I semi-retired this spring. My last day of full time was Friday March 15; I took a month off then returned in mid-April to work half time. We headed out on Friday March 22 during Carla’s spring break on a road trip to Arizona. She flew back from Arizona while I took a second week to drive up to Boise, Idaho to visit my old college friends.
Our stops were
- A: Home
- B: Bend, OR
- C: Fallon, NV
- D: Las Vegas, NV
- E: Phoenix AZ
- F: Cottonwood, AZ (Side trip to Winslow, AZ and Hubble Trading Post)
- G: Kanab, UT
- H: Twin Falls, NV
- I: Boise, ID
- J: Home
We didn’t take the quickest route; we’ve driven from Portland south to California and Arizona many times so wanted to do something different. I grew up in Palmdale, California (Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles) and went to college in Caldwell, ID just outside of Boise. I drove the highway through the Western Nevada and Eastern Oregon desert a couple of times a year. It’s a lonely stretch of road that can either be borne or enjoyed.
It’s been over 30 years since I last drove the route and wanted to see if it had changed. My group of friends would leave the College of Idaho after the last final in the afternoon and head south for our homes. I’ve been thinking of that drive for years and wanted to see how it matched up to my memory.
We had tickets for a comedy show in Las Vegas on Sunday and had a lot of road between us and there. On the afternoon of Friday March 22 I drove over to the school where Carla works and we headed to Bend to get a start on the trip. The Cascade mountain range looms east of the Williamette Valley where we live. It had been a cold couple of weeks and there was snow on the road at Santiam Pass in the Cascades.
|Pulling into Bend Evidence of the snowy road|
|Our stop for the night in Bend|
This is definitely not a cookie cutter hotel where the rooms in one city look identical to those in another state. We had some real flair.
|Not many hotel rooms have lamps like this.|
|Comfortable beds with flair|
We were facing a drive of 500 miles, so after a quick breakfast at a local diner we hit the road. The Cascades do a great job of blocking the clouds and rain; we were met with cold, clear skies on our drive.
|Eastern Oregon; the Cascade mountains we had passed through (Adobe Photoshop Elements)|
|Martin Hotel, Winnemucca, Nevada|
We finished the day in Fallon, Nevada where we spent the night in a Comfort Inn. Fallon seems to be bigger than Winnemucca which is not the way I remember it. We went into the downtown area to walk a bit. We dropped into the movie house to watch the movie Oz, The Great and Powerful I’m a fan of the Oz story and its hero epic theme. In addition to the original story, I liked the novel Wicked, by Gregory Maguire (though it is too long by half) which tells the story from the view of the wicked witch of the west. The movie picks up the beginning of the story showing how the wizard came to Oz and how the witches became wicked.
As I mentioned, we had tickets for a comedy show in Las Vegas Sunday evening March 24 so we got up early and started our 400 mile trip south. As we travelled, we could see the back side of the Sierra-Nevada mountain range come into view.
|Back (Eastern) side of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains|
|Route from Hawthorne to Tonopah showing the cutoff we took when going from
the College of Idaho to Southern California
|The west features lots of straight highway with no traffic|
|The Colorado River below Hoover Dam|