Surprise!  Surprise!!  Surprise!!!
Just returned from
7th. Transcontinental Driving Round Trip.

We have just completed another Round Trip crossing the continent again - 7th. TRANSCONTINENTAL TRIP. Upto now, our 6 past transcontinental trips were primarily to see the scenery of this huge and beautiful continent and we met the friends and relatives on the way of the trips. However, it was quite different this time not visiting any sightseeing popular places. As I am getting old, this might be the last trip to east coast cities (still 95% probability. not 100% !!!!!) which means this might be the last time to see friends and relatives in the east coast cities.

It was less than a year since we completed 6th. Transcontinental Trip (8/3 - 9/5, 2014). Jane and I have been kidding whether we would make 10 Transcontinental Trips in our lives or not, but never thought we will make another trip in less than a year. However, there was an event caused by the Korean Amateur Radio League in Korea making me very mad. I just wanted to erase the bad memory of the event as soon as possible driving around the continents, which made me to make mind for this trip. It was a short planning (less than 10 days) and we were on the road.

This time, it was to meet the friends and relatives in U. S. A. and Canada primarily. Therefore, everybody I know in U.S.A. and Canada were included in the initial e-mails checking whether they will be at home when I visit the area, to start the planning of the trip. During the planning of the trip, I have found all of about 25 friends and relatives I know, found out to be living around the U. S. A. and Canada making a U shape on the map. No one lives in the center part of the U. S. A. or Canada as you see in the map. Interesting. But it made me easier to visit all of them just driving around the continent.

Well. There was one incident I hoped not to happen during the trip. If our health shows some kind of serious problem, we might have to return home giving up the rest of the trip, which probability is extremely slim but I could not say zero. I hoped not, didn't think to happen and it didn't happen fortunately, though we had a lot of troubles almost everyday which didn't happen in the past 6 transcontinental trips.

 
 

The orange arrows in the following map shows where we have traveled this time.
 

By this 7th. trip, we have traveled total 54,907 miles or 88,369 Km which is more than 2 times around the earth.

Automobile License Plates of states and Canadian provinces - stayed over night in 19 states/provinces and passed through 13 states/provinces, total 32 states and provinces.


Phase - 1 : From Home to North.

Day-1 : Sunnyvale - Grants Pass

On the first day of the trip, we left home at 9:00 AM (8:59 AM exactly) and drove 422 miles to north heading for Grants Pass, which is located in Oregon right after we crossed border of California and Oregon. It was a smooth start without any problem for  7 hours and 25 minutes including lunch, gas and coffee breaks etc..

As we usually do in Grants Pass, we had a great dinner at Taprock Northwest Grill. This grill is a great restaurant at river side in Grants Pass, almost same level as top class restaurants in a large city, though it is in a small mountain town.

I really enjy this freeway driving. I always feel great driving wide open flat land on the straight endless freeway at the speed of 80-90 miles an hour. How great it is compared to the life confined in a small room every day sitting in front of computers most of the time !!! The longest driving I have ever had in my whole life was about 16 hours of driving in one day. I believe it was 1974, the 2nd year after we moved to U. S. A.. Mr. C. K. An of KMI came from Korea and I took him to one week trip to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We left Salt Lake City at 6:00 AM without breakfast, drove to North Rim of Grand Canyon and to Las Vegas arriving Las Vegas at midnight - 18 hours. Excluding breakfast, lunch, gas station stops and some break times, I believe we drove actually about 16 hours. During that time, I did almost all the driving as I was the only guy who can drive fast and we didn't have enough time. I did many non-stop driving to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite which take about 4 hours one way of winding mountain roads for more than half of the way. Many people say they become sleepy once they take the steering wheel. I am not. I am woken up once I get the wheel when I was sleepy.

Everybody says I am crazy, driving so many times of cross-continental driving. I agree 100% !! I am definitely "Crazy Driver" !!!, not only crossing continent so many times while there are very few people crossed even once in the life time, but I am driving always at the left fastest lane and not too many people pass me. But I just love driving. !!!

I don't mind to get a few speeding tickets during 1 month driving this time. Speeding ticket is quite different from other tickets - it doesn't mean I am driving dangerously but is purely the matter of luck. Almost everyone drive faster than speed limits. (At the left lane of the freeways around Silicon Valley, every car drives at 80-90 miles an hour, average 85 miles/hour. Speed limit is 65 mph) There are very few people driving within the limit. The only reason to get a speeding ticket is just I was driving at the wrong place at wrong time.

The freeway is the safest road always even you drive faster than other cars. High speed itself does not cause any accident. (It will just make accident much bigger, if happens.) Rather slow speed blocking other cars will cause more accident because other cars have to change lane to pass you. I drove around so much, probably more than most of the people, at 80-90 miles an hour speed always, received more than 20 speeding tickets but I have never had a freeway accident in my whole life. Though I am a fast driver, I am quite a safe driver. Anyway, I will have this great feeling everyday for the next 1 month.

 

Beautiful Mt. Shasta along the Interstate Highway-5 with snow covered the top of the mountain for whole year.

Day-2 : Grants Pass - Whidbey Island

It was one of the few long driving - 455 miles. We left Grants Pass at 8:00 AM and arrived Sooja Nehrlich's house in Freeland at 4:37 PM taking 8 1/2 hours including lunch hour, gas stop, car ferry waiting time and a few short coffee breaks.


 Sooja is a few years junior of Jane at Ehwa Women's University and the 3rd. YL (Young Lady) ham in Korea following Jane (HM1AM) and Kwangja Park (HM1CA). The cover picture of the KARL shows HM1CC visiting 8th. U.S. Army HQ in Seoul with KARL President and greeted by General Conway, the commander.

They lived in Chicago, built this beautiful house after retirement and moved to this Whidbey Island in 2002. We visited her in Chicago when we had the first transcontinental trip in 1975.

At the entrance to the house, there is an arch of "Welcome" sign in 3 languages.
(Nehrlich was born in U.S.A. but origin is Germany.)

She always provides us a wonderful dinner (she is a great cook). Whenever we go to Washington State, we stay at her home.
 

Their grand-daughter's picture in kitchen.


4,500 sq. ft. house in 3 acre land built in 2002

Beautiful View from Living Room.


Day-3 : Whidbey Island - Vancouver

After one night stay in Nehrlich's house, we drove to Vancouver on 6/8, the Day-3. It is 127 miles short drive including lunch hour and more than 30 min. waiting at Immigration Gate to Canada.

Immigration Gate to Canada. It is beautiful and took only 30 seconds at the booth just to show passport and answer a few questions but waited for more than 30 min. in the line. Garmin Navigator caused some problem as it could not recognize Canadian street numbers sometimes.

M. I. Shin when he was the Finance Director of KMI.

 

We had a lunch at Tengoku Sushi and talked about old KMI/AMI friends. I was very glad to see him with much better health than we saw him last time. He goes to doctor every 3 months to check (雁刈 + 壱迫笑). He is taking medicine only.


 

Day-4 : Vancouver - Banff

 

On 6/9, Day-4, this was supposed to be the longest day to drive 522 miles for 9 hours according to the plan. Because it was hard to find hotel in the mountain, I could not plan for shorter day. Therefore, we left Vancouver earlier at 7:32 AM (Plan was to depart at 08:00 AM).  As it was mountain road drive with a lot of up and down with many sharp curves to cross the Rocky Mountains for whole day, Jane could not drive today. Therefore, it was expected I had to drive whole day.

Though I have expected it will be a hard drive to cross the Rocky Mountains, it was harder than expected and our problem of this trip started from here. I have passed this road 2-3 times but I don't remember this road was this much hard road to drive. Road sign said 120km/hour (75 mph) but I could not accelerate to 120km/h at most of the road. For the most of section, it was a single lane road with passing lane here and there. To pass the slower car at the up-hill passing lane, I had to accelerate to full speed pushing acceleration pedal fully every time. I have traveled so much but this was the first time I had to fill the gas tank twice in one day. To make the situation worse, there were so many road works going on slowing us down - almost 20 places? -  and we lost 1 hour due to the time zone change from Pacific Daylight Saving Time to Mountain Daylight Saving Time. As the result, it took more than 11 hours of actual driving vs 9 hours planned.

When we arrived Banff area, it was already dinner time before we arrive to our hotel. We went into Banff city on the way which was not planned, had a dinner there at THEKEG restaurant and arrived to our hotel in Canmore at 7:46 PM.

It was a terrible day and I was very tired when we checked into the hotel. I have driven Canadian Transcontinental Highway-1 but it had double lanes each direction from Calgary to the east. Why do they have mostly single lane in this mountain road? I think Canadian government had to construct double lanes in this mountain road first before they construct double lanes in flat land.

Well, it is over any way and I don't think there will be any similar day during this trip. Thanks.

 

Day-5 : Banff - Calgary - Lethbridge

 

Next day on 6/10, Day-5, we visited Tony Hwang (伐去析) in Calgary, Alberta. He was ham operator in Korea (HM1AY) and is operating ham radio station with Canadian license now - VE6CGX.

Their business is hub and whole yard is covered by hub plants which are taken care by Mrs. Hwang mostly.

 

He is operating Canadian ham radio station VE6CGX now.

After spending about 30 minutes in his house talking various subjects including Korean ham radio, we had a lunch at a great Asian buffet house, mostly Chinese foods. We continued various interesting talks taking lunch, said Good-bye to Tony couple and headed to Lethbridge at 3:44 PM.

Canadian Rocky Mountains are quite different from American Rocky mountains.
They have sharp mountain tops while American Rocky mountains are flat mostly.