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Old 08-17-2013, 11:46 AM   #76
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Will you be able to see the northern lights near the arctic circle? If so, that's a pic requirement
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:15 PM   #77
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

If I see the northern lights, I'll obviously be taking photos. That's a notoriously difficult thing to get good photos of, so don't expect much more than a green blur against a black background if so. The iPhone is not so hot at those kind of shots.

I've woken up early in Fairbanks and have time for another update before I head up to the Arctic Circle today. Let's see, when we last left our hero, I had just finished a loop up in through the Rocky Mountain National Park area with my cousin, then returned to Denver.

After a farewell BBQ with family, I headed out of Denver via a southwesterly route. I was leaving not too long before sunset and wanted to go over/near the Sangre de Cristo mountains on my way out, so that's what I did:



heading southwest down 115, through Florence, then over 96 and up 69 alongside the mountains to Salida, where I spent the night.

It got cloudy pretty quick, so no good shots of the sunset. Awesome shots of cloudy passes, though:




The next day, I left Salida and headed west on 50. I crossed the continental divide at Monarch Pass after driving up into the mountains:




There's a little station there with rickety cable cars that you can ride up to the top of the peak. They sway back and forth a lot because of all the wind up there. It's a mono-cable, so they also stop the cars constantly to let someone else in the next car. That means that you end up stopped in your car dangling above the mountain while the mountain winds send you swinging all around. Good thing I'm not afraid of heights. I took this about a third of the way up:




At the top of the peak inside the little station, there's a map where you can stick a pin to show where you are from. I probably should have put one in D.C., but the last place I lived was St Thomas and there wasn't a pin there, so St Thomas it was:



South America seems pretty underrepresented, as does Russia. That's my white pin on St Thomas. The green one next to it was in Puerto Rico.


The continental divide goes right through the little station:




It's tough to do justice to the view. It's just infinite mountains in all directions. Pike's peak is somewhere in the distance here:



Just imagine stuff like that in a 360 degree view, and that's what it looks like. It's worth spending the $10 or whatever to go up to the top. It's also super windy up there so bring a windbreaker or suffer like I did. Suffering does build character.

Kept heading west out 50, then made a sharp detour south down 149 not too long after passing Gunnison. This road goes through a ton of canyons:






and you can't go much faster than about 20-30mph for most of it, due to it being unpaved.

There weren't many people on this road. I did see this little dog running along in the other direction. No clue what's in his mouth:




There are some cool ranches up there for sale:




Sometimes the road got kind of narrow:




Saw this sign in quite a few places:



and every time, my first thought was of Monopoly and Scrabble trying to walk across the road and what an awesome photoshop that would be.


How do they come up with some of these names?



LOLslumgullion


This is a sweet one for those of us that like the water:



Maybe tempting fate a little too much, though.


Eventually 149 connects with 160, which I took south to Pagosa Springs. I really liked this town. It's a little town nestled up in the mountains with some hot springs. Doesn't sound like much, but it has a cool funky vibe to it, if that makes sense. I didn't take any photos of the hot springs themselves as there were a lot of people there the entire time, so here's a photo of an Idaho Spud I have yet to eat, on the map of the springs:



They had something like 23 different pools fed by the springs, I went in a bunch of them. Temperatures ranged from in the 90s(f) to up to 114(f) for one they called The Lobster Pot. The San Juan river runs right next to the springs, so I jumped in there to cool off a few times. There are trout in there but I didn't see any.

After spending the night at Pagosa Springs, I headed west to Durango, then hung a right to head north up 550 into the San Juan Forest toward Silverton. The road gets much more mountainy on this stretch:




and the final approach to Silverton itself offers an incredible view of the town:





Assuming I survive the Arctic Circle and Arctic Ocean over the next few days, you'll probably enjoy some of the photos I took after Silverton. I went up the north side of what is called the Alpine Loop, and there's a reason they call it that. Really tested the CRV on some crazy roads where offroad Jeeps and ATVs were the only other vehicles I saw, barring one or two other idiots like me. Sick sick views.



Bonus photo of the warning sign near the start of the Alpine Loop:



They aren't kidding with that 15MPH sign.




Off to do final provisioning in Fairbanks, then up to the Arctic Ocean I go. More updates when/if I make it back.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #78
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Extra bonus non-photo of what I'll be driving the next few days:



I'm in Fairbanks now. The plan is currently:

Today: Drive up to that campground just inside the Arctic Circle (MP 115) today and camp there tonight. That's about 200 miles north of Fairbanks. The MP means milepost, it's how many miles you are from the starting point.

Day 2: Head up to Wiseman/Coldfoot (MP 189 / 175) the next day on a short trip and explore the area.

Day 3: Go all the way up to Deadhorse (MP 414) and spend the night.

Day 4: Dip my toe in the Arctic Ocean, and head back down to the Wiseman/Coldfoot area for the night.

Day 5: Back to Fairbanks for the evening.

Day 6: Who knows? Probably head toward Denali on the way to Anchorage.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:49 PM   #79
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Looks like there is some internet up here after all. Spent last night camping at the Arctic Circle:




now exploring the Wiseman/Coldfoot area:




on to the Arctic Ocean tomorrow.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:07 AM   #80
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Booked my Arctic Ocean shuttle for early next week.

From the website:




let us go go go!
really curious how this is. i was in fairbanks a few years ago with my family, but couldnt convince my mom to take this trip.

gl in the ocean!
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:21 AM   #81
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Anchorage=boring idk lol not like i go out and do some sight seeing!
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:35 AM   #82
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

First things first - I'm alive, how lucky!

Finished the trip up to Prudhoe Bay, walked into the Arctic Ocean, and now I'm down in Anchorage exploring the area for some undetermined time. I'll write more about the entire trip later, but no need to send the St Bernard's out to save me. I will take tiny kegs of alcohol, though, if anyone happens to be in or around Anchorage.

Continuing the story... when we last left off, I had made it to Silverton, CO and was getting ready to start the north end of the Alpine Loop. I didn't really know what to expect, but I was very glad I had 9" of ground clearance by the time the day was done.

Here is the Alpine Loop:




I started at Silverton, went up to Animas Forks, then took the north part of the loop through Engineer Pass and on to Lake City. The dashed lines mean that the road is not paved. That's a severe understatement, as you are about to see.

Not too far past the warning sign from my last post, was this welcome sign:




Significantly less foreboding. That said, I quickly found a casualty of the road:




RIP, buddy.

The Loop started off fairly peaceful, with a phenomenal view of the canyon entry:




After passing through most of that canyon, I was starting to get some altitude:




Eventually I made it up to Animas Forks, where the entry to the Engineer/Cinnamon Pass area began:




I can safely say that I was not ready for the road ahead. It got significantly rougher, very quickly:




That wet section is where a tiny stream is crossing the road. In both the foreground and in the rear is an enormous section of bumpy rock. It's hard to tell the scale from that photo, but the bumps were at some points over a foot high. My ground clearance in the CRV was 9", so I was going extremely slowly, like 3 mph, and picking my way very carefully in order to not get stuck. This was also about the time I was starting to wonder if this was really such a good idea to even be trying. The only other vehicles I saw on the Alpine Loop were all ATVs, or off-road rigged Jeeps. There was also a single passenger van that had been lifted and had all terrain tires on it. He was probably the only person dumber than me.

The road only got worse:




But by that point, I had gone up some sections that there was no way I'd be able to get back down, so I was committed to finishing what I had started. You can't see it, but in the foreground of this shot, it basically dropped straight down many hundreds of feet. I took that photo standing on the edge, perhaps not my smartest photo attempt. That lack of space made coming up around the bend and making it over those rocks a bit of a challenge. I was really glad I had picked a high clearance vehicle right around then.

You can't really see how it dropped off, but here's a photo in the other direction:




I kept heading up, and the road got much more narrow the higher I got:




It was easy to let the ATVs pass because they are pretty small and very nimble, but it got tricky when the Jeeps went by. It was a very tight squeeze.

The road also got steeper:




Eventually I made it to the top, near Engineer Pass. That's about 13,000 feet up. There's a little section up there called "Oh! Point", and that's probably named such because when you get up there, about the only thing you can say is "Oh!":







I don't really have adequate words to describe what it was like to be up there. Check out "Oh! Point" on Youtube for videos that people have made. It's just phenomenal. Getting there and looking around at all those peaks from that vantage point made the slow trudge up the mountain over all of those rocks completely worthwhile. I strongly recommend checking it out if you ever get the opportunity. I also recommend a AWD/4WD vehicle with high ground clearance.


Of course, I still had to get back down..

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Old 08-25-2013, 02:48 AM   #83
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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really curious how this is. i was in fairbanks a few years ago with my family, but couldnt convince my mom to take this trip.

gl in the ocean!
I enjoyed it. Especially going through Atigun Pass, because it was snowing with blizzard conditions and I saw a wolf up there just a few car lengths away from my car. After you get down out of the mountain range the drive is fairly boring through the tundra, but I saw a grizzly out there which was a nice highlight. More on all this when I get to that section of the trip report.


Quote:
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Anchorage=boring idk lol not like i go out and do some sight seeing!

I'm in Anchorage now, I guess you don't have any suggestions. I wonder if Elmendorf Air Force Base gives tours. When I drove through Eielson near Fairbanks, I watched the F-16s doing some sweet maneuvers, it was pretty awesome. Elmendorf has F-22s, I'd love to see those.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:14 PM   #84
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

If anyone has any advice/thoughts on where to live in Hawaii for a few months, that would be pretty sweet as well. I already made a post in the Travel forum thread.

Basically I think I've narrowed it to Kauai or Maui. Maybe end up splitting time between them. Looking for a nice chill spot to relax and enjoy nature and local culture for a couple of months while figuring out where the next sailboat is that I'll be crewing on. I'm interested in nature, hiking, sailing, exploring, local food, etc. Not interested in nightlife, fabricated tourist stuff, etc.

Will probably end up just flying to Kauai, getting a room for a week, and then finding a temp lease or sublet for a month, then doing the same over in Maui a month later. Exploring both islands in the mean time, with maybe some additional exploring on the other islands.

Any thoughts/advice/etc appreciated. I've never been to Hawaii.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:08 PM   #85
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

chopstick,

If you have time/interest and find yourself down towards Seward, roll over to Kenai Fjords NP. Some nice hikes up to and on the glacier. If you have a chance, fish out a broken-off piece of the glacier as it floats by downstream. Just like a crystal, all the air has been compressed out.

Other than that, it was pretty rainy and meh when I was in Seward.

When you get to the Dalton part of the trip report, please mention how much of it is paved. When I went (2003?) it seems as if there was just a small stretch around Coldfoot, but there had been talks of doing more.

IIRC, there was contention between people who wanted more tourists and those who believe that the gravel kept people away who shouldn't be in that situation, and therefore was a good thing.

Great TR, looking forward to more.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:18 PM   #86
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'm in Anchorage now, I guess you don't have any suggestions. I wonder if Elmendorf Air Force Base gives tours. When I drove through Eielson near Fairbanks, I watched the F-16s doing some sweet maneuvers, it was pretty awesome. Elmendorf has F-22s, I'd love to see those.[/QUOTE]


Yes F-22's are awesome but so loud...i lived on base and its pretty much nothing here miss okinawa (way much better)
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:39 PM   #87
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'd say somewhere between 25-33% of the Dalton was paved. Probably on the lower end of that. Far better than I initially thought, which was 0%.

No time to head down to Seward - I sold the CRV a few hours ago, had the buyer drop me off at the airport, and then bought a one way ticket to Kauai. My flight leaves in six hours.

let us go go go!


I'd do another update here but the wifi in the airport is really slow, and I want to always include lots of photos in each update. Once I get settled in Kauai I'll write up the next segment.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:10 AM   #88
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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No time to head down to Seward - I sold the CRV a few hours ago, had the buyer drop me off at the airport, and then bought a one way ticket to Kauai. My flight leaves in six hours.

let us go go go!
Haha, love it!
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:05 AM   #89
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail



loving the updates chopstick.
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:22 PM   #90
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Since I'm stick at SFO waiting for my now 3 hours delayed flight to take me away to Kauai, here's a bonus photo in the meantime.

This husband & wife were hanging out near me in the Anchorage airport last night. You only get one guess what language they were speaking.

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Old 09-08-2013, 03:01 AM   #91
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

As incredible a view as it was up at Oh! Point, eventually it was time to head back down from the mountains.



Yeah, it was pretty much rockslide city right there.

It wasn't nearly as fun going down as it was going up. And by fun, I mean treacherous, so that's a good thing. I think I made it up to almost 10mph on at least one of the stretches down into the valleys. Eventually, I reached the end of the Alpine Loop, making it to Lake City:




where I considered staying for the night but eventually decided to keep on keeping on. I ended up going through the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation:




where I saw rabbits every 15 feet or so. I ended up driving extra slow just to make sure I didn't run over any. I also did not disturb any archaeological ruins. Made it up to Montrose, CO for the evening, just south of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

The next day, I headed up toward Grand Junction to visit the Colorado National Monument, near Fruita, Colorado:




I didn't really know what the CNM was, driving into it. Turns out it's a series of enormous canyons and trails.




They claim to have bighorn sheep there:




but I didn't see any.

I thought that Cold Shivers Point was a pretty funny name:




and then I found out that it has that name for good reason:




It was a long, long way to fall. It was kind of hard to drive around the park for me, because I kept wanting to look out into those canyons while driving. That turned out to not be a good idea. I started feeling target fixation for the first time in a car. I've felt it many times on motorcycles, but this was the first time I'd ever felt it in a car. Eventually I had to just force myself to ignore the canyons to make sure I didn't drive off a cliff into one of them. I found this very funny because the entire reason I was there was to see what was there, and yet I was driving along making sure not to look.

After CNM, it was time to leave Colorado heading west on Interstate 70:




and enter Utah:




I was able to ignore the first sign I saw:




having left all my livestock at home, but thought the second one was pretty awesome:




though the only birds I saw in the road were turkey vultures:




I saw those guys when I hung a left off 70 to go down route 128 toward Moab. A friend had strongly suggested visiting Arches National Park, so I decided to head down there.

128 was a nice drive, lots of driving along a river down and through various canyons:




and when I got to Arches, I was able to save myself the $10 entry thanks to the annual national parks pass I had bought back at the Rocky Mountain national park:




Driving around through the park reminded me of Garden of the Gods back near Denver, except on a much more powerful scale:




You can walk around amongst the rocks, but you are supposed to stay on the trails:




You can see people walking up a trail here:




this trail is mostly over rock of various angles. Just left of center you can barely make out the area where people park. This trail is a 3 mile round trip and goes up to Delicate Arch which is a 65 foot freestanding natural arch that is definitely worth the hike.

It makes for a ridiculously good photo op if you are willing to walk out there:



You can't see it in that photo, but in the foreground to the lower right, there is an enormous pit. It's right out of Return of the Jedi, I half expected to see the Sarlacc down there. You have to walk around the edge to get under the Delicate Arch.

It's definitely a hike to get out there, but as you can see, it's worth it for the photo. Behind the arch it pretty much just drops off into a canyon, so you need to be cool with that kind of thing if you want to go out there for a shot like this. And trust me, you do want to. This is one of the coolest things I did on the entire trip. I highly recommend it.




In the next update, I'll arrive at the Great Salt Lake and find a bunch of dead birds and live shrimp, then attempt to cross the Great Salt Lake Desert.

Spoiler:




Bonus photo from Seattle:



Yes, those are vats of cheese. Yes, I ate some.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:17 AM   #92
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

are you going to any other parks in utah? some of the greatest rock formations in the world. bryce, zion, cedar point, etc.
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:46 PM   #93
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

chopstick,

Is my water bottle still down in the bottom of the pit near Delicate Arch?

When I was there, I set it down to take a picture. Can't remember now if I knocked it over or the wind blew it or what, but it started rolling, rolling, rolling...

Very much enjoying your TR. CNM is much better the most-of-the-time it's not raining. Too bad you caught it on a bad day.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:02 AM   #94
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

If you're not aware, America's Cup has started.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:53 AM   #95
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

And Oracle is in deep, deep doodoo.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:21 AM   #96
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

movieman - I'm long gone from Utah, maybe next time.

golddog - Probably. Time for it to find a new definition of pain and suffering, as it is slowly digested over a thousand years.

pig4bill & WindigoBob - I'm more of a cruiser than a racer, but I will say that Oracle's vessel looks pretty badass.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:51 AM   #97
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After noting the proper distance to maintain from 8-bit bicyclists:




it was time to leave Arches National Park. That is not to say that there were no more canyons to drive through on the way out, of course:




I headed back up to 70 west, then cut north up 6, passing Starvation Road along the way. I did not stop to find out how that road got its name. A little outside of Salt Lake City, I saw this guy:




for whom I guess just sticking his head out the window had gotten boring and he'd decided to level up. A happier dog, I have not seen in a long time. That photo was taken at about 70mph.

Not too far from SLC, I found some guys selling various types of jerky out of their RV at a gas station:




That was just too sketchy for me to pass up, so I bought myself a package of venison jerky and a package of elk jerky. Good stuff.

I also noticed that Utah doesn't seem to have the same hatred/suspicion of wind power that North Dakota had:




with a fair amount of wind turbines along many of the highways.

I stopped into SLC, but didn't stay very long. Just got some fuel and headed west on 80 to see the Great Salt Lake:




I don't think there's a better word to describe the GSL than "desolate". It was just really depressing. Extremely arid, as you'd imagine. The walk out to the water was very crunchy, and salt immediately started caking all over my shoes and feet. Just in case it needed an extra something for maximum desolateness, this was a pretty common sight on the walk out to the water:



there were dozens and dozens that I passed like that. I don't know what happened to them or how they died, but wow was it depressing to walk past one of those, let alone a few dozen.

The walk out to the water itself took about 7-8 minutes. The water had a couple of birds pecking about, but other than the birds, there were only two other lifeforms. The first was lots of tiny brine shrimp that were fairly bright red. I took photos but they didn't come out very well. These brine shrimp get harvested for various commercial usages. The other were brine flies. There were infinite brine flies that hung out at the water's edge. There are literally tens or hundreds of billions of these things just at the Great Salt Lake alone. About a billion per mile of shoreline from what I read. You walk up and suddenly the ground which had looked like black dirt before turns white or grey as a massive cloud of brine flies takes to the air with an evil buzz. It's pretty nasty.

I did notice that there were some enormous spiders near one of the docks. I was wondering how the hell there were so many huge spiders in one small place, then I encountered the brine flies and understood. The Great Salt Lake is like heaven on earth for spiders. I don't think they even need to make webs, they can just open their spider mouths and a moment later in will fly a brine fly. If I come back as a spider, I'm moving to the Great Salt Lake.

After leaving the Great Salt Lake and shaking off the remaining brine flies and salt, it was time to drive west through the Great Salt Lake Desert. This is indeed a desert made of salt, and it goes on and on:




Not a great photo, but it was tough to take a good one, they all came out as just a block of half blue (sky) and half white (salt) for the most part. Just imagine driving through endless flat salt, and that will be about right.

I did get a slightly better photo here:




Yes, of course I tried it, and no, the little faucet there did not work. My feet were destined to stay salty. I walked out there a bit, and took a little salt in a ziploc bag as a souvenir. You walk out and it's just crunch crunch crunch because the salt is pretty cakey. It's not like fine grains, it's more like when you expose salt to humid air and it gets puffy.

At the end of the desert are the Bonneville Salt Flats, which you already know about if you are at all interested in motorcycles. It's a super flat area where a lot of land speed records are set. I passed through there, then into Nevada. Hung a right onto 93 north, and went through the town of Jackpot, Nevada just before making it to Idaho. Now that's a name.

Stopped for the night at Twin Falls, Idaho. There's not much there, but the Shoshone Falls Park is pretty neat. Some sweet waterfalls with nonstop rainbows:




A rainbow can only hold your attention for so long, so I headed out over the Perrine Bridge:




which goes over Snake River. This is the only bridge in the U.S. where base jumping is explicitly legal. I saw a guy do a base jump right as I got there, but didn't get the iPhone out in time to get a photo. I hung out for a bit hoping to see someone else jump, but that was the only guy I saw do it.

Some of the signs on the bridge:






In the next episode, I will double the population of southeast Oregon by simply driving into it, then head west to check out Crater Lake while avoiding being burned alive by the crazy forest fires all over the coast.



Bonus Photo:



That's where I was about 6 hours ago. That's the Puu O Kila lookout in Kokee State Park in Kauai. It looks out over the Kalalau Valley. This is one of the wettest places on earth, averaging almost 38 feet of rain each year. Yes, 38 feet. It rained about five separate times in the 90 or so minutes that I was up there. Hence the sweet double rainbow.

I think I'm going to go up in one of those little powered hang gliders in the next day or so. I was thinking of a helicopter tour, but the hang gliders seem much cooler. This is the one I'm probably going to do. They haven't had anyone die recently, unlike their competitors. They also have some pretty sweet videos up on Youtube, and they let you steer the glider when you're in the air. How can I say no?
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:04 AM   #98
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I was thinking of a helicopter tour, but the hang gliders seem much cooler.
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:29 PM   #99
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After heading out of Twin Falls, it was time to make my way into Oregon. I headed northwest up 84, but before making it to Boise, saw a sign for a placed called "Silver City". That's a place up in the hills/mountains of western Idaho, and when you googlemap it, you need to zoom waaaaay in before any roads show up. It looked like I could cut through Silver City instead of going all the way up to Boise, so I took a left and started heading due west.

When I saw this sign:



I figured that nothing would be worse than the Alpine Pass was, and it was only 20 miles, so what the heck?

Indeed, the road up into the hills started off fairly easy:




and while it did get rough in parts, I eventually made it to Silver City about an hour and change later:




Yeah, 5mph. It was reasonable, too. There are a lot of old time prospector buildings and stuff in that tiny town, but since I don't care about that kind of thing, I didn't take any photos of them. I did take a photo of the town sentry who stopped me on my way out:




He just stood there looking at me for probably about 7 minutes. I wasn't trying to run over a cow so there really wasn't anything I could do but wait. Eventually he cleared me for exit and on I went.

After driving through infinite plains, I made it to the state border. They don't spend as much money on the state border signs when you are crossing borders on gravel roads in the middle of LOLnowhere:




I made it up to Burns, Oregon a little after nightfall. I think that southeast Oregon is the least populated area I've ever driven through in the lower 48. I saw five other cars total in an hour and change on the way up to Burns after crossing the border. I guess I shouldn't be surprised:




Burns was the place with the funky heart shaped/painted tub that I posted before.

The next morning, I kept heading west toward Crater Lake. I took some very off the beaten path roads, going through places like Christmas Valley, OR, where all of the streets are named things like "Snowman Road" and "Christmas Tree Lane".

I crossed through a bunch of national forests and wildlife refuges, and eventually made my way to just southeast of Crater Lake, in the Sun Pass State Forest:




The roads there got somewhat crazy at times:




but eventually I made it to Crater Lake Highway:




That blurry in the distance at the end of the road is because there was a ton of smoke that was being blown east from the coast near Medford, where lots of wildfires were raging.

I ended up driving out toward Medford because there was infinite smoke everywhere and visibility was extremely poor. I stopped at the entrance to Crater Lake and had dinner at a restaurant there. The server mentioned that the late afternoon and evenings had been full of smoke for the last few days, and coming in the morning would be better. After a field trip out to Medford for the night, I made it back late the next morning, and things were much more clear:




More on the actual Crater Lake experience in the next update.


Bonus photo: Spent yesterday afternoon hanging out at Wailua Beach Park in Kauai watching hot chicks in bikinis surf:





Super bonus thread update: The owner of the boat that I helped sail down to the Dominican Republic from Miami wants to head south again, either directly to Venezuela via Jamaica, or down the island chain, then over to the ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). He emailed me and said he'd love to have me aboard again if I want to crew. So if you are getting bored with the land-based trip report, take heart. Looks like I'll be back to lassoing sharks in a few weeks or so.

I really should get a real camera at some point and learn how to take good photos. The iPhone is awesome for convenience, but a good camera would probably do for some sweeter photos.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:18 PM   #100
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

We left off at entering Crater Lake.

A few different people recommended checking out Crater Lake, so it had been on my list for most of the trip. It was pretty far out of the way from where I was headed, but after looking at photos online, I decided there was no way that I was going to miss it.

As you can tell by the name, it looks like an enormous crater. But it wasn't made by a meteor striking the earth and creating a crater. It's actually a caldera, which is the result of a volcano collapsing in on itself. It's also the deepest lake in the US. Also cool is that there are no rivers in or out - all of the water is the result of snow or rain.

You need to be careful walking around the edges:




The view along the edge is pretty nice:






There's a little trail that you can hike up near one of the western edges:




Here's how high up that trail goes from where you start hiking. That parking lot is where the CRV is parked. You can also see on the right the sweet vantage that this spot gives you. There was a lot of smoke out there from the forest fires so my photos aren't very good for across-the-lake visibility, but you can get an idea of what the vantage point is like. I recommend hiking up to this area if you ever go to Crater Lake. It's called Watchman's Peak:




There's also a trail that you can walk down to get to the bottom where the lake is:




The Cleetwood Cove Trail is pretty serious. People were really panting on the way back up. It's just over a mile, with an 11% grade and a bunch of switchbacks. You probably want to be in at least decent shape before trying this. The way down is easy but coming back up can be tough if you aren't in good shape.

The trail is pretty steep and at times you are almost directly above the people below you due to the switchbacks:




The scenery is worth the trek:






At the bottom is a small boat dock where you can take a ride around the lake. I got there too late to do that, but no big loss as you can see everything was covered in smoke anyway:




After hiking back up the trail, it was time to leave:




Ended up staying in Eugene for the night. The next day, I knew I'd be staying with a friend in Portland, so I decided to take a slow drive up the coast. I headed west out 20 until I got the the coast, then headed north. Made sure to stop at a beach and walk into the ocean as soon as I got to the Pacific:




The beach had some helpful Tsunami hints:




As well as a lot of rules:




I didn't know which sign to look at first:




The beach was extremely windy and somewhat cold. Not what I was used to coming from the Caribbean. Eventually I got back on the road and headed up the coast. I like that many of the coastal towns have little flags with their own insignia:




that's a kid holding up a crab he caught, I think. Good job, Taft District.


After a leisurely drive up to the Tillamook area, I headed back inland to Portland and met up with my friend at his place. He used to be a chef, so he has a pretty sweet collection of kitchen knives and cleavers:




No clue what anyone needs that many cleavers for. I guess that's why I'm not a chef.



Next up: Thru Seattle, and into lolCanada.
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