Beautiful crisp morning. Everyone has slept well in the cool air and no air conditioning. Only 8C this morning but bright sunshine and blue skies. Heading for Salt Lake City and 2 rest days! In the valley around Panguitch the water from the irrigators is frozen – the first frost we have seen on the whole trip. This is a large cattle area and the valleys are heavily irrigated from the nearby river ensuring the cattle are always munching on lush green grass. A vast difference from the ones we saw in Sonora, Mexico, where they were grazing on the stubble in the maize fields.
Along the route we pass through many small towns, some preparing for 4th July already with flags and bunting up. Lots of temples as this is mormon county.
Arrived early afternoon in Salt Lake City so took the opportunity to search for a replacement computer. With the help of a local cab driver we were successful so hopefully I should be able to keep you updated more often and have more contact with the guys who are doing a great job in my office. Thanks a lot everyone.
Again a busy rest day in Salt Lake City. Did washing, got some shopping, found spare shock absorber (well done JC not an easy job) and played with new computer. Finally, in the afternoon we went to visit the Kennecot Bingham Copper Mine. The largest man made excavation on earth 0.75 miles deep and 2.5 miles across this place is visible from outer space! Massive place which makes the huge 400 ton gross trucks look like tiny little tonka toys against the backdrop of the mine.
Inside the museum..................................................................................... Blasting time......................
On the road again 530kms to do today through Idaho. Lush green farmland being constantly irrigated and lots of beef cattle. The highway through the valley is perfect – nothing like the A1, hardly any other vehicles in sight!
Massive irrigators..................... Nothing like the A1
Further north it’s wheat and potatoes on flat land again all being irrigated. The huge irrigators go round in a half circle, consequently all of the fields seem to be circular. At Blackfoot there even a potato museum with the world’s largest Styrofoam potato and the world’s largest potato chip – riveting – we decided to give it a miss – too much excitement. The weather today is like a beautiful English summer’s day – the farmers are making hay and irrigating the wheat.
This changed quite rapidly when we came to the Craters of the Moon National Park – an unearthly moon like landscape caused by lava oozing out of the earth’s crust over 15,000 years ago. JC believes this is where they filmed Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon and mentioned this to some American tourists who fortunately saw the funny side of it!! Incredibly, inside one of the craters, there was snow and it was 26C!
Some green on top................. Some snow below.......................... Little n Large in the car park.........
Lots of more farming once we got out of the park and we felt quite at home when we followed a swather for a couple of miles....
Just like home......................
A great day today but when we arrived at the hotel in Ketchum part of the Sun Valley skiing area, there were cars jacked up all over the place. The Lotus had a problem, Gerry’s jag was jacked up with the wheel off, Jenny and David’s Healey had a broken spring and Roger’s Aston had clutch problems again – despite the expensive fix in Mexico. Looks like a long night for Dr Diesel and his little helper – JC. Nikki and I took off in search of a take away pizza as it looked like we would not get dinner. Walked all over the town with no luck, when we came upon a supermarket and decided we would have a picnic. We bought wine (essential for the girls!), a roast chicken, some fabulous Italian breads, cheese, prosciutto, olives, hummus, salads and chocolate for desert – a feast. We got out the table from the back of our truck and with a mish mash of cutlery, beakers, glasses and plates we managed to feed six of us very well!
JC, Paul, Roger and Richard at the car park picnic..................
Finally made it to bed at around 10.30pm and we have a 7am start tomorrow morning. No peace for the wicked!!
We have a long drive of 716kms today and sadly we had to leave Roger and Richard in the Aston behind. Hopefully they will catch us up tonight. It’s a beautiful ride along the Salmon River and up to the Galena Summit in the Sawtooth Mountains at 8,701 ft. Another sign, another sticker to mark that Panama Alaska woz here! Sorry guys but I inadvertently deleted the photos of JC and Paul climbing the pole to put the stickers up!!
At Sunbeam we stopped to see the hot springs, we could see the steam coming from the ground from well down the road. Lots of small villages en route and big ranches. In many places there were a row of mail boxes at the side of the road and not a house in sight. For you old time tractor fans, we passed a spot with thousands of pounds worth of vintage tractors.
Sadly we came around a bend to find that two of the Healeys had collided. Fortunately no one was hurt but David and Jenny Brayshaw’s car had skidded off the road into a ditch and Stuart and Jenny Woodhead’s vehicle had a damaged rear wing from the collision. Everyone was a bit shaken, the police were there and eventually,with help from some local farmers, a low loader came and towed David and Jenny’s vehicle away. The other one was still driveable. Paul and Nikki followed them and Stuart and Barbara, who were carrying three boxes of Healey spares went along too just in case any of the spares could be used in a repair. We carried on – there was not a lot we could do and there had to be another sweeper at the back in case anything else happened on the road.
On the road we passed Hull Creek – a lot more picturesque than the river Hull and climbed over “Lost Trail Pass” at 7000ft – lots of climbing today and the Toyota has a bit of altitude sickness again. There was some snow still on the tops and we came over the ridge and into Montana – “The Big Sky”, where we had a picnic lunch and met some folks from Sedona who were very happy to hear that we had enjoyed their town and promised to pass on our regards to Matt and the guys at Sedona Lube! The scenery was still alpine but softer as we drove around Flathead Lake, twinkling emerald green in the sunlight with a snow capped range in the background – stunning.
Had a laugh when we stopped for fuel, back in Utah we couldn’t get a drink but in Montana, there was a 24 hour casino next to the garage – weird!
Arrived at the hotel – the Lodge at Whitefish Lake at around 7pm Long day, beautiful day tinged with sadness after the accident. We were sitting at the bar having a beer when Roger and Richard turned up – big round of applause and lifted our spirits. Let’s hope David and Jenny have good news at the garage and catch up with us all soon.
Sunset views from our balcony at the Lodge - Whitefish...................
We have a passenger today. David the passenger in the E Type which is broken down is joining us as they can’t take their hire car across the border. Apparently David and Jenny’s vehicle is irreparable in the short time we have and they are shipping it home and thinking of flying straight home. What a pity – everyone will miss them and the whole team is keen to get everyone to Alaska, with or without their vehicles. Lots of telephone calls and text messages going to them from the group to encourage them to carry on – that’s what a friendship rally is all about.
Today we are heading into the Glacier National Park and then on to Chief Mountain where we will cross the border into Canada. The route through the park turned out to be closed after around 16 miles and we all had to turn back and use the alternative route. We had to stop sharply to avoid a deer en route – should have had some of Paul’s “deer frighteners” which he bought in a local garage. Apparently the wind blows through them and emits a noise which the deer don’t like???
What a way to start the day........... But you have to be careful.......... Entry to the park..............
Over the many passes and through the Blackfeet Nation Indian Reserve, JC spotted a bear crossing the road at the foot of Mount Cleveland but sadly it was too quick for me to get a photograph – will keep on looking!
From the road inside of the park.....................................................................................
What a wonderful border – no checks on exit from America and a very polite young man who checked our passports and wished us a good trip at the entry into Canada.
Welcome to Canada.......................................................................... Replacement trucks for Coxy's............
Spoke to Dave Walker en route and arranged to meet him outside of Calgary to pick up our filters. He and Anne are coming up to Banff to see us but he was interested in seeing the cars go by.
In Alberta, there is acre upon acre of grassland but the cattle are still kept in corals – at this time of year in the UK they will all be out! Still looking for bears, at Pincher Creek we heard that their Golf Course had been closed for 10 days because there is a mother bear and two cubs on the course Imagine that in Brandesburton – what would Pat the Fish do on his days off??
Dave was waiting patiently at the side of the road waving an England Flag but sadly the cars had all turned off earlier and gone over a pass which we had not expected to be open – a pity I am sure the rally group would have appreciated his efforts. After handing over the filters he headed on back to Calgary and we go in the other direction to Banff – looking forward to seeing him, Anne and Sarah the next morning. As we near the Rocky Mountains, just south of Banff we had our first rain in 8 weeks!
The filter handover................... Rain coming into Banff..............
Some good news – David and Jenny will be coming back to the rally tomorrow night. They will fly to Calgary, pick up a hire car and take it as far as they can, when they will travel with Robin and Charlotte in the Aston DB6 – that’s what friendship is all about! Their poor old car is being shipped back to the UK but we are all thrilled that they are going to join us again.
Dave, Anne, Sarah and Titan her Siberian Husky drove up to Banff to meet us. It was great to see them. It’s seven years since we were here but we have seen them a couple of times in the UK. The dog was a definite “chick magnet” and JC and Dave were having great fun chatting up everyone who came by to stroke him! It distracted JC’s attention that much that I was able to do some shopping – cowboy boots, belt, tops and he didn’t moan once about not having enough space to pack them!!
Seeing Sarah reminded me of just how quickly time passes, when they came to Canada she was just a child and now she is a young woman. We all had breakfast and lunch together and JC gave Anne a list of things he needs from Toyota when we come back down – it’s great having a local depot and we are looking forward to spending a couple of days with them in July.
Toyota and all of the rest of the vehicles were serviced and thankfully no one had any major problems although the Corvette and the Alfa spent the whole day in the workshop. We are all ready to roll again tomorrow.
The Hotel wireless was rubbish, so yet again I was not able to update but did check our message board and found a message from Margaret who had left the rally in Mexico City. She is enjoying following us and sent everyone her regards – I hope other rally members will keep in touch after we go our separate ways in Alaska.
We met up with Rick and Di in the bar to go over our South American maps and get some tips from them on places to visit. David and Jenny arrived and we all spent a great evening together drinking and dining whilst everyone came by to welcome them back.
Thats it for this episode.
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