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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: SSOWorld on May 25, 2013, 06:18:50 PM

Title: The "6-month work" trip
Post by: SSOWorld on May 25, 2013, 06:18:50 PM
Last week I flew out to the LA area for one week for work.  I'm now back in Wisconsin, but only through Tuesday.  At that time, after finalizing things at work, I drive back out to the same location and will be there for 6 months (+/-). Though road tripping isn't the primary reason, who says I can't have a little fun.  The drive out there gets my car out there so it won't be sitting around collecting dust, intent is mostly nostalgia as the only new Interstate section to clinch will be in the "boring" department (I-70 in Kansas).  I'll be clinching some California state routes as well - between Victorville and Santa Clarita (the latter of which I'll be "living" in) through the Antelope Valley.  The primary routes I'll be taking are I-35, I-70 (first time: between Topeka (at Turnpike) and Denver (Pena Blvd) and parts that were not completed in Utah/Colorado west of Glenwood Springs the last time I was on it), I-15 (portions in Utah and Nevada) and CA SRs 18 and 14 at Palmdale.

My daily commute will put the Newhall Pass Interchange (the one that got damaged by the Northridge quake and a burning truck) on my route and my work is just off the 5/210 junction.

I've already put in for vacation for the week of the 4th (a week the client shuts down) and will be driving east to Arizona (yes... a Wisconsinite saying "east to Arizona") and will likely have I-40 between US-93 east and/or I-10 between Phoenix/LA.  The other holidays I'll be out there during are Labor Day and Thanksgiving assuming the duration is correct. plans include drives to the San Diego area and Las Vegas - not to mention Los Angeles itself.   I got photos around there already (including views of "downtowns LA" (sic.) and the Hollywood sign from the Observatory).  Plans are subject to change as (mentioned before) work will take priority - including weekend time being eaten by any extra work hours I may end up working.  The only guarantee is the Arizona trip and the route home.  That will be determined later, but if it is in December, it will be I-40 and 35 back since I really don't want to drive my car back through Colorado snow - even might be I-10 if northern Arizona is nasty.  Photos will be on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssoworld/).  I won't be spending too much time making videos as I only have a laptop that - despite a nice Core i7 processor - has a barebones video card that won't be able to handle video editing.  That doesn't mean I won't be taking my video camera and tripod though. (I still have the I-10 twin-span video to finish - a project that was put on hold when my desktop's hard drive said it's done - I was able to save it and many other vital files).
Title: Re: The "6-month work" trip
Post by: SSOWorld on June 01, 2013, 05:59:07 PM
The long drive to California has concluded.  The car's exhausted, I'm out of driving juice, and my traveling parter (a.k.a. the cat) had some of the best naps on the passenger floor that one could ever have (even though she was likely suffering motion sickness Thursday and Friday while I drove through mountains and canyons.  I did minimal scenic routing since my work was paying for the trip, but there was enough leeway as it was.

Day one:

Leaving Platteville, I drove US 151 to Dubuque, where I had stopped at Petco to figure out options for why the cat was not settling down (I kept her in the carrier in the back seat) and put the litter box in the place she was in, then moved her to the front passenger side before continuing on to Cedar Rapids.  She still wasn't happy though and at that time I decided to let her roam.  (Yes a risk as she could get under the pedals or give me a snout to the face.)  She did not do either and I was much more at ease (she had hid in places that were dark much of the time and was happy, so after getting din din, I took I-380 and I-80 to Des Moines and I-35 down to Cameron, MO.  Needless to say I found the 110 CKC sign placements on BGSs a little out of conformant when I turned onto US 36 to get to the overnight motel.  It was stormy through the entire I-35 drive, so I couldn't get many pictures, plus night set in (I didn't get on the road until 2:00 due to meetings at work. The entire drive was familiar, having clinched 380 and 151 back in 2009, 35 in 2002 and 80 long before.

Day two:

I finished the drive on I-35 to Kansas City where I started my very long drive on I-70.  I had 70 clinched only from the Turnpike eastward and 35 of KC.  Passing Topeka, I continued to Salina, then stopped there as the cat was again getting restless.  I picked up a pheromone spray that calmed her down and she easily found shady spots after and was enjoying the ride.  Part of it was me as well, being nervous having not taken any pet on this long of a trip. (I took a different cat on a four hour trip back in 2006, she behaved much differently).  It was there that I found that a Tornado watch was issued and I had to possibly dodge storms (the temp was 80 and it was stuffy).  I found also - to no surprise - the various typefaces used by KDOT and caught them on camera.  I happened upon a cluster of storms in western Kansas and eastern Colorado around Colby and dodged all but one - that one only dropping heavy rain and tossing tumbleweeds.  I then finished I-70 west to Denver where I stopped for the night.  Much of the mountains were obscured by clouds.  I could only see the Front Range and part of Pike's Peak.

Day Three:

Day 3 was quite nerving - especially on the cat - it seemed that she got motion sickness while I was scaling the Rockies and I had to do my best to keep calm as she wandered around the car.  I drove up Central City Parkway to clinch the elusive Gilpin County and then continued on I-70 west.  Snow was falling from the US-40 split until Vail, accumulating in the highest elevations of both the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass which slowed my driving down.  After that, I drove a half-closed Glenwood Canyon (they were redecking the EB side between the Hanging Lake tunnel and the east entry).  I still got good shots from in the canyon despite, including of a hydro-electric station I did work at while on a previous job; I-70 was built on viaducts over the plant. After stopping for lunch (both me and the cat) at Glenwood Springs, I continued westward, clinching previously unbuilt portions of I-70 all the way through to Salina, UT where I ended Day 3. 

Day 4
Day 4 began with an ascent/decent over the Tushar Mountains as I finished I-70 west of KC's alphabet loop by getting onto I-15 south - and going 80 - legally.  Utah put up odd warning signs for the drops of the limit from 80 to 75 (using the W-1 format with words instead of the pictorial version spec'd in the MUTCD like they do with other speed zones.  Most of I-15 in Utah was uneventful except for the various landforms in the distance along the road.  Arizona's I-15 was quite different.  The cat got restless again as I descended the Virgin River Gorge, but settled down again after I entered Nevada and stopped at the Welcome center in Mesquite to let her walk around with no car motion and get her bearings in line.  After getting underway again she was calm once more.  The straight flat I-15 in Nevada with at least 10 power lines was building up my suspense for the next milestone, and then it appeared in the distance - the Las Vegas skyline - visible from over 20 miles away due to the long slope allowing for the long sight distance.  I then reached Vegas for the first time since 1997 (the same year I was last in L.A.) and clinched I-215... again. (Only the Airport spur existed back in 1997) - I left the CC 215 for a future visit - which will be easy now that I'm out here for a half-year.  :happy:  After getting lunch for me, car and cat, I headed south once more, upon approaching Primm - it was easy to see California on the other side with the large rolling slopes that were situated in the Mojave.  As I drove up and down the various ranges, taking in infinite views of the highway and heavy traffic  :banghead: along the way, I came across an active solar power plant (what I thought was the tower reflecting the sun was actually it absorbing the rays reflected from the solar panels on the ground (The plant was located in the first valley south of the state line).  After passing Baker, I made sure to snap the Zzyzx interchange but didn't go on the road... yet.  I turned of on SR 18  west in Victorville and continued to SR 138 and the 14 freeway to cut through the Antelope valley and avoid the gawd-awful L.A. traffic, get a good view of the "Powerhouse Fire" smoke plume from Palmdale, and "touched down" in Santa Clarita at 4:00 pm to conclude the long drive.  NOTE: the fire mentioned is on the north facing slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains north of Santa Clarita and west of Palmdale.  It burned 1000 acres and one building so far.  Some people were evacuated but there are no injuries as of 6/1/2013.  The fire's smoke plume obscured the sky over me as I arrived.

This was a very long drive.  An equivalent flight would be about 4 hours as the crow flies. It was a unique experience that got me a medley of sights though I couldn't stop to take them in due to time constraints - or divert off much due to mileage constraints (Central City and Vegas were small diversions which didn't eat too much time or mile).  The weather went from cool to stormy to snowy to clear and downright hot in 4 days.  I would have been "out of place" getting out of the car at the Ike tunnel as I was wearing shorts - not to mention cold.  As for the cat, she survived it and is happily sleeping right now on the bed.

I'm not going to be able to post to Flickr for a week or two as I need to wait for the DSL in my apartment.  The hotel's wireless is craptastic at best.

I will be definitely going back up to Vegas and capture more roads around there and also heading down to San Diego (which would be my first visit to that city).  I still plan for an Arizona run but not on the week of the 4th, considering the temperature.  I also intend to capture the majority of L.A. both on and off the road - starting with the US 99 meet on the 16th (see that thread).
Title: Re: The "6-month work" trip
Post by: SSOWorld on June 24, 2013, 10:08:11 PM
And now that I have full Internet back - here is the link (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssoworld/sets/72157634309058505/) to my first full batch of pictures I took - Week 1, the preview trip (a flight out for a week in May).

* Newhall Pass Interchange
* I-210 to Pasadena
* Arroyo Seco Parkway in its entirety
* Hollywood Freeway
* Toontown Tunnel
* Griffith Observatory and its views
* Arial shots of Colorado and Utah