18 Dec

The Morgan Northwest Passage Road Trip – Sep 2018 (Don Moodie)

[This report came from MOGSouth member Don Moodie.  Others in MOGSouth participated and from all reports, the event was a wonderful time for all! Mark]

In addition to the various Concours, Cars and Coffees and Noggins, there was another, I’d say significant, Morgan activity which also took place this year.

The Morgan Northwest Passage Road Trip in September 2018

I thought the club might be interested in how it began and how it played out.

The initial announcement was broadcast over a year ago on August 31st of 2017 to a select list of club members. Those who had participated in the 1000 mile Pub Crawl around The Chesapeake were given early notice of this much more ambitious road trip. Apparently taking part in that earlier circumnavigation put a tick mark by certain names, identifying them as likely candidates for a trip all the way to the Pacific Northwest. During the Summer word of the trip became more widely known and additional club members decided to join in on the adventure. Eventually we had eleven cars signed up, including seven Morgans, one Lotus, one Jaguar, one MGB and a Ford Edge chase car.

The germ of the idea came from Bob McKenna and Gary Kneisley. In the months between the first suggestion and the actual departure there was much planning and re-planning to be done.  Bob and Gary put in countless hours refining the itinerary, planning the route and lining up hotels while Reg Hahn and Bill Button contributed valuable tweaks to the route.

By the time we were about to head out on the road, Bill Button had also compiled what he called The Bedside Reader. It contained day by day descriptions of the areas we would be driving through and the history of each. It was an outstanding addition to our understanding and appreciation of what we were experiencing.

In broad terms the plan was to reconnoiter in Cincinnati right after Labor Day 2018. From there we would make a kind of “forced march” to Rapid City, South Dakota. The pace and distance covered each of those early days was a reflection of the fact that a lot of the middle of the country is comparatively uninteresting. But Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, and for some of us The Badlands, were the beginning of the major sites for this trip. From Rushmore we continued on to the furthest point in the lower forty eight before turning left and going South through Oregon and California.

But while we were still heading West from Rushmore, we passed through Needles, Crazy Horse National Monument, Deadwood, The Little Big Horn Battle Field, Cody, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Cascades National Park. At that point we were two weeks into the trip. We boarded the ferry over to Port Townsend, Washington and Olympic National Park. Being the furthest possible Northwestern point it was the justification for calling this The Northwest Passage Road Trip.

From there, driving down through Oregon and Northern California we passed through Crater Lake and Lassen National Park. Another left brought us to Reno Nevada where we visited the outstanding Harrah Car Museum. At that point some of us would return home by whatever route we chose while others would extend the trip to visit with family or take in more of the sensational National Parks. Since we were in the Reno/Tahoe area I wanted to drive through the famous Donner Pass. As it turned out we drove through from East to West rather than the homeward direction which meant I had to turn around and go up and through again. So that particular bucket list item got checked twice.

Madeline and I then made our way home via Zion, Arches. Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks. Incredible! As we were at that point thirty days into the trip and still West of Denver, it was time for another “forced march” through the middle of the country. Altogether we were on the road thirty-seven days, covering 9,300 miles and visiting fourteen National Parks and attractions.

It made for a truly epic road trip!!

 

 

 

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