Driving across America: Day 4

We hit the road today for our fourth day of driving.

California is getting closer and closer by the minute.

Today started off in Wyoming, where we stayed for the night. Driving on I-80 this morning was extremely scenic. Running alongside the highway were a couple antelopes. A spectacular sight to start the day off with. Shortly after tha,t there was a pair of hyenas walking slowly along the fenced off area by the roadside. It felt like we were taking a safari.

After hours we finally got out of the state of Wyoming and into Utah.

Many of the mountains in Utah, especially in the areas closer to Salt Lake city where there was a small skiing village, reminded me of back home in New England, especially Vermont with its Okemo Mountain. It almost felt familiar.

We progressed on our journey, heading for the Salt Lake City area. Before we knew it we were surrounded by the Great Salt Lake. What a lake. Parts of it seemed rather beautiful, however other parts of the lake appeared neon green in color. The lake itself is known for giving off a rather pungent smell of dead fish. So many fish are known to die in the lake because of the high saline levels in the water.

Originally the area of Salt Lake was part of an inland ocean, the main reason why there is so much salt present in the area.

As we were driving down a very long stretch of highway, in the middle of the lake, and far far far from any sort of civilization I took a look around me and noticed the ground was completely white everywhere. It seemed like we were surrounded by white sand, or maybe even snow, however it was 95 degrees and we were in the desert, so that was obviously not the reasoning.

Believe it or not, we were completely surrounded by salt on every side of us. My college roommates would appreciate this story since I have a love for salt. Every meal they would make sure we sat at a table that had salt just for me. Well, here I was, finding myself completely surrounded by salt.

 

 

 

As you can see in these picture everything was white. Salt crystals glimmered in the hot beaming sun. It was really quite the sight. At one point we pulled off to get gas and I walked over the desert area to check out the salt. It even felt weird to walk on. Thankfully there was a wind blowing, but since it was so hot, the wind was just hot air blowing really fast on us. The rest stop itself was a bit special. We went in to buy some drinks and use the bathroom and one of the men working there was walking around the store with a cart going “ee ee ee.” Maybe he was an alien? I can see why the government uses areas of Nevada and Utah for special government operations and why people think there are alien sightings. Things are just a little odd and out of the place there and really secluded.

 

Progressing down the same road, all of a sudden what appeared to be clouds started to form all over the road. Turns out we were in the middle of a salt storm, yes a salt storm. Salt was blowing all over the place from the salt that had been left behind from the ocean or receding lake. It was so powerful that all you could on either side of you was white. You could barely see in front of you, and you couldn’t even see the sky. What we experienced is what I believe it would be like to be in a salt shaker. Pure white grains shaking all over the place.

At one point on the road we came to an area in the salty desert where there were a number of different designs made with rocks on top of the salt. Many of the formations were circles, some even spelt out names or words. Could it be the work of bored locals or crafty aliens? Hmm.

Further down we even came to a very odd and huge art installation. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, and I mean nowhere. We had been surrounded by salt for a couple hours now with no exits, no gas stations, nothing around. The installation itself was a giant pole like structure, probably 50 feet tall with several large colorful balls or globes around it. Unusual location for sure, and even more of an unusual sight.

Eventually we got out of Utah and made it to Nevada. Oh, Nevada.

Nevada is one of the flattest, most dangerous, and loneliest states we’ve traveled to. There seems to be a great deal of poverty around. Many people live in old and falling apart trailers hours away from any sort of civilization. I question how people can live like this, but I suppose it is all they know. I’m not sure what people out here do for food, shopping, emergencies, and work. All I know is I couldn’t handle being stuck out here alone.

The reason I said that Nevada was dangerous deals with a rather long drive we took on a location known to locals as “the pass.” Apparently the area in question, which is a huge stretch of desert surrounded by mountains, is known for being extremely dangerous with issues of wind. We found this out first hand.

Highway digital signs posted messages about dangerous winds being up ahead, and boy were they right. Winds were reported to be 40+ mph. I didn’t think much of the warnings at first. When I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced winds moving at such high speeds before.

We were having a hard time controlling my car. I drove for the majority of the time in the pass, my mom who isn’t quite as strong as me, and I’m a weakling, had even more trouble trying to choose and stay in a lane thanks to the wind. The wind became so bad that two tractor trailers and two RVs had flipped over onto their sides into ditches along the road. It was a scary sight and made us even more cautious driving. It seemed like we would never get out of the desert and into civilization and safety. Thankfully after of hours in the wind storm we arrived to our hotel here in Sparks, Nevada. Reno is right down the road and the lights remind me of Las Vegas. Thankfully it’s quiet and peaceful here.

We probably could have made it to California tonight, but we decided it was best to relax after a long and stressful day on the road.

Tomorrow we should roll into Mountain View in the afternoon. I can’t wait. We’ve made great timing on this trip so far and thankfully the traffic has been non existent until tractor trailers started flying off the roadside.

Time to get some rest!

See you in California.

 

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