Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekend in Utah Day 1

Chicago has mountains of steel and canyons of concrete, you can spend eight hours driving around in Chicago and you’d never end up in the same place. But then it would just be another Saturday.

I started my weekend early, my weekend started on Thursday night. Unfortunately, it didn't end until the wee hours of Friday morning. Chicago to Salt Lake City was a CRJ 700, a two by two small plane that closely resembled a large private plane. Luckily, it was probably one of the smoothest take offs I've ever had. The landing approach was just as smooth, but the touch down was a bit awkward. Other than that, it wasn't the nerve wracking experience I thought it would be. 

So now I’m in Utah. I got a car, bought a Styrofoam cooler, loaded it with ice, water and my ubiquitous Coke Zero then I headed for the mountains. I have a destination as much as I have hotel reservations, but I have no timetables, except to stop where I want to stop, do what I want to do, because it’s my time to let my inner cowboy roll. I may not have an organic horse, but I got horsepower. 

My hotel last night had great black out drapes, so I burnt my eyes when I peeked out and the morning was bright, clear and blue. The sky isn't the usual deep blue of a winter's day, instead it was a pastel blue, a reluctant morning.

Abandoned building.
But I thought it was only fair before I left Salt Lake City to visit the Salt Lake. So I hopped on I80 and headed west. When I turned my head and saw what looked like salt flats and people in the middle of it sitting on lawn chairs, I looked for the next exit. It's Hwy 202 and the corner of Temple Frontage road was this huge, seemingly abandoned building with the entrance locked. 

So I turned and headed down the frontage road to find the people on the lawn chairs. They were in lawn chair flying radio controlled airplanes. 

Don't fence me in!

I didn't drive the entire length of the road but when I saw a spot I did a perfect 3pt turn and parked on the side of the road. There were opening in the wire fence, a path leading into the salt flats and big wide open sky. Who could say no to that?

Wide open skies.

Not a mirage

Just off the photo - I won't invade someone's privacy by taking their photo without permission - are the people on the lawn chairs enjoying the big open sky with a dive bombing plane!

This photo looks like it's a mirage as if the mountains in the distance seem to float off in the air. The sky was hazy, but it made for a great effect.

Rolling mountains

The mountains by Salt Lake seemed to lean into the highway, as if they were threatening the traffic.

Lean on me

It wasn't long before I headed back east on I80 to catch US6 and headed south. It felt like it took me an hour to cross through the greater SLC metro area, it was probably all the construction. Then suddenly, the suburbs gave way to the open road and it actually took me by surprise, especially some of the more random sights.

I looked and had the urge to yell "Hi Ho Silver!"

I didn't realize until later that I had captured this couple watching the same train I was looking at.

Rest area - looking northeast

Just before exit 182 on US6 is a very quick sign for a rest area, don't miss it. Stop at the rest area, it's totally worth it.

Rest area - looking south.

Imagine being in a covered wagon and seeing this?
Rest area - looking east

This is on US191, there's a dirt road that goes into that. 

I imagined the Navajo nation standing on those ridges and wonder how they felt staring at the great open divide.

Why I love road trips

This is one of those moments when a photograph just can't capture the awesome vista when the open road truly beckons.


  1. For me you've really captured the essence of your journey and I love your descriptions. It makes me imagine everything clearly and I love the photographs you've included. Love Kym xxx

  2. Wow, the scenery is magical, the weather looks awesome. I love that you're so free...thankyou for taking us with you! Safe travels, I look forward to more!

  3. Utah was such a surprise for me, too! You expect nothing - and then there's all this GRANDEUR! Hope you get to go to the Red Iguana in SLC! ;)

  4. Stunning scenery, your descriptions bring the photo's alive as though we were there with you. Safe journey. Laura told me all about you, hope you have the trip of a lifetime.