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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day One of Our Lincoln Highway Road Trip

Today, October 1, 2011 was the first day of our Lincoln Highway Road Trip. We departed our home in Menifee, CA at 5:00 am on the dot. At 5:30 we stopped at the San Bernardino IHop on 215 for a quick breakfast and by 6:00 am were back on the road again. We wanted to get an early start as we would be driving the longest leg of our 21-day adventure this day — a 633 mile jaunt to Alturas, California.

The day was perfect for traveling — blue sky and temperatures in the mid-70s – just perfect for travel and photos. After a quick stop for gas somewhere along 395 we reached Lone Pine where we stopped to take some shots of Mount Whitney. As always there was a brisk wind blowing and to get a good telephoto shot I needed the tripod.

Our next stop was the McDonalds in Bishop, California at 11:30 for lunch and gas again. It was here we calculated or gas mileage and found we were getting 26 miles to the gallon in our ten-year old Toyota Sienna van. That’s about 45% better than our Acura MDX. This was good news as we will be saving quite a bit on our gasoline bill.

Prior to leaving we had toyed with the thought of renting a SUV for our 8,000 mile trip. The best price we could get was about $1,600 plus tax for the four weeks. We decided to put the money in our van by getting it running tip top and having it professionally detailed. The van runs great and looks like new. So, rather than blow almost two grand on a rental car we put about $1,200 in the van. This is a much better return on our investment.

Also the van has GPS and satellite radio. The satellite radio is a must on a cross-country trip. You can listen to the station of your choice all day without losing a word or a note. We listened to Fox News in the morning, then Patriot radio until lunch. After Lunch we listened to the college football games.

The big excitement was Kathy almost hitting a deer crossing the road. WeThe deer we almost hit were cruising along about 70 mph through a wooded stretch of 395 where there were numerous caution signs warning to watch for deer. 99% of the time you never see a deer. This time was different. All of a sudden two deer ran out to cross the highway and Kathy had to slam on the brakes. We stopped in time but everything in the back of the van went flying. Fortunately I had my camera ready and got a shot of the deer crossing at his leisure.

We arrived in Alturas at 18:23 just as the GPS predicated after driving exactly 633 miles. Alturas is a town of 3,000 people mostly in the cattle and farming business. We are staying at a Super-8 motel that I would rate 2 stars. It’s old and mostly clean. It’s quiet because the town is quiet.

We had diner at Antonio’s Italian Restaurant where the food and service was good, but the d├ęcor sucked. Robert Irvine of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible would have his work cut out at Antonio’s.

Tomorrow it’s off to Oregon and Washington. It looks like we may encounter rain and cooler weather. We are targeting Spokane as our next stop. I hope to write more tomorrow night. I am tired and I had to set up my photo galleries tonight, which took some time over a slow internet connection. You can see all of my pictures by clicking here.

Till tomorrow night.

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