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2016 Quilt Away

Destination Las Vegas - Spring 2016

It's hard to believe that another year has flown by and it's time to head for Vegas. The weather in the last month has been so mild, it almost seems that I'm late this year. Not late but it is time to go. I feel like I've been cooped up forever.
2016 - Quilt Away Photo Album

Monday, May 2 - Calgary to Creston, B.C.
I was dragging my heals this morning. Three times I went to my car and three times I went back to get something - not the least of which was my passport. Once I got going, it was relatively uneventful. It was an easy drive. Traffic was light and weather was perfect. I took hwy 2 south through Okotoks, hwy 783 south, hwy 543 west to Hartell, hwy 22 south and west on hwy 3 to Creston. Google Map
I decided to stop at Creston so that I would get to Grand Forks in time for lunch - which would be borscht of course. I decided to try the Ramada Inn which is a relatively new hotel in Creston. It was really lovely. Unfortunately, Shaw was doing an upgrade or something and the internet in the hotel was out of service. Posting will have to wait until tomorrow night.
For dinner, the desk clerk recommended the Real Food Cafe - the best kept secret in town. Their menu was quite interesting offering dishes from around the world, gluten free, and vegetarian. I opted for fish and chips.

Tuesday, May 4 - Creston to Bothell, Washington
A few highways today. I continued west on hwy 3 to Grand Forks, south on hwy 41 to the Danville Border Crossing, then hwy 21 south to Republic, west on hwy 20 to Sedro-Wooley, then hwy 9 south to Bothell. Google Maps

Grand Forks, B.C.

First stop of the day was the Borscht Bowl in Grand Forks. This is Doukhobor Borscht made from cabbage rather than beets and it is creamy rather than clear. I had my usual favourite - borscht and bread - and got another litre to go for my supper. Borscht Bowl

Heart N Sole Quilts, Grand Forks, B.C.

This quaint little shop was loaded with great fabrics. I picked my fat quarter and headed on my way. They are packing in preparation for several quilt festivals including the Heritage Park Quilt Show in Calgary. Heart N Sole Quilts

Needlelyn Time, Omak, WA

Needlelyn Time is right on the main street, easy to find with lots of street parking. The store has a good supply of fabric with a large lesson area. I bought my fat quarter and also a panel. Needlelyn Time

2015 Okanogan Complex Wildfire

The scenery on SR 20 has changed considerably since the last time I travelled along it. The devastation from the Okanogan Complex Fire was evident. Many homes that escaped the fire by mere feet could be seen. Unfortunately many that didn't can also be seen.

The Okanogan Complex Wildfire was composed of five fires that were caused by lightning strikes on August 15, 2015. At its peak, it burned over 304,782 acres of land and forced the evacuations of numerous towns, including Twisp and Winthrop. Three firefighters were killed battling the fire near Twisp on August 19th.

The Quilting Hive, Twisp. WA

Next stop along the way was the Quilting Hive in Twisp. I picked up a fat quarter and headed on my way. The name Twisp comes from the Colville-Okanagan language meaning "wasp". It made me wonder if the Quilting Hive was named for this.

State Route 20 Washington

SR 20 is one of only three State Routes in Washington that have portions closed in the winter. Washington Pass, elevation 5,477 feet and nearby Rainy Pass, elevation 4,875 feet annually receive up to 15 feet of snow throughout the winter, and are prone to avalanches leaving over 20 feet of snow on the road.

There was still a lot of snow at the higher altitudes and over the summits with huge plow walls yet to melt along the road. Karen and I travelled this highway in June and there was nothing left. There must be a lot of melting done in one month to get rid of this snow.

Bothell, Washington

At some point (as is usual in this area) I got lost and headed south on I-405. I cant figure out why I always miss the Bothell turnoff, but I managed to do it again. After some back tracking, I finally found the turnoff for hwy 527. Yeah! .

I am at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Country Village Shops. There is an Outback next to the hotel so I headed there for dinner - a Bloomin' Onion!

Wednesday, May 5 - Bothell to Sisters, Oregon

Yikes! What a frustrating day. Getting myself out of the area and on the right road to Mount Rainier National Park was a miracle in itself. Then "Road Closed". Now I had to turn around and go back. I was trying to figure out how to get to Sisters from the west side of the Park. After going in a few circles, stopping and looking at the map three or four times and still getting lost, I saw a sign that said to I-90. I said "screw it" and hopped on the east bound train. Once I was on I-90 I relaxed. I'm sure up to that point the other drivers thought they had a lunatic on their hands.

The highways today (without the many times going in circles) were I-405 south to Bellevue, I-90 east to Preston, SR 18 and SR 169 south to Enumclaw, west on SR 410 to the "Road Closed" sign. Then SR 169 and SR 18 north, I-90 east to Ellensburg, I-82 and US 97 south to Redmond and finally west on SR 128 to Sisters. Google Maps

Keepsake Cottage Fabrics, Bothell, WA

The Country Village Shops open at 10:00 so I had a relaxing morning at the hotel before heading out. A lot of the shops have closed and new ones moved in. Thankfully, the quilt shop was just where it was supposed to be. I picked up my fat quarter and wandered around the village. Keepsake Cottage Fabrics

Country Village Shops

Most of the flower gardens were not blooming - just some early spring perennials. It was overcast - not raining but not pleasant. Even the roosters where nestled in. I only saw one. I would have liked to stay a bit longer but it was too cold and windy. Country Village Shops

Gossypium Quilt Shop, Issaquah, Washington,

During one of my circle routes in Issaquah, I noticed a sign "Quilt Shop Open" so hammer on the breaks - turn another circle, stop and shop! What a lovely store. Brand new and stuffed full of everything for the quilter. Gossypium opened its doors in February 2013. Owner, Lynn Smallwood says "As an avid sewist, I recognized the need for a one-stop local quilting shop. Plus, with my ever growing fabric “stash” a quilting shop seemed an excellent outlet for my art." Gossypium Quilt Shop


I was curious about the name of this shop so I Googled it. Surprise - it's the scientific name for the cotton plant. It is native to the tropical and subtropical regions from both the Old and New World. Gossypium comprises around 50 species.

Sisters, Oregon

I arrived at Sisters about 8:00 pm. I've never taken the time to explore all the quaint shops along main street so I booked the room for two nights. I'm staying at the Best Western Ponderosa. After today's fiasco, it will feel good to kick back, and relax for a day.

Thursday, May 5 - Sisters, Oregon
Today was a mixed bag of nuts - some shopping, some touring, mostly lazy. I slept late and only got up when the cramps in my legs won the battle over laziness. I managed to get up in time for breakfast. Biscuits and gravy and a steaming cup of coffee and I was set to go. Not that I had to go very far.
Favorite Block

Stitchin' Post, Sisters, Oregon

I found my fat quarter quite quickly but not quick enough to get out of the store without a fat quarter bundle and pattern "Favorite" by Jean Wells, the co-owner of the store. "Favorite" is an update of "Aunt Vina's Favorite". The blocks are set in rows creating a strong secondary design that makes it hard to tell where blocks begin and end. Stitchin" Post

Jean Wells is an award-winning quilter, author, and teacher. She opened one of America's first quilt shops in 1974 and founded the legendary Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in 1975, when just 12 quilts were displayed. Jean was inducted into the Quilting Hall of Fame in 2010. The Stitchin' Post was one of the first stores to be included in the American Patchwork and Quilting top ten quilt shop issue.
I had lunch at Sisters Saloon, which was called Bronco Billy's the last time we were here. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through the wonderful shops. I even managed to pick up a few Christmas presents along the way.

Faith, Hope and Charity

The Town of Sisters is named after the Three Sisters mountains that dominate its western skyline. The Three Sisters, each exceeding 10,000 feet, are volcanic peaks of the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range. They are located in the Three Sisters Wilderness about 10 miles south of the nearest town of Sisters.

Faith, Hope & Charity
The three mountains evolved under differing geologic situations, and the petrologic composition of each mountain can vary significantly. North Sister, Faith, is extinct. Middle Sister, Hope, is inactive. South Sister, Charity, last erupted about 2,000 years ago and still could erupt, threatening life within the region. Charity has an uneroded summit crater about 1⁄4 mile in diameter that holds a small crater lake known as Teardrop Pool.

Friday, May 6th - Sisters to Florence, Oregon
I decided to head northwest to Molalla to visit Robinson's Woodcraft and check out the quilt racks. Highways today included west on US 20, SR 22 and SR 214 to Silverton, and SR 213 to Molalla. I then backtracked west on SR 211, south on I-5, west on US 20, west on SR 34 to Waldport and finally south on US 101 to Florence. Google Map

Robinson's Woodcraft's

After a crazy loop drive on SR 214 I finally found the turn on Kroph Road. I was able to see some of the racks and ladders and get a feel for the wood and colors. The ladders are too big to put in my car so I will have to get ship them shipped. I bought a 22" Mini Wire Rooster quilt holder that I hope will be the right size for my chicks appliqué. Robinson's Woodcraft

Quiltwork Patches, Corvallis, Oregon

This wonderful store was right off the highway. Easy parking and easy access back to the highway. I found my fat quarter and headed on my way.

JanniLou Creations, Philomath, Oregon

This shop was right on the highway. I wasn't even looking for it - just saw the sign. When I walked in I was surrounded by black and white in the whole front room. More of a surprise was the size of the shop in the back room. I purchased two fat quarters. The owner showed me a few sample quilts done in black and white. I purchased the pattern Megabits by Swirly Girls. The sample quilt was done in black, white and red. It was beautiful. JanniLou Creations

Family Fabrics, Waldport, Oregon

This store was right at the corner of SR 34 and US 101. I saw it as I was stopped at a red light. 15 minutes later, I had my next fat quarter and heading down US 101.

US Highway 101

I've been down this highway several times, but I'm still awed by the beauty of the land and sea. I passed the Sea Lion Caves but felt no inclination to do the tour again. (Actually I wasn't inclined to do it the first time but Karen talked me into it).

Florence Sand Dunes

When I passed the dunes behind Fred Meyer in Florence, I was tempted to stop as I've done for many years but it was getting late and I needed to secure a hotel. Besides, there would be no one there to take a picture of the old lady playing on the sand dunes!

Best Western Pier Point Inn, Florence, Oregon

What a wonderful hotel. Every room in the Pier Point Inn faces the Siuslaw River. I ate supper right at the hotel. After the slow drive today, I didn't want to look for somewhere else.

Saturday, May 7 - Florence to Redding, California
The sun was shining for most of the south drive but once I turned east the fog rolled in and then it started to rain. I didn't stop too many times today - didn't even find a quilt shop. I tried to take the Scenic Byway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park but the road was closed. Only two highways today. South on US 101 to Alliance and west on SR 299 to Redding. Google Map

US Highway 101, California

Without a doubt the coastal route US 101 is one of the prettiest drives I've found. Between the sea stacks, huge beaches and rugged mountain terrain, there is always something to fascinate me. The quaint coastal towns along the road have lots of unique gift shops so there is always something for me to buy!

Redwood National and State Parks

The Redwood National and State Parks are comprised of Redwood National Park (established 1968) and California's Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks (dating from the 1920s). The combined parks contain 133,000 acres and protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests.

Sunday, May 8 - Redding to Lone Pine, California
I originally wanted to head south and visit Angels Camp & Sonora and then cross over the mountains. None of the passes were open and I would have had to go all the way to Bakersfield before heading east. Not much fun on an interstate, so I crossed over on SR 44 to Susanville then US 395 to Lone Pine. Google Map
State Route 44 travels in an east–west direction from Redding to Lassen Volcanic National Park before ending at Route 36 west of Susanville. The final portion, between the park and its terminus, is part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Byway.
The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is an All-American Road in California and Oregon. It is roughly 500 miles long and travels through the Cascade Range past numerous volcanoes. It is composed of two separate National Scenic Byways, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway - Oregon and Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway - California. The latter also wholly includes the Lassen Scenic Byway.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found (plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and strato).

The last eruption of Lassen Peak was on May 22, 1915. This brought national attention that set the stage for the establishment of Lassen Volcanic National Park on August 9, 1916.

The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range.

All roads through Lassen Volcanic National Park were closed, but there was a good view of Lassen Peak from the highway. It was still covered with snow.

Lassen Peak from Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Lone Pine, California

I stopped tonight at Lone Pine so I can cut through Death Valley National Park tomorrow and head south to Las Vegas. Lone Pine is quite unique. It sits between Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States (14,505 feet), and Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest point in the United States (-282 feet).

In addition to being the western gateway to Death Valley National Park, Lone Pine's claim to fame is for being the setting of numerous Western films, including West of the Pecos (1945), Thunder Mountain (1947), The Gunfighter (1950), How the West Was Won (1962), Joe Kidd (1972), Maverick (1994) and The Lone Ranger (2013) with Johnny Depp. Through the years, non-Western films also used the unique landscape of the area, including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) with William Shatner.

Monday, May 9 - Lone Pine to Las Vegas, Nevada
Highways today were south on US 395, through Death Valley National Park on SR 36, SR 190, and Nevada SR 160 to Las Vegas. Google Map

Death Valley National Park

I didn't spend too much time touring in the Park. I stopped at Furnace Creek for gas and wandered through the Gift Shop. The weather was quite cool for Furnace Creek - 84°. Scotty's Castle and the road beyond Badwater Basin were closed due to flash flooding. I was tempted to drive the extra miles to see what the damage looks like. But I didn't imagine I would be able to get too close. A lot of repaving has been done on hwy 190.

Death Valley gets on average 2 inches of rain a year. A series of unusual storms in October, 2015 caused large amounts of damage throughout the Park. Flash floods destroyed significant portions of multiple roads and heavily damaged several historic structures at Scotty's Castle.

Scotty's Castle Road

A park employee stands amid the ruin of the highway leading to Scotty's Castle. Ten miles of highway was washed away during flash flooding. National Park Service

Damage to Historic Structures at Scotty’s Castle (NPS)
Flash flood damage on Badwater Road (NPS)

Las Vegas

I arrived about 1.30 pm, checked in and spent an hour or so unpacking and setting up my sewing machine. With great difficulty and much grunting and groaning I managed to move the patio table into the living room. I hope I can get it back out there when I leave.

Quiltique, Henderson, Nevada

Once I was all settled I went to Quiltique and picked up some more black and white fat quarters, a couple of yards of black and white polka dot and solid black Kona. I'll go to the Christmas Goose tomorrow before I make a decision on the background fabric. I want to find Swiss Dots in white with black dots.

I went to the Outback for supper and did some grocery shopping. I really needed to do some laundry so I headed back to the hotel, relaxed and watched Dancing with the Stars.

May 10 - 17 - Las Vegas

Tuesday, May 10 - Let the Quilting Begin

OK, everything is ready to go but me. First of all I slept until noon! Then by the time I had breakfast, checked my email, and showered, it was nearly 3:00 pm. If I didn't get moving, I wouldn't get to the Christmas Goose before closing!

The Christmas Goose

I headed to the Christmas Goose where I found the Swiss Dots fabric I wanted for my background. After that it was a disaster. I couldn't leave with just one fat quarter. No, not me. I found a kit to go with a pattern the store was developing using fabric from Sweetwater Volume II by Moda. I also bought a whole bunch of other inspiring fabric including some wonderful fabric to compliment my panel Perfect Pitch by Dan Morris.

JoAnn Fabric, Las Vegas, Nevada

My next stop was JoAnn Fabric to look for terry fabric for Karen. I think I found what she is looking for. I picked up a fat quarter and I also found a cute pre-quilted black and white fabric. I bought enough to make a One Hour Basket to hold my black and white fabric. So cute! Finally, at 10:00 pm, black and white basket finished, I'm ready for bed. Maybe tomorrow will be more productive.

Wednesday, May 11th

My day started slow but not as slow as yesterday. I was up before 10:00 and rolling. First thing I wanted to do was get a cord for my camera so I could upload my pictures. Easier said than done. Five stores and two hours later I finally found one at Walmart.

I finally started my black and white stars this afternoon and I managed to get three done before heading to bed. I'm really liking the black stars on a white background. Each star will have the black box in it. I did pick up some fat quarters with some color in them so I will have to decide whether to keep the theme true black and white or slip a little color in. I still have lots or time to decide. Who knows when I'll actually finish the quilt.

Thursday, May 12

I've settled into a routine - sleep until 9:30, put on the coffee, open emails, then be lazy the rest of the day. I managed to make one more star before noon.

I have company coming for dinner tonight so I needed to put away my sewing, get showered and head to the grocery store. Karen's sister and hubby along with two inlaws are in Vegas this week. We talked Jim into doing steaks on the barbeque. I'll make some potato salad and a green salad. Add to that french bread, jelly and whipped cream for desert and I'm ready to go.

Friday, May 13 - My Number!

I'm not sure if 13 is my lucky or unlucky number. It seems that everything good - and everything bad has the number 13 somehow in it. Either way, it's my number. Embrace the day!

I woke up this morning, stumbled to the kitchen to make coffee, and stepped in the puddle of water. I called maintenance and a hour later it was determined that the dishwasher is leaking. They said I could still use it as they will have to not only change the dishwasher but also that part of the floor. I think I'll just wash things by hand.

I sewed until about 1:00 then headed to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up Karen's terry cloth. I stopped at the Christmas Goose first to pick up some more background material.

Day of the Dead Kitties
Done with the west side, I headed to Quiltique in Henderson to buy some more fabric from the Day of the Dead line by Timeless Treasures. I made a star this morning with it. Despite the name, the fabric is so cute. I picked up both the kitties and pups. I also bought some Timeless Treasures Black Iguana and turquoise grunge to use for cornerstones and binding. I decided to do this one for my guild charity quilt.
I decided to stay an extra 2 days but I'll have to change rooms. I'm not sure if they will be moving me today or tomorrow or wait until Monday. I went to the adult spa tonight. It is so relaxing. There were quite a few people in the tub tonight so I didn't stay too long.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I couldn't believe it when I opened my eyes this morning - it was 11:30 meaning I slept 11 hours. I'm going to be in big trouble if that little habit continues!

I needed a spool of white thread and the Christmas Goose had a sale on today - 3 yards for $27.00. Where else would I go? I ended up buying some more of my background fabric plus some white with black possibly for my border.

When I was at JoAnn Fabrics yesterday I pick up some more pre-quilted material. Today I made another basket. Why? Damned if I know. I also finished the black and white blocks so now I'll start working on the Day of Dead kitties and pups.

The temperature hit 100° - at least my car thermometer said so. I've been drinking water and eating popsicles all day.

Sunday, May 15

I started my Day of the Dead quilt today. The fabric is from Timeless Treasures. I'm using the kitties and pups but I also bought Timeless Treasures Black Iguana and turquoise grunge for the cornerstones and binding.

Day of the Dead Kitties
Day of the Dead Pups
Turquoise Grunge
Black Iguana

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. The three day holiday from October 31st to November 2nd is a gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world.

Monday, May 16

First thing this morning was the move. Thankfully, they sent a bellhop to help me. I can't believe how much stuff I accumulated in just one week. The good news is that I packed the extra material and put the bag in the car. Now it doesn't seem so bad. Moving the table back out to the balcony was much easier than bringing it in. The room they gave me is on the third floor overlooking the barbeque pit. I can at least stand out on the balcony - which I couldn't do on the 9th floor - just too high for me. I couldn't even look over the railing.

I spent a couple of hours quilting, then went for groceries. I also went to Quiltique and picked up some kitty fabric to use as a border on the Day of Dead quilt. I spent the evening watching TV and relaxing. It was especially nice to sit on my balcony and enjoy the evening sunset and the beautiful gardens of the hotel. Note to myself - ask for the lower floors next time I book.
I got a call from Karen this afternoon. She is going to fly into Vegas tomorrow and ride with me to Oatman, Bluff and home. Yeah! It will be a short trip for Karen but it'll be fun. At least she'll be able to visit Brenda and the donkeys and we can play on highway 261. For me it'll be great to have company homeward bound.

Tuesday, May 17

I bounced between quilting and reading on my balcony most of my day. I have my stars pinned all around the room. It looks quite funny. I packed up my sewing machine, cutting boards, rulers, and coffee pot and took everything out to the car in preparation for leaving tomorrow.

Karen arrived safe and sound about 9:30 pm. We got her settled in and now heading to bed. Have to be up pretty early. We want to be in Oatman early afternoon.

Wednesday, May 18 - Las Vegas to Kingman, Arizona
We were up early, packed and on our way by 10:30 but before leaving town we stopped at Quiltique since Karen had not been to that store. Highways today were I-215, hwy US 95 south, SR 163 to Laughlin, CR 155/Silver Creek Road, and Route 66 (hwy 10) to Oatman and then to Kingman. Google Map

Oatman, Arizona

We took the Silver Creek backroad and connected with Route 66. It's a gravel road but totally passable. We arrived in Oatman about 1:30 and spent a couple hours of visiting and catching up with the Oatman news and meeting the new donkeys. Brenda said that the herd is now down to 11 but by September they will be back up to 18.

We arrived in Kingman about 5:30, checked into the hotel and went to IHOP for dinner. We are staying at the Hampton Inn which seems to be a bit better that the other hotels in Kingman.

Thursday, May 19 - Kingman to Bluff, Utah
Highways today included I-40, north on SR 64 through Grand Canyon National Park, US 89, SR 160, and SR 163 to Bluff. After dinner, in the near dark, we drove up and down hwy 261. Google Map

Quilts on 66, Williams, Az

First stop today was Williams, AZ. We found Quilts on 66 and spent about 20 minutes wandering through the store. We both bought some fat quarters. Karen bought some yellow fabric and I bought an appliqué pattern that looks easy. Before leaving town we stopped at the Dairy Queen for milk shakes. Quilts on 66

Grand Canyon National Park

We decided to head north from Williams to pass through the Grand Canyon. We were pleasantly surprised when we entered the Park to find out we both qualified for Lifetime Park Passes for $10.00. This is a tremendous saving given that we have been spending $80.00 a year for a pass. This is the first time we've been through the Park since 2001 - our first year travelling together. We stopped at several turnouts and tried to find the one where we had our picnic.

Monument Valley

We've read that this portion of hwy 163 is one of the most photographed sections of hwy in North America. As we stopped and looked back and saw all the people wandering across the highway we understood why. What a view. In previous years Karen and I stopped several times to take pictures and at one point she even stood up through the sunroof to get a better view.

Bluff, Utah

We arrived in Bluff around 7:00, booked into the Desert Rose Motel, and went for supper at the Twin Rocks Cafe. There have been a lot of changes since we were here last. First of all the Desert Rose has added a restaurant. The last time I was through, they had added the extra rooms, swimming pool, and workout room. Then we discovered more changes at the Twin Rocks. They have enclosed the balcony and made it a sunroom addition to the restaurant.

To finalize our day, we drove to hwy 261 and ended up going up and down it in the dark. It was quite spooky. The rocks where Karen took her mother's picture in 2007 are gone. There is only one new rock at that corner. We are going up hwy 261 tomorrow so we can take pictures to compare with the 2007 picture.

Friday, May 20 - Bluff to Beaver, Utah
Highways today were US 191, US 163 to Valley of the Gods Road, north on hwy 261, west on State hwy 95, State hwy 276, including the Halls Ferry over Lake Powell, to Burr Trail Road (BLM 12000) to Boulder, west on State hwy 12, north on US hwy 89 to Bear Junction, west on SR hwy 20 and north on I-15 to Beaver. Goggle Map

Valley of the Gods

After a brief breakfast of toast and coffee at the Twin Rocks Cafe, we headed out reasonably early for our tour through the Valley. It had rained a couple of days earlier so there was still some water in the washes. Normally we tour this route and might see one or two other travellers but today it was full of tourists, campers, hikers and a few wide eyed "nervous nellies" attempting to circumvent the rough terrain.

Highway 261

After having driven up at dusk and down in the dark last night, you'd think we'd be rather nonchalant about the overlooks, but no such luck. Karen was still leaning into the drivers seat and gripping the door ledge as if it was going to stop her from falling over the cliff. Haven't quite understood how she can walk to the edge and look straight down but can't sit in the car and look out the window.

August 2007 Two Huge Rocks
There was one new fallen rock at the base of the road where we usually stop for photos. The two massive rocks from prior trips were gone and replaced by a small slab hanging precariously over the cliff and seemingly supported by a small tree. We took a couple of pictures so we can continue to compare the scene on future trips.
Once we reached the top of the butte and continued north SR 95, we ran into another unique sight. There were a couple of cows on the road, which we slowed for and suddenly out of the bushes, came the whole herd, followed by 4 riders on horseback cracking a whips and driving them up the highway. They waved us ahead and said the only way to continue was to literally push them out of the way. It is a truly special sight to be at the south end of a northbound cow gently persuading it to get the heck out of the way.

Burr Trail

This is our third trip over the Burr Trail which can only be reached from the south side by ferry - that has it's last run at 2 pm. We made it with about 45 minutes to spare and after an uneventful boat ride, started driving up the highway. Somehow we were preoccupied and sailed right past the turnoff and it was 15 miles later before we realized we were climbing instead of heading into a valley. We pulled a U-ee and drove back to our corner and finally ended up on the right road. There are a couple of switchback climbs on this road that make my knees melt but the scenery more than makes up for the heart palpitations.

Former Sand Dunes - The Sugar Loaf

The Navajo Sandstone outcrop, known locally as the "Sugar Loaf" stands at the western edge of the Burr Trail Road. The large scale cross-bedding pattern of the Sugar Loaf was caused by wind blown deposition of sand dunes that were repeatedly buried and exposed over millions of years. The jointing of the sandstone is the result of cracking related to slowly changing pressures in the rock.

Saturday, May 21 - Beaver to Idaho Falls, Idaho
It looks like our entire today was to avoid the two hour drive through Salt Lake City - and it was. Hwys were I-15 north, west on US 6, north on SR 36 to Tooele, then west on SR 112 and SR 138, west on I-80, north on Nevada SR 233/Utah SR 30, north on Stone-Hollbrook Road, east on SR 38 to Malad, and finally north on I-15 again to Idaho Falls and voilà we avoided Salt Lake City. Google Map

Near Disaster

We were coasting along quietly basically having the road to ourselves when we noticed (about a half mile down the road) a half ton truck coming toward us on our side of the road. We watched as he corrected himself and got back into his lane. Then, unbelievably, he started to drift slowly into our lane again - heading straight at us. I was slowed to about 20 miles an hour at this point and pulled onto the shoulder in preparation for hitting the ditch. We could see him looking down. We don't know if he was drunk, sleeping or texting, but he had no idea he was heading straight at us. Just about the time I was going to drive into the ditch, he looked up and cranked his wheel back to his own lane. We avoided the accident by a mere 10 feet.

We were close enough that Karen could clearly see the surprised look on his tanned, mustached face. I was too busy trying to avoid the accident to care what he looked like. She said there was a total look of surprise on his face.

In all our travels, we have never been as close to an accident. We estimate that with the angle he was heading and the speed I was going he would have hit the back left of our car - unless I accelerated and hit the ditch. No matter what, impact or ditch, we would have been injured.

Idaho Falls

We booked ahead to the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites in Idaho Falls. Memories of sleeping in the car reminded us to "call ahead". There is an Olive Garden next to the hotel which was just fine for us. We then spent the rest if the evening updating the last couple of day's posts.

Sunday, May 22 - Idaho Falls to Calgary
Hwys today were I-15 in the US and hwy 2 in Canada - nothing extra. We were in home mode. Google Map
Before leaving Idaho Falls, we went to Target to look for shirts for Steve. We only found one. We left Idaho Falls about 11:30 and arrived home just before 10:00. The rain started just north of Idaho Falls and stayed most of the way home. It was a bit of a shock hitting the cold weather after spending so long in 90° weather.


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