Utah: land of mountains and deserts, land of stark beauty and grandeur

We left Silverthorne after another waffle breakfast. The Levi’s outlet store across the street only opened at 10am — too late for early-birds like us — so we passed on the chance to update the wardrobe for discount prices and headed back on the road. West. Some of the most beautiful country in America, maybe even the world. Snowy mountains. Yellow leaves still clinging to the trees. Big sky. Great roads. We finally stopped for lunch in Grand Junction, Colorado. Then crossed the border into Utah.

Years ago Utah and Alaska were the only two states I hadn’t been to. And so on one of our family trips we made a point of visiting Utah — and discovered, to our amazement, that it was one of the most beautiful places we’d ever seen. Well today, years later, our return to Utah didn’t change that opinion. Utah is gorgeous.

We stopped short of the I-15 on our westward route along I-70, and followed US-89 south through Bryce National Park. It would be a long day of driving but since we are planning on NOT driving at all tomorrow (Sunday, a day to relax and enjoy NFL games on TV), we thought we’d stretch it out a bit today. So when the scenic drive through the Dixie National Forest was blocked by a mudslide and resulted in a 1 hour extension of the route over some seriously winding roads over a 2-mile-high hill, we were okay with that.

We finally arrived in Cedar City, just north of St George, at around 7pm. The sun had set. Since tomorrow is to be a TV-watching day, the hotel we were looking for would need to have a decent TV. And the billboards along the road in to Cedar City told us that the Abbey Inn had new 42-inch TVs. So that’s where we ended up.

After a long walk through the not-so-nice part of town, looking for a pub Sue had found on a motel map, we decided NOT to join the patrons for a Saturday-night Halloween party, walked back to our hotel, had half a sandwich at the IHOP right next to our hotel, and back in the room for the night. Journal update. Some roasted almonds and a glass of wine. Bedtime. Gotta get up early to watch Fareed on CNN tomorrow morning.