Friday, August 2, 2013

On the Road Again

There are three previous installments to this story : Part I, Part II and Part III.

The plan on Monday morning was to continue towards Boise, then take the US 93 exit towards Wells, Nevada, and pick up I-80 towards Salt Lake so I could visit the salt flats again, just as I've done the past two years. I didn't need to be in Toledo until Thursday morning (well, Wednesday night if I didn't want to squander a night's cost), and with that being seven hours closer than home, it shouldn't be as difficult of a trip if I wanted to see some sights.

So, just before the Twin Falls exit off I-84, I see a brown information sign that piques my interest.

Exit 141 leads me to US 30/Scenic 30, the Thousand Springs Scenic Road. Several miles down the road, there is a scenic overlook, with a bit about the fossil beds, but some interesting debris below as well.
Are the rock with the heart and the automobile remains related?
The Snake River below.
Several more miles down the road, and I come to the town of Hagerman, which is where the visitor center for the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is located.
Hagerman horse
Wandering around the visitor center and looking at the fossils on display, I'm asked by two men who came in about ten minutes after me where I got my shirt. It's a shirt I picked up at the NSTA Conference in San Antonio earlier this year, and I told them as much.
I ask if they are science teachers, and the one replies that he's a geologist, and is a professor at Boise State. We chat for a little bit about students, then I head out to go to the actual fossil beds, which were about 10 miles away from the town, down a little back road that also included this scary-looking bridge, the Owsley Bridge, built over the Snake River in 1920.
Evidently it's an historic structure. Go figure.

Why on earth would anyone want to loiter???
Another mile or so away was the boardwalk overlook to the fossil beds. Not a whole lot to see except for some American white pelicans in the basin.
There were a half dozen pelicans on the water.

I drove up the road a little further to the next overlook, and that's when I realized the other historical significance of the area -- the Oregon Trail passes through here.
Thousands upon thousands of wagons carved a groove through the hillside.
I went back down to the previous overlook where there was an historical marker across the road that I'd seen only when leaving the first time. It was another reference to the Oregon Trail, which you could walk down to (though you weren't supposed to walk out onto it, and you were also supposed to watch out for rattlesnakes, scorpions, etc.).
The gravel path is the trail you are supposed to stay on. The sunken road to the left of it is the Oregon Trail.
The sunken road that is what remains of the Oregon Trail through this part of Idaho.

Fortunately, this was not an issue. Nor was fording rivers.
I should also note that my second time at the fossil beds overlook, I ran into two physical anthropologists. When I asked where they were from, they said Tempe, Arizona. Like my previous research professor encounter, we talked briefly about our students, and then I bid them farewell. It's always cool to meet interesting people on the road.

My curiosity appeased, I drove back to US 30, and continued on to the small town of Thousand Springs, named for the tiny springs bursting through the rock from an ancient lava flow.

US30 meets up with US93 south of Twin Falls, so I pressed on towards Nevada and Utah, stopping only briefly to quench the WRX's thirst for some dirt, driving down one of the access roads to the Salmon Falls Reservoir.
I shouldn't have driven with the windows down.
The breeze off the water was cool and refreshing.
Koni 8611s and 650#/600# springs were not the proper setup.
Strangely, the car looks at home here.
I arrived in Wendover about 4:30PM Mountain time, and swung by the old Wendover Will sign.
A portion of the original Lincoln Highway (US30) through town. Called a Victory Highway, these roads commemorated WWI veterans, and only 5 of the original bronze eagles (this one is a recreation) are known to still exist.
From town, it was over to the salt flats! Driving down the access lane, I pass the familiar, "Do not drive onto salt -- SOFT MUD" sign, and just past it, there was a Cobalt/Cavalier up to its front axles in the mud. I should have taken a photo, but I figured it would still be there when I came back, since it's a good $500 to get towed out (hey, stupidity should be painful, right?). Another mile down the road, and as I'm pulling up to the circle, something seems off.... the sunlight.... it shouldn't be.... reflecting off the surface like that, right? And are those.... waves? Damn it!
Too much rain the previous week.
I blame global warming. Damn you, Al Gore!
Speed Week is in two weeks?! They better get some kitty litter out here!
Dejected over losing my opportunity to go out on the salt, I headed back to the Salt Flats Cafe for an early dinner, then over to the old airbase for some photos before going to the Nugget to lose some money at blackjack.
It's amazing to think that we just casually would lean up against this hangar while in impound at the Wendover Pros.
Training bomb
After I lost my limit at blackjack, it was time to get back on the road. As I drove across the flats, and the sun began to set, I stopped at the Knolls exit to take it all in. The photos don't do it justice.

I'd made a reservation for the night in Evanston, WY, so I pressed on through Salt Lake City, and up the mountains through Park City. Several miles before the Wyoming line, I started having a strange vibration in right hand sweeping turns, but only if I was doing an indicated 75mph or faster (keep in mind the speed limit here is 75mph). I kept it around 65-70mph until Evanston and had no further issues, though I left a message with Greg McCance and let Pat know what was going on. I hoped it was something simple, like a lost wheel weight or just the weird grooves in the highway from construction and truck traffic.

Next : The Road to Red Rocks

No comments:

Post a Comment