1850 km of fun, fun, fun!

Trip Start Feb 07, 2010
Trip End Feb 25, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, February 21, 2010

So... another humongo-entry to cover the past few days! Again, sorry if this isn't making the most sense – I should really be sleeping now. Prepare for much writings!!!

I left you last time before leaving West Yellowstone ( I am STILL sore from the snowmobile lol). From there we were supposed to travel to Twin Falls, Idaho. I say supposed because that morning I mistakenly thought we were headed to Idaho Falls, Idaho (you can understand why, right?), between which there is a nice 2 -3 hours driving difference. Thinking we had several hours to play with, we went off the main highway to check out Henry’s Lake sometime after the border from Montana. After a wrong turn into some little community, the little red car found itself sliding off the snowy road and into a big white pile of soft pretty snow. And here it stayed, wheels spinning despite every effort, for another hour or so. In the meantime, there was some door-knocking (nobody home, right when I need a toilet! Damn it!), walking around, digging of snow (omg cold), throwing of sticks under the wheels, pushing of all things... Then sitting with the car running (did I mention it was pretty cold?) while we rang the rental car assistance helpline. Of course they couldn’t help us despite our very clear directions, instructions and even GPS co-ordinates because I didn’t have an address. 'The computer won’t let me dispatch unless these fields are all filled in, including street number, name, and city’


So, uh, if you’re out in the middle of the sticks... You’re fucked? They said to ring 911 to get our address but I didn’t think that was an appropriate use of the emergency hotline, not to mention my credit was almost out.

So, anyway a  very very kind local man eventually stopped and let us know where we were. He also had a tow rope to pull us out of the snow and set us on our way... Our saviour! Furthermore he had an adorable dog!! So the assistance people can bite my arse.

We went to Idaho Falls and tried to check in at the Super 8, only to find we had no reservation. Weird, I thought, being this hotel was one we pre-paid for.  So we used their internet to check my booking and discovered my silly mistake!  Several hours later we were at the Super 8 in Twin Falls, and it was too late and dark to go out to see anything. Damn you snow around Henry’s Lake for wasting our time! There’s some cool waterfalls to see around there... but alas, not for us. Sometime earlier in the day (around the time we got stuck) Matt and I realised we’d picked up some bug, probably just a cold, and were feeling reeeeally tired, snotty, and stomach upset-ty. I also got a migraine during the trip and found some awesome sleeping pills to help get rid of it in a supermarket.... Oh and we tried some Arby’s for dinner and weren’t real impressed, oh well.

Next morning we were up at 6am or some ridiculous time and on the road out of Twin Falls, Idaho. We knew it the moment we entered Nevada, due to the sudden and overbearing appearance of casinos! Man that state really overcompensates for the lack of gambling elsewhere.

We passed many mountains, and a few times we were worried about needing snowchains or the like... But really the highways are kept really snow-free. I suspect only a very sudden and heavy snowfall would stuff things up (my suspicions are later confirmed, ugh...). We basically ate beef jerky and whatever snacks were in the car for lunch (nothing worth stopping for) until we finally found Carson City, Nevada. Matt drove the entire way (I offered to drive but he didn’t want to stop!!) from Twin Falls to Carson City. In case you’re too lazy to google it, that’s a good 780 km or 8 hours ish driving. SO TIRING! At least we are driving a Corolla though, so not only is fuel cheap (go USA!) but it runs on next to nothing. Cheapest drive ever!

We got to Carson City a bit early for checkin at the Days Inn (thanks to the pre-dawn start) so we checked out the Nevada State Museum and some of the main sights. If ever you are in the area, I highly recommend the museum – only $6 to get in, and there is a bit of everything to do with the history of Nevada. Natural history, geological history, mining history, people, animals, coin mints, Native Indians... etc! The town is quite historic and I believe it is the state capital so there is some pretty buildings and so forth. Anyway we ate that night at ‘Old Red’s 395’, which had a really great atmosphere and menu. Unfortunately I not only ordered too much (such generous servings in this country! Argh!) but due to my previously mentioned illness, I almost lost the whole meal afterwards... That night was very early quiet night of feeling generally crappy.

That finally brings us to this morning! We slept in a little (like 7am? Lol what a snooze!) but mostly felt a lot better this morning, probably due to the very early bedtime before.  We headed from Carson City to Lake Tahoe, which is basically a giant, clear, pretty lake surrounded by mountains. Fun fact! Lake Tahoe is fed by 63 streams and 2 hot springs. According to research, with a volume of 39 trillion gallons of water, if the Lake was ever drained it would take around 700 years for the hot springs, snowmelt and precipitation to fill it again entirely. Also, the water is clear up to a depth of 73 feet, but used to be up to 80 feet about 40 years ago and is becoming cloudier due to sediment and pollutions!

Ahem... fun facts over! We visited this beautiful area and drove around the scenic shoreline. The snow made some areas a little scary (sheer cliff to side, ice on road. Humm hum) but it also created a beautiful backdrop, especially given the clear blue sky and sunshine. Unfortunately the wind whipped up the water so we couldn’t see the beautiful greens and blues, or the clear depth, but otherwise it was a most perfect chilly morning for it. After a few stops on the drive, we headed back to Carson City for some shopping (Matt got a new computer, I got some new Wii remotes and underwear haha) – Walmart and Best Buy were huge and had good prices, and yet we were not in very large ones apparently! Insanity.

Well it was finally time to get a move on for San Francisco. So we told the GPS the hotel address and said ‘go’. It took us back through South Lake Tahoe and onto US HWY 50 West... We were in this area only a few hours before and it was sunshine, suddenly it was now all white and snow and... snow chains required! Uh oh. We told the GPS that way was bad, so it directed us to HWY 89 South... uh oh... more snow chains required... So I ignored the GPS and went to North Lake Tahoe to get up to Truckee. There was still some summits over HWY 80 and snow, and reeeally dense fog... but it was safe to drive in a normal little Corolla.

Despite me having driven this whole entire day, Matt was the one who was tired and continually attacking my driving skillz. So I got reeeeeeaaaaallllllyyyyy worn out, until the point of exhaustion. Matt took over for about two hours before San Fran, before deciding he would not drive in heavy traffic and handed the reins back like two blocks before the hotel. We parked, we checked in, we ate at the restaurant here, we ... wrote a blog!!

I am worn out and still a bit sick, but alas – my holiday is over. I must be up and at the Moscone Centre for my conference at 7:30am tomorrow. It’s now 11pm and I am buggered, so hopefully the alarm will wake me >.<;

Well it could be worse, I could have only just arrived from Australia and not be getting to see the snow (its not cold in San Fran), the animals (other than the people here lol), and the scenery of the past two weeks. I’ve had the best time, and I am sincerely grateful to every single person who helped make it such an amazing trip.

I realise it’s not quite over yet, and surely I’ll have some interesting bits to write about the conference in... but for the travelling part for me, it’s over!

Now Matt gets another 4 days to play without me, maybe we can convince him to put in some blogs then eh? ;)

Miss everyone back home! Keep in touch so I know whether I have a niece or a nephew to come home to, and let me know if any postcards arrive (tho by email, not phone, as I’m out of credit)

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