Howdy fellow travelers,
I did in fact get under way last week with the first destination being Salt Lake City, where my wife flew in to join me. From there we visited the Bingham Canyon copper mine, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and on to Elko, NV for the 3rd and final night of the Silver State Stampede, billed as the "oldest rodeo in Nevada". What a splendid slice of Americana that was, and Elko is now on my list of totally fun towns which I'll again travel to and spend time in. There was a party right there at the fairgrounds following the conclusion of the rodeo, and it was a genuine THROW DOWN, fortunately just a few blocks' walk from our motel.
We took a long drive to Montana from Elko and thoroughly enjoyed the remote stretch of US 93 between Elko and Twin Falls, ID. We arrived at our destination about an hour late but our friends, who had traveled from Seattle, had supper waiting for us. Yesterday we did a bit of shopping in Dillon, MT and had one of the finer Mexican meals we've ever had at the taco bus on the I-15 business loop. The it was back to the cabin, but not before exploring some Forest Service roads for a new lake and some small stream fishing spots. Dutch oven cookery, including a blackberry cobbler for dessert, closed out the day.
A few observations from the trip thus far:
This is a VERY large country
Entering Kansas City at morning rush hour in a blinding thunderstorm is a bad idea
Central Kansas along I-70 is rather hillier than I remembered
Headwinds are fuel mileage killers
With neutral winds and a light foot on the skinny pedal, a 9,000 lb diesel pickup truck can get 17.5 to 18 mpg.
Tractor-trailers are much more often governed and slow moving these days. I ran 72-74 mph to conserve fuel, and I passed more OTR rigs than passed me.
Entering Denver at rush hour in a blinding thunderstorm is a bad idea (see a pattern here?).
Salt Lake City to Elko, NV is a great piece of highway.
Elko is a FUN and authentic cowboy town.
The "back way" into Montana via I-15 and Monida Pass is spectacular.
We'll be bombing around in the truck for the next few days, hitting trail heads, alpine lakes, and walk-in hot springs. More posts later.