Saturday, July 13, 2013

Evanston Wyoming to Kingman Arizona

We were up and ready to roll out of Evanston by 6:30 after having cereal and yogurt at the motel continental breakfast nook. Although we had coffee in the room, we didn't have any to take with us because the desk clerk was slow to refill the jug. It was about 58 F and raining somewhere nearby as we left town and crossed the border into Utah.

Evanston Wyoming - it's raining somewhere

Welcome to Utah

From the border, we started to descend. The rock formations were very pretty and we saw three trains in a row working  upgrade at a very slow pace. We also saw one going the same direction as we were and he was having no trouble at all. 

We continued on I-80 after it split with I-84 and saw a police cruiser down on a road beside what turned out to be Echo Reservoir. Then we saw another, further down. Then we saw many swimmers on a beach at 68 F and I figured there had to be a triathlon going on. There was. The 12th Annual Echo Triathlon.

At the bottom, the land flattened out and we passed farms with cattle, sheep and even one with llamas.

I-80 to US 40

Rather than go through Salt Lake City, Sherm suggested we follow US 189 down past Heber City and on through Provo Canyon as a better way to connect with I-15. I believe it was. The traffic was reasonably light and the scenery was awesome. Some of the banks above the roadway in the canyon had been stabilized with what appears to be a material like the shotcrete they use in the mines.

US 189 to Provo Canyon

Provo Canyon

At the end of Provo Canyon, we arrived in the very well kept town of Provo. You can tell that they have the money here to look after the small touches. I even saw a cell phone tower disguised as a palm tree. The one singular Saturday morning feature of Provo was young women running.

Several of the many young ladies we saw running

We drove on through Provo and connected with I-15 South. A large flag indicated that we were, as usual, heading directly into a headwind. After fueling and filling the coffee mugs in Springville, we drove on south through Utah. Although the land appeared flat, we kept going up over 6,500 foot summits and then down into long valleys. 
I-15 South in Utah

We stopped at a Flying J/Rest Stop (public/private partnership) in Scipio where Sherm met an ostrich. Then he took over the driving chores from there to Cedar City, where I took the wheel back after a frozen yogurt/fuel stop at a Maverik station. Around here, we entered the red rock area that forms the Colorado Plateau.

Sherm's new friend

I-15 in southern Utah

South of St. George, Utah with its modern cliff dwellers, we took a brief excursion through a corner of Arizona and the Virgin River Canyon.

St. George Utah

Arizona and the Virgin River Canyon

Virgin River Canyon

Joshua trees

We came out of the canyon to flat terrain as we crossed the border into Nevada. The elevation was now below 2,000 feet but, after Mesquite, we started to climb again. The grades were long and gradual into the continuing headwind as the ambient temperature rose to 40 C (104 F). The transmission temperature in the truck climbed to 219 F. I sure hope Kenny was right about not giving a warning until 248.

I-15 South in Nevada

Mesquite Nevada

Sherm was surprised that the GPS had said to take SR 169 through the Moapa Valley and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area instead of going through Las Vegas. First stop was in Overton for something wet to drink. My temperature readout said the air was 107 F and Sherm said this was what he liked. Not me. 

Rainbow cloud at Overton Nevada

Then we cleared the Lake Meade gate thanks to Sherm's Golden Access card.In the end, we saved four miles but saw a lot more interesting countryside. Sherm thought there weren't any hills but his last ride through here was on the Harley and it didn't feel the grades like the truck.

The terrain here was interesting, with dark oxidized sandstone, bright red where rack falls had exposed fresh rock and black volcanic outcrops.

Lake Meade Recreation Area

We eventually arrived at Lake Mead Parkway. In the last ways, we had been passed by many vehicles pulling boats on trailers. The recreation area covers where the Virgin and Colorado Rivers meet and form Lake Meade as a result of the Hoover Dam. There are a number of access points for recreational boaters.

Lake Mead optimum water level is 1,200 feet above sea level. Drought level is considered below 1,125 feet and the lake levels have been falling steadily since 2000 due to reduced snowfall in the mountains. In the photos, you can see the 'bathtub ring' where the high water level used to be.

We reached the exit gate from the NRA and made a left turn on US 93. Passing the Hacienda Casino, which had advertised $2.00 tables and single deck Blackjack our last time through, we crossed the Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River just south of the Hoover Dam.

It looks like they try harder

As close as we got to the dam

Stark terrain

On the south side of the bridge, we entered Arizona again and set our watches back an hour. Arizona is on Mountain Time but does not recognize Daylight Savings time so, for the summer, they are effectively Pacific Time.

There were more long grades on 93 climbing away from the river. The transmission temperature hit a new record high of 223 F but came back down without mishap after the land leveled out. We climbed through  Coyote Pass and arrived in Kingman around 5:30, another twelve hour day.

Welcome to Arizona - set your watches back

Outcrops in the desert

Coyote Pass

Kingman, we are here

Sherm and Pat have a lovely house. We brought the gear in and  Sherm opened a very well wrapped package from Kudzu with a nice Kokopelli box. Pat had a supper of cauliflower soup and crisp cucumbers ready. Very tasty and not overly filling. After supper, their new friends Kenny and Thelma came over for pie. Very nice folks. Near bed time, I went out and found a tarantula in the driveway. After taking some photos, we let him be on his way.

Kokopelli gift from Kudzu

Came wrapped in all this

Thelma and Kenny

Sandy checking out the fleet

Evening visitor

It was another good day. We have a couple of days here before heading on to California Tuesday morning.

Today's Route (582 Avalanche/trailer miles):

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