Friday, September 16, 2011

Prelude to the Pacific Northwest

Getting ready for vacation wears me out.  Trying to pack as little as possible and yet have everything we need sets off some lively discussions at our house.  Nevertheless, my travelling companions and I managed to divvy up the labor and circumvent any pre-trip explosions.  The plan, visit family and see some sights in Oregon and Washington over 3 weeks in August.  The mode, a 24 mile per gallon Jeep Cherokee and a newly acquired used tent trailer.  The new (to us) tent trailer was checked out, and minor repairs made.  Camping supplies were reorganized and streamlined into two boxes and a cooler.  Sleeping bags, camp chairs and camp stove were packed.  Personal items were packed, unpacked, and repacked into half the space.  This weary pilgrim fell into bed early to grab a few hours sleep before the epic vacation was to start.  At 2:20a.m., grumbling and threatening bodily harm to a certain travelling companion who begrudged me my last 10 minutes of sleep, I stumbled to the espresso machine and made myself a large double (would that be a quadruple?).  I dressed myself and my son, gathered my purse and book, and packed us into the back seat of the jeep, where we proceeded to fall directly back to sleep.  It was still too dark for any sight seeing anyway.

First stop, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Breakfast buffet at Palace Station.  The cheese blintzes were awesome, but the strawberry sauce I put on top of them was not.  Should have stuck with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Coffee and sausage were plentiful, and after some in our party topped off with ice cream cones, we made our way to Bass Pro Shop for air mattresses.  Unfortunately, we forgot the air pump at home, so had to get another one.  I was in favor of a 12volt that could be left attached, to inflate the mattresses while we set up the rest of our camp, got the fire going, cooked dinner, etc.  I was overrulled by manly men insisting on a bicycle style pump.  Okay by me, I'm not the one going to be inflating the air mattresses anyway.

Now with the sun up, the drive through Nevada towards Reno was alot of gray, hot, dreary desert.  It was too hot to stop anywhere to make sandwiches for lunch (our cooler and other food were in the tent trailer), so we just snacked.  A roadside stand boasted buffalo jerkey, but it was rather pricey, so we opted for garlic stuffed olives instead - yuck! were they sour!  Then we read the label and found they weren't even local...

We stopped again to stretch our legs in Goldfield, Nevada.  While everyone else went over to inspect an ancient Mercedes diesel, I walked around the even more ancient Goldfield Hotel.  Repairs are apparently being attempted on the dilapidated building, but they do not appear to be historically correct, which is a disappointment because it must have been a beautiful building.  I must know: why such a huge hotel exists in such a remote town and what is the story of Goldfield?  I will report at a future date.

The remainder of our first day is spent driving through the unmerciful heat of the Nevada desert.  We finally reach our first camp at midnight, Donner Pass, but that will have to wait until my next post...

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