Part 7: Jackson, WY to San Diego, CA


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The Trip

We had a wonderful meal in Jackson Hole, WY at Wild Sage.  Our stay at the motel was pleasant enough and reasonably priced (less than half the cost of the dinner for two with wine.....).  In the morning, we loaded the truck and headed south toward San Diego.  We were several days away, but our plans called for "all asphalt" so there was no stress.  The heat, however, would be come a factor.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Our path took us south through Afton, WY again.  We were surprised to find a large street fair in progress.  Turns out that we stumbled upon a "Pioneer Day" celebration which is a Mormon-inspired holiday that celebrates the migration to the west by the Mormons.  Above, some kind of contest was being held.

The main street in Afton was blocked off and there were antique cars displayed.  Note the antler arch at the top left of the photo above.

We went south to Logan, UT and briefly met with our friends Jud and Sadie.  Sadie had just gotten back from 10 days in Africa on a mission, so our meeting was brief.  We continued south but due to Pioneer Day, we were unable to find a campsite anywhere or an open space at an RV park, so we settled for a truck stop parking lot and holed up for the night.  The next day, we continued south along the Wasatch Range.  Above is a photo of the large copper mine near Sandy, UT.

Further south near Cedar City, we came upon the source of the bad air quality: a substantial fire.  A BLM fire rig passed us and is in the center of the photo above.

The fire was generating huge quantities of smoke, but was not blocking our progress south.

I am guessing that every do-gooder passing south was calling 911 so they put up this message to prevent more calls.

When we reached our closest point to the fire, the smoke could be seen roiling above the hills.

We spent the night in a low-budget RV park near Kanarraville, UT.  Due to Pioneer Day weekend, we got the last site available and were happy for it.  Next morning, we rolled past St. George and then into the Virgin River Canyon.  The highway goes through the canyon because it is the only reasonable path through the Beaver Dam Mountains.

The small Virgin river has carved a huge canyon through the sandstone strata.

Given the heat and the scant rainfall, I was surprised that there was any water in the river at all.

Amazing to consider that just a small creek could carve these huge canyons.

The grade on the road was steep coming down from the St. George plateau to Mesquite, NV.  Note the tilted strata resulting from the tectonic uplifting.

Man, it was hot.  It was over 115 degrees when we stopped for a soda and fuel.  As we left Stateline, NV, we got a view of something even hotter: the Ivanpah Solar Plant.  This plant uses huge expanses of tracking mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the collector tower.  There are 3 towers, this one was venting steam.

All there towers were in operation.  The smoke from the (many) fires allowed the solar beams to become visible.

This plane cost us an hour of our ever-shortening lives in the 120 degree heat.  The thermometer in Baker showed 115 degrees, but when we were stopped in the 15 mile traffic jam caused by the rubber-neckers looking at the plane, the inside temperature in the truck was 120 in the shade, 125 degrees on my pants and 140 degrees on the asphalt road surface.  This fellow was following the highway and must have had some kind of mechanical issue, but landed safely.  Not clear if the plane was damaged or the pilot hurt, but CHP did send a car to watch the plane and prevent vandalism.

We spent the night in Barstow as we had reached our heat-immersion limit for the day.  Next morning, we continued south.  Above is a photo of the landfill near Victorville.  This mini-mountain is a monument to the volume of waste generated by modern society.

Our motel room in Barstow was next to the BNSF line.  They move an incredible amount of freight on those tracks and the Victorville yard was one of the staging areas for this movement.

We rolled into San Diego mid-afternoon with no problems encountered in the L.A. basin (which was a rare treat).  This was a good trip, but very different from our normal outings in that the timetable was dictated and the distances required by this timetable were substantial, resulting in some long days.  But, traveling with friends was a nice change.

We look forward to our next trip with the group.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2016, all rights reserved.
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