As I type this, it is not yet 7 a.m., and we are very homey. Joe is driving west on I-80 in Nevada, between Wells and Elko, with Bonnie Raitt on the CD player and the sun rising on the mountains ahead. I am sitting at the dinette typing, with my cup of coffee and my laptop. And Roxy is stretched out on the opposite bench, dozing. Now, for all you RV skeptics, doesn’t this sound lovely?
We started yesterday on a very cold morning (about 40 degrees, with some frost on our back-up camera lens) in Sinks Canyon State Park. But it was SO beautiful, as I think you will agree from this photo of Mo nestled into a campsite, and the sun rising over the mountains right behind us. After two days, the rain and clouds were gone, and the bright sun came back.
We made an early start, knowing we had a very long driving day, and also needed to make a stop at Walmart to stock up on some groceries and other odds and ends before we got to Yosemite (that reminds me, a few days ago we passed a small store called “More Odds Than Ends”!) By 7:30 we were back on the highway heading south in Wyoming. Wyoming may be the most beautiful state in the US. There are SO many varied mountains and vistas, it seems you see something different around every turn. Of course, there’s nothing BUT scenery in Wyoming, also. Not much in the way of cities, and the few that there are, we haven’t visited. We drove from the northeast corner of the state to the southwest corner, and it was beautiful almost every mile of the way. Even from the Interstate.
After lunch and Walmart, we crossed into Utah. At first it was very Wyoming-ish—very pretty. But within 30 minutes, we were climbing the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City, and coming down into a major metropolitan area. I think Salt Lake is the largest city we will be driving through, and just to make it a real city experience, we got tangled up on the 3 interstate highways which cross through the city, and missed a turn. No big deal, though, just a delay while we took the next exit and turned ourselves around. But we are not used to travelling in city traffic with Mo, and it was a little hairy (I also had to drive faster than usual for us, just to keep up with the traffic.) Almost as soon as we left the beltline of the city, however, civilization pretty much disappeared and we ran alongside the Great Salt Lake for a while.
The last 100 miles of the Utah panhandle west of Salt Lake is what is called the Great Salt Lake Desert, and it is precisely that. Nothing but white salt flats stretching as far as the eye can see. In the far distance are mountains, but for a couple of hours there is just NOTHING to see but salt! What a horror it must have looked like to the pioneers.
Great Salt Lake Desert
As soon as we hit the Nevada, the terrain changed—and not just due to the ultramodern casino sitting precisely on the state line. Suddenly we were in the very mountains which had been our distant goal for two hours, and we spent some time climbing and descending. Our planned stop for the evening was Wells, a town about 60 miles into Nevada. It was dark, about 8:30 “body time”, but only 7:30 Nevada time (we crossed into the Pacific Time zone when we crossed the border.) Unfortunately, the campground we’d planned to stay at was full. We decided that rather than stay at the second-choice RV park (which was basically just a parking lot style anyway), we’d go to the Flying J which was right there, and simply “dry camp” again. I already knew I was too tired to do the laundry I’d hoped to do at the campground, and even too tired to write and upload a blog (I had driven the last 6 hours straight, from the Wyoming border to Nevada—clear across Utah!) So we didn’t see any reason to pay $25 or so just for an electric hookup. We pulled into Flying J, where once we actually stopped for good, I realized how exhausted I was. So Joe whipped us up a quick dinner of scrambled eggs and kasha, and he even did the dishes while I jumped into bed!
I am sure some of you are wondering how anyone could spend the night in a truck stop, but the Flying J has special RV-only parking spaces, and many people do what we did. After all, after dark with all our curtains closed, we could be anywhere. Even with the obligatory casino, it wasn’t too noisy, and we spent a very comfortable night. And even in a truck stop, morning can be beautiful! Joe filled up the gas tank while I took this snapshot, and then we were on our way.
We are now 10 miles from Elko, where we plan to get off and borrow some Wifi to upload this blog. Then we will be driving all day to get to Lee Vining, CA, the town at the base of the Tioga Pass road, the route into Yosemite. I am dearly hoping to find Wifi there, to wish everyone a happy Rosh Hashanah before we enter the park. But if for some reason that doesn’t work out, I will have to say now, everyone have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.