Skogland Brothers Man-cation
Loren and his brothers Keith, Neil and Ian are taking a road trip to deliver a fully restored 1965 Buick Riviera from Seattle, Wa to Charlotte, N.C. by way of oldest brother Marc's house in Copperas Cove, TX. Neil has spent the last two years restoring the Riviera and is giving it to Ian. What better way to get it there than to drive it together. As a family, Mom & Dad took us to 46 states by car on family vacations so we know how to road trip!
We're planning to eat and drink our way across the country. We're looking for great food and drink in out of the way places. As we make our way, We'll post any interesting pictures, food and stories.
Friday-Brothers arrive in Portland from Seattle
Saturday- Leave before daylight. Boise for lunch and Salt Lake City/Provo for dinner
Sunday- Another long day on the road. Four Corners, NM for lunch, Santa Fe NM for dinner.
Monday- Abilene, TX via Route 66!
Tuesday- Copperas Cove, TX to visit with brother #1 and his family.
Thursday-Memphis, TN, Graceland!
Friday- Knoxville, TN
Saturday- Charlotte, NC
Ian is doing a trip blog: http://www.mytripbook.com/index.php/trip/show/806/cross-country-mancation-with-the-brothers-and-the-riv
Saturday: Making this update from the I-84 on the way out of Boise. Pretty incredible that I can get on the internet from the freeway. Woke up at 4:30, couldn't decide if I was disappointed that I woke up after four hours of sleep or too excited to sleep! Made some breakfast for the brothers, Mariannegave us a great sendoff and we were on the road by 6:15. Keith got the first shift driving. The Riviera is really pretty comfortable but it isn't a quiet ride. The rumble of the V-8 is with us. A stop at the Troutdale truck stop for gas and we were on the freeway by 6:40. It was too cloudy to see a sunrise but it was nice to head up the gorge and see the day break. Saw a half dozen big horned sheep by the freeway just outside The Dalles. They looked pretty skinny for this time of year. Saw a pickup truck that had hit a deer near Arlington. The deer wasn't with us anymore and the truck was pretty much gone also. Lots of snow through eastern Oregon. Lots of wind turbines through the gorge. Drove through the Blue Mountains and thought of Jeremy and his trek through there last summer. Beautiful country, nice thoughts. Made our way into Boise at 2:45 (with an hour time shift) and had a nice lunch at the Bitter Creek Ale House.Four brothers, four different sandwiches. Reuben, Burger with Bacon & Blue Cheese, Ale House Club, 1/2 Turkey & Emmenthaller, sides of black bean/quinoa salad, clam chowda, tomato tortilla soup and fries. All pretty tasty. You decide who had what. They roasted their own turkey breast, tasted good, little dry. Had about 50 kinds of beer, 50 labels of wine and a good selection of brown liquor. We're on the road to Salt Lake City now. It should be about 4 hours. More words & pictures later.
Saturday pm: Well we made it to SLC, no drama to speak of but SLC is a long drive from Portland! We got to a Brazilian Churrasco restaurant at about 10:15 and had a nice, not too energetic dinner. It was a beautiful place in a downtown mall. They had a very nice salad bar that didn't really show signs that it was 10:30 at night. Nice selection with big variety of salads, mozzarella, marinated quail's eggs, at the usual pasta & rice in the hot tables. The variety of meats were pretty tasty but mostly overcooked. They brought 3-foot long skewers of a variety of meats, then carved slices for us. Food was good but we were pretty worn out.On a more energetic evening the four brothers could have done some damage here.After dinner, Keith was feeling strong so we all dozed in the car while he drove another 45 minutes to Provo. We stayed in a Motel 6 that was the right price. We also found that they only had smoking rooms left. Whew!!!In the towels, in the pillows in the sheetrock, if they ever make these no-smoking rooms they'll have some work to do.
Sunday: Got a decent night sleep and we're getting ready to head down the road. We're planning another long day today, not as long as yesterday. The goal is Four Corners, NM for lunch and Santa Fe, NM for dinner at the Coyote Cafe. We're starting to debate the next day. Ian thinks that we need to go see Carlsbad Caverns in southern NM and then head east to Marc & Jean's house so Keith is plotting the trip on his I-Phone and we'll make plans tonight.Have a great day in Portland!
Sunday: It's funny how the best plans don't always work out. We had a nice drive out of Salt Lake City. Stopped at a town called Price, UT for gas and a meal. We forget when we're not in the city how Sunday morning people don't open their businesses. We couldn't find anything but fast food and gas stations for a bite to eat. Had Wendy's and got back on the road. The mountains and rock formations along the way were pretty remarkable. Went over a mountain pass over 7000 feet. The road felt a little icy and there was lots of snow off of the road. Made our way to Arches National Park for a beautiful side trip. Pretty amazing rock formations and views. The camera doesn't really capture what our eyes saw. Found our way into the closest town, Moab, got some gas and started our trip south. We got about 15 miles out of town when the car died. Neil was able to deduce pretty quickly that the fuel pump had died. Ian called for a tow from AAA and we got a ride back to Moab. Keith furiously worked his I-Phone for information about auto parts stores and made calls. We found out that of the stores that were open on Sunday, none had a fuel pump. We're hoping that the local GM dealership has one. Neil will install it in minutes and we'll be back on the road. The upside of this is that we had to stop for the late afternoon and evening, have some time out of the car and visit a very nice little town. It's full of off-road machine riders and bicyclists today. We're thinking that there is some event going on. Had a nice dinner at a local brewpub and have now separated into our rooms to stop and rest for the evening. None of us are making plans for tomorrow because we don't know when we'll get the pump. In any case, we'll enjoy our time and be on the road again when we're able. Have a great evening and I'll catch up tomorrow.
One thing that I forgot to include in the tow truck saga…after we all piled into the cab of the truck, the driver turned around in his western drawl and said…”so, you boys ever spent the night in Moab before?” That gave us a pretty good indication of how the rest of the day was going to go.
Monday: Got up and walked a block to the Jailhouse Diner for breakfast.It's an old building that has been used for a number of businesses, including a jail. The server pleasantly put up with my nattering on about Norwegian pancakes and how great our day was going so far.We had the best meal, I thought, of the trip so far. Two southwest benedicts that had a nicely spiced hollandaise, a chorizo scramble with pickled jalapenos and tortillas and Swedish pancakes. Good coffee and service. You get to decide who had what. Neil worked the phonebook and Keith worked the I-Phone to try to find the fuel pump to no avail. Neil made the decision that we could retro-fit an electric fuel pump to get us down the road. He found one and the other pieces necessary at the parts store and he and I headed to the lot to get the pump installed. He got it installed, fired it up, success!I went back with the rental car to get the other brothers who were packing up our rooms. We got back to the lot to find Neil rewiring the fuel pump, it wasn’t getting enough power.Changed the wiring then took it out for a test drive with the rest of us chasing him in the rental.Felt pretty good, stopped the car in another parking lot.On trying to re-start it we got smoke from the wiring harness in the dash.Neil got out the wiring diagrams and had serious discussions with the other brothers about what is probably happening (I’m no help with cars) and the deduction was made that we had a failed starter solenoid.Once again, Keith worked the I-Phone and found one solenoid in Moab, Neil called for a tow truck and we had the car taken back to the lot. He made arrangements to have the car put on their lift to put the solenoid in, which they could do later in the afternoon.We went out for lunch at a pretty decent Mexican restaurant that advertised “Good” margaritas.We had a variety of the standard Mexican diner fare, enjoyed ourselves, went next door to inspect the Utah version of a liquor store for price and selection.Now, back to the lot.I did Milo’s payroll with some help, long distance, from Cindy.Neil worked on the car, got everything installed for the starter and also a switch to turn the power on to the new fuel pump. Tested it, about two miles up the road and back…SUCCESS!!We loaded the trunk with our gear, returned the rental car and decided to head south.Had a little bit of a scare when the car started to surge and falter about 20 miles down the road.Ian thought that we should stop and inspect, Neil said keep going!After some time the surging stopped and we concluded that there was something in the last tank of gas that may have been the source of our original problem?We then decided to drive till the next driver was too tired to drive.That never happened and we drove through the night across the corner of Colorado, across all of New Mexico then into Texas.After an hour or two we all decided to trust the car and it rewarded that trust with a smooth trip. We stopped every 200 miles or so for gas and road treats to keep us going, changed drivers and got back on the road. The vistas were pretty incredible and a remarkable number of wind power generators.We got a call from oldest brother Marc Tuesday morning saying that he had driven from his house in Copperas Cove to Abilene to meet us for breakfast. We had Tuesday breakfast together at the Dixie Pig, good, standard, small town diner fare. Biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak with beans taters, stuffed pig omelet, pancakes and a ham & cheese omelet. You decide who had what. Marc gave his Suburban up to Keith and I and he took the last driving shift in the Riviera from Abilene to Copperas Cove. We’re at Marc & Jean’s house now, resting up, charging our electronics, updating our websites and visiting. Texas barbecue at Marc’s house tonight, a day in Copperas Cove tomorrow. Thanks for sharing our story.
Wednesday: What a great day off of the road! The only thing that wasn't great was that we woke at 7:00 to see Keith off. He had some work to do here in Texas and brother Marc took him to the airport in Austin. Neil, Ian & I played 18 holes. We even found a drive through Margarita store outside of Copperas Cove. We couldn't believe that you could buy a drive through cocktail so we had to try it, just one, took it home to drink it. Neil picked up the elusive fuel pump and installed it. He even rewired the power port in the dash so we can power our electronics. We washed the car. Marc made a nice dinner for us. Roast of beef, baked potatoes with all the stuff, lentil stew, apple bread with strawberries & cream...you decide who had what. We're back on the road tomorrow morning. Copperas Cove to Memphis TN. We should be there by 7 pm. Planning to visit Graceland, graceland, memphis tennesee on Friday morning. More tomorrow.
Thursday: Woke up to a beautiful, cool morning in Copperas Cove.Got a chance to say good bye to Jean as she headed off to work, packed up all our gear and had a great breakfast that Marc made for us.We tried to entice him into making the rest of the trip with us but he resisted our pleas.Wheels up at 8:00 am and heading east on highway 190 to Memphis.Stopped for lunch at the Burton Family Restaurantin Sulphur Springs, TX for fried catfish lunch.Nice cornmeal breaded catfish strips with hush puppies, fries & slaw.One had a three piece, one had a five piece to share and one had a Texas size, chicken fried steak with country gravy, fried okra & potatoes.You decide who had what.The opinion was that the steak would have been better if the cook had displayed some restraint with the gravy ladle.It was all pretty tasty in the style of what you might expect at Tad’s Chicken & Dumplings.We’re now making our way across Arkansas.Found our first rainstorm of the trip.Lasted about half an hour.Just enough to wet the ground.We’re planning on going to BB King’s Blues Club in Memphis tonight.
Thursday PM: Rolled into Memphis about 8:20, the car did great and it didn't seem like twelve hours in the car. Neil and Ian had done some internet research and found the Rendezvous BBQ Restaurant down in the entertainment district. Great crowd of people, the restaurant probably seated 400 people. They had that many there with a big wait upstairs and out in the street. We had three plates...Pork Ribs, Lamb Riblets and Half Chicken, all dry rubbed and smoked. You decide who had what. All three were delicious and unique. We walked to Beale Street to see the blues clubs. Walked through a couple of trinket shops and then on to the BB King Blues Club. They had a good house band that played energetic music, not too bluesy to a full house. Lots of fun, well worth the visit. We just got a room out near the airport at 11:00 pm and am getting ready to stop for the night. We've got an appointment to see Elvis at Graceland at 9:10 tomorrow morning and then on to Chattanooga, TN. Some of the pictures from our day are below. Thanks for sharing our trip with us. See you tomorrow.
Notes today were made by Ian & stolen from his trip log. I whole heartedly agree with his assessment of the day.
Graceland in the morning! We made reservations yesterday, just in case it turned out to be one of those days where everyone’s going to Graceland. Good thing because it appears that everyone goes to Graceland every day. It was pretty crowded. However, they have the crowd control thing down pretty good and there were only a couple of spots (living room & dining room) where we felt a little claustrophobic. The interior decorating tends towards the garish with lots of mirrors and green shag carpet. Neil made the point that many of us would not like having our 1970’s era decorating compared to today’s standards. He’s probably right. He also said, “If bad taste was flammable, you sure wouldn’t want to light a match in the pool room.” Neil credit Peter Egan with this quote – I think it sounds like one of the things he’d say. There’s a trophy room with displays of gold records, wedding tux, movie posters and stuff like that. Neat! They turned the racquetball court into another trophy room. That’s neat, too! The graves (Elvis, mama, daddy, granny) are crowded with flowers and commemorations of all sorts. He died 32 years ago!!!
There’s a little museum with a dozen or so of Elvis’ cars that he either kept or were acquired by the museum. The pink Cadillac he bought for his mama is there. What a great ride that was. The custom airplane he bought, outfitted and used to travel to concerts is on display. Again, the time period of customization makes it less impressive. The standard interior on a G5 leaves it in the dust. Maybe you could say he was ahead of his day.
Memphis is worth a visit. There’s quite a bit to do and see for a few days.
On the way out of town we decided to skip the Interstate and try US64. We couldn’t afford RT66 so we stepped down – nyuck, nyuck. We stopped for lunch at the RT64 diner in Bolivar. Had a real nice lunch. Stop there if you happen to be in Bolivar, TN. Don’t use the bathroom – really nasty. There’s a body shop directly across the street and the owner came out to take a look at the Riv. He said he heard us pull in and knew the car wasn’t from around there just by hearing it. He commented on what a great job the guys in Puyallup did on the body/paint. Nice to get the compliment from a pro.
We’re going to stick with RT64 for as long as possible. We’re planning to overnight in Gatlinburg then hit Charlotte midafternoon on Saturday.
Loren continues...we stuck with Route 64 into dark. The connection with the state is much better when we got off of the interstate. I was very impressed with the rolling hills and the big southern houses. Many of them were set way back from the road with a large expanse of pasture surrounded by white fences. Very impressive. Each of the states that we've traveled through has been unique so it's hard to say which I've enjoyed more but the green pastures and the rolling hills of Tennessee have appealed to me. So far we've been through Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, a short trip through the northwest corner of Georgia and back to Tennessee. We almost made it to Gatlinburg but decided that we've gone far enough for the day. Tomorrow we'll head into Gatlinburg and then off to Charlotte. A couple of new pictures from Graceland are below. See you tomorrow.
Saturday: The final leg. We chose not to drive into Gatlinburg but rather to take the trip through the Smoky Mountain National Park. Both trips had some significance for us but chose to keep moving. The park was beautiful, lots of streams, beautiful vistas and not too many cars. Neil enjoyed working the Riv through the mountain roads. The park made me want to spend the next week hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Maybe that could be a future man-cation. After the park we took the relatively short drive to Charlotte. Ian got to take the last leg of the trip driving his new car into the driveway for the first time. Anita was there with the marching band to greet us. We loaded into the house and shared the story of our trip with Anita, exchanged ficture files from our digital cameras, checked our very important electronic messages and celebrated our trip. Anita made us a great dinner and we stopped to watch 8 (!) episodes of Weeds. It was a great chance to sit and zone out.
Sunday: Neil & I slept until about 10:30 and woke to a wonderful brunch with four of Anita & Ian's friends. Cheese souffle, chorizo, asparagus with blood oranges, grilled pineapple & grapefruits, beet salad, sweet breads and about four other plates that are eluding me at the moment. You decide who had what. We cleaned up a bit then got a driving trip around Charlotte to see some of the 'burbs and the downtown. Last trip for me in the Riviera. They took Neil and I to the airport for the trip home. I'm sorry to see the trip end but I had a great time spending the week with the boys and got to see a significant part of the country for the first time in a long time. Thanks for sharing the trip with us. See you in PDX.
The Riviera at Milo's
Brothers at Milo's on Friday Night with Edgar on the Riv
Eastern Oregon Mountains
Trip through the Gorge
Our First State Line
First of many windmills we'll see along the way
A long straight highway through Utah
Rock Formations in Utah
More Mountains in Utah
The Riv & Edgar in Arches National Park
Neil at Arches National Park
So...you boys ever spend the night in Moab before?
Celebrating that night in Moab with gifts from Marianne & Jason
Another state line crossed on a long, overnight drive
Sunrise in Texas
The brothers (all five of us) at Marc & Jean's house
What would we do with a day off?
Another state line...welcome to Tennesee.
The Gibson Guitar store on Beale Street
The Rendevous Restaurant - "Where Pigs Fly!"
Beale Street Shops & Clubs
BB King Blues Club
The Graceland Mansion
Elvis's Living Room & Piano Room
TV & Stereo Room
The Graceland Raquetball Court Converted Into A Display Room. This is about half of the gold records.
Another view of the same room.
Is he really there???
The Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN. Beautiful grounds.
Split rail fence in the Smokey Mountain National Park
The national park
Charlotte! We made it!