by James Walker
Day 1 - Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
So far my discussions about our trip across (parts of) America has been light on specifics and more about my longing for travel. I could talk for days and days about how I'd love to be on the road or walking down the street of some far-off city, but this blog is supposed to be a log of my past exploits, so I'll fill in a few details.
Our trip originally came from an idea of Erinn's that we could drive across the United States and see something like 20 states. We would have gone all the way from the west coast to the east coast and back, driving about 6,000 miles. It would have been crazy, so we scaled it back and ended up with just 5 or so states, most of them new to both of us. Officially we passed through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Idaho, but the substance of our trip was mainly just Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
On paper, our trip looked like this:
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That would have put us at 2,585 miles, but all the sightseeing, detours, and wandering gave us right around 3,700 miles. It was quite a lot of driving for just 12 days, but we made it work and we had a great time. I've been on many drives down I-5 to southern California where I've gotten sleepy and bored and needed someone next to me to keep me awake, but there was so much to see on this 3,700 mile drive that we rarely got sleepy and never got bored. One of my favorite drives was the drive on I-70 through Utah and into Colorado. The landscape itself was so dramatic and in just a single day's drive it changed so often that I couldn't have fallen asleep if I wanted to. I felt like to sleep would be to miss the very thing I was here to see on this trip. From the beautiful countryside of the valley at the beginning of I-70 to the dramatic bluffs and canyons in the middle to the beginnings of the Rockies on the western side of Colorado, I was taken in by the beauty and variety of the land.
And this was all in the first few days of our trip.
We begin, as I said before, in Las Vegas. It was hot when we drove in that night at 10pm and it was already getting hot the next morning when we left at 8am. There's not much to see in this neon city except big buildings and slot machines so while we appreciated the inexpensive-yet-luxurious Orleans Hotel, we were happy to leave it behind (for now).
We left Nevada, drove through a corner of Arizona, and wandered into Utah.