Tractors Across The USA – Aug 20th to Aug 28th 2009

Day 55:   August 20  COLORADO  (Tractors)

On the 20th the three 9G’s which had been taking part in the activities at Loveland departed for the crossing of the Rockies.

At this point in time we would like to acknowledge and thank those at the Oregon Trails Conference who took the time to give considered advice and information on the best route for the tractors to take across the Rockies.  The chosen route was 14/40 that being the Cameron Pass.  Be assured you were right, we crossed without any issues and enjoyed some of the most magnificent scenery.

During the first part of the day we travelled almost parallel to the Poudre River watching many folk fishing and enjoying the surrounds.  At the highest peak during the day we were at 10276ft above sea level.  The roads were very well maintained and offered pull overs allowing for passing so regularly that there was never a problem with us being a little slower than normal road users.

During the day we enjoyed breaks at the towns of Hebron and Waldon – the latter allowing for a little shopping time and a special purchase by Anne.  We made other stops along the way to enjoy some very special waterways and sights – this country continues to offer spectacular scenery each day.

Our final decent of the day was a 7mile, 7% grade down the western side of the Rockies in to the ski resort of Steamboat Springs on the Yampa River.   What a truly wonderful sight that was and we have all agreed that it would be great to be able to come back and see it in the snow season.

As it was Dick’s 70th Birthday we planned to help him celebrate, so decided what better place to do that than Steamboat Springs.  We took a stroll in the main area of the town and stopped at the Steamboat Yacht Club situated on the banks of the Yampa River to toast Dick’s special day.  Having been asked our reason for being in the town and explaining our ‘trek’ across the USA we were invited to park our tractors and trailers on the lawn adjoining the Yacht Club.  Once parked we all cleaned up and returned inside the Club for a beautiful dinner together.  We thank the owners and staff for their contribution to a very special night.

Dick's Birthday Celebration

Dick’s Birthday Celebration

Day 56:    August 21   COLORADO TO UTAH

At 7am we departed Steamboat Springs to continue our journey west towards Salt Lake City.  Most of the day we have enjoyed rolling prairie lands with a wonderful backdrop of ever intriguing mountains.  We have passed through coal mining areas, sage bush covered fields and various crops – even a little bit more corn.  An observation by the group was the amount of equipment related to the production and recovery of oil and gas in the area. Today was also a day for seeing wildlife.  Prior to crossing the border of Colorado and Utah we visited an information centre at Dinosaur.  Here we enjoyed a film on the finding of Dinosaur fossils in the area which we all found very interesting.  Each day we seem to learn something new in this great land.

Once we crossed the border we drove on to the City of Vernal which was a site to behold – baskets of cerise & white petunias on both sides of the street (some 2 miles or so long) as well as adorning many, many buildings along the way.  This theme continued through the following town of Roosevelt.  Whilst we have seen similar baskets at many points during our travels we have never seen anything quite like this.

It was decided that we would continue on to Myton where we planned to spend the night at an RV park but before we reached the park we were approached by a local couple – Kelly and BJ Braithwaite – they very kindly offered us accommodation on their property.  We have 150miles to do to take us in to Salt Lake City where we anticipate arriving around mid afternoon tomorrow.

Day 57:   August 23

The tractors continued on Highway 40 towards Salt Lake City.

The countryside yet again offered great sights across the lush farming lands.  The Strawberry River lead us to Starvation Reservoir – a name that seems to contradict this land that has so much to offer.  After enjoying the view and taking a few photos our travels continued.

The view then returned to pines and mountains.  At 7000ft we came across another large reservoir providing all sorts of boating and water activities for the many folk there.  We continued our climb up the mountain to 8020ft then enjoyed a very long down grade at 6%.  Lunch was taken at Heber City then it was on to Highway 189 into Provo Canyon, part of Deer Creek State Park.   During this section there was yet another sight to behold – Strawberry Reservoir where there were resorts and accommodation of all types; beaches and boating beyond belief with a backdrop of snow tipped mountains.  There were so many folk enjoying the facilities that vehicles towing boats were lined up to access the various launching ramps.  From here the 3 9g’s with trailers in tow began the ascent up Alpine Pass to the summit at 8060ft.  We can only repeat ourselves at this point and say the sights were incredible and our 9g’s did us proud.  A break was taken at the 16 mile level on the decent where we chatted with some campers before continuing on to the bottom of the mountain.  We then rolled on into Salt Lake City where we were reunited with the other 2 9g’s, so now we are a group of 5 tractors once again.

Day 58:  August 23

The day was under way for everyone around 7am.  A number of our Ladies took the opportunity to go to Temple Square to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform.  In the words of the Ladies – “what a beautiful experience to have been able to see this performance”.   They also had the opportunity to visit the roof top gardens above the Conservatorium and view where the Church services are held in the winter months in the Temple Area.

After taking in the sights around the City and doing a bit of last minute provisioning, our ‘tractor train’ departed the area to begin the next leg of our journey toward the canyons and Las Vegas.

The route taken was Highway 89 through fairly built up areas for approximately 60 miles. Fairview was our chosen destination where we were fortunate enough to be given the permission of the Bishop to set up our tractors and campers in the car park adjoining the church.   The car park was large enough to be able to form a circle enabling us to set up our tables and chairs and all contribute to our evening meal.  Quite a few local residents came to see us and topped up our shared meal with corn, rock melon and watermelon.  As the evening went on the group enjoyed a visit from Geoff, Hannah and their two children with lots of chatter about their work – concrete flooring and foundations – and the trials and tribulations of carrying out this sort of work during the winter months.

Day 59:  August 24

Before our departure at 8.00am we were pleased to once again see Geoff arrive, this time laden with his company T shirts for the group.

Geoff – CALDWELL CONCRETE COMPANY – we wish you and your family well in the future and thank you for your generosity and interesting information.

Once back on Highway 89, we continued through Mt Pleasant, Ephraim and Manti on to highway 24 then off road for approximately 12miles leading us to Highway 62.  This took us through Otter Creek on to the very scenic Highway 22.  Highway 22 then lead us through a winding path between mountains, then desert terrain punctuated by irrigated lucerne paddocks and green grazing land full of very contented looking cows.

We arrived at Bryce Canyon at around 5pm to a huge RV park nestled in the pines where we all settled in and began preparing for the sightseeing that awaits us here.

Day 60:  August 25

This day saw the whole group take advantage of the shuttle service provided in Bryce Canyon by going to many beautiful lookouts.  Neville and Peter were our hikers doing a hike of the rim – approximately 1.5 hours.  We regrouped at 3pm ready to head out of the canyon and on towards Cedar City.  Much to our amazement, whilst we had all enjoyed our time in Bryce Canyon, our departure took us through Red Canyon and it would have to be said that this too was spectacular.
Our chosen route was Highway 12 – followed by Highways 89 and 14 – with a summit of 7777ft above sea level and a touch of unsealed road just to keep us happy.  On this route we entered Dixie National Forest.  As we travelled along this scenic path, climbing steadily to 9800ft we watched yet another large thunder storm form in the distance.  Around 40 miles from Cedar City at Scout Canyon, some 9960 ft above sea level, we set up a bush camp and enjoyed an evening around a camp fire.

Day 61:  August 26

We left our camp site at 7.05am passing through Duck Creek Village which took our interest with the whole village being made up of log cabin type buildings.

Highway 14 is advertised as a Scenic Bypass and we all agreed with this wholeheartedly – it was beautiful. The grades over the mountains varied between 4 & 8%.  Along the way we came across miles of volcanic rock areas which changed the scenery markedly. At the edge of this site was Navajo Lake which was the crater of the volcano and fed into Duck Creek. We arrived in Cedar City at 9.30am ready to do Banking, get some computer information and do some general provisioning.

At 12.30pm we departed Cedar City on US56 to make our way towards Las Vegas. The first part of this run took us through open plains then up though a lovely mountain pass again.  At 3.15pm we stopped at the border of Utah and Nevada (photo time) then continued on Highway 319.  We took a break at the small town of Panaca just on 3.30pm when the local school students had just finished their day.  We were a real attraction to them and had some pleasant conversations about our ‘trek’ and Australia.  Some of them also took the opportunity to get cameras and take photos of the tractors.

Continuing on Highway 93 we enjoyed a lovely steady climb which took us to approximately 7000ft then began the decent which brought us another site to behold – cactus as far as the eye could see.

Each day brings such great new sights. Today was also another day of wildlife sightings.

After the cactus was a stretch of desert plain and grass land.  At the end of this we came to the intersection of Highway 93 and 318 where a local gentleman at Cedar City told us of a tree lined camping area – we found it, his advice was very good.

We are now ready for our run into Las Vegas tomorrow.

Day 62:  August 27

Our five 9gs rolled out of our overnight campsite at 7.05am heading through the Pahranagat Valley – an area of green pastures and many cattle.

Now being in the Arizona desert – real desert – it began to warm up and warm up it did!!  At this point we all expressed our sentiments that we are so thankful that so many folk along the way have told us what a mild summer it has been.  The mildness has certainly made our travels so much easier – thanks USA!

As we turned into Highway 168 we were intrigued by the infrastructure on our left, this turned out to be a new town/city being established – Coyote Springs.  Streets were in place, as well as water supplies established, underground power and sewer ready for use, a golf course was already built (what would be the priorities when building a new town!) and there was a massive nursery centre full of many thousands of plants and trees ready to be placed around the development as it is takes shape.  No doubt we imagine that within a couple of years this town will have the appearance of having been established for many years.

During our travels today two of the tractors had flat tyres almost at the same time – one large back tyre and one front tyre.  Good fortune shone on us though because both were at a very large road house.  Given that it was estimated by staff that it was 130+ degrees outside those not involved in the changing and repairing of the tyres of course had the pleasure of the air conditioning inside the road house.  Speaking of the changing and repairing of the tyres, again there were many hands, not only the tractor owners but the locals who came from all corners.  We thank everyone for their assistance.  It wasn’t too long before our tractor train was on the road again.

On the path taken we had the good fortune of passing through the Valley of Fire in the Lake Mead National Park.  This was not really an area that any of us had researched or basically knew much about but yet again we can only say it was beautiful.  As hot as the day was what a wonderful site it was to behold.  In the park we called into Echo Bay where some of the party took the opportunity to have a cooling, refreshing dip in the lake, we then continued on in to a campsite at Callville Bay.  Both of these bays were on the lake’s edge and are very tourist orientated with house boats obviously being a preferred mode of accommodation in the area, there were a very large number of them for hire.

The day was hot and the same can only be said for the night!!!

 Day 63:  August 28

We were all up bright and early to do the last 30miles into Las Vegas – partly because we were well aware that ‘another hot one’ was on the way.

We arrived at Vegas around 8.30am having taken a break on the way and checked into the Circus Circus camp grounds.  Even the camp ground staff were giving us warnings about the anticipated heat – some 106/108 degrees for the next few days and so far we know they were not joking!

Some of the group are planning tours of Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam etc while here, whilst others will take in the local sights and sounds.

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