Tag Archives: utah

Great Western Road Trip, Day 20

Current Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Today’s Song: Carbon Leaf – 1 Wolf, 2 Wolf, 2 Wolf, 4

This one is all about the wide open spaces of the west, and driving miles and miles before seeing another person. A nice, contemplative piece, I think.

I started the day super-early in Salt Lake City, Utah. It took some doing, but I finally found one of the few coffee shops open at 6 AM in downtown SLC. Then it was on the road on Interstate 80 eastbound. Just as I was passing through a construction zone on the outskirts of town, I heard a *THOK* and looked over to find…

Sure enough, the crack started traveling across the windshield. This is my second cracked windshield of the trip, but at least now I know the routine – get it fixed myself, Budget doesn’t have to know about it, get reimbursed through my Chase Sapphire card (by the way, this card is AMAZING – automatic trip and rental car insurance for anything that you charge with the card. This has saved me thousands of dollars.)

That unpleasantness aside, it was a pleasant and uncrowded drive northeast up into Wyoming, where I stopped for a breakfast bagel.

Next stop: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The drive just to get there was pretty in its own right.

I loved the fact that as you drove through the surrounding area the geology was on full display, and Utah helped with this by posting signs along the road explaining different features.

There was a ton of twisty-turns mountain driving, which is so much fun in a Mustang! It helps that there weren’t that many people on the road on a weekday morning so I could pretty much set my own speed, within reason. The views, though. Simply spectacular!

I was originally going to go over the Flaming Gorge Dam and take Browns Park Road overland. It’s an intriguing route, 30+ miles of unpaved road through the middle of nowhere. I had to drop the idea due to 1. Nearby forest fires making it a very real possibility that the road could be closed, and 2. I really didn’t want to possibly damage the dang car any further! Instead, I skipped the dam and went south through Vernal, Utah, where I stopped for a tasty lunch and to make geeky dad jokes.

Then it was a long, long drive to Denver. I didn’t make any stops because it was frequently pouring down rain (the first time in this entire trip, amazingly enough!). The drive down I-70 is always amazing though – beautiful views and very cool road engineering. I finally pulled into my destination, the Hyatt House in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, at 7 PM, 12 hours after I left downtown Salt Lake City. This was the longest I’ve driven in one day on this whole trip and I’m glad I won’t have to do that again!

I really like the Hyatt House brand – they have some great room designs.

For dinner I walked across the street to Brodo, an Italian place. The service was very lacking initially, but once the dinner rush died down it got better. I had a delicious steak salad, and got into a great conversation with the bartender about tonic syrups, gins, and aperitifs. It was a great evening.

Tomorrow I’ll be hanging around Denver to get the windshield fixed, then exploring Boulder, Colorado, and enjoying dinner with friends.

Miles Driven Today: 556 miles

Time Driving Today: 10:13

Total Miles Driven: 4,098 miles

Total Time Driving: 85:48

Great Western Road Trip, Day 19

 

Current Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Today’s Song: This Will Destroy You – They Move On Tracks of Never-Ending Light

This song makes me think of the miles and miles of desert I drove through today, with the promise of mountains in all directions. I expected it to be a little monotonous, but it was actually a beautiful landscape surrounded by the Toiyabe Range and the Ruby Mountains. The contrast between the dry salt flats and the snow-capped mountains just beyond was stunning.

The drive out of Reno was quite lovely this morning, winding up through the foothills.

I put on the 20-hour audiobook for T. J. Klune’s Wolfsong (which I have read before and I know it is absolutely amazing) and this helped the miles fly by. The only downside is that the book will put you through the emotional wringer, and had me crying several times during the drive. I made a couple of stops along the way to admire the landscape.

I stopped in Winnemucca, Nevada for a quick breakfast/lunch at a lovely little diner. Once again, Yelp steers me to good places. As long as you know that you can’t really rely on the ratings for any place with less than a couple of dozen reviews, it’s a fantastic resource.

I rolled into Salt Lake City at 4:30 PM and checked into my hotel for the night, a Hyatt House. I’ve never stayed in one of these before and it’s a nice step up from a Hyatt Place, geared to those spending several nights in one place.

Dinner was at Red Rock Brewery, an easy walk from the hotel. Their beers are quite good, and the warm goat cheese salad really hit the spot.

Tomorrow the trip continues. This will be an interesting leg, SLC to Denver but clipping the southwestern corner of Wyoming then driving into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, then overland across northwestern Colorado. I expect this is going to be a long one, so I’m going to try to get on the road as early as possible.

Miles Driven Today: 513 miles

Time Driving Today: 7:19

Total Miles Driven: 3,542 miles

Total Time Driving: 75:35