Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome To Oregon:::

   We did awake before 8 am this morning.  But somehow between having the front desk clerk at the Thunderbird Motel heat up water for our french press coffee, walking down the street for bagels, and packing up to leave, we didn't make it on the road until 11:30.  Perhaps that is a key reason that all this driving has felt like a vacation.  It occurs to us that we should leave early from our previous day's destination, to drive in daylight and avoid inclimate weather.  But really what's the hurry?
   A short ways West of Pocatello we drove beside a field of elegantly turning wind turbines.  I recalled a friend of ours in Boston had mentioned traveling to Idaho to discuss his wind turbine software with the project managers.  Sure enough, these were Andrew's turbines we were seeing.  How cool is that?  
   There was a dusting of snow this morning at 8 and the sky was gray.  But the foul weather we'd heard about hadn't really started yet.  But within the first half hour on I 86, the snow started.  Visibility became an issue and the sky and fields were becoming the same color.  Further down the road we saw the first jackknifed semi in the center median.  The going was slow.  For the most part we stayed in single file behind the line of semis and cars.  I didn't think the snow would freeze up on the road because it was 34 degrees out.  But it did.  The road was becoming caked with uneven sections of ice.
Join us in the truck through some of the worst snow roads of the trip.  Play the video above. Skip to the 2 minute marker to get a hint of the action we avoided!!

Eli at the wheel she handled the trying driving conditions superbly.  There was really nothing to do but be patient and take it easy, try to avoid some of the less experienced drivers.  In all we counted 3 jackknifed semis, and 5 cars off the road.  We were not one of them.  The snow was intermittent and sometimes we were only dealing with some rain and the roads were clear.  Then a little ways down the road we'd be back in the white holding steady in the right lane. 
   Eli pulled the yellow circus off the road in Boise to refuel and get some sandwiches.  By the time we were getting back on the road I think it was about 4pm. It was about 5:30 when we saw the sign welcoming us into Oregon.  Mixed feelings as the realization that our journey was nearly complete. 
   It was too bad we were driving Rte. 20 in the dark.  At first the two lane highway was fine, no snow, light rain.  The landscape was beautiful but disappearing into the darkness.  The snow picked up after a while making some higher elevation passes tricky.  We crawled along and kept upright, patiently making our way.
   By the time we got into Burns and spotted the Silver Spur Motel on Broadway I couldn't wait to get out of the truck.  Our 7 1/2 hour driving day turned into a 9 1/2 hour day as the weather dictated it be so. 
   In the lobby we were greeted by the front desk clerks and their dog Dexter.  Dexter was a little black poodle looking thing.  Very sweet dog they found in the parking lot 6 months prior. 
   Into room 107 we moved our regular nightly inventory of necessities;  each of our back packs of clothes and hygiene necessities, french press and coffee grounds, crate of house plants, brief case with the computer and various chargers.  Then we headed off on foot in search of food and libation.
   Burns was soaked and over flowing with brown slush that settled in deep puddles at every corner  curb.  The Wagon Wheel Thai restaurant was recommended but we found it closed early.  So it was down to El Toreo for dinner.  That's the day's recap.  Can't believe we're in Oregon today, Colorado yesterday, Maine just over a week ago. 
   BIRD of the DAY:  Magpie
   RIVER:  Snake
   STATES:  Idaho, Oregon

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