Last week my daughter, Jourdan, and I took the road trip of a lifetime. We took Interstate 80 through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada all the way to California. Last Friday, I left my daughter and my heart in San Francisco.
Just prior to our trip, we leased a Chevy Cruze from my nephew Brent Bramwell at Ed Martin Auto Group. The car was fun to drive and made the scenery easier to look at. As we drove, I tried to imagine the pioneers traveling this same terrain in a covered wagon.
Our first day ended at a motel on the North Platte River, very near where Lewis and Clark explored in 1809. We passed the great salt flats in Utah and saw the Morton Salt Operation.
By chance, we stopped at the Lahonton Vally Rest Area in Navada. This was the most dreaded stretch of the California Trail and the last place for water for the next 40 miles. This desert trek was begun at night. The first to try it was the Walker-Chiles Party in 1843. A survey, from 1850, determined that 1,061 mules, 5,000 horses, 3,750 cows and 953 human lives were lost at a value of one million dollars.
A lot of the ground we covered was badlands. It gave me a new understanding of the Old West. The only wildlife we saw were antelope. Several mountainous stretches of I-80 was designated for snow tires and tire chains. Extra lanes were often provided for run-away semis.
A man just outside Reno in Sparks, Nev., told me how great the pheasant hunting was in northern California along the Nevada border.
Jourdan is going to San Francisco State for her Master's Degree and moved into a 12-story apartment building.
One evening we ate at the Beach Chalet overlooking the Pacific Ocean where the sun surely must have been sitting on Hawaii.