Day 7 – Prison Blues

We didn’t get chased away from our camp site at the tournament venue. Hurrah! So we got up and headed to Sacramento to check things out there. Very busy around the Capitol building so my anxiety was up and I haven’t really been feeling well today. When we got to the Capitol the front of the building was undergoing renovations so it was all hidden by plastic. I took a few shots of the details that were not hidden and some shots around the area. After a little bit of driving around we decided to go check out Folsom’s historic district. We saw some cool shops with art and stuff including some custom bicycles. Lots of train stuff in the region, some old bridges and some Pony Express talk. Unfortunately the museums were closed when we got there but still lots to see. It was much more laid back and enjoyable for me than Sacramento.

After the time in Folsom we headed back to Truckee to have supper with the world famous Lumbersmacks. A good meal at Village Pizzeria and now it’s bedtime.

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Day 6 – Truckin’ Into Truckee

Last night we stayed at a campground because Reno is very much not boondocking friendly even though several forums said certain casinos were welcoming to RVs. Also to get some delicious showers and electricity. The solar panels are not working so I have to run the generator every day to recharge the cabin batteries. This morning we got up and leisurely cleaned and fed ourselves then went to pick up the rental car. I decided to try the rental option rather than drag my car on the trailer for 5300 km. The fuel savings of not towing the car all that distance should more than cover the rental costs. Math to follow.

With a shiny Camry acquired we were on our way to Truckee, a quaint mountain town. The mountains between Reno and Truckee were magnificently spectacular. When we got to Truckee we went to check out the location where the tournament will be and watched a town worker paint the lines for the track on the concrete.

After that excitement we headed out to do the loop around Lake Tahoe with stops at areas of interest along the way. A few lookout spots along the road and some National Forest stops got us some amazing views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Some info signs made it that much more incredible with some pretty impressive facts about the lake. During one stop we got to make a friend, luckily from a distance, as what I figure was a juvenile brown bear came waddling towards us. It was approaching us directly while we were near the shore but as we moved away from the water it maintained course along the water. It came within about 50-60 feet of where we were standing. Good times. I luckily had a decent lens on and hopefully got some decent shots through the grass/bushes.

This area is one of the most overall beautiful places I’ve been and the experience with the bear was so much more. I lurve mountains.

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Day 5 – Salty

Today was the last major leg on the rush across the continent. We headed across Utah and Nevada on the trusty I-80 and now sit about 4 miles from the California border. Most of the sight seeing was done from the highway but we did stop a couple times to check out the terrain. Once where the sand looks solid but is actually kind of wet and sinky. And once at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We didn’t go out to the speedway today, saving that for after the tournament when the World of Speed event will be happening.

Northern Nevada was also nice.

Looking forward to a break tomorrow from just traveling all day. Will be nice to slow things down and explore a bit around Tahoe.

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Day 4 – Lonely Tree and Lincoln

More driving. 1000+ km goal for today and we made it shortly after dark. Trying to not drive after dark because the whole point of traveling by land is to see the different places and experience the environments but sometimes you just have to do it to get to a suitable sleeping spot.

Today we finished off Nebraska and climbed into Wyoming past all of the refineries and cattle. During the climb to Laramie the transmission started to run hot so we pulled over at the Tree Rock/Lone Tree to let it cool a little and so Chuck could see the tree and it’s story (see the attached pictures for details). Then a short while later we arrived at the highest point on the I-80 aka the Lincoln Highway at 8,640 feet (2,630 m) above sea level. Fun activity for your road trip, bring some bags of chips from our sea level provinces along to experience the puffiness the change in the air pressure causes. We had 2 of the 5 bags pop from the pressure. At the highest point there is a rest stop with a monument for President Lincoln where we took another break and enjoyed the mountains.

We finished the rest of Wyoming enjoying the rock formations especially around Rock Springs, Wyoming. Then the descent into Utah ending up in Salt Lake (avg elevation 4327 ft.) for the end of this leg of the trip. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we head into the salty goodness of Utah and should get to Reno tonight. See you all then.

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Day 3 – Feelin’ Corny

Today was more rushing across the countryside. A stop and detour in Iowa to look at some windmill/turbine stuff and a quick stop at a closed military vehicle museum.

We also passed by the crappiest world’s largest wagon. I actually looked for it during the Wild West tour and was sorely disappointed.

Fell short of our kilometre goal for the day but not horribly behind so with an earlier start tomorrow we should be back on track.

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Day 2 – Chicken-man Can Drive

Today we covered almost 1000 km and Chuck took a 3 hour shift at the wheel. It was a big step for me considering my control issues. I know he’s a good driver and has driven larger vehicles so the logical part of me was fine, the neurotic control freak part was not. It was weird to be on that side of the RV and even weirder to get up and walk around at 65 miles per hour (104km/h).
It was mostly a mad dash to get the kilometers in but we took some time to check out the World’s Largest Truck-stop in Iowa. I had stopped there during the Wild West tour in 2016 but it was Chuck’s first visit. It is mostly a big souvenir/gift shop and food court but some interesting old trucks inside and lots of supplies for your semi.
When we got to Iowa City we found Jimmy Jack’s BBQ and enjoyed some of the best BBQ I’ve had in a long time, possibly ever. Seriously if you are ever in Iowa City check it out. We arrived at 8:40 and they graciously served us even though they close at 9:00 on Sunday. The meat was meaty and smoked to perfection and the sides of mac & cheese and corn bread were magnificent. I realize the word “and” was in that last sentence a lot but you get what you pay for so if you want to send me some cash I will edit it to remove some of the repetitiveness. Just kidding, you can send money I just won’t be editing this post.

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California Dreamin’ Day 1 (and a half)

The big trip this year is to go to California to cheer on and document the Muddy River Rollers’ Lumbersmacks appearance at the Deep Blue Tournament in Truckee California. Plan to get there a couple days before the tournament and tour the area then a leisurely drive home through the west and mid-west states.
We were a little late getting on the road cause that’s how we roll… late. But I was determined to stay somewhat on schedule so I drove taking advantage of the after midnight lack of traffic around Worcester MA. So around 4 AM (Atlantic Time) we rolled into a service plaza about 750km from home. Not bad for a late start on a first half day of traveling.
After a 4 hour power nap we got our day started and hit the road with coffee in hand and smiles on our faces. We got through the rest of Massachusetts into New York then Pennsylvania and back into New York and more Pennsylvania and finally into Ohio where we are spending a full sleep night. The travel was good, not much traffic anywhere; I find if you can make it past Boston when you are heading west the traffic is usually pretty good after that. These first few days are going to be mostly driving so not a lot to share yet but we are making good time so will make time to explore and share a little bit.
We are well and having fun.

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The End of Our Journey

It has been a pretty emotional day for me. Lots of excitement and a little bit of sadness.
There were a lot of reasons why I did this trip and shared it with all of you. One of those reasons was that I knew no amount of maintenance can reasonably keep a car running forever. Eventually things start to break too frequently and it gets more expensive to keep them going than to let them slip quietly away. Carl was getting to that age but I knew he had the guts left to take the trip of a lifetime with me. That being said, the trip was done just in time. Maybe the trip accelerated the symptoms but we had a great time together. Wheel bearings are gone, engine is burning oil, electrical system is failing, transmission has always been sticky from day one but it is getting close to needing replacement again. To summarize it was time to let him go…that was the sad part of today. We took our last real drive together. There may be a short drive to whoever wants to buy him for organ donation but they may pick him up.
Today I got my new (to me) car, that was the exciting part of the day. It’s a Suzuki SX4 (no name yet), easy on the gas bill so we will take lots of trips together and I’m hoping that I will enjoy this car as much as I did my time with Carl. Time will tell.
I seem to have stayed with my S named companies and cars with letters and numbers for their model (Carl is a Saturn SL1 for those of you who don’t know).
Today I also received a part in the mail that I was waiting for to fix a point and shoot camera so I tried it out in the parking lot. Works fine.
So to recap, new car = happy, Carl ending = sad and fixing camera = happy.
Gonna miss you buddy. 😦

This was the first full body shot of Carl on our trip to PEI August 2008.

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After two lovely days on the north shore I had to admit it was over and head for home. It was hard to get in the car and I even considered calling in sick for a few more days but I figured I should get home and see what’s been happening at work. Thirty two days of not checking the work email account, scary stuff.
Now some numbers.
30 is the number of states that I drove through, 7 provinces.
18,596 km in 29 days of driving, there were 3 days without driving. An average of 641 km per day.
$1,250.24 is the dollar amount spent on gas. works out to roughly 7 cents per km or 11 cents per mile. This number isn’t completely accurate as Visa has been applying the exchange rate but it is the total of the amounts that I read from the gas pumps. I had budgeted $1500 for gas so yay me and Carl for coming in under budget.
14 nights of sleeping in the car. The rest of the nights were in friend’s homes or hotels.
2 is the number of minor car repairs.
1 is the number of people who had the best vacation ever.
I had some moments of stress and frustration due to traffic or weather but this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and to be able to finish it with a weekend shared with some of the best people I know (dogs too, so you better start liking me Monty) was a wonderful treat. I’m also pleased to have been able to share this experience with all of you whether you have been following along as I went or if you’ve discovered this after the trip was done and read it all at once.
The main message I wanted to get through here is that you don’t have to have a brand new car to take a little road trip, just maintain what you have and be prepared for emergencies. The same goes for computers, TVs, phones… if it works and does what you need it to, keep using it. If you need something new for whatever reason pass the old one on to someone who can use it either through sale or donation.
The other thing is that I’ve always wanted to take the cross Canada trip but there was always a reason not to. Granted this trip was the “cross Canada plus” trip but if you want something just say “F*** it” to all the excuses and go out and do it. Whether it’s going back to school, taking a trip, asking someone out, applying for the dream job, having a baby…so many things people don’t do out of fear of the unknown. The worst that can happen is that you fail, the best that can happen is that you get everything you want. It might involve some speed bumps along the way but go for it.
This site will continue to be updated with information on Carl and as I look through the pics on a larger screen I may see something that I like and I’ll post it. Also I’m planning to put together a book of pics from the trip. Some you’ve seen here and others that I’ve held back.
Live happy people, I’m planning on it.

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Made it back to Canada! Little over 18,000 kms with a few hundred left to get back to my home base. Feels like home here in the Anse Bleue. The border crossing at Houlton was fairly quick despite the line up. I told the guy what I had and he gave me advice for my next trip and sent me on my way. Keepin’ this short cause the beach is calling me.
Enjoy, see ya soon with a summary of the trip.

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