We got lucky enough to have time to stop at Mount Rushmore on the way from San Francisco to North Dakota. It seems like so far, every time we see a national landmark it’s in inclement weather! When we saw the Grand Canyon it was snowing all blizzard-like, and it was chilly drizzly for Mount Rushmore. But it was still very neat. I’m pretty sure we were the first visitors that morning, we woke up early so we could have time to see it and then get on the road. I sprinkled some of my brother’s ashes there.
It smelled SO good here to me after all those months in the city!
Today would’ve been his 32nd birthday.
I also spread some ashes at the Salt Flats in Utah. And in wide open Wyoming.
I think he would like that. Happy Birthday Adam. I miss you so much.
On more recent things, Charlie and I have been taking walks through Hillsboro. I’m so proud of her for being well-behaved in public! Usually we just take walks in the campground and she occasionally goes to the pet store to get her nails done, but we rarely walk through actual neighborhoods with sidewalks and what not. I felt like a mom taking her baby to a restaurant for the first time. I was so scared she was going to act like a wild banshee! But she acted like a lady and had some manners so I’m very proud!
Little Charlie all tuckered out
Last night’s dinner was DIY shake n bake chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes. Yum!
Here’s the shake n bake concoction I used:
1 cup Italian bread crumbs,
1/2 cup panko,
1/2 tbs salt,
1/2 tbs onion powder,
1 1/2 tsp paprika,
1 tsp sugar,
1/2 tsp garlic powder,
1/2 tsp black pepper,
1/4 tsp cayenne,
1/4 tsp basil,
1/4 tsp oregano,
1/4 tsp parsley,
1/8 cup vegetable oil.
Just shake. Then bake! This makes enough to coat more than 4 chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces. (I did 375 in my convection oven for about 35 minutes for two breasts and they came out juicy and delicious!)
The Bonneville Salt Flats are the first indication you’ve gotten out of Nevada and into Utah. You crest a hill, or mountain, and all of a sudden the landscape looks way different. There’s a bunch of water reflecting the sky and it flattens out a ton. At first it made me think of Louisiana, how it’s AT sea level so you drive through areas that are swampy and wet right next to the highway. Only this isn’t swampy. It’s more like dried salty sand so it’s hard and not squishy. We stopped at the first rest stop and took some pictures. The Bonneville Salt Flats are where the land speed records have been set. From what I read, it’s ten miles long and you can’t see the other end because of the curvature of the earth. It’s really something to see.
I also read that the whole thing used to be a lake. Lake Bonneville. It was a mostly freshwater lake and it eventually got so high that it all started to drain out, ending with only what is now the Great Salt Lake. The water evaporated and left the little bits of salt behind and now every year lots of salt flows into the Great Salt Lake from the soil and what not. The lake is 12% salinity, much saltier than the ocean and fish can’t live in it. There are brine shrimp that are harvested for fish food and brine flies that are obnoxious to people. Also because of the high salinity, people float really easily.
After the salt flats and the lake we went through or around Salt Lake City. Once we passed that we came into this huge valley with farms and ranches and a couple towns. It was the most beautiful part of the country I’ve seen yet. I kinda want to trade my Texas ranch idea for a Utah ranch!
Shortly after that we came upon a “viewing area” and I convinced Allen to stop. We took a couple of pictures and let Charlie out. While we were there the camper and truck got full of those brine flies I mentioned earlier! It was entertainment for Charlie at least! She’s a fly catcher. Have you heard that commercial, “happy cows live in California” or something like that?? Lies I tell you! Happy cows live in Wyoming! This state is just wide open, unincorporated, natural goodness. Wikipedia says it’s the least populated state in the country and the government owns almost half of the land. We kept seeing these weird looking fences along the highway. I always expect Allen to know the answer to all my wonderings, but he told me to google it after about the third time I asked what they could be for. They’re snow fences. They keep the snow from drifting onto the highway. Good to know!
We stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a KOA for the night. I reheated some gumbo and made some rice while we swatted a ton of brine flies then we hit the sack.
Friday when we got on the road the truck said we had 40% oil life and 40% oil filter life left. Then yesterday the filter all of a sudden dropped to zero and we were getting messages on the dash. So once we get to South Dakota we will have to get it in the shop and checked out. We are aiming for Hermosa, South Dakota today. It’s close to Mount Rushmore so I’m
excited to see that!
And, Allen made us bacon and eggs for breakfast AND did the dishes! I love him!