Our route was north on US-95, then west on I-84, and we got to the hotel in Pendleton just before 7 PM. The minivan ran pretty well when it ran, and started mostly first time, except when it had run for a long time. However, due to our concerns about it, at many intermediate stops, particularly those in relatively isolated places, we simply didn't stop the van but let it idle while we took our restroom breaks in turn.
Along the way, I collected a new state by land. I'd never been in Idaho before, except briefly while inside a Southwest Airlines flight from Spokane to Reno that had stopped in Boise to collect more passengers.
Earlier, we made our first stop (and a complete one, including turning off the minivan) at McDermitt, Nevada, the last chance to gamble in Nevada. This view is north along US-95 into Oregon, where you may be able to see the state line as the place where the color of the pavement changes. The casino's restrooms said, "restrooms for customers only," so Lisa sat down and put $20 in a slot machine and played for a while. When she quit, she cashed out for $36 and decided it was time to go.
US-95 travels some pretty desolate areas. McDermitt was pretty much all there was to speak of north of Winnemucca until Oregon. The Oregon portion has some long straight stretches and wide open spaces. There's also some pretty interesting scenery, though. Rome, Oregon is named for geographic formations that apparently look like Roman ruins. It's a tiny little community with signs warning that the next fuel is 70 miles south and 25 miles north of town, respectively. This is one of the stops where we left the motor running. Cell phone coverage was next to nothing along much of the drive except in McDermitt.
During our drive into Oregon, we made an ill-advised dogleg into Caldwell, Idaho that probably cost us an hour of driving. Taking advantage of the last chance to pump our own gas, we stopped at the last exit in Idaho, refueled the minivan, and stopped for lunch. This was the only time on today's trip where the minivan was reluctant to restart, although it did eventually cough back to life after lunch without having to resort to the starting fluid.
Just back over the Oregon border is Ontario, Oregon. Based on when we got here, we determined that we should be able to drive here straight from Fernley later this year if we want to make the drive to Worldcon with only one overnight stop instead of two.
Interstate 84 climbs up and down hills, eventually descending an steep escarpment with a scenic overlook. None of the photos I've shown today do real justice to the views we saw today, but here Lisa got the P2 camera out and shot some video footage that I hope to post later that may show things better. Off in the mist to the west is Pendleton, our destination about fifteen miles ahead of us.
And once we got to the hotel, here's the view back to the east looking at the area from which we'd been half an hour earlier.
After more than ten hours on the road, all we wanted to do was rest. Lisa took a bath and I ordered us a pizza and turned on the SF Giants game. (The hotel's wired internet access has decent speed; much better than Winnemucca's wi-fi.) I caught up on as much e-mail and messages as I could manage. But Friday we still have a fair bit to go, and we've not selected the fastest route from here to Spokane, in our attempt to minimize duplication of routes. Fortunately, the parts of the Spokane Worldcon meeting on Friday early are not the ones in which we have a personal interest. We'll see some of you Friday evening at the hospitality suite. Assuming the minivan holds together, of course.