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August 05 2010


Wyoming has four seasons…

…my sister told me. First is “winter’s almost here.” Then, “it’s winter.” Third is “winter’s almost gone,” followed by “construction.” The latter has plagued us this entire trip. Everything from slow down to slow down for miles and miles to stop, turn off the engine, and take a look around.

We ran into everything from little jobs on desert roads to major disruptions on interstates.

Just goes to show that sometimes you can fly through life and other days circumstances force your to take it slow and careful.


People you meet on the road…

…are as varied as the places you pass through. Each of these folks has a story to tell or a story in them. Let’s tally up our chance encounters over the past week or so.

Day One was a long day…from my place in California’s great agricultural Central Valley to Newell’s digs in the gold grubbing historic foothills and then over the Sierra Nevada range to the endless dry miles of the Nevada desert, champing on flatbread sandwiches and fresh grapes (thanks Newelly) as we watched the white lines whiz by. The next morning Newell looked out the window of the Motel 6 room and spotted an elephant just outside. Not for real – but a metal sculpture belonging to a friendly hobbit of a man with a trailer load of metal artfully formed into elephants and other animals. He’s from Jackson, California – between our home bases.

Day Two we wake up in a KOA campground in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Being a couple of wusses (with a lot of expensive equipment) we decided to take shelter the night before in a cabin rather than tent. To protect out gear (and that’s our story). Morning found Newell happily working away on her computer (yeah for Internet on the trail!!) while I rustled up a hearty breakfast of steak and fried potatoes – way too much for the likes of us, so we knocked on the door of our neighboring cabin and invited MarthaVan (short for Martha Van Inwegen) over to help us demolish our meal. Martha is in our age range and had traveled from working at a TV station (marketing) through various businesses and now is on the road herself marketing her line of personal products – destination this week was Butte, Montana for a mountain bike race. She tossed a couple of samples our way to experiment with – and they do a wonderful job of erasing the grease and grim of being on the road all day.

Friday through Monday had us meeting different batches, since we were at our respective relations’ homes. I swear I met more teens, pre-teens, and munchkins than there are in the entire state of Wyoming at my sister’s place. Well, maybe only ten or so, ranging from about three to young adult. But the one time we crowded into Jeanie’s living room for a potluck meal we were toe to toe and hip to hip as we ate.
A great group…they offered to take me horseback riding (too late in the day, sorry…maybe next time) and I whizzed them through two months of lessons in two days. No kidding – a bright batch with a passion for grabbing information and turning it around and making it their own. Of course it didn’t hurt that I only had a few pupils rather than the normal 35-45.
Newell settled in with her brother and his son…both of them typical back country rugged mountain men with the kind of charm only found in those who honestly enjoy their own existence and sharing it. While I left my family with hugs and kisses…Newell tossed extra baggage into the van. Yep, she went fishing and hiking and that bag is packed with fish and game (the fish she caught…the game courtesy of her brother’s freezer).

Day Six was uneventful as far as meeting folks went. From Wyoming to Pocotello, Idaho. There was a nice young man who checked us in at the campground and that was about it.

Day Seven…our second longest day. We landed at an RV park in Burns, Oregon and had just settled in when a group of young guys pedaled and drove in and set up camp near us. Turns out they were a group of Tennesseans and Texans who were doing a marathon coast to coast bicycle trip in support of aid and to draw attention to the Nashville flooding. So there we were – the two of us editing and trying to get online (don’t ask, it was abysmally slow) and them setting up tents, shooting interviews with each other, editing and relaxing.

Day Eight – I made waaayyyy too much coffee so sent the pot their way and they finished it off (hate to waste good food) and we were on the road again…this time to Adin California. The Newell guys have a cabin in the area where they go to do manly things and we got caught up in the spirit. I’ve shot handguns, but this was the first time since I was a kid I can remember using a rifle (only a 22). Pow! Pow! Another pine cone or can hits the dust!
The memorable folks this day were the gang at The Only Frosty In Town. Everyone there said hi to us and they meant it. Why did we stop there? Well in the Newell family the first person to spot Mount Shasta on the way to the cabin earns a cold treat courtesy of the other traveler(s) – and that was me since Newell was driving.

Day Nine and our final day on the road. Last night we stayed at the High Country Inn, Susanville. Wow. Big beds with fresh sheets and the first real hot shower on the trip (yeah, some of the places we stayed had showers which varied from dibbles to those wonderful changes from perfect to scalding to chilly without warning). I feel spoiled. Fast Internet, air conditioner.
Got up and had breakfast at the Sage Hen restaurant where we met our (first) person of the day – the newest waitress on duty. She took our orders carefully and returned with a perfect breakfast, only making a slight mistake when Kathy got the over hard egg (that’s me) and I got her over easy egg. Everything was forgotten as we inhaled the fluffy pancakes, perfectly cooked sausage and other tidbits.

We’ll be on the road in a bit and home tonight where I’ll finish this posting. The purpose of all this is to remind you that everyone you meet can become a posting or a visual story. Whether they be strangers met in passing or lifelong relatives…look for those stories that give your audience insight into how others live.

This posting written by me with a LOT of assistance from Kathy Newell who can remember details I often forget.

Happy trails to you…

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What we see on the road…

…is often weather. As in what’s the weather like today. Well “today” at the time was Wednesday July 28 and we were heading for Wendover, Nevada.

July 30 2010


Day Two…Lava Hot Springs…

On Hiway 30 in Nevada very near the confluence of idaho and utah

Kampin at the KOA in Lava Hot Springs Idaho

A comparatively short drive today from Wendover to Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. Just a quick post for now…Newell and I are out on the porch of our “Kampin Kabin” at the KOA. Sipping wine and solving the problems of the world. Hopefully I’ll have time when I get up to Jeanie’s (my sister) place I can sit down and catch up.

On the Agenda: what we discussed (from round hay bales to imagining infinity to how are mountains formed) and finally some video!

July 29 2010


Day one…

California to Utah. Day One was the longest drive day we have planned…but it was still visually rich.

From the lush Central Valley up into the towering trees in the gold country foothills where Newell lives…then over the Sierra Nevada range and across countless miles of Nevada desert.

An ever changing palette…from hot and dry to THUNDERSTORMS!!! Whooheee! Tape to be posted tonight hopefully. The first hint of recent rain came with the strong scent of desert sage. We could see the storm brewing miles before we hit it and when we met the downpour was so torrential that we could barely see the road. The windshield wipers tried in vain to keep up with the waterfull from above. Lighting clashed and thunder rumbled, creating a true multimedia experience.

A refreshing change from the endless summer that is California.

And then the calm…th

July 25 2010


Call of the open road…

Retirement isn’t what it is cracked up to be. I’ve had what would amount to a regular summer off for a teacher and have been busier than any other summer.

Volunteering to set up a website for an organization my husband belongs to. 48 Hour Film Project. My first post-retirement gig. Cleaning corners of the house that haven’t seen light since we moved in fifteen years ago. Training my replacement (would you believe the head of the Socials Studies department at my high school?) in the basics of video. Finishing up all of those little projects left over at the end of school. And more.

All of this so I wouldn’t feel guilty when the open road called again…as it has. Wednesday I answer that call, heading into the Old West by going east to Wyoming.

And I’ll have company…veteran VJ Kathy Newell will accompany me before heading off to her newest gig in one of California’s many wine regions.

If you live along that open road, give us a shout and we might just drop in (if you offer us story ideas and a chance to sit down and chew the bacon).

I’ve got a couple of little potential VJs sitting up in the north corner of the state, waiting for their great auntie-in-law to turn up and turn them on to what good photography is. They’ve got the first part right – they love to shoot. Now they just have to learn the rest of it – and keep that love going.

So sit back and relax and listen…you might just hear the old van wheezing by with a couple of dreamers looking for the truth. On the road again…

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