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      05-27-2022, 09:25 AM   #1
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Drives: 2022 M850 GC - Carbon Black
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4,200 Mile New M850 Shakedown Cruise Through SW USA

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Death Valley, Valley of Fire, Grand Canyon, Sedona, San Diego, Big Sur and the Redwoods

The M850 GC is really a fun car. It's my 4th M or M"ish" car in the last 60 months.

My fondness of reading European Delivery threads led me to do a few travel threads of my own over on the F90 forum. Thought I'd drop a new one here, since I'm now an 8er owner. My goal was to be an M8er, but there's just something about the M850 that suits my driving requirements better. No regrets. Yet.

My last four BMWs were acquired with serious road trips in mind. The M550, M5, M5C and now the M850 have all exceeded my expectations. The pre-LCI M550 was fast and comfortable. The M5s, releasing un-relenting holy hell on demand, were spectacular on the winding 2-lane highways. The M8 would be equally gnarly, but the M850 - while taking it down a notch - might be the better long-haul crusier. We'll see.

As a traveller/amatuer photographer I am drawn to 1) Spectacular scenery, 2) Pictures of my cars, 3) Pictures of my cars in spectacular scenery, 4) Small town Main Streets, 5) Interesting buildings, 6) Business signage (especially old neon signs) and 7) Anything colorful, retro or kitchy. It's a vast canvas. With luck, several of the criteria can sometimes be combined into one photo.

I have three other travel threads you might be interested in if you like this one.

From 2019: 3,500 miles thru Utah in an M5

From 2021: 2,000 miles around Wallowa Lake area - M5C

From 2021: 4,200 miles: Devils Tower, Mt Rushmore, Rockies - M5C

They were all fortunate enough to eventually make it the main page.

The Basic Route - Trip was Apr 20 to May 4, 2022. Route is clockwise from Portland.
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A couple teasers from later in the trip:

Modoc Forest - South of Tulelake, CA - Day 2
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Down US 395 - South of Bishop, CA - Day 3
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Death Valley - Day 3
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Death Valley - Day 3
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Hwy 1 - Big Sur, CA - Day 13
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Our goal was San Diego by Day 10 - my wife's niece was getting married there at the end of the month. We were virtually going to do this trip counter-clockwise in March 2020, but pulled the plug just as Covid began to ramp up. So, we dusted off those plans, modified a few things here and there, made all the reservations in January and then waited for launch day. Couldn't wait to get the M5C back on the road. Took the winter tires off in early April. Then a freak snowstorm blew through Oregon and Northern California a week before we were to leave.

Outside my front door.......Seriously??
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BBQ anyone?
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The cold weather lingered. I had several options to get out of Oregon - all required travel through snowy mountain passes now. My winters are Michelin Alpin 5s, a good cold weather tire, but not exactly snow tires. I didn't want to go down the coast and add several hundred miles. I'd still have to get over the Sierras and Donner pass is 7,000 feet - and actually ended up being closed the day I would have needed it. I didn't want to go down to Bakersfield and around the Sierras to get over to Death Valley. I wasn't going to miss driving 395 south of Reno. What to do?

I know! Along with scurrying around on final preparations, finishing up tax stuff, etc. - why not take a peek at my dealer's website - just for fun, of course - a couple of days before we leave? And, there she was - a pretty Carbon Black M850GC, almost the exact spec I could live with. I'd been going 'round and 'round with where I'd be at the end of my M5 lease in Dec 2023: way over miles, supply chain problems, much higher lease and finance rates - ugh. I fired off an email late at night on Friday to my CA, test drove it Saturday and decided it would work for me. Plenty of power, less harsh around town - and an 8 Series. My original thought was to take the M5 (with winters back on) to San Diego and trade it in when I came back in 2 weeks. One last hurrah with the great beast. But, the dealership would rather have the M5 now, with 22,500 miles - instead of 2 weeks later with 27,000 miles. I get their point.

Luckily, I had a square set of SottoZero3 snow tires mounted from my old M550 days. If they fit, I'd put them on the M850 and off we'd go. They did. The deal came together, financing was good and I bought this one. And the miles are now what the miles are gonna be. It was mine 40 hours before we left. I was a little leary taking a brand new car so far from home right away, but I guess that's what European delivery was all about, so................Giddyup!

I took almost 1,000 pictures - I could have taken more. By now my wife has to be seriously wondering about me. Always stopping the car: "Ooh! Ooh! Look at that! I gotta get that!" Jockeying the car into position for putting the car in the scene. Those are always fun. Anyway, there's 133 pictures with a G16 in them. It takes an enormous amount of time to cull the best ones, organize them and then edit and crop away until they look just right. I loved every minute - I got to re-live it all again. Hope you enjoy.

There are also 18 maps and 250 pictures of scenery, other sites and small town Main Streets. Due to uploading limitations I decided to just give each day it's own post. So, 15 in all. But, six are really short. Day 3 in Death Valley, Day 4 at Grand Canyon and Day 13 at Big Sur were stupendous. Death Valley Days on Day 3 is stooopid long - just lots of cars and desert scenes. Similar subjects, different views. I'm not a fan of deserts, per se. But, and I can't explain why, I liked it a lot.

Some basic stats on the trip:

Pre-trip ownership: 40 hours
Mileage at start of trip 201
Miles driven 4,220
Days on the road 15
Average miles/day 325 (2 days off)
Long day 476 (Day 2)
Short day 5 (Day 8)
Avg. Miles/gallon 23.9

It will probably take the rest of the day to get all the posts loaded. Hopefully it will go smoothly, but a project of this size can get tricky. Your patience is appreciated.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-31-2022 at 01:05 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:26 AM   #2
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Day 1: Portland to Klamath Fall, OR - 292 miles
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I don't like to travel with anything showing in the back seat. but, the M850 trunk is shorter than the M5's and we had various winter coats and boots along - plus tire chains - so the back seat was fairly full. You can't get much more than 2 suitcases and a couple of small duffles in the trunk. The car is 4 inces longer, but it's all in the hood. And there is no room in there for anything else.

Willamette Pass on Hwy 58 out of Eugene seemed to be the best option at 5,000 feet. All the passes were showing snow and snow was in the forecast for the first 750 miles. Down I-5 in the rain and east on Hwy 58 at Eugene brought us to the scrappy little lumber town of Oakridge. I spent a couple weeks surveying for new logging roads out of here in the summer before my senior year in college. Not my favorite job.
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It rained steadily, temps dropped to mid 30's F and we began our ascent through the snowy forest to Willamette Pass. It was 32F and snowing hard at the summit, but not sticking. So far, so good at 5,128 feet.
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It was incredibly scenic as we made our way down the other side to eventually join Hwy 97, a main travel route from The Dalles to Northern California. The snow stayed with us, as the central Oregon plain is still above 4,500 feet. Got to Klamath Falls around 4:30. There's a neat old downtown, several blocks long.

Klamath Falls Downtown
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Kingsley Air Base is nearby and was depicted in a nice mural
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Off to a pizza joint for dinner. Day one in the books. So far, so good.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 06:40 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:27 AM   #3
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Day 2: Klamath Falls to Bishop, CA - 476 miles

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Day 2 dawned cloudy, cold and windy. Got the snow slop washed off the car and headed down Hwy 139 towards Alturas, CA.
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Snow clouds were threatening and a small rise took us to a nice turnout in the Modac Forest. Brrrrrrrr.
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I wanted to continue on 139 at Canby towards Adin and Susanville. A great drive through the mountains, but I needed gas and the dark snowy clouds were down on the deck. So, off east to Alturas and Hwy 395. First time paying over 6 bucks a gallon. Sheesh.
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Headed down US 395 - our home for the next 430 miles. Near Madeline, CA.
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Further on down 395
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Litchfield, CA
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The weather was nice, the roads were clear and the traffic was sparse. We pulled into Standish for a quick look see.
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First site of the Sierras at Honey Lake, elev. 3,990.
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Easy run into Reno. Ducked into a casino for a quick lunch and threw away 20 bucks in a slot machine, then back on the road.
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The wind was gusting hard as we wound our way south of Reno and Carson City. Topaz Lake is right on the California/Nevada border.
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The weather hugging the mountains was quite stormy, but looked OK to the east. We crest Conway Summit, the highest point on 395, at 8,138 feet. It's freezing and snowing, but the road is clear and we are cruising along just fine. About eight miles north of Mono Lake the road starts a long descent to the valley floor, 2,000 feet below. The Mono Lake Vista Point provides a great viewpoint just before you start down. Nothing doing with seeing the Sierras. Kinda why I came this way.
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We made our way down to the valley floor and stopped near Lee Vining on the SW edge of Mono Lake. You can turn right at Lee Vining and head west up Hwy 120 and follow a spectacular road up to 10,000 feet and eventually end up in Yosemite. Not today, though. Tomorrow not looking good, either.
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By now it's about 6 PM and the light is fading. The road starts to climb and the temperature starts to drop - eventually dipping to 28F. The heavy snow that starts is coming in sideways at 50 mph. The road becomes covered in snow and I'm not sure how high we have to go yet. The M850 functions flawlessly - the SottoZeros are gripping good. There are not a lot of cars on the road anymore. It seems we are in the soup for about 15 miles and we crest snow covered Deadman Summit at 8,036 feet. The road descends, the snow lightens up and we pass Mammoth Lakes Ski Area, but you'd never know it. Another 25 miles gets us out of the snow and we end up at this spectacular vista point 20 miles north of Bishop, bathed in sunlight way down in the valley below. Hard to realize we were in a blizzard 30 minutes ago. Things are lookin' up.
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Bishop was a welcome sight 30 minutes later. 768 miles for the first two days. Pretty sure we won't need the snow tires during the next 3,500 miles. Brisket for dinner.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 03:50 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:28 AM   #4
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Day 3: Bishop, CA to Pahrump, NV (By way of Death Valley) - 296 miles
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The day dawns sunny with puffy white clouds. Yay. They are still hugging the Sierras, but I feel it's gonna be good. Quick gas up and a wash and were off. Didn't see much of Bishop last night. Looks like a fun town. On Main Street..........
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The south edge of town provided some nice views of the snow capped peaks.
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We are in a north/south valley between the Sierras and the White Mountains. The White Mountains looking to the east.
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Wasn't long before we had to stop again. The Sierras are finally cooperating........
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Back on the road - view out the windshield - just, wow. What a glorious drive.
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Forced to pull off again, near Independence.
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Just south of Lone Pine is the turn off to Hwy 136, which leads to Death Valley. The Mt. Whitney Visitor center is here. Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the lower 48 states, topping out at 14,505 feet. Just a hundred miles to the east in Death Valley is the lowest point in the U.S. - Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level. Mt. Whitney is in the sunlight at the center point in the far distance in the photo below.
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We put the Sierras in our rear view mirror and headed southeast. The landscape becomes noticeably more arid. The Sierras have wrung out all of the water from the air.
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Hwy 136 merges with Hwy 190 coming west from Olancha and we'll soon start to climb into the mountains guarding the western edges of Death Valley.
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A few miles further brings you to the Death Valley sign
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The Father Crowley Overlook At 4,500 feet gives you a first glimpse of the valley below. The main part of the park is over the next mountain range in the distance.
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The road then begins a several thousand foot descent to the valley floor and the next obstacle presents itself in a grand vista.
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We begin a climb of several thousand feet again over 10 miles as we cross this range to get to Death Valley proper. Signs recommend turning your A/C off - probably makes sense in an older car when its 120F outside. We had a very pleasant 72F going outside. A/C remained on. The M850 kicked ass over Towne Pass - elevation 4,956 feet. It's really quite a fascinating ride up and over the pass. A long descent loses ALL the elevation again as you arrive into Stovepipe Wells (elev 10), a nice stopping point to stretch the legs.
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Camping, a store, gas station and a couple of restaurants. A nice lunch and we are on our way again.
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Looking back on Stovepipe from the east
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Same road, facing the other way. Sea Level - Go figure
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Salt Flat
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Hwy 190 turns south toward Furnace Creek, eventually passing the Harmony Borax Works. Get your 20 mule team ready.
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Next up is Furnace Creek - a large campground and RV spot, along with a hotel and golf course. Spent a spring break down here in a camper with a frat bro and his family, but we never really went anywhere or did any sightseeing. I'm seeing Death Valley for the first time. Furnace Creek Inn is up on a hill and is a fine Oasis of old school charm. Should've taken better pictures.
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A little further up the road is Zabriskie Point. A short hike takes you to some nice, colorful views.
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Backtracking a bit, we turn south on Badwater Road. The "real" Death Valley belongs down here. It's quite desolate. Shockingly desolate.
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A short one- way loop turn-off will take you up near the mountains to Artist's Point with a colorful rock outcropping.
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Back down in the Badwater Basin. Just gnarly. Shockingly gnarly.
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The SottoZeros are quite marvelous in the desert. Giving me all the traction I need, whenever I've needed it. Haven't slid off the road once.
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The Badwater Basin Viewpoint is about 18 miles south of Furnace Creek - with a large parking lot. 282 feet below Sea Level.
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You can venture out onto the salt flats
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They even went out of their way to show how far below Sea Level we are
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Wouldn't want to be on foot trudging through here in 1849 on my way to look for gold.
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At this point, most everyone just turns around. We chose to continue south another 28 miles to Ashford Junction and then headed east on Hwy 178 across the southern end of the park to Shoshone, another 28 miles. The road is eerily empty, along with everything else you can see. But, the scenery is spectacular. I'm still not a huge fan of deserts, but it's hauntingly beautiful.
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Further on, the sky was just full of puffy clouds
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Nearing Shoshone, an amazing vista opened up.
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And just like that, you're outta the park. What a day - high of about 75F. Wouldn't want to be there in the summer when it hits 130F.
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Another 30 minutes and we were in Pahrump, NV for the night. Can't imagine a better time to visit Death Valley. What a great day.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-30-2022 at 11:18 AM..
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BMW F223357.50
      05-27-2022, 09:30 AM   #5
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Drives: 2022 M850 GC - Carbon Black
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Day 4: Pahrump to Henderson, AZ - 278 miles
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Blasted south down Hwy 160 (newly paved, smooth as a baby's butt, straight as an arrow), heading for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This is a marvelously colorful striated mountain range - very popular with the hikers and cyclists from nearby Las Vegas.
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Wandered around the western part of Las Vegas (nice place, gobs of people and houses) and then headed to old downtown.
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The Stratosphere is 1,149 feet tall. There is a restaurant and rides at the top. Been to Vegas many times, just haven't gotten up there yet. Next time.
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Headed over to the Strip. Very crowded on a Saturday at noon. Insane traffic. Never got out of the car. Didn't take any pictures. How I yearned to be far away from there.
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Next up is Valley of Fire State Park. I had never heard of it until I saw it featured on a celebrity car show ride along - maybe Jay Leno's Garage. I had to go. It's only about 50 miles NE of Las Vegas and we drove thru the grounds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway enroute. Lots of gasoline and testosterone running around there today. Maybe some drag racing. Tons of Corvettes and other muscle cars.

The park is striking, in that everything surrounding it is brownish, then all of a sudden all the rocks are orange/red for thousands of acres. Very colorful.

The Beehive viewpoint
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A nice 7 mile out and back drive off the main road at the visitor center gets you through most of the park and sites. Well worth it.
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A short hike will take you to some petroglyphs. Some are thought to be up to 3,000 years old.
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Really pretty landscapes - good color
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The end of the road brings you to the White Dome
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The road back
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The road out
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Heading east out of the park toward Lake Mead
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The road joins Hwy 167 south and its about 50 spectacular miles of a flawless 2 lane through the desert and mountains. A couple of limos and a wedding party were out here taking their pictures at the Redstone Dune Trailhead. Not a bad spot.
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Thought we'd hit up one last stop today - the Tillman Memorial Bridge overlooking Hoover Dam. The timing is right. The sun is perfect.
After parking, you hike up a couple long flights of stairs and then out on to a walkway that spans the length of the bridge overlooking the dam. You are now 886 feet above the Colorado River. Just spectacular. But noisy - the cars and trucks are whizzing by at 80 mph right behind you.
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Checked in to the hotel in Henderson and then ran out to the Westin on Lake Las Vegas for dinner. Another awesome day.
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Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 12:07 PM..
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Day 5: Henderson to Flagstaff, AZ - 343 miles
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Today was going to be long, with, unfortunately, mostly freeway miles. But, at least you get to go really fast, so there's that.

First up is a trip back to Hoover Dam to catch the first Powerhouse tour of the day. Got there at about 8:45 - damn, 2nd in line.
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Popped back topside, while we waited, for some pictures - no one around. Cool.
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The Powerhouse Tour takes you down an elevator about 650 feet, then through a couple tunnels to the powerhouse.
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The guts of one of the turbines and the original 1930's terrazzo floors still looking good going on 85 years.
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Back on top - the dam is 726 feet tall and 1,244 feet long. 4.4 million yards of concrete. Unbelievable for 1931.
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Tillman Bridge and Visitor Center on the right. Powerhouses below.
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One of four intake towers for the powerhouse turbines.
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These things are massive
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The water level is quite low due to years of drought. The picture below shows the highwater line and one of the 2 spillways. The spillways have only been used twice - once to test after completion (it took two years to fill the reservoir), the other during the 1983 floods due to an extremely high Colorado snowpack. The high water line is actually seven feet above the spillway. Normal level is considerably lower, but it's still way, way down from that. Other than 1983, virtually all water passes through the turbines. Vegas needs lights, baby. Lots and lots of lights.
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Humans be looking all tiny and such....
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The old visitor center has the original complete topographical model of the Colorado watershed. Its quite large (the model). Many of our previous stops can be seen in this portion.
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One final shot on the way out. Pat Tillman was an NFL player with the Arizona Cardinals, who enlisted in the army after the 9/11 attacks. Sadly, he was killed by friendly fire.
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Back on Hwy 93 south for a 75 mile run down to Kingman, AZ. Cool town. Finally, a car picture again. Starting to pick up parts of Route 66.
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Mohave County Courthouse
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Then we blasted along I-40 for another 75 miles to Seligman, AZ. Really doing up the Route 66 thing here. There was a '60s TV show about the adventures of two young drifters across America, staring Martin Milner and George Maharis - and their Corvette - on Route 66. Some of the route remains, but the Interstate Freeways obliterated many of the small towns because no one drove through them anymore. Some are making a comeback.

I dunno - looks like another road trip?
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And, of course, some fool standing by the big sign.
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All Seligman.........
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Had a nice nice lunch and then off to Meteor Crater on the other side of Flagstaff. Dry gives way to pines as you rise to nearly 7,000 feet
around Flagstaff. Then things flatten out and dry out again heading east along I-40 beyond Flagstaff. I was doing 83 and everyone was passing me. What. A. Wus.
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Meteor Crater is just south of the freeway about 45 miles east of Flagstaff. We got there just before 5 and hoped they would still be open awhile. They were. The crater was created about 50,000 years ago - so no humans were around - by a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters in diameter. It was estimated to be travelling nearly 30,000 mph. The hole is 560 feet deep with a 148 foot high rim above the surrounding countryside. The crater is 3,900 feet wide.
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Visitor Center
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This thing is big.........
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Pretty flat around here. And, still no people to speak of.
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Say hullo to my little friend..................
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Quick 1/2 hour and 45 miles back to Flagstaff and a late dinner - handily just across the parking lot from the hotel. 12 hours is a long day.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 07:02 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:32 AM   #7
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Day 6: Flagstaff to Phoenix, AZ - 329 miles
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This day was always going to be tricky: From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, back down south through Sedona and then on to Phoenix. I wanted to take Hwy 89 north out of Flagstaff and come in to the Canyon from the east on Hwy 64 to see that part of the south rim for the first time. Alas, a fire had been burning and you couldn't trust the road closures. Didn't want to drive 75 miles just to get turned away and have to re-trace.
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So, up Hwy 180 out of Flagstaff through some very nice high altitude forests and merge with Hwy 64 to the Rim - 80 miles in all.

The weather is fantastic, the Rim is busy but not necessarily crowded. We reach Mather Point and park. A short hike brings you to this. Here ya go..................Mercy, sakes it's nice today!
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We repositioned the car down to the El Tovar lodge and went looking for lunch.

There's a train that comes up about 60 miles from Williams, AZ on I-40 west of Flagstaff. Kinda cool.
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Lunch at the historic El Tovar Lodge
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You can hike down into the canyon from here, go rim to rim if you want, get on a mule or just sightsee. It's 5,000 feet to the bottom.

The Bright Angel Trail is visible below, but you're still not at the river yet. Sheesh.
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You can travel 8 miles west along the rim to Hermit's Rest. Several stops. This time of year requires a shuttle, so off we go.

Powell's Point - Named for John Powell, the dude who explored the untamed Colorado River in 1869. With only one arm. Must've been wild. The views are stupendous - there are no words. You get the idea..........
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It was getting towards mid-afternoon (2:30) and we still had 230 miles to go, including Sedona. Gonna be a late arrival - again. One last friend.
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Blasted down Hwy 64 to I-40, east to Flagstaff (again), then south on Hwy 89A and began a very scenic, but curvy drive to Sedona. We were here 26 years ago - it's really grown. Mostly just time for some pictures as we drive through.

There's a nice overlook up by the airport. The rocks are magnificent.
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South of town at the Bell Rock Trailhead. The light is really cooperating. It's almost 6 o'clock.
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Final stop a little further down the road........
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And there's still over 100 miles to Phoenix. But today was totally worth it. Finally reached the hotel about 8PM. Luckily they had a restaurant. Not trading today for anything.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 04:10 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:33 AM   #8
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Day 7: Phoenix to Green Valley, AZ - 236 Miles
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Fairly easy day to Green Valley, where I have a cousin we had scheduled to see on our cancelled 2020 trip down here.

State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL - right next door to the hotel.
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Was able to grab breakfast with a couple of fraternity brothers at the Cracker Barrel. Good to catch up. Then 40 miles across Phoenix to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's western headquarters. Waited too long to get tour tickets, all sold out. Shit. Off we go.

The landscape has changed. And it's gonna get hot today - upper 90's.
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Going to make our way down the east side of I-10, staying off the freeway past Tucson.

Ran into the little farming community of Florence on the way
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Pinal County Courthouse
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Crossed I-10 heading west and found Saguaro National Park West to look at the big cactus. They're everywhere.
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40 miles later we are in Green Valley. Lot of retirees here. Not the hustle and bustle of Phoenix. And way cheaper to live.

Had some time before we met my cousin and her husband for dinner, so why not go see a Cold War missile silo?
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The Titan Missile Museum is all that remains of the 54 Titan II missile sites scattered around the United States during the Cold War and were in use between 1963 and 1987. Several 4-man crews were on alert around the clock for almost 25 years to launch nuclear armed warheads in case the Soviets got a little squirrely. If they were ever launched, it surely would have been the end of civilization as we know it. A truly facinating stop.
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Getting hot in the 'Zona sun. Man, I really need to get some tints done as soon as I get home.
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Off to dinner at a local golf club with the cous and hubby. This was through the window: alpenglow on Mt. Wrightson.
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Finally, an easier day tomorrow. So easy, I even get to be driven around.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-31-2022 at 12:39 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:34 AM   #9
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Day 8: Tubac, AZ - 85 miles (as a passenger)
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Went over to the cousin's house for a leisurely breakfast. Then meandered down to Tubac about 20 miles away - an artsy, shopping destination south of Green Valley. Went through a couple nice neighborhoods. Most houses are just landscaped with rocks and drought resistant plants. Still colorful.
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It seems like most of the stores looked like this
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Today is the midpoint of the trip and the farthest we'll be from home - 1,490 miles. It only took 2,255 miles to get here. This would be the shortest route home.
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Headed up to the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa for an early dinner. Part of the Kevin Costner movie Tin Cup was filmed here in 1995. Cool place.
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Just relaxed the rest of the evening and called it a night.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 01:45 PM..
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Day 9: Green Valley to Yuma, AZ - 296 Miles
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I originally wanted to head to Yuma by way of Hwy 86 west out of Tucson. The main goal was to drive up to Kitt Peak and tour the Kitt Peak Observatories. Alas, they were closed to tourists. So, on to Tucson for a quick noodle around.

Interesting building downtown (the blue one, no windows) and a picture of NBA great Bill Walton on a jackalope. Hmmmmmm.........don't know what he has to do with Tucson, don't know why he's on a mythical jackalope. But, there he is. Also the greatest center my Portland Trailblazers have ever had. And, he brought us our only NBA championship in 1977. If he wants to be riding a jackalope in downtown Tucson, well, more power to him.
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The University of Arizona is here. Wildcat Stadium.
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Interesting architecture for the dance theater on campus
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A couple of nice sorority houses. They didn't look like this at my university.
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From Tuscon, its up I-19 65 miles to I-8 west. Then, mostly nothing until Yuma, except the Space Age Lodge Best Western in Gila Bend.
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Pulled into Yuma around 5:00. Finally, a place that uses water and grows things. There's green stuff. Not much to show for my 296 miles today. Second day in a row with no car pics. Weird.
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Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 07:10 PM..
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Day 10: Yuma to San Diego, CA - 218 Miles
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Ran into a crew of guys and gals in the lobby of the hotel last night. They had tables and tables filled with laptops, maps and notebooks. We went out for dinner, drove around Yuma and came back. They were still there. Thought they might be surveyors. Couldn't stand it, so I went up and asked what they were so involved in. Turns out they were a 3-team crew getting ready to run a Baja rally - 1,500 miles down to the tip of Baja California at Cabo San Lucas. The details seemed immense.

Final prep today in the parking lot.
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New territory today - never even been remotely close to I-8 between Yuma and San Diego. Some parts are just a stone's throw to the Mexican border. The obligatory wind turbines. California has thousands of 'em.
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Arrived early in San Diego - we were staying in Old Town and the room wasn't ready. So we grabbed lunch on the street and walked around the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
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Grabbed the car again and headed over to the Mission Beach area. It's about as beach towny as you can possibly get.
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Then headed up the coast to the expensive enclave of La Jolla. La Jolla's got in going on.

The houses along the edge here run a cool 13 million on average. Property taxes are over $100,000 per year!! Who does this?
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So. Many. Bugs.
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Back to San Diego for a wedding party get-to-gether - about an hour to go 10 miles in the Friday afternoon traffic. It's crazy crowded here.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 02:00 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:37 AM   #12
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Day 11: San Diego - Wedding Day - 45 Miles
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The wedding wasn't until 5:15, so we thought we would go to the Birch Aqaurium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography back in La Jolla.
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Managed to get some colorful fish pics
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La Jolla
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Torrey Pines Golf Course is just up the road. Very nice. And, it's a muni.
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Back to San Diego for a fabulous wedding and dinner/party afterwards. Those youngins can really party. Mission Accomplished.

Hmmmm. No car pics, again. Gonna have to up my game tomorrow.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 04:16 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:38 AM   #13
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Day 12: San Diego to Valencia, CA - 227 Miles
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The family was hanging around the hotel for brunch, so we had the morning to noodle around the waterfront. About the only time there wasn't traffic.

Toured the USS Midway a few years ago. Now, that's a big boat. Just over 1,000 feet long. Commissioned in 1945 and served until the Gulf War in 1991.
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Statue of famous 1945 VJ Day sailor kiss. Pretty realistic.
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Marina in front of the Hyatt
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Cruise ship coming up Broadway
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Dwarfed by the skyscrapers
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Petco Field - Home of the San Diego Padres of MLB
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Ran into a really colorful street. Actually had to wait my turn while a guy in his Lexus took pictures. Couple of dorks we are.
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Cruised through the Gaslamp Quarter and headed back to the hotel for brunch and good-byes. On the road by 1 PM for Valencia. I wasn't going to screw with LA traffic on a nice Sunday - did that in 2019 when I also left San Diego at 1 PM to drive my first M5 home. Took over 4 hours to get through Los Angeles. Blech.

So we headed inland up I-15 to San Bernadino. What an awesome drive. Fast, and very little traffic. And scenic. The traffic was all on the 10, but didn't have to mess with it too long, as we soon split off on the 210 that skirts the San Gabriel Mountains. There are several roads up there I need to drive. With time being short, I was able to choose Little Tujunga Canyon Road for a few miles of fun. It peels off north from the 210 near Shadow Hills. You get about 15 miles of twisties. Lots of climbing and tight turns. This is where I really miss the M5. Several bikes and fun little cars up here.
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We used to come to Valencia for three day weekends when my son was younger - fly into Burbank Airport and 6 Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park is only 24 miles away. Lots of coaster fun. This is X2 - a real wacky one. Good times. Eventually got the wife in the front seat, hands up on the big coasters.
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The local Chevron was kind enough to provide tonight's dessert. We went for the cupcakes.
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Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 07:15 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:39 AM   #14
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Day 13: Valencia to Marina, CA - 354 Miles
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Remnants of 6 foot social distancing in a small elevator. Love the direction of the feet. Yeah, that'll work. The door is in the lower right.
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Really looking forward to today. Hwy 1. Big Sur, baby!! Third time in 7 years.

Headed out to Ventura on Hwy 126, then up to Santa Barbara for a quick look. Been there, done that during the 6 Flags trips. 1st stop is Morro Bay and the big rock. Couldn't really photograph the big rock, but it looks like this from the air.
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450 foot towers of the natural gas powerplant
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From here you finally reach the coast and a glorious 145 mile stretch of road to Carmel-by the-Sea. I hit this section in 2019 at about 8 PM with the new M5 and had no one, not one car, in front of me for at least 100 miles. I was still getting familiar with the car, driving fast and not looking at what was going by outside the windows. Today will be a little more leisurely. This is clearly one of the finest stretches of road in all of America, if not the world.

Near Hearst Castle
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If you get the chance, Hearst Castle is a very worthwile place to visit. All this, just for selling lots of newspapers.
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Found a few elephant seals at a vista called, oddly enough, Elephant Seal Vista Point
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Big Sur Lookout
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Willow Creek Beach
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This was at a place called Wild Flowers in May. I think it's just someone's hillside by the road. The camera just could not capture all the color.
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Just below the Mill Creek Picnic Area before the road gets steeper and windier.
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Looking at Big Creek Bridge in the distance.
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There's a whole bunch more to see, but now it was getting near 3 o'clock and we hadn't stopped for lunch yet. The place we were trying for was still a ways up the road and usually has a long wait. We pushed on.

Finally reached Nepenthe Restaurant. It's perched on a hill overlooking the ocean with indoor and outdoor seating. Limited menu, expensive, and worth every penny. Although busy, we were seated in under 15 minutes.

A couple pics while waiting
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Lunch with a view.................
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The road turns inland here for about 10 miles and then emerges again on the coast. Within minutes you are at one of the most iconic California Coast scenes.

The Bixby Bridge...............just jaw dropping scenery. And one of the most photographed bridges in California.
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Somewhere along the way in here, I think, this occurred in January 2021. The road is continuously filled with construction projects because it keeps falling into the ocean. Usually after big rain storms.
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Short stop in Carmel - the wind was gusting about 60 mph. Kind of annoying.
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Then ya pay $11.25 for the privilege of driving 17 miles around the peninsula. Ok, you can see Pebble Beach, a bunch of cool (really, really expensive) houses and some nice shoreline.
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Skirted thru the lovely seaside town of Monterey, buzzed up to Marina 10 miles away and called it a day. Yeah, that's how its done.
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Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-28-2022 at 08:48 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:40 AM   #15
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Day 14: Marina to Eureka, CA - 403 Miles
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We decided to continue following the coast on Hwy 1 to San Francisco. Some day I will go up the middle of the peninsula and see Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park and all the rest again. It's been many, many years. Just didn't feel like hassling the traffic.

First stop is a slow meander along the shoreline south of Santa Cruz, eventually arriving at their famous boardwalk. Rode coasters here as a kid.
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Past Half Moon Bay to a stop at Pescadero Beach. Still extremely windy. You are sandblasted if you get out of the car.
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Stopped for a snack - thought this looked cool.
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We were just going to follow the western edge of the peninsula until you have to turn east and then get on the 101 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. That didn't happen and we came inland sooner, smack dab in San Francisco. . Ended up in the Twin Peaks neighborhood, an area of lovely houses that neither of us had ever been in. And my wife even lived in San Francisco for a year after college. Nice weather, nicer view.
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Made our way over the bridge and stopped at the viewpoint. The best viewpoint is on the other side of the 101 and way up a hill. Next time.
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San Francisco
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Haven't been to an In-N-Out in a while. Pretty good.
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Outside of Santa Rosa, the 101 turns into a delightful highway - and very scenic. Hadn't been through this section in years.

Went through the town of Ukiah. We have one in Oregon. Turns out it was named after this one.
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Had to stop and get a good front picture of the historic Benbow Inn. Been through here many times, even stayed here, never got a good picture.
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Cool arched bridge in the backyard
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Just a little further north you get the option of staying on the 101, or detouring off onto the Avenue of the Giants. It's always gotta be Avenue of the Giants. The road narrows, your speed is cut in half and suddenly you are door handle to bark with 1,000 year old Redwoods. Truly magnificent trees.

The little town of Miranda provided a nice backdrop.
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You can travel about 30 miles on the Avenue, lots of turnouts and places to stop.The trees grow absolutely right on the edge of the road. Watch those mirrors.
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Well worth the extra time. Our third trip through the Avenue in 7 years. Eureka is just up the road. One day left.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 03:02 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 09:41 AM   #16
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Day 15: Eureka to Portland, OR - 422 Miles
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Heading home the fastest possible route, but we're not done yet. First off, gotta get mugged at the gas station for the largest gas bill of my life. Thanks, Joe. Guess this seems cheap now, less than a month later.
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Not many chances for pictures. A rest area is nestled in among the redwoods.
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Hwy 101 is very scenic along the coast. Several Elk herds are passed, the forests are lush and green. A few miles before Crecent City you come upon Trees of Mystery. It's a great family owned (since 1946) labor of love roadside attraction full of giant Redwoods and unusual tree formations. A must stop.
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At Crescent City we turn inland on Hwy 199 - the Redwood Highway. Another marvelous 50 mile stretch of road with elk, forests and rivers. Traffic is heavy, so the foot isn't. Rats.

We reach I-5 at Grants Pass, OR and now its just 260 miles home of freeway driving. The good news is that the first 150 miles are quite varied and scenic before
you reach Eugene. You'll have to take my word for it - alas, no pictures.

Home about 6 PM after picking up the dog in Salem. Then got most of the bugs off the car - it's going in for summer tires tomorrow at 9AM. Gots to be clean.
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10 AM the next day - SUMMERS ON!!! Now I can see what this car can really do with a decent, low profile, road tire. I just know it will handle a lot better. Edit: It does.
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Another great BMW road trip in the books. The next trip might come in at only 10 pictures, however, 'cuz the wifey, patient as she is, is catching on to me. We'll see.

Two potential late summer trips are either back to Colorado or up to Banff, Jasper in the Canadian Rockies and then all the way over to Prince Rupert on the Pacific to take the ferry back down to Vancouver Island, then over to Whistler. Both would be a blast.

While I was very sad to let my M5C go (it's sorely missed when you want to get rowdy on curvey 2 lane roads) I have to admit that I am really enjoying the M850. Sure, it's not a complete brute, but it can totally get the job done. If I had to describe it in only one word, I would choose Smooth. Now that I have the summers back on, even if they are the Pirelli runflats, I'm having a blast tooling around town. Just quiet and fun. Now, about those Alpina B8s.................

My only negative is that I was getting ready to store the winters and noticed that each tire had the inside inch of rubber worn way down. Identical treadwear on all four. Sure sounds like a camber problem. Brand new car and BMW won't pay for it because it has to be brought in by the first 2,000 miles. Really? I was kinda busy that week. And, the next.

Thanks for following along and we'll see ya out there.

Last edited by snowbimmer; 05-27-2022 at 10:42 PM..
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      05-27-2022, 03:02 PM   #17
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Wow I'm seriously envious of that trip. Your so lucky. Your two beautiful ladies with you. Must have been a grand trip.
Thanks for posting it was interesting to say the least. You've made me think now. Where to go in Canada now?
I've found my m8gc to get pretty decent mileage on the highway if I take it reasonably.
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      05-27-2022, 04:04 PM   #18

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Just Wow.

I wish I had the time, and energy to do this.
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      05-27-2022, 05:30 PM   #19
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Great post tons of cool pics! Heck I wasn't very far from you a couple of times you were in the valley!! lol
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      05-27-2022, 09:39 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by M8Bimmer View Post
Wow I'm seriously envious of that trip. Your so lucky. Your two beautiful ladies with you. Must have been a grand trip.
Thanks for posting it was interesting to say the least. You've made me think now. Where to go in Canada now?
I've found my m8gc to get pretty decent mileage on the highway if I take it reasonably.
Thank you - it was a grand trip. Now, as to Canada. I always thought a circumnavigation of Lake Superior would be fun. I circled Lake Michigan a few years back - great time.

Anyplace in the maritime provinces. Halifax comes to mind. Still on my bucket list. And, from here.

My M5s gave me 24 mpg on long trips.
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      05-28-2022, 06:55 AM   #21
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Great read. Thank you! Great putting pic of you and wife in. Putting face with story. Will be reading your other articles.
You should post in Roundel. Own any other marks?
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      05-28-2022, 07:40 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by snowbimmer View Post
Thank you - it was a grand trip. Now, as to Canada.
Go to Vancouver and take the Fraser Canyon to Cache Creek. Then to Pemberton and Whistler and back to Vancouver. I shall find a pic. This is a short haul in comparison to your regular trips.
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