Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Road Trip Day 1

Greetings from Sacramento! I spent the night at the home of some dear friends, Janet and Mark, who kindly (and at the last minute) offered me some hospitality.

But oh my, yesterday was a looooong day on the road. I left home long before sunrise, and though I kept my camera on hand for fly-by-night photos, it wasn't really light enough to take pictures until I hit central Idaho. I got out at a place called Whitebird Pass to stretch my legs and saw, without question, one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen.

The photo, of course, doesn't do justice to the jaw-dropping scope of the vista. Everything from the distant mountains just catching the first rays of the sun ...

... to the pond down below ...

... was awe-inspiring.

I followed the Salmon River for quite a distance, crammed between steep hills.

I stopped for gas in Riggins, a surprisingly charming town at the confluence of the Salmon and Little Salmon Rivers. To say this town in at the bottom of a steep canyon barely hints at how steep and crammed the town is. I took this photo from the gas station.

The town is understandably obsessed with whitewater rafting, which is clearly the basis for its income. I got nice "vibes" from Riggins.

For a couple of hours, I wound in and out of the mountains, following the Little Salmon River.

Then, abruptly, I was out of the mountains and passing through a broad valley dotted with cattle.

Following Highway 95 south made me realize just how enormous Idaho is, and how comparatively little I've seen of it.

I passed these frames. They're used to grow hops for (presumably) beer making.

Nothing was growing yet; it's too early in the season.

The towns strung along the road seemed tidy and charming.

And isolated. There were looong stretches between them.

The landscape was very rugged.

It's easy to forget just how vast America is until you're passing through it.

Distantly, to the west, I could see the face of the Steen Mountains. Don and I went there long ago, shortly after we were married, and they're beautiful.

I passed into Nevada, which is typified by its sagebrush.

I don't know what these snow-capped peaks were, but they were beautiful.

You can see cattle at the bottom of the photo.

I liked this rocky outcrop.

At one point, I was startled to see honest-to-goodness sand dunes. Who knew?

Eventually I made it to Winnemucca.

Here I got on Hwy. 80 and blasted west toward the California border.

I passed an artificial mountain of some sort. I couldn't examine it well since I was driving, but I think it was a landfill.

How's this for a falling-down farm?

As I got closer to Sparks, I noticed some flat areas where people (presumably teens) had arranged endless rocks in "graffiti," which I found oddly wholesome and charming. No permanent damage and they were able to express themselves. What's not to love?

The weather took an ominous turn as I approached Sparks.

I needed to connect to Hwy. 580  at Sparks to go south to Tahoe, but suddenly I found myself dealing with heavy rush-hour traffic, lots of rain, and a frantic search for the right exit. Ug, I'm out of practice driving in city traffic now.

But eventually I made the right connection and got on 580 south toward Tahoe.

The first view of the lake. As always, Tahoe was breathtakingly beautiful, even at the end of winter (which lasts longer than at lower elevations).

Coming out of the city, I caught my first glimpse of the fire damage from the 2021 Caldor Fire which got so close to decimating the city.

But as I climbed into the mountains, some of the extent of the damage became apparent. Mile after heartbreaking mile of forest was burned.

Eventually I made it out of the mountains and descended into the outskirts of Sacramento where my friends live. (Blurry photo, sorry.)

After fifteen and a half hours of driving, I was more than ready to accept the glass(es) of wine my friends offered me. We stayed up late visiting and had a wonderful time. Glad this leg of the journey is over!


  1. I was browsing through a bunch of beautiful photographs early this morning, and one of my first thoughts was that we still live in Eden. Not really, but how incredible it must have been. Now your pictures just are another confirmation of the glory of creation. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.

  2. Those are wonderful pictures. At least you had wonderful scenery while you drove. I'll have to look up Riggins, it sounds lovely.

  3. "looonng streachs between"
    are there still signs that say
    use to see those and check the gas gage.
    you might have to drive 5 miles to the gas station, but if you couldn't make it XXX miles, you had no choice. there was a whole lot of nothing out there