24 October 2012

2012 WILD WEST 21 - What Do We Do in Drive Time?

People have been asking us, "What did you do during those long hours of driving?" I don't think we ever had a boring moment. There may have been times when I was thinking, "Should I say something" or "Do I need to say something?" But, heck no. Just continued in peace. We listened to music, watched the world go by, rubbernecked, yapped, and made up some air-quotes games un-air-quotes.

One I mentioned during my blog was The-Two-Hard-Choices-Question game. Like:

1 - Would you rather have the money we have now and go anywhere we please that we can afford, or get a million dollars a year but have to spend 11 months of it on a homestead somewhere between Wasco and Moro, Oregon (and I mean, on the homestead, in the sticks)? Someone would delivery services and supplies. Not much to do but read and garden. That was a long discussion which we never could get the answer to.

2 - Another question was would you rather live in Half Moon Bay, California (which we had already and loved) or Bozeman, Montana, which seemed pretty cool and modern for a cowboy town? We both picked Bozeman, but we visited there on a lovely weather day and those long, cold winters might get old if you really lived there.

3 - Or would you rather have a million dollars a year or have two PERFECT children? I guess if we really wanted kids we would have had them already, so give me the money. And what is PERFECT anyway?

Another challenge was that we took a lot of photos in our moving car and with a not to exotic camera. We took hundreds and often they turned out blurry as we whizzed by the item of interest. Mike or I would see something great, holler out, and then you had to get the camera out and focused before it was too late. Usually it was too late. But if we would have stopped at every "photo opportunity" we would still be in North Dakota. In the end I was actually surprised at how many great photos we got.

Another game was the Welcome to Our State Sign Photo game, trying to get a photo of each welcome sign as we entered the state. That was tricky as the GPS does not show state lines, so you had to be alert as to when you were nearing that point. But we had a back-up plan B. If we missed the sign, we would go into the Welcome Center near each border and take a photo of their sign there, which was usually pretty nice. Plan C was to take a license plate from that state. We also got one of the two Continental Divide signs--the one going west. Did not even see the one going east even though we were primed and at the ready.

There was a lot of difference in state border signs. Some were just the regular green/white traffic type signs you see everywhere, some were a little bigger and more colorful, some were very big and impressive, and there were the over the road huge "gate" type signs. It seems like all states would want to bring attention to the fact that you just entered them, but I guess not!

Another game was to Spy Animals--like deer, elk. Things that signs said to be wary of. Didn't see much except deer in Armstrong's yard, chipmunks, birds. Did see a bald eagle though. I think it was Montana. And, of course, we saw cows, sheep, horses, goats.

We also looked for road "art" and weird signs.

Then there was the Elevation game. I talked about this already. Trying to find the highest or lowest point in the state, by turning the GPS altimeter on at the right time. I just don't know why we found this so fascinating, but we really did.

Another game was Spot the Fixer Upper. There is a fine line between fixer upper and hovel. The hovel has no redeeming value. It is just falling apart and not worth thinking about. But the fixer upper is something else. It too is falling apart, but it is in an ideal location or has an interesting shape or interesting building materials or seems "historical" or nice landscaping. It's a wreck, but there is something still appealing about it. It is hard to get a shot of this because you usually passed it before you realize, "Oh, that would have been a great F.U."

We also looked for wind turbines (because we love 'em) and solar farms. We'd love to see our country be less dependent and our world less damaging by using eco-energy. Tried to get a picture of a wind turbine blade in route. These can be upwards of 90 feet and always come in a three-some sooner or later following each other. So cool to see them transported on the road. Again, usually passed before you can catch the shot. Got one  decent partial though.   

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.