Sunday, May 15, 2016

Detour #1

I'm just going to say it.......that sure didn't take long. Staying with the "anything can happen" theme less than 2 hours into the second day after beginning our journey again Sharon and I made the decision to make a change to our itinerary. When we left Western Hill Campground in Rawlins, Wyoming  this morning our next scheduled, non-traveling day stop was Reno, Nevada and fishing at Pyramid Lake. Reno is still on the itinerary but not in a straight line anymore. That is one of the great aspects of an open-ended, mostly unscheduled journey.

Driving west on I-80 we were both looking forward to getting a look at Evanston, Wyoming. Back when I worked in the Jonah field on a drilling rig one of the chemical engineers told me that he thought is was the most beautiful undiscovered town in Wyoming. I haven't seen all of Wyoming and we didn't get to explore but I have to say I agree. Cruising along in the high desert Evanston strikes you as an oasis then suddenly you're back in the high desert. Had we not been looking forward to it Evanston would have been a most pleasant visual surprise. As it was it was just a pleasant change of scenery while it lasted.

What we weren't expecting was the scenery from the Wyoming/Utah border all the way to Salt Lake City. The mountainous terrain is nothing short of gorgeous along that whole stretch of I-80. The mountains are covered with a unique mix of aspens, conifers and sage. Some of the geological formations are fascinating enough to warrant considering a trip back through the area for some better sight-seeing. That's the problem with having a destination to get to, there is never enough time to stop, take photographs and just soak it all in let alone take a hike. We were fortunate enough to see it all under a heavily clouded sky. I think everything looks better in low light studded by clouds. The colors are richer and more visually satisfying.

I think the most beautiful stretch we were on today is the run through Park City, Utah. From the highway all the ski runs are visible because of the snow-pack. You can also see the ski jump that was used in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. The tops of all the heavily snow packed peaks were covered by thick clouds.

You may notice a glaring lack of photographs of all this beauty. When it comes to road scenery I'm not a big fan of trying to photograph while driving and stopping every time a beautiful scene comes in to view seriously impedes progress on the journey. And let's face my photography skills probably wouldn't do it justice anyway.

Coming into Salt Lake City seemed a bit of a let down after the drive coming in. Let's just say I am much more of an enthusiast for natural scenery than cityscapes. As cities go though Salt Lake seems like a really nice place. One thing it does have going for it is the scenery to the east. The views of the Wasatch Mountains are spectacular. It made me wonder how all the commuters get to work each day with all that wild terrain calling.

I almost forgot the change of itinerary.

Driving along I-80 about an hour after we left this morning I said to Sharon "I think we should swing through Las Vegas". I could tell by the look on her face all she needed was an idea of the route. Within minutes of the idea coming up she had the atlas in her lap mapping the route.

Back in 1995 I made the drive from Fort Worth, Texas to Reno for work. For some reason that drive has been lodged in my mind ever since. I've talked about it many times wishing that Sharon and I could do it together. A short detour through Las Vegas before Reno sets that up perfectly. We may never have another convenient chance to make this drive

We are still heading to Reno and Pyramid Lake but we have a short stop to make first. I'm not sure how much blogging will happen while we are actually in Vegas because you know what they say. What happens in Vegas............ Viva Las Vegas Baby!!!

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