Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Friday, November 30, 2012


The trip to Chico was uneventful, once I got the fuel filter replaced.

I made it as far as Twin Falls, ID the first day.  I could have gone farther, but the next stop would have been 140 miles  down the road, and I figured that was just too far.   I’m very happy I stopped when I did.  

We stayed at a pet friendly motel.   While walking Tucker around the perimeter of the parking lot, I noticed a pit bull in the neighboring yard just about the same time Tucker saw him and he saw Tucker – That dog charged the fence, putting his considerable weight behind the leap.  Tucker who had been barking at the interloper, switched ends and ran between my feet and scrabbled to climb my legs – he’d had enough of sociability.

This was the first time Tucker had stayed in a motel -  and every time the dog across the parking lot barked it set Tucker off – and every time a car door shut, and so on and so on.   Finally in a state of half-sleep – about midnite – I captured Tucker and held on to him for dear life to keep him quiet so I could get some sleep as well as everyone else in the adjoining rooms.   Luckily no one complained – so maybe we didn’t disturb anyone else after all.

We left Twin Falls at about 6:30 a.m. -  and thought we were lost for a while as I drove down this very dark and lonely road, headed for Wells Nevada.  As the sun came up, the road continued to be lonely, but the sunrise was beautiful, and on one particular hill, the sun brought out the bright read of the clay – by the time I got to a turn off – the light had changed, but at least I had seen it.

Shortly after leaving Twin Falls, we were driving on sage brush flats -   but at considerable altitude – rising and descending between 5000 – 6400’    (I love the altimeter on the GPS)

As we were approaching Jackpot, NV I wondered how it had been affected by the legalized gambling in Montana.   I know a lot of Montanans would drive down for a weekend of gambling.  My memory of Jackpot is of bright lights and gaiety.   Not so much anymore.

South of Jackpot, we descended through a red rock canyon, and a little further I could see fog off to the east – then noticed the sagebrush – it was touched with frost which the early morning sunlight turned to diamonds sparkling on each branch – breath taking!

At one point and for more than 20 miles, I pulled the “caboose” end of a caravan consisting of a RV towing a car, followed by three vehicles, all with trailers, then me.   It was rather slow going – but finally we were able to get around – about 20 miles from Hwy 80.

Once on the highway – we cruised right along -  I passed the California Trail Interpretive Center, but I was early and it wasn’t open yet -  I would have liked to stop there.   I was driving  along the Humbolt River bed – or at least the wide, wide level area between the mountains – and imagining what it must have been like for the pioneer families who passed this way 150 years ago.  I had been over this road once before – about 1970.  I hadn’t remembered it.   Too many

Western movies in between -   I don’t see how anybody in that vast flatland could sneak up on a wagon train.   

We got to Reno about 3 in the afternoon, so I decided to push on the last 160 miles to Chico.  I took a “short-cut” through the mountains.   It was a beautiful ride.    At one point, I saw we were going to drive through some wispy fog.   After entering the fog, I wondered…… Opened the window, and nope, not fig – smoke!   I looked up and the smoke at the top of the mountain was blazing red, and smoke was extremely strong smelling.  Nobody else driving along the road seemed at all concerned, so I just kept peddling along.

I had to stop a couple places to take photos.   One of the Feather River with Fall Foliage – beautiful -  just barely past it’s peak of color.   The other photo was of two iron bridges – at angles to each other – one for the road, one for the railroad – very interesting!

Within about 5 minutes of taking the photos, it was dark – and I still  had 40 miles of twisting, turning mountain road to get through before I arrived in Chico   It was not very much fun in the dark, but obviously  we made it ok.  

 The next day, it started raining, and it rained, and it rained, and it’s suppose to rain for the next 3 days at least.   We did get a break one morning, and Tucker and I walked over to the park and along the trail a ways.  Brings back memories of my last visit. 

I took Tucker out to attend to business, he walked to the end of the lead and kept right on walking.   That did it!   First stop – PetCo where I got a good, well fitting harness which he cannot get out of – cause the snaps and fasteners are up on his back.   I feel safer for him at any rate.

 Once this storm ends, we’ll be going to Lake Almador where Carol and Ken are remodeling a second home.  

I can’t get connected to Carol’s internet server, so we’re headed to the library today so I can post this and check my e-mails.

 Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Luv ‘n Boots and Tucker, Too
And Don’t forget Little Bear

She believed she could do it, and so she did!







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