A.k.a. Internal combustion engine FTW (that’s For The Win).
In just 3 days we’ve driven from San Francisco, CA to Boulder, CO, which is a long way. It’s a good thing that I’m trying to show Tania some cool places I know otherwise I’d probably have driven faster and seen less. Our first stop was Sonora Pass, where the road crosses the PCT, so I took the chance to do a few minutes on the trail recalling without doubt the greatest summer of my life. That afternoon we took a refreshing dip in Lake Tahoe before finding a spot in a parking bay away from the road. Everything was going fine until about 3:15am when two cars pulled up beside us and a pair of flash lights got out and started circling the car. Through the muffled voices I heard “looks empty” and then a hand reached for the latch to the back door. Not cool. Still a bit drowsy I put my hand up against the tinted window so they knew we were inside and as I wiped away the condensation I saw a utility belt and gun.
It was a cop, two of them, and when I cracked the window to politely ask what the hell they were doing trying to open my car door they apologised and left.
The next day was mostly driving east through increasingly smaller towns and into the Nevada plains between small mountain ranges. We stopped in Eureka and visited a real American diner and came away pleased. Our goal for the night was Great Basin National Park and within that Lehman’s Caves. During the tour in the morning Ranger Roberta came out with a fantastic quotable line I’ll share here. Hopefully the cave managers will start putting this on t-shirts.
In dark places lie great discoveries~Ranger Roberta
More driving, more desert. So much of America’s landscape is hostile to life you’ve got to wonder how things would change if the west had been fertile and creating oil millions of years ago.
Arches National Park has some weird and wonderful landscapes, most of which are rock arches, some of which are balancing rocks. We toured the park and stayed well after dark. Around dusk as the car park cleared of humans the local wildlife started to reappear and Tania can now add bats, foxes, chipmunks and prairie dogs to her tally of new animals. Chipmunks are by far her favourite. We caught sunrise at Landscape Arch (which lost about 160 tonnes of rock in 1991 and is surely not long for this earth) saw a few more formations and drove east towards The Rockies. We started off below the imposing walls of Castle Canyon, a truly remarkable place. The layers of rock slope up steeper than the road which gives you the impression of driving down hill despite the river to the left flowing the opposite was. Definitely a bit disconcerting but I preferred it to the flatlands of the past few days.
Lucky Joe’s truck continues to serve us well, though new SUVs and semis were passing us as we crossed the range in heavy rain. The ground changed again with steep rock walls now covered with dense fir forests and tiny sprinklings of snow. And so after a while we came to Boulder and found Levi, Sarah and The Bump, where we’ll rest for a few days. Starting with a giant helping of spaghetti!