Ten Days, Twelve States, Deserts, Mountains, and Dirt Roads

On Friday, July 20, we’re embarking on what will be our biggest trip of the year. Ten days might not seem very long – especially considering that I spent three months riding a Vespa across the country and back a few years ago – but it’s the best we can do right now.

Palouse Falls, Washington

When we travel, we are not generally destination based. We plan a road trip from start to end. Usually, interstates are out of the question. We’d much rather travel the two lanes and dirt roads.

This excursion encompasses roads we’ve never traveled as well as places we’ve already visited. To me, both are equally exciting.

While he pretty well hate them, interstates are useful in getting the hell away from home in a quick hurry. The first leg of most of our trips necessarily include a handful of hours on I-90. This trip is no different. After that, however, it’s almost exclusively two-lanes.

Oregon Trail in Idaho

The first day is mostly a driving day, though we’ll be making a long overdue stop at Palouse Falls in eastern Washington. For the next day, we’ll have to endure some more interstate, but that will be broken up with jaunts along the old Oregon Trail and Old US 30 through Oregon and Idaho. We’ll wind up in Nevada that night.

The third day is almost a repeat of a trip we did last year. We’ll be following the old Union Pacific Railroad grade through western Utah. This is the same railroad grade that went to Promontory, where the Golden Spike was driven, uniting East and West. It’s a pretty crappy, 100 mile dirt road that we can’t wait to drive again. We’ll visit the Spiral Jetty before winding up in Salt Lake City, where we’ll camp on the streets for Pioneer Day.

The driving of the Golden Spike.

After a visit with pals, our next exploration takes us to Nine Mile Canyon, home of petroglyphs galore! Monument Valley and Four Corners are up next! And then it’s Colorado! I’ve been through Colorado a couple of times, but it was always on the way back from the West Coast (when I lived on the East Coast). We’ll get to drive some back roads and cross the Rockies in style.

And then it’s on to Wyoming and Nebraska, both places filled with oddities like cabins made of fossils and Carhenge – a replica of Stonehenge made of old cars. To prove we’re Americans, we’ll drop by Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, but not before even more back roads.

Smartz and Herc at Carhenge in 2008!

The trip will be nearing its end about then. Sure, we’ll visit the Dinosaur Park in Rapid City and Devil’s Tower as we re-enter Wyoming – and there will probably be a stop or two in Montana, but it’ll be the super slab back to Seattle for us! If we had just one more day, we’d go north and hop on US Route 2 for the return trip. It would be the perfect end to a wonderful trip.

Though we’ll be camping every night, with any luck we’ll be able to post a little each day of the trek to both this blog and to our Facebook page. Please feel free to follow us!

Dinosaur Park!

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2 responses to “Ten Days, Twelve States, Deserts, Mountains, and Dirt Roads

    • Thanks! We really really like central and eastern Washington, yet haven’t been lucky enough to wander to the falls. Mostly, we’re around the coulees. Time to branch out!

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