My wife decided she wanted a new Kitchen so to save myself from all the chaos I decided to drive up to northern California to visit my sister. I didnt really make any specific route plans other than I wanted to visit Big Bend National Park along the way (1st three pics). If you have never been there I highly recommend it. It is the country's least visited National Park. Because of the government shutdown I was not able to camp in the park as planned so I ended up at Terlingua sleeping in a tipi for 2 nights (Next 2 pics). It rained almost the entire time I was there and I was suprised at how dry the tipi kept me. Terlingua is a interesting place. Very counter culture. You will see just about any kind of home you can imagine from tipis to school busses to yurts to high dollar new adobe houses. Terlingua is a ghost town. The next 2 pics are from the graveyard located right in the middle of town. When I left Terlingua I hugged the tex/mex border on The Texas Mountain Trail. This highway ran along the bank of the Rio Grade River. I was one hell of a beautiful drive. I was on this road for about 100 miles until I got to Presidio, TX where I turned north to Marfa and hit I-10 West. From here I pretty much just racked up some miles to make into California where I hopped to visit Sequioa, Kings Canyon and Yosimite National Parks. Once again the government shutdown was going to prevent any overnight ingredients in the parks plus the weather was getting worse by the day. As I rolled into Visalia, CA it was pouring down rain so I decided stay at a Motel 6 then get up the next morning and see how far I could go into Sequioa National Park. When I got up to leave for the park it was still pouring rain. I made it to the park entrance and was greeting by a sign saying the park was open but there were no services available and overnight camping was not allowed. My plan was to make a loop through Sequioa and Kings Canyon. It would have been about a 100 mile loop. At around 5000 feet elevation I was stopped at a checkpoint by 2 rangers who told me chains were required beyond this point. I did have chains but asked if I could just put it in 4 wheel drive. One of them checked out and said I'd be OK if is took it easy. At about 6000 feet I hit the snow line. Everywhere I looked was absolute beauty. Being from Texas I've not had a lot of opportunities to drive in snow. My Tacoma made it stress free. I never once lost grip on the icy road. I was extremely thankful I didn't have to stop and put my chains on (per manual rear wheels only). The new BFG KO2'S I put on just before leaving Texas were fantastic in the snow and ice. At about 8000 feet I had to turn around due to the road going into Kings Canyon being closed. Bummer, but I was happy I'd gotten as far as I did. Another things I did to my Tacoma was have my dealership reprogram the ECM with the latest update. Performance at these higher altitudes was not a problem. If you haven't done this do it as soon as possible. I guarantee you will be pleased with the results. From here I fast tracked it to my sister and brother inlaw's place. They live near Callahan,CA in a off grid log cabin he built himself. The cabin lies on the bank of the Scott River. He had to build a bridge to cross the river to get to their cabin. The bridge is only for walking across. Not big enough for vehicles. Power is provided by a combination of solar and a Honda generator that keep a bank of 12V batteries charged. Refridgerator, stove/oven and hot water heater are propane. Water supply is from a spring up the mountain. Abosolute heaven if you ask me. My only gripe would be that it is illegal to fish for three steelhead and trout in the Scott River where they live. Would make an outlaw of me if I lived there. My brother in law is a competitive dog sled racer. He was getting ready to leave for a 100 mile race in Oregon (Eagle Cap Extreme) that was to be held the following week. I did go on a training run with him where he harnessed his 8 dogs to an ATV and we made a 12 mile loop. Those dogs love to pull. He came in 5th in the race which is pretty good since he is 65 years old, 6'7" and we'll over 200 pounds. Most of his competitors we both half his age and weight. My next stop was at my nephew's place in Weed, CA. No the town is not named for three recently passed CA cannabis legislation. Weed was the last name of the man who founded the town. But I did see evidence that the town embraced what outsiders may perceive the town's name to represent. I outgrew that stuff over 30 years ago and didn't explore any of the despensaries. My nephew is a Certified CA Forrester who works for Campbell Timber. I am very proud of him for what he has achieved. He and his beautiful girlfriend made me feel very welcome on my visit. From here I headed to Reno for a night. I don't really care for the casino scene but I got a good rate in a really nice hotel so I decided to pamper myself. The room at the Silver Legacy on cost ne $62. Next stop was the Lodge at Hoover Dam. It was about 30 miles past vegas and a good place to spend the night before heading to Flagstall, AZ. It wasn't long after hitting the road to Flagstaff that I hit the snow line again. At about 5000 feet it was really coming down. I was lucky enough to get behind a snow plow and followed him for around 50 miles. Slow going but I was happy to be making headway home. It was here that I hit the coldest temperatures of the trip. My truck's thermometer showed 8 degrees F. I spent the night in Flagstaff then hit the road planning to make it to Roswell, NM. This town is all about UFO'S and aliens. Visited the International UFO Investigation Museum. Some pretty wild stuff in there. From here it was pedal to the metal homeward bound. It was good to get home but I was a bit dissapointed that the kitchen remodel wasn't further along. Looks like I've got at least another few weeks of it ahead of me. Oh well. It was one hell of a trip and I can't wait for three next one. Pictures are sort of in order of the naration.