Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 31 - Chores

Well we went a month without doing many of the things we are supposed to do.  Michelle had school work to catch up on.  Cathy also had things to do.  Eric and Larry sought to accomplish a goal that has eluded them in March, getting Eric's Saab going.  In March Larry And Eric replaced the transmission on the car but there were fuel supply problems that kept it from running consistently.  Since then Eric has, in his spare time rebuilt the carburetor, only to find the new fuel pump that came with the car was not working.  He decided to convert to an electric pump so they spent the morning wiring and re-plumbing for the new pump.  It worked beautifully and the car runs really well now.  It still needs some carburetor adjustments but even without those final tweaks is is running smoothly.

The next item on the agenda was giving the cars baths.  Hobson went first and emerged cleaner but not really as clean as home due to lack of towels to dry it.  This was followed by Cathy's car which was filthy from her fieldwork site which has many dirt roads so the car was plenty dusty and muddy.  Finally the Saab got a bath.  It has been sitting idle collecting dust for a while so needed it although given the condition of the paint it did not make as great an improvement as the other two cars.

Meanwhile Michelle and Cathy took a ride to collect vegetables at his community garden plot and the store for other supplies.  Michelle then set about making dinner while Cathy went back to work.  Larry.;  Eric ste about cleaning the garage. otherwise known as the transportation museum.  It contains two working bicycles (one fixed gear and the other an old 12 speed) along with a tandem bicycle.  There is also an unassembled bike in the garage and two outside.  He also has a working 3 speed racer and another tandem outside.  Back to inside the garage there are 2 partly assembled Yamaha YCS-1 motorcycles that are his and a Honda 100 that is a friends along with this ridiculous moped a friend of his bought and Eric got running.  It only has a clutch and a coaster brake and the riding position is pretty flat.  Both Eric and Larry took rides.  Below should be a video of Larry on it.

Statistics Corner
States involved: We not only didn't leave California we never left Davis.
Other than driving into and then out of the driveway to be washed Hobson enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.

Regular Features
Song of the Day: Lazy Day by the Moody Blues
Coolest Car of the day: It has to be Eric's '72 Saab.
Church of the day: This is right up the street from Eric and looks so Californian.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Riding that insane moped.

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  Cooking with Cathy and Eric.

Day 30 - Finally the Pacific

Obviously we have not set any coast to coast speed records but along the way we have been to a number of National places: Parks, Forests, Wilderness Areas, Heritage Sites, Monuments and as of today a Seashore.  Our trip to Point Reyes National Seashore actually started out as a trip to Muir Woods National Monument but that was so crowded that there was no parking so we changed direction, got caught in the NHRA National traffic and 4 hours from setting out finally got to Point Reyes.
Yet another scenery picture.

Apparently not all Boston Fans are in Massachusetts 

At Point Reyes Michelle and Larry symbolically dipped their feet in the Pacific which was not that chilly but the air temperature being below 70 neither of us was tempted to go swimming.   While we were taking pictures and looking for sand dollars to give to a small Australian girl that was crawling inch by inch up the beach trying to find them, Eric and Cathy wandered around alternating between looking for birds and plants of interest.  We found many sand dollars and they found plenty of specimens from a species that Eric had written a paper on that was published earlier this year. In fact there were more here than the area he used to run the experiment.  The paper, if you are interested, is found here

Birds in the air
Birds on the ground

Lizards on the ground.  We looked but did not find lizards in the air.

Although it was dinner time we decided to go to the ice cream parlor that Eric described as, "The best in the world!"  The Fairfax Scoop is a very small place with a line that is always out the door and down the street.  We apparently hit a good time with everyone who had some sense of how to eat properly eating a proper dinner as it only took us about 20 minutes to get our ice cream.  The signature flavor of the place is Vanilla Honey Lavender which everyone but Larry thought tasted great.  This place is highly recommended.

Hobson was hungry too by now so we took of to Petaluma to feed the people and the car.  The charging station is right across the street from a dirt track that they were racing on.  These were certainly not electric cars they were racing as they made a tremendous amount of noise.  As we debated whether to skip dinner and go in the race ended.  As the next race would be about a half hour later we decided to go to eat.  The historic old town was mobbed and it took a while to find a place without a line.   Obviously not the best dinner to be had in town but it worked.

Statistics Corner
States involved: Another day in California.  It is hard out west to change states quickly.  We are used to going through two states just to run errands so driving for hours all in one state is a little foreign.
Vacoville - 45 minutes - Hobson needed more of a charge to get where we were going so the first thing we did was hook him up,  This charge was a bit slower than we are used to and the outlet mall where the chargers were located had yet to open so having to charge the Tesla was a bit of a drag.
Petaluma - 90 minutes although more than half of that time Hobson was fully charged but it was a 20 minute walk to downtown so the round trip time with eating dinner was longer than the car needed.  This one had 10 chargers which was a record for us having never seen more than 8 in one place before.   

Regular Features
Song of the Day: Here in California  - Kate Wolf - California is really an amazing state which she captures the essence of in her song.
Coolest Car of the day: We saw an amazing array of cars today including a Porsche 912, lots of old Fords, a sixties Caddy, an MGB from the chrome bumper era, a Ferrari with a great exhaust note but the best one is this Chevette and only because of the bumper sticker.

Church of the day: This was a beautiful church in Fairfax.
Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - The giant redwood tree we took a short hike to see and got our picture taken at.
Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  The walk on the beach

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day 29 - Trees once more

Today we hiked in the Sierras which have both lots of trees and lots of granite to make New Englanders feel more at home.  Eric who though looks like our son hikes like a mountain goat took us scrambling through boulder fields and up slanted slabs of smooth granite.  It was great fun for him, good fun for Cathy and Larry and not nearly as much fun for Michelle who finally found some shade and waited for the rest of the group to fetch her.   The scenery was fantastic including a high waterfall, and a roaring stream which we got to take a dip in plus the trees and mountains.  We also managed to exchange texts with friends on vacation in Iceland from the mountain.  Modern technology!

Some Sierra Nevada Scenery

This jay kept Michelle company while the rest went higher and higher
Eric and Cathy watching the dipper they found walk up the waterfall.

After trying to kill us Eric and Cathy took us up winding mountain roads which Michelle hates in search of some plants they wanted to see.  They did get lucky and located the specimens they were looking for so they did not shorten Michelle's life for no reason at all.  We then went to Placerville which is one of the few towns that popped up due to the California Gold Rush that still survives today.  The main street is right out of a western movie and is keeping with the towns's previous name which was Hangtown due the number of hangings they had.

Placerville Hardware which claims to be the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi

Statistics Corner
States involved: We came close to returning to Nevada but stayed in California all day
Hobson rested today as we took Cathy's car.

Regular Features
Song of the Day: This Land is Your Land - Woody Guthrie - We have spent most of our last several days hiking on federal land which means it is sort of ours.  I am glad we have it.
Coolest Car of the day: This Ford convertible is the best picture but we did see a gold and white '58 Ford Ranchero broken down that we did not get a shot of.

Church of the day: No entry today lahtough we did see a sign form the road that said, "God wants full custody, not just weekend visitation.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Taking a dip in the stream

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  She also liked the dip in the stream.  That is why we are still married.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 27 - Eric! California!

We haven't seen the Pacific but we didn't see the Atlantic either.  Once you are in California you have officially made it across the country and we did accomplish that today.  We did not stop often having the confidence to skip a charging station we expected to stop at but found we could bypass.  The goal was to get to see Eric as soon as possible.

 Once in Davis we mounted bicycles, picked vegetables from Eric's garden, stopped at the grocery store and then had the first home cooked meal we have had in weeks.   It was very good.  We then went off to find ice cream with Eric driving the Tesla.  WE spent some time doing a bad art tour with  Eric as our tour guide.  He has expanded the tour since Larry was there in March so while Larry did get to see some familiar installations and some new ones besides.  It was all new to Michelle.

Michelle and Eric get their tandem technique down.
Eric inspects one of the bad art peices

It is good to see Eric and Cathy again and we are loking forward to touring around with them for the next three days.
Statistics Corner
States involved: We bumped the count up to 20 with the addition of the truly West Coast state, California.

Lovelock NV - 45 minutes - This is a dying little small town with half the stores closed.  The Superchargers are in the only thriving business in town, a Chevron gas station.  The huge advantage of this is that we snuck over and used the window washing equipment to finally clean the car windows. 
A unique, circular courthouse in Lovelock, NV
 Made more unique by the 10 commandments near the front door.  I guess nobody noticed
Trukee, CA - 45 minutes - For the first time all trip we had to wait to get a charge mostly due to a group of three Teslas that were on their way to the Tesla Gigafactory opening event tomorrow.  They had all kinds of Tesla gear on.  We had tried to get in but did not win the lottery the held for tickets.  I guess it is a good thing because we don't have any Tesla swag.
Roseville, CA - 15 ninutes - We didn't stay long as we were afraid of getting stuck in Sacramento rush hour.
Regular Features
Song of the Day: California - John Mayall -  There are way more songs about California than any other state.  I picked this as it has been a favorite song of mine for decades.
Coolest Car of the day: We are now in the state of cool cars.  We saw a nice '66 Mustang and a VW bug of the same vintage but a rainbow Model A is hard to beat.

Church of the day: We are also in mega church country.  Here is the first one we have seen.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Finally getting a home cooked meal

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  Seeing Eric

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 26 - Got my quarters!

This trip is slightly asymmetric as today is the hump day of the trip and we are still not on the West Coast.  We left Salt Lake City where you cannot see the Lake and went down route 80 where you can.  We had thought it would be good to go to Antelope Island which is the biggest island in the lake and has a large park with many wild animals but they had just finished putting out a big fire there yesterday so we decided against it.  There was still quite a bit of haze over the lake and in fact we had noticed it in the city and thought it was smog.  We have tried to remain isolated from the news as none of it seems to be good so we did not know about the fire until we were looking up going there and everything that Google gave was about the fire.  The lake is not really that great although there were a few birds around it smelled bad and there were millions of brine flies which Michelle chased around for a while.  Later we stopped at the Salt Flats which were much less buggy, in fact they were quite lifeless but amazing to see.
The Great Salt Lake

Bonneville Salt Flats with Michelle showing how big they are

We are staying in Elko, Nevada where Eric and Larry first tried slot machines on their cross country sojourn 4 years ago.  They had hoped to use the quarters they had brought to feed parking meters, having not spent them over the course of the trip, but alas could not really find a machine that would take them even if we did put one in the credit card slot.  They ended up resorting to dollar bills and quickly lost three of them before leaving what was a very depressing casino.  The people in Elko should be impressed with Larry's change of status over those 4 years as last time he arrived in a roaring Volvo (see Introduction) and this time he glided in silently in the Tesla.

Hoping to find a machine that will take these
We got to Elko early to charge so we could take a hike at a nice place Eric and Larry visited.  We did not find that place but after about 15 miles on dirt road we did find a decent area to get out of the car and hang out with birds and butterflies plus a few biting insects.  We then bumped slowly back to town and had a nice dinner.

Cows on the dirt road
Spring fed water in the Ruby Valley

A random piece of rock.  Note the nice blue sky.

Statistics Corner
States involved: We finally add to the count of states by entering Nevada.
West Wendover NV - 1 hour - Wendover is in Utah and has a large Air Force base.   West Wendover is in Nevada and actually has a casino right on the state line.  There was also one across the street from the chargers.  We went in for lunch.
Elko NV - Twice for 45 minutes each but it is conveniently located right next to the motel.
Regular Features
Song of the Day: Blues for Gamblers - Lightin Hopkins - I cannot get over how unhappy people in casinos look. 

Coolest Car of the day: Another bagged Chevy pickup but without a roof and with a good paint job. Even the truck towing it had custom paint.

Church of the day: This one is a very attractive Lutheran Church on a hill overlooking Elko

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry -  How dirty we got Hobson

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  The salt flats

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 25 - Back to Family

After a long stay of three days we reluctantly left Moab for the biggest city in Utah.  We arrived in Salt Lake City early enough to go tour the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints grounds and wander up to the Capital before the highlight of the day visiting niece Emily and her daughter Megan.  Unfortunately John had to fly out before dinner time so we didn't get the whole family.  Megan took a little while to warm to the occasion but once she did we had a great time coloring, playing keep away and having her read us stories although the library ran out of good books after a while.

Megan reading us the story of the Three Pigs and the Nice Wolf.

Another State House
While in the Visitor Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we spoke with a nice young women from Australian.   She wanted to know if we had any questions so we threw he a soft one and she explained the difference between Mormon temples and churches.  It turns out the aptly named Angel Moroni sits atop all temples unless city ordinances have height restrictions that preclude him standing up there atop the temple.  Churches are not adorned with this striking figure and his trumpet.  For those not among the anointed the Angel Moroni is the angel that led Joseph Smith to the Book of Mormon gold pages which of course nobody but Smith really saw but three folks did attest to seeing them in a vision.  I had no idea there were psychedelic mushrooms in upstate New York.

Later we had a longer conversation with another young women from Argentina in which she explained that the pioneers were lucky in that the Indians taught them how to prepare.  They subsisted on them for a year she said.  The chapel we were in at the time had lots of flowers representing those halcyon days.  It is also as of 1911 Utah's state flower although our guide did say they were now quite rate in Utah.

Statistics Corner
States involved: The last day we don't leave Utah.  Tomorrow we will leave Utah behind.
Price UT - 30 boring minutes
Salt Lake City - 45 minutes at the Salt Lake City Tesla Store.  Some guy was in there buying a Ludicrous Mode Model X to go with his Mercedes SL65 AMG Biturbo.  He also had some very expensive dental work.  I am guessing he didn't cash in his life insurance in order to buy his.
Regular Features
Song of the Day: For Emily Wherever I May Find Her - Simon And Garfunkel - We found her in Salt Lake City and were glad we did.

Coolest Car of the day: After some lean days today was just too good.  I can't decide so you get a couple of late entries that beat a really nice old Chevy pickup that I was sure would win.

I am a sucker for mid 50's Caddys
I have no idea what this is.  If it is a VW kit I will be disappointed but otherwise it looks like fun
Church of the day: OK technically because Angel Moroni is atop it is not really a church but I am going with it.

The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City.  The Visitor Center points out that they had to overcome a difficulty with a poor foundation.  Seems like the religion and the building have something in common.  They both seem to be still doing well now though.

The Angel Moroni.  That name is astounding.  

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Playing with Megan

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  Having dinner with Emily and Megan

Day 24 - Tony and Gale

The day started out as usual.  We did not get out to the park of the day, Canyonlands, until the temperature had already started to climb.  Of course there were red walls everywhere but this park is at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers which have contributed along with ancient waterways and lakes to create a myriad of canyons and mesas stretching for miles in all directions.  The pictures will certainly not convey to enormity of this place but we will include them anyway.

Island in the Sky


More Canyons

One more canyon view
This park is still a bit untamed and is divided into three sections each progressively more wild and less accessible.  We picked the section closest to us and with the most paved roads as Hobson despite his advantage of AWD does not have the ground clearance that one needs to off-road.  So we set out to do our usual hikes from the road and that worked well until about noon.  While at an overlook we stopped at just before the next hike's trailhead we ran into Tony and Gale, an interesting retired couple from Tuscon, Arizona.  They were so damn interesting we then spent hours talking with them and sharing our food with them.  We were finally chased out by an afternoon thunderstorm only to reconvene an hour and a half later for ice cream.  We then hung out in the ice cream place until they closed and continued to share stories until 1 am.

Michelle would go no further up this trail but did wave goodbye.

In Tesla news the car started melting down on the way up to Canyonlands with music skipping here and there.  Things got worse in the park which we blamed on the heat but as it was cooler than yesterday we go a bit nervous when the touch screen became unresponsive.  However a reboot of the computer set everything back to right.  Whew.

Statistics Corner
States involved: Another day in Utah.  We will start moving again soon but for now this place has been amazing.
We again used the Moab Supercharger while we showered for our ice cream date.
Regular Features
Song of the Day: Here Comes the Rain Again - The Eurhytmics.  No rain yesterday but monsoon season came back today and as noted above shortened our picnic at Canyonlands.

Coolest Car of the day: This piece of junk is lowered beyond all reason.

Church of the day: We found a church in Moab.  We did pass it yesterday but didn't see it as it is not on the main drag.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - The incredible vistas at Canyonlands and especially the Island in the Sky which is what the section of the park we went to is named for and of course talking with Gale and Tony

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  Chatting with Gale and Tony was great and as a science teacher the crater was really wild.
A view of the crater.  You could not ever get a picture of the whole thing and the salt deposits are much brighter green-blue than the camera captured.

Guess who?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 23 - Pioneer Day

We tried to get a very early start but our internal clocks are still on Eastern time even though we haven't been in that time zone for many days.  While not as early as we hoped we did get to the Visitor Center at Arches National Park a few minutes prior to opening.  We waited patiently for our maps and quickly set out hoping to take advantage of hiking when it was relatively cool.  The first hike was cool in all senses of the word.  As there was a parking lot at both ends Larry in a gallant mood offered to let Michelle stay at the end of the trail and he went back to the beginning to fetch the car.  As she is won't to do who befriended a couple of guys from California who we then ran into once more in the park and then again in Moab.

Landscape Arch

Broken Avch 

Navajo Arch

That was the pattern for much of the day as Michelle hates the heat so often sat in the shade making friends and Larry would hike around in the heat enjoying the views.  At the end of the day everyone was happy although Michelle could only look at the pictures of some of the sights.  As none of you readers were there today either we will give you pictures that Larry took to look at.  This is a great park that we recommend highly.  We were going to take a siesta and come back to the motel and swim but were so taken with the sights we never made it back until dinner.
The Mastodon from Ice Age.  They do film a lot of movies in Moab

Balancing Rock

Larry elevated by his surroundings.

Today is a holiday in Utah called Pioneer's Day which commemorates Brigham Young showing up in the one place on earth he figured nobody would bother his followers in.  It certainly is an inhospitable place for humans to live but really beautiful to look at.  In honor of the holiday, for which we had to take a detour yesterday through some small town, The Museum in Moab sponsored an Ice Cream Social with live music and free ice cream.  We waited on line through three horribly played songs to get some low quality ice cream.  Albuquerque throws a better free party.  Luckily the dinner prior to that was quite good.

Meanwhile back in Wrentham our house is slowly turning itself off.  Each day for last three days some circuit in the house has quit working.  So now the lights in the whole middle of the first floor and Julia's bedroom are no longer functioning.  Try to fix that on a Sunday from 2000 miles,and 2 times zones away.  Needless to say we failed.  We can try again tomorrow.

But its dry heat!

Statistics Corner
States involved: We didn't even leave town today let alone change states!
We again used the Moab Supercharger while we had dinner. o the same after the parks for the next two days
Regular Features
Song of the Day: Fire on the Mountain by the Marshall Tucker Band.  There was not either fire on the mountain or lightening in the air today.  But at over 100 degrees it certainly felt like they were on fire.
Coolest Car of the day: Today we drove very little and mostly within Arches where we saw RVs and SUVs.  So today Hobson wins because he attracted a great deal of attention.  Exhibit A, we pull into the Visitor Center early in the morning and some guy from Virginia asks, "Did you drive that Tesla all the way from Massachusetts?" to which Larry replied, "It is here isn't it?".  Exhibit B, while Michelle is napping in the car some German guy touches the door handle which immediately pops out and scares the hell out of him.  He apologizes profusely.  Exhibit C, while Larry is walking out of town to try to get a good view of the sunset he walks by the Superchargers and some mother is posing her sons on either side of one of what she refers to as the "Tesla Pumps".  When Larry tells the younger kid that if they had just been there earlier his Tesla would be there the kid gives him the "yea, right" look.
Hobson may be dirty but still can wow some folks.

Church of the day: We did not see any churches today.  I guess they understandably just worship nature here.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Hiking around the desert is very relaxing especially when nobody else is around.  The further you get from the road the rarer the people.

Coolest Thing of the Day –Michelle-  She liked sitting in the Double Arch as it was shady and breezy.