Coping: Rolling Through America, III

(Baker City, OR)  My butt is part of this report is being written on Sunday from Baker City, OR where we’re holed up in a marvelous hotel – the Geiser Grand.

imageThe three main features of driving almost 800  miles were summed up neatly in a series of pictures.  Starting with our hotel view in Salt Lake City at sunrise Sunday…/

Larry, the chef at the Radisson in Salt Lake, did a phenomenal grilled salmon – the kind of flavor that just doesn’t seem to  happen south of the Mason-Dixon, or anywhere east of California.  Affordable, too.

Getting around Salt Lake City was a piece of cake because my brother-in-law who belongs to yonder church, the one headquartered in Salt Lake City,  explained to me that “West Temple Drive South” means that the street runs west-East and this one is West and South of the Temple.

Well shucks!  That (and being initiated into the secret of South  200 West running (north-south) and is West of the Temple) meant no chance of getting lost.

I’m huge on learning the underlying recipes to things, especially when it comes to portable knowledge like figuring out how to get around in a city – any city – easily and quickly.  In the Pacific Northwest, most of the city streets run east-west but avenues run north-south.  That kind of thing.  Odd numbers on the west side of avenues and so on…it’s all a business model and behind every one of them is a recipe (for lack of a better term) that once uncovered is like finding the keys to all knowledge.

This next picture was this scene off to the side of Interstate-84.


If I were really awake at this (still dark in this time zone) hour, I would come up with a snazzy quip like “This is a picture we took of the last American Manufacturing plant before the last 3 jobs in America were exported.

Another oddity is the little deal with boat inspections which popped up again, this time on the Idaho-Utah boarder, but I’d seen the same thing coming into Cheyenne, Wyoming the day before:  Seems like all those truck “Ports of Entry” in this area as having boat owners come in with the boats to be checked to ensure they are not bringing environmental dangers in their bilge water or some-such.

I didn’t stop to ask if such a high-minded deal was done free (since we all pay taxes out the butt, bot why not a freebie for the fishing boat, right? But I suspected the answer and wanted to go another week of “Being nice to government.”

imageAfter what seemed like another year on the road, we finally got checked in to the hotel in Baker City, Oregon,  and it’s a really marvelous place.

If you’re Elaine, that is, and bouncing on the bed while old Mr. Ure gets out his computer and says “Not now dear, it may be Sunday but somewhere it’s Monday and I need to write about our exploits on the odd chance that someone will actually be amused….”

One of which was down in the bar where the afternoon/evening barkeeper (Jessica) explained that Baker City, Oregon has what locals claim is the second  largest Harley Ride-in after Sturgis and there will be probably 10,000 bikers out here next summer for the Baker City Rally.  July, second weekend think it was.  We don’t ride (anymore) so I skipped the details being busy working over a French dip sandwich.  Absent the old Virago, hand cut steak fries hold my attention better.

An appetizer, cup of soup, and Caesar salad with chicken followed two-hours later and then it’s shut-eye time.  With any luck we will continue to “fly” by Google estimates which have been within 10-minutes or so  – perhaps the Googlers don’t pee or need gas,  – that would explain the difference.  If you’;re traveling, add time to the Google estimates.  7.8-minutes for a Subway meatball parm, 9.6-minutes for gas, pee stop, and beef jerky refill…depending of which pump you get.

Utah in some ways is a more sensible state than Oregon ( 80 MPH on I-84) while Oregon may be environmentally hip, but 65 in this day and age?  Sheesh!

I’ve made a note not to fall for Elaine’s pranks, one of which (coming out of Salt Lick City was to point at a mountain being bulldozed for more homes and exclaim: “Look…see that sign that says If you can read this you don’t need glasses?”

I looked all over  hell and gone (occasionally departing my lane, but those lines are only advisory in nature, right?) and said “No, where is the damn thing?  I don’t see it…”

“Gotcha”  she demurred.

Damn!  There’s a sucker  born every minute and one of them  was one behind the wheel of our car!

In an hour, or three, of driving this morning, we should be out of the  what Art Bell used to call “The Great American Southwest”.  Just how great it is  becomes a matter of conjecture.

Once we gout out of Colorado, I swear God stopped planting trees at the Wyoming border.  From there, the land was the same boring combination of rocks, prairie grass (only in clumps) and sage all the way to Baker City, with the exception of the Wasatch range coming into Salt Lick City.  Deer everywhere – and they didn’t seem to mind mixing with the livestock herds, much, either.

Today we should see some real trees and hopefully beat the rush hour in Tacoma to cross the Narrows bridge to our supers-deal month-long home away from (the Texas heat) of home.

Write when you break-even or if you have a map of favorite speed traps of the local Mounties along the route…