Thursday, March 22, 2007

Recent blog visitors from:

  • Zibo, Shandong, CHINA
  • Beijing, CHINA
  • Henan, Hainan, CHINA
  • Venaria Reale, Piemonte, ITALY
  • Bombay, Maharashtra, INDIA
  • Mebach, Hessen, GERMANY
Stay tuned. Coming soon, some exciting stats from the trip. Mileages, costs, distances, you name it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Getting home proved to be a bit more of an adventure than we had planned, but generally the roads were in better condition than they could have been.

Before we left the lower mainland it was decided to take up the generous Canadian Tire offer to rotate my tires for free - which came with the purchase of my new tires last summer. So we took care of that and headed east. We did not make it very far on the highway however as the Trans Canada highway was closed between Chilliwack and Hope due to some mud slides blocking all lanes. There was a fairly painless detour over to highway 7 on the north shore of the Fraser river.

The Coquihalla highway was more or less dry all the way, though there are still large snowbanks in the upper elevation areas. The river flowing down to Hope was really running at flood stage with water the color of dark coffee.

Roger's Pass approach from the west was getting pretty ugly as far as visibility goes, but there was only a short slippery section at the summit, and good driving down the east side on bare roads.
So we were pulling in to Golden and I was promising Harley that he would be home in an hour. That is until the highways crew in town told me the highway was closed in the Golden canyon for the night due to mud slides and avalanches! Not really a big deal since we were still set up for camping, notwithstanding the winterizing of the water system in the camper as we left the coast. So we pulled off on the first side street and were set for the night in no time.

It was a bit of a change to discover the windshield covered in ice and snow in the morning, but the sun came out for a good look at the Kicking Horse ski area across the valley.

We visited a friend for breakfast and coffee, bought some groceries, and the road was open so we headed for home.

There was still a 30 minute delay in the canyon while they scooped crap off the road,

but we managed to pull into our recently cleared driveway (Thanks parks highways crew) around noon and start unloading.

It was not long before a wild snow leopard was spotted walking across the hot tub lid.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New visitors to the blog from Germany (Mebach, Hessen), which I think is near Frankfurt (?), more visitors from Beijing, China, one from Brazil, but I think I know who that is, and a new visitor from Guamchil, Sinaloa Mexico!

We spent a night camped actually over the water in North Bend, Oregon. We were on an old wharf area which is now part of the parking area for the Old Mill Casino. Harley was keen to go on a stroll around the campground right next door - perhaps to get all the fifi dogs upset!

It rained some during the night, but cleared by morning and there were Canada geese on hand to serenade us from the river.
It rained much of the day as we headed north, so there did not seem to be much point in heading over to Whidbey Island, which is our usual route. Instead we carried on into Seattle and took up residence in a quiet area near the Fry's store. Didn't need or buy anything, but spent about 3 hours inside, looking at cools stuff we'd missed last time.

Then it was northbound again. The truck had been indicating for a few days that it would be a good time for an oil change, so we stopped in Bellingham and took care of that. More rain and crappy weather, so we pushed on to the border and entered Canada for the first time in 2007.

Petsmart provided some fresh fare for the furry one, as well as a nearby spot to sit out the rain and high winds. We had been getting more and more wind coming north from Seattle as the rain diminished. For once the strong wind was from the rear! Other than more than a few unexpected lane changes, we were none the worse for wear, and it likely helped the gas mileage. It did limit the mouse and butterfly hunting opportunities for the very vocal co-pilot, however.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Northern California is where all the old hippies live, right? Well, at any rate the freedom to protest is alive and well. I drove through a couple of peaceful, placard waving groups facing off against each other with differing views of Iraq, obviously.

There was another brief sighting of the California cougar, and coincidentally, there were no elk seen in the area usually teeming with them ....

Judging by the apparent weather in these two web cam shots from the summit of Roger's Pass in British Columbia, I think I will tear up my calendar and toss out my compass. I don' want to go there!

CLICK HERE to see what it is like there now!

Or click HERE to see a hybrid Google Map of the spot!

Friday, March 9, 2007

We were driving too fast on this one section of road in the Redwoods area and we pulled over by these two cops obviously running radar on the side of the road. Harley didn't think a ticket was justified, or perhaps he thought he could report me for not feeding him more than twice the night before, but anyway, before I knew it he was out there walking all over them!

On the front fender of the car were the words "To Serve and Protect". Isn't that a Canadian thing? From the TV show? Anyway, there it was.

Sometimes, Google Earth gets it's wires crossed just a bit and puts things on the earth - where they aren't! I spotted one of these in North-west Calgary, where the roads were several hundred meters out where two images joined. (I can't find it today, so perhaps they fixed it after I told them :-)

Anyway, in preparation fror driving into San Francisco and the Golden Gate, I was scanning for likely routes (and getting them safely to GE's cache on my laptop) when I spotted an obvious error! There was a freeway directly across the fairway of a golf course (check it out at: 37.793757,-122.469568 ) (You must have the 'roads' layer selected to see the road location)

It was not till I zoomed in really closely, that I realized the road goes into a tunnel UNDER the golf course!

So it should not have been a surprise when I was driving through an area near the bridge looking for the highway, and it was not where it was supposed to be. There was a 'street' there all right, but just a normal residential-type street, not the highway I was looking for! Once again, a tunnel had fooled me.

So, I was thinking next year of doing a house-swap to have somewhere to stay down here. All was going well, till I realized that my place at home has less than 4 wrecked vehicles, and not a single pile of tires, so I clearly would not be in the running with the places I was looking at. So then I decided just to rent a place and have it down the the three best contenders. But I need your input in picking which I should try to get!

Here they are:

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Someone (turns out to be a couple from Quebec, whom I met the next morning down the road) had taken my favourite camp spot in the Ragged Point area, just north of the Hearst Castle. But I figured I could share, and as there wasn't much else handy, I pulled in behind them to await the mornings view to unfold. As it inevitably did.
Further up the coast where I wanted to eat breakfast and someone else wanted to get out and eat some green grass, we stopped and I was lucky enough to spot a sea otter playing in the water below. There were also a few elephant seals on rocks in the area, lifting their tails and flippers whenever a wave would come. As a sea mammal, you wouldn't want to get wet, after all! Or maybe they were just waving (ha ha ha)? No photos of course, as they would just be too small to see. Sea?

California Highway #1 along the coast is always falling into the sea and suffering washouts, slumps and landslides, so there are always numerous sections being shored up and repaired to fail again another day. This trip was no exception as the equipment on the road shows.

Click on the map image to show our roadside camping spot or click HERE and it links to an online version that you can manipulate, or change from satellite image to map.

It's getting so I don't know the 'new' readers from the returning ones, but once again we have had vistors from
Beijing, China,
Lisboa Portugal,
and Montgomery, Alberta!

Where the heck is MONTGOMERY, Alberta? And I'm not sure if I mentioned the visit from Daqing, Heilongjiang, China a few days ago.

Yikes! this is getting scary. Just while I have been typing this last little bit (like 5 minutes) we have had new visitors from get this:
Trk, Burdur, Turkey
Bruay-sur-l'Escaut, Nord-Pas-de-...France
somewhere in the UK,
and Qingyang, Fujian, China.

I had time to spare, so click on the links above to see where these visitors logged on from. Cool!

Google Earth had no idea where Montgomery, Alberta was, but Google search showed that it was basically in the city of Calgary? Who would have known? Thought maybe a new town had sprung up near Bearberry! And I DO know where that is!

I'd better sign off before we start getting hits from Uzbekistan or Timbucktoo. Later.


Juat had a hit from Dusseldorf , Germany! Looks like they were in the airport!!!!
Check the link, see what you think/

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

After leaving the border area and getting back out to the interstate, it was back through Tucson on the way to Phoenix. Evening came as we were approaching the area where we spent the night of the 25th, so we camped at the same spot to save having to pioneer a new location.
The following day was a fairly long drive as we skirted Phoenix to the south west via Gila Bend, then back up to I-10 and westbound. The plan (ha, as if I had one!) was to camp just north of Quartzite like the last time, but the California Highway Patrol had other ideas.
They had the road blocked going north because (as I heard later) of a toxic spill of some sort. So, I pioneered a new spot just south in another of the free, 14 day spots provided by BLM, the Bureau of Land Management. By the time we got mobile in the morning and went in to Quartzite for a bit of flea market shopping, gas, food and the like, wouldn't ya know it, afternoon was upon us, so a hill-top camp spot was picked out, this time just west of Quartzite in the Dome Rock BLM area.
But the early stop was not wasted. I pulled the Honda generator out from behind the seat and gave the camper, the cab,and the cat all a good vacuuming. Can't speak for the camper or the cab, but the cat certainly enjoyed it.

Gas prices have really taken a jump since I was in this area 2 weeks ago, and I was in for another California culture shock as their gas prices are much higher than Arizona's.
But we pushed on into California and took an adventurous road north of Blythe that led to an abandoned mine site. After one wrong turn, and changing to gravel and sand the road continued on across the desert, coming out at a town called Rice, which appeared to be not much more than the burned out remnants of a gas station - or something. Click here for the Google satellite image, if you don't believe me. Maybe it is related to area 51? Maybe the town was somewhere else? At least I didn't need gas! There is a section of several miles where the railroad tracks run right beside the highway. The railroad has apparently used a nice combination of white and black colored ballast rock which has inspired literally miles of continuous artwork and names on the side of the rail bed.

Next there was an otherwise lonesome post that has attracted a sign frenzy from people from all over.

We decided (like Harley would disagree with the guy who provides the Iams and Science Diet) to go north of Joshua Tree National Park. Since it was Hockey Night in Canada, a spot had to be found to watch the hockey game in peace.

Sheephole Valley wilderness area provided that in fine order. This was a very very deserted area, with miles and miles of sloping desert in every direction, and nothing stirring. A huge full moon came up over the mountain, which almost made up for the Leafs loss?
Morning was spectacular, quiet. Harley was able to roam without his leash, and enjoyed the freedom, and never strayed too far.

It was so clear, that with binoculars, I could see trucks on the interstate, over 60km to the north!

HERE is the place.

Before you leave, check out some of the advertisements, eh!

And, in case you are new here, you can click on a photo for a larger view. Otherwise, you will never be able to see the URL on the spatula. On the post!