snowflake

1000 Miles

Hit the 1000 mile mark today on the trip and Reno is cold. Utah had plenty of mountains and Nevada is just getting drier and drier as we go and more colorful as well. John and I went nuts with the camera and you'lll be able to see them in this trip's set on Flickr.

I-80 heads west through the mountains so nearly every rise we headed up and over opened out to an amazing valley below, and we were just pushing to make it out as the drive itself was fun and incredible. Plus we wanted to get this done so that we can meet up with folks in Roseville and Jet can get some kid time. Jet was the one that said, "I guess we'll have two boring days and then we can get out and look around a little."



We got started at about 8:30 am, which is a little early for me, but I actually slept well in the hotel and had dreams for the first time in weeks. I'd slept part of the drive yesterday and got another hour and a half in today. Problem is that I wanted to write two stories but I don't think I'll kick myself too hard about it.

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The scenery was spectacular the whole way through, and this is the fist time we've driven through the highlands and had it be so green, as we're usually through the area in the summer. This time it was spring and a lovely spring at that, and seeing all the animals and actual ground water everywhere was just amazing. It was great up at high altitude to see the hidden groves of quaking aspens tucked into each little piece of the mountains. Beautiful small groves hidden by the curves in the road.

We'd see these utterly spectacular views, and in the midst of them would be refineries or power plants, or other chemical plants that looked like these steampunk castles out in the middle of untouched wilderness. Of course there was this one place where it looked like nearly a whole mountain had been dug out from the inside out and all there was was a mountain of tailings in its place. It was a huge old copper mine that had pretty much taken down a whole mountain on its own just outside a city. That was pretty amazing to see as well.

115 Car Train
We got to Salt Lake City about mid-day and the one thing I'll remember is driving across the salt flats with the salt lake behind us, mountain ranges from shoulder to shoulder all around us, and the white salt in the near ground in all directions. There was a 115 car train that we could not just see the whole of, but see where the track it had traveled as and where it was going all the way to the horizon along with our own road before us. The sky above was filled with clouds that were trying to rain on us, and it was just gorgeous.

We stopped for lunch at a McDonald's as Jet went YAY! and John and I were just hungry and it's sort of comfort food when away from home. But they had these compacting trash cans that when you opened the door to toss trash into them, they'd say, "Thank you." and make you peer around for who had said that. Jet was a little frightened of them, but they worked just fine. I also really love their iced tea. *laughs* And the tea and some Fritos tided me well through the afternoon's driving.

I love driving on freeways. The longer and flatter the stretch the happier I am. I can do mountain driving, but I prefer just going and going forever, especially along freeways with passing lanes, so that I don't get stuck behind other cars much.

The winds across some of these plains is just insane, though, and for a good hundred miles I was just white-knuckled on the wheel as the wind kept trying to blow the car off line. When the wind finally went away as we went behind a mountain range, it made the driving so much easier I just kept going until 4ish, and this is with the hour we picked up along the way on the Nevada Utah border.

The GPS has functions that we had no idea it had, either. Not just the map and get you there, it keeps track of over all times stopped and times driving, average and greatest speeds, and overall distances. It will allow layering of six different destinations, allowing us all the side trips we want while on the way to Roseville. *laughs* It's fun to do.

Ended up driving for 11 hours today, so no wonder I'm tired, still. *laughs*

Jet with his Order
On the way John found out that the El Dorado in Reno had forty dollar rooms for the night. Seems that it's still off season for Reno, still too cold for them, and with the economy the way it has been, they've been having problems filling the casinos and hotel. So cheap, wonderful room with a HUGE flatpanel TV, free breakfast buffet, and great, cheap dinner in the same building was just what we needed by the end of all this.

Sadly, the outdoor pool is still closed as well, they had a snow storm just two days ago, and I don't blame them really. But the place is fun, and the inhouse pastry shop is just horribly tempting, but I think I'll save my calories for Butter, Flour, Sugar.

I was, however, sorely tempted by half a Peking Duck. *laughs* I ended up with a green corn tamale filled with poblano and jack cheese, which was very nice, much smaller, and far easier to eat. Jet asked for and got General Tso's tofu instead of chicken, and John got a turkey club sandwich that looked very nice. The waitress was very bemused by Jet's request, but she rendered it faithfully.

We're safe here, the pictures are uploaded, and I'm content finally to get this done.
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The talking trash cans remind me of the "Happy to be of service!" elevators from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Some things just should not talk.

I love reading your travel accounts - the sense of the vastness of that part of the country is palpable.
I think Jet would happily agree with you on the first. *laughs*

Mmm... I'm so glad that it comes across!! As that is always what hits me in this part of the world. *laughs* It's just so huge and beautiful... *sighs*

Thank you.
Wow! Sounds like loads of fun and a good start to your trip!

Best of luck with the roads and construction. I hope you have a safe and happy vacation. :D
It has been a wonderful start!!

And the roads and sometimes bridge constructions have been just fine and easy to handle. I'm just really glad that we're driving the Passat on this trip as so much of what we're doing this time is in various Big Cities as opposed to do a ton of cross-country stuff where we can camp and the like. MUCH nicer to be able to just park somewhere and get a hotel room with wifi. *laughs*