Canyonlands National Park

Friday, November 10, 2017

Road Ratings

Where Are We Today

Road Rating
Awhile back, I said I would write a post on how I rated the roads we travelled. It is by no means scientific, but a " GUT " feeling, so here is a list of what I look for and sense/feel as we travel along the road. Keep in mind that we are in a pick-up truck with dual wheels and pulling a heavy 5th wheel trailer.


Rated at  6 out of 10

Rated at a 8 out of 10

!. How smooth is the pavement.
2. How many pot holes are there.
3. Does it have that washboard effect. Where it sounds like a bump -      bump and you are jigging back and forth/up and down.
4. Is the road covered in cracks and have they been filled or not, with tar to try and smooth them out.
5. When crossing a bridge or overpass, how smooth is the transition between the two surfaces.
6. When travelling on roads of concrete, there are expansion joints that can cause uneven travel if those joints are heaving.
7. If a road is under construction, I take that into consideration as to how I give my rating.
My rating of a number out of 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, is given based on all of the above. As I think about it, anything between 1& 3 is absolutely horrible and would avoid it no matter what. Example is I 69 from Lansing Mi. down to Indianapolis, Ind. The next group, I would say is in the 4 to 8 range, and that brings us to  the 8 to 10 rating.  Most of our travel so far has been in the 8 to 10 range rating, with a few down as low as 7 to 7.5. We have not travelled on what I would call a perfect 10 except in the National Parks, the roads in the parks we have been through get a 10.
I find the northern states have the worst roads, and that is understandable because of frost heave, where the southern states have the better roads. Now saying that, where a state, like California, that has budget/financial problems, their roads tend to suffer.
For the rest of the winter, I will not rate the roads we are travelling, unless one falls below a rating of 7 out of 10. Like I said, it's not scientific, but I can look back and see what I rated a road when we are planning our routes and be wary, do we try it again in the event that it has been fixed or stay away altogether.
Thanks for reading, your comments are welcome.


 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Two In One

Where Are We Today
Death Valley To China Ranch Date Farm
I wasn't going to write a post about these two subjects, because Pat  writes a more descriptive story telling post then I do.
Two different perspectives isn't a bad thing, so here comes my side of the two tales.
Friday morning we were up and at it early enough and on the road headed for Death Valley, the lowest place on the North American continent. Before heading to the lowest point, a trek up to a higher elevation called Dante's View was in order, The climb up to 5500 feet was quite the drive. steady grades and winding turns with the last 1/4 mile being 2 switch backs at a 15% grade. Let me say, the drive up there to see the breath taking all inspiring view of this wonder was worth every twist, turn and incline.
The view in either direction was unending even though the valley is only about 128 miles long. We were not at the highest peak in the area, but still felt like we were almost in the clouds. To look out and see this, is something that needs to be done in person, I certainly don't have the words or ability, past saying that it is breathtaking, unbelievable, magnificent and etc., etc., etc, and pictures will never do it justice, except to give you an idea how marvellous this vast area is. No matter who you think the "Creator" is, this all happen during an ice age 10,000 years ago.

Unbelievable 

Almost 6000 feet down from Dante's View

From Dante's View


15 % grade on the last 1/4 mile to Dante's View

After taking in the view, the drive back down to sea level and then the drop to 284 feet below sea level began. This was a gradual decent with an increase in temperature as we went. From 49*F at Dante's view to 80*F at the desert floor.




walking back

We trekked out across the desert about half a mile to be out on the salt bed and be able to see for miles in either direction and also look back up almost 6000 feet to Dante's View, where we had been almost an hour before.
From there a drive just past Furnace Creek to Harmony where back in the 1880's there was a Borax mining operation. the labours were mostly Chinese which has a small connection to the second part of this post. The mine that was in operation for about 5 years was closed , as it was too costly to keep running. There is still a few remnants of that operation left for you to see.

Borax processing site

20 mule team wagons

It had been a busy day, so back to the park we went.
After a day of relaxing, more than one blog follower suggested that we take a drive to the China Road Date Farm and bakery. So, today we did just that. Everyone forgot to mention the road into the farm. The last mile and a half is gravel, downhill, one lane and rock cliffs on either side, yippee my kind of road.
It is a small bakery, but as soon as you open the door, the smell of fresh baked goods enters the nostrils and you are temp to eat right away. First we sampled some different kinds of dates, then perused the gift shop before buying three date loaves, one for us and two for a fellow blogger, who suggested we go there, then took a walk out into the date orchards to see the different date growing on the palm trees.


Dates

Dates

Bags protect the dates from being eaten by birds and coyotes 

Date Orchard

Orchards with mountain backdrop 

Yes Dear, I took a picture of you.

This was a nice outing, so thank you to all those who suggested we come here. It was very enjoyable and I would come back again.
We headed back to Pahrump taking a slightly different route. Driving through the desert may not be for everyone, you have to experience for yourself. The desert here isn't sand. It is rock, salt and dirt with different vegetation, there is some colour to it, and with the colour of the mountain terrain, it paints a picture like nowhere else. You have to see it and take in its beauty, rugged as it is, to appreciate and love it. I know some will never see or understand that, that is their loss. The vast barren, but not waste land, I will never tire of seeing, the areas of the southwest, untouched by man is all inspiring.
The connection to the two parts of today's post is this. When the Borax mine closed, one of the Chinese workers moved and started the date farm where he grew crops to feed to miners and their animals who were mining in the silver mines of the area. Since that time, there has always been some kind of crop grown here.
On the route back, I wanted to stop and see these two cars, as we saw them on our route to Death Valley, but did not stop then.
Kaiser and a Roles Royce




Nice Thunderbird

That's all for this one, until the next time, take care and be safe. Feel free to leave a comment, they are always read.