Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sage Hen Summit - The Long Drive!

Sage Hen Summit - 8139 Feet

Tuesday August 9, 2016: Day 2 Summer 2016 RV Trip
From Grand Canyon to South Lake Tahoe
Hoover Dam to Sage Hen Summit

The Colorado

The Picture above was taken at the vista view off HWY 93 just outside of the Hoover Dam.  Just a few months prior, on our last RV Trip, we skedaddled off the Highway and explored the Dam area.  In fact, up until 2010, HWY 93 used to travel directly over the Dam.  Other than the last trip Hoover Dam - April 2016, I hadn't been through this way in over 14 years, so I was shocked when I discovered this new I-11 Corridor.   It definitely makes the route from Phoenix to Vegas manageable, unlike before when you could get stuck behind a slow driver for like a hundred miles.  To bypass the Dam, they built the 2nd tallest bridge in the country:

Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge - 890 Feet

You can't tell from this vantage point of the masculinity of this cement monster.  Detour back to the Dam and you'll see Hoover Dam - April 2016.  The highest bridge in this country is in Colorado; the Royal Gorge Bridge.  Completed in 1929, this magnificent structure crossing the Arkansas River stands at 955 feet.  It's not regularly open to drive across, but there are times you can walk across the bridge.  Hmm, perhaps if you're reading this you can look it up.  Otherwise, just wait.  Imagine I will be heading that way soon enough...

On the other side of the Dam is the Hoover Dam Lodge, and apparently a trailhead that treks to Lake Mead.  I once boated on Lake Mead, took it Hoover Dam; so at this point, I've been all around this amazing gem.  Next time I cross, it's gonna have to be by helicopter!

No - We did not go for a hike...

...just stretching the legs.  Been driving a couple hours and...

...some 6 hours later and still driving...

We drove straight through Vegas; didn't stop (been there too many times).  Jumping on HWY 95, the Casino Metropolis soon thereafter evolved back to the desert mother nature had intended.  We soon passed the turnoff to: Days 240-243 / Mt. Charleston (Vegas Vacation).  From here, long driving on pavement that I have never been on before.  Love that part about life; New Hikes - New Roads!

Prior to the view point by Hover Dam, I filled up the gas tank.  From the view point, I drove for something like 10 hours straight and running near empty on the fuel tank into the night.  Quite honestly, I was very nervous.  I drove up the mountain roads and back down, cutting from HWY 95 to HWY 395.  I didn't realize how far it was.  I felt more assured at one point when a blue sign read, Next Fuel 50 something miles.  I knew I could make that.  But when we finally got there, in this dark - nothing of a town, the 2-tank gas station was completely closed down!  Ugh, now what?  Frantic --- I just kept going.  I hung in there.  Phone service in and out, stuck to my guns and stayed on the course that I had plotted.

I just asked my wife, think the town was called Benton.  We went from Nevada back into Cali and in doing so, crossed some agricultural check point and rolled into the no-stop light town that had a gas station, which was closed!  But, the credit card at the pump worked, so we made it!!!

Thinking back about this drive, I really was so delirious.  Roads with no lights, jackrabbits pouncing across the road and at times, I swore I must have hit some.  We saw much road kill at the last minute!  I even hit a bird on this trip; got pounded up by the Class C over <~whatever hangs over the drive compartment, you know where the kid sleeps...  Driving meticoulously to better my gas chances, neutral and easy brake down hills, remaining easy on the uphill, we made it.  A fuss for nothing.  What a long drive without stopping or peeing!  And finally, we did, we took a break, ate dinner at 11pm -- We hiked Grand Canyon that Morning and now I'm up by Yosemite.  My knee was so stiff from the stuck accelerator position.

No complaints, Microwave Pizza with the generator on was good.  But, should we sleep at this nothing gas station or continue....

Campsite at 8000+ feet

Wednesday August 10, 2016: Day 3 Summer 2016 RV Trip
HWY 120 - Near Sage Hen Summit

Last night was brutal.  Driving up HWY 120 to near the summit at midnight was a bit overkill, but I enjoyed it.  The family did okay, they ate, walked around, used the bathroom and played games.  RVing it makes driving tolerable - I guess.  It was dark and narrow, hard to find a spot to pull over and dance/sleep, but the above picture shows where I turned into.  It also just so happened that there was an off road trailhead up here:

In theory, I knew where I was.  I knew that by going down HWY 120 from here I would end up on HWY 395.  I also remembered HWY 120 from my Yosemite Trip: Day 576: Tioga Pass.  Continuing on 120 from 395 to the West is one of the most amazing drives that I have been on.  I can't say this section of the road is even near the same, but it was exciting to be here.  Food for thought, these passes are typically closed in the winter months...

So, it was a sunrise hike for me up here.  It was a chilly cold sleeping night for the crew.  It was the only night on this trip where we had to resort to the propane for heat.  The brisk morning was awakening for me, but as would be the case with this trip, no one wanted to join me on the morning hike.  For my wife, due to the TV show, she needed to keep her activity to a minimal, so this scenario was perfect!

Snow in the distance, catching a glimpse of the sunrise - Good Morning.  Back to the RV now, let's get this trip back on the road!

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