Yesterday we woke up in Las Vegas – sunny warm Las Vegas where it was 33C (that’s almost 92 degrees for you Fahrenheit people). Today we woke up in Cedar City, Utah where it was sunny and a balmy 11C (51 fahrenheit…). Not good. I had to actually put long pants and shoes on – goodbye shorts and sandals. This was not a good start to the day – although really we went from winter-ish in guelph, to spring in Indiana, to summer in Tennessee and now back to spring in Utah. That means that Calgary will be headed back towards summer (eventually) and we’ll have had two summers this year. At least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Cedar city is an interesting little town – no drinking and no gambling because it is predominantly Mormon – and it has a strange vibe. I’m not sure exactly how to explain the feeling other than to say I expected to see Ned Flanders everywhere. We ate breakfast at the cleanest, quietest, most cheerful Ihop we’ve ever eaten in and then jumped back on the road. We took a secondary highway – I89 – and meandered through the mountains. The rock formations were fantastic and although I did take pictures I know the pictures will not do them justice. But I couldn’t resist 🙂 The road was snakey and had some fantastic switchbacks on it, and we climbed to 9800 ft above sea level. For comparison, Guelph Ont, where we started our journey is at 1096 feet above sea level and Calgary Ab, is at 3428 ft above sea level. We were WAY up there.
And of course at that high a sea level you get… I can’t even say it. Here’s a picture:
Ugly isn’t it? I have no words…
When we got to the other side of the mountain we were on, we headed north towards Salt Lake City. The drive was beautiful and we saw many interesting little houses as we headed in to a couple of small towns. After a bit we realized that many of the homes in one of the small towns had multiple homes on one lot – so a driveway with three homes all facing into a common courtyard. This puzzled me till Warren reminded me that there are polygamists in this area of the world so that could be what we were seeing. Fascinating. Not a practice that I understand but an issue I know has had lots of discussion since the 1800’s when it was initially outlawed in Utah.
We continued driving till we reached Salt Lake City – what a big city. And the highway became horrifically crowded. At one point there were 8 lanes of traffic in one direction and it was all going faster than the speed limit. I don’t mind saying I didn’t love this part of the journey – too many cars, too many lanes. But there is a suburb in Salt Lake City named Sandy so that at least redeemed the city in my eyes 🙂 I managed to snap a picture of this sign as we passed the suburb.
After a bit of moderate road-rage inducing traffic we finally got past the core of the city and headed out into the countryside again. The first thing you see is the Salt Lake – it’s huge and quite beautiful. I’ve put pictures into the slideshow below. And then into bumper to bumper traffic once more. What? It took at least an hour (maybe more) to get to the source of the slowdown – it looked like two tractor trailers had some sort of collision. It didn’t look like anyone was seriously hurt, but this was indeed what was causing the slow down half way back to Salt Lake City. It was not our day for travel I’ll tell you. And I guess not for those truck drivers either. Once we got past the traffic we had a brief stop to get a coffee and regain our composure and then headed out one more time. This time we had success – no traffic and highway as far as the eye could see. The cool part though, is that this highway went straight through the salt flats. On either side of the highway it’s just white and flat for as far as the eye can see. The salt flats have been used for racing and testing out vehicles since 1904 because they are dead flat and there is no possibility of hitting anything else.
There were people walking on the salt flats and some tire tracks from some adventurous people, but mostly the flats beside the highway are completely deserted. We eventually got to Wendover Utah or Nevada, depending on which side of town you are on. Yes, this little town crosses the state line and because of this, the east side of town is in utah and the west is in Nevada. As a result the town is a little odd – one side is kind of just a little town and the other side (and the state line is marked on the road) it’s a mini-las vegas. I kid you not.
We decided to stay on the Nevada side and are hunkered down in the Montego Bay Hotel and Casino for the night. Tomorrow we are going to the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway to see what it’s all about.
Stand by and we’ll tell you all about it!