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Horses galloping

As we left Wyoming, we passed this horse herd, galloping hard after the alpha male. They were clearly enjoying the brisk morning air.

 

We woke up in big sky country. Only very high cirrus clouds interrupted the sweep of blue above us. We headed west across gently rolling ranch land, encircled by much higher mountains. The Rockies were prominent about 40 miles ahead of us, headed towards the Grand Tetons off to the northwest. A herd of horses ran beside the freeway, relishing the freedom that their huge pasture afforded.

I had ridden a short stretch of this road on my motorcycle a few years ago, and I mentioned to Eric that I was surprised at seeing my first prong horned antelope in this area. The words were barely out of my mouth when we began seeing antelope, lots of them. Males stood on high ground and surveyed their domain. The does and fawns grazed with little concern for the speeding traffic. However, what I had found on my motorcycle, was that as soon I slowed to a stop to photograph them, they bounded immediately about 300 yards away from the highway.

Prong Horn Antelope Buck

A bull Prong Horn Antelope watches his territory.

 

 

Prong Horn Antelope 2

Fawns stay near to their mother.

 

 

 

Wyoming freeway

A horse trading facility. We saw these in several of the towns in Wyoming.

 

Golf course

Golf Wyoming style. An alkaline lake in the background provides its own sand trap.

 

A wyoming town.

A fairly typical Wyoming town.

 

Wyoming Desert

Wyoming landscape near the Continental Divide

 

A Wyoming mobile home community.

Wyoming has lots of natural gas fracking sites, with pipes and tanks visible from the highway. Here is a roughneck community near one of the gas operations.

 

We left Wyoming and entered Utah. We were soon back into mountains, this time the Wasatch Range. The canyons were steeper, and the hills were scattered with Ponderosa Pine. We finally descended steeply into Provo Utah, home of Brigham Young University. A short time later, we were driving through Salt Lake City. It was rush hour, but the traffic moved well and we were soon through the city and driving along the southern shore of The Great Salt Lake. On the other side of the freeway was the longest "Trashmore" mountain I have ever seen. This huge landfill was several hundred feet high and it went on for several miles. It was smoothly sculpted and properly covered with soil, so it looked more like a large dam than a mountain of trash.

Another fifty miles and we passed the Bonneville Salt Flats. This used to be in the middle of nowhere, but a community has developed and there are now some motels to house the high speed racers and their families.

We continued another 100 miles and spent the night in Elko, Nevada. We got one of the only rooms left in town, despite numerous hotels. We found out that the mining and oil industry use most of the rooms during the week, leaving very few for travelers.

The next day we drove for five hours through Nevada to Reno, and then climbed up the Mt. Rose highway, over its 10,000 foot elevation pass and down to Lake Tahoe. There we stayed the night with Charlie, a long time Navy friend.

 

Turbine blades on a train.

As we passed The Great Salt Lake on our right, we also passed a long train on our left carrying wind turbine blades.

 

Tubine blades 2.

What soon became evident is that these turbine blades are huge. Each straddled one and a half flat cars. Their width is greater than the height of the engines pulling the train. When one considers that the diameter of the spinning blades consists of two of these blades end to end, one can appreciate why commercial wind turbines can cost up to $3.5 million each.

 

Salt Lake

The southern shoreline of The Great Salt Lake.

 

Rock formation

A rock formation in western Utah.

Tunnels

Tunnels in Western Utah.

 

Oasis

An Oasis in Nevada.

 

 

Nevada Prison

 

We passed several prisons in Nevada, and most looked just like this.

 

Coke truck

 

Coming into Reno, we were welcomed by America's best known brand.

 

Reno Casino

One of many Reno casinos lining Interstate 80.

 

Casino 2

 

Headed south on Interstate 395, yet more casinos.

 

Mt. Rose Highway

 

We climb up the Mt. Rose highway to an elevation of 10,000 feet. Our truck couldn't go over 40 mph on this climb, so we had to pull out frequently to let cars pass. Over the pass, we dropped down to Incline Village, a Nevada town on the northeast corner of Lake Tahoe. We stayed with my friend Charlie.

 

 

 

Lake Tahoe

 

Our first look at Lake Tahoe as we start down from the Mt. Rose Ski Resort.

 

Eric Charlie and Don at Lake Tahoe

 

Dinner at Tahoe City; Eric, Charlie and Don.

 

Unloading the truck.

 

Unloading the truck in Sunnyvale, CA.

Our last day we had simply to drive from Lake Tahoe to Sunnyvale, CA, which took about three hours. The unloading went smoothly and we soon had the truck turned in.

So, the question remains, is Interstate 80 America's most boring highway. I guess, if one tries to drive it in 36 hours the answer is yes. However, given any leisure at all, it is a highway which covers many states and holds many places to explore along the way. Like smelling flowers, one must make the time to do it.

The End