Listening to Mary Miche while coming out of Elko (if you haven’t heard Mary Miche, her Nature Nuts and Earth Songs albums are excellent). Took a while for the glow plugs to warm up and the engine to start - barren wasteland so it seems - lots of dry brush and Sissy felt so sorry for the horses standing out in the bitter cold (well, bitter to we californicators). Abruptly, we pass through a gap in and the Ruby Mountain range spread out before us. Gigantic snow capped mountains surrounding this desert brush and basin. Simply amazing. Even the kids were awed. Looking at the road stretching out before us, we’ll skirt the range, staying in the basin. We’re hoping to get to Evanston WY today - only 300 miles.
Everyone voted for a late start so they could avail themselves of the "expanded" breakfast at the Elko Comfort Inn. In the past (Sacto) this has consisted of eggs, sausages, waffles (you make), juice, milk, coffee, pastries, muffins, etc. Jamie thought the kids would sleep better (in the car) with a full belly, but it turned out they only got up an hour earlier than normal. We’ll see how the day goes, but I think I prefer getting up early. Jamie watched the kids (at the pool) yesterday while I got an Ethernet cable, some camcorder tapes and food. got on the Internet at the hotel (very painless and fast) and picked up email. Unfortunately, hotel was badly configured and their mail server kept bouning my sent mail.
We’ve been finding diesel at about the same price all through CA (once we left the Bay Area) and NV - ranging from $2.21 to 2.31ish. Coming into Elko, we found the cheapest gas we’ve seen in eons; $1.99 for unleaded. Don’t remember the last time I saw gas under $2/gal… Sales taxes have steadily dropped since leaving CA - we pay 8.25%; it was lower in NV (don’t remember exactly), it is 6% in UT and 5% in WY (where we hope to spend the night). This area seems so desolate because it is nothing but brush, fences, rocks, dirt and hills. When a mountain range crops up, especially a snow capped one, it is even more spectacular due to the lack of competition from the surrounding desert. We’re in the high desert though, so mountain ranges and mountain tops are seen at close proximity - your are meandering through the flat and bleak and the snow capped giants seem to rise abruptly; straight out of the desert. Looking further on the maps, it looks like were at 6-6500 ft and the mountain tops are in the 10-11Kft range. We just hit a summit of 7000ft and did barely any climbing. COming over the summit, we’re starting to descend into the clouds. Yup; we’re in the HIGH desert. Why do these desert towns spring up? There is NOTHING there - no green; no river - was it a mining operation that precluded the town? The road is so very straight - once on cruise control one can almost take a nap…
Ellen is like me - she is asleep now (about 30 min after getting on the road) - she can sleep anywhere. Pike and Sissy rarely sleep in the car. Jesse and Pike are also asleep and although I hate to admit it, Jamie might have a point about filling their bellies (though Ellen ate almost nothing at bfast) before putting them in the car. All four are asleep and it has been quiet with no fighting for over an hour. About to cross into Utah… The AAA map shows this route (80 ) as scenic, but Jamie and I are scratching our heads - where is the scenery? Flatter than NV; no sagebrush to break up the flat; pools of water (salt lake?) merges the sky and ground into one. I wonder if it will get more scenic towards SLC or is this simply a bad joke. The high Nevada desert was much prettier than this…
REST STOPS!!! Sissy had to take a pee so we stopped at a rest stop - what a GREAT idea!!! It was on the edge of a wild horse range and while I thought Sissy would be so excited to possibly see wild horses, she was very disappointed when she realized that she wasn’t going to see them up close. We stopped for a good hour; the boys climbed cliffs and they all ran around. After the bitter cold of Elko we were warm at the rest stop, but it soon turned quite cold. Our blood simply must be too thin. We’ve got to get to Mexico before it freezes! After the rest stop, the landscape began to get prettier. As we got closer to SLC, the landscape began ;to resemble northern Nevada again; scrub (but interspersed with pools of water) and mountain ranges.
Unfortunately, it is very hazy in Utah today. We’ve had constant haze since we crossed the border and it doesn’t look to change. It is a shame, because without the haze, it looks liike it could be very
pretty. It is odd to see the horizontal strata in the mountains compared to the vertical and diagonal you see in California (earthquake country). We’re starting to see trees again. As you come into SLC from the west (on 80) there are large mounts and flats of jet black material. I think it is dirt - it looks like dirt (and there are trucks and dozers moving it around) but Jamie thinks it is coal. Any ideas?
It is off to the right (as you’re going east) near Lake Point.