Sunday, June 26, 2011

Solvang California to Cedar City Utah

We were up and moving early but had to wait for Olsen's Bakery to open at 7:00 AM so we could get our final Solvang pastry fix. We said our goodbyes to Lanny, Teri and especially Sherm, managing to be on the road by 7:20. For the first time since arriving in Deadwood, South Dakota, we were traveling alone.

Highway 101 out of Buellton was quiet this Sunday morning with mist clinging to trees on the sides of the mountains. It was funny that to travel east and north, we started by traveling west and south. We retraced our steps from Santa Barbara back to Barstow, past surfers at Mussel Shoals, lines of RV's on the beaches, Six Flags/Magic Mountain and Joshua trees on the Pearblossom Highway.

We fueled in Barstow in what I am sure to them is seasonable heat. I found it oppressive. Then we started out on new ground following I-15 towards Las Vegas and points beyond. The heat continued to build. It was a dry heat but, as a friend recently said, so is an oven. Before we got close to the Nevada border, we saw the agricultural checkpoint on the other side screening the cars streaming back into California. The traffic was backed up over five miles with thousands more vehicles rushing towards the jam. I have to wonder how environmentally active California reconciles their anti-pollution stance with the miles of idling vehicles waiting to be examined to see if they are transporting citrus fruit within the boundaries of the Continental USA.

We came to the start of a 16 mile upgrade where signs exhorted travelers to shut off air conditioners to avoid overheating. Just before we started to climb, we passed an overpass and were hit by a crosswind so bad that I thought we had blown a tire. Luckily, there was no one in the lane beside us because I moved half way over the line to the left in the blast of air. But we survived and, sweating due to the absence of A/C, continued on towards Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, traffic was backed way up trying to exit I-15 at Frank Sinatra Drive. We took the express lanes but had to watch for vehicles cutting over the solid lines from the stopped local lanes. Passing Sinatra, the local lanes started to move again until, near the end of the divide, they were almost all blocked by a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer that had gotten into an accident and was sitting crosswise across the roadway. We left Vegas in our rear view mirror with no regrets about not having stopped.

As we approached the northwest corner of Arizona, desert gave way to mountains. On rougher Arizona Highway, we made our way through the Virgin River Canyon and emerged on the other side to the sight of red rocks. Crossing into Utah, the highway surface improved significantly. In St. George, we were impressed by the scenery and houses built right along the edge of a cliff providing what must have been an outstanding view for the occupants.

As we were climbing one more time, we encountered a car on fire at the 4,000 foot level. The front end of the small white vehicle was totally engulfed in flames as people looked on helplessly. There was a State Trooper on scene but the fire crews had not arrived yet. It was a sobering reminder that even today's high tech vehicles can turn on you unexpectedly.

We arrived at the WalMart in Cedar City and were pleasantly surprised to find that, in this mountainous area, it was one of the most level that we have yet encountered. We had supper of leftover ribs from AJ Spurs and some cardamom bread Sandy had bought at Olsen's this morning. There was a comfortable breeze blowing but I had to fire up the generator to charge the cell phone and computers because the inverter had blown a fuse and it was the one size for which I didn't have any spares.

I spent the evening paying bills, working on the blog and sorting through 249 photos Sandy had taken since the day began before turning in for the night.

Today's Photos

Motorcycles awaiting riders in the courtyard

Mission Street - Solvang, California

Olsen's Danish Bakery should be open soon

Semper Paratus

I love a woman in uniform

Highway 101 south of Buellton

Surf's up

And a surfer is waiting

Someone is going fishing

RV's lined up along the Pacific Ocean

Surfin' USA

Campers along the shore

Six Flags Magic Mountain

The I-5 from the Ca 14 Exit

The cruiser almost clipped me in his eagerness to pull this car over

Joshua trees along the Pearblossom Highway


Barstow California

California agricultural inspection station

Five miles of backed up traffic for the inspection station

An old Joshua tree along I-15

They say the highway to Vegas is long and boring

Gold panner at a Nevada casino

Lined up to get off on Frank Sinatra Boulevard - Las Vegas Nevada

The Excalibur Hotel and Casino

The old classic

Trump in understated gold

Accident in the local lanes - I-15 Las Vegas

Not sure how he got facing this way

Stratosphere Las Vegas

That's a long way up for an amusement park

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

I-15 north of Las Vegas

We cut a corner of Arizona

Through eleven miles of the Virgin River Canyon

More canyon

The Virgin River

Starting to get to red rock country

The road isn't as straight any more

Deserts give way to canyons

Another downgrade

And the scenery is much more interesting

Utah comes into view

welcome to the "No Guardrail State"

Houses on the bluff in St. George Utah

Zion country

What is the smoke all about?

The front of the car was totally engulfed in flames

Back side of Zion National Park


There snow in them thar hills

Today's Route (560 motorhome miles):

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