Humming through my favourite state in the union

There is nothing better than a LONG drive on the American freeway system. For the third day in a row, I was up early, cruising at a ridiculous 85 miles-per-hour, doing my best to keep up with all the truckers I was sharing the road with. With wind, and often downhill! Eighty-five miles per hour and still the ‘ECO’ light regularly lit up on my dashboard — ‘ECO’ means the engine shuts down 3 of the 6 cylinders so it SAVES ON FUEL. Crazy!

Near Heber City, Utah

Today would be a shorter day. I could have made the trip from home to Palm Desert in three long days of driving, but I had decided to do it in four (just in case of bad weather or poor road conditions or a breakdown of my old van). So today would be a six-hour driving day, only 400 miles. And another glorious day it was. Mostly sunny skies. Mostly downhill. Amazing scenery from the minute I entered Utah. In Heber City the highway took me right through the centre of town. I spotted a car wash and made a quick pit stop to wash the brown Wyoming silt off of my van. A shiny clean vehicle is as invigorating and refreshing as washing your hair and brushing your teeth in the morning.

I was on the I-15 all day today. A great road and beautiful day in what I consider the prettiest state in the US. Utah has five national parks — I don’t think I’ve been in all five, but wow! the ones I have visited…

Of course, my photos don’t do justice to what I actually saw — they never do. (And they are taken through my windshield as I’m screaming down the highway at more than 85 mph.)

With wind and downhill! Near Coalville, Utah.

I had to catch up on the US election results so I listened to a bit of Rush Limbaugh on the AM talk radio. Hmmm… That is POISON! No wonder America is divided. You’d never know that the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives from the way this right-wing hate-filled radio host described the outcome. Mom always said if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If Rush followed Mom’s advice this would have been a very quiet morning. Well, I didn’t NEED to listen to it, so I didn’t. I switched back to my trusty old iPod, filled with songs from my iTunes library.I sang my heart out. What a random collection of fine music! Ella Fitzgerald singing a happy scat tune with the horn section blasting away, followed by the melancholy accordion-backed Mary Chapin Carpenter making you feel so good about being depressed! Neil Young, the Eagles, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Van Morrison, John Prine, and even the odd Mozart and Gram Parsons in there, all mixed up together, side by side.  

And when I wasn’t singing, I was humming. I am ALWAYS humming. It used to drive Sue nuts. I don’t even notice it. I can’t help it. It’s a (bad) habit. And I’m usually ‘playing the drums’ on my my teeth — maybe that will end once my (newly installed) braces have kicked in and aligned the high-hat with the snare and moved the tom-toms where the top left molar can no longer reach them. Hey, what’s this? An old Delaney and Bonnie tune. I didn’t even know I had this. I must have recorded this off of one of my old records — it still has the clicks and pops of static in all the wrong places. But a great song! THAT’S why I like listening to this old iPod. That is just one more reason I love road trips.

I stopped in St George, the southern-most city in Utah, and a gorgeous city at that. I checked out a couple of hotels since I hadn’t booked anything — and I really SHOULD HAVE stayed there. But I’d seen billboards on the way in, advertising cheap hotel rooms and restaurants just across the border in Nevada. And that’s why I ended up in the Virgin River Hotel and Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. Oh boy! Won’t do that again. Sure, the room was clean and had everything I needed and only $27! But yuck! Mesquite’s only reason for being was casinos, and I find casinos very depressing. A big ‘factory’ to suck people into staying there and spending all their time and money in a giant arcade of losers. What a sad way to end a perfect day. I bought a pizza and ate it in my room while I watched TV.