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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Winding Roads: Scenery abounds

Thursday, August 7, 2008

If I was young again, I think I'd like to move to Oregon or the state of Washington, close to the ocean. Not right on the coast as there are enough foolish people doing that. As I have mentioned previously, government needs to take a firmer hand in regulating land use.

The Hohbachs just returned from another month-long vacation. We went north first and then on south to California to see family. Our first revisit was to Deadwood where prices for a motel room are astronomical. But you don't need to hock your trip's budget on one of those rooms as you can make your way west of the strip and find clean, neat rooms for $60. They are mom and pop motel operations and not that old.

We learned from them that they had owned more than one of the main strip buildings and sold it for $60,000 and then several months later, there was a big movement to reclaim the town and remodeled many of those buildings. The buildings they had just sold were going for one million easily. They just didn't dwell on it as life is too short.

We made a last minute decision to go to Yellowstone. It had been over 25 years since we were there. We found a magnificent route to the park thanks to a visitor information stop. We wound our way up a mountain which made for a down-hill thrilling ride. Combine the red rock, trees and flowers along with water streams and blue sky, it was very pleasant. Many changes have been made in the park which adds to its attractiveness. We actually saw a bear and several elk. People were thrilled seeing buffalo but that's not unusual for northwest Iowans.

We went in the north entrance and circled to Old Faithful which didn't take long to shoot up after we arrived. We left by the north entrance which also provided a splendid, thrilling ride. As we headed through Montana, we made a stop to see a dam. Not terribly wide but very high. We took in the visitor center and watched how it was built. Early construction cost several deaths but they persevered. Montana has some charm but the old west environment just isn't there as you gazed around many of their towns. We enjoyed going into a couple of bars which reminded us slightly of days gone by.

As we traveled across the state line, I loved every minute. Washington, Oregon and California have flowers that are huge and bright in color. they had plenty of moisture and foliage was abundant.

We traveled to Alaska by ship. Weather was gray for the most part and either drizzling or raining. we couldn't enjoy the deck life much at all. It was fun to see the old fishing towns and their many boats. But the weather, ice and glaciers stole the show with towering evergreen, gorgeous flowers and high mountains.

One of our two favorite side trips was riding a special boat to go whale watching. The time whizzed by as we saw three types of whales, dolphins, sea otters and more eagles than I could count. Our guide commented it had been her best observation of the area.

The second best was the train ride up from Skagway to just inside British Columbia. Mountains bragged of red rock, huge evergreen, bright flowers and waterfalls.

I also loved watching people which I'll share at another time. We visited with family and a friend in Washington before heading down to Santa Rosa to see family. The coast line is fabulous and I'm ready to go back. I'm thinking it would be a good winter trip if one could get over the mountains.

We came back through Nevada, Utah. Wyoming and Nebraska.

More the next time. Glad to hear some of you missed me.