Sunday, August 29, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 38: South Bend, IA to Toronto, ON (Home)

Five and a half weeks into mission, we're starting to feel road weary and deciding we'd like to wake up the next morning in our own bed, we put the hammer down and head for home.
It being Sunday morning that we're in the heart of Northern Indiana Amish country, we share the highway with innumerable horse drawn buggies (above).
In Ohio we stop at the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet. Since we've started collecting glassware, we've become interested in the history of its manufacture in North America. Toledo has long been a centre for the industry.
The border crossing at Detroit is busy but traffic moves quickly and we're across the Ambassador Bridge and back in Ontario in less than half an hour (below).
A combination of heavy rain, fatigue and a detour off the 401 make for a long and wearisome drive into Toronto. We are thankful to arrive safely and are glad to be back home.

Daily distance: 757 km Fuel cost: $9.08 US, $15.05 CDN

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 37: Knoxville, IO to South Bend, IN

Up and on the road early, we have a hearty breakfast of veggie omelets & hash browns at The Copper Lantern in Sigourney, IO. Like many other county seats in the state, the County Courthouse is the focal point of the town's layout (above).
Throughout this tour we've navigated across fifteen states using four tools: GPS, maps, signs and hubby's sense of direction. This morning, leaving Iowa and entering Illinois our GPS has developed laryngitis and we don't have a state map. Months ago when planning this trip, I ordered travel info from various states. I was sent brochures and road maps from every state but one - Illinois. After several false leads we get a map at a rest stop.
When we get to Indiana we are very impressed by the Welcome Centre at South Shore where the staff are friendly and helpful (below). We decide to press on to South Bend, IN, and stop for the night.

Daily distance: 655 km Fuel cost: $20

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 36: Columbus, NE to Knoxville, IO

When we stop at the smart center in LaVista, NE (a suburb of Omaha) we realize that one of our sidelights is not working (above). We wanted to get an oil change after all the kilometres we've covered on tour. A friendly salesperson directed us to the service centre at the back of the dealership to get both of these problems looked after. Evidently, our timing was bad. We were told that ALL of the service folks were just about to go for lunch. No worries. We'll take our money elsewhere.
At lunch time we stop at Our Daily Bread in Griswold, Iowa (below). This historic building is just as lovely inside as out. This family run business is a bakery and cafe. We order the pizza of the day with side salad and grilled salmon with rice and salad. Two large mugs of tea and a luscious lemon cake to share round out the meal, $24 including tax and tip. We can't resist buying a loaf of banana bread for the road, $2.49.
By evening it's raining, we're road weary and hadn't booked a room. All things considered we were happy to find the Red Carpet Inn in Knoxville, home of the Sprint car equivalent of the Super Bowl - the Knoxville Nationals.

Daily distance: 449 km Fuel cost: $11

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 35: Ogallala, NE to Columbus, NE

Another theme of our trip has been railroads. In Trains magazine, we read about the largest train yard in the world at North Platte, Nebraska and knew we'd have to top at the Golden Spike Tower & Visitor's Centre while on tour (above). It's hard to come to grips with the magnitude of Union Pacific's Bailey yard. Imagine being on the eighth storey of a tower overlooking a 2,850 acre yard where 10,000 railway cars are handled daily. "The idea of the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center was first conceived in the mid-1990s as Union Pacific's viewing platform was falling into disrepair. Community leaders thought it a good idea to erect a tower that would allow visitors to get a birds-eye view of Bailey Yard. The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center opened on June 26, 2008." Source: official website.
Travelling eastbound on highway 30, there is a constant flow of railway traffic easily viewed from the road.
We stop for a picnic lunch at Ehman Park in Gothenburg, NE, which is named for the city in Sweden where the town's early settlers hail from. In the park we visit an original Pony Express Station, moved 20 miles to this site in 1931 which now houses artifacts, tourist info and a gift shop. Across the street is the Gothenburg Historical Museum where we discuss war time ration books, Canada's medicare system and the joys of travelling off the interstate with long time residents (below). Neither site charges admission but donations are gratefully accepted.

Daily Distance: 442km Fuel Cost: $ 19

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 34: Rawlins, WY to Ogallala, NE

On this tour, hubby and I have been talking about how "Westerns", both films and TV shows, were very popular when we were growing up. Today we drove into Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming both of which had series named after them. I've been trying to figure out which program's opening song is stuck in my head. After searching on Youtube I realize it's the theme from "The High Chaparral" (set in Arizona, not Wyoming alas).
At Laramie we find "The Grounds" a coffee shop that just re-opened under new ownership on the first of August. We enjoy their coffee, banana bread and wifi (above).
At lunch time, we drive in to Kimball, the first town of any size we reach in Nebraska on I 80. At Greg's Grub Steakhouse and Grille we enjoy the best service and best lunch of the tour. Hubby opts for the "Chicken Hobo Pocket" (chicken breast with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots and seasonings cooked in a foil "pocket") and I have the grilled cheese sandwich. Both come with salad bar. Add iced tea, tax and tip - $17.35 for a wonderful lunch.
We stop and several thrift and antique shops along Hwy 30 - The Lincoln Highway which gets us off the interstate for miles before we end the day's journey in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Daily distance:520 km Fuel cost: $9

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 33: Salt Lake City, UT to Rawlins, WY

Salt Lake City has a unique history, setting and vibe. As we drive to the Utah State Capital Campus we see temporary no parking notices that have been set up to keep the road clear for the "Tour of Utah" time trials to be held this evening. We see the teams getting their practice laps in.
At the capital, we are greeted by Beverly, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide who shows us the old supreme court, the house chamber and senate chamber. The art work in the rotunda is exquisite (above).
We cross the street to the Travel Council Building (below) which was constructed in 1865-66 and moved to its present location in 1963. We pick up a map and some tourist info and head west towards Rawlins.

Daily distance: 500 km Fuel cost: $20

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 32: Elko, NV to Salt Lake City, UT

Back to "the Salt" today for a last look at the cars - what a blast! We've met so many interesting folks from near and far. At what other motor racing event can you sit at the start line and watch the cars and bikes being launched?
These two Crosleys really caught my eye. They are both date from between 1946 and 1948. "Crosley Motors Incorporated had its main office and engineering facility in Cincinnati Ohio, with assembly plants in Richmond Indiana (1939-1942) and Marion Indiana (1946-1952).
The Crosley automobile was the brain child of Powel Crosley, who had already made his fortune as a radio and appliance manufacturer, owner of WLW the "Nation's Station" and the Cincinnati Reds baseball team." Source: Crosley Automobile Club Inc.
During the drive to Salt Lake City we start to appreciate the full extent of the salt flats - over 30,000 acres.

Daily distance: 407 km Fuel cost: $6

Monday, August 16, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 31: Elko, NV - Wendover, UT - Elko, NV

Six weeks ago, when we tried to book a hotel for Speed Week we weren't that surprised that everything within a 100 miles of Bonneville was fully booked. With 345 vehicles registered, each with a crew of 5 or 6 people; add to that family and friends; then the spectators - it's not hard to explain why even the campgrounds are full. We stayed in Elko, NV and so clocked up 400 km just going back and forth from "The Salt".
We had a much better idea about how to make the most of it and stay hydrated in the 90F sun.
Even with the amazing array of vehicles that show up, our smart car Trudi still attracts some attention.

Daily distance: 400 km Fuel cost: $16

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 30: Ely, NV to Elko, NV (via Wendover, UT)

People we've spoken to that had been to "the salt" at Bonneville told us that the experience defied description. After being there today for Speed Week I have to agree. Every type of vehicle you can imagine - from motorcycles, to hot rods, to streamliners - from around the world are all ramped up to set land speed records (LSR). The sights, sounds and smells are unique. There's a juxtaposition of strict rules for competitors and lax regulations for spectators who are free to roam at will, chat with drivers and crews and take all the photos they want.
We meet up with Rick Pearson who is driving the "Flower of Scotland" (above) and attempting to break the LSR in the blown fuel streamliner class. We get to ride in the vehicle that tows the trailer, following Rick's first run at 170 mph and then watch the pit crew prep the car for a second run.

Daily distance: 398 km Fuel cost: $10

Friday, August 13, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 29: Ely, NV

Today didn't work out the way we planned. We thought we'd go to take a look at the Ward Charcoal Ovens in the national park, but when we realized it would mean 10 miles each way on a gravel road, we decided not to risk a flat tire or chipped windshield. Instead, we drove up to Cave Lake and enjoyed idyllic scenery and watching an American Coot herd her chicks with peculiar vocals (above). The water was so clear we could see Rainbow Trout of a good size coming to the surface for insects.
The laundromat our GPS found had gone out of business but fortunately there was a sign on the door recommending Soak n' Suds a few blocks away. It was a pleasure to wait for our clothes to be done in a clean, bright establishment with free coffee, washrooms and recent magazines. On the bulletin board, we see a poster about a car show hosted by the White Pine Rodders that neglected to give a specific location but it didn't take us long to find where it was - in front of the White Pine County Courthouse (below).
We stop for lunch at The Big Apple - daily special tuna melt on a croissant and cup of fresh fruit a bargain at $5.95. We consider visiting the White Pine County museum but neither of us could face another tourist attraction so we retreat to the hotel and chill out and regroup.

Daily distance: 45km Fuel cost: $0

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 28: Ely, NV

We arrive at the Nevada Northern Railway's East Ely station and board the 9:30 train. Four cars are pulled by an Alco RS 3 diesel engine, number 109 (above). We're on the Keystone Route which goes to the mines of Ruth and Keystone, NV. After an hour and a half journey, we disembark the train at the workshop where an extremely knowledgeable volunteer named Bob shows us where and how the hundred year old steam locomotives are maintained (below). The Railway has some gems in its collection - many are fully operational but much time and money are needed to fully restore some unique pieces like the rotary snow plow. The walking tour lasts a full hour and we feel we've really got our money's worth.

Daily distance: 55 km Fuel cost: $11.50

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 27: Tonopah, NV to Ely, NV

Another thing that has put Tonopah, NV, on the map is the 1908 New York to Paris Race. Competitors from four countries passed through the town on their way across America. This morning we spot Steven Weinberg's 1946 4CV parked outside our hotel , the Jim Butler Inn & Suites (above). He is driving the same route as the 1908 race and is blogging his journey here. I'm sorry that we didn't get to meet him, but we wish him safe travels. (And you thought travelling across the US in a smartcar was brave!).
We visit the Tonopah Historic Mining Park (below) before leaving town on Hwy 6 for Ely. From their website: "The park encompasses portions of four of the original major mining companies and covers more than 100 acres. This rich history is brought to life through preserved and restored equipment and buildings, historic exhibits, video presentations (in our on-site theater), and a self-guided tour. All of the buildings located on the property are open for our visitors to enjoy."

Daily distance: 284 km Fuel cost: $10

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 26: Tonopah, NV

Tonopah is a fascinating town with an interesting history. A visit to the Central Nevada Museum is a research stop for hubby and a photo shoot for me (above). We learn a lot about mining in this part of the state and armed with new information we drive south to the near ghost town of Goldfield where little has changed since our first visit about eighteen months ago (below).
We can't help but wonder about how these two mining towns with their roots in the early 1900s have fared so differently over time. Tonopah has a population of about 2700 and there are about 400 people in Goldfield. Tonopah boasts 7 hotels, 6 gas stations, 2 casinos, a grocery store and a book shop; there are none of these services in Goldfield.

Daily distance: 111 km Fuel Cost: $ 10

Monday, August 09, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 25: Carson City, NV to Tonopah, NV

After three mornings of the Quality Inn's continental breakfast, we were ready for the real deal after checking out. Hubby asked me what I wanted for breakfast I replied, " I want to be asked if I want hash browns or home fries with that". When we stop for fuel at Yerington the locals point us to Dini's Casino Restaurant and Steak House (above). Very Nevada. Great food, great service.
Driving south, past Walker Lake, we encounter an eerie site - row after row of identical buildings, hundreds of them. No signage, no vehicles, no people. Further on, we pass signs and realize what we're looking at is the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot. "The largest ammunition storage depot in the country. There are 3,500 buildings on the 147,000 acre main facility, located in western Nevada. Operated by the Day Zimmerman Hawthorne Corporation for the Army, which acquired the site from the Navy in 1977. Facilities include 2,427 munitions storage igloos, 75% of which are in use; the Western Area Demilitarization Facility, a $68 million, 13 building complex that processes and recycles outdated munitions; and a 700-acre bomb disposal site located 25 miles northeast of Hawthorne. The installation employs around 700 people, all but one of whom are civilians. Over the years chemical weapons have been stored and disposed of at Hawthorne, and there are several areas contaminated by mustard gas and other chemical agents. " View source.
We knew it would not be a good idea to stop and take pictures, so I borrowed this one from the web. See

Daily distance: 372 km Fuel cost: $7

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 24: Carson City, NV

We return to the Nevada State Railroad Museum for a ride on the diesel powered motor car (above). The number 401 "doodlebug" was built in 1926 by the Edwards Railway Motor Car Company of Stanford, North Carolina and was first owned by the Tucson, Cornelia & Gila Bend Railroad in Ajo, Arizona. On this second visit, we are once again impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the museum's volunteers.
Next we drive about 13 miles south of Carson City to the little town of Genoa, NV, to visit the Courthouse Museum (below). "The courthouse was constructed by Rufus Adams and Lawrence Gilman in 1856 when Genoa was the county seat of Douglas County. In 1916, the county seat was moved to Minden, a thriving new town in the center of the valley.
The Courthouse was used as a school from 1916 until 1956. In 1969 it was opened as a museum by the Carson Valley Historical Society.
The Courthouse Museum Genoa is the realization of a dream envisioned by a group of descendants of Carson Valley pioneers who organized the Carson Valley Historical Society in 1961. Through an extensive restoration program, the exterior was repaired and the interior restored. The restoration project was funded by grants from the state and county, the Bicentennial Commission, the Fleischmann Foundation, and private gifts and donations." View source here.
Across the street a small group of friendly senior students from Sierra Lutheran High School hosted a hot dog lunch at Genoa Country Store - barbecued hot dog, coleslaw, pickles, chips and homemade brownie made with Ghirardelli chocolate $5 (veggie plate $4). We enjoy our lunch and chatting with the locals. We wish them all the best in their efforts to raise funds for their senior trip.

Daily distance: 122 km Fuel cost: $0

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 23: Carson City, NV

We drive to Incline Village, NV, to see what we can find of the Ponderosa Ranch tourist attraction that was closed in 2004 (above). Not much can be seen from the road beyond the many "No Trespassing" signs.
"The famous opening scene of Bonanza was filmed on location at North Lake Tahoe near Incline Village, and Lake Tahoe was among the outdoor locations used to film the weekly episodes. The house, both interior and exterior, was located on a Hollywood sound stage.
Lake Tahoe contractor Bill Anderson worked with the film crews on location, cutting roads and building fake outbuildings, and in 1967, he approached the show's producers and NBC with a proposal to build an exact replica of the house exterior in Hollywood, with a copy of the sound stage interior inside, creating a detailed replica of the fictional ranch house. Anderson's Ponderosa opened in 1967. The recreated Ponderosa became the centerpiece of a western-themed tourist attraction, a bonanza of a different type." View source.
Driving around the north end of Lake Tahoe we head northwest to Truckee, CA. Not much is open when we get there so we walk along the main street looking at historic buildings, including the jail (below) and stop for coffee at Elijah Bleu's.
We decide to drive through the famed Donner Pass in the northern Sierra Nevada - quite spectacular views if a little hair raising (elevation 7085 ft; 2160 metres).
Next we stop at a classic car auction and swap meet in Reno.
In the evening, we enjoy a tasty and healthy dinner at The Basil Thai restaurant in Carson City, NV.

Daily distance: 222 km Fuel cost: $10

Friday, August 06, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 22: Carson City, NV

Up early for breakfast we fuel the car and stop at Starbucks for coffee while waiting for the "Nevada State Railroad Museum" to open. Since the Pike Place blend isn't ready, we score two free grande coffees. The day gets better from there on.
We've visited many railway museums in many countries and this one, in Carson City, NV, is among the best. It's staffed by folk who really know and love trains. We even get the opportunity to operate a handcar (above). The Coupon Queen nets a 15% discount in the gift shop.
Driving out into the desert, we get to Gold Hill as the steam train arrives. When we get to Virginia City, we're just in time to ride the rails of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad back down the line. We get a discount for being CAA members. The 35 minute trip features detailed commentary about the railway, the Comstock Mine and the boom times in Virginia City. Our journey is interrupted by train robbers who get collared by the sheriff at Gold Hill (below).
As a young girl in England, I used to dream of being a cowboy. I think I got the idea from watching episodes of Bonanza, a TV series that ran from 1959 to 1973. Virginia City, NV, was the nearest town to the fictional Cartwright's equally fictional ranch the "Ponderosa". Virginia City truly lives up to its slogan, "Step Back in Time".

Daily distance:65 km Fuel cost: $6

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 21: Klamath Falls, OR to Carson City, NV

Today was a three state day. We started out in Klamath Falls, drove through the northwest corner of California and then into Nevada. Stopping for lunch at The Sage Hen in Susanville, CA we phone Choice Hotels to book into the Quality Inn in Carson City, NV, for four nights.
On our way there, we stop at Reno (Las Vegas Lite) to take in the sights and sounds of "Hot August Nights". As we've noticed during this road trip, everything in America is for sale: businesses, homes, cars, you name it. Many of the traditional motels and hotels are boarded up. You can only wonder what their fate will be when the economy gets back on track. There is a fabulous array of classic cars from hot rods to police cruisers (below). We stop to listen to Route 66 a band that knows how to work the audience and features songs of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Daily distance: 463 km Fuel cost: $13.00

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 20: Bend, OR to Klamath Falls, OR

We enjoy a scenic drive through beautiful forests and lava fields to Crater Lake National Park. We stop at the gatehouse and pay $10 entry fee. The views are spectacular and can't really be captured on film. I took the above photo at Watchman's Overlook. "This pull out offers an unmatched view of Wizard Island, a cinder-cone volcano named for its resemblance to a sorcerer's pointed hat. Wizard Island erupted out of the lake around 7,300 years ago and features a 27 metre crater in its rocky summit." Source: Crater Lake Reflections Visitor Guide.
At Klamath Falls we have lunch at The Daily Bagel - smoked salmon, cream cheese, onion and capers on pumpernickel bagels. En route to our hotel we stop to have Trudi washed by an enthusiastic group who were holding a fundraising car wash to support a basketball team who will be going to a tournament in a nearby town.

Daily distance: 279 km Fuel cost: $9

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 19: St Helens, OR to Bend, OR

Today was a road trip day. We drive through many typical northwest towns. Our plan to stay the night at Sisters, OR, is thwarted by a forest fire. All the extra hotel rooms in town are booked by evacuees.
"As of Wednesday morning, the fire had grown to more than 4,000 acres. The fire is burning in the Deschutes National Forest and on private lands just south of Sisters and is being fought by about 550 firefighters." Source: KATU
We continue on to Bend and check in to the Best Western. Walking across the street we buy dinner at Safeway grocery store - microwave pizza, fresh tomato, fresh apricots and carrot cake.
Safeway pricing is annoying. They advertise a price that only club card members can pay but you have to be resident in the US to get a card. At Albertson's they will swipe a courtesy card so you can get the discount price too.

Daily distance: 339 km Fuel cost: $10

Monday, August 02, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 18: Seattle, WA to St Helens, OR

Leaving Seattle we stop at the "smart centre" in Tukwila. It hadn't opened yet for business when we arrive in the morning so we have to be content with taking outdoor photos (above).
Using our GPS, a Washington highway map and guess work we head south without driving the interstate. At Chehalis we have a tasty lunch at the Market Street Bakery & Cafe. Just outside of town, we stop at the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad where, sadly, there are no trains running today. We make the best of the photo op (below).
Crossing the mighty Columbia River we enter Oregon and find a hotel for the night in St Helens.

Daily Distance: 295 km Fuel cost: $11

Crazy Daisy Tour Days 15, 16 & 17: Wenatchee, WA to Seattle, WA

We stayed with my sister and her family in Seattle for three nights. It was great to catch up with them and my Mom who is staying with them for a few weeks while work is being completed on their new home. Had fun playing "Go Fish" and spying on ghost pirates with my nephews.
For details on this part of our tour, see my hubby's blog here: