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Road Trip, 2015
favorite pictures

The all American dream - jump in the car and drive all the way across the country. That was our reality, September 15 - October 1, 2015. Below is a rough description of our experience. The links are slide shows of pictures I took along the way.

Start Notes End
Sept. 15
Hillsboro, OR
Day one was a driving day that started before sunrise and ended shortly before sunset. Only one picture to show - sunrise near Arlington, Oregon with Columbia River.
Salt Lake City, UT
790 Miles
Sept. 16
Salt Lake City, UT
An early start this morning in order to get to Mesa Verde in southern Colorado by noon or shortly thereafter. Mesa Verde National Park is an AWESOME place. The setting is beautiful, the idea of living in an alcove of a cliff hundreds of feet above the canyon floor is simultaneously appealing and terrifying! I took so many pictures they're divided into two groups: group 1, group 2 Cortez, Colorado
420 miles
Sept. 17
Cortez, Colorado
Another early start - gotta to catch a train out of Durango heading to Silverton! Durango was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. Track out of Silverton was laid in 1887. In the 1960s the Durango-Silverton was registered as a National Historic Landmark. Now a tourist railway, two trains a day run between Durango and Silverton through breathtaking scenery. We took the round trip. Durango to Silverton, and Silverton to Durango. Durango, Colorado
45 miles
Sept. 18
Durango, CO
Yet another early morning! Any minute I'm going to hear "So, when does vacation start?!" The Great Sand Dunes of south central Colorado seem so out of place. The dunes cover more than 130 square miles and are actively growing and changing to this day.

Two hours to the south is the amazing community of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. This cluster of adobe dwellings has been continuously occupied for more than a thousand years. The site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. This place is a photographer's dream.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
350 miles
Sept. 19
Santa Fe, New Mexico
We reserved some time in Santa Fe to visit the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. What we didn't know was the exhibits were being changed and the gallery was closed our only day in town. That was a sad morning. Fortunately we had a delicious breakfast. We had alsoheard rave reviews of the Museum of International Folk Art, so we redirected our attentions that direction. I don't usually take many museum pictures, but I had my phone in my pocket, and this place was astounding! Oklahoma City, OK
550 miles
Sept. 20
Oklahoma City, OK
More museums - The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. All I can say is Wow! We spent all morning there. From there we drove up to Tulsa to see the Philbrook Museum of Art. Here are some pictures of the grounds around the museum that I took with my phone. Muskogee, OK
200 miles
Sept. 21
Muskogee, OK
Today was family roots day. With the help of cousin Geoff, we were able to visit family landmarks we had never seen before. The Fromm cabin is now a historical site. The land homesteaded by LR's great grandfather, and family cemeteries made the day special. Finally, the home and town where her dad and his 4 brothers were born. Very interesting. Kansas Flint Hills, Burden, Cambridge, Chanute

And finally, the Road America website alerted us to the fact that there is a dinosaur park in Erie, Kansas. It was the perfect capper for the day!
Joplin, Mo
400 miles
Sept. 22
Joplin, Mo
We left Joplin, Missouri, shortly after sunrise, after a quick spin through the Murphysburg Historic District of Moffet and Sergeant streets. Pretty cool!

This was a mostly avoid freeways day. We took I44 as far as Springfield, then US 60 to Missouri Route 34 for the most part. Not a lot of 'tourist' activities along this route, though the scenery was quite nice. The highlight of the day was the little town of Marble Hill and the Bollinger Mill in Burfordville.

We crossted the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and eded the day in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Bowling Green, Ky
550 miles

Sept. 23
Bowling Green Ky
Mammoth Cave is a half hour drive north from Bowling Green. "Mammoth" is more than a title. With more than 400 miles of mapped passageways, Mammoth Cave is the worlds largest known cave system by a wide margin. Established as a national park in 1941, it became a World Heritage Site in 1981, and an international Biosphere Reserve in 1990. I took a few pictures, but cave lighting these days is very dim to prevent the growth of algae.

On our way to Charleston, WV, we stopped by the Kentucky Railway Museum. Too bad historic rolling stock is so expensive to maintain.
Charleston, WV
380 miles
Sept. 24
Charleston, WV
We knew today was going to be a long, hard drive. We started out in a demonstration coal mine (after all, what is West Virginia best known for?) What we weren't prepared for was the hours of beautiful scenery. Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park was the site of the last major Civil War confrontation in West Virginia. A wrong turn at Mill Point took us on a brief detour to Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, Front Royal, VA
350 miles
Sept. 25
Front Royal, VA
The drive from Front Royal to Fishersville via Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park is not long. We were 'blessed' with pouring rain and incredibly thick fog. The forcast is for several more days of this stuff. The vistas along this route have a reputation for great beauty. We wouldn't know... Fishersville, VA
110 miles
Sept. 26
Fishersville, Va
Given the previous day's experience and looking at the forcast, we gave up on Blue Ridge Parkway idea. We headed to Asheville, NC reading about the local history online as we traveled. The little town of Jonesborough, Tennessee caught our attention. Asheville, NC
350 miles
Sept. 27
Asheville, NC
We left Asheville via Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stopped at the Oconaluftee Farm Museum, Mingus Mill, Meigs Falls, Cades Cove and Cable Mill, On to Pigeon Forge, TN, via Rich Mountain Rd. We didn't get back to Asheville until well after dark, but not too late to stop by the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I took a lot of pictures. Then there was the bear. We saw three on our trip, one in Shenandoah and two in the Smokies. The people in the Smokiesseem totally oblivious to the risks associated with approaching bear at close range. Asheville, NC
300 miles
Sept. 28
Asheville, NC
Visited the Biltmore (no photos allowed inside), then drove to Roanoke, VA Roanoke, VA
250 miles
Sept. 29
Roanoke, VA
OK, so I left LR in Roanoke for a conference and headed back home to pick her up at the airport. I couldn't see any point in wasiting time or money, so I set the GPS to fastet route, avoid toll roads.

Toll avoidance manoeuvres prove entertaining! The most interesting was from Pax to Mossy, WV. The road was recently a 1.5 lane dirt road that had a one lane strip of asphalt down the middle. Beautiful drive, no traffic, took an extra 5 minutes or so. Today was a driving day. No pictures...
Davenport, IA
822 miles
Sept. 30
Davenport, IA
From here the GPS instructions could have been nearly as simple as "get on I-80 west. Stay on I-80 west for 1,920 miles. Your destination is on the right." I took one picture when I stopped for lunch in North Platte, Nebraska. This is the South Platte river. The North Platte runs on the north side of town. They join into the Platte river about 2 miles east. Green River, WY
1,070 miles
Oct. 1
Green River, WY
The home stretch! I wanted to avoid morning traffic in Salt Lake City, so I set the GPS to 'shortest route' rather than fastest. What a treat! From Green River, Wyoming, I went out US-30 to Kemmerer and right past the Fossil Butte National Monument. The pull of home was pretty strong, but two miles past the entrance I turned around to have a look. I was not disappointed! What a fun place! The stop coast me more than an hour, but it was worth it.

From there, Highway 30 continued on to Bear Lake. Then things got interesting. The GPS routed me onto Round Mountain Road, Laketown Road, Strawberry Valley Road, over two 7,000 foot passes, through the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area and on into Hyrum, Utah. What a fantastic drive! I saved enough miles the time difference was negligable.

Now, I'm really getting antsy to get home, but starting up the hill out of La Grande, Oregon, I see a train also just starting up the hill. I bailed off the freeway and beat the train to the historic Upper Perry Arch Bridge. What can I say - it was pretty cool!

Hillsboro, OR
855 miles

On this trip we visited 20 states (* = new for me, + = new for LR, Me only from Ohio on...)

  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico +
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma *+
  • Kansas +
  • Missouri +
  • Kentucky *+
  • West Virginia *+
  • Virginia +
  • Tennessee +
  • North Carolina +
  • Ohio *
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • Wyoming

~8,000 miles. Way more fun than that!


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