I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, May 17, 2013

On the Road Again

I think that I could (given the right travel vehicle) be on the road for the rest of my life. This is something that I should have known when I was in my 20's. I love to pack up and drive somewhere, anywhere, as long as I kind of have a destination in mind. This is getting easier each time I go somewhere.
On Monday I drove to Reno over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and met my oldest son, who had taken a bus from Oakland. I drove a rental car because my Rav4 was in the car repair place for something that I'm not going to even tell you about for fear of being called an old lady (which I am) and having to admit  that I did something to my car that was a ridiculously miscalculated maneuver and just dumb. I will tell you later... maybe.
So... on Monday, I drove over highway 88, in a rented Chevy Equinox, through the Carson Pass area and into Nevada.

This is the Carson Spur...

 ...an area that still gives me pause for reflection every time that I drive through it. The "spur" is an area at the top of the Carson Pass that is prone to avalanches. No snow right now, but I still hold my breath every time. I drive quickly over the summit, hoping... no PRAYING, for stability and no big earthquakes or rock slides, while I'm driving on the edge of a road that someone had the gumption to build around all of this unstable rock.
 These massive rock formations are powerful reminders of how the earth keeps changing.
Most of the rock looks like it is Igneous and was poured out of  prehistoric volcanoes into the valley below.
Looking north across the Desolation Wilderness area, as I stood on the edge of the highway, I was reminded of the the first pioneers that came through here.
The 1844 the Fremont Expedition turned south from northern Nevada. When they set up camp in Nevada's Carson Valley on January 31, 1844, their guide, Kit Carson, told them to detour because of bad winter conditions. Local Indians told them of a route through the mountains, but warned them not to go up there if it was snowing. Frémont ignored the advice and directed the group westward. The Indians were right and the party was unable to find food or game. They ended up eating their horses. It was an awful mistake.

I, on the other hand, had a car with a full tank of gas, a paved road, some food and water and good directions. So what was I worried about?
Only the strong wind and a branches falling from the towering trees where I parked.... but that was about it.
I found some interesting geological info on this area.
Fluvial deposits (Miocene) –
Well-stratified, clast-supported deposits composed of
mafic to intermediate volcanic clasts in the Caples Lake and Carson Pass
quadrangles includes inter stratified coarse-grained fluvia land volcanic debris flow deposits
 at Castle Point in the Caples Lake. Quadrangle and volcanic lithic sandstones
and cobble conglomerate-breccia at Elephants Back in the Carson Pass quadrangle. 
Thank you to:  http://www.quake.ca.gov/gmaps/rgm/tahoe/legend/tahoe_pamphlet.pd \
If you understood any of that information, please call or email me and explain it to me. I only know that this area is beautiful and very, very old. I know that what is called Round Top Mountain is an old extinct volcano that started the mountainous flows that formed most of the area's rock existing today.I wish I had studied Geology when I was in college. I probably would have finished my schooling if I had. It's fascinating.
This is Caples Lake.
and this is the beauty of the Sierras as you drive into Nevada. That's not a meteor crashing to earth. It's a plane contrail above the clouds.

I stopped too many times and finally remembered that I was suppose to be going to Reno and had to met my son there at about 4:30. Time to put the car in "drive" and stop the sightseeing. I drove on into Nevada, through Gardnerville, Minden, Carson City and then down into the old, original "casino part" of town in Reno. 
My son had arrived and was waiting for me. We checked in, both took a short nap, cleaned up and went to dinner at the Cal Neva casino. 
This is tradition for our family. We always have to eat one dinner at the Top Deck restaurant. It's open all night, it's inexpensive and I actually saved my mother in law's life there one time. She choked on a piece of meat, while eating dinner, a few years ago and I used the Heimlich method to dislodge the meat from her windpipe. Everyone was impressed, and when the managers, staff, bigwigs of Cal Neva and the people around us finally realized what happen... It was over. That ol' Heimlich really works. That meat just flew out of her and landed on the table. Amazing! I had just taken a class in CPR for the school I was working at and I just knew what to do. I didn't hesitate. 
This is a photo of her two years ago when we celebrated her birthday.
 My mother in law was suppose to come with us last week but, on Mother's Day, she fell and hurt herself badly. Her daughter told my son and I to go anyway... the reservations were made and we needed to use them. This was hard because we have always gone with Grandma. She loves to gamble and the "time share" that we stay in belongs to her. My son and I were very lucky to be able to spend a few days together in this lovely Plaza Resort Hotel and carry on the tradition. 
As of today, she is still recovering from this painful fall and has seven stitches in her leg. She also has three hairline fractures and is in a lot of pain. She is 92 and has always been in good health but this fall has taken its toll. I talked to her while I was up there and she said that she just hurts. My mother in law never complains about anything, so I know when she tells me that she hurts, she really HURTS.
The Prospector and I are going to see her on Sunday. 
As for Reno... My son and I walked down to the Cal Neva Casino on Monday night.
It was a short walk down Second St. to the restaurant. I had Salmon. Matt had Lamb, I think ( I was pretty tired)... and we split a bread pudding with warm whiskey sauce on top. 
We clicked our cokes to Grandma.
We did a little gambling without much luck.
And then we decided that it was time to go back to the hotel, stop giving our money to the one armed bandits and go to bed.
On Tuesday we went to the Animal Ark, in north Reno. Wait until you see the feeding of the White Tiger and all the other rescue animals that live in this care facility for wild animals. I will tell you more about this wonderful place in my next post.
"Don't play with the kitty."
Thanks Grandma!! We missed you.
See you Sunday.
 (Thank you Carol and Amber (her daughter and grand daughter) for always being there with Grandma. I don't know what we would do without you. )


  1. i am sorry gramma fell...mine too a few weeks back and not sure if she will ever fully recover...its hard...

    what a trip though, i totally would have been sight seeing as well...

  2. Amazing how those big tall trees manage to grow in the cracks in the granite.

  3. What a gorgeous place in the mountains...I would have clean driven off the road at all the beautiful view points!
    And look at you! Saving granmas life! Good on you! Does granma know about medical marijuana for pain? Isn't that legal down there? Might just be the ticket...a wee brownie or two to help her sleep?


  4. Love it when you take us along on a road trip. I think it would have been a lot longer if I'd been in the car, those rock formations would have held my interest for quite some time, I think. Hope Grandma is recovering well.

  5. Oops, I nearly missed this post. Love the pictures...and the tour. I'm very familiar with the story of John Charles Fremont. And it's fitting, because I live in Fremont County (WY). Ha. And I've climbed Gannett Peak, highest peak in the Wind River Range. Fremont thought he had climbed the highest peak in the range, and called it Fremont Peak. However, Gannett Peak is just a few feet higher and is very close in proximity. Anyway, his story is pretty amazing!
    Thanks for the tour over the pass...what lovely scenery!! Sorry you didn't win a big jackpot. Perhaps the real jackpot is spending time with your son and honoring Grandma!


Please leave a comment here.
I love to hear what you think about my blog. Feel free to speak your mind. Please be honest.., but remember your manners.