Monday, June 27, 2016

Westward Wyoming and Salt Lake City Utah

I have to say, now that this trip has turned around, literally, the feeling has changed entirely. On my way east, I had places I wanted to visit. For example, Boise Idaho, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. All the things you've already seen in his blog. I had no plans for the way back, other than to travel a different path then I had gone east.

I have no particular sites in mind for the return trip home, however, I would like to avoid highway 80 (which I am currently on). While traveling east, the road got better and better for me. There were fewer and fewer cars, I could focus on the scenery, the landscape. I could travel at 70 or 80 miles an hour, depending on the speed limit, and focus on what was out the side windows. While I was traveling west in Wyoming, there were still only a few cars and, though the scenery was a little monotonous, it was very nice traveling.

At some point, I ended up on Highway 80. Highway 80 travels across the country from coast to coast which means any trucker or civilian trying to make good time is on Highway 80, a two-lane Highway. Instead of scenery, I have to look at traffic and adjust my speed according to the truckers who are playing a slow game of leap frog.

This is not very fun, not as enjoyable as it has been. And the dread of knowing that Highway 80 could take me straight home (the quickest route possible) makes me a little bummed out. I would love to be home sooner than later but more than that I really want this to be an enjoyable three days. So, yesterday I went online to figure alternative routes. My plan is to take Highway 50, The Loneliest Road in America, to South Lake Tahoe. I contemplated driving to Yosemite but the length of time in the car was long and the hotel prices were too high. Even though I was just in South Lake Tahoe recently...the farther west I go the fewer new places there are for me to visit.

Speaking of which, I am now in Salt Lake City Utah.

I'd like to talk about the state line situation. I have crossed quite a few state lines on this trip and what baffles me every time is that the landscape, the climate, seems to change at the state line. I drove in Wyoming for 5 hours yesterday with the feeling of prairie and plains but as soon as I crossed into Utah everything became lush green, hilly, frankly beautiful. This happened when heading into Idaho, out of Idaho, into South Dakota. It happened more than I was expecting. I wonder if it was intentional when breaking up the states.

Anyway, I am in SLC. I came here once in my early twenties for a long weekend and communicated with locals and ex-Mormons. I learned a lot about the area and the culture. I walked around Temple Square and drove to local mountains to see how beautiful Utah is. I drank the low percentage beer and feel like I have a good understanding of the area. So, rather than look at the sights of where I am, I decided to sleep in, watch TV (a Star Trek The Next Generation marathon) and generally spoil myself. It feels so luxurious to just sit on a couch in my hotel room and not rush out the door.

Last night I booked my final two hotel rooms for this trip so I know exactly where I'm going and how long it will take me to get there. This means I can relax in the morning and not worry about getting on the road super early. I know it's going to take me 4 1/2 hours to get to Ely, Nevada. I will probably leave at noon.

I feel like this blog is going to peter out over the next couple of days because my focus has changed. I'm not taking as many pictures and I'm not as excited about what I'm seeing. This is not to say that what I'm traveling through isn't beautiful. I just think that each person has a certain capacity for what they can take in, how many hours or days in a row they can maintain excitement about scenery. When I was in Europe last year, I burnt out on it. I didn't care if I ever saw another castle or church or famous painting of Jesus. It was how I felt at the end of Yellowstone when I didn't stop at Mammoth Hot Springs. I am a little overloaded and just want to focus on the drive. The goal is to get to the next hotel, so I can lay down and recover from the drive itself.