The trip we just took to California was not the adventure Ruth & I set out to have. Travel plans undergo changes for many reasons. The year with COVID has made this truer than ever. On the trip just mentioned, for example, we underestimated the difficulty of traversing the mountains in southern Oregon and northern California in mid-March, the big increase in traffic on I-5 and especially the exploding number of Amazon Prime trucks on this route, the big increase in recently reopened attractions, and the availability of food. These and other unexpected conditions made travel changes inevitable.
We did manage to achieve 3 scenic drives–Mount Diablo, Highway 46, and much of Highway One, but we had to delay 2 others, Highway 395 and Moki Dugway, until I don’t know when. Highway One was difficult because of a 2021 winter storm that destroyed a small section half way down this fabled highway along the Pacific Ocean in California. This led to major, time-consuming rerouting.
Getting through the mountains of southwest Oregon and past Mount Shasta in California also proved difficult. Rain and fog made Oregon a slow go, and Shasta snow caused unanticipated delays. Ruth and I planned to drive home via Highway 395, which we have never experienced. It’s marked as scenic almost all the way from near Tehachapi, CA to near Reno, NV. It passes Manzanar NHS, which we would both like to see, and pauses in a town that someone whose travel instinct is similar to mine admires greatly. Sounds like a go. However, we had to abandon our plan to return home via this route due to circumstances. Scenic Highway 395 passes close to Mount Whitney, the highest point in California and taller than Shasta. We worried about further delays on our way home and expecting 2 important deliveries there. Moreover, Bishop, CA, a town Bob much admired and highly recommended but Ruth & I have never experienced, had few reasonable accommodations due to its remote location. We decided to save this route that goes through another remote town we really like, Susanville, CA and surprising Reno for another trip in the summer.
We will probably not make it to Moki Dugway in the still very remote southeast corner of Utah that we hoped to see on our upcoming trip to Arizona, but we will get to drive a scenic route that a Tucson native recently told me about called Gates Pass Road.
Travel is unpredictable. Our daughter Lisa and her husband Stan, who have always been dedicated travelers, are in Zion National Park now. They just sent us pictures of their day spent negotiating the famous Angel’s Landing Trail. One of the most difficult hikes in the National Park system, Angel’s Landing is a very popular but challenging route. However, our kin only raved about seeing 2 condors in a distant tree while on this trail.
I hope I never lose the desire to find out what’s beyond the next bend in the road. That’s what brought Ruth & me to Mount Diablo, Highway One, and hopefully Gates Pass Road soon.