The trip from the Oregon coast to Moab Utah was a long one! We broke the trip up by stopping in Salem, Bend, Boise and Salt Lake City on our way to Moab.
We spent a week in Salem working on the van. Lara and the kids made some field trips east in to Salem’s farming district. The Oregon farmland is beautiful! I can see why the early settlers flocked to claim their plots.
Our van was still not ready after the week was wrapping up. We ended up selling it back to the shop who was building the 4×4 conversion so they could finish it up and sell it.
It was a little bit of a scramble but we quickly found another truck in Portland the following day. After picking up the new truck we had to race across the Columbia river in to Vancouver Washington to get the truck’s emissions tested. Having the emissions certificate means that I can register the truck when I visit Seattle in November without having to physically drive back up.
Finally time to leave cold rainy Salem and find some sunshine and warmth! We set out for our first stop in Bend after work on Friday. Unfortunately the new truck’s brake controller and air suspension were both broken. This meant that the trip to Bend would be with a bottomed out truck and no trailer brakes. We did ok until we hit Santiam Pass on highway 20. The highway was lined with snow and ice. It was a slippery slow ride down in to Sisters, OR. Sisters is cool looking town that we plan on going back to. The night in Bend was a cold one!
On Saturday morning we walked around Bend while Les Schwab fixed our trailer brakes and put new airbags in the rear shocks.
The trip to Boise was a beautiful ride through the high desert of Oregon. During our dinner stop I noticed that the truck was leaking a ton of oil. I also made a fatal error of not getting gas after dinner. We made it to the next gas station 40 miles away to find it closed for the night. The next fuel stop was another 68 miles away and turned out to be just a guys house. Brian the owner fueled us up while tending the one room bar and the adjacent mini-mart. The business has been in his family for the past 86 years. I definitely left with a smile on face and some perspective on life.
Lara and the kids read “What is the wild west” out loud as we traveled through the plains. It was so much fun to hear a about the settlers
After the late night we were a little slow to leave Boise. The leg from Boise to Salt Lake is also a long one which meant another late night of driving. During the drive we crossed in to the Nevada desert. We only knew we were in Nevada because of the huge casinos would come out of nowhere. Once we hit I-80 right around sunset we stopped at the Bonneville Speedway. It was a beautiful night out there! The salt flats themselves were too wet to drive on from the recent rains. We all had a great time running around on salt and watching the sun go down.
Entering cities from the wide open plains is always a little depressing. The people are more aggressive behind the wheel and seem less happy to be alive. The natural open spaces give way to factories and refineries. Salt Lake City is definitely one of those places. On our way out town the next morning we were surrounded by the Monday morning commuters. Lara talked me down from my commuting PTSD just as we witnessed a big diesel truck smash the back of a minivan.
The country on the way to Moab was beautiful. We came upon this flock of sheep and their shepherds at the top of a 7500 foot summit. The dogs, horses, sheep and herders were all working in unison without whistles or words. One of the guys would move a foot or two the dog would move and the whole herd would change direction. It was really cool to watch.
Pulling in to Utah is always a beautiful sight to see. The brown hills turn to bright reds and greens. Moab is surrounded by so many beautiful places.
This week we will be exploring Arches and Canyonlands national parks. We are also going to mountain bike in the hills behind Moab with the kids. I am looking forward to a relaxing week of fun and to enjoy the beautiful warm sun!