Thursday, October 16, 2014

California to Colorado and Home!

It seems like the last few days of the trip went by very quickly and we were suddenly at home. There was not even that many photos taken. Here's the best of them...

Mount Shasta in northern California.'s a fine example of windshield tourism. We didn't even stop the van for a good look. Maybe that had to do with the nearly 100 degree weather.

We spent three days with our friends Brian and Celestine at their home outside of Sacramento. Pretty much we just spent time relaxing, enjoying sleeping on a real bed, and enjoying the great company and good food. These folks have been great friends over the years and we always enjoy the time we get to spend together, which thankfully has been fairly plentiful over the past few years!

Our plans to head south and visit Yosemite were dashed by a wildfire that had closed access to Tioga Pass to go out of the valley to the east. It would have been a long out & back adventure, adding maybe 300 miles to our planned route to do this. Yosemite will have to wait until next time. So, we headed east and stopped to explore a bit around Lake Tahoe on the California / Nevada border. We bopped around south shore a bit, then headed up to Emerald Bay to camp. We were treated to some great views, and ended up doing a very nice hike.

Lake Tahoe basin from Echo Summit on US 50

Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe

Proving to Meghan that even an old man can climb a tree!

Our hike gained a bit of elevation from the campground just above the lake!
The weather forecast called for a relatively mild day across most of Nevada, so we decided to get an early start and beat any potential heat wave we might have seen later in the week. We crossed the 400+ miles of Nevada in a single day and camped for the night in Wendover, on the Nevada / Utah border. Meghan decided if she never sees the inside of a casino again, that will be too soon. The smoky and/or 'perfumey' was really unpleasant, and the anti-kid thing didn't play well either. Though they had penny slots in Wendover, and we had A TON of pennies from the center console, I decided they'd look better in my penny jar at home than in the casino bank account. I guess I'm not much of a gambler.

Meghan 'straddling' the Nevada / Utah border in Wendover
The next day we took a brief detour to the Bonneville speedway on the salt flats. No, we decided not to do a speed run in Byron. Then proceeded east to Salt Lake City to explore a bit at our 3rd Olympic venue of the trip. They were having some dry-land ski jump competition, and had quite a few activities around the training pool, including freestyle ski jumping into the pool, and a rock climbing wall over the pool (no ropes required!)

Bonneville Speedway

Salt Lake Olympic Park
Climbing wall above the pool

Freestyle ski jump practice

The dryland ski jumps, for training in the summer
For our final camp night of the trip, we stopped at Dinosaur National Monument in our home state of Colorado. It's situated along the banks of the Yampa River. They have built a viewing center over one of the excavation sites at this park, and many of the fossils are still in the rock. 
Meghan and Willow chilling out in the Yampa

Oh, and me too!

This excavation site is inside a large viewing center where you can get pretty up close / personal to some amazing fossils.
From Dinosaur, we continued our journey along US 40 through northwest Colorado, eventually parking for the night at our condo in Winter Park. While it was real beds in a house that belongs to us, we were still not home. Our journey officially ended on 03-Aug-2014 when we pulled safely into our driveway in Boulder, CO. 

Nine-weeks on the road gave all of us memories that will last a lifetime, and for that I am grateful because those can never be taken away. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to do this, with the two people I love the most in the world, and that they had the guts and patience to make it happen. 

A summary of stats from the trip will be posted shortly, and may be a bit of a work in progress as I find notes or tidbits to add.

Thanks for checking out our blog this summer. 

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