I’ve got 24 hours in Portland, Oregon africacasinos and I’ve got a pretty short list of things to do or see in the area. If you had 24 hours in Portland, what would your absolute MUST SEE things be? Help me make a list!
Today was a long driving day, which I will recap in the tomorrow. It was quite full of amazing things. For now, I just want to share this photograph of the Milky Way with you.
As I drove tonight, I could only see the road directly in front of me. It was such true absolute darkness, with only the occasional house dotting the area, I couldn’t see anything else. I had a sense of how dark the area was, and how small I am in the grand scheme of it all. At one point, in the Boise National Forest in Idaho, I decided to stop in a pull-out, turn the car off, turn off the car lights – and take it all in.
Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, this is what I saw.
We are surrounded by amazing things every day. We have just built up so much noise & clutter in our lives, we don’t stop long enough to adjust, refocus, and truly see them.
Sometimes, you just have to step away from the computer, get out, and go for a drive.
Today was one of those days. The sky was blue, the air was crisp and cold, and while I had work I wanted to do, I felt like I just couldn’t think clearly anymore. After months of limited internet access, I was spending entirely too much time on Facebook. Too much time online. It was time to get in the car and go.
Originally, I had wanted to go to Crater of the Moon. Thanks to the Government Shutdown, the park is closed. I asked at my hotel if there was anything to see outside of the park. The manager said yes, but it just isn’t the same. You don’t get the sense of being on a huge lava flow from outside of the park gates.
Stumped for where I should go, I knew I didn’t want to return to the room. Not yet. My head was whirling with ideas, things I want to build, and I needed to step back and think about it, letting the dust storm settle in my mind. I asked the receptionist if there was anything in Idaho Falls that I really must see, and she said that I should head to the Swan Valley.
Damn, she was so right.
On the way to Swan Valley you reach a scenic viewpoint with a rest area. I stopped to take photographs, and after watching the man gathering something from the bushes at the edge of the sidewalk. I went over to ask him what he was gathering — and it was chokecherries. He showed me what the ripe ones look like, and what they look like when they have passed the point of being ripe. Then we talked about different places to see in the area, roads off the main road I should take for great views, and our love of the mountains.
While we were talking, I saw my first pair of bald eagles in flight! We also saw what we thought was a raven at first, but as he left the parking lot he stopped to tell me he was pretty sure it was a young eagle. Did you know their head is not white until they reach sexual maturity?
Over and over, I’m reminded just how good people truly are. He was so delightful to talk to, and I learned so much!
I drove on to Swan Valley, and then on to the Idaho / Wyoming state line, at the edge of Teton Pass to Jackson. I didn’t cross over the pass, I turned around at the border. As I was driving back I kept stopping to take photos, including these fields just outside of Victor, Idaho. That black cow was very curious about why I had stopped on the side of the road!
I stopped at a closed campground on the Targhee National Forest. Damn the man! You can’t keep me out of the campgrounds! (Well, you can, because there was no way in HELL that I was going to camp there alone at night, in the mountains, with bears, in the snow. I was still in the campground though!)
This was the treat awaiting me by the time I got back to Swan Valley. I was so overwhelmed with the amazing beauty of nature that I suddenly found myself in tears.
I stayed in the area to watch the sunset reflecting on the mountains, seen in the photo at the top of this post. After I soaked it all in, I headed back to Idaho Falls. Refreshed, I am now plowing through work. That drive was exactly what I needed.
I realize it is trivial in the grand scheme of things, but this Government shutdown? It is completely messing up my road trip plans, and I am NOT happy about it.
I don’t like writing grumpy posts, but at the moment it is all I can think about. I wanted to return to Mt St Helens next week and take time to explore the visitor’s center – a long time dream of mine – and it looks like it won’t happen right now. Then there are the parks in California that I wanted to stop at before heading to Camp Mighty, and that doesn’t look like it will happen either.
It leaves me wondering too what other places will be closed or impacted — I’m assuming that the highways that pass through National Forests are still open, but maybe they aren’t? Wouldn’t that be a lovely surprise. Oh, and I can’t look on the National Park Service website for information for future planning (after Camp Mighty) because they shut the website down.
The whole thing just makes me angry. It makes me even more angry when I think about all the park staff who aren’t able to work right now – and all the others who are currently not being paid because of it.
I’m still going to go out there and see the beauty that this country has to offer. I finally have a plan forming of where I will go instead. There is a lot to see, and I’m going to make the most of it. I’m just sad that the National Parks can’t be a part of it.
Photograph above taken at Yellowstone National Park. Last weekend, before they closed.
I’ve driven over 12,000 miles now on the Avenger of Sexiness North America Tour, and I finally have had an encounter with the police.
Considering the speed I drove through Idaho the last time I was here, it was only fitting that it was in Idaho that a cop pulled me over.
(I was born with a lead foot, and the long stretches of interstate in Southern Idaho were conducive for speeding. I swear, it wasn’t my fault that I was going 90+ in a 75 mile per hour zone that time.)
Yesterday, after I dropped Mike off at the airport so he could fly back to Houston, a cop followed me out of the airport parking lot. He drove behind me down the road leading out of the airport. Eventually, we both made a left turn, and after a few blocks he flipped his lights on.
What the hell? I *knew* I wasn’t speeding. I had my license in my pocket, so I pulled that out and waited. As soon as he walked up, I handed it to him as I smiled and said hello. He looked at my Texas drivers license with a little confusion. Then he asked to see my plate registration papers.
We don’t have plate registration papers in Texas. Just the plate, and the sticker on the window. So I explained that to him.
He got an even more confused look, and walked back to the back of my car. Then he came back and apologized.
Seems that from his angle in the SUV, the “TEXAS” on my my plate looked like “IDAHO”. I can see that, the bottom of the T being an I, the bottom of the E being a D, the X and the A, the A and the H, and the S and the O — if you cut them in half, they all look like the other letter. So he thought I had some sort of odd, made up fake plate on my car. He said he had never seen an Idaho plate that looked like mine.
I like to think that what he really meant was that he had never seen a license plate that was SO AWESOME. But being a policeman, he couldn’t say that.
He thanked me for my time & understanding, and sent me on my way.
Let’s just hope he isn’t around as I cross Idaho and head west. I might just be speeding again. After all, my plate *does* say WHEEEE! I can’t help it!