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Thread: Cross-Country Trips Thread

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Cross-Country Trips Thread

    As most of you know, and Michaelski "understands", this Bear's vacations are always taken to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    I do have an interesting vacation story to tell, though, that does not involve Yooperland:

    In the Bicentennial Year of 1976, this Bear climbed into an off-white VW mini-bus camper, with his wife at that time (Donna), Donna's sister (Betty) and a friend of mine named Phil. We packed with us a deck of cards and enough alcohol to get us half-way across the country before we would need to replenish.

    Traveling in the mini-bus was fun. Even though small, it had enough headroom to stand up, it had a 'fridge for our lunchmeat and cheese, and a table. While somebody had to drive.....usually this Bear or Phil.....the other three (3) would play cards and drink.

    We made it to a rest stop by Sioux Falls, SD, the first night. That was also the place where Donna resumed her smoking habit. She tried to quit as the trip started but after eating about a dozen donuts she thought it wiser to die of lung cancer rather than blowing up. (She did quit the nasty habit a few years later.)

    We stayed a few days at a campground in the Black Hills, doing some trout fishing (yum, tasty!). Betty grabbed a case of severe sun poisoning, due to a sun that was out all of the time and a temperature over 105 each day.

    We then moved west to Lewis & Clark Campground, in Montana. More drinking, more trout fishing, less hot sun, beautiful scenery. After a few days here we trucked north and west to Grand Coolee Dam, placing ourselves and our little mini-camper at a treeless campground downstream from the dam.

    The campground had a couple hundred (100) sites but it was nearly empty. Because it was so arrid, sprinklers were buried at the campground. Imagine our suprise when the sprinklers started up as we were cooking over the campfire. I stormed up to the Ranger's Cabin to complain and discovered a group of laughing Rangers. They did that to us on purpose! (It was very hot that day and the complaint was more on principle than substance.)

    From Grand Coolee we moved toward the greater Seattle area. This was in the days before Microsoft and all of the other tech businesses changed the face of Seattle. It was still a neat place and fun to be at. We stayed in the Seattle area for a day.

    We crossed Puget Sound in a car ferry and proceeded to the Olympic National Park. We camped close to the Straits of San Juan de Fuca, so it was warm and pleasant where we were at. However, just a few miles inland, it was a constant drizzle and a temperature in the lower 50's. We did some hiking in the Park, even managing to observe a couple engaged in what we will call "waterfall intercourse". they looked and sounded like they were having fun and upon seeing us they continued their spirited romp and waved and smiled.

    From the Olympic Park area we moved to the west coast of Washington and followed the coastline down into Oregon. We stayed at a beautiful oceanside Oregon State Park. Our days here were spent beachcombing, hiking, drinking, and Donna and this Bear "explored" the solitude of a small island accessible only at low tide. (I don't need any "Mile High Club". )

    After some time spent on the ocean we started back eastward. We spent a day in Portland, OR, and then continued east, following the Columbia River, then turning off-trail and heading up to Mount Hood. We stayed at Lost Lake Campground (at the foot of Mount Hood). The ranger kidded us about missing the ice-out from the lake, which was only a week earlier. On July 4th, 1976, the four (4) of us celebrated our nation's 200th birthday by drinking beer and wine and making "snow angels" in the patches of snow still in the campground area.

    After a couple days at Mount Hood we continued eastward, moving first into southern Idaho and then cutting down to Salt Lake City, UT. We spent a day in the Salt Lake area, even driving out to see the Great Salt Lake. From there, we worked our way toward Colorado and Denver. We actually encountered heavy snow falling in the mountain passes west of Denver.

    We spent a day and night in Golden, CO. Of course, a tour of the Coor's Brewery was the order of the day. From the Denver area we moved into Kansas and stayed a night at a reservoir campground. It was hot and dry so we didn't sleep in the mini-camper or set-up a tent....we slept on the beach.

    Our final place to stay was a small state park in central Illinois, where we did some hiking, fishing, and drinking.

    When we drove into Toledo after the 3-week trip we were exhausted, tired of traveling in the mini-camper, tired of each other's company (and lack of privacy), and armed with a truckload of fun experiences.

    That was my cross-country trip. What about you?

    Bear Eating Donuts
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Another great thread from the Bear!

    Road trips were a staple of my childhood. The Bicentennial year saw me with my family on the road to Big Bend, Texas, and then up into Colorado. Before that, there were the trips across the northern plains to Glacier, Banff, the Olympics, Yellowstone and the Tetons, or southwest to Mesa Verde, Zion and the Grand Canyon.

    When I got to college we began going long distances by car over spring break. Try fitting four guys and one girl with large..., well, and all of our equipment for backpacking into a 1984 Ford LTD. This is when it became a severely underpowered mid-size car. We left at three in the afternoon on Friday, and arrivedabout forty hours later. With the petal to the floor, we managed to maintain about 40 mph going up the mountains.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    [QUOTE=Cardinal]Another great thread from the Bear!

    .....Try fitting four guys and one girl with large...

    Cardinal....large "what"? Clue me in, for I have lived a sheltered life.

    BTW......our VW mini-camper wouldn't do over about sixty-five (65) and in the mountains going uphill we would be passed by fully-loaded semi-trucks.

    Bear For Tat
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Winter Olympics 2002

    My latest big road (6 nights) trip begins with purchasing tickets and reserving a hotel over a year in advance for the winter olympics. I ended up going with my then 11 year old daughter, her best friend & father. We started in Denver with a stop in Grand Junction on the way. We stayed in Logan Utah and saw the Latvia vs. Germany hockey game, womens downhill (delayed due to wind- missed it), mens moguls finals (best of all- Dinner roll should have won it....), Olympic Villages and a Biathalon event. On the way home we swung by Arches Nat. Park. Great trip!
    Skilled Adoxographer

  5. #5
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I am a huge fan of road trips, and luckily so is my hubby. About six months ago we went from Edmonton AB to Yosemite and back (with a brief stay in the Bay Area) in 10 days. It was a hectic pace across the desert, but we did it!

    The longest road trip I've ever been on was when I was 16. My mother, my brother (13) and his friend (14) and I (16) all took our 24' motor home cross-country. We had already covered the west extensively on other smaller road trips, so we high-tailed it to Texas and then went slower from there.

    Highlights:

    --Carlsbad Caverns
    --NASA
    --New Orleans
    --Some plantation in Mississippi
    --Natchez Trace
    --Great Smoky Mountains NP
    --Spent some time with my cousins in Franklin, NC... did a lot of whitewater rafting!
    --Williamsburg and other historic areas of Virginia (plus a bitchin' 20'-tall halfpipe outside of Bull Run).
    --Spent a week in D.C. (normal touristy stuff: Smithsonian, archives, all the monuments, Arlington Cemetery, etc.) I even won a photo competition later from a photo I took at Arlington Cemetery.
    --Philly (historic stuff, didn't see any neighbourhoods)
    --NYC (all the touristy areas, WTC, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Radio City, ate at top of the sixes, etc)
    --Boston (walked all around downtown and saw the sights. I particularly liked the old graveyards)
    --Niagara Falls
    --Some historic park in Michigan (Dearborn? It had relocated Wright Bros. Buildings, Edison's buildings etc. )
    --Wisconsin Dells (the natural area, not the amusement park)
    --South Dakota rocked (who knew???)... badlands, Lead and the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Wall Drug (was fun to a 16 y.o.) and the Corn Palace in Mitchell
    --Devils Monument (ugh, or is it called something else... you know, the Close Encounters place ) and Yellowstone NP.

    After Yellowstone, we pretty much drove across the desert to Las Vegas to visit some friends and then home to L.A. I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff here... it was a fun time and we saw A LOT! Even saw a UFO in Michigan

    Edit: Oh yeah... the trip took about 10 weeks.

  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    When my brother moved to North Georgia, he was told that there was only one car model that he couldn't dolly behind the UHaul... his 70 Mach 1. He bought me a return plane ticket and mom and I took off from Iowa City at 5:30PM and were on his doorstep at 10:30AM the following day.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    In 1967, we drove from FL to D.C., picked up a cousin, went to Expo '67 in Montreal, across the U.S. to WA state, down thru CA and back across the southern states to FL. Took 6 weeks in a station wagon with 2 adults, 4 kids. A great trip.

    Carlsbad, Mt Ranier, Philly, Houston, Williamsburg, the Badlands, San Francisco, we did it all. Stopped to see relatives all along the way. The greatest trip of my childhood.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Several years ago, we moved from the state of Washington to California.....via Georgia. They were promoting my husband and he had to do 3 months at ANCOC at Ft. Benning and I have family there. So we traveled 5500 miles in 4 months to move our household about 1200 miles or so. We have a photo album entitled "The Zone Trek: Or Eleven States, Four Monuments and Two Blizzards in Eight Days". And that was just the trip out to Georgia from Washington.

    We saw Mount Rushmore on our way to Georgia and then saw Stone Mountain while doing touristy stuff with my sister. When you see them back to back like that, it really sticks in your mind that the same man was in charge of carving both of them and that Stone Mountain was kind of his "resume" for getting hired to do Rushmore. We also hit Six Flags in Atlanta and a military history museum on Ft. Benning and a world class aquarium in Tennessee and ....I have forgotten what all. We arrived in California, having crossed the country twice and done many enriching things. That fall, circumstances forced us to begin homeschooling. I sometimes gently joke that all that enrichment is why the kids couldn't remain in the public school system.

    Before that, when we lived in Kansas, I drove back and forth between Kansas and Georgia so much that it got so I could make the trip without a map.

  9. #9
    Not much as far as distance goes but the memories are priceless. My father and I, me 17 at the time, on motorcycles from one end of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the other end of Skyline Drive. Many stories and adventures along the way.

  10. #10

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    So many road trips, so little space. We are trying to swear off because we are so constantly broke from our wanderings. Don't know how long it can last though.

    I once did a 32 day road trip for work: from Tucson to Espanola and Las Vegas, to Delta (CO), to Evanston (WY), on through Utah all the way to Valley County, ID, back to CO, to Grand County, and finally back to Tucson. Fortunately, there were weekends of camping and since I had 4WD, interesting backcountry roads N of the Great Salt Lake, etc.

    Karen and I did two trips from MD to AZ before we got married: these odysseys featured Christmas dinner in a Waffle House outside of Chattanooga, being thrown off the Natchez Trace Parkway for driving a commercial truck (our Ryder), a freak blizzard in Palo Pinto County, TX, and the transmission on the Ryder falling on the ground just west of Patagonia on our way to the courthouse to buy our marriage license, with only two hours left before closing time and Karen having to fly back to D.C. that evening.

    Then there was my move from CA to VT. U.S: the Loneliest Road, U.S. 50 through Nevada, always a great haul, the blizzard on Vail Pass, the Flint Hills, downtown St. Louis, the blooming woods of S Indiana, Lehmann's nonelectric hardware in Kidron, OH (all old hippies will remember this store from the Whole Earth Catalog), the NY Throughway, and the ferry across Lake Champlain. Followed shortly by our dragging a very heavy U-Haul trailer behind a very small truck from CO to VT, after Karen's trip from the East Bay to the Western Slope which featured her brakes going out on Tioga Pass. Hauling the trailer over McClure and Vail Passes was a 10 mph grind, then the middle of Kansas, Quincy (a very interesting old river town), Ohio, again, and finally seeing the Green Mountains from the ferry.

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg. After my divorce, I wandered homeless up and down the mountains for a couple of months, but that's enough for now.

  11. #11
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    Christmas dinner in a Waffle House outside of Chattanooga,

    That is where I had breakfast on my trip.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Not a particularly enjoyable trek, but I once drove from Los Angeles to Kalamazoo non-stop in two days. Well, I did stop to get gasoline but that was it. Didn't stop for dinner (unless you count the gas station potato chips or the box of No-Doz I consumed). Didn't even stop for the potty (unless it was a number 2) - there were, however, a couple instances where I picked up a two litre of Mountain Dew from the passengers seat and had to guess at its contents...

    A far better trip was our honeymoon out to the Black Hills, tent camped all the way there and back. Stopped at every brewery/brewpub along the way.
    Last edited by Maister; 14 Dec 2004 at 11:11 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Lots of car trips as a kid, but the best was actually in college.

    I flew to Chicago, then spent the week moving my sister from Chicago to the Bay Area. Spring Break weather highlights: blizzards in the Rockies, rain in the south. We drove six days straight, in a fully loaded Dodge Shadow, stopping at night, or as in the case of Amarillo, stopping before lunch because the highways were closed.
    A decade later we still talk about some of the things we saw and the jokes (cows on hillsides, for one) still make me laugh. We talked about our parents, life plans, sex, drinking, men in general, and the pets we wanted.

    I wouldn't trade that week for anything, even with the overheated car and leaking transmission.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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