Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crossing The Desert

Of course this photo is staged. If it wasn't, someone else would
be writing this blog entry as Lynn and I would be too busy
counting our money!

Our hotel, the Red Lion Hotel and Casino in Elko was awesome!
Really really nice and although we aren't gamblers, it was fun to
have a casino in our hotel. It also had a Starbucks right inside
the casino (we did take advantage of this). I guess they want their
gamblers to stay wide awake so they can gamble longer.

Elko is a nice town. We're not looking for a different place to live,
but if we were, Elko seems like it would be a good place to live.
We stopped at the Visitor's Center which is actually an old ranch
house built in the 1800's that was moved into Elko and now
besides serving as the visitor's center, also doubles as a small
museum to the family. Very interesting.

As we crossed through the last 2 hours of desert and mountains
of northeast Nevada, we came to the towns of West Wendover
Nevada and Wendover Utah. This big sign of "Wendover Will"
greeted us as we entered West Wendover.

These towns struck me as being rather odd. Pretty much the only
reason West Wendover exists if for gambling. I could not see a
single house in the town. Only casinos and other service related
businesses. Crossing into Wendover Utah there doesn't seem to
be a lot there either except Lynn said she did see a few houses and
there is a school, firehouse, etc. I'm guessing Wendover was a tiny
place until they decided to build West Wendover to lure gamblers
from Salt Lake City.

After leaving Wendover, we began the crossing the the Great Salt
Lake Desert. Almost immediately we came to the Bonneville Salt
Flats. What a cool place! Definitely middle of nowhere, it's also
a destination in it's own right. Bonneville is a huge flat expanse
of...Salt! For miles and miles. It looks just like the Ice sheet at
McMurdo in it's stark whiteness. It's also a place where every year
land speed records are set by very fast cars. It was fascinating.

In about an hour, we came to the Great Salt Lake. We'd been to
Salt Lake City before, but never had a really good view of the lake.
it reminded me of an odd combination of a Great Lake and an Ocean,
although it's actually 3-5 times saltier than the ocean. We did see
a sailboat out in the distance, but I read later that there are no
fish since it is way too salty.

We like Salt Lake City. It's a city that has great parks,
transportation, friendly people etc. etc. If...we wanted to
live in a big city. We took a drive through downtown since
it had been almost 10 years since we've been here.

We missed our turn off of I-15 to shortcut it to I-70 and as
a result drove though one of the most beautiful interstate
drives in the country. The San Rafael Swell, west of the town
of Green River, is truly amazing. Huge red rock formations,
great vistas and just plain interesting scenery. We plan to
go back and explore the area further.

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