Pocatello, ID to Reno, NV – travel day

Plan your work and work your plan, that is our motto. As advertised, today was a travel day that verged on the boring at least compared to our recent activity. The drive was pleasant, and mostly uneventful. From Pocatello we traveled along the Snake River canyon to Twin Falls, ID, then went due south on US-93 to Wells, NV and I-80. Finally, I-80 took us into Reno, NV.

Things were so uneventful that I include an incident that occurred in Yellowstone yesterday. I was waiting for Kris when a woman emerged from the ladies restroom. She approached her husband and said to him, in a definite southern drawl: “You can drive across this country from one end to the other and the one thing you can be sure to find is a line at the ladies restroom.” This lead Kris and I into a discussion about whether this truism was misogyny in action or society’s failure to hold architects more accountable for function as well as form.

Oddly, we had our second encounter with Basque immigrants, albeit indirectly. When we passed through the Bighorn Mountain Range, we learned that among the early settlers were Basque sheepherders drawn to a region that reminded them of their home in the Pyrenees. Today, we searched for a decent, non-fast food, restaurant in Winnemucca, NV and found a Basque family restaurant. Sadly, they did not open for dinner until 6:15PM and we needed to keep going, so we went across the street to Winnemucca Pizza. This turned out to be a satisfying alternative as it was “Californicized” and served excellent salads. We asked the waitress about the origin of Basque-Americans in Winnemucca. She told us that they originally came to Nevada as sheepherders, but the vast majority had converted to cattle ranching. Before this trip, I could not have named a single place in the US where I would expect to find people of Basque ancestry, but now I know of two.

We knew that there would be some boring travel days and so had (over)stocked the van with books on CD. We had gone to Barnes and Noble and thought we had hit the jackpot as they were selling their series of lectures by distinguished professors on a number of topics. For something lighter, we also bought Dante’s Divine Comedy and the two books written by Barack Obama. So in our run to Decorah, IA we listened to Dreams of my Father which is really a clever title because it can be read as Obama’s dreams of his absent father, or as the lofty dreams that his father tried to bring to life in the world. The book strikes me as a bit naive, clearly written by a young person. But that is OK. I’m glad to have a presidential candidate with lofty aspirations.

On our next big travel day, we started in on the lectures of a philosophy professor on the philosophy of religion. This is a subject we are both interested in and this guy was a very good lecturer with a knack for illustrating concepts with concrete examples. But we did not get through even the first disc. No matter how good this guy was, we cooould not maintain the necessary concentration to follow the discussion. And, once we stopped following the discussion, the lectures began to put us to sleep. So we switched to Dante. The recording was excellent, with each canto given a brief introduction. But once again, we could not muster the requisite focus to appreciate the story. Today, we dug out our stash of CDs that we had borrowed from the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, which has an excellent and extensive collection of recorded books in several media. We started an Elizabeth Peter’s novel called something like Disturbers of the Dead. Those not familiar with Elizabeth Peter’s protagonist, Emily Peabody, a Victorian feminist, an archeologist, and amateur detective and those who enjoy mysteries might want to pick one up. The plots are not quite up to the intellectual level of Dame Agatha Christy’s, but involve Egyptian archeology, an attack on Victorian mores, and all done with a dry sense of humor. Thankfully, our brains had not reached such a low level of competence that we could not enjoy her book and the long drive passed quickly.

I have about a half hour before I have to sleep so I will see if I can get at least some pictures posted. Tomorrow takes us to Palo Alto, CA.




  1. John Pepple said,

    August 17, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Yes, sadly, that’s the way philosophy is. I don’t think it would be easy to understand a philosophy lecture while driving. One needs one’s full attention. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” might be good, though, for what you guys are doing, in case you haven’t read it yet.

  2. Tim said,

    August 17, 2008 at 8:14 pm


    We appreciate hearing that even a philosopher thinks it is hard to listen to philosophy while driving. The alternative explanation for our lack of focus, that we were entering our dotage, was not very appealing.


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