Thursday, July 24, 2014

Heading west!

So, we left home on May 28, and our first stop was the La Quinta just outside Trinidad, Colorado.  We stay at LQ's often, because they always accept pets, and we hardly ever leave Charlie Chihuahua behind.  This trip, he stayed with our daughter.  But we had earned a free night with their frequent guest program, so, that was a no-brainer. And believe me, after driving all day through the no man's land that is the Texas panhandle and northeast New Mexico, our brains were about useless.

But, something oh so cool did happen while we were driving through NM.  Driving down Hwy 64/87 towards Raton, there were dark clouds, lightning and heavy rain on both sides of us, and very dark clouds ahead of us.  For hours.  But we barely got sprinkled on.  The storms just kept moving away from us as we drove along.  It was awesome.

Next day we hit the road again.  Everyone knows Colorado is a beautiful state, but the drive from Trinidad to Colorado Springs and past Denver is just, well, not so much.  Same with Wyoming.  There are some really nice mountains, but we were on the interstate, so, still boring.  At this point we just wanted to get to some place we'd never been before, so we didn't bother to slow down for sightseeing much.

We spent that night at the Motel 6 in Evanston, Wyoming.  It was... well, just not even the nicest Motel 6 I'd ever stayed at.  And you know they aren't known for their luxurious rooms.  BUT, Paul's Diner,  accross the street,  almost made up for it.  Very good food.  We were pleasantly surprised.

Third day out, we drove through a corner of Utah we'd never seen before, and a little bit of Idaho, and a lot of Oregon.  I was surprised that there was so much brown in Idaho and Oregon.  Is it just because of this terrible drought, or is it always so dry and dead looking?  I really expected more green in those states.

Our destination that day was Pendleton, Oregon.  Cowboy had heard about the big rodeo they have there, and he wanted to see this Western style town.  I had no idea their was such a cowboy tradition in Oregon.  I thought it was all coastline and lumberjacks.  We found a cute little motel, part of a chain we've had good luck with before, Amerca's Best Value Inns.  Evidently, they take old motels and refurbish them.  We were right in town, the bed was comfy, the sheets and the bathroom were clean, and the owners seemed nice.  We got a great price, because it was just before tourist season began.

And it was here that we got one of the best surprises of our trip... a Mexican food restaurant, miles and miles from Texas, that we actually liked!  El Charrito was just a few blocks from our motel, and the food was as close to Tex-Mex as we've ever gotten outside our own great state.  Win!

The next day we drove on into Blaine, Washington, where the fun really began.  More about that later.

For now, here's a few pictures from Wyoming and Oregon
Wyoming mountains

Brown Idaho

Cowboy hates steep grades.  This one was lots worse than it looks here.

The cute little motel in Pendleton.  We plan to return to this neat little tourist-y town someday, when we have more time.

Sculptures in Pendleton, honoring their ranching/cattle driving  past.

Not a great picture, but I loved the patchwork farmland.  So green where it's irrigated. But I hated that it was  so brown everywhere else.


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