Sarah Turner from Hingham left the UK on Thursday
5 February, to drive 10,000 miles from Alaska to Arizona, raising
money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Tuesday 2 March
I knew that flag that P&O Nedlloyd sent me would
be of use. A full-sized affair it's far too big to fly, but it's
great as a curtain across the windscreen when parked in public areas!
I folded up the bunk and got ready to hit the road once more.
The red rock typical of Colorado and further
Heading south and east for most of the day the
landscape was to change quite dramatically. I started the day high
on snow covered plateau again flanked by the Rockies. As I headed
south the land opened up and the snow decreased.
I picked up the Interstate
highway to cross Wyoming, heading due east the land was still fairly
high, around 6,000ft or more but pretty much what I'd expected,
rolling plains, with some snow.
The winds that Wyoming is renowned for seemed to
be absent and I had no problems at all, making good progress. I
finally headed south on a scenic highway.
As I crossed the Colorado state boundary the scenery
changed again. Suddenly I had all sorts of rock formations and sandstone
cliff faces. I found my way into Fort Collins, just outside Denver
and stopped for a truck wash.
They definitely seem to have car washes sorted
over here, Drive through bays, covered or enclosed with high pressure
hot water. Only slight hiccup was that I'd left the passenger window
ajar, but as everything that mattered was either in the Peli case
except the phone which was inside a waterproof bag it was no problem,
I simply wiped the spray off the seat cover.
Now cleaned up once more I headed out to meet Brendan
Lally, another Land Cruiser fan with Irish roots. In all a long
day, again nearly 500 miles on the clock but uneventful and good
weather all the way.
Monday 1 March
It's been a real rollercoaster of a day, and I
don't just mean the twisting passes through the mountains. I left
camp at around 07.30 and headed south in good weather. I had realised
that I should have given the Cruiser an oil change a couple of thousand
miles ago, so I headed to Helena where I was sure to find a drive
through 'lube' centre.
Continental Divide on Interstate 15.
The weather changed to virtual whiteout at one
point, then back to blue sky and the temperature was varied too.
Approaching Helena another Truck threw up a rock
which hit full impact in the centre of the passenger view. It hit
so hard as to shatter the laminate and send glass splinters flying
all over the passenger seat. Thankfully it missed the camera but
I now have a golf ball sized hole with cracks running in all directions.
At the moment it is OK but they are sure to spread.
Cross your fingers, if they get too bad that
will be the end of the drive as I will not find a replacement screen
I pulled into the express lube armed with filter
and cans of Rock Oil, hoping that they would be happy to do a labour
only job, to discover that it was Walmart… now you really can get
everything at a supermarket! They guys were very helpful and I was
soon on my way again.
She might have had fresh oil but the Cruiser has
been unhappy for much of the day, nothing serious but she doesn't
like the winter diesel, a mix of petrol and diesel, and the engine
is rattling well. Hopefully I can find some better fuel tomorrow.
Freezing conditions cause icicles to form on
the wheel arches.
She is also covered in icicles which catch the
wheels of rough roads, a product of the weather, thawing and freezing
all day Leaving Helena I headed south on a main interstate for a
while. Again the weather changed by the minute, climbing into the
mountains I again hit blizzard conditions before decending back
into blue sky.
The landscape has been as varied too. Surrounded
by mountains at around 5,000ft I found myself once again in arid
conditions with barely a sign of snow, then back into rocky passes
and then onto miles of plains covered in around four feet of snow.
Finally as I crossed the Idaho - Wyoming border
I climbed to 8,500ft on icy roads across the Rockies once more.
As darkness fell I passed a motel sign with a very old Land Cruiser
parked beneath. But it wasn't accommodation, instead a historic
building and home of Dukes Murray. The Land Cruiser was 1968 and
restored to its original condition.
I headed south again through Jackson and found
an RV park run by Rod and Candy Huskey, they kindly let me park
my little truck in a corner for the night… I have mad good progress
today, despite the weather, covering 498 miles, I should reach Denver
Sunday 29 February
Border crossing at Piegan, Montana
I was finally heading for the border. I awoke around
four, cold in my sleeping bag, the temperature had dropped to -15C
outside, it was probably colder in the car. I pulled my jacket over
my bag and dozed off again.
I departed my camp site around eight, headed south
to Cochrane and then south on highway 22 towards the border crossing.
This lower part of Alberta is semi arid and it seemed strange to
have a dry landscape, almost clear of snow with a backdrop of the
Rockies to my West.
This is ranching country and it is easy to envisage
the early settlers with their wagons encountering the 'natives'.
At one stage I passed a wind farm, there must have been around 60
or more turbines but not a breath of wind to turn a single blade.
It was considerably further to the border than I had realised and
it was early afternoon when I pulled into the remote border crossing
at Piegan, Montana.
It had occurred to me a few days earlier that I
had not actually checked the regulations, I'd been so busy checking
that I complied with everything required to get the car into Canada
that I'd forgotten about the US border crossing. As it turned out
it was no problem, apart from being the wrong side for the booth.
The Rockies stretch across the western horizon
I'd had to move east to cross as the preferred
crossing right on the edge of the Glacier National Park is closed
in winter, but I headed back towards the mountains as soon as I
The road wound its way though the mountains, both
it and the railroad following the Flathead river. The snow was piled
deep by the roadside, in places it must have been six feet or more,
but the land had more colour, the pine was a mix of green and browns
and there were several deciduous trees, aspen and another with orange
twigs which added to the colours.
I made good progress on clear roads, having covered
over 440 miles I found a track off the highway on which I could
camp up whilst I still had a little remaining light.
So here I am, about a mile from the road in the
forest wondering what creatures I will find. It seems to be mainly
deer though I have also seen my first Golden Eagles today.
I estimate that I am about two-thirds of the way
down through Montana so should head into Wyoming tomorrow.
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