Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 21

Mike Darby, well-known British car restorer and SABCC'er is on the road his newly-restored 1959 MGA roadster with daughter Stella, undertaking the dream trip of a lifetime. The Darby duo will be traveling from their Alabama Gulf Coast home to Southern California, then up the Pacific Coast to Oregon and then back to the Heart of Dixie. 

Stella has kindly agreed to send along a daily report of their progress as well as observations of the people and places that make up our nation.
Today we crossed from Nevada into Utah, leaving a state famous for legalised prostitution for a state famous for Mormonism.  Not that either has been remarkable in either place!   Just over the border we found ourselves in moon-like terrain, on bright white salt flats.  We took a short detour to visit the Bonneville Speedway, of record-breaking speed trial fame (à la The World’s Fastest Indian).
What a surreal place.  Mirages, hazy whiteness and seaside smells in the middle of desert made the next hundred miles’ drive bizarre and memorable.  To the north and south of the interstate lie vast military testing grounds inaccessible to the public.  The contrast with Oregon’s ‘People’s Coast’ – signed into law as public lands from end to end – as well as the contrast in scenery and temperature made me nostalgic for the place we left yesterday.  However, after discussing why anyone would ever choose to live in a place without trees, we had to acknowledge that plenty of people appreciate wide open spaces too.  For them, this is the place! 
 A rest stop we paused at marked the spot where the final wire-splicing of the first East-West telephone line took place, linking New York to San Francisco, almost exactly 99 years ago. 
Just south of Salt Lake City – after passing roadside sailboat marinas on the lake itself - we participated in 8 lanes of heavy traffic.  It only cost us about half an hour.  The car never showed signs of overheating, even if we did!  On the move again, the ubiquitous gusty winds kept us cool.  Highway 6 provided uncrowded, fast-moving, interesting driving and a change of country:  white salty sand flats gave way to striated, lava-stained buttes and patches of scrubby green.  Price, Utah seemed an oasis of trees and green parks amidst dramatic evening shadows in the surrounding mountains and canyons.  Green River, where we’ve stopped tonight, lives up to its name. 
There’s much of nothing to report about Madge today, except that she’s been splendid:  gears shifting nicely, running at good temperature, starter motor functioning well, smooth body-work getting plenty of compliments.  Cruising at about 68mph suits Madge just fine.  I don’t want to jinx anything with this kind of talk, but it wouldn’t be right to leave praise unsaid. 
Tomorrow we hope to visit Arches National Park, which means we’ll have a break from long-distance driving – 421 miles clocked today.

1 comment:

  1. Arches Nat Park is on my wish list! Hope it's fabulous. We're off to bonny Scotland on the 14th, so shall think of you as we dip our toes in the chilly North Sea. Have a good birthday on the 17th Mike. where-ever you may be.


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