This set of pictures is from the western end of highway 162 in California. The 125 mile long section of road, the greater portion unpaved, that takes you from highway 101 just south of Laytonville all of the way to Willows at Interstate 5.
From 101 it begins by winding though rugged canyons. and over rolling passes until it decends into the beauty of Round Valley with it's magnificent oaks. From there you come to the unpaved section that climbs up into the Mendocino National Forest. Be aware that some parts of this section are not maintained in the winter and will be unpasable due to heavy snow or delightfully slick mud that can spin you over the precipice. But if you are travelling after Memorial day & it hasn't rained lately it should be fine....Read more
The plains of Western Montana go on forever. The horizon is ever in the distance and it seems you can never reach it. And that is traveling in an automobile at 70 mph. Imagine how it must have been for the pioneers. Endless weeks of walking behind a covered wagon. You are tempted to wonder how many of the decided to settle in a specific spot simply because they were weary of the travel & "this place seemed good enough."...Read more
Nice little town, Cohagen. I took the day to go out into the Hell Creek area to read & write a little. The weather was still unsettled, overcast and a cool breeze was blowing... every once in a while the wind would blow a spot of sunshine my way for which I was quite grateful....Read more
When you wake up early and get moving you get to see some ineresting mornings. This day was no exception. The day began under a wide open sky with just a few smeared clouds over it's pallette.
I drove a while on pavement and then started off on some dirt roads. Soon enough I felt like I was, again, in the middle of nowhere. "A cup of tea would be nice," I thought.......Read more
If you spend the night in Belle Fourche South Dakota and you are headed West, it's a pretty good bet that you are on your way to the Devil's Tower National Monument If you're not, you should be. And why wouldn'y you want to swing by such an amazing sight? The Devil's Tower was a magma plug in a volcano long, long ago and the volcano eroded away. The magma cooled at a slow rate and formed the giant phonolite porphyritic crystal-like columns that make up the formation. Yowza, that's a mouthful... and that is more than a few years worth of erosion!
Anyhow, the Devil's Tower is, of course, not the destination, the destination is the trip itself. so keep your eyes open. The drive to the monument is through wide open land. with rough hills and weathered homesteads....Read more
You know this picture. It has been taken millions of times through millions of cameras. It might have been hyped enough as to be seen as patriotic kitsch by some. But, come one... you're in the Western side of South Dakota. You like the idea of driving around the fascinating, unique & complex geological structure that is the Black Hills of South Dakota. There is no harm in it. The mountain air is magnificent and refreshing.
When you get to Mount Rushmore notice the license plates... they are from everywhere. Notice the people. You will hear regional dialects from all over the US and languages from all over the world....Read more
Rapid City, South Dakota is an interesting town. While they advertise themselves as the Gateway to the Black hills and Mount Rushmore They strive to have enough attiactions in the town itself to keep you lingering there for a few days. In the downtown area it seems there is a statue on every corner. Take a walk and pose with each of them... It seems that back in the 40s & 50s there was a master signmaker and they have some spectacular signage... from Bobs show repair to The South Dakota Stock Growers Association and many other... these diverse signs are worth seeing twice... once during daylight hours and again at night when their neon majesty bightens the night. And of course you must go and visit dinosaur park at the top of the hill!...Read more
If you have just spent the night in Wall, SD you are probably headed into Badlands National Park the next day. Get out of bed head on over to the Wall Drug Store and fill yourself with bacon, eggs and coffee. Prepare yourself for a day of driving, parking and, by all means, getting out and hiking some. The day I drove through it was raining. The rain & overcast light made the colors dense and saturated, but the dust quickly tunred into dense slippery mud that clung to your shoes adding 15 lbs to each while drastically reducing your traction....Read more
How much fun you can have on the drive from Pierre to Wall! I drove the "Bad River Road" out of Pierre and saw some really beautiful hills. The Bad River Road is a good digression. It is well graveled and clearly marked. There are a few alternative routes you can take away from it and after driving through barren hills for what seems like forever you pass into gigantic fields of Sunflowers and after a few miles be right back into the wide-open, empty hills....Read more
My Intention was to spend a second night in Aberdeen. But I didn't Reserve my room or inform the proprietor I wanted two nights... I had thought I would just breeze in and fetch another room. When I arrived back in Aberdeen about 8:30 pm, I discovered The hotel was booked up. I went to another hotel. it too was booked up... Every hotel in Aberdeen was filled to the brim, and there was not a space for me anywhere in town. Why was this? Was there a Shiner's convention? No such luck.... I discovered that there was a new ginormous Walmart store having its grand opening the next day and people have come from miles around and booked every spare room in the city so they could be there first thing in the morning. Every town has its attractions....Read more
Right by the Tallest Tower a farmer installed a row of old pickup trucks by the side of the road....Read more