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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Road Trip To Utah - Day 4

Day 4 - February 7th, 2008

Starting point: Layton, Utah
Finishing point: Evanston, Wyoming
Starting time: 10 p.m.
Finishing time: 1 a.m.
Miles travelled: 76

The first thing on our schedule for Day 4 was to get my brother to the Salt Lake City International Airport, as he had a flight that left at 8.30 a.m. Everyone knows you have to get to an airport early these days so you can take care of all the preliminaries with enough time left to actually catch your plane before it leaves. We did take one wrong exit on the way, but still managed to get him there with almost an hour and a half before his flight time. Personally, I didn't think that this airport was as busy or hectic as some I've seen, so he breezed right on through.

The Salt Lake City International Airport.

By the time I had parked the minivan and Phillip and I had found our way into the airport, my brother had already finished going through check-in. Fortunately, we got to say goodbye as we dropped him and his wife off in front of his gate. At least Sarah got to see him off, so that's what really mattered. Phillip and I had arrived in Layton early enough so we were able to spend some time with him before he left. I got a few quick pictures in and around the airport and got some souvenirs for back home, so we headed back out to the parking lot. Every few minutes, another airplane would ascend into the early morning skies - it was still just after 7 a.m.

Another jet departs for parts unknown.

I had hoped to get some shots of the mountains all around their area, but the only real time I had to do this was on the trip back from the airport to Layton, which was about 20 minutes. I grew up in Southern Arizona, so I've had a chance to see some really big mountains, but having lived in Illinois for so long now, it's easy to forget how big they can really get.

The Wasatch Mountains surrounding Salt Lake City.

After the trip to the airport, it was back to tying up loose ends. While waiting for Sarah to get some more packing tape, I got this picture of the colorful license plates in Utah:

The colorful Utah license plates.

Things like returning their cable box, calling to have the power turned off and boxing the last few items took most of the rest of the day. But, Sarah managed to get everything she needed to take with her separated from what needed to go to storage.

One last look at their old couch.

While she was giving her apartment one last final polish before we left, I got these shots of the city lights at night. From all the troubles Phillip and I had had up to this point, we were ready to leave Utah. So, I came up with the plan that as soon as everything was finished, we would try to get at least an hour or two down the road and find a motel room to stay at. There was no furniture left in their apartment, so I didn't relish the idea of sleeping on a cold, hard floor. Especially since I hadn't had much sleep in the last few days anyway.

The skyline of Layton, Utah. Salt Lake City is just beyond.

The far-off lights of Salt Lake City

Our spacious Holiday Inn Express accommodations.

We finally got on the road around 10 p.m. and all I wanted to do was put Utah behind us. With that in mind, we chose for a destination Evanston, Wyoming. It was located only 3 miles past the border of Utah and since we had passed through it on our way in, we knew there was hotel accommodations to be had. It had been snowing, on and off, all day long, and after we had been on the road for 45 minutes or so, it began snowing in earnest again. We kept winding our way up and into the mountain overpass that seemed to divide Utah from Wyoming, and as we did, the roads got harder and harder to see. There wasn't quite as much traffic to deal with this time, so it was easier going. I was doing the driving on this shift mainly because I wanted to get out of there. Eventually, it got hard to see anything, much less the road, so we had slowed down to a crawl. Evanston seemed to be a million miles away! But, we finally got over the mountain pass and began to see the lights of the city ahead. That's when we began to run into some heavier traffic. Although our own goal was simply to just get to Evanston, the weather had become so bad, it had forced the road department of Wyoming to shut down Interstate 80 East from Evanston to about the mid-point of the state. With many more people suddenly finding themselves stranded in Evanston, the hotels had almost filled up before we got there around 1 a.m. A Holiday Inn Express, though, had a couple rooms left and we took them. We even got a slight discount because they weren't exactly the kind of rooms we were looking for. They were comfortable and we were stuck, so they were good enough. One of the concerns we had was getting Nora the Hamster into the motel without being seen. The sign said no pets, but she couldn't sleep out in the cold minivan all night long. So, Sarah disguised her under a blanket or something and snuck her in. The night manager didn't even suspect! We made it to our rooms and microwaved the remnants of our Chinese dinner leftover from the night before. You can see the cartons in the above picture.

Looking out the window of our hotel.

You can see from the above picture that all the other travellers had settled into their hotel rooms long before we arrived, so we were lucky to find anything. I remember eating quickly and then going to bed. That's all I remember until hearing the wake-up call I had left for the next morning. It came much too soon!

If any day of our trip could be classified as having been abnormal, it would have to have been Day 5. The interstate was still closed the next morning, but we wanted to get home. A clever scheme was devised to get us there, but you'll have to wait to hear what it was. All will be revealed in my next blog, the one detailing our adventures on Day 5.

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