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Unread 05-23-2007, 09:56 AM
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Default Our Trip West

On Tuesday we began our annual spring trek from Austin to Reno. As we headed northwest from Austin through the beautiful Texas Hill Country, we were greeted by a beautiful display of colorful wild flowers that had benefited from the the thunderstorms from the night before.

Before long we were in the area patrolled by the U.S. Second Cavalry in the mid to late 1850's. The officers of this elite unit were selected by then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. They included many men who would become full generals in the next decade during the Civil War. Among them were Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and George Thomas. They were led by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Sidney_Johnston

The job of the Second Cavalry was to protect the frontier settlers against raids by the Comanches, probably the toughest of all Indian tribes in North America. They were so feared that they drove the Apache's into the desert mountains to the west. The Comanches had long traveled a set of trails from what is now Oklahoma to Mexico. The forts and camps of the Second were established along and near this traditional route of the Comanches. At this time the Comanches were still a very powerful force. They still raided as far east as 20 miles west of the Texas state capital of Austin. That would put them at about my house, which is located about a mile from Lake Travis (then part of the Colorado River).

Today we head for Apache country and the mountains of north central Arizona.
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Unread 05-23-2007, 09:30 PM
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Default 2nd Day Out

On our "short" day of the three day drive we came through the historic homes of the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi tribes. The four corners area, where the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet is a great area to explore. Our trek today took us through Petrified Forest National Park. We ended the day in the mountains of northern Arizona in the Flagstaff and Sedona area. It present a stark contrast to the Senora desert part of Arizona (e.g. the Phoenix area).

Tomorrow we head north and west, crossing over the other Colorado River east of the Grand Canyon at the southern edge of Lake Powell/Glen Canyon. We'll split the difference between two great but not-so-well know National Parks of Zion and Bryce, The Arches NP, another great place to visit is north of our route. From there we will hit some mining towns in eastern Nevada; pick up the Loneliest Road to America and on to Reno.
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Last edited by KG_Jag; 05-25-2007 at 02:56 PM..
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Unread 05-25-2007, 03:32 PM
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Default 3rd and Last Day

We drove into our Reno driveway with 1,863 miles on the odometer.

The drive between Flagstaff, AZ and Cedar City Utah is striking. Red and even pink & coral sandstone cliffs are there to be seen. There are jump off points for both the south and less well traveled north rims of the Grand Canyon, and farther north to Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks. Mountain views, mule deer, mountain creek with small falls and rapids were all displayed on the state highway into Cedar City, which is also known for its annual Shakespeare Festival.

We next headed into SE Nevada, driving through some old mining towns. From there we headed north and were able to see Mount Wheeler of Great Basin National Park, located in east central Nevada, just across the Utah line.

The next part of our trip was along U.S. 50--the Loneliest Road in America and the route on which I almost ran into a herd of wild horses about a decade ago. It was night and I came around a hairpin mountain pass turn and just missed a white stallion by inches! It was a good outcome for both of us. The mountains around Ely and Eureka are scenic and the mountains passes are as high as 7,607 feet. Last year at this time we ran into snow flurries in Ely and Eureka, and were concerned about ice in the passes. The road continues east through the old mining town of Austin, Nevada, named after our Austin.

Our trek neared its end in the dark, as well tracked the Truckee River, which flows out of Lake Tahoe and runs east (this is the Great Basin) through Reno and then into Pyramid Lake, which is both large (about the same size as Tahoe--but not as deep) and located on an Indian reservation NE of Reno. Rob will undoubtedly be driving by the lake in early September on his way to the Burning Man Festival, which is held in Black Rock Desert.

This Memorial Day weekend we will recover. We will also be flying our flag and thinking of our troops and sailors of now and in the past--men and woman who helped create this great country that we just traveled and who have kept her from harm.
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