Drive Home - Passes Around the San Luis Valley 2019 - CycleBlaze

Drive Home

Tuesday June 18, 2019

Drove 505 miles from Kremmling, Colorado to Logan, Utah.

I got up early to try to soak at Radium hot spring which is about 20 miles southwest of Kremmling. Only the first 2 miles is paved. I hiked a mile from the trailhead to the hot spring to discover that the hot pool is currently flooded by the Colorado river. I hoped that a dam upstream and big diversion to Denver would prevent the river from flooding the hot pool. Not so.

The Radium hot spring pool is flooded by the Colorado river.
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At least County Road 1 to the hot spring is very scenic, with views of the Colorado river. The low clouds made the view better looking down than looking up.

Colorado river looking upstream from Inspiration Point.
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Colorado river looking downstream from Inspiration Point.
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After the hike to and from the hot spring I drove the long gravel road back to Kremmling, then US 40 west all the way to the Salt Lake City area. Then took a detour over a big mountain to a remote valley that is the home of the city of Logan and the main campus of Utah State University.

Wednesday June 19, 2019

Drove 445 miles from Logan, Utah to Ontario, Oregon.

This morning I will visit the Wayne Estes Center on the campus of Utah State University. The 32,000 square foot building was completed in 2014, named in honor of basketball star Wayne Estes who died in 1965. Yay, a building named after a legendary student instead of a multi-million dollar donor!

I have known about basketball star Wayne Estes ever since I gained access to the Internet in the early 1990's. I learned about the new building in 2018, 4 years after it was built. A year later I am making the pilgrimage to Logan, Utah to learn about my namesake.

Shady north side of Wayne Estes Center on the campus of Utah State University.
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Wayne and I share something in common besides the name. We're both Aggies. He's a Utah State Aggie, I'm a Texas A&M Aggie. The name is slang for agriculturalist. Texas A&M has the nation's largest College of Agriculture. Other Aggie schools include University of California Davis, New Mexico State, Oklahoma Panhandle State, and North Carolina A&T.

Sunny main entrance. This is the practice facility for men's and women's basketball teams and performance venue for women's volleyball.
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Wayne Estes Center houses a big gym that is the practice facility for the men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the performance facility for the women's volleyball team. The glass-walled portion on the north side is athletic department offices.

The lobby has a window overlooking the main practice facility. I arrived during a childrens' basketball clinic.
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The stairway down to the gym is lined with a mural showcasing Utah State basketball and volleyball players who were named to All-American teams.

Basketball and volleyball Hall of Fame mural.
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The lobby is somewhat of a museum dedicated to Wayne Estes, with photos, and many artifacts.

The lobby has several exhibits about Wayne Estes.
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At that time freshmen weren't allowed to play varsity basketball. So he scored 2001 points in only 3 years.
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I was less than 4 years old when Wayne Estes died. He already had an agreement to be the first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers, and might have become a top tier NBA scoring machine like Larry Bird or Pete Maravich.

The tragic electrocution occurred on February 8, 1965, hours after he scored his 2001th point.
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Wayne Estes at Wayne Estes Center.
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I spent a lot of time looking around the exhibits, then continued driving home. Instead of driving I-84 I detoured north through Pocatello to drive through Idaho National Laboratory and Craters of the Moon. In the laboratory is a newly renovated highway rest area with many interpretive signs about the National Laboratory. This remote laboratory invented pretty much every type of power-generating nuclear reactor. In the distance I could see EBR-1, the world's first nuclear reactor to generate a useful amount of energy. The nearby town of Arco brags that it's the world's first town to be powered by atomic energy in 1951. The laboratory also developed the small reactors that power navy ships and submarines.

West of the laboratory is Craters of the Moon National Monument. It's a huge horizontal lava flow about 20 miles east-west and 50 miles north-south. I have driven through several times and even pedaled there during my 2008 Hot Springing Idaho and Oregon bike tour. Today I only stopped to take a photo.

Craters of the Moon National Monument.
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On the west edge of the lava flow I stopped to soak at Wild Rose hot spring for 2 hours. A family was there before me but they left after about 45 minutes. I had the huge pool to myself for more than an hour. The water temperature was 101F on a windy 70F day. It's one of my favorite road trip hot soaks because the temperature is always perfect and it's only 200 feet from US 20.

Wild Rose hot spring, on the edge of the lava flow.
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Wild Rose hot spring was 101F. I soaked 2 hours.
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After the long soak I continued driving all the way to Ontario, Oregon. Managed to drive through Boise at about 5 PM but it was only congested in Nampa. Tonight Ontario, Oregon doesn't smell like a feedlot like it did when I drove home from Colorado last year. That's good.

Thursday June 20, 2019

Drove 448 miles from Ontario, Oregon to Oakland, Oregon.

Today is an easy drive from Ontario to my house in Oakland, Oregon. I like the lonely drive from Ontario to Burns, up the Malheur river, then over two mountain passes. I also pedaled that route during my 2008 Hot Springing tour.

It gets more monotonous from Burns to Bend, in the high desert. In Bend I drove up to Pilot Butte for the view. Not bad, but the clouds only started forming in the last hour.

View of Bend, Oregon and several volcanoes in the Cascade range.
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On the green west side of the Cascade range I stopped at Sahalie falls, Koosah falls, and Deer Creek hot spring. All 3 are along the upper McKenzie river in Willamette National Forest.

Sahalie Falls.
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Koosah Falls.
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McKenzie river and Deer Creek hot spring.
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I soaked at Deer Creek hot spring for an hour, then continued on with a final short stop at Goodpasture covered bridge.

Goodpasture covered bridge was built in 1938. Oregon's second-longest covered bridge with a huge 44 ton weight limit.
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Despite extremely strong headwinds in Idaho my 2010 Toyota Prius got 49 miles per gallon during the 1568 mile drive home. Home again after 27 days.

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