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Featured Prius Cannonball Run - Boston to LAX in 6 days

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by rloewy, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    My in-laws wanted their old Prius to reside in sunny San Diego county - so they will have a car when they come for extended time. Instead of shipping it - the better half and myself decided to drive it cross-country as an impromptu vacation.

    We flew to Boston with the kids, arrived at night and went to sleep at their home. Woke up early in the morning to start our adventure - but were greeted with the following on XMas day:

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    Unfortunately, had a snow-storm and had to slog our way to our first stop in near white-out conditions through Massachusetts and Connecticut. Our 4 1/2 hours drive took 7 hours - and we got to drop the kids at their aunt and uncle in Macungie county, Pennsylvania (near Allentown).

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    Had to start our mad dash across the continent to be able to pick them up in time - for them to spend new-year's eve with their friends.

    Grabbed a couple of shots before it turned dark:

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    We made it late at night to a friend's farm near Martinsburg in West Virginia.

    ... to be continued ...
     
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  2. There’s nothing quite like a winter road trip, good luck.
     
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  3. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    This is my ultimate wet dream, wow
     
  4. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    Long road trips are either a love it or hate it proposition. Some people can't imagine doing them - others love them. I would be happy doing one every other week for the rest of my life. I would have liked to have had at least one more day for this specific trip - just so we would not have to drive at night (miss the scenery) - but timing dictated that we needed to make it at a certain time.
     
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  5. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    Our friends live in a small house on the extended family farm. The farm's main house was used as a local headquarters for the confederate army during the civil war - it has decayed greatly through the years and is still a fascinating place to visit. Since the last time we visited a lot of improvements were made - but the house still requires a lot of maintenance over many decades of neglect.

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    They do run a working horse farm - and we spent the morning admiring the grounds for a too late start... It was well worth it.

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  6. Kalifornier

    Kalifornier Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    California
    Impromptu road trips with possibility of inclemental weather are the best kinds. Some of my favorite memories (Having entire Badlands NP to myself in early March, Oregon coast in winter storms etc) are from such trips. Hope you guys had fun!
     
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  7. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    On the way again, we jumped on the I-81 to Virginia - with the goal of getting on I-40 which would take us through most of the rest of the way.

    This road has rolling hills farms next to it as well as hills with a line of trees marking it's tops

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    We passed Lexington and Chilhowie and went into Tennessee, followed by a short stop in Knoxville.

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    Worst traffic of the trip was getting out of Knoxville. We arrived to Nashville rather late, it was bitter cold - but we had to visit the mid-south's version of Las Vegas in downtown Nashville - where the strip has lots of light and every bar has live music.

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  8. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Ha! I have shot those exact spots in Knoxville. Albeit from different angles.

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    Good luck on the rest of the trip.
     
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  9. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    It's mostly mental. I find anticipating it sucks, but when it comes down to it, it's fun and you remember for a lifetime. Of course, it's one thing taking a scenic trip and another slogging along interstates with no terrain.
     
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  10. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    Got out early for a change, to avoid Nashville traffic. Had a hearty farmers breakfast in Dickson, TN and continued to Memphis. Had to stop and walk around the down-town, especially around Beale street and the river front. I want to come back to visit Memphis and Nashville when it's not so cold outside. (San Diego made me soft).

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    Continued into Arkansas. Wish we had time to stop there - a lot of cool trees growing in water (no good picture, unfortunately) - another place I need to come back and visit.

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    Had a short stop at Little Rock, great Asian noodles for lunch and back on the highway.

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    As you get closer to the Ozark mountains it looks even prettier - but it was getting dark by this time.

    We drove about 3 hours in the dark in Oklahoma to OKC. Arrived tired to our hotel - and yet somehow spent a while roaming the 21C in OKC - as it was worth it, but this is worthy of another post.
     
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  11. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    The 21c hotel in OKC is a real delight, at least it was for me. It is housed in an old Ford model T assembly plant - and it is a combination contemporary art museum and designer inspired hotel. Most of the exhibits are on the lobby floor and are open 24 hours a day. There are art installations on the other floors - but only guests in the hotel can access them. While we were pretty beat when we arrived - we had to go and explore the hotel after we arrived. The following are a combination of MFT and smart-phone images.

    Apparently they have hotels in other cities as well - and I would highly recommend trying one if you get a chance.

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    21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City | OKC Boutique Hotel + Art Museum
     
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  12. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    subscribe
     
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  13. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    Had an excellent breakfast at the hotel (unusual for us, but the 21c was such a treat) - and hit the road. Oklahoma in the day time was not inspiring along I-40 - but things got a lot more interesting as we got into the Texas panhandle. Fog, snow and icy trees greeted us - and the views were fantastic.

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    The way to Amarillo shows mostly agriculture at the side of the road, but as you get closer to the city - industrial buildings appear as well.

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    I believe they eat cows here

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  14. jederick

    jederick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    359
    Jun 14, 2017
    Northern Utah
    Good Gawd I'm enjoying your trip!!
     
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  15. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    Amarillo is a lovely little town in the middle of our OKC to Albuquerque run. It has 2 attractions that I really enjoyed - the first is Tyler's BBQ joint - voted by some magazine or another as one of the 50 best in the world. I am not sure if it is or what the criteria is, but I am a fan and my wife also enjoyed it (unusual).

    Ribs, Texas Toast, Cobbler. Simple. Amazingly good.

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    I also liked the old Chevy truck outside. This is proper Texas in my book.

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    The other "attraction" is the famous "Cadillac Ranch". A stupid idea by any logical measure - yet somehow, enjoyable. I wish I knew I could bring my own paint.

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    After this - New Mexico. The slogan is "Land of enchantment". I hear that Santa Fe is supposed to be "the place to visit". Not for us in this trip. The road to Albuquerque is nice, but not breathtaking.

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    There is even somewhat a "South Dakota" feel where travel centers are advertised for miles ahead and miles, only to be found to be a big gas station (think Wall Drug).

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    We arrived at our destination a bit earlier than usual - so we could explore downtown Albuquerque a bit later...
     
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  16. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    We once again got a boutique hotel for the night - the Hotel Analuz is an old high-rise hotel from the 30s that was restored in recent years with an Andalusian decor. The hotel is basically just in down-town which makes it easy to go out to dinner.

    I actually bothered to get my travel tripod for this - but did not bother to actually dim the room lights. Sorry.

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    The hotel decor was pretty neat, to be honest

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    We decided to go explore the downtown and look for dinner, Downtown is a strange mix of deserted alleys, elaborate south-west themed cinemas and somewhat grimy looking streets

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    The food options however seem very nice - and we ended in a restaurant that reminded us of a Portland's hippy / foodie joint.

    In the morning we got out again, got a nice cup of coffee at Deep Space coffee, but no interesting breakfast joints. We did enjoy the following bar front a lot:

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    I think "Tequilla Mockingbird" is my favorite followed by "Lord of the onion rings". Bravo.

    Something still felt a bit "off" in our experience - and we were unwilling to leave the city before giving it another try - and headed to the old town - which redeemed Albuquerque for us, both in looks and authentic breakfast options.

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  17. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    I am wondering if it was a trip across I-40W in New Mexico that had the poet Tupac say:

    Let's show these fools how we do it on this on that West Side
    'Cause you and I know it's the best side


    If New Mexico was nice but not special east of Albuquerque - it has turned much better west of it. It finally feels like the rugged west of the country. There is a bit of that Montana "big sky" feel - where things just feel big.

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    There is even a random "view point" sign with no additional information that brings you the following:

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    We stopped for a re-fill at Gullup, NM - and had to explore the "Read Rock Park" there. Yet another place where we need to come back for a proper exploration that is not so time limited.

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    There is even a rodeo facility there:

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    New Mexico was the state I was most excited to visit on this trip (as I have not been before). I think I will need to come back. Next stop - Arizona.
     
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  18. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    It's silly, but Arizona feels like home. I have taken weekend trips driving to Arizona from home. The side-road views are not much different from western New Mexico - but we are now in Navajo country and a bit more population can be seen.

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    An unscheduled stop for us was the Petrified Forest national park and we were rewarded with amazing views. Reminds me a bit of the Painted Hills in Oregon.

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    We have decided to detour through the park instead of getting back on I-40 for a while.

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    Stopped at the Puerco Pueblo ruis (populated between 1200 to 1400 BC more of less)

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    Other than the ruins - the claim to fame are the petroglyphs at the ruins

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    and further away at Newspaper Rock:

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    Notice the man with the fingers - we overheard a little boy (Jewish, I assume) telling his mom that he saw a Menorah...

    These are pretty cool. Of course, at the same time the Magna Carta was written in good ole' blighty - which kind of puts it in perspective - but since they are basically carved into the rock - you know that are witnessing the handwriting of the original author - something you are not likely to say about old European works from the era.

    Finally, the petrified forest itself - silica representation of wood that is estimated to have been buried 200-300 million years ago:

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    We spent so much time in the park that when we got to Flagstaff it was too late and we decided to spend the night there. This means, we are not cutting through Sedona on this trip - but that's probably OK as Sedona is worthy of more than a drive-by trip.

    Had dinner at the Himalayan grill in Flagstaff - and their Chicken Thupka was probably the best meal I have had on this trip. Quite a treat.

    Next stop - back home to California.
     
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  19. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Ron. Loving the entire thread! Some of these are places I have been to and roads I have driven, others not. In either case, your images provide a reason to revisit. I need a cannonball run like yours :) 
     
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  20. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    It was bitter cold in the morning at Flagstaff - but we were happy to see no snow on the ground. Everyone else we saw in the diner was a lot less enthused about it. I can understand coming to Flagstaff for the weekend for the snow - but for us, it was good stuff.

    Going down from the 7,000ft of Flagstaff looked a lot like a pass over Mt. Hood for us - but we did live in Portland for 17 years.

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    Once we go down and managed to avoid the thundering trucks running downhill - the view open up a bit.

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    We stopped for some gas at Seligman - and decided to check the "historic rt. 66" section sign. Often this is nothing more than a gas station selling memorabilia - but apparently, Seligman, which started as a railroad town - converted into a proper rt. 66 town and maintained it's charm (along with the expected gas stations selling memorabilia).

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    We continued West, the views are clearly standard West desert here. That's a good thing in my book.

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    We finally made it back to California. Had a pair of Apples we got on the east coast but still not consumed confiscated - because California apparently allows only Washington apples to get in.

    It was not even lunch we still had time to play on our way to LAX.
     
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