Friday, June 14, 2013

My Summer Vacation...

So who wants to help plan it?

I should begin by noting this is my LAST POST until mid-July (probably July 10 or so). I have a thousand things going on in the next few weeks, including work HUGENESS, a 5000 mile road trip, a memorial that I am meant to be planning, and a BuNoWriMo project to finish.

I will MISS all of you, but really need the time I normally devote to blogging for this week before my trip so I can PLAN...

But see, that's where you come in.

I'm aware of THIS.
My family is DRIVING to IDAHO for my aunt's memorial, then to PORTLAND to see my husband's family (his father passed away this spring). Then we are driving BACK...

What I am looking for from YOU is help breaking the monotony.

Any great sites we can't POSSIBLY miss on Highway 90 going out there?

We also plan on spending a day at Yellowstone—what are the things there we CAN'T MISS?

Not my style of curio...
What are the coolest things on Highway 80 for our drive back?

Anyone have any excellent 4th of July Fireworks recommendations circa Salt Lake City, or maybe Twin Falls (or anywhere in between?)

This will be an interesting family adventure. My daughter travels well (as do I) but the son gets bored and HWMNBMOTI has a history of being a whiny baby. We'll have to see how it goes.

Wish me luck and I'll see you on the other side!!!


spike said...

Dearie -

Replace the cooling system - fluid, hoses, water pump - pre-preemptively on your vehicle if it isn't German. You do not want to be stuck outside of Sidney waiting for a guy named Lonnie to drive an hour in a '79 one-ton with a hook on the back. He's the AAA.

Take a deep breath.

I-80 from Cheyenne to Lincoln is Hell. East of Lincoln, it is corn until cement city of the Indiana turnpike.

Cheyenne is a magical place. Marquez magical. No place in the world is like it. If you look closely, you can see Hope, Desperation, and Resignation (the sort Moses had after 37 years of wandering) walk on two legs right down the street.

Now, ahem. East of there. Well, for then next ten hours you are driving through the killing fields. It's a place to shoot pheasants.In fact, that's one of the highlights of the world there. It' an economically significant factor in the economy. Not kidding.

It is also a place in the summer where treads roll off semi's like show-offy metaphors from an unpublished writer's pen. Rubber on the road is a real problem in the heat. Be advised.

The part that isn't irrigated corn is dryland corn. The part that isn't dryland corn is pasture that this year will be brown and dead from June 10th onward.

It's going to stop raining there for the summer two days ago and not rain again until September unless it hails. From north of Hastings east, it'll rain every other week about a third of an inch and so you'll have a little grass there.

This is brutal country. Buffalo moved through it for a reason - they didn't stick around. You should follow their advice. Transit as quickly as possible.

Movies? good idea. Gloves in the trunk just in case - good idea.

KRVN on the FM dial (93.1) will give you plenty of flavor for the locals as your drive through the west. You can play along with monogram money everyday at 9:17 AM , learn all about June (national dairy month), check the auction report (Kearney feeder cattle are light to moderate providing a low test to the market today. Trading for feeder steers is 115 to 117 with several lots going for 121 and a half...) , and hear the rain report - which is a little bit of desperation right there as you hear "no rain reported" about fifty times and realize the reason you have trees is the 38 inches of rain a year you get. Nebraskans in the west get 18" on a good year. A2's high temp - all time : 105. That doesn't even stop hay from being stacked at mid-day in North Platte.

The Sand Hills are wonderful in a Kublai Khan sort of way. The rest - push the skinny one of the right to the floor. Hold it there. Keep right. You'll still be slow traffic.

Good luck. Special snacks might help. You get a medal for this. The President might even come and pin it on you himself. 80 wit the family is that sort of road.

Oh, biggest truck stop in the world is in Iowa on 80. Exciting. Ohhh. Oh, and the exit off the freeway for Friend, Nebraska (near Lincoln ...has a Dairy King to some other knock-off) is priceless. Friend. Who names a town Friend?

Go get 'em.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Enjoy! That's going to be an amazing trip. We'll miss you, but will be here when you get back to hear all about it!

Hart Johnson said...

*falls over*

Spike-do I know you personally? Biblically maybe? You just made my morning. That was hysterical. I'm copying it off to read to my family to distract them on that long span of nothingness. I've driven the 90 version a few times, but not 80, so I'm sure I will need this.

Elizabeth, thank you!

Joe Bauer said...

The boy may enjoy geocaching:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Crap, it's been so long since I've been to Yellowstone. There are lots of things besides Old Faithful. Mammoth something comes to mind.

Patti said...

I may need to think on this a bit. I've driven the entire stretch across I80 many many times.

OK, now if you stop in Laramie, there's a couple breweries there (that are also family friendly for the under 21 crowd). Altitude has some really tasty brews that they make in house. There's another place that I can't think of the name of that has good food... it's kinda hippy-ish and awesome. I'll have to work on that.

There's always the prison in Rawlins to visit.... gotta have a lesson or two for the kiddos there.

And there's a lot of Meth.

There's the state hospital in Evanston. Now THAT is the place to be. There's also a porn store just off the highway that people from Utah drive across the border to get their fix. No joke.

The drive into SLC is BEAUTIFUL. I got two tattoos and my nose ring in SLC. I've also seen the fireworks in SLC. TOTALLY worth it. It's a beautiful show, plus an extra bit of amazing because they are shot off over the mountains. Epic.

If you happy to venture off the interstate up the secondary highways towards Lewiston (on the way to Pullman) the road is STUNNING. Plus there's a gorgeous little ice rink in McCall, Idaho where you can see a lake and mountains from the ice. The little highway twists and turns along the snake river. Also beautiful.

If you find yourself in Pullman... SELLA'S. You won't regret it. :) Breakfast at Old European (there's also one in Spokane and one in/near Coer d'Alene) is always incredible.

mshatch said...

I hope your road trip goes well, Hart. If you were coming east I might have some suggestions for you but I've never been out that way so I got nuthin!

~Sia McKye~ said...

It's been a long time since I've done a road trip like this, Hart. But, Spike does have some good points on the miles of nothing. We'd take alternate roads now and then and find cool things. We made sure there were plenty of books, games, and color books to break the monotony.

Enjoy your trip!


Yolanda Renee said...

I think the only way I could enjoy a road trip is to do all the driving. I've driven across country 3 times, and can't imagine being a passenger all that distance, or course I was young and energetic. Now my hubby does the driving (it the macho thing) and I get bored. We takes lots of music and sing out loud, play the alphabet game, and I try to sleep. Julie Luek, mentioned books on tape - I suggest IT by Steven King!
Have fun!

CA Heaven said...

Sounds like an interesting drive. I haven't been driving much along I-90 myself, but I've been to Billings and Bozeman, and a side-track down to Yellowstone, which was great >:)

Cold As Heaven

Jai said...

Have a fun time!!

Tina said...

Make sure your air-conditioning is working if you drive through the Great Salt Desert. Ours died. We tried to make pretend swamp coolers by holding wet wash cloths over the open window but it really wasn't that effective when it was 115 outside...I like what Spike said. He pretty much covered all the bases as it seems we've traveled the same roads. "How many roads must a man walk down..."
As to Yellowstone, my favorite is called, as of my best memory from 2004, The Paint Pots. There's a wooden "boardwalk" through the treacherous field of lave flow and lava explosions (small) and along the way are these amazing "pots", that is two foot diameter lava holes in the ground, of various brilliant colors. So you're walking along the wood sidewalk, and all around you things are erupting, and the colors are amazing, and if you happen to take the optional hike to see some buffalo (not guaranteed) you might get the scare of your life with an impromptu hail storm, a buffalo laying across the tourist path, no easy way around him, and all your foul weather gear in the car. However, you will NEVER forget it!

Tina @ Life is Good

Patricia Stoltey said...

Don't skip anything at Yellowstone. It's a magical place.

And if you do get to Cheyenne, keep in mind I'm a hop, skip and a jump down here in Northern Colorado. My town has lots to see and do.

Helena said...

I love Spike's comments and wish I could be that funny and helpful, but all I can tell you is that I haven't seen Idaho or Yellowstone since I was a little kid but I remember there were some gorgeous spots. You definitely want to cut up through Idaho because there IS NOTHING IN NORTHERN NEVADA but blown out tires like blackened bones littering the highway and the occasional gas stop with something like a McDonald's, which looks like a sweet oasis after driving across that vast empty landscape that looks like it was designed to test nuclear weapons.

In Wyoming, Cheyenne and Laramie are nothing much to look at but the people I met were friendly and helpful. Western Wyoming can have winds so strong you'll swear your car will flip over, and the towns and landscape are... Oh hell, they're just plain ugly. Utah will be a welcome respite.

Haven't driven through Nebraska, but everyone I know who has basically just tries to get across it as fast as possible. If you drive across it at night you won't miss anything. I do know someone who goes to Nebraska every year to hunt pheasants with his relatives there. Seriously, this may be one reason why he's a heavy drinker.

I hope you and your family have a spectacular, safe, and very fun drive. Bring not one but two spare tires. And may the gods of travel watch over you and your family.

Jill Haugh said...

Here's a fun family game! Count the number of "Do not drive on the shoulder" signs in Nebrasky.


Hope the air conditioning holds.
Stop often. Once you're past Nebraska--all is well. (No offense Nebraskans. I'm from the equally-flat-and-boring North Dakota.
~Just Jill

Terra said...

I don't have any tourist tips for you. Have a safe journey and see you in blogland upon your return.

Jill Haugh said...

Dude! You drop us hints like Wall Drug and the Corn Palace and then you leave us hanging?!

Updates please. Let us know how it is going...

We are bored and need stories from the "Hart"land.
~Just Jill
(Dakota Girl)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Well, if you are traveling down Hwy 97, please stop by! We are just a mile off the highway and are easy to find.

I hope that you have a wonderful trip; it will be one that the kids will always remember.


Kathy M.