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Oregon Trail Tales 2010, OR
mini location map2010-11-21
13 by photographer avatarRandal_Schulhauser
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Oregon Trail Tales 2010, OR 
Oregon Trail Tales 2010, OR
Scenic Drive avatar Nov 21 2010
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive7 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Oregon Trail Tale 2010

7 days
3240 miles
165 gallons of gasoline
1 set of tire chains
1 new alternator
1 troublesome bed tarp
2 dogs
Mountain Pass snow closures (shades of Donner Party )
Thanksgiving with Hannah in Medford Oregon

The Plan => Thanksgiving with Hannah in Medford OR traveling Phoenix to Las Vegas to Reno to Medford with a side trip to Death Valley and return route Medford to Bishop to Phoenix with side trip to Yosemite. Weather forecast early on Sunday 11/21 - Pacific storm to produce snow and rain on weekend with remainder of the week clear skies. Yosemite roads currently all open, storm expected to close Tioga Pass Road.

I've always been a fastball hitter, but learned early that you will see a diet of change-ups and other off-speed stuff until you prove that you can hit those too. For some reason our "Oregon Trail 2010" adventure had a similar lesson...

DAY 1 - Sunday 11/21
Phoenix AZ to Las Vegas NV
310 miles
5 hrs 50 min per Google Maps
Candlewood Suites, 4034 S. Paradise Rd, Las Vegas NV, 89169

On the road after Lynn finished her Sunday School obligations with a steady rain falling. Along the Joshua Tree Parkway (aka US93 => ... trees.html ) between Wickenburg and Wikieup the rain began to let up. We made a quick stop at Burro Creek Campgrounds => to give the dogs a break. Skies cleared past Kingman and we made another stop at Hoover Dam => No dogs allowed on the dam or bridge, so Lynn stayed with the dogs in the parking lot as I made a quick run across both. Sunday evening we made a trek along the Vegas Strip => Believe it or not, this was our first visit to "Sin City"...

DAY 2 - Monday 11/22
Las Vegas NV to Reno NV via Death Valley and Mammoth Lakes
489 miles
9 hrs 54 min per Google Maps
Holiday Inn Express, 2375 Market St, Reno NV, 89502

Early morning start on the road to Death Valley via Pahrump and Death Valley Junction. First stop in Death Valley was Dante's View => This area was closed due to flooding when we visited earlier in the year => Next stop was the Mesquite Dunes => and the Devil's Cornfield. On the road again towards Owens Valley and Lone Pine. We are treated to impressive snowcapped views of the Eastern Sierras. As we continue north along Hwy 395, an electronic sign just past Bishop indicates "Tire Chains required north of Mammoth Lakes". Yikes - the weather begins to deteriorate with blowing snow and ominous snow laden clouds cresting the mountains. The roads near Mammoth Lakes are snow and ice covered => Consulting with the visitors center, they confirm that roads to Reno are currently open with tire chains required. The pass to Mono Lake and Lee Vining is manageable and we continue on to Bridgeport. My plans to relive Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" leveraging the Mono Lake set are thwarted => and . I gas up the F-150 in Bridgeport and talk to a gentleman who's traveled from Reno indicating that the roads are drivable, but extremely windy. As we pass the border of California and into Nevada, an electronic sign indicates that "Hwy 395 closed to all trucks, RV's, and trailers from Minden to Carson City due to high winds and blowing snow". The drive into Carson City is "hairy" with a couple of spinouts into the ditch, but my F-150 persevered to our hotel in Reno. Catching some weather reports from our hotel room flatscreen, we hear that the I-80 is closed in both directions near Truckee and the Donner Pass. Hwy 89 near Lassen is also closed. There's also snow in the forecast for Tuesday! Yikes - our Plan "A" route from Reno to Medford via Susanville is closed and our Plan "B" route taking the I-80 from Reno to Sacramento and up to Medford is also closed! ... ofile=1051

DAY 3 - Tuesday 11/23
Reno NV to Bakersfield CA via Shoshone
663 miles
11 hrs 39 min per Google Maps
Holiday Inn Express, 3927 Marriott Dr, Bakersfield CA, 93308

Cudos to Cesar Mora the manager at our Reno NV Holiday Inn Express - With the I-80 closed appropriately at the Donner Pass area and Susanville bracing for 8 to 18 inches of additional snow, Cesar was able to change our reservations in Medford and get us booked at the Bakersfield Holiday Inn Express - all courtesy of my Priority Club status. Rather than scrap the Thanksgiving Plan, we elect to drive around the southern tip of the Sierras and head up to Medford via the I-5...

DAY 4 - Wednesday 11/24
Bakersfield CA to Medford OR
593 miles
9 hrs 54 min per Google Maps
Candlewood Suites, 3548 Heathrow Way, Medford OR, 97504

Early morning start and the miles click by at an extraordinary rate. Sacramento, Redding, Shasta Lake, Shasta Mountain, Siskiyou Pass ( ... s.pdf?ga=t ) and into Oregon. Hannah and Dominic meet up with us at our hotel suite and we have Chinese takeout and choice Rogue Valley microbrews =>

DAY 5 - Thursday 11/25 - THANKSGIVING
Medford OR
100 miles shopping and sight seeing...
tbd hrs tbd min per Google Maps
Candlewood Suites, 3548 Heathrow Way, Medford OR, 97504

Lynn takes Hannah shopping to stock up on household items, $325 worth! Some Christmas items are also selected. With Dominic and Hannah tasked with preparing some items for Thanksgiving dinner, Lynn and I are booted out to do some local sight seeing. With Crater Lake deemed too far, Upper and Lower Table Rock, Touvelle State Park are explored. On SR234 towards Gold Hill, I spot a primo waterfall with some superb late afternoon light. As I make the turnaround, my battery/alternator light begins to glow on my dashboard. That puts an end to our sightseeing as I'm concerned about the drivability of my F-150. Having just replaced the battery and installed new cable/connectors for this trip, I'm sure it's the alternator. With almost 300K miles on the F-150 and the original alternator still installed, I think it's a safe bet. It also means we are driving only on battery capacity... Thanksgiving at Dominic's parents and I'm stuffed to the max!

DAY 6 - Friday 11/26
Medford OR to Palm Springs CA
801 miles
13 hrs 0 min per Google Maps
Holiday Inn Resort, 1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs CA, 92264

Cudos to Tom Bushman at Crater Lake Ford in Medford OR - I drove my F-150 up to the Service Department door 6-ish in the morning and he's already on the job. Telling him my predicament, he's put us first in line for the first mechanic that comes in the door. We confirm that both 90Amp and 130Amp alternators mapping into my 1999 F-150 are in stock. Mechanic arrives 8-ish and confirms zero volt/amp alternator output with all other electronics in good shape. I'm back on the road before 10am and head back to the hotel to collect Lynn and the dogs. Palm Springs is identified as our evening objective and we say goodbye to Hannah, Dominic, and Oregon with plans to all get together in Canada for the Xmas break...

DAY 7 - Saturday 11/27
Palm Springs CA to Ahwatukee Foothills AZ
284 miles
4 hrs 43 min per Google Maps

I sleep in to about 8am fighting a cold (exposed to Oregon germs). Pack up quick and pop into a local bakery/cafe for a fresh baked pumpkin-chocolate chip muffin and expresso brew - excellent! Guys only at this Palms Spring eatery. I-10 makes a straight shot home for lunch.

And that's our Oregon Trail Tale!
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