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Oregon Trail 2010

A week from this evening, we hope to be in a hotel somewhere in Ohio, our first day’s drive behind us. We’re aiming straight for St Louis on I-78 & I-70 to follow (if only for a while) portions of the original Oregon Trail.

(missing picture)

Rather than banking north on the west side of Missouri, we will continue straight for Denver. Only then will we head north, picking up I-80 to take us through Wyoming and on down past Salt Lake City.

I’m excited about the next bit, which will take us on the only stretch of I-80 we’ve never been on: Salt Lake City to San Francisco. As well as allowing us to complete our first full traverse of a bi-coastal interstate highway (10 and 90 are the only others), this route will also take us across a remarkable geologic phenomenon in Nevada called the Basin & Range. It is so called because the particular manner in which Navada is ripping apart causes the crust to break up into long strips which then tip and topple, forming row after row of basins divided by long ranges. They resemble the crests of a windswept sand dune, but on a completely different scale. Geology repeats itself, because, as I understand it (i.e. barely at all), what’s happening right now in Nevada happened in New Jersey perhaps a quarter of a billion years ago: Africa and North America pulled apart, leaving the newly formed Appalachians on one side, and the newly formed Atlas Mountains on the other. Geology repeats itself.


We will spend a few wine-soaked days in the Bay Area, and finally sprint north on I-5 for Portland and our final destination of Warrenton. No strategy survives the battlefield, so while the route is almost certainly going to look more or less exactly like this . . .

(missing picture)

. . . it’s anyone’s guess how long exactly the trip will take.

(A loaded Econoline × no cruise control × our exhaustion level) ÷ (the pure adrenaline rush of being on the road × the excitement of starting our new life) = X

Ten days, maybe?