1000 Miles

Lee Van Cleef has nothing on us. Maddog and I trucked through Tucamcari, made a pit stop in Amarillo, and a stop in Fort Sill. Lee never had that much success in the spagetti westerns 😉 joking

From Boulder City Nevada to Arkansas we covered 1200+ miles in 20 or so hours. We took some amazing photos of the landscape, sun, clouds, and action photos of the trip.

We filled up four times, managed excellent gas mileage, and one oil change. Bessy is running like the reigning champ.

Before our last fill up, we stopped at a Sonic for a quick bite to eat. Sorry Erina, we be truckin’ and not eating as well.

When we got back in the vehicle we tuned into the CB to listen to the little Rabbit and Cabbage head talk about the high school football team of Childress Texas. The descriptions where priceless.

The inside linebacker and defensive end can rep 265 39 times ( inject a slow southern drawl to enhance description ). One junior can lift 600 lbs. The followup from cabbage head, S-h-I-t you don’t say, that dare is some N F L potential.

Needless to say we laughed heartily. Thanks Dad.

With a laugh, we headed towards Fort Sill; the place I was born. After 3 hours of driving, I got us to the front gate, and we took a picture by the entrance. Mission Accomplished for me, it was my #1 thing to do, thirty years after that faithful day.

We switched up the driving, and maddog is piloting us through OK and AK.

See you all in Memphis … BBQ awaits our breakfast time.

And then there were two

The day snuck up on me in Tonapah. At 9:15 I had a “gentle” knock from maddog, reminding me we needed to jet and hew was going to drive. I jumped into action, a shower, no shave and checkout ( perfection ).

We piled into the van around 9:40 am, and picked one or two areas to go for lunch. At eleven we reached our first place, covered in flies, and a hundred in the shade. We took a pass, and headed for a state park on 160 outside Las Vegas.

We mysteriously passed the the park, it showed on the right, and we cruised by it on the left. Damn.

We continued to drive down the road looking for a turn about, and found a cut out road, and turn about. I asked maddog if we wanted to run down the road, he thought yes, and abercrombie agreed. We drove down the road and found plenty of no trespassing signs.

Ugh, a hundred, no shade, and then we see the turn about, in shade a lone tree, we park the van in the shade, put up the sun visors, and begin a meal.

We pull out the 6 ft table, and begin preparing a meal of ribeye, mushrooms, artichoke, tomato, and mozzarella. We are gourmet! Also note we were at 6000 ft, the water for the artichoke had a rough time, and did not properly cook after 30 minutes.

We ate the meal, sat in our chairs and chilled.

More than just satisfied with the meal, we broke out the RC cars and camera, and began decompression. We raced around trying to abide by the 25 mph speed limit, the rules of the road, and the NASCAR motto if you ain’t rubbing, you ain’t racing ( optional bubba spit here).

With the decompression complete, we felt a little goofy and began playing it up for the camera. A pose here, and group photo here, and some meat Popsicle flexing.

As time quickly flew by, we realized we needed to arrange the van, and head into Las Vegas.

Packed and Ready, i drove us to Hooters Casino. ( for wings ) we grabbed a late bite to eat, and a few drinks while we played poker and slots.

A bit sick of loosing money at the Owl, we headed to the Tropicanna, and walked through the MGM Grand, and back. I have to say it was a bit sleazy at the MGM, hookers and pimps were working the floor, not exactly a nice fixture to see.

We headed back to the van, and headed to the Airport. We said goodbye to Abercrombie, and headed to the Hoover Dam.

We passed over the dam at 11 at night, and tried taking a few photos. It was beautiful, but too low a light to appreciate it as a computer image.

Maddog slept and I drove through Arizona, and woke him up to drive through New Mexico.

And here we are cruising to Tucamcari….

Truckee and Tonapah

We woke at 7 am In Davis, and said our good byes to Bryan, the birds, tortoises ant the rest of the menagerie.

We headed Northeast towards Carson City. After five minutes, we determined food was an utmost necessity. We used Urbanspoon to find a place to eat in Auburn, California. Luck of the draw we ate at Katrina’s Cafe. Wow, the food was amazing. I ordered chorizo and egg scramble and fueled up the body for the next six hours of driving. We truly enjoyed the meal, a definite recommendation.

After breakfast, we headed on to Lake Tahoe and saw the the town of Truckee. Truckee is a pseudo Aspen, a beautiful town surrounded by outdoor recreation. We drove around town and purchased gifts for relatives and friends. We found amazing glass shop called JoAnne’s which had beautiful vases, dishes et cetra. We also visited the Pour House and sampled some amazing Napa Valley wines.

Filled up with libations, we took a brief stop at the store and made lunch.

Like any good 20 and 30 somethings, we drove on, and stopped at In-and-Out Burger and ate the heavenly burgers. I totally blame Abercrombie for my arteries hardening; it was his suggestion.

After just a few moments we kept on trucking to the Tahoe Ridge Winery and Sampling Room, where Maddog and Abercrombie tasted and purchased a variety of wines to sample on our return.

Maddogand Abercrombie were not the only ones thirsty, Big Bessy needed to get her fill. After 17 gallons, we plugged the coordinates of Tonapah into the GPS and began the trip down to the Salsbury Wash.

After 1 hour of driving, we ended up in California while trying to get to the center of Nevada; the Garmin had died. We tried mouth to Mouth, CPR, and finally deemed it DOA. Man, it’s pissing me off!

We back tracked, and continued the drive. Maddog took the helm, and instituted the democratic voting process, where we determined we would stay at the Ramada Tonapah Station.

At 8 pm, we rolled into Tonapah, I negotiated three rooms for 64 each, and we went our ways.

Yes, I did gamble in the casino, loosing 9.95 and walking away with 5 cents on a 10 dollar “investment”.

For me I signed off, and said goodnight.

Kahuna Seca

With a dull night sleep, and time to digest half of the food we had prepared, we began to pack and cook breakfast. I built a fire; note to the Parents, I didn’t play with matches, because maddog had a BBQ lighter. With a swift fire, we threw the potatoes in the skillet and reheated it and the steaks.

With great food, maddog and Abercrombie had mimosas for breakfast and began the process of reorganizing our van, and packing the gear. At about noon, finally packed, we headed out, destination Davis, California.

We headed out of the park on the 101, we took a few pictures on the way, and took the 299 through to Davis. The route is probably the most intense driving I have done. For 200 or so miles, there were so many turns, vistas and climbs that one could not truly appreciate the emery. We ended up stopping and taking a few snapshots and breaks.

I pulled us into a strip mall with a shopping store. The store turned out to be amazing, much like whole foods. I picked up a baguette, chicken, wasabi cream, and provolone. While I made a sandwich, maddog and abercrombie ate Subway. Oh oh what they missed.

Fueled up for the stretch run, I jumped behind the wheel. Maddog looks at the map of the upcoming terrain. Whoooooa go slow use no gas. Maddog saw the 10000 turns, loopbacks, cuts and 6 7 8 percent grades. We gently cruised down, no gas for 90 percent of the travel. 6000 feet to 900 feet took 2 hours. If you have ever seen laguna seca, this was it with 1000 foot drops.

After completing the madness, I turned the wheel over to maddog. Maddog soon fueled us up at 3.29 a gallon, the highest we have ever paid, for the stretch run.

Around, 8 pm, we arrived at Davis to visit Bryan. Here we hung out near the fire pit, held tarantulas, hung with coceteels, tore it up with tortises, safely viewed a milk snake and boa, and countless fish. Wow!

Abercrombie reminds me “and a chinchilla”. Wow those guys are hyperactive.

FYI, dad and Amy, your wedding present is doing fine. I managed to sit in it :). I think Bryan is invested in it.

Tired, exhausted I crashed on one of the couches, maddog another, abercrombie another. We wanted to fuel mentally for a new day.

Last Supper

With the Oregon coast finished, the 101 dipped into California, and we headed towards Jedidah Smith Redwoods State Park. We rolled up to the Ranger station and asked if the sites were available, and learned there were none.

We were a bit disheartened to learn the park was full up. Seriously who would not want to stay in the Redwoods? I think the Ranger saw then look on our faces, and circled Mill Creek State Park on the Map. Before we asked the next question, she said there were plenty of sites to camp.

Confident we would camp in the Redwoods, we headed South down the 101. We traveled through a small town which reminded me of Salisbury, and headed up into the woods. A few miles down we saw the sign that leads to the Ranger station.

We role up to a line at the Ranger’s station. Are we going to get in? Minutes pass. I begin to become more confident. The person in front moves and we cruise up. We were asked to choose our own site, and roll on through.

On the left a stump the size of a house, the right lush vegetation, and to the front our choices of campsites. Maddog takes us through the figure eights, and we circle sites of interest, the last one we see is perfect. Campsite 124.

We meander/ rush back to the Ranger Station. We don’t want to loose the site. When we arrive there is no line, maddog spins Bessie around on a dime ( the dime is huge ), and we pull up at the ranger station. We ask for the campsite, pay the 35 dollar fee, grab a couple bundles of wood, and head down to the site.

We reach the site and determine we need a celebratory steak to coincide with our visit to the redwoods. We leave Maddog at the camp with a folding chair and a six pack.

Abercrombie and I head off to the Safeway. At the safe way we purchase some nice hard wood, amazing looking rib eyes, Sierra pale ale, tater totes, Graham crackers, and blocks of ice.

Fully stocked with food, we setup the huge tent to cover the eating cooking area, setup each of our tents, and built a fire.

Having been taught at a young age the wonders of cooking on open coals, I had maddog build a nice base with which we could work. We first threw mushrooms in to sauté, added parmesan, and ate a quick appetizer. Next we threw in tater tots, cooked them in the dark until we used the tripod joba light to determine when they were done. At last, and with near perfect coals, we threw on three room temp and marvelous steaks. One two three…. Sizzle… Flip…. Sizzle…. Move… Test… Sizzle… Move… Sizzle… Eat….

With the food cooked and ready, we sat down to a fire and Trading Places. Satisfied, I fell asleep in my chair, woke up and went to bed.

The Flaggers and the wonders of the 101

Duly warned by Ryan, that the 101 would take forever to drive down, we headed out at 7:30 am.

In the first hour we stopped about 10 times, in the second hour twice, in the third hour we stopped once in Yachats, Oregon. Sometimes hunger causes you to stop, this was that time.

We slowed down in the town to a brisk 5 miles an hour…. First we saw the Expresso shack, second a closed up motel with breakfast o n the menu, and then we see the gem. The Drift In Cafe is a cafe you might drive by and not know it is there, we saw it open and decided the next town 25 miles away might not have food, and we had to go in.

I busted a three point turn in at the head of a one way street, and slipped our Bessy into a spot outside the front door.

Abercrombie, Maddog and I sprinted to the front door, and after a brief wait sat down. We only waited because we felt we had to in such a nice cafe.

We sat down and received our menus; menus that were clearly endorsed by a god. Fresh biscuits, chai, fence toast, bread made on site, and other wonders were prevalent on the menu. I ordered toast, biscuits, eggs over easy and home fries. The meal was the BEST breakfast I have had outside of home. Maddog and Abercrombie agreed, it was simply amazing, and I recommend it.

With a little food left on his plate, maddog complains of stomach pains, feeling full and over satisfied. Abercrombie’s ears perk up and he places the 100 dollar bet on the table. If you finish, I’ll pay you a hundred.

10 minutes later maddog finishes the French toast, and receives his reward: A stomach ache for the ages and a shiny new 100 dollar bill!

Abercrombie, Maddog, his winnings, and I leisurely drove through Oregon, visiting Oceanside where we climbed one of the points, and took a few pictures from the top.

When we got back down the rock, I handed over driving to Maddog, who lead us through to the Redwoods and California.

Now, you may ask, where the heck are the flaggers? who are they?

Aaah. We in mass are missing the boat. Police are the ones to direct traffic, out west the hot girls who are on summer break direct the traffic.

We spent about two hours in traffic, and loved it!


As we left the beach house at Cape Meares, we decided we would cook dinner. We began our trek to Garibaldi by a most circuitous route to reach a place only five miles away.

One thing you must know about these drives we take, we try to do fun and new things. This time we ran into a cheese factory, essentially it is the Cabot cheddar of the Northwest, Tillamook Cheese Factory.

The cheese factory had a quick self guided tour which was followed by free samplers. I like to refer to it as Stab your cheese cube, and taste deliciousness. Once through the factory, we did the touristy thing and purchased Brie, cheddars and crackers. We like to work on balanced diets.

With one part of the diet pyramid satisfied, we continued our meandering drive to the fish markets on the pier. The first market was closed, which sent some apprehension into the group, and made us think are we in the right place. Did Garmin mislead us? It wouldn’t be the first time ( I blame Garmin when I get lost )

Maddog and I quickly saw flashing lights and ADD set in and we saw mobiles of metal, cool wind chimes and other extravagantly priced items.

With the sticker shock, I continued walking until I found the wholesale fish monger. Quickly, Maddog and Abercrombie followed where we looked at fresh sole, flounder, bass, oysters, tuna bellies, salmon and other delicacies. As Ryan had put the bug into our ear about the awesome tuna we ordered a loin of tuna 2.5 lbs, and decided we would cook dinner and go all out, and purchased local clams.

With the necessary ingredients for the meal purchased we headed to the supermarket to pickup some additional treats, and prepare for the festivities to come.

We turned around and drove back along the cape, visiting the tsunami warning signs, taking pictures of islands, and points in the ocean. We decided to do the scenic overlook, and headed to the light house for pictures, to visit the giant spruce, and meandered back.

With our vehicles and contents safely parked outside the tsunami warning zone, we unpacked the food and stuff for the night.

Maddog, Abercrombie, Ryan and I began preparing for dinner. Ryan setup the charcoal grill and prepared the tuna. Ben soaked the wood chips, and clams. Abercrombie prepared appetizers. I prepared the zucchini, the last from Amy’s garden.

Before dusk set, we headed over to the cliff to see the sunset, and took a couple of group photos.

We cooked and ate the clams, the tuna, the zucchini, and ate a salad. The clams are amazing, the tuna fantastic, and the zucchini fabulous.

After some great discussion between us, we cleaned up, and I headed to bed.

Cheese tour movie
It’s classic!

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Driving by the Seat of our Pants to Cape Meares

With our Big bellys full of food, we headed west to the Pacific Ocean, and Cape Meares. Abercrombie drove us through lush forests, farm land, beaches and cliffs on our way there.

At one stop we did the unthinkable, broke out the RC cars and raced them in the Tillamok State Forrest Center. After a near miss with a car, and each others RC car, we packed up the cars, declared no winner and went on our way (in some magical form of a zigzag).

After finding two 2nd streets, nine Indian named streets, we had to use our Cash Cab given one free lifeline, and Ryan guided us in. ps, thanks Garmin for not putting the road on a map!

The van drove up the steep inclined road, and turned the corner and we arrived at the most beautiful house, with an amazing overlook of the Cape.

Ryan showed us around the Japanese style house, which even contained a meditation room. With the leg of the Tour complete, Ryan suggested a walk on a beach, and lunch. Being the hungry and outwardly growing chaps, we jumped behind the wheel, and drove down to a local town.

At the town, we walked down the beach viewing cliffs of immense height, hearing some amazing science of subduction, the history of Indians in the Northwest, and enjoyed speaking about “shop”. For me it is always fun to speak with others in the same profession who are doing similar yet different things.

With the brisk walk on the beach done, we walked through town to Roseanna’s. We sat down, ordered delectable sandwiches, fried oysters, and dessert. Dessert consisted of Marion Berry crumble. Wow, who knew a DC politician of Ill repute would have his own dessert.

After lunch, we took a short drive back through the tsunami warning zone, and dropped Ryan off at the Beach House. Ryan invited us for the night, and we accepted, frankly with company so good, and vistas so beautiful how could you not accept?

We offered to get dinner, and Ryan pointed us to Garibaldi and the fish market where we could purchase amazingly fresh tuna, food and other things for dinner.

Now turned around we headed back for another trip through awesomeness!