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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And Away We Go...

It's amazing how much faster we can leave for a trip when the kids aren't with us.  At 7:30 we had the van loaded up and were on the road.  Typical summer morning gloom and nice cool 63 degree temperatures saw us through Southern California and we made pretty good time to clear the area--going opposite rush hour traffic is a bonus.

Once we hit the I-15 we were clear of clouds and the thermometer climbed pretty steadily.  By the time we took a quick break and stretch in Baker (home to the former thermometer for Death Valley, it is still there but not operational) we were in 85 degree plus sunshine and grateful for the climate control provided by Honda.

We cleared Vegas around 11:30, as expected and continued on to Mesquite, Nevada for fuel, for the van and for us.  Making an executive decision I opted for Roberto's Taco Shop over Del Taco.  Myeh, two chicken tacos each that were very pedestrian--but quick.

As we headed out of Mesquite we wound through the canyons carved by the Virgin River and then slowly climbed up into high desert.  We spent the rest of the drive speeding across huge valley floors surrounded by mountains to our east and west.  Traffic was very light and we were able to easily maintain the 80 mph speed limit until we approached Provo and traffic increased and slowed us slightly.

We pulled off the I-15 and into our plush digs for the night at the Best Western Plus in Midvale, Utah (about ten miles south of Salt Lake City) at 6:30 local, 5:30 Long Beach time (we keep the van clock on the LBC time slot).  A word about the Best Western chain.  After experiencing La Quintas, Super 8's (which I have coined Okay-8's), and various other chains we have found that Best Westerns have routinely provided very clean rooms, the amenities we need and very good rates.  With the exception of our night in Williston, ND on the way home our hotel stays are all at Best Westerns.

Inquiring at the front desk for where we might grab a good bite to eat without breaking the wallet we were directed to the next block and the Midvale Mining Cafe.  It looks like it sounds with big counter, plenty of booths and diner food.  Leslie had a grilled chicken salad that was huge and I had a grilled chicken sandwich--both were very good and the chicken was seasoned much better than our lunch 350 miles earlier.

Our journey tomorrow is estimated at 560 miles and eight and a half hours by Google Maps, compared to today's almost 700 miles and ten hours that is a piece of cake.  Google maps impresses me with their accuracy in providing mileage and especially how long it will take to get to your destination--somehow it calculates stops for gas, relief and eating as the time it predicts is almost always how long it takes us.

Good night from Midvale.

Odometer at 7:29 a.m. Pacific

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