2017’s September Road Trip: Part One

So clearly it seems like I’m doing a September road trip every year now … which I guess makes sense, given that our anniversary is in September and we often find a trip to do this time of year. This year, we knew we needed to be in California to race Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz, so we decided to drive on out and then hit Las Vegas on the way back.

Wednesday, September 6:

We left fairly early Wednesday morning, with Salt Lake City, Utah, as our final destination. We had a few options – through the mountains on I-70, adding some extra time to go through Dinosaur, or up I-25 and cut across Wyoming on I-80. Ultimately, we decided on the latter, which was an awesome decision. Wyoming went by super quickly. Utah? Well, Utah is weird.

We rolled into Salt Lake City … and, more to the point, the suburb of Layton, so we could see the house that B lived in for a few years when he was younger.

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It was about as he remembered, with slightly different landscape.

After some deliberation, we decided to keep pressing on to the border, choosing to stop in Wendover, Utah. Which ended up being awesome, because we were able to stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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Kidlet perspective.

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On the salt flats.

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I in theory could have driven Fiona on them, but chose not to.

In Wendover … we stayed at possibly the sketchiest Quality Inn we’ve ever encountered. Seriously. I didn’t feel safe leaving our (thousand dollars worth of) tri bikes in the car, so we unpacked those even though we hadn’t planned on it until Santa Cruz. I’m also pretty sure I slept like crap thinking I was going to die. We had to close the security door because it had been propped open for who knows how long.

FUTURE NOTE TO SELF: ALWAYS READ THE REVIEWS. ALWAYS.

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We stayed on the Utah side of things.

Thursday, September 7:

After the worst night of sleep in a really long time, we woke up at least a good hour earlier than planned, packed the hell up, ate breakfast at one of the random casinos on the Nevada side of things, and got the fuck out of Dodge.

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Peace out, Wendover Will.

Most of the day was spent driving across Nevada. So exciting, in general.

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Nevada.

We did make a tiny detour in Reno, just for a picture and to pop into the Circus Circus where I do actually remember visiting when I was a wee child.

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I’m a tourist.

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After Reno, it was just pressing on to Sacramento to see where I lived for a few years when I was a kid. (I’m a Colorado native, but we did spend a few years in the Sacto ‘burbs thanks to a job shift of my dad’s.)

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I don’t miss you, house. However, you’re missing your lilac (honeysuckle?) bush in front.

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Church we used to attend. The school we went to is to the left and down the hill.

For dinner, we went to a burger place we used to go back in the day, Jasper’s Giant Hamburgers.

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It totally still looks the same.

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As for the taste? Welllll, let’s just say good ol’ Jasper’s can stay on Memory Lane. Beef was very mediocre, and the fries are now normal as opposed to the fried potato rounds (think the buffalo chips from Buffalo Wild Wings) they used to have, which were the bomb.

After dinner, we went to our (happily researched, safe area) Springhill Suites in Roseville, another Sacramento suburb.

When we pick back up … our second installment will be Santa Cruz!

Utah and Dinosaur National Monument

Earlier this month, we drove to Utah to race a half-marathon (which, if you want to read about, you can do so here).

The drive to Vernal, Utah, took us through parts of Colorado that I’d never seen before, which was exciting.

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Meeker, Colo.

We passed by a lot of livestock – we estimate we saw close to 10,000 head of cattle over the weekend – and got paused on some county road due to a sheep drive.

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Right before the border, we hit the best town ever for Team Baby Dinosaur:
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Dinosaur, Colo.!

About 20 miles after that was Utah.

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The next day, we took a quick trip into Dinosaur National Monument – Utah side. We definitely plan on going back and camping – the area is huge and definitely deserves way more than the few hours we gave it – but we didn’t want to walk around a whole lot due to our race the next day and we didn’t have all that much time.

We ended up taking a short hike and seeing the Fossil Bone Quarry, which was one of the coolest things ever and TOTALLY worth it.

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Entrance.

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Stegosaurus.

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Brandon and petroglyphs.

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In front of some cool rocks.

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Kidlets on the path.

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Sign in the bone quarry.

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Brandon and Nelson next to a thigh bone.

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Dinosaurs and dinosaurs. So the quarry wall was left behind because paleontologists had gotten enough bones out of the site (well, of the dinosaurs that were found there) so they decided to leave the site and all the bones.

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Brandon looking out at the vast.

Afterward, we went to the Utah Field House museum (more dinosaurs!) and packet pick-up.

Saturday, we raced and then left town.

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Dinosaur in Vernal they dress up for the holidays.

We went a slightly different way back home – through Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs. We stopped in Kremmling for a bite and so Brandon could catch the Kentucky Derby. Then continuing on US-40 to I-70 and back home.

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US-40 sometime before Craig.