Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation Drive: Utah

I seem to have been busy with other things for a few days. Oh well. On with the trip description...

Utah presents a very special set of problems for us.

First, there is nothing in the western portion of the state along I-80. Nothing at all. The salt flats go on for miles, and so does the road, straight as an arrow and pretty dull driving.

After that there's Salt Lake City, a place we've loathed for various reasons over the years doing these trips. It all started when we discovered they don't allow dogs in the national forest just east of the city. I've taken dogs into all kinds of national forests in the past and never had a problem, but in Utah they're worried because it's "the watershed for the entire city". Like my dog was a health risk to the city compared with deer and other wild animals that never get a vet appointment in their lives. Give me a break.

And it's gone downhill from there. For many years prior to hosting the Olympics in the area I-80 through SLC was under construction. Every time we'd drive through town they'd route us around the beltway - miles and miles out of our way - giving us a scenic view of the town we hated from the start. We've never gotten over it.

Suffice it to say we despise driving through SLC. To the point that even now, years after the first trip that got it all started, we make it a point to have something loud and rude by Frank Zappa playing on the stereo as we pass through town. If that makes no sense to you, forget about it.

Oh, I do have a family living in SLC now, a cousin and her husband. They are perfectly normal, but they are the only ones we can confirm are sane in the entire SLC region, and it appears they do not set public policy for the area. If the timing allows we stop and see these folks, but it usually doesn't work out. We get there too late on the outbound leg of the trip, and the return trip is a bit variable. Oh well.

A bit east of SLC you hit Park City, where it is (thankfully) possible to find rational people and a place to sleep; even a hotel or two that will accept dogs. The surrounding mountains are quite nice, but in truth it's all too close to SLC for me, so it's only a stopover on our way through.

Utah is about 200 miles across on I-80, and Park City is our usual first stop on the trip east.

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