One of the highlights of our year is hooking up the car, jumping into the motorhome and leaving our town behind for a couple of weeks to travel north and see our kids and grandkids. We live in the desert southwest. They all live in the Pacific northwest.
Sometimes this trip involves Nevada Hwy. 93, which is on the east side of Nevada and runs the length of the state. This takes us through Ely and Jackpot, which is a good overnight stop if you’re into a little gaming or golf. Then we travel across the Idaho line to Boise and then west into Oregon.
This takes us through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. If you haven’t done the Gorge make it a point to get there. They call the creeks around here “rivers.” These aren’t rivers. THE COLUMBIA IS A RIVER!
Other times we take Nevada Hwy. 95. It’s on the west side of the state and goes north through many early mining towns such as Tonopah. Called “The Queen of the Silver Camps,” this town boasts among other things that Howard Hughes was once married there.
These Nevada towns are deep in history and a lot of fun. Then we’re off to Reno and north from there. We usually manage to tarry in Reno for a day or two.
A third option — and the one we favor if we have the time — is the California-Oregon-Washington coast. This is definitely the scenic route.
Depending upon the amount of time available, this trip can be long — from Mexico to Canada, if you like — or as short a portion you want it to be. It’s all spectacular!
Our route takes us west from Reno to Interstate 5, north to Grants Pass, Ore., and then west again to the coast.
From there on north it’s pure heaven. Historic bridges, forested mountains, seaside towns, great golf and wonderful RV parks. At the town of Seaside, Ore., you’ll find the western terminus of the historic Lewis & Clark Trail. That’s where we spent our honeymoon many years ago. A monument marks the spot – for the Lewis & Clark Trail that is.
The Oregon coast is breathtaking and one of our favorite places. A word of caution: If you plan to stay at one of the many RV parks on the Oregon coast during summer, make reservations well in advance. Like a year in advance!
Soon after leaving home on these trips north something interesting happens. The further away from town we get, the more unwound I become behind the wheel until, when well down the road, I discover I am actually relaxed and enjoying driving again.
I wondered about this until, on the way back when we were once again approaching home, with a little help from two young ladies it came to me. About 20 miles north of town, they raced passed us on a two-lane blind curve and barely made it back in time to avoid an ugly head on crash with a tractor trailer.
When I was able to pry my fingers from the wheel and get my breath back my wife turned to me, we exchanged glances and I said, “Well, babe, we’re back.”
Yes, we were back in the land of drivers who have no clue about rules of the road and total disregard for traffic laws. The land where tailgating is king and a red traffic light means pedal to the metal baby and full speed ahead!
Where nobody, and I mean nobody, pays any attention to speed limits, or even close, and the single digit salute is the greeting of choice.
For those of you who live in big cities this might be fairly unremarkable. But, to put things in perspective, there’s no place in our town that’s more than 10 minutes from any other place in town. Yet, everyone drives as if their backsides are on fire.
Coming in the last time, for example, we came within a few feet of being whacked not once but twice by red light runners and that was just between the city limits and our house, which is all of about three miles. Yep, we were back! It took two hours to untie the knots in my stomach.
In twenty short years our town has grown by nearly 150 percent. Yes, growth and especially out-of-control growth like ours, brings with it plenty of problems.
Some use this as a lame excuse though for mindless reckless driving. Let’s get real! There is no reason for driving like this. Not in our town, not in your town . . . not anywhere!