Today was a good day, travel-wise. The sun was shining all day, and the only road work I ran into was about 40 miles from my destination. I had a bit of a wait – on the two lane highways they have to make one lane stop and wait until the highway gods decide it’s the other side’s turn. It works pretty well, especially if you just settle down, turn off the ignition, and be patient. Then it’s just a mild irritation.
I left Missoula and the best motel I’ve stayed in so far at about 8 am. When I checked in the night before and saw the cleanliness and newness of the bathroom, paricularly the tub/shower, I brought in all my supplies for a leisurely shower including the razor and gel for my legs. I have been gaining an hour every other day or so, and my sleep habits haven’t quite caught up to the time zone I’m in. That’s why I always get an early start, but then I love the early stops as well.
The drive through Lewiston, OR was a piece of cake; through Clarkston wasn’t quite as easy, and Walla Walla was a mess, but that was mostly because of the GPS and its directions. I do not like the way they announce street names. It might be fine if you are driving around a big city, but when you just want to get through quickly, it seems like following the route signs is much easier. I don’t want to look for Court Street, just tell me that it’s Route 12 I am following. I gave Lee the Aussie a fit when I left Missoula this morning, and finally had to add a way point to get him to stifle it. US 12 West was 1 block away from my motel but he wanted to route me to the nearest interstate, and after about 10 miles of recalculating I had composed a sizzling letter to Garmin about it. I didn’t write it down, of course, so I have forgotten it by now.
Readers of this blog may remember that I drove some miles on US 12 through western Montana, N. Dakota and S. Dakota on my way to NY. I wanted to do more of it on the way back. At least a year ago and it may have been 2 years ago, I was enthralled by the blog of Diana, Life on the Open Road, as she described her travels across US 12. Those who read her know she usually travels with a group, so they have many stops and good fun along the way, and that trip was no exception. I almost veered up to Helena to see the state capitol building that she described. Now I plan to go back and re-read her blog entries for that trip and this time I will be familiar with some of the places she mentions. I plan to drive that route several more times, and next time I hope to stop more often.
A few readers have commented that I drive too many miles and don’t take it easy enough. I started off the trip trying to slow down, and I did to a great extent. Two things have speeded me up – I am paying from $40 to $60+ a night for motels, and I am tired of handing out that kind of money. But another reason is my need for a cornea transplant on my right eye. I hope when I’m healed from that I can see much better. It is difficult to drive some times, although I manage to drive in little or no traffic, and follow safe driving practices that everyone should follow – keep to the speed limit, leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you, and stop when you’re tired. I have done very well with it, and maybe next time I will have a camper of some sort so that I don’t have the outrageous motel costs.
AND, I have always believed that people should hike their own hike – or in this case drive their own drive. I’m not a museum goer nor a sightseer. There are places I would like to stop at but most of the time lack the incentive without someone to share it with. That’s the way I do it, and I’m happy enough with it.
There were lots of pull-outs today, but sometimes there is no scenery when you get there. These were taken from Missoula to Lewiston – a very winding road. I arrived before there was any traffic to speak of and had a really pleasant drive. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who gets carsick from twisting and turning. You may guess I hate to pass a creek without snapping a picture.
These were taken from Walla Walla down to Pendleton. I am always amazed at Eastern Oregon, as I think rainforest, lush, and green when I hear Pacific Northwest. Eastern Oregon looks like another planet sometimes. The brown hills are probably much like California’s – they would be emerald green during the rainy season.