Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Four states in one day!

We started our day being still in California. That was "one".
Mohave Dessert.
More of Mohave Dessert.
Then we drove through Nevada. That was "two".
Arizona welcomed us for a very short drive that went through Virgin River Canyon Gorge. That was "three".

Winding and going up.
Too much sun.
Ahh... Utah!.. And that was "four".

When we took a picture of Utah's state border and saw what it says ("Utah, life elevated") we both gave each other a look and knew exactly what that meant. It meant pulling over onto the side of the road... and not for a potty break.

The overheating started around noon, when the outside temperature reached over 100 degrees F and the summits got steeper. The roadside markers showed elevation 6,000 ft; half an hour later 6,600 ft; another twenty five minutes -elevation 7,180 ft.

Obviously, the driving plan had to be adjusted. There was nothing we could do at that point about the radiator (we thought it needed a good power washing to clean the dust and dead bugs off). Also, we discovered that regular gasoline here had 85 octane rating (not 87 as what we were used to see) and, thus, giving the car less power.

So, we thought it would be wise to wait out for the worst heat of the day to subside and then drive when the air got a bit cooler.

We spent nice time relaxing on a rest area (here, in Utah, they are called "view point") and then continued, hoping the overheating would be a thing of the past for the day.
Because we entered a mountain time zone on Arizona border, the clocks went one hour forward, and that helped a lot. Even though, technically, we lost an hour of day time, but earlier sunset helped with bringing the temperature down.
A sight along the road was a forest fire. First, we noticed it from far away. A huge and thick cloud curling up on top of the mountains. As we were driving closer we could see the fires blazing in the distance and fire trucks lined along the highway. It was obvious that just a few hours ago the fires were all alongside the road as the charred smokey ground was the evidence of the natural calamity we had never seen before.
The night was setting in. First, we though we'd miss a lot of beautiful scenery. But the moon was shining brightly and the canyons had a spooky charm and still were phenomenal to look at.

Different shades and silhouettes on the night sky reminded us of real and imaginary creatures. We came up with a game to play. When I pointed to a canyon turtle "crouching" at a canyon alligator, or when a sleeping giant's face turned into a three humped camel right before our eyes, everybody got hooked on this fun time spending while traveling. It was too captivating.

When we reached the summit of 7,886 ft above the sea level and our car didn't overheat, we knew we had made the right decision of not driving in the heat of the day, but to catch up at night.

It was 700 miles since we had left Anore's ranch in California. Our farm in Utah is at arms reach...


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