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  • Writer's pictureNicole Olsen

Utah or Bust

For the next two days, we begin our journey across Northern Nevada and into Utah. Jeanne and I are similar travel companions, in that we avoid interstates at all cost. All the fun stuff you encounter on a road trip are on the smaller, windier, less speedy paths. So it was, of course, our intent to take highway 50 rather than I-80 …until we discovered highway 50 is also referred to as "the Loneliest Road in America."

Although I will admit for a moment, I considered it. As a person who likes collecting experiences, traveling down this forsaken road could definitely have been one. But in the end, we opted instead to travel down what had to be the country's second loneliest road. Despite its emptiness, Northern Nevada is full of beautiful scenery, and not much else. I have not ever traveled on such a desolate interstate; and I grew up in the middle of the desert 40 miles from the nearest exit, not city, not town…Exit!

Another thing you should know about this desert darling is I hate driving in the rain. But driving in the rain... through the Sierra Nevada mountains… in a 30-foot RV is officially my worst nightmare. We also drove through an intense wind storm and lots of lightning. It kept the ride interesting for me in the RV, Jeanne in the van, and all the semi-truck drivers, who were our only companions on the road. After a very long two days of driving, we reached our last attraction before ending our trip in Huntsville, Utah.

The Bonneville Salt Flats were vast. The blinding white salt reflected the noonday sun and caused the most unreal mirages. The bullet riddled tourist sign that greeted us at the end of the paved road spoke of travelers finding themselves crossing the salt flats by wagon and on foot, and I imaged how the constant vision of water ahead would drive a person insane.

Jeanne cautiously drove off the asphalt and onto the flats, which is where the world’s fastest land speed was recorded. As we drove out, we kept thinking we saw something ahead, and always it turned out to be a cruel trick of the salt and sun. Jeanne attempted a land record of her own, but in a minivan weighed down by a luggage rack and four bikes we were going nowhere fast. So she upped the ante by doing a few reasonably speeded donuts while the kids cheered her on.

By the time we reached Utah, we were travel worn and ready for the luxuries of a real bed, and actual plumbing. With only 1 hour of driving remaining after a long day on the road, we were greeted with traffic, lots of traffic. Someone decided to crash land a plane on the freeway, blocking all lanes and prolonging our drive. There was only one solution, to stop at everyone's favorite Utah institution, Pace's Dairy Anne. No trip to Utah is complete without at least one trip to Pace's.

(Pardon me for I will now begin to speak like a Ute, if you are unfamiliar with the terms to follow than you have obviously never visited the beehive state.)

Nobody does a better burger with tater gems and fry sauce than Pace's'. We washed it all down with cherry rainbows, and bought several dozen astro bars in cherry, rootbeer, and tiger's blood, knowing it would not be enough to last us our stay at the cabin, providing us a perfect excuse to come back to this establishment once again. With our early dinner over and traffic dying down we continued North to the cabin, eager to be with Grandpa at our favorite summer spot.

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