Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Drive

The Perrine Bridge over the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho.

Yesterday, I drove to Twin Falls to meet up with my guy and his family. It's a two hour drive from home through the high desert. The Interstate follows the Snake River for most of the 130 mile trip. As I got into town, the sun was starting to set, yet still high above the horizon. I pulled over at the Perrine Bridge outlook to take some photos.

My guy had driven from southern California with a load that delivers in Twin Falls on Monday. I was excited to meet him there Saturday afternoon. We spent the night with his mom, and I left for home Sunday afternoon.

We had a nice visit with my guy's mom and his aunt and uncle. His aunt and uncle are leaving in a couple of weeks for Arizona to spend the winter months in warmer weather, and my guy wanted to see them before they left.

Other things on my mind... Today, September 23rd, is my mom's birthday. She is in southern Arizona, just about at the Mexican border, to help her sister-in-law. My mom's youngest brother is dying from complications of brain cancer. He was taken off life support Friday and brought home to be cared for there. He is not expected to live.

Growing up, I wasn't around this uncle and his immediate family, so I was not close with him. I never really knew him. Still, my thoughts and prayers go out to him. Also, to my parents who have driven the two day trip, from here to there, to be with him and his wife, at the time of his passing. I know my aunt could use the support of family right now... being there for the living, they are who need us most at times like these.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stirring Up Memories

I thought something was up with the neighbors last night... In the dark, with just their patio lights, they were mowing their backyard which is up against my backyard - driving my dogs insane!

Today, they have a ton of kids in their yard, and balloons are everywhere. I put the dogs in so they wouldn't be barking through the fence at them, to be neighborly. I've not met these people, their house is actually on another cul-de-sac behind my house.

Their back patio is all decorated up, and I can see their dining room to decorated the same. Seeing this, brought back many memories of all the birthday parties I used to throw for my kids when they were young. Birthdays have always been a special time at my house, for the young and old alike.

Now that my kids are older, they aren't into the big party thing... Oh, there's been other reasons too. Family has drifted apart over the years. My daugher now lives in Los Angeles, far, far away. I used to throw casual dinner parties all the time. Friends and family were always here at my home... well, I guess that would be "there," in California. I haven't had but a few dinners at my house, here in Idaho. I sure enjoyed having those dinners. Hmm... maybe I best be getting those together again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where Have I Been...

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

This little map of visited states was found on Becky's blog. I found this to be interesting... I love traveling, as I believe most people do. I was actually surprised at how much RED was on this map! Still have a few states to see...

Updated: Sept 22, 2007

I was born and raised in California, and my grandparents always lived in Idaho while I grew up. So, I had been to most of the western states, many times with my family on summer camping trips. Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, have many memories of family trips where my grandparents joined us.

I have been to Texas and New Mexico on my own, for work related travel. Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio were all part of a trip I took to see a NASCAR Brickyard 400 race in 1997, before my trucking across America trip.

Most of you know, my guy is a trucker. I have been able to take a couple of long vacations to ride with him across our beautiful country. This is how I saw most of these states, as a drive by. Like in Missouri, I would have loved to have spent an hour or so at the Arch in St Louis. Instead, I took as many photos of the Arch as I could, as we drove by at 55 mph.

Interstate 90 and Interstate 80, neither run through South Dakota, lol, were our main routes, most the time. Almost always in trucking, you never really know where you'll head to next, when you're driving for a company that runs all lower 48 states. So, it was a total adventure for me, to see the sites we could along our way.

My first long truck outing with my guy was in 1999. I was out on the road with him for nearly four weeks during that trip. We drove through 25 states, stopping when we could to see the sites. This was one of my most memorable things I've ever done, I had a blast. Seeing so much of America, seeing how beautiful, and diverse, our country is.

Our dispatcher knew I hadn't been east of the western states so she found loads that took us clear across the country. A couple of highlights of this trip were, NYC for three days... we parked out on Long Island at a park-n-ride, rented a little car, and spent a wonderful time in NYC. Another highlight, was the south... it is so pretty in the south. I was awe struck through Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina. Gorgeous down there! I was very interested in Pennsylvania, both my mom and grandfather were born there. We took a little, two lane back highway, up through Pennsylvania, seeing Omish communities in the raw. This is a trip I will never forget.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fun Labor Day Weekend

I flew into Ontario, California, last Friday morning... a spur of the moment trip to spend some time with my guy. He's been working these awful hours the past several months, and it seems to me, that we haven't seen one another in a very long time. I miss him.

For an extra special treat for me, my daughter met me at the airport in Ontario! We had breakfast together, talking over french toast and coffee for a couple of hours. It was so good to see her. When it was time for her to go - she had a pre-scheduled appointment she could not change - she dropped me off at the truck stop where we met up with my guy. There was a pleasant exchange of "hello's" between the two of them before my daughter had to leave. This was the first time in years the two of them have seen each other.

That afternoon, we drove over to the California Speedway, in Fontana, a few miles from the truck stop, to watch the Nextel and Busch Cup time trials. It was amazingly HOT! Too hot! With a major thunder storm just over the mountains to the north of us, the air was thick on top of 110 degree heat. It was incredible, it was miserable!

We parked a mile or two from the track, in the RV Parking lot. My photos do not do the parking lot scene justice. It was pretty cool to come upon the sea of flags sporting the number of the RV'er's favorite driver's car. Most every RV had a flag flying. We road the shuttle to the speedway.

Once inside the speedway, it became apparent just how big the facility was. I think the track is 2.5 miles long, with 14% grades in a couple of the turns. The back stretch is straight, the front stretch is arched.

Here's a few photos of our day...

We stayed in the heat and watched all the Busch race time trials. Denny Hamlin took the pole for first place in the next day's Busch race. I didn't know drivers could race in both races, Busch and Nextel.

After being in the heat and walking around the speedway forever, we decided to get a hotel room to cool off. We called around and found the Airport Marriott running a special, and got a room. Ahhh!!! A shower and wonderful room! Quiet, clean, plush, full service deli, full service restaurant, and full service bar & grill, and of course, full size pool in the center courtyard. We spent a refreshing night, ordered a pizza from the hotel deli that was absolutely the best pizza we've had in a long time! So, if you find yourself in the Ontario, CA, area and needing a room, I'd refer you to this hotel.

The next morning we headed for Idaho. We had thought to stay another day and see the Busch race, but it was miserable hot and there was no way we would be able to stay out in that heat. We drove up the eastern side of California, going through the miles of desert and the Eastern Sierras. As we drove along, I found these trees very interesting, I think they're Yucca trees. At first I was sure they were Joshua trees, but once I was home and looking at the photos, I'm thinking they're Yuccas.

We were in and out of thunder storms most of the day. The desert can be so pretty. Most of the time, I prefer a forest over a desert, but do find the beauty in both. We were able to listen to the Busch race, live on SIRIUS radio. It was pretty cool to know we were just there, saw the track, and heard the cars roar during their time trials. Seems the Busch race was pretty intense, those boys really got some race drivin' in.

We spent our next night in Hawthorne, Nevada. We woke up early and were on our way again. We listened to the Nextel Cup race, and again, what a race. Those drivers were fighting 130 to 140 degree temps in their race cars. It was over 105 on the track. Reporters tried to interview Dale Jr, he was so hot he couldn't even stop to talk with them. I think they need to do early spring races at Fontana, not in the middle of summer like this... it's just too hot! We topped the Treasure Valley before sunset. It's always good to be home.

I had a nice visit with my daughter... precious time with her I normally do not have. And, I had a wonderful time with my guy for a couple of days while driving back to Idaho from Southern California.