Sunday, November 23, 2008

Southern Missouri

November 21, 2008
Today’s drive consisted of 3 hours of classic minor roads in Missouri to Alley Spring. It has changed since Mary and I were here in the early 70’s. Back then, we stayed literally at the spring. Today, I am on the other side of the Jacks Fork River and across 106 from the spring. Still, there is lots more room and I have the place to myself.

November 22, 2008
Today we toured Alley Spring, Big Spring, Blue Spring (1/2 mile hike in) and Round Spring.

I had been of the belief based on information from many years ago that the water in the springs was thousands of years old. They have now identified many of the sources. Infiltration in karst topography feeds to the ground water system, which emerges at the springs. Time in the ground can be as little as 17 days, and can be from 40 miles away. Therefore, the springs cannot be relied upon as pure, because they are dependent upon the inflow water quality. The water moves too fast for in-ground filtration and purification.
Oh well…
We camped first at Alley Spring, then at Round Spring.

The thing about this area that impresses me most is the number of, and size of, the springs. I visited five - Alley Spring, Big Spring, Blue Spring, Maramec Spring and Round Spring. Each have something unique about them.
Round Spring is the least volume of the five. It seems to emerge from the base of a cliff with a small overhang.

The overhang is actually an arch or bridge. Just beyond it is a sinkhole that lets you look straight down into the spring and is round, thus the name.

Both Alley Spring and Blue Spring ruun at about 87 million gallons per day. At Alley Spring, that flow was used to run a mill.

I had to hike half a mile to get to this one. I have been paying for it with ankle pain since, but it was worth it. Blue Spring gets its deep blue color from its depth (over 300 feet) and the clarity of the water. It is said to be the most beautiful of the Ozark springs. Within my experience, I would agree. I remember seeing it as kid, summer, with the sun overhead and shining deep into the pool, not hiding behind the cliff like in these photos. It was spectacular.

Big Spring boils out of the ground at a rate of up to 840 million gallons per day. It is a river. The violence of the upwelling is a bit intimidating as one stands at the edge.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


November 9, 2008
I left at about 7 after topping up my fresh water tank. I drove past Lassen National Volcanic Park but, as Route 89 was closed due to snow, did not go through the park. (89 from Lassen to Shasta is a route I REALLY want to drive some day).

Shortly after departing Lassen, to the north, 130 miles away, standing above all other features, I saw Shasta for the first time. How magnificent! Pure white, classic shape, towering above all around it, it was breathtaking.

I traveled west to I-5, then I-5 north to Medford, OR. Along the way, I got gas, went through my first weigh station (no, I don’t know what I weighed) and drove past Shasta. I am DEFINITELY returning to that area.
I pulled into a WalMart lot in Medford, where I bought various supplies and spent the night. Tomorrow, Vehicle Specialty for a recliner…

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Into the Sierras...

November 8, 2008
As is normal, I did a terrible job on my omelet. I need a pan that my food won’t stick to.

On the road at 6:30 AM (still functioning on NJ time). I drove along the eastern Sierras, briefly into Nevada, then to Lake Tahoe. Lovely spot. Cross country from there to the Lassen area. Lunch at the Donner camp. I found an open RV park at Canyondam, and pulled in at around 2:15. For a level place to sleep, no view, $30. I could have pushed on looking for a free site, but I am tired, so it is time to stop.

I found the southern Tahoe area to be too commercial-touristy for my tastes, but as I moved north along the westerly shore, it became VERY nice.

This is another area where I want to spend lots more time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's In A Name...

November 6, 2008
I am now the owner of a new, silver-grey 27’ Midbath. I have gotten my orientation, which I thought was excellent.
What’s in a name? My dream is to travel, to explore, to go where I wish. The name I have chosen is “Enterprise”. My TOAD will be Galileo. For non-Star Trek fans, that is the name of one of the shuttlecraft carried by the Starship Enterprise.
I “christen” my LD the Landship Enterprise. Our continuing mission will be to boldly go forth to seek out new places, new vistas, to boldly go where we have not been before.
After a bit of packing away things that I had shipped, I embarked on our maiden voyage at 12:30, heading for Ridgecrest, CA, and the TireMan. I filled with gas and propane with about 50 miles on the odometer. I had so many things spinning through my head that I did not note the exact mileage.
About 15 minutes after leaving, I was in heavy traffic on a multi-lane freeway, heading up into the mountains out of the LA valley. Then, the motorist information signs on the side of the road begin flashing, warning of high wind gusts. Shortly thereafter, I began to notice other vehicles drifting around in their lanes, and I felt the gusts. Controllability was very good, and I had no difficulties.

The route took me through part of the Mojave Desert.

The Mojave has a beauty that is unusual for me. I am drawn to mountains, to lush forests and waterfalls, yet I found myself drawn by the vistas in front of me. I will be back, to explore this area more fully, rather than just passing through.

The remainder of the trip was uneventful, and I pulled into the driveway of the TireMan at about 4:30 PM