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Epilogue 2…Driving Across the United States…2017

20170616_100915We are one of the few people in the world who have a Father who in a couple months will turn 100.  He enjoys visitors more than just about anything and that is the main reason we headed on this driving trip.  We had a good time with him, the brothers and sister, the nephews and nieces and even the great nephews and nieces.  Really good visit.

One of the things we noticed on this trip was that cost of food on the road.  First the good news.  No one comes even close to the cost of California.  Where has the price of eating out on the road gone up the most from our last trips?  North Dakota and Montana.  Could it be the money coming into those states from the energy business?

Service at the businesses we used on the road were exceptional.  Hotels, restaurants and every other place, the people were friendly,  helpful and very were happy with how things are going for them at home and work.  Funny…so different from what you hear on the cable news channels. 

20170616_163314Finally a very interesting story from this trip.  Our favorite restaurant for years on our trips is without a doubt is the Cracker Barrel. We have eaten at them all over the United States(three times this trip)  Never ate at one in California because there isn’t one.  Here is why.  Talking to a person directly involved in getting their first Cracker Barrel in California here is what is happening. 

Eight years ago, the company decided to try again in opening their first California restaurant this time in Victorville.  Great location on the 15 highway.  It is due to open maybe, hopefully, possibly by the end of this year.  Every thing that you can imagine to slow down a business from opening in a state was thrown in against the company.  They have finally broken ground and are going to stick with it to the bloody end. Sad isn’t it?

Finally, the trip is done but our memories about the experience will last as long as we are around. 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in California, Montana, North Dakota

 

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Epilogue Part 1…Driving Across the United States 2017

We are home.  After 14 days of driving across 11 states…mostly western and mid-western states…we have many thoughts of who the United States is and changed in the past eight years when we took the same drive.  Our experiences are about simple things that we observed.. 

Infrastructure improvement is exploding across the West especially the upper mid-west.  Roads, hospitals, airports, colleges, and bridges.  North Dakota looks to using their windfall of taxes from their oil/gas bonanza to rebuild their state from scratch.  Montana seems to be right behind them.  The rest of the country should thank North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Texas and Oklahoma for all of the wealth they are providing the rest of the country.

The gas prices were an eye opener, $1.99 in Minnesota to $3.51 in California.  Looks like the far west state governments are taxing the heck out of their residents who use gasoline.

By the way, if you can, never drive through Denver or Las Vegas.  Horrible traffic any time of the day.  Matches Los Angeles or San Diego. 

The good news is that gas mileage on cars have improved dramatically in the past eight years.  We averaged over over 33 miles per gallon with the Honda CRV driving the speed limited.  One thing I noticed this trip was the impact driving into a 20 mph head wind has on your gas mileage.  Drops it from 33 to 25 mpg.  When are the car company engineers going to improve the aerodynamics of our vehicles?

Part 2 tomorrow on the food, service, hotels and family.

 

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Day 13, Saturday…46 degrees to 83 degrees

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This is a shot out of our window in our hotel in Miles City, Montana.  Less than 50 yards from our hotel, this small herd of Herford cattle decided to eat some grass.  Love traveling in the West.  Add to that when we took off today, we saw a Bald Eagle fly over the Yellowstone river looking for fish and seven Antelope busily munching in a field of soy beans.  So many wild creatures in this state. 

Image result for photo bald eagle Image result for Antelope Family

A stop at the confluence of the Little Big Horn and Yellowstone Rivers where Custer and his troops were massacred. 

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The ride today was 536 miles that ranged from 7100 to 4608 feet.  Best gas mileage 0f the trip 35.6 mpg today mostly due to over 200 miles of two lane roads with speed always under 65 mph.

We are now in a very comfortable room in Pocatello, Idaho.  Tomorrow a relatively short drive….465 miles…to St. George, Utah.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in idaho, Montana

 

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Planning Two More Trips This Year(2017)

With our next trip fully planned, a 14 day driving jaunt of 4000 miles that covers thirteen states, I have been planning two more trips.  One a 9-day cross country visit to the Washington D.C. area and a four day 100th birthday party trip for my Dad in Minnesota. 

Washington D.C. Trip

Image result for photo washington mallWe decided to stay in the United States this year as the flights to Europe are such a pain.  If I could afford first class air fare, things wouldn’t be so painful but, the cost for this addition doubles the price of the trip.  What a pain. 

So instead, we decided to head to the center of our Federal Government, Washington D.C..  This will be our third trip there but we feel we have barely scratched the surface of the things to see. 

This trip will be very different from prior trips.  We will not have a car.  We will be using Uber, We rented a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs within walking distance of supermarkets, restaurants and the train system that will take us directly into Washington, D.C. within in 20 minutes.  The cost of of our apartment is 1/2 or less than a hotel in D.C., we will be saving a chunk of $$$$ on food with our own kitchen and no rental car or parking costs.  This is how we do it on our trips to Europe so we figured we might as well see how it works here the United States.

100th Birthday Party(Minnesota)

20170429_121009We will be making our third trip this year to Minnesota, this time for Dad’s 100th birthday.  Four days with our daughter, we traveled there with our son earlier this year,

The cost for airfare to Minnesota is more than to Washington D.C.. Plus, renting a car is key as we must drive 100+ miles to the small farm town where Dad lives. 

We are all looking forward to this trip as we are expected see a good part of the community who are always supportive to family and friends. 

More later. 

 

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Planning…Trip 4 of the Year 2017…Driving to Minnesota

I have often said, “Planning for a trip is at least as fun as taking the trip itself.”  That is what I have been doing the last few days for our two week driving trip to Minnesota.

2017 is the 100 year celebration for our family.  Dad will be 100 years old in November and he is really excited.  He was hoping he could celebrate it with Mom but she passed on  three years ago and will be celebrating in spirit with him and the family.

I am planning to visit Dad four times this year year if all goes well and the trip I am planning is a 14 day round trip from California to Minnesota.  Just got back two weeks ago from a four day turn around fly in visit to Dad with my son Jeff.  It was a great trip and even “enjoyed” the snow in May.  Dang that global warming.

Now about the planning for this trip.  Read an article about traveling in this year.  They recommended Europe as a good place as the dollar buys much more there than in the past.  Part of that reason is the ISIS terrorists are expected to be hitting Europe this year hard especially in tourist hotspots.  Americans will be staying home for vacation.

My planning, especially in hotels/motels, sure are showing that is true.  Our last driving trip cross country, October 2015, down highway 10 to New Orleans, had the cost of hotel rooms around $90 including tax per night for 2-3 star rooms.  This trip?  $120 per night.  At least a 25% increase.  I expect a 35% increase in the cost of food on the road as well.  The only thing that is less expensive will be gas.  Once you leave California, gas will be less than it was two years ago.  Plus, my gas powered Honda CRV gets and average of 35 MPG.

Getting my CRV oil changed and tires rotated next week.  Getting excited about this trip.

 

Minnesota Driving 2011, Day 3

Sunrise MontanaIt was a long 561 miles but all on the interstate with little or no traffic. Bozeman, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota.  Left the hotel(sunrise photo) at 0650 for a stop at Montana State University,(football stadium repair photo) and then arrived at Bismarck, North Dakota at 1940…oh yes 024lost a hour to Central Standard time. 

We left the mountains of Montana and drove into the high plains/prairie of eastern Montana and western North Dakota. 

It was a long but memorable day.  I can just see the plains covered with buffalo.

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Driving, Montana, North Dakota

 

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Minnesota Driving-Day 2

July 26, 2011, Tuesday

600 miles.  300 miles of two lane highways in the back country.  Left Fillmore, Utah 0640 and arrived in Bozeman, Montana at 1850.  RAV averaged over 31 mpg.  Highest altitude 10,200.  Long stay in Logan, Utah to explore Utah State University where we have a student from our college playing on scholarship this year.

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Logan, Utah

 

 

 

 

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Mel and BB Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yellowstone

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Driving, Montana, utah

 

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