We started our day in Dinosaurland, also known as Vernal, Utah. We explored fossils, visited a dinosaur museum where we excavated a Utahraptor and took pictures with a Stegosaurus. We also watched a pterosaur being painted. We tried to have a conversation with the painters, distinguishing between the Pteranodon and the Pterodactyl has always been a bit challenging for me (I know it’s something about the crest), and I thought that the painters would be able to help out with that. I was wrong,. We left Vernal near one, still contemplating our wonderful morning of paleontological discovery.
Three hours later we entered the Uinta National Forrest, truly the most beautiful spot in the US. The strawberry pinnacles are amazing. Imagine green hills and mountains covered with neon green grass and conifer trees. I fell in love and we started talking about moving to this part of the country, starting a farm and just enjoying our days in paradise. The entire drive into Salt Lake City was filled with stunning scenery and wonderful conversation about family farming. Salt Lake City was not very impressive after that drive and Lilith decided that she did not like the city at all because it is just so ugly. She thinks that laws should be passed to prevent people from building ugly buildings in beautiful places. I at least agree that people should not put ugly buildings in pretty places.
We were not impressed with the area around Salt Lake City. The original plan was to stop in Elko for the night, but it was another ugly town. Just pulling in to the town made me want to take a shower. I decided to just pick up dinner and find a prettier place to sleep. We picked up dinner at KFC, and after smelling the place we decided to eat in the car. After picking up our order, I spent some time getting the kids organized before starting the next part of the drive. As I walked around the car, the wind picked up and dark clouds were looming so I decided to get outta there before the weather prevented departure, it was early evening and I felt sure that we could get to the next town by 9pm which is still good timing. We had half a tank of gas and I decided that should be enough to get to the next town and I did not want to stop for gas in this dusty little Nevada town. There was a little old lady with luggage and a hitchhiking thumb up. We flew by her at 65mph. I totally understand why you would want to get out of Elko, I couldn’t get out fast enough.
I drove along, appreciating the beautiful desert sunset when I noticed another cloud in the distance. I saw lightning and assumed that we were heading into a storm, not the first storm of the trip and no big deal since we would likely drive through it rather quickly. The sun set, I am coasting at 80mph and I notice fog in the distance. I look to the right and see a cloud abruptly interfering with my mountain view. It is pretty dark now and I am not looking forward to a drive in a dark, foggy, and unfamiliar area. It’s nice that I am not alone on the road, and after a few minutes I notice a truck sneaking up behind me. I speed up because I don’t like driving near huge trucks and I notice that I am only going 55mph, the speed limit is 75 so I put on the gas. The next thing that I know the truck puts on the gas too, he is gaining on me and I don’t like it, but I am not worried because we are going uphill and the truck speed limit is much lower than the car speed limit. I keep driving, he keeps gaining. I start feeling uncomfortable because a monster truck in the foggy dessert is chasing me after dark. Did he notice that I am driving alone with my kids? I speed up, I am now pushing 80 and this truck will not get off my ass. I refuse to slow down or stop because I don’t want to be killed by the maniac driving the truck that’s chasing me. This goes on for 10 minutes and I am almost in a panic. I can’t see, there is a truck chasing me, and I notice that the gas hand is lower than I would like it to be.
At this point a drop of rain hits the windshield. I am happy to see rain because it means that the fog will start to clear. Soon there is another drop and another. I have to slow down because I cannot see. I turn the windshield wipers on in the hope that it will help and I will be able to escape the killer truck chasing me. The windshield wiper starts and what I thought was raindrops spreads across the windshield. I realize that the rainstorm is a bug storm and now I have smeared bug parts all across my windshield. I am now nauseous, there are dead bugs all over the window so I cannot see, and there is a killer truck chasing me. In a panic I decide to just slow down and face my fate…hopefully death will come quickly.
The killer driver passed us, I am pretty sure I saw him smirking as he passed. We finally reached the next town and I pulled over to find a hotel, thinking this was enough excitement for one night. The thermometer reads 90 and it’s still foggy so I am ready to get inside a room and take a shower. We exit the freeway and discover that this town is so small that it has no hotels. No problem, I will just get gas and keep going. As I pull into the gas station I see another guy squinting as he gets gas. Odd, but whatever. I get out of the car to discover that the fog stings. It’s like pumping gas while looking into a steaming pot of water. The fog is steamy. It stings. It sticks. Not fun and still no hotel. We keep driving for another hour. I am tired and at this point I really do not care what the town or hotel looks like as long as it has a bed. We eventually arrive in Fernley, Nevada where some genius just built a nice new Comfort Inn and Suites. The room cost 89 bucks…I would have paid more….it was clean and nice. I kissed the ground, thanked the gods for another day of life and decided that I seriously hate Nevada. Reno would have to be the city of gold to overcome this day.