quarters of a mile deep and two-and-a-half miles wide. The main product is copper and (more than 17 million tons since the origin of the mine) and much less but significant amounts of gold and silver.

Tomorrow we are off to cross Wyoming to Cheyenne. I left my travel plan at Scott's so do not have the exact mileage at hand anymore.

Salt Lake Temple

The gardens in Temple Square are at their peak spring bloom right now.

This is the inside of the Tabernacle where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. The shinny gold in the back are the pipes from their pipe organ. They were doing practice run on the organ when we entered so got to hear the organ and the acoustics of the building.

Close up of the Pipe Organ

State Capital of Utah
Designed in 1912 by Richard Kletting and completed in 1916.

Inside the State Capital
The chandelier is hanging from the center of the dome

The center of the Bingham Canyon Mine

A close(er) up look at the ore trucks. Note the size comparison of the standard pickup truck to the ore trucks.

A close up of a loader with the ore truck on the far side of the loader.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Salt Lake City

Today we made the drive from Reno to Salt Lake City about 520 miles across Nev on I-80. Yesterday we drove from Fremont Ca. to Reno passing through the Donner Pass area with no problems with snow. We could see that there had been snow there from the piles along the side of the roads, but the roadways were perfectly dry for us. In Reno we did make a pass at the down town area where they have the various casinos. It seems quite small and blah compared to Las Vegas. We never even dropped a dime in their machines so we both came out even.
The trip across Nev on I-80 yielded some very nice scenery as shown in some of the samples below. The lush green hills of Calif. are not in Nev. They look like they are quite a ways behind in spring growth and also look as though they never will be the green we saw in Calif. The Calif hills were probably about a green as they will be all year as they have had much rain recently and while we were there.
Tomorrow will be a day looking around Salt Lake City. Then Sat drive to Cheyenne and Sun on home to Mom's. Weather looks good and expecting mid 60's tomorrow. See the fluffy clouds we saw today while in 55 to 62 degree range.

Nevada scenery from I-80

Heading East on Nev. I-80

We made a stop at Salt Lake. Had to walk about .2 miles out to get to the water edge. The shore is very very flat and long. The lake may be only about 6 inches deep by the way it looks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Snowed in Fremont

If we were on plan, I would be telling you about our drive from Fremont to Reno. However, there has been a big snow storm up in the mountains and our planned route I-80 is snowed over and almost closed. In fact it was closed to west bound at one time and then the only east bound had to have chains or all 4 wheel drive with snow tires to travel the road. We had neither so have just stayed in Fremont at Scott and Rosi's. They are treating us very well and have been enjoying the time with Gemma so we have delayed the trip by 2 days. That means we will be heading out on Wed am if the roads seem passable. I have been watching the weather radar closely and there is one spot on this side of Truckee that has had snow falling all the time I have been watching it. It may be just radar snow, but who wants to risk it. I guess it is near the area known as Donnor Pass. I remember Ralph H was quite worried about it last year and that was a month earlier. I have been watching the Calif. highway web site as well to get road status.
We did have a easter egg coloring party here and Gemma got to color her first easter eggs. I am not sure if we have started a tradition or if Rosi will try to forget the experience. No dye was spilled on the floor/rug so it could not be considered that bad. Gemma seemed to enjoy it as well. She landed some eggs in the color cup a little hard, but they were eaten quite soon so no matter. See attached photo.
We made a side trip to the Golden Gate Park in SF and went through the Californina Academy of Sciences as well as some of the garden areas. See attached photo.

Monday, March 29, 2010

North to Morro Bay via Santa Barbara

When we got to Wilma and Bruce's as we were forewarned, we found Bruce working on recovering from either food poisoning or the flue. He was not moving very fast, nor eating much. Each day we were there he made good recovery so by Mon when we left he was looking pretty good again. While there Wilma let us do some work on her yard that included some trimming and planting here tomato crop for the year. The guy at the store was giving her a bad time about being so late at planting tomatoes. Did not seem late to us since we will not be planting for 2 months in Illinois. Sun Wilma guided us on a road trip to the ocean side near Malibu for a good Fish lunch at Gladstone's and a look around. The way over there took us through Hollywood and Beverly Hills as we drove westward on Sunset Blvd nearly all the way from Burbank to the ocean. Some interesting scenery and houses on the way. We enjoyed the visit with Wilma and Bruce and were sorry that Bruce was not up to more activities, but we were happy to take it easy at their home after all our travels to that point.
This is a rose from Wilma's backyard

Today we drove from Burbank to Morro Bay and spent most of our spare time in Santa Barbara visiting Chase Palm Park, the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens and the Santa Barbara County court house.
When we got to Morro Bay it was near sunset, but we were unable to see it or the rock in the bay that the area is so famous for as it was very foggy here. We hope to take a second look tomorrow morning and see more of the bay area.
Tomorrow we head north to Fremont to visit Scott, Rosi, and Gemma for a few days.

California Poppies at the Botanical Gardens

Botanical garden flower

Santa Barbara County Court House

View from up in the Court House tower

Inside the court house

Thur 3/25 Catch up

On thur we headed north towards Burbank. We spent some time in La Jolla Bay just north of San Diego on the way. The first photo is of a beach area that is hard rock but has channels and holes in it like a sponge (only made of hard rock). Interesting look.
Further on we visited Birch Aquarium at Scripps in northern La Jolla. I took several pictures of their fish tanks with the thinking that I can make my own screen saver (you know the one with fish) by doing a slide show of all the pictures. I took them all without a flash so with the slow shuter speed any moving fish came out as a blurred fish. So much for that idea.
After driving through LA expressways at about 4 pm with minimal traffic problems, we made it to Willma and Bruce's where we stayed for the weekend to take off again Mon.

La Jolla Bay beach with the unusual beach

One of many Fish tanks at Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Tank with Jelly Fish