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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 40.7608, -111.891
5/26/12 – Surprise, surprise. Those old bikers did not turn out to be a bunch of party animals after all. I think they went to bed before we did, because it got very quiet around 8 PM and we had a good night's sleep.
So, no one told us it was Memorial Day. Just kidding. But this fact has made it a challenge to finding accommodations this weekend. Anything around the national parks is booked solid for sure. With Yosemite, we had to get a room 40 minutes from the park, and that was a Wednesday. We ruled out Yellowstone for that very same reason. All booked up. We will have to come back another time to see Old Faithful. Salt Lake City was all booked up this weekend, too, and we had to go to Midvale to find a hotel with a non-smoking room.
It never occurred to me that weather would be an issue on this trip. When you live in Florida, you expect to get up and see the sun shining every morning. And it usually does. You forget about cold and dreary days. And after 12 years, we have to consider ourselves Floridians. So when
we hit snow yesterday, it was a big surprise. And once would be enough, right? Well, I guess not, because nature blessed us with another trying day today, and this one was far worse than the last. It was cold and cloudy this morning, 45 degrees, when we left Winnemucca, NV at 8:15 AM headed for Salt Lake City. The plan was to be there just after lunch. But it was not to be. We got on the highway and the temperature began to drop and so did the clouds. Soon it was 38 degrees and it started raining and we could not see the tops of the hills surrounding us.
We went through many elevation changes again today and the temperature kept falling until it was 32 degrees and we were driving through snow and sleet. We were sharing the road with mostly 18 wheelers, and anyone who has driven beside trucks in a snow storm knows how challenging and frustrating it can be. The snow was accumulating on the ground and the roadway. Soon the clouds were all the way down to the ground. Visibility was very limited. And we drove along this way for 4 hours. It
really slowed down our progress and delayed our arrival in Utah.
We crossed the state line at 12:15, where the last of 3 casinos was so close to the state line, that the parking lot and hotel were actually in Utah. And suddenly, the topography changed from desert and scrub brush to green trees and beautiful rock formations, and then, the Bonneville Salt Flats…flat land with turquoise pools and dried up land, flat and white with salt. And the flats went on for miles and miles, all the way into Salt Lake City. We saw salt miles surrounded by huge white pyramids. And there were more turquoise pools with salt just floating on the top like whitecaps on the open sea.
One light in the tunnel…we stopped for gas and when I walked to the door of the mini mart, a young man opened it for me and held it as I walked inside. And when I came out, 2 men did the same, once again. Now, coming from Kissimmee, FL I am not used to this. Men, especially young ones, usually race you to the door, walk inside, and let the door slam in your face. No exaggeration…even a lame
old bird like me gets treated in this manner. Except for Steve, who always holds the door for me, I thought chivalry was dead, until this afternoon. And I mused…we must be close to Salt Lake City.
Eventually the road came up to a mountain and curved to the north to make passage around it. And there it was on the left…the Great Salt Lake. We drove to the marina which was our nearest access to the lake and took some photos. It was windy this afternoon, and when I got out of the car, I was reaching back to get my camera when suddenly I heard a roar followed by a gust of wind that blew the car door into my legs so hard, it pushed me down onto the car seat. (I can't wait to see the black and blue I got from that event.) So, I thought, wow this wind gust was pretty strong. And eventually I knew what had happened. I had been hit by a little tornado/twister. I soon saw another one on the water, tossing up a white mist as it moved along the surface of the lake northward. I guess the roar was
the clue, but it all happened so quickly, and my mind does not move that fast anymore.
One added note…this is for Scott. We saw your tumbleweed today. We saw a lot of it, rolling across the highway, and parking lots and piled up in heaps along the fences by the roadside. I tried to take a photo, but it didn't come out. Sorry.
The word for the day is NEVADA. After driving through it for 2 days, I am beginning to understand why they made gambling and prostitution legal here. They had to do something to get people to come. It is just a vast wasteland of uninspiring desert, sandwiched between the glorious Sierra Mountains in California and the picturesque salt flats of Utah. I have not plans to return here any time soon on a road trip.
What can I say about Salt Lake City. Well, it certainly does not look anything like it did when I passed through here 46 years ago. All of these years, I have been carrying around in my head a vision of standing at the bottom of the hill on Main St. and looking up the tree-lined street and seeing the capital building
at the top, with a shiny gold dome. It was so beautiful and it left a lasting impression in my brain. I was anxious to see it once again. But 46 years have change this city more than I can begin to explain. And that tree-lined street no longer allows a view of the capital. And that gold dome??? Black. It is now black. Not sure what happened. Perhaps it was really a brand new copper dome that has since tarnished. I don't know. All I can say is that it is time to erase from my mind that golden memory and put Salt Lake City to rest.
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