Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.
Wide Open Skies, Mountains and Canyons
Day 10 – July 24, 2012
The Fairfield had a good breakfast, one we could actually eat. We asked and received a late check out (noon) so Kelly could get some work done. She didn’t make it so I shooed her out of the room and into the lobby so we could make our noon checkout, with 30 seconds to spare.
While we have been early risers we have not been early departers, many times we start traveling after 10 am and some times after noon, such as today. As I look back I can’t figure out what we did with those mornings.
While Kelly fought the noon deadline I loaded the car and took some daytime pictures of the monoliths. I also checked the map and gps, deciding to take a detour and head further down the new road. The road quickly became dirt and entered a canyon. A sign said something about a 20 plus mile trip. We only went about 2 but the canyon was a beautiful, reddish rock wall all around us.
I had discovered we were near the Green River recreation area so decided we would drive through it to Utah and on to Vegas. I was concerned about isolation and lack of food so we decided to provision first. Kelly though she saw a subway on our late night trip to town but we didn’t find it. Instead we stopped at a restaurant and got sandwiches to go. The people were very nice but I am a bit ticked about our choice. It was twice as expensive as subway and they were very stingy with the coleslaw, filling the cup up only half way. I don’t know why I am complaining as I didn’t even try to eat mine. And as nice as they were it was awkward to stand around the restaurant and wait.
Back on the road we of course pass a Subway.
I had checked online to see if there was a fee to enter this region. All I got was gobblygook about the region being valuable, no mention of the cost.
A sign warned us “Fee station ahead”. The Fee station was a pull over on the other side of the road, easy to miss. You put $5 in an envelope (cash or check) and a paper tag on the dash and we were good to go.
The $5 was well worth it, we drove through some pretty areas. Things got more interesting when we entered Utah and the mountains. The vistas were amazing as we topped 8,000 feet. We stopped for lunch overlooking a lake. Mountain roadside was both fun and scary. I was entering a “U” when two fully loaded trucks with metal pipes came around the other way. The first driver stayed in his lane, and I mine. The second took the curve too fast and invaded my space a little but no collision just frayed nerves on my part and a curse to the second driver.
We eventually saw a sign for the dam so we took the detour and lost some altitude. The dam tours were closed for the day but we walked around a bit before returning to our route. On the way down the mountains I down shifted to 4th or 3rd and it kept my speed in check with minimal breaking. The only downside was the battery did not get as charged quickly. On many descents the battery didn’t even get fully charged as engine breaking dissipated the energy. We left the fee area ($750 fine for not paying your $5) and entered civilized Utah. We hadn’t travelled very far, less than 200 miles but it was time to plan for where we would spend the night. My goal was to get settled by 7 so we could relax, do something and update the blog. It seldom happened.
By choosing to drive through the Green River area we were below and separated from Salt Lake and Provo. We would have to travel south then north to reach either one. While Salt Lake had plenty of hotels and Provo enough we decided to press on to the interstate, as there were hotels there. This proved a mistake as it was just too far.
The sun was getting low in the sky so the canyon was darker; the two lane twisty road was fast with a rock wall on one side and usually cattle grazing land on the left. Many places had signs saying “open range” with cattle guards to cross over.
Kelly napped until we entered more mountains, climbing to over 9,000 feet this time. We of course stopped at the summit and took some pictures.
It was a long 130 miles. We did eventually leave the canyon and mountains and saw signs of civilization in Price. Stopped at a Burger King again, primarily to use their Internet but also eat dinner. Found a travel lodge that had a reasonable rate (71) and checked in.
The turned the AC on and it blew out cool air. After a while I noticed it was off and refused to turn back on. I called the front desk and he came right up. Turns out it had to be set to 60 (the minimum) even though the room was far from 60. The poor design also turned the fan off so the room got stuffy before turning back on and cooling the room to an adequate, but not great temperature. Neither of us slept particularly well.
This place had a hot pocketlike breakfast sandwich, which I ate but Kelly passed. SO we once more went for a real breakfast. We stopped at a little diner and it was very good.