Oregon to NY/PA/OH TSE trip

Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 11:32 AM
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Oregon to NY/PA/OH TSE trip

Before I forget some of the interesting details I'll start this Trip Report.. On Tuesday 4/2/24 I left home (Crescent Oregon) and drove over Oregon 31 and Oregon 140 into Nevada. By the time I got to Denio Junction NV (US 95) I knew I didn't have enough gas to make it to Winnemucca. I got $20 worth at the station in Denio Jct. at $5.699/gallon. I filled up in Winnemucca at $4.399. I then went to a BBQ joint called "The Pig" and had a good pulled pork sandwich (with coleslaw) and a beer. I still had over an hour until the California Zephyr came in. The train came in about 7 minutes late. I got to sit in the lower level back seat with room to put my bags behind the seat instead of lifting above my head.

The trip across the Nevada desert and the Utah salt flat was uneventful and I got some sleep until we reached SLC. We picked up a few passengers in the darkness of SLC and then went onward. While I was in the bathroom before we got to Green River a young woman had a seizure. The conductor called ahead for an ambulance at Green River. We had a 30-40 minute delay at Green River while the EMT's convinced her to leave the train and go to a hospital. We also picked up a down on his luck man whose car broke down in rural Utah (and his dog). I gave up my back seat to him and his dog. We had a beautiful trip up through the Ruby Canyon before getting to Grand Junction Colorado. Grand Junction is a refuel stop so many of us had the time to get off and make a purchase at the little store where you can get things that are not available on the train. I got a drumstick ice cream cone.

The next stop was Glenwood Springs where we were only about 40 minutes late. Next stop was Winter Park/Fraser where we had a break with snow next to the platform. Southeast of Winter Park ski resort, we went through a bunch of tunnels and then around a bunch of long switchbacks to get down to the elevation of Denver. Somewhere east of Fort Morgan, I got a seat upstairs to get away from the guy with the dog. I had that upstairs seat until I got to Galesburg IL before noon (central time) which was within 5 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.

The reason I like Galesburg which was a railroad town even when Lincoln was president, is that the Enterprise car rental is within walking distance. After getting my rental, I drove east for about 6 hours to get to my AirBnB in Lima Ohio. (It's pronounced Ly-muh like the bean) in case you were ever in doubt. The room was good and I had a good talk with the host before leaving in the morning. I took a couple of detours to find a couple of geocaches in Ohio before the library in Ada opened at 10AM. I found the cache inside the library before heading east on US 30 to Mansfield Ohio for a good brunch at Bob Evans. From there I went on I-71, I-271 and I-90 to get into Erie county PA. I filled up at Pilot and then headed south on PA 97 to get to the oldest geocache in PA. The amazing thing about this cache (September 2000) was that I knew and work with Henry Hartman while I worked for the PA Bureau of Forestry. Henry was a Registered Surveyor. At the parking spot, I met a geocacher from Germany who just came back from PA's oldest.

From there, I went through Jamestown NY to get to US 62 into Warren PA to my next AirBnB room. It was in a run down old motel which had gas heaters in the rooms. It was nearly 100 degrees in the room when I opened the door. On Saturday I went nearly to Buffalo and visited the Eternal Flame Waterfall earth cache. I was along with quite a crowd of people visiting this amazing site. I got the answers to the earth cache and took a coupe of pictures. It was not an easy trip up the stream crossing several times. On Sunday I drove east on US 6 to Wellsboro and went to church in the town where I was born and graduated high school. On the way back to Warren, I went up to Colton Point which overlooks "Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon". I got the info for another Earth Cache which I logged after I got home.

The next installment of my Trip Report will be all of the stuff I did on Monday 4/8/24 which was "eclipse day".

Last edited by Moderator1; Apr 22nd, 2024 at 05:38 PM. Reason: punctuation capitalization
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Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 12:00 PM
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That's quite a trip tom.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 05:39 PM
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Added Trip Report flag and paragraph breaks.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 07:42 PM
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Me with Smokey at the PA Bureau of Forestry District 14 office North Warren PA. Picture taken by the District Forester. I traveled over 4000 miles with the Smokey Bear 80th birthday flag without getting off the ground.
After leaving the Bureau of Forestry office, I stopped at the Supervisors office of the Allegheny National Forest which is the only National Forest in PA. I got the office staffer to take my picture there as well. From there, I went up to Jamestown and east on I-86. I saw how thick the clouds were at about 10AM and called the host of the geocaching event I was planning on going to, to cancel my appearance in North Tonawanda.

After doing a virtual geocache at the Chatauqua Overlook, I headed back to the west to Erie County PA for a geocaching event on the shore of Lake Erie. While there, I took a picture with a 96 year old geocacher with the Smokey flag. I was still unhappy with the amount of clouds there and headed for I-90. I encountered a brief rain shower before I got back on the Interstate. I got off I-90 at the Ohio welcome center about 2:30PM. The parking lot was full and more than 50 cars pulled off each side of the entrance ramp. I joined them for the total solar eclipse which lasted nearly 4 minutes. The clouds there were high thin cirrus which was much better than farther to the east. I hung around for 30 or 40 minutes after totality to let traffic clear. I went a couple of exits to the west and found another geocache. I managed to find 3 types of geocaches in 3 different states on the eclipse day. I also got several different pictures with the Smokey Bear flag. To my recollection, it was 50 years ago this spring when I first wore the Smokey Bear suit while I was working for the PA Bureau of Forestry in the Bald Eagle Forest District (D-7) in Union County PA.

I checked in to a nice Quality Inn in Mansfield OH for my only hotel room of the trip. The next morning I checked out and had a good breakfast at the Bob Evans that I had eaten at the previous Friday. I made a stop at the library in Ada and dropped off a couple of trackables that wanted to go back to the east from Oregon. I handed them to the library director who also has a geocaching account. I ended my Tuesday at an AirBnB in a residential neighborhood in Bloomington IL. The house was over 100 years old but was well maintained. On Wednesday I did my laundry and found a couple of geocaches in town. On Thursday just before noon (CT) I turned in my rental car. I took my bags up to the Galesburg Amtrak station and dropped them off. I still had over 4 hours until my westbound train was scheduled so I took a hike and and did part of an Adventure Lab geocache which requires you to get inside a "geofence" to answer a question about a sign or other thing you can see there. I completed 4 of the 5 tasks but the last was1.5 miles away in the Carl Sandburg Mall and I didn't feel like walking another 3 miles and then back to the train station. About an hour before the train was to arrive, I walked to a pizza shop nearby and got a small pizza which I ate half of at the station and had the other half several hours later on the train in Iowa.

I'll give you the final installment of the trip report tomorrow.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 04:21 AM
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Tom, thanks for the report. Was this a solo trip?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 08:00 PM
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Yes, solo trip. My wife stayed home and took care of the cat. According to the National Ad Council, the United States Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters; Smokey Bears birthday is August 9.
If you want to send a birthday note his address is Smokey Bear Washington DC 20252. (Yes he has his own zip code).

The westbound California Zephyr crossed Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Colorado pretty much on time. There was a little delay backing into the station in Denver. The train gets a complete inspection at Denver which takes about 45 minutes which gives many people enough time to get stuff in the station. We left Denver only about 5 minutes late. We had no "problem passengers" in the lower level on the return trip. I got off the train at 6:15AM in Winnemucca NV on Saturday 4/13/24. I took the long way home via Burns Oregon so I could check on access to Steens Mountain where the highest elevation geocaches in Oregon are located.
Since I returned home I have had my picture taken with the Smokey flag several times. I am happy to try to answer any questions you may have.

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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for sharing your adventure with us Tom.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 05:48 AM
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One more note on the trip from Winnemucca NV to Burns: On my way I saw 10 antelope (5 in Nevada and 5 in Oregon) and several hundred beef cattle with no fence between them and the highway (open range). At one point on OR 205, there was one who was standing on the center line that did not want me to pass. After a 30 second standoff, she and her friends moved off the highway. I did buy $20 of expensive gas in Fields OR to make sure I could make it to Burns. There are 2 gas stations in SE Oregon and NE Nevada that are more than 90 miles from the next nearest gas station.

Don't let anyone (Trump supporters?) tell you that the high cost of beef and hamburger is due to lack of cows on the hoof. The only female millionaire that I know is a cattle rancher (40+ years). She just bought ANOTHER property along the Little Deschutes River north of where I live.

My trip up to the top of Steens Mountain (9500+ elevation) will have to wait until late June or maybe July because of the large amount of snow still up there.
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 12:50 PM
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With a 96 year old geocacher in Erie County Pennsylvania.
Her caching name is MommyTP
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