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      10-08-2021, 08:27 PM   #1
snowbimmer
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4,200 Mile Trip - M5C Rocky Mountain High.......and More

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Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho & Oregon in 13 days.

I. Love. This. Car.

There. I said it. I know you all think it. BMW nailed the F90, especially the Competition. My F10 550 was a great car. My G30 M550 was superb. I now have over 40,000 miles in the F90, about half in a 2019 Base model and the other half in a 2021 LCI Competition. While I thoroughly enjoyed my Base, it had a bit of harshness to it. The LCI Comp is a wonderful DD and an outstanding road warrior on the highways of America.

After a long, dry (no rain from May to September), and hot (we hit an all time record of 116 F, crushing the old record of "only" 107 F), summer, it was time to escape. I had travelled to most of these places before - mostly as a child, and certainly not as a driver in an M5. The wife was gonna be a newbie. Mostly.

As a traveller/amatuer photographer I am drawn to 1) Spectacular scenery, 2) Pictures of my cars, 3) Pictures of my cars in spectacular scenery, 4) Small town Main Streets, 5) Interesting buildings, 6) Business signage (especially old neon signs) and 7) Anything colorful, whimsical or kitchy. It's a vast canvas.

I have two other travel threads you might be interested in if you like this one.
From 2019: 3,500 miles thru Utah in an M5
https://f90.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1784425
From 2021: 2,000 miles around Wallowa Lake area
https://f90.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1828059

The Basic Route - Trip was during last 2 weeks in September 2021. Route is clockwise.
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The first 3 days are just about getting there. The next 8 days were awesome, taking us through Devils Tower, Sturgis, Mt. Rushmore, The Badlands, Custer State Park, Oglala National Grasslands in Nebraska and the the crowning glory of Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding area. Then off to Steamboat Springs, CO, over to Dinosaur National Park (a real surprise), Flaming Gorge and home through southern Idaho to Oregon

A couple teasers from later in the trip: (The cover pic was Day 7)

Devils Tower - Day 4
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Badlands - Day 5
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Rocky Mountain National Park - Day 9
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Dinosaur National Park - Day 10
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I took over 1,000 pictures - I could have taken more. By now my wife has to be seriously wondering about me. Always stopping the car: "Ooh! Ooh! Look at that! I gotta get that!" Jockeying the car into position for putting the car in the scene. Those are always fun.
Anyway, there's 126 pictures with an F90 in them. It takes an enormous amount of time to cull the best ones, organize them and then edit and crop away until they look just right. Then, re-size them all so they fit. I loved every minute - I got to re-live it all again. Hope you enjoy.

There are also 14 maps and 281 pictures of scenery, other sites and small town Main Streets. Due to uploading limitations I decided to just give each day it's own post. So, 13 in all. Day 5 was a favorite. Days 7,8,9 & 10 in Colorado were stupendous.

Some basic stats on the trip:

Miles driven 4,179
Days on the road 13
Average miles/day 321
Long day 390
Short day 170
Avg. Miles/gallon 24.4


Day One: Portland, OR to Lewiston, ID - 377 miles
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Interstate 84 is always a treat out of Portland. I never get tired of the drive through the Columbia Gorge. Ever. It is always spectacular.
Multnomah Falls - 600 feet high. Fairly easy hike to the top. Only 30 miles from Portland - and the most popular tourist site in Oregon.
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Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods
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Apparently Lindberg flew here
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Starvation Creek Trailhead - You can hike 5,000 vertical feet to the tallest point in the gorge from here.
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At Hood River
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Cool foot bridge over the Hood River (Note: I actually designed this bridge for the City of Hood River, a long time ago. It was my last job as a structural engineer before I changed careers into money management. She made me put this note in.)
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Rowena Viewpoint, just beyond Mosier
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Arlington Silos
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The freeway turns away from the Columbia and we headed to Hermiston.
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We then cut back up to the river along Hwy 730, crossed into Washington, then back in to Oregon and headed to Milton-Freewater.
Reversed back north into Washington again and went through the charming college town of Walla Walla. Then we caught Hwy 12 to the small hamlet of Waitsburg and its 2 block mainstreet.
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Columbia County Courthouse
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Liberty Theater in Dayton
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Pomeroy is a nice little farming town - and also the county seat.
Garfield County Courthouse
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Fun little salvage place on the edge of Pomeroy
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Arrived in Lewiston as the sun was going down and had dinner on the Snake River. Very nice.

Lewiston, ID
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Snake River
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That's it for day 1. Day 2 continues on next post.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-19-2021 at 02:17 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:28 PM   #2
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Day 2 - Lewiston, ID to Helena, MT - 379 miles

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Rise and shine!
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First order of business was to drive the Old Spiral Highway north of Lewiston. I missed the turn off on my Wallowa trip 4 months ago.
Nice road - and it climbs and winds it's way up the hill past farms, vineyards and houses that have great views. The elevation gain is 550 meters.
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Some friends got in the way
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Made it
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From the top you wind back down to the Clearwater River along Hwy 12 and head east. You then meander along the river for 170 miles of a spectacular winding road (but not too much) along the river and through the forest. There are really no services for the last 120 miles past Kooska.

It's this for virtually 100 miles. Few cars - just you, the road, the river and the trees.
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There's a very nice Rest Area at the top of Lolo Pass.
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The pass marks the border of Idaho and Montana and we headed for Missoula. Home of the Montana Grizzles
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Missoula County Courthouse
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We left Hwy 12 and headed up Hwy 200 into the mountains. Finally, new territory. After 80 miles we rejoined Hwy 12 and cruised over McDonald Pass on the last 40 miles into Helena, the capital of Montana.
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Got some great fading light on the capital building.
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Explored their old downtown, grabbed dinner and called it a day.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-15-2021 at 08:29 PM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:29 PM   #3
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Day 3: Helena, MT to Sheridan WY - 388 miles

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Headed south down Hwy 287 and detoured through the small farming community of Three Forks.
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Today it's back on the freeway. The speed limit in Montana is 80 MPH, so giddyup! I generally stay off freeways, but sometimes
there are too many miles that day and sometimes it's fun just to go fast. Freeways out here are in great shape and built for high speeds.

Left Three Forks and got on to I-90 to Bozeman, home to Montana State University. Great college town, well taken care of. It's also home to the Museum of the Rockies - with a vast collection of dinosaur bones, a car or two and even some Viking stuff.
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You can head straight south from here and end up in Yellowstone - just 90 miles away. But we went east and ducked into the great little town of Livingston. These towns are wonderful stops. Main Street is usually like it was 60, 70 or 80 years ago. There are generally no new buildings - just old buildings modernized and fixed up for today's lifestyle. Lots of original neon signage never hurt anyone, either.
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A few miles further down the road is Big Timber. Another small town with a great Main Street.
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About 20 years ago a client of mine worked for a chip manufacturer in Portland. His hobby was making vintage guns and knives. While vacationing through Montana one year, he toured the Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Co. in Big Timber. He had a thought - "Hey, I'd like to work here." He talked to the owners, but they said they were a small family operation and really didn't have an opening. When he got home 2 weeks later, there was a message on his answering machine - "We saw your passion for gun making. We created a position. But, we can only pay you 40% of what you make in Portland." His portfolio allowed for it, so he packed up his wife and two young girls and left. Had a blast making guns for 8 years. He eventually retired to Utah and we stopped in to see them on our way back from Zion in 2019. He has a tool and die shop in his big garage and still gets after it. You have to follow your passion in life. It's like Curly said in City Slickers, "One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit." So true.
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Hopped back on to I-90 and headed to Billings. A quick tour of downtown netted one picture. Nice place.
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But we had to scoot to get to Little Big Horn before they closed. Just made it. Custer's Last Stand. June 25, 1876.

The Battlefield is spread over many hundreds of acres of rolling grasslands. Custer basically brought tired men and horses to the battle, split his forces, expected the enemy to run away, but was surrounded and greatly outnumbered. Most of the soldiers were buried where they fell, but were eventually moved to a proper cemetery. The large cemetery grew to also include thousands of other veterans of our nation's wars.
Very moving site.

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Back on to I-90 for a spectacular drive to Sheridan in the fading light. Really wanted some pics. It was not to be. Rolled into Sheridan after dark.

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      10-08-2021, 08:31 PM   #4
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Day 4: Sheridan, WY to Hill City, SD - 344 miles

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Now its time for the real action to start - the reason for the trip. The next 8 days are going to be fabulous. So much to see. Jumped back on I-90 and blasted down to another fun little town called Buffalo. Gee, they had great Main Street.
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Then off through Gillette, WY. A good sized town of 32,000 involved in the development of vast quantities of coal, oil and gas. Millions of rails cars going through here. A climate change activist's nightmare. My V-8 was purring. Did I say the speed limit was 80 mph?
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At Moorcroft, we turned North on to Hwy 14 and headed to Devils Tower. I saw it as a youngster and always wanted to return. You may
remember it from Richard Dreyfuss's obsession in Close Encounters of a Third Kind from 1977. My wife spotted it first. It's really quite something. 867 feet base to summit, it is made of greyish-green igneous rock that cooled into hexagonal columns. It was the first U.S. National Monument, established in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt.
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It just looms on the horizon getting bigger and bigger as you get closer.
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Grabbed a quick, expensive lunch and headed on in. We split a bison burger for 13 bucks that was about 2.5 inches in diameter. Sheesh.
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The parking lot is large and was almost completely full. People were swarming everywhere, but it was managable. There is a paved 1.25 mile trail around the base, so off we went. The views changed dramatically as we circumnavigated.
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Dramatic geology and fall colors.
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We never saw any aliens, so it's off for the next destination. Behind the photographer was a giant field filled with hundreds of cute little prairie dogs.
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Hwy 24 north out of Devils Tower was a delightful drive - red rock formations, green hills, yellow trees and blue skies.

Passed thru the small town of Hulett
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A quick trip through Spearfish and then off to Sturgis, where many of you have no doubt been. For those not aware, every year about 250,000 motorcycle enthusiasts descend into this poor little town for a week of, umm, revelry? Yikes.

It was very quiet in late September.
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We drove through Deadwood, but decided we wanted to come back tomorrow and instead get ourselves to Mt Rushmore for the evening light show. So we headed to Hill City, dropped our bags and scooted 12 miles to The Heads (as my father affectionately called them back in the day). Since I was there as a boy they have added a massive parking structure that tucks into the hill, a new gift shop and a spectacular amphitheater that sits below a large viewing plaza. The place was crammed. After the sun went down they put on a very moving program and then flipped on the lights. Way cool.
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Awesome way to finish off the day.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-19-2021 at 02:18 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:32 PM   #5
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[COLOR="Blue"]Day 5: Badlands Loop - 307 miles[/COLOR]

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Lot to do today. The Crazy Horse Memorial was just down the road, so we thought we'd take a look at it. Crazy Horse was an Oglala Lakota warrior fighting federal encroachment of native lands, eventually battling Custer at Little Big Horn. The Lakota tribe commissioned the statue on private land in 1948. If completed, it will be over 600 feet long and 500 feet high. After the sculptor died in 1982, the widow took over. When she died in 2014, seven of the children were working for the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation to help raise funds and continue the work. They have a long way to go.
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The ultimate goal
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Went back to Mt Rushmore for a look in the daylight. It was early and hardly anybody was there. Gutzon Borglum designed and oversaw the project from 1927 until his death in 1941. The sculpture was originally devised to promote tourism to the South Dakota area. Seems to have worked pretty well.
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It is truly a man-made wonder. The heads are 60 feet tall and depict 4 of our greatest presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
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Ariel view swiped from the web
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My Rushmore was also the backdrop for the great Alfred Hitchcock movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in 1959.

Off to Rapid City for a quick look. Ran in to a rather special and charming downtown right out of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Very clean and colorful. They also have a life sized statue of every American president on each of their street corners. Fun.

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Jefferson and Adams
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Colorful Art Alley
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Back on I-90 and headed for the Badlands. But before arriving there, you can go to Wall, SD and stop at Wall Drug. A roadside attraction and tourist trap if there ever was one. But, neat, none the less. The original owners started a massive advertising campaign with signs all over the roads for hundreds of miles offering free ice water for parched travelers to the newly opened Mount Rushmore. It worked. It's in the middle of nowhere and a destination stop in it's own right.

The town has some pretty new silos
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The Store is many shops nestled together over several blocks.
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Anybody seen Tom Hanks?
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Ok, ok. Where are the car pics? From here on out its Scenery Pics, Car Pics and Car Pics in Scenery. Hope you enjoy.

Hwy 240 south out of Wall takes you to the Badlands National Park. Not much in the way of services, but the scenery is stupendous.
Badlands are found on every continent, consisting of softer sedimentary rocks and colorful clay-rich soil that has been extensively
eroded. Our U.S. park protects 243,000 acres. Its vast. You drive only 24 miles from the North Entrance to the South visitor center.
The road follows the rim of a canyon that erodes to the south. Very interesting. Very colorful. And way more than I bargained for.

I'll just present these without comment. You'll get the idea.

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The Ben Reifel Visitor Center at the far east end turned out to be the farthest eastern point we were from home. 1,294 miles by the
fastest road back to the house. Everything from here on was just going home. In a roundabout way, however. We're just getting started.

Grabbed a souvenir for the garage.
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We looped under the Badlands on Hwy 44, a marvelous but desolate stretch of road, back to Rapid City, Sturgis and back into Deadwood.
It is an old mining town in the Black Hills. It's now full of casinos, restaurants and T-shirt shops. Made popular by the 2004 - 2006 HBO series.

Stopped in to a casino to use the restroom. Dropped $20 into a slot machine. Hit the button 3 times and ended up with $53.75.
Cashed out. Made 169% in 15 seconds.
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Nice stools..........
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Went back to Hill City to look for dinner. Alas, the few restaurants were crammed.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:14 AM..
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Day 6: Hill City, SD to Cheyenne, WY - 373 miles

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This was setting up to be an interesting day. And long. First up was travelling past Mt Rushmore for the 3rd time and connecting to Hwy 16A just beyond Keystone, then heading south to Custer State Park. This is a wildly scenic and absurdly windy 33 mile road, built to give you views of Mt Rushmore. There are a couple of tunnels - blasted through the rock and they are lined up so you can see the The Heads as you drive through. Awesome
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At the bottom of 16A you enter Custer State Park - 71,000 acres of granite peaks, rolling plains and lakes. You could spend a week here. We had a few hours.
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First up was the Wildlife Loop. There are roughly 1,300 bison here and they had just rounded them up the day before (full on cowboy stuff) for annual shots and monitoring. A couple hundred are sold off each year. The loop takes about an hour.
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The road winds around rolling grasslands and hills. Very Scenic.
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A short movie in the visitor center explained that you may also come across some friendly wild donkeys. Fact check: True.
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Really glad we had an apple. The wife named him Walter.
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Had a great lunch at the Legion Lake Lodge overlooking, well, Lake Legion.
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Then headed north to the Needles Hwy 87 for some tremendous views of granite spires. Slow and windy.
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The road is narrow and there is no centerline. 20mph, tops.
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Stunning colorful vistas
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And a couple of tight squeezes. Folded the mirrors in.
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The road eventually brought us to the marvelous Sylvan Lake. Just wow.
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We turned south, left the park and picked up Hwy 89 to Custer. Another cute town, but no time to stop. Continued south on Hwy 385 to Wind Cave National Park. It was the first cave in the world to be named a national park in 1903. 152 miles of explored cave passageways makes it the 7th longest cave in the world. You need a timed entry given out early each day - no internet reservations. A quick look through the visitor center and we're off again.

A couple of bison standing on top of the caves.
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10 miles further brought us to Hot Springs, SD. The town is full of many pink sandstone buildings.
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Gassed up here and jumped on Hwy 71 south out of Hot Springs. Things really dry out and the landscape becomes hauntingly
desolate. We are heading to Nebraska, a new state for each of us. My wife's mother was from Lincoln, NE, so there's a connection.
The border is reached in 36 miles.
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We cross into the Oglala National Grass Lands in NW Nebraska. Just grass and grass and grass. And cattle. Never really saw any people or ranch houses. Just grass. Fascinating stuff.
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After about 30 miles we finally stumbled on to some human habitation.
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We ducked into Crawford, NE and saw what 4:00 on a Saturday night looked like. Not that much.
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Continued south on Hwy 71 and connected to Hwy 2 going west. Grass gave way to corn and an abandoned farm house.
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Heading to Scottsbluff, NE we stopped to look.....at the grass.
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Scottsbluff is a fairly good sized farming town - and, again, with the old downtown. 5:00 Saturday night - no people.
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Had dinner in Kimble, NE. Caught I-80 west and blasted to Cheyenne. Arrived about 9PM. What a day.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:27 AM..
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Day 7: Cheyenne, WY to Estes Park, CO - 170 miles

Buckle up - the fun meter really ratchets up today. Lovin' me some Colorado.................

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My wife's brother and sister-in-law from Seattle happened to be doing virtually the same trip in reverse order at the same time. They were leaving Estes Park after 2 days in the Rockies and we decided to meet up in Cheyenne for lunch. We were going to have a short day anyway and that gave us the morning to noodle around the capital of Wyoming.

Not Main Street, but down where all the old buildings are.
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Not old or interesting. Just so 70s. Where are the windows??
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A couple more
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The capital is a few blocks away. What a beautiful building.
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State of Wyoming Kendrick Building (formally a residence just across from the capital.
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Historic Governor's Mansion
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There's a great park north of the capital that contains the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
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Some towns have statues of presidents.......Cheyenne has boots. Lots and lots of boots.
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Lunch with the in-laws and a good exchange of information. We told them all about Wind Cave, Custer Park, The Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Deadwood and Devils Tower. They told us all about Rocky Mountain National Park. There is a timed entry system to get in. You have to go online, find the day you want to visit and then purchase a ticket for $2 that gives you a 2 hour entry window - not a minute before. Not a minute after. I had 2 for the next 2 days - both for 1:00.
But they informed us that you can still get in the park after 3:00 each day. That was going to be perfect. We could be at the park by 3 and go in today, just in case the weather might be changing.

We said our good byes and blasted down I-25 to Loveland, CO and turned right on HWY 34 to Estes Park. Eastern Colorado is flat as a pancake and as soon as you pass into the front range you are in the Rockies. Just........boom!

The weather was perfect and since it was going to change for the next few days, so we by-passed the hotel and went straight for the entrance gate. Estes Park is at 7,500 feet and the road starts to rise immediately. All of a sudden you are in a thick green forest dotted with golden Aspens. We got to the gate at 3:02, flashed our National Park Pass and slithered through.
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A popular tree for pictures
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The road winds higher ( with no guard rails) and eventually you leave the tree line at over 11,000 feet. Stunning views
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We got to the far NW part of the park for the day's turnaround at the Alpine Visitor Center at 11,796 feet.
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A trail takes you up to a viewpoint, where there is even less air.
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Looking down on the Visitor center
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Remnants of snow from a couple days ago. I sure don't want to be at 11,700 feet on summer tires in an F90 if the white stuff returns.
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Popped into the Visitor Center and had 5 minutes to grab a souvenir before they closed.
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We started back down in the soon to be disappearing light.
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Long's Peak, the highest in the park at 14,259 feet, is the flat topped peak in the far distance.
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Similar pics, but I don't care. I like them all.
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The road down
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Longs Peak again
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This is something else
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And this.....................
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Some wildlife
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Another premium road that is insanely busy is the road to Bear Lake on the valley floor. Timed entries go to 6:00 PM. The light was fading, it was 6:00 and we decided to go for it. Unfortunately, so did everyone else. A frustratingly slow line of cars snaked up the road to Bear Lake for miles. Would there even be an open parking space? Would there be any light left? Yes. Just enough. Whew!
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Glowing Sky
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Checked in to the hotel (same one as my brother-in-law stayed) and went out and found a big rib eye. What a day. Again.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:16 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:35 PM   #8
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Day 8: Down to Breckenridge and up the back side of Rocky Park - 274 miles Clockwise from Estes Park

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We had a timed entry for 1:00 PM, so we headed south down Hwy 7 to tie in to I-70. The road was fabulous, except for slow trucks
and no passing - but the scenery was spectacular. The Aspens were going crazy. Mountains of conifers and Aspens.
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As you approach I-70 you pass thru Central City, an old mining town that's all dressed up for tourists.
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About a mile away, out of nowhere, springs a mini Las Vegas. A dozen huge hotels and casinos crammed into a narrow canyon.
It was only 9 am, but there were no people about and the giant parking lots were empty. Man, I wouldn't want to be in that business right now.
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Got on to I-70 and headed west . I-70 is the major East/West artery through Colorado and it is stuffed with cars and trucks. And trucks. It is also the main route to several ski mountains in Colorado's vast ski resort system. You can access Winter Park, Arapaho Basin, Loveland, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Vail, Beavercreek, Snowmass and Aspen. Winter traffic must be delightful.

The freeway heads up to the Eisenhower tunnel at over 11,000 feet and then starts a ferocious decent into Silverthorne, a wide spectacular valley filled with spectacular color that you're just going to have to take my word for. Unbelievable development since I was last here in my 20s.

On to Breckenridge for lunch
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Crossed back over I-70 heading north on Hwy 9. The mountains are just filled with golden color. I was hoping for some fall color, but this is ridiculous.
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We turn east on Hwy 40 at Kremmling and then north on Hwy 34 at Granby and head to Grand Lake. What a great little lake resort town.
Wouldn't have minded staying here.
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We are now headed to the west gate of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 3:00 and we don't need our pass. 2 bucks....just wasted.
We pull off at a parking area where you could almost jump across the Colorado River
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I want to stop and take a picture of every single Aspen
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As we start to climb up the west side of the park, the weather starts to come in on us. We still have 4,000 feet to go.
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Made it - and the weather holds. And even provides for some dramatic shots.
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11,500 feet give or take
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The mountain kinda tails off here on the right. Most times there is no guard rail. Some spouses didn't appreciate all the fine aspects of
a beautiful mountain road.
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Headed back down the hill and went to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park for dinner. It was the inspiration for The Shining by Steven King.
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Maybe I could just drive the guests around in this for a summer job
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Another spectacular day in the books.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:18 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:36 PM   #9
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Day 9: Estes Park, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO - 208 miles

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This was supposed to be a short day to Steamboat. My park pass was for 1:00 again and I figured we'd mess around the area and head through the park again and down the back side. Since we did that yesterday, I changed the route. Man, was that ever a fabulous choice. I did, however, have to waste another 2 bucks by not using the entry ticket since we weren't going back in to the park. Good thing I won all that money in the slot machine at Deadwood.

We left Estes Park heading west back down Hwy 34. What a glorious sunny morning.
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Just west of Loveland we turned north on to Buckhorn Road and wound around some hilly farm/ranch country for 25 miles until we hit Hwy 14 and headed west. A quick stop at a comfort station and off we went.
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If you are ever near Hwy 14 in Colorado at the end of September, do all you can to find it and drive it. Seriously.

The next 131 miles to Steamboat Springs were some of the most fabulous road miles I have ever been on in my life. And I have been on some fabulous road miles before. Yesterday was really something, but today has just as much visual delight and there are NO cars. They are all down on I-70. The road picks up the Cache la Poudre River as it carves it's way through a rugged rocky canyon. There are no places to pull off. Dammit! Eventually you pass into lush mountain forests (albeit with some fire damage here and there) as you are now on the north side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Aspens are everywhere.
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And then we came around a corner face to face with an explosion of color - with a parking lot!!!

Where we came from
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You can see the fire devastation
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Where we are going. Great stop this was.
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The road continues on (the actual road is wide and smooth and a joy to drive) through the forest and eventually rises to a final pass before heading down out of the mountains. A tinge of sadness hits me. (I shouldn't have been worried.)
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We were now on our way to Walden in search of lunch. Even though we had descended into farm country again the scenery was still fabulous.
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Tiny town of Walden for lunch
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We jump onto Hwy 14 headed south and the countryside is ranchy, but the hills turn golden.
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We eventually tie back in to Hwy 40 and climb back through a wonderful conifer mountain range dotted with glorious clumps of golden Aspens. Again, no turn-offs. We crest the pass and begin descending into the Steamboat Springs valley and this happens.

My wife actually decided to take a couple of pics here because the view was so breathtaking. She doesn't take many. The first 2 are hers. Man......she nailed it.
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Got into Steamboat Springs and it started raining. The Springs has grown into a large resort area with lots of lodging and some fabulous houses, obviously dominated by their ski resort. They have produced more Olympians than any other area. Ski mountain in the background
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Ducked into their art museum. The current showing was local artists. Someone else likes Aspens, I see.
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Street life. Steamboat Mountain in background
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Mainstreet is filled with a lot of nice shops. Boots, anyone?
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Had dinner at the Steamboat Grand Hotel. They even had a pumpkin tree.
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Got back to the hotel late. All the parking was taken. So I parked here. Not in a slot.
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They said I couldn't do that. I had to go to the lot across the street. The pitch black, unpaved lot across the street. It would be OK. I couldn't exactly see where I should even go. It would be ok....they said, snippely. Stop whining.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:23 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:38 PM   #10
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Day 10: Steamboat Springs, CO to Vernal, UT - 257 miles

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Looked out of the window the next morning to get the full parking realization. A Donington 750 was next to me, but pulled out before I snapped.
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Weather still looking iffy this morning
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Headed out of Steamboat toward Dinosaur National Monument, about 130 miles away. Said goodbye to the mountains and the Aspens and got in to rolling nothingness. The town of Craig yielded this. The sign says: J&J Tree Cutting Service. Better not be that one!
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No reason for many turns in the road out here
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Somewhere around in here we crossed into Utah. Got to Dinosaur and found lunch at a road side diner. A sad little town.
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Headed into the Canyon Area of Dinosaur National Monument. There is a great viewpoint at Harpers Corner, 30 miles in, but the weather was not cooperating.
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We began climbing and ran into the cloud deck at 22 miles. Decided to abort. Our first weather failure.

Back on the highway we headed for the other entrance 30 miles ahead. A couple of vistas on the way
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There are 2 things to do at the west entrance. A self guided driving tour of about 8 miles with many interesting stops. And the Quarry Exhibit where all the dinosaur bones are. We opted for the driving loop first.

Found some pictographs about 1,000 years old.
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The road winds through many interesting rock formations again
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The Green River looking brown from all the rain
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Turtle Rock - see it?
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Great looking colorful landscapes
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Massive rock outcropping towering over Split Rock Campground in the lower foreground
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Went down below for a closer look at the boat landing
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Then back to the Quarry Visitor Center. They found bones here in 1909 and started digging. Then they discovered that the site was a grave yard slurry containing hundreds of dinosaurs collected over millions of years. Many were fully connected specimens. They hauled them off to museums all around the country. To preserve the site, they built a giant structure to enclose the wall and create a great viewing experience. Highly recommended.
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Parking lot view
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On to Vernal and dinner at Wingers - one of our new favorite restaurants in Idaho and Utah.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-09-2021 at 02:21 PM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:39 PM   #11
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Day 11: Vernal, UT to Pocatello, ID - 380 miles

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I thought this was going to be a long and only so-so day. Boy, was I wrong. Way wrong. Way, way wrong. Vernal to Rock Springs is another truly awesome stretch of road - not only for the road itself, but for the continuously changing landscape. 109 miles of pedal to the medal and head swiveling fun. Put it on your list.


We left Vernal and headed north along Hwy 191. What a great road. You leave the dryness of the basin and begin to climb into the hills. Glorious hills of conifers, and yes, Aspens. But first you pass by a ginormous Simplot Mine.
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The road winds through the mountains filled with greens and yellows and oranges. Not many places to stop. I wanted to stop every quarter mile. My wife thinks I'm nuts. She's probably not wrong. I've been obsessed with Aspens ever since I skied in Park City as a young adult, on an epic ski trip to...................Colorado.

Finally found some turn outs.
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Came down out of the mountains to our first target of the day: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. This is 207,000 acres of protected area created by the Flaming Gorge Dam and its 91 mile reservoir of the Green River. The name is derived from its red sandstone canyon walls. First stop is the Red Canyon Viewpoint. Stupendous. 1,500 feet down to the water.
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Then you wind down to the dam - 455 foot high concrete arch construction, completed in 1964
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Leaving the Gorge area puts you back into barren, but beautiful landscapes again.
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Crossed back into Wyoming for the third time and got into Rock Springs around noon
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Found a spectacular diner right out of the Fifties. Does this scream burger and a coke?
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Wandered around a bit to look at the architecture
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Coke advertisements
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Found the old City Hall that is now a wonderful museum filled with great original artifacts.
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Main Street
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Old Rail Station
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New Graffiti
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Headed west on I-80 and came on Little America - a giant travel center. Clean and nice. Looks the same, cars are newer.
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Pulled off I-80 onto Hwy 30 and headed back to the rolling dry country. Around Cokeville, WY
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Soon crossed the Idaho border and cruised into Pocatello - and found some cool neon on Mainstreet
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Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:29 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:40 PM   #12
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Day 12: Pocatello, ID to Ontario, OR - 332 miles

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Now its just a matter of getting home. Southern Idaho is no magazine cover. First up, Pocatello Mainstreet in the daylight.
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Quick stop in American Falls
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Then it's back on I-84 for some high speed cruising. There is literally nothing interesting to look at for miles and miles through here. Blech.

Just a gas station. Nothing special, I just liked the blue and red and 60s construction.
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I-80 is still kind of a slog, but at least you can go fast. Outside of Twin Falls we found another bridge over the Snake River
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Turned off of I-83 and took Hwy 93 south into Twin Falls. This time we drove over the Perrine Bridge. Didn't see the usual BASE jumpers
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Continued out of Twin Falls west on Hwy 30. Off above the river bed to the north is a place called 1,000 Springs. Lots of waterfalls just gushing out of the land.
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Had to re-create this photo of my Donington F90 going the other way in 2019. Man, still lovin' me some Donington.
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Snake River
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Kept seeing these along the way. Usually in threes. Finally caught up to some at a rest area. Jeez, are these long.
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They don't look so big up here.
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Got to Boise and took a look at the Boise Art Museum. Man, their wokeness made it hard to take. Didn't spend much time
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Short hop to Ontario and dinner at another Wingers, then a car wash.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-10-2021 at 09:31 AM..
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      10-08-2021, 08:41 PM   #13
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Day 13 (Last Day): Ontario, OR to Portland, OR - 390 miles

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Just did this stretch from Ontario to Baker City in the spring. The landscape is rolling hills and way more scenic than southern Idaho.
Pulled in to see how things were going in North Powder, the gateway to the Anthony Lakes Ski area. A little rehab going on.
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Met up with a college buddy and his wife in Pendleton for lunch. Only the second time we've seen them since college. Good to catch up.

Downtown Pendleton
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Major rodeo, the Pendleton Round -Up, is held here annually
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Back on the road for home. Before long, you are out of the ranching country and back to following the Columbia River - all the way back to Portland.

Biggs Junction
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West of Biggs Jct
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More Columbia Gorge
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Hood River
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Mt Hood in Oregon
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Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods, again
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Arrived home in the early evening. Felt good to be home, but felt a little hemmed in by the city and all the traffic.

Another great trip in the books with my patient and fabulous co-pilot. Most days we were in the car at 8:30 and rarely made it to the hotel before 6 pm, many times later. Gonna have to cut the daily mileage down because there is always too much to see and too many things left behind. The same trip at only 250 miles/day results in 17 days in stead of 13.

I called my dealership as soon as I got home because I was now 11,000 miles since my last oil change. I told the appointment person who I was and what I wanted. She said I'm not ready yet - and I told her I was at 19,000 miles. She said they had me at only 8,000 in June for my last one, am I sure about the mileage? Did I have a busy summer? I said yeah, and 4,000 were just in the last 2 weeks. She said "I have you down for 8:20 am next Tuesday." Thanky much.

Some Final Thoughts on the M5:
The LCI M5C - what can I say? Zero problems. Never put air in the tires. Never needed oil, or water or wiper fluid. I've had 4 BMW V-8s now - never had a problem with any of them. They all seem to get better with age. I feel like they really hit their stride at around 20,000 miles. I love the M1 and M2 buttons. Passing is a breeze when needed. Freeway driving with the radar cruise control is tremendous and 2 lane twisties with the suspension tightened up is marvelous. Never get tired of driving this car. But I'll be at 22,000 miles after year 1 and thoughts begin to creep into my mind with what to replace it with and the timing of that event. Will the supply chain shortages end anytime soon? What's the last month I can order another M5 in this cycle? Do I want an M8?

Aw, who cares. I'm just going to keep driving this car for now.

Thanks for tagging along this far. You're a real trooper. Or a lonely person. Whatever.

Safe travels.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 10-19-2021 at 01:13 PM..
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      10-09-2021, 03:11 AM   #14
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I'm literally in awe of this blog, both in terms of the pictures which are out of this world and the work you have put in to do this.

So jealous as the scenery and trip look awesome but also glad you have made the effort. I love seeing new places and what's out there in the world.

What a great effort, thanks!
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      10-09-2021, 03:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slugsy01 View Post
I'm literally in awe of this blog, both in terms of the pictures which are out of this world and the work you have put in to do this.

So jealous as the scenery and trip look awesome but also glad you have made the effort. I love seeing new places and what's out there in the world.

What a great effort, thanks!
Wow. Appreciate the accolades. You're right about what it takes to pull this off.

Come back soon. I'm going go try and get the rest loaded as soon as I can. Days 7, 8 and 9 are spectacular. Thanks Colorado!!
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      10-09-2021, 06:09 AM   #16
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Cant' see the pics
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      10-09-2021, 06:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Can-am View Post
Cant' see the pics
Dang. The site has been a little squirrelly this morning for me too. I've seen them all on the PC, iPad and phone app. Phone app has been the worst. But, they came back after rebooting the app. However, right now about 1/3 aren't coming through.
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      10-09-2021, 06:40 AM   #18
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I was finally able to see all the pics.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

Your car looks fantastic and I love the different type of landscapes
In one word : beautiful!
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      10-09-2021, 06:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Can-am View Post
I was finally able to see all the pics.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

Your car looks fantastic and I love the different type of landscapes
In one word : beautiful!
Thank you. I still have 5 days to load, too.
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      10-09-2021, 06:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by snowbimmer View Post
Thank you. I still have 5 days to load, too.
Can't wait to see the rest!
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      10-09-2021, 08:07 AM   #21
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What an epic road trip! Fantastic photos as well! Thank you for sharing in such great detail. I drove through some of these same areas during two family vacation as a kid. Brings back some great memories.
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      10-09-2021, 09:39 AM   #22
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We are lucky you have the patience and the passion to do your travelogue posts. A lot of work for you but it must be fun to relive the trip and winnow out the photos that donít quite fit. Thanks so much, it was an enjoyable morning tour with a cup of coffee. Looking forward to the next days of your journey.
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