Friday, July 4, 2014

Appendix B: Smokey Bear

On our way from Roswell, New Mexico to I25 on US 380 we stopped in Capitan, NM and noticed a number of signs and buildings that referenced Smokey Bear. Apparently this is where the Smokey Bear story started in the spring of 1950. A black bear cube was saved but injured in a wildfire at Capitan Gap. 

Appendix A: Signs, Signs everywhere a sign... and smartphones

Captain's afterthoughts: You see many signs as you drive around the country. Advertisements, Instructions, rules of various kinds, directions, warnings about what they will do or charge you with if you were handing candy to the middle row and didn't see or disregard other signs, Information, etc. Double fines in construction zones. Possible elk ahead. Possible deer jumping over road.  Riptides possible! $600 fine for littering. 6% grade. Crooked road. The prairie dogs have the plague! (my favorite from the Badlands).

However there are some places without signs that should have them. While traveling some rural roads in New Mexico (on our way to Carlsbad Caverns) we noticed what was obviously a government site with lots of odd looking buildings. There was a sign which said WIPP facility. MP looked up the facility and found that it is a nuclear waste storage facility in an abandoned salt mine. After further investigation there was a leak that emitted "unknown amounts of radiation" into the New Mexico air. 

I have read a number of the reports and news stories about the site and leak. I would like to propose a new sign for the area.

" Possible kitty litter enabled radiation leaks/explosions possible next unknown number of miles"

"Your inappropriately-cut tax dollars at work"

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Facts, Feelings, and Favorites: the wrap up

FACT: From driveway to driveway, we drove 7,054 miles. The Suburban served us well. No flat tires, no mechanical issues. A mysterious switch to warm air by the air conditioner in Utah was concerning, but after trying it again after our stop, it went back to working. It may have just been rebelling.

Captain: River Terrance Inn, Green River, Utah
LeMoN: Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada
SJ: Hyatt Deerfield, north of Chicago
Hummingbird: Circus Circus

FEELING: In South Dakota's western mountains, and in Colorado's Rockies, and in northwestern Nevada's skiing twists and turns, they warn you about what's coming on the roads ahead. Steep declines? Multiple warnings. Switchbacks? Beware! Miles of slow curves? Heads-up! But if you turn north on Hwy 1 in California at Cambria, GOOD LUCK. No notice that you are now stuck on 130 miles of inescapable conditions like those listed. Not a drive to take when you have a destination, folks.

FACT: 0 people threw up on this vacation. Not once. That's a record.

Captain: California
MP: New Mexico
L: New Mexico
GPS: Wyoming
SJ: Nevada
H: Colorado

FACT: Our average was about 18.4 mpg. Lowest gas price was $3.21 (Arkansas) and highest was $4.23 (California).

FEELING: We're still thinking we've got it pretty good here with our four relatively-same-length seasons. It started to feel very groundhog-day-ish on the beach in CA after just a week - today, 67 and sunny. Tomorrow, 68 and sunny. I can't imagine that nearly same temp all year.

Captain: Mohave Desert, CA
MP: Edwards, CO (trail to a rushing creek, SUPER clean, friendly people)
L: Mohave
FF: still deciding
GPS: South Dakota
SJ: Salt Flats
H: the one when I really had to pee

FACT: Lost - one water bottle, one shampoo, one body scrub, countless pens, one pair of sunglasses which were later found after being replaced; Broken - 2 pair of sunglasses, the tablet charger, one cooler which we know now was probably fine but we gave up on.

FAVORITE: Park (choices - Carlsbad Caverns, NM; Grand Canyon; Henry Cowell State Redwoods Park, CA; Arches, Moab, UT; Mt. Rushmore, SD; Badlands, SD)
Captain: Grand Canyon
MP: Henry Cowell
L: Caverns
FF: Grand Canyon
GPS: Badlands
SJ: Caverns
H: Grand Canyon

FACT: 21 days, 17 states, and only 6 times at chain fast food/restaurant. Not too bad!

FEELING: We'll never forget the visits and conversations with familiar and new faces along the journey: the Wesbecher's and Schell's in Ark; the Kelbaugh's in TX; the friendly people of Lincoln, NM; the great-grandparents (of course he was an engineer!) in La Selva, CA; the Montoya's in CA; the people from Louisville/southern Ind. that were at the Salt flats with us; the Lookers in SD; Anthony from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

FAVORITE: Restaurant
C: Compagno's Market and Deli, Monterey, CA
MP: Chihuahua's, Winnemucca, NV
L: tie: the Deli/Davis Street Fishmarket, Evanston, IL/Las Vegas buffet
FF: The Tea Steakhouse, Tea, SD
GPS: Henrietta's, Albuquerque, NM
SJ: Randy's Diner, Palisade, CO
H: The Tea Steakhouse

FEELING: Blessed. What an experience - we will treasure this trip always! Thanks to the Captain for working so hard so we could do this.

One of our favorite pictures: