Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Goat Trail

U.S. Highway 95 starts in the south at I-8 just east of Yuma, Arizona. It meanders roughly north with some notable zigs and zags to finally conclude at the Canadian border. I drove that highway for most of it's length during my recent road trip.

This time around I took U.S. 93 south from Twin Falls, Idaho into Nevada and south through Ely to Las Vegas, thence joining up with Hwy 95 again into Yuma. For the most part, the goat trail is a well kept up highway that is a favorite of truckers and those that enjoy great scenery. That applies to Nevada and Arizona, not Idaho.

My destination was Wellton, just 30 miles east of Yuma, Arizona where I spent five nights with the Campbells, late of Bayview, and visited with several other snowbirds from here as well. When I left Wellton it was to detour west to Manteca, California where two of my children and a horde of grandchildren reside. Oh, and I have been informed that my great-grandchild count is passing 7 to soon be 9, as two of my grand-daughters are expecting.

When I left Manteca I drove north on I-5 to Sacramento and up over Donner pass, elevation 7227 feet. Starting in Sacramento which is about 200 feet above sea level, that is quite a climb. I was on I-80 which starts in San Francisco and goes to Salt Lake city and beyond, clear to New York City. I got off at Winnemucca, Nevada and headed north on ... you guessed it, "The Goat Trail."

On the map, it appears that 95 intersects I-84 flawlessly. No way. This is where the goat trail starts to live up to it's name. Actually that started back when for some reason the U.S. Government decided to use part of eastern Oregon called the Jordan Valley between Nevada and Idaho. The road twisted and turned much like up here, except worse when finally you break out of the mountains into the Treasure Valley. Ha, were almost home, right? Huh-uh. The Caldwell, Nampa, Payette corridor sends you through every little burgh that comes along, and they all seem to think it would broaden your experience by touring their downtowns while passing by.

Finally, the last little town in the valley is past and I start up into the hills. Fog. Lots of fog. For those of you that think fog is found only in valleys, wrong. the higher I got the more fog I encountered. Finally, as I started down the long grade that would terminate in Lewiston, the fog disappeared, only to return in it's usual location at Lewiston. Not to worry. Everyone knows that about two-thirds of the way up the Lewiston Grade you leave the fog behind. Not this time. I drove through dense fog all the way back to Bayview, where I am now recovering from dead butt syndrome. There's more. Much more, but I'll leave that for a forthcoming column.

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