We decided to get an early start. After a morning of packing, shopping, getting car washed & filled up then loaded up, we left at 4 pm. We took I-5 South. Stopped for dinner at 5pm at Three Rivers Mall in Kelso. Ate at Izzy's. Not bad - they've added grill items to the buffet. David's meal included a drink (all because he was a "senior"). We finished dinner and got back on the road at 5:45 pm. At 6:18 we turned off of I-5 and took I-205 south to bypass Vancouver & Portland. Crossed into Oregon at 6:27 pm and returned to I-5 South at 6:45 pm. We stopped for the night at 7:23 pm in Woodburn, OR. We are staying at Best Western. Drove a total of 142.5 miles.
Monday, Sept 22, 2014
Ate breakfast at our hotel then we loaded up and hit the road at 8:45. We continued south on I-5. We had lunch at Wolfcreek B&J Deli at 12:20. In Grants Pass, we took Hwy 199 - The Redwood Hwy to Cave Junction where we took Hwy 46 - The Cave Hwy to the Oregon Caves National Monument. Arrived at 3:15pm and took the 3:30 tour. The cave was fantastic - made of marble (a rare thing). We only went to the half way point - we found it to be too strenuous for us - we were out of breath. Stairs were steep and it was narrow and low ceiling. The full tour is 90 minutes. We left at 4:20. decided to head back to Grants Pass to get to I-5. Ate dinner at Applebee's in Grants Pass at abt 5:45. Went to stay at the Best Western but the only room available on the first floor was a smoking room. Decided to head on down the freeway. We stopped for the night at Rogue River City - also a Best Western at 7:15 pm. Drove 314.8 miles.
Little later start today, we left at 9:35 after eating breakfast at the hotel. We stopped in Medford at a Costco gas station to fill up. It was another cloudy morning. We entered into California at 10:49 am.
We had lunch in Weed at a local Taco Bell at 12:23. We were back on the road at about 1 pm. We turned off of I-5 South to CA89. Wow, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest shows lots of signs of previous wildfires. BTW: this route is known as the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (from Crater Lake to Lassen). We arrived in Lassen National Park at 3 pm. The drive through with various stops took us until 5:30. What a beautiful area - what devastation it had over the past 100 years. After leaving Lassen, we ended up on Hwy 36W to Red Bluff. Checked into our hotel at 6:50. Ordered pizza from Domino's. Total miles today 280.3
Wednesday, Sept 24, 2014
Ate breakfast at our hotel, checked out and had them make reservations for us at Yosemite. We then hit the road at 9:30. It's a sunny morning. We continued south on I-5. Around noon we turned off onto CA99 South. Stopped for lunch at Denny's in Elk Grove at 12:30. We then got back on the road at 1:30, stopping in Lodi for gas. Somewhere along the way we turned onto Hwy 120 to head for Yosemite. We entered the park proper at almost 5 pm. We stayed on 120 till we got to Hwy 41 to head to Oakhurst (just outside the park). Left the park at 6:45 and checked into our hotel at 7:30. Went for dinner at the restaurant next door. This is our expensive night. Drove a total of 338.9 miles.
Thursday, Sept 25, 2014
Ahh . . . no free breakfast today so we walked over to the restaurant where we had dinner last night. We did get a discount on the meal. Then we went back to our room to pack and load up the car for another long day. Funny thing . . . our card keys wouldn't let us in the room. They had to call maintenance. Oh well . . . we were back on the road by 10 am heading back into Yosemite. We went up to Glacier Point and got excellent photos of Half Dome and some of the falls (water level is really low). We at lunch then headed back to continue on our merry way through the park. We were able to see Bridalveil Falls, and El Capitan (up close!). We left the park at 5 pm and continued on Hwy 395S. Spending the night in Bishop (at another Best Western!). Dinner was at Upper Crust Italian restaurant. Fantastico!. 218.3 miles driven.
Friday, Sept 26, 2014
After breakfast at the hotel, we filled up the car with gas and headed towards Death Valley at 9 am. We entered Death Valley at 11 am and stopped for lunch at StovePipe Wells Saloon. We then continued on to Scotty's Castle. the high temperature on the floor was 106 degrees. We took the tour of the castle and learned all sorts of history. We finished up the tour at 4 pm and headed back out of the Valley finally leaving the park at 5:45. We decided to head on to Nevada (crossing at 6:46) to stay at Pahrump (no room at the inn!) so had to continue on to Las Vegas. We kept seeing lightening in the hills. And we kept getting closer to it! Finally arrived in Vegas at 9:35 at a Best Western. Drove a total of 382.6 miles. Poor internet service so was unable to update blog.
Saturday, Sept 27, 2014
After breakfast at the hotel, we filled the car up with gas and headed out at 9:10 am. We visited Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Hoover Dam. We drove intermittently on the Historic US Route 66. We decided to call it an early day as we needed to do laundry. We stayed at Canyon Lodge (the first non-Best Western Hotel) and had to go around the corner to the local laundromat in historic Seligman, AZ. Dinner was at a local restaurant that had fantastic homemade food.. Total miles for the day was 192.5. Another night of poor internet service so was unable to update blog.
Sunday, Sept 28, 2014
Hotel had a continental breakfast. Had to go back to the laundromat to finish drying our clothes, so, we had a very late start. We got on the road at 10:20. For the first time since starting our vacation, we had rain in Williams. Did a little bit more of the historic US Rte 66 today on our way to Grand Canyon. Stopped for lunch at Tasayan for lunch before heading on to the visitor center. We arrived at 1 pm and rode the Blue then Red route shuttles to get a tour of the South Rim. We got back at the visitor center at 4:50 and left the park at 5:30. Ended up heading to Flagstaff to get hotel room, which means we will be back tracing our route tomorrow as we head up to the North Rim. We pulled into Best Western Pony Soldier at 7pm. Ordered dinner in. Total miles: 198.8
Monday, Sept 29, 2014
Breakfast at the hotel then on the road at 9 am. We headed for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Took us about 4 hours to reach the area. We then spent another two hours enjoying the Park. North rim is different from the South rim. still beautiful. After visiting the park, we headed north into Utah so we can visit Zion. We traveled a total of 279.1 miles.
Tuesday, Sept 30, 2014
Wow . . . a time change (I thought we had already done that when we hit Arizona but evidently they don't do Daylight Savings Time). All times we mention will be in Pacific Daylight Savings Time (as we were using the clock in the car). After breakfast, we pulled out at 8:39 am to head for Zion. We entered the park an hour later. Went straight to the Visitor's Center so we can get our Passport stamped (yes, there is a special Passport book for National Parks that you can collect cancellation stamps). We then caught the shuttle that took us to various points of interest (where you cannot take a car). We ate lunch at the cafe at Zion Lodge then caught another shuttle back to the visitors center. We left the park at 1:15. Ended up on I-15 North. Spent the night in Fillmore, UT at a Best Western (stopped driving at 4:20). Total miles was 203.1.
Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014
I would not recommend the hotel we just spent the night at - our room did not have a microwave, the shower head would not adjust, water temperature fluctuated a lot and the carpet was dirty (my new white socks were very dark brown). We did get a free breakfast at the restaurant next door to the hotel (we had dinner there last night). As we were leaving the restaurant, I get a phone call from our son, Nathan. He informed us that he was in Portland (actually in the Columbia River heading for dry dock). After a lengthy conversation with him and getting the car loaded, we left the hotel at 9:39. Oh, it had rained last night. We filled the car up with gas again today. We continued north on I-15 then switched to I-84W. We had several rain showers while driving. Crossed into Idaho at 2 pm. Stopped for the night in Mountain Home, ID. Staying at another Best Western facility. Total miles was 425.
Thursday, Oct 2, 2014
We had coupons for a free breakfast at the restaurant next door to the hotel. Good food. Loaded up the car, cleaned the bugs off the front windshield, and hit the road at 8:30. Filled the car with gas. We crossed into Oregon at 10 am (back in the Pacific Time zone!). Stopped for lunch in La Grande at 12:30 and was back on the road by 1. We had a brief phone call from Nathan (he's now in his hotel). We arrived in Pendleton at almost 2 pm. We took in the Historical Station Museum then the Underground Tour. I recommend that tour to everyone! It was very interesting to hear the history of Pendleton and compare the reasons for the underground compared to the Seattle Underground. The tour lasted almost 2 hours (normally only 90 minutes but we had a "lights out"). We are now staying in Hermiston, OR (arrived at 5pm) at a Best Western. Total miles for the day was 284.8.