Into Utah

The sign says, “Welcome to Utah”

For the lack of press it gets, Utah is one of the United States’ best states. Well, I mean, there are things not to like, just like any other state, but if we’re talking scenery, Utah is extraordinary. Sadly, I was still trying to cover as many miles as possible, and did not stop each time the landscape called to me.

This is how most of my photos turned out for day two of my road trip.

Um, yeah. It totally hadn’t occurred to me to keep the windshield clean for photography purposes. Ha ha ha. It’s ridiculous. But the fun thing is, you all can truly imagine what the world looked like from my perspective.

I left my brother and sister-in-law’s home in Idaho and in no time I was crossing the border into Utah. I drove all day in that state. The first (and only) big city I went through was Salt Lake City.

The Utah mountains through my dirty windshield.
I love the high, jaggedy kind of mountains.
There it is! Salt Lake City! I am impressed every time I see it this way, nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range.
Just south of SLC is Provo, and just south of there are the beautiful landscapes again.
I cut east and south through the Wasatch Mountains.

Finally there was a spot that seemed like it deserved a stop, and there was a wide pull out with an information sign talking about the mining history in the region. It was nice to stretch my legs and get some photos without spots in the sky.

I admired the canyons and the colours of the rocks. Back home it is raining, as usual. But here – look at that sky.
There’s my Dragon Wagon, allowed to stop and rest for a change.
One last look at the sharp hills, and I climbed into my Jeep again.

As I left the high ridges and appealing snowy slopes of the canyon pictured above, I began looking for my camp spot for the night. I chose it to be out here away from civilization, so I would not be tempted to explore, but to get back to driving early in the morning. But when I arrived at the entrance road, it was gated and closed due to snow!! I hadn’t even considered that would be the case. But luckily, I had a Plan B, and confidently zoomed on down the road. I would be spending the night outside of Moab.

When I pulled over to refuel, I admired this dinosaur while I waited for a red light. There are many dinosaur motifs out here – I assume related to fossils. I’ll certainly have to return and learn more.

Finally, I began to see the landscape I had been aiming for. While most of the country I was driving through is considered “desert” based on the average yearly rainfall, I was looking for a particular kind of desert. Not merely dry, but also spectacular. Southern Utah is where that started happening for me.

This is what I mean. The geology of the land grabs me.
The brown National Park signs trigger Pavlovian drooling for me.
More and more outstanding scenes were beginning to show up on both sides of me, and ahead, as the sun went down.

Since I had to add an hour and a half to my driving time, due to the other camp being under snow, it was totally dark by the time I found the next camp site. It was very popular, and hard to find a place to camp in between the many other happy campers who got there before me, in the daylight. I couldn’t see well enough to walk out into the desert and find a spot to place my tent, so I got the idea to simply lay my seats down in the back of the Jeep and sleep there. It would be cleaner, that’s for sure!

My pillows and sleeping bag, next to my suitcase.

After I had prepared a place to sleep, I had time to soak in the quiet of the night. The stars were amazing above me, though I was nearly blinded by the bright moon. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The temperature during the day was a nice warm 50 degrees (10 C), but it was getting cold fast. I took a couple photos of the stars, then climbed into my Jeep-shaped cocoon, and snuggled in for the night.

Starry, starry night.

14 thoughts on “Into Utah

    1. Andrew your comment makes me laugh. I have the same exact impression of Salt Lake City. It is beautiful when viewed as a landscape, or from the air – flying into or out of SLC is amazing. But being in the city itself is weird. And I have been known to use the adjective “creepy.”

  1. Sleeping in the Jeep was a wise choice and a good thing you had that option. I am always impressed with the stars in the desert landscape. You had such a beautiful drive. Hoping the rest is going as well. Thinking about you and your visits.

    1. Things are going well here with the brothers. I think tonight is going to be something of a family reunion, as it turns out I’ve got cousins here I had no idea were here. Hopefully we get as many as possible together. Yes, I love the stars in the desert, too. I was so pleased to have taken the time to get these star shots when the following night was cloudy at Petrified Forest NP and I could not get the star photographs I had been hoping for.

      1. I may have already told you, but I was interested in speed going home, so I just went over to Los Angeles and took I-5 back. It’s the fastest, but the most stressful.

      2. Oh my goodness yes. Going through LA is a nightmare and has always been. That’s why I’d go up 17 and head west. I gather you are home now. I’m still not caught up with anything but slogging through slowly. I so appreciate to visit, etc. I’ll mail a note tomorrow. Now, I’m going to try and sleep. It’s noisy upstairs because someone is working in that apartment. Hugs and love. M

  2. Dirty windshield aside, those are some amazing photos you took! What’s most striking to me is the fact that there’s (almost) nothing between you and those magnificent mountains miles away. I’ve heard only good things about Utah’s natural landscape. Salt Lake City itself looks quite interesting, at least from what I read on the internet.

    1. I have visited Salt Lake City multiple times and it is extremely clean and organized and landscaped and trimmed and consistent. For those reasons, I find it boring, even to the point of being weird, ha ha! It’s too perfect. And it seemed like the locals matched this theme. So strange. But yes!! Definitely a fascinating place. Especially the history. Thanks for the compliments on the windshield photos. It is still impressive to me how many places in the Western US are wide open and empty for miles and miles and miles.

    1. The dragon kept me warm most of the night. I did feel a chill toward morning, but wrapped the sleeping bag up over my head and was warm again. The states are big here though. I can choose them, but it takes some time to get there, ha ha.

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