2013 trip

MG 2013 & Beyond

Ken & Fran Adkison’s Adventure

Day 1 - Saturday, July 14 - Phoenix, Arizona to Barstow, California

We started to leave Phoenix at 7:30 a.m. when Ken discovered the brakes were not up to par.  He checked the brake lines and discovered a leak at one of the fittings.  He tightened the fitting and we did a quick brake bleed.  It improved the performance, but it still wasn’t right.

It was hot and sunny, about 89 degrees.  We stopped in Surprise, AZ, at Brakes Only, hoping they could do a total brake bleed, but the place was packed with cars waiting to be serviced.  It would probably be 3:00 p.m. before they could get to us so we moved on.

We left with the top up so the sun wouldn’t burn us to a crisp and sap us of any intelligence we may possess.  It wasn’t that bad with the windows open, just sweaty backs on the seats.  Just east of Kingman, AZ, we hit a torrential downpour.  It was on a stretch of I-40 that hadn’t been resurfaced since 1983 and was littered with huge potholes.  We could barely see and the car was jumping around every time we hit a hole.  Unbelievably, the rain lasted only during that part of the road.  As soon as the rain stopped, the road improved. 

We got to Kingman and took the car to Brake Masters to do a complete line bleed.  Brake Masters said we have a leaking brake line and that type of line is something not easily replaceable.  We went ahead and had them bleed the brakes and then we took off west again.  

The desert west of Kingman is really boring.  We crossed the Colorado River into Needles, California and filled up with gas for a whopping $4.99/gallon.  More boring desert.  60 miles later, we got to Ludlow, CA.  We had seen DQ signs and at 111 degrees, it seemed like a good idea.  Ludlow is simply a gas station and a DQ.  How ingenious, and the place was packed with people who thought the same thing.  I had a Blizzard and Ken a shake.  My body core kept asking for something cold and by then our water bottles had reached at least 112 degrees - not too refreshing.  The ice cream hit the spot.

We kept west and traveled through extensive lava fields next to old Route 66.  Finally we made it to Barstow about 5:00 p.m. and checked into a hotel.  We collapsed in the air conditioning and later walked across the road to a Mexican restaurant for snacks. 

Day 2 - Sunday, July 14 - Barstow, California to Walker, California 

We got up at sunrise, beautiful pink clouds gathered in the east.  We were right next to the railroad tracks and heard trains all night.  I thought they were short trains because they didn’t make noise very long, but when I actually got to see one - it was miles long.  Only the engines made noise because the tracks were very quiet and the rest of the cars made no noise.  There must have been about 30 trains an hour, but I slept through it all.  The free breakfast was pathetic.  I swear the coffee was instant and disgusting.  

We left Barstow about 7:30 a.m. and turned north on Highway 395 at Kramer Junction.  We went through more boring desert, past the old mining towns, dry lakes and around slow trucks and RVs until Lone Pine, CA.  Ken needed real coffee so we stopped at an espresso shop where he not only got coffee, but ice cream.  I settled for a smoothie.  North again to Bishop where we ate lunch at some old place that seemed pretty popular with the locals.  By now the temperature was cooler - in the 80’s which is ideal.

Normal Eastern Sierra countryside - still desert with pine trees.  In no time we were past Mono Lake, heading northeast to Reno.  It was about 4:00 p.m. and Ken wanted to quit driving so we stopped in Walker, CA (try to find that on a map) and got a tiny cabin for the night.  We walked up the road a ways and decided the only thing here is the ancient roadside motel, nothing else.  We stopped at a barbecue place practically across the street from where we were staying and had a beer and a wine and went back to the cabin.  Sometimes it’s good to stay in these old icons because there’s a genuine fake quilt on the bed.

Day 3 - Monday, July 15 - Walker, California to Cottage Grove, Oregon 

We packed up and left the cabin at 6:10 a.m. and headed north toward Reno.  We stopped at a Starbucks in a town south of Carson City.  I reminded Ken we would be in Reno during the morning rush hour traffic so he wanted to know if we could find a way around Reno.  We were just south of Highway 50 to Lake Tahoe so we took that.  We stopped in Incline Village for gas and he called The Sports Car Shop in Eugene to see if he could get the brakes fixed.  They had the parts and said they could do it the next morning.  Hello - we’re in Tahoe, California.  It’s a  

long way to Eugene, Oregon!  We plotted a new route up Highway 89.  It was mostly a two-lane with a lot of slow trucks, but we still made okay time.  Then he decided we should head over to I-5 because we could driver faster on the freeway.  We cut west below Mt. Lassen to Red Bluff.  We ate lunch at Applebee’s in Red Bluff next to a group of annoying people.  Actually only the women were annoying.  Actually only one woman was annoying because she complained about the mayo on her sandwich.  Honey, at 300 pounds, that lack of mayo won’t make any difference.  I only saw the back of the head of the other woman, and I hoped she was wearing a bad wig.  If it was her own hair, she should shave her head and buy a better wig.  Anyway, we got on I-5 and headed north.  It was hot, but the traffic was not bad.  We scurried past all the sights - Shasta, Lake Shasta, etc.  On and on over hill, dale and mountains - very uneventful.

We stopped in Medford for pie and ice cream.  I was mostly interested in the water.  Back on the road, a little north of Medford, some idiot in a nondescript car was having an altercation with an 18-wheeler.  I don’t know what the deal was, but wherever the car guy went, the truck was right next to him.  The car guy was gesturing out his window with his middle finger raised for the truck to go around, but the truck stayed right with him.  Then the car guy started swerving into the truck.  Who’s going to lose here?  I told Ken to back off because who knew what kind of wreck they were going to cause.  Finally, the car guy pulled on an off-ramp and the truck continued on.  It was still like 800 miles to Eugene and we almost made it.  We stopped in Cottage Grove for the night.  We can easily get to the shop by 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Day 4 - Tuesday, July 16 - Cottage Grove , Oregon to Corvallis, Oregon

We got up around 6:00 a.m., had the crappy hotel breakfast and then left for Eugene.  Got to the shop at 8:30, greeted the shop cat and got to work on the brakes.  The brake lines were too short and new ones had to be fabricated.  We walked around and found a breakfast place in Granolatown.  We noticed a lot of physical therapy places for people who have had extensive Berkenstock accidents.

The MG has been fixed and new brackets were put on the exhaust so it should be good to go.  The Sports Car Shop is very impressive, lots of old car items about and it is extremely clean (very important).  They had a 1958 Fiat Zagato Abarth - very rare and very cool.  Many other beautiful cars were exhibited in their showroom.

We drove to Corvallis - 38 miles and made it to the Hilton Gardens Inn across from OSU.  We are the first to arrive from out of town.  The Hilton was able to check us in a day early.  We unloaded the car and put things away in the room.  It will be nice not to live out of a suitcase for a few days.

We walked over to the stadium at OSU to meet some of the Willamette MG Club member who were hosting the event.  We met about 3 couples and hung out with them for awhile.  

We went back to the hotel where Ken cleaned the car and I washed some clothes.  With that done, we went  to the bar for a beer.  We talked to one guy from Long Beach who complained he couldn’t get a room past tonight because of the dreaded car people.  We stayed at the bar and ate dinner.  By then a lot more people were rolling in with their MGs.  We talked with a few and then went up to our room.

Day 5 - Wednesday, July 17 - Corvallis, Oregon 

We got up around 6:00 a.m. and hung around the room for awhile and then went down to the lobby for free coffee.  We sat around the lobby while Ken worked on his article.  We kicked around and talked to people and then left for lunch around 10:30.  We ate at a place owned by the Paradise Bakery people, but it was not as good - no cookies!  After that, we went over the OSU to register for the event and talked to more people.

We went back to the hotel and Ken washed the car while I watched TV in the room until 4:30.  We walked over to the parking lot at OSU to catch the bus to the barbecue.  The food was really good and we got the opportunity to meet a lot of people who own absolutely beautiful MGs.

We loaded back on the bus to the hotel and Ken spent the rest of the evening photographing cars and talking to their owners.

Day 6 - Thursday, July 18 - Corvallis, Oregon 

We had coffee downstairs in the lobby.  Ken put the top down on the MG and we went to the parking lot where people were gathering for the Covered Bridge Tour.  There were a lot of cars and we were first in line behind the Jaguar lead car.  A retired County worker was the tour guide.  We drove around major farm country to look at the covered bridges.  The countryside is typical Oregon, lots of green and water.  After the first few bridges, all built in the ‘30s, I discovered they all looked exactly alike.

There was never any place to park all the cars so the road was lined with MGs on both sides, if possible, and we all stood on the bridge like tourists, much to the annoyance of the locals trying to get across the bridge.  We visited 5 bridges, but I really think he made us drive around the country for awhile and then kept taking us back to the same bridge.  

After that, it was lunch time and we stopped in some podunk town for lunch, some restaurant I had never heard of and was very wary when I noticed nobody under the age of 80 ate there - always a bad sign.  We had the salad bar because it probably had the most flavor.

We got back to Corvallis and Ken wanted to go to the tech sessions, so I was bored for awhile when the tech guy told us all about gear boxes.  By then it was around 4:00 and Ken wanted a snack so we had a hamburger in the bar at the hotel.  At around 6:30 we went over to the Hospitality Room in Reser Stadium to meet and greet and have cups of beer foam.  We stayed there until 9:30 and went back to the room.

Day 7 - Friday, July 19 - Corvallis, Oregon 


We got up and went to the actual breakfast at the hotel restaurant.  Not much choice for $11.00, a boring omelet and dry potatoes.  Ken wanted to attend tech sessions so I stayed behind and did laundry.  I manned up with 10,000 quarters and put the clothes in the 2 washing machines.  I went back upstairs and tried to get back in the room, but my key card quit working.  I went to the front desk to get a new one and the woman behind the desk said apparently they forgot to get our credit card when we checked in and they needed a card.  She acted like she wasn’t going to give me the key card until I produced a credit card.  Hello, my card is in the room and I can’t get in the room until you give me a key.  She finally saw the logic to that and handed it over.  I brought her the card so her life was no longer in danger.  

I finally got back to the laundry room to find it filled with gigantic woman from Newfoundland who had been extremely dismissive to me the night before.  Her and her husband own the new MGF that they made a few years ago.  It sort of looks like a Miata with right-hand drive.  I asked her if they drove from Newfoundland, but they didn’t.  She said they bought the car in Japan and had it shipped to California so the only time they drove it was when they went on vacation.  

I finally got the laundry done.  Ken checked in a couple of times and then returned for good.  It was time to line up for the Time and Distance Rally.  We were car #3.  They gave us the directions/question sheet, a time and sent us on our way.  Almost immediately we ran into a snafu because one of the roads we were supposed to go on was closed that very morning by a road crew doing paving patches.  The silver MGA in front of us called the organizer and it turned out to be a quick fix.  By that time, there were about 20 more cars piled up on the road.  They had to let everyone know to ignore lines 10 and 11 of the instructions and we went on our merry way. 

The countryside was beautiful and the questions were easy if you paid attention.  We were being dogged by a Jaguar (where were the MGs - this is an MG meet?) and one time we slowed down to read a sign only to hear the squealing brakes of the Jag as he nearly rear-ended us.  Inattentive asshole!  We pulled into a park by a covered bridge and waited until they left ahead of us.  Later we were following them while they came to a dead stop in front of us.  Needless to say, Ken was paying attention and we did not have to squeal our brakes.

At the end of the rally, we were waved over and we handed in our sheets.  The time part was thrown the window because of the road closure.  We missed answering 2 questions and several paper-box color identifications.  We’ll find who won at the banquet on Saturday, it certainly won’t be us. 

Most of us went to a brew-pub in downtown Corvallis and had great beer and good sandwiches.  The owner let us tour the brewery which was the size of  most people’s kitchen.  Ken bought a couple bottles of some special beer to drink on the road.

We went back to the hotel and then walked over to the Hospitality Room.  We were both so exhausted that we only stayed about an hour and went back to the hotel room.

Day 8 - Saturday July 20 - Corvallis, Oregon

Ken got up early to spiff up the car while I lounged around and had people bathe and dress me.  We went down to the lobby for coffee until it was time to leave for the show.  

We got in the car and drove to the OSU Quad and waited in line for placement.  Our class was 6 which was “MGB Rubber Bumper Early 1974 1/2-1976”.  We pulled into our spot and two people said we were Concours, which we both disagreed with, but pulled into the Concours line anyway, just to be told were NOT Concours material.  Back to the old location.  There were so many beautiful cars, around 270 MGs.  The weather was spectacular and although the show was from 9:00-3:00, it wasn’t oppressive.  We voted, but with so many cars to look at, it took awhile.  We watched the valve cover races and posed for our group picture.  Our car drew a surprisingly large amount of attention, mostly for the fuel injection, and also for the pearl orange paint.

The show was very organized and the Willamette MG Club really deserves praise for their work.

At about 2:30 we packed up and went back to the hotel.

We went down to the bar for a drink and hung out until it was time to get ready for the banquet. We called Karen and Jill to arrange for seeing them.

We walked over to Reser Stadium.  The banquet room was huge and we got to sit with John Twist, Kelvin from Moss Motors, guys from the MG Driver and NAMGR officials - a pretty good score for seating.  Dinner was pasta!  Finally, not the tired roast beef or dry chicken.

The awards/auction, presentations took forever.  Guess what!  We won first in our class!  Now Ken can’t dismiss all our other first places because the shows were too small to count.  This is the National MG show!  Good job, Ken.  Our award is an engraved block of Myrtle wood .

This was a great time.  It was lots of fun and we met lots of really, really nice people.

We went back to our room and fell asleep with smiles on our faces.

Day 9 - Sunday, July 21 - Corvallis, Oregon to Portland, Oregon 

We got up and packed, went downstairs for coffee and said goodbye to a few people.  Ken packed up the car and we got on the highway. and headed east to I-5.  We told Chris we’d be at his place at 10:30 and we had time to kill.  We drove through downtown Salem (wow) and then took 99E up to Canby.  Chris called, all worried like we wouldn’t show up.  

We met Carina, Bubba (Braden) and the baby, Jacob. Carina and the kids are all very artistically talented.  Bubba is really smart and Chris says he is the underachiever because Rosy is the “smart” one. 

We piled in Chris’ Blazer and went to McMenamins in Oregon City, one of the things I miss about Oregon.  We went back to their apartment and sat around until 3:00 when we left to go to Portland.

We eventually got to Karen and Rocky’s.  They are selling their new house to move to Lincoln City and there’s no furniture in the house so it’s pristine for the realtor to show.  We had glasses of fine wine and then went to Gustav’s (yea!) for dinner.  I had potato pancakes, one of my favorites, but after the big lunch, I wasn’t too hungry.  We went back to Karen and Rocky’s and visited until our eyes started snapping shut.

Day 10 - Monday, July 22 - Portland, Oregon 

Rocky had already left by the time we got up and Karen was getting ready to leave.  We went to Starbucks on Garden Home and were happy to see how efficient these barristers were.  We had time to kill so we went to Hillsboro and stopped at the Tanasbourne Target to pick up some stuff we needed.  I got some colored pencils and a coloring book at Michaels for the boring times in hotel rooms.  Then we went to Verizon to see the guys Ken used to work with.  Al was there and was a whole lot better than the last time we saw him.  Then we headed to Portland to see Jill and Steven.  We got there a half hour early, but it was okay with Jill.  They both look great and we had a wonderful visit.  Jill gave me two skirts she made and then served us a yummy lunch.  

We left around 4:00 to go back to Karen & Rocky’s.  When Rocky got home, we walked to a pub for dinner.  I have to quit eating so much!  We went back to Karen & Rocky’s and talked until bedtime.

Day 11 - Tuesday July 23 - Portland , Oregon to Port Orchard, Washington


We got up and sat with Karen on her back deck.  It was a bit chilly, but that is such a great place, I could endure it.

We packed up the car and headed north and eventually landed in Port Orchard.  Jenny was the only one answering her phone so we hunted down the location of her new house overlooking the water.  Becky and Milly were there.  Becky looks great, seemingly much happier.  At 13, Milly’s about 6’-4” tall and looks very much the teenager.  Ryan has also grown up beyond normal bounds and will be entering high school this year.

We all went to lunch at Cosmos and then went back to Jenny’s.  We sat on the front deck, watching the ferry boats cross.  Tom showed up first, then Brian and Eric.  There was an overabundance of car talk.  Ken set up Jenny’s computer, but neither computer was able to open the DVDs Ken burned of the family albums.  

Everybody wanted to go out to dinner and Tom picked some restaurant.  I chose the “Cowboy Stew” and the meat in it was so tough and grisly that I couldn’t eat it.  The salad was good, however.  That’s probably okay because I’ve been eating far too much.

We then went to Brian’s house and Ken let him drive the MG (like a pussy).  Tom showed up in a gigantic red Mercury Marquis that was at least 25 feet long and 10 feet wide.  We watched old Star Trek episodes and made relentless fun of the tacky props.  

It was then time to go to the biggest dive hotel in all of Washington.  We originally booked 3 nights, but when we walked into the smoke-saturated non- 

smoking room, we knew we wouldn’t be staying there that long.  We remember staying in that dump before, but since then it became the Comfort Inn.  I thought maybe when it changed hands, they would have renovated the place, or at least cleaned it, but - NO.

Day 12 - July 24 - Port Orchard, Washington 

We decided the Comfort Inn was actually the Discomfort Inn and too gross to stay in another night so we packed up the car which was parked next to the local drug dealer’s Escalade, and checked out.

We went over to Brian’s and got him out of bed.  He showered, at least.  Ken pulled the wheels off the car to fix the brake shoe rubbing which had plagued us for months.  He and Brian worked on grinding down the brake shoes while I colored in my book.  Grinding the shoes was successful!  No more rubbing sound while going around corners.

It was lunchtime and Brian wanted to drive to Gig Harbor.  He took his Austin Healy and we followed him on the back roads.  We found a great Italian restaurant and had a delicious lunch, including Canoli.  

Ken thought we should stay at the Inn at Gig Harbor, where we had stayed a few years previously.  We switched cars and drove Brian’s Austin Healy.  It is the coolest car, but the seats would be perfect for only skinny midgets because they were REALLY uncomfortable.  Brian had a heart attack when we pulled on the freeway because he had never driven it on the freeway.  We missed the exit to the hotel and had to backtrack.  We finally found it and they let us check in.  We dumped our stuff, took back our own cars and went back to Brian’s house because his car was overheating.

Brian took his Ford and we followed him over to Tom’s house.  Tom had his 6,000 cars arranged in his backyard for us to see.  Car talk, yak, yak, yak.  I heard goats making noise we went to the fence and fed them some weeds.  They were so cute.  There were also ducks, geese and even a turkey.  Finally, Tom let us in his house.  Very nice for an old farm house.  It was very clean and tidy - not like Brian’s.

We went back Brian’s to spiff up the cars for a parking lot car show at the A&W in Port Orchard.  Brian’s Healy had cooled down so he took that.  We got there and Tom had brought his Falcon Ranchero to show.  It was the typical parking lot car show - lots of new Mustangs (so common) and some old American Cars all beautifully restored.  We hung around there for awhile, but we really needed a night off by ourselves so we went to our nice hotel room in Gig Harbor.

Day 13 - Thursday, July 25 - Port Orchard, Washington 

We got up and went to the crappy continental breakfast at this expensive hotel.  You have to take the stuff into the restaurant where the waiters say “Continental breakfast” in a loud voice so the ones buying the expensive breakfast know you’re a cheapskate.  

We went to Silverdale to see Brian at work, but he was at the car parts store.  He was convinced we were to be his pit crew at the races on Friday.  Double NO.  We said we’d see him later and jumped in the car.

Ken wanted to drive around North Kitsap County to look a the countryside.  We ate lunch at a tea room in Port Gamble, a tiny picturesque town.  There were some ladies from Sequim eating in the same room.  One originally hailed from England and she was complaining that Americans never ate properly by turning their fork upside-down and loading the food on it with a knife.  One of the other ladies told her that if she turned her fork right-side-up, she wouldn’t need a knife.

After a bit of driving, we went back to Gig Harbor to pick up our dirty clothes because Jenny said we could use her washer and dryer.  We hung out at her house and Tom came by.  He and Ken took the MG for a ride while I did my chores.  Jenny and Eric had to leave for church singing practice so I was left there with Ryan who spends all his time on the computer.  Ken and Tom finally came back from dragging him to his friend’s house for hours.

We went over to Brian’s and he took his Vega race car out of his van so we could see it.  He did a meticulous job on the car and it is awesome - too nice to race.  It was getting late so we went back to the hotel and died.

Day 14 - Friday, July 26 - Port Orchard, Washington to Leavenworth, Washington 

We went down to the restaurant for the lame breakfast with coffee served by an insincere, overly friendly waiter.  We loaded up the car and headed to Roger and Julie’s.  It appeared Roger and Julie weren’t home so we dawdled around in the yard, checked the oil in the car, added a quart, some of it on the valve cover.  We knocked on the door and a strange person answered.  She said she was staying there and Roger and Julie would be back soon and then she invited total strangers into the house.  Roger and Julie came home and were happy to see us.  Ken took Roger for a ride in the MG while Julie entertained me with boring stories of things I’d never care about.  Finally, around noon we took the ferry from Olalla to the back side of Seattle.

We needed to get on I-5 and then I-90 to I-405.  Traffic was horrendous.  We managed I-5 and I-90, but somehow we completely missed I-405 even though we followed all the signs to the best of our ability.  

Ken wanted to eat, it was way past 1:00 and we pulled off in some weird area to have lunch.  We got back on I-90 and realized we were going east instead of north.  As it turned out, we were able to get to Leavenworth easily by the eastern route.

We finally made it there around 5:00 - way too late to get a good room on a Friday night.  We found an average room for $185.00.  Some deal.  We walked around and had a beer and bad dinner at Gustav’s - NOT a German restaurant.  We walked around some more and went through all the tourist stores, had ice cream, listened to a German band and came back to the hotel.

Day 15 - Saturday, July 27 - Leavenworth, Washington to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 

We got up and went to the lame breakfast area and had coffee where I read the Seattle non-newspaper.  We packed the car and drove two feet to downtown Leavenworth to the pastry-espresso shop.  It wouldn’t open until 9:00.  Some people do get up before then.  We drove around and found another coffee place.  We had raspberry scones with icky sweet raspberry sauce.  After being sugared out, we headed east and north to Grand Coulee Dam.  Spectacular scenery on the way there.  We got there just in time for the next tour and we had to be  metal-detected, frisked and needed to pass a security screening.  Finally we could get on the bus in spite of the metal studs down my pants.

The tour was brief and we only got to see the pumping section behind thick glass.  After that, we went to the Visitor’s Center where Ken talked to one of the dam guys for about 3 hours.  Coulee Dam is huge, but I think Hoover is more impressive.

Time to hit the road.  We hadn’t eaten yet and found a Mexican restaurant on our way out of town.  Fabulous food!  We went east through lots of rolling farmland, many crop circles.  We finally reached Spokane and buzzed rapidly through that place.  Neither of us are fond of that city.  A few miles down the road we got to Post Falls which used to be a wide spot in the road.  No more, now it’s an extension of Coeur d’Alene which is about 5 times bigger than when I lived there.

We started looking for a hotel, nowhere near the lake, but most had no vacancy.  It was always my opinion that all the people in Coeur d’Alene are incredibly stupid due to drinking the water laden with heavy metals from Lake Coeur d’Alene, and it is still true.  It was like the movie Fargo.  We finally found a vacancy at the Comfort Inn, but they wanted a mere $270.00 for the room.  No thanks.  We headed back to Post Falls and got probably the same type room at the Comfort Inn for $165.00.  This room is comparable to a $59.00 room in any hotel.  Oh well.

Day 16 - Sunday, July 28 - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Payette, Idaho 

What a crappy night!  The bed was hard and lumpy and I couldn’t sleep on my back.  The freeway was noisy, as were the other people staying in the hotel.  The only thing that made me feel better was that we could have had the exact same room for $100 more in Coeur d’Alene.  Do not stay at Comfort Inns, they have no standards and don’t care.

We had the lame breakfast and then went to Wal-Mart for some supplies.  We drove past Coeur d’Alene and took the drive on the east side of the lake going south.  It was very beautiful.  We continued south on secondary roads through beautiful Northern Idaho.  We went through canyons, mountains, past rivers and lots of trees.  

We stopped for lunch in Orofino.  This is total small town, redneck territory and we were the long-haired hippie-commies so the service wasn’t that great.  We didn’t want the brunch buffet and that miffed the waitress right away.  We had hamburgers and they were quite good, but I’m sure they were happy to see the likes of us leave.

On we went over hill and dale.  We went through Grangeville where Ken’s dad’s family came from.  More southward driving, this time over miles and miles of newly oiled dirt covered with rocks.  Idaho’s road repair isn’t the best in the nation.  We made it to Payette and got a dive room in the town’s only hotel for less than $50.  We’ve stayed in worse and paid way more.

Day 17 - Monday, July 29 - Payette, Idaho to Arco, Idaho

The bed was okay and I slept well.  We headed southeast towards Boise.  Traffic was okay for a Monday morning.  At the Highway 21 turn-off, we found a coffee place.

We went north on the mountain road toward Stanley.  We drove through Idaho City, Idaho’s answer to Jerome, Arizona.  We continued on into gorgeous territory.  We stopped in Stanley for lunch in the shadow of the Sawtooth Mountains.  Immediately we encountered the familiar rocks on oil road resurfacing.  What is this?  Did I submit our itinerary to the Idaho Department of Transportation so they could specially prepare the roads for us?  Fortunately there was not a lot of traffic, which cut down on our being pelted with paint-chipping rocks.  We breezed through Ketchum, greatly changed and stopped in Hailey to have coffee.  Hailey is also much bigger, but still maintains the small town artistic flavor.

We turned east on Highway 20 toward Arco.  We stopped at Craters of the Moon and walked around inspecting the abundant lava and climbed through a lava cave.  Craters of the Moon is so very cool.

We drove east to Arco and got another little motel room.  They keep getting better by degrees.

Day 18 - Tuesday, July 30 - Arco, Idaho to Rock Springs, Wyoming 

We left Arco and headed east toward Idaho Falls.  We stopped at INL (Idaho National Labs) to look at some nuclear reactors they built in the 50’s to power airplanes.  Apparently it never got off the ground.  Ken was beside himself with ecstasy.

In Idaho Falls we found a Starbucks to have coffee.  Even the barristers in Idaho are faster than the ones in Arizona.

Traveling on through beautiful Eastern Idaho.  We finally crossed over into Wyoming and found 

Highway 191.  That send us southeast through the middle of Wyoming. 

We ate lunch in Pinedale.  I ordered their special which was described as beef tips over noodles.  It was noodles, all right, but it was also totally mystery meat and it was so highly salty that I couldn’t eat it.  It did come with pudding, so it wasn’t a total loss.

We continued south and immediately got rained on.  Earlier, Ken wanted to wash the car, but I told him it was going to rain and for once I was right.  The countryside in Wyoming is so boring it even makes Nevada look good.  We were on part of the Oregon Trail and I couldn’t imagine crossing that in a covered wagon.  After two days, I’d kill myself.  I also noticed that log houses are very popular, so popular, in fact, that even the single-wides were made of logs.

We got to Rock Springs and decided to stop early.  We never know what time it is because all the clocks we see are at different times.  We could only find 2 hotels in this metropolis and neither one looked good.  We settled on the Dazed Inn, but at least it was cheap.  We observed some guy working on the landscaping for 5 minutes and then he would take a 30 minute break.  So far, this is his second break.  I hope he lives through his grueling schedule.

We walked to a Mexican restaurant and had passable food and bad Margueritas.  We went back to the hotel and sat at some tables on a second floor balcony, overlooking the road and made fun of the local drivers in their impossibly large 4-wheel drive, big block pick-ups. 

Day 19 - Wednesday, July 31 - Rock Springs, Wyoming to Richfield, Utah 

More lame hotel coffee.  We jumped in the car and headed south to Flaming Gorge.  We took a side road to the lake and stopped at a campground.  We walked around and it was really peaceful and beautiful.  We did discover that Flaming Gorge is not flaming.  I was expecting something as exciting at Nevada’s Valley of Fire - but not so.  The countryside is gorgeous, just not red.  Maybe the name came from gay explorers. We spent a lot of time pouring water on black lichen and watched it turn green before our very eyes.  Very cool.

Anyway, down the road in Vernal, we came across the Flaming Gorge dam and stopped for a tour.  The dam is small, but impressive like Hoover.  The dam is also a trout farm and there were thousands of huge trout swimming about.  There was even a pet marmot scurrying around.

Back on the road, we had lunch at Betty’s in Vernal.  Bill and Ted were there having an excellent adventure.  While at the restaurant, we witnessed several Haliburton trucks and fracking equipment clogging up the town.  Currently it is very beautiful country around there, but you can count on Haliburton ruining it.

When we pulled off Highway 191 onto Utah 10, we were hounded by a huge truck with no regard to speed.  It was just like in the movie Dual.  We finally got him to pass, but on a long trek downhill (8-1/2% grade), he pulled over so we wouldn’t be on his ass while he burned out his brakes.  We descended in altitude past ancient sand dunes and countless coal-powered power plants to Richfield.

We got a room at the Hampton Inn because I was tired of alien-run, down-trodden motels.

Day 20 - Thursday, August 1 - Richfield, Utah to Phoenix, Arizona 

We had breakfast a the hotel and then headed south on Highway 89.  Beautiful pastoral countryside, small farm towns, and then the red bluffs of Southern Utah.  At the Bryce Canyon junction, 2 tour buses turned out in front of us and we had to follow them until the Zion turn-off just before Kanab.  Passing was impossible.

Kanab is a lot bigger and better looking that the last time we saw it.  We didn’t see the fake cop posted in the dusty cruiser.  I guess too many people figured that one out.  Pretty good for Utah.

Ken decided to take Highway 89 over Highway 89A because it would be a better road and we could drive faster.  That was true until Page, Arizona when we ran into a detour because 89 was closed 18 miles down the road.  This was the detour from hell.  They ran us way east to Highway 160 and then back to Tuba City, increasing our drive by about 75 miles.  We should have taken 89A and we would have avoided all that.

We stopped at Cameron for lunch and the cashier said the road up there washed out 4 months ago.  

Way to go Arizona Department of Transportation!

We kept going south through Flagstaff and the lot.  It was cloudy and rainy from the Arizona border to south of Flagstaff which made it a lot cooler.  The closer we got to Phoenix, the less cloudy and hotter it got.  Not only that, we were driving in the middle of a dust storm.

Finally, at about 6:00 we made it to Phoenix and home.  It was great to walk into an air conditioned house!

The mileage for the trip was 4,500 miles.  We had such a good time and I can’t wait to do it again.  The MG ran perfectly!  Good job, Ken. 

Copyright, Ken Adkison