Wednesday, August 24th 2011 Utah

On Wednesday morning Scott and I said our farewells and then he was off to work and I started to reconstruct and repack the van.
Finally, around 9:00, I was ready to hit the road. I said so long to Jen and once again to Scott via cell phone, and I was off.

The route would be pretty much a straight shot west to Logan, Utah via I-80 to US 30 - about 250 miles, then it would be northwest to Bear Lake and onto Logan via SR 30 and US 89. The latter being the famed Logan Canyon Scenic Byway. This leg was about 150 miles.
When I computed this route with Google maps it gave me a driving time of about 6 hours. But, mine was closer to 8, the result of my driving 10-12 miles under the legal 75mph speed limit on I-80.

When I left Laramie the first thing I noticed was haze so thick you could cut it with a knife. After days of crystal clear viewing of the Snowy Range I now could barely distinguish them. This haze lasted as far west as Sinclair, about 100 miles, and then it diminished.

Click on the photos below for a larger image.

  Click for larger image

The drive across I-80 was pretty much unchanging - a vast sea of Sage as far as the eye could see. This plaque was at the rest stop near Table Rock and does a good of explaining just how important all that sage is.

  Click for larger image

Right next to the above plaque some prairie dogs had taken up residence. But, I didn't get to see one.

  Click for larger image

Finally the exit for US 30 came and the road and landscape got a bit more interesting.

  Click for larger image

But, there were some straight to infinity stretches on US 30 as well.

  Click for larger image

I was getting low on cheap gas so I decided to gas up in Kemmerer - the home of the mother store of J.C. Penney.

The first time I saw one of these places I thought they were a chain of porn shops. Wrong.

  Click for larger image

This is near where US 30 intersects with Utah State Route 89/30. Things were starting to get interesting.

  Click for larger image

Finally, I had arrive at gigantic Bear Lake - 109 square miles!

Bear Lake is a natural freshwater lake on the Utah-Idaho border in the Western United States. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake in Utah and has been called the "Caribbean of the Rockies" for its unique turquoise-blue color, the result of suspended limestone deposits in the water.
Its water properties have led to the evolution of several unique species that live naturally only within the lake. Bear Lake is over 250,000 years old.It was formed by fault subsidence that continues today, slowly deepening the lake along the eastern side.

Source: WikiPedia

  Click for larger image

At this point I almost put the van in the lake trying to take a picture. Me big dummy.

  Click for larger image

On the west side of Bear Lake is Garden City, famous for it's raspberry shakes. I got one and it was tasty, but not outstanding. Fortunately I had pulled in and ordered just seconds before this crowd arrived.

  Click for larger image

The view of Bear Lake from the rest stop on US 89. Pretty spectacular.

I then continued the circuitous and painfully distracting trip down the canyon. It was damn near impossible to keep my eyes on the road. The rock out crops, unscathed conifers, the river - gorgeous! I passed numerous trail heads, many which sounded familiar from my trip research.

I arrived at the Michael Estate at 5:00 and was greeted by Dolores and Caelie. I then proceed to unpack all the shit from the front of the van so I could get the stuff out I had for Sean. His folks had asked me take a few things out and I was glad to do it.

Then, while sipping on a Wasatch Evolution I watched as Dolores whipped up some awesome Guacamole and then pulled out some red and verde salsa. Delish!



That was followed by the best salmon I can remember having and great company to!

  Click for larger image

After a leisurely dinner and some JNC tales we headed outside with pooch Shasta to watch the sunset and talk about my plans for the upcoming days.

Sean and Dolores are a treasure trove of natural history and outdoor rec info and before I knew it they had planned out an entire year for me!

Then it was to bed. At some point I woke up and it seemed eerily quiet. It took me a while to figure out why. This was the first night since the start of my trip that was without the constant noise of trains. Ahhhhh...
Good night!