Yesterday Yellowstone was bright and chilly, this morning the snow had arrived and 3 inches or more covered everywhere. I set off towards Salt Lake with some caution.
In fact the drive was pretty uneventful, but stopping to fuel I realised I had no idea what to put in. Turns out it's a petrol engine, but I probably looked a bit of a weirdo sniffing the fuel tank then the pumps to work that out. Nothing unusual there.
By 2pm I'd covered 250 miles and was in Salt Lake City. Frankly I'd not found anything in the city I really wanted to do, so being an idiot I decided I had plenty of time to get to Bonneville Salt Flats.
I'd seen on google maps that the flats were the other side of a vegetated hilly region, so every time I crested a ridge I hoped to see them. An hour later and still no sign, and then there was a large shimmering lake to my right. In fact this was the desert, so I must be nearly there, right? An hour later I rolled onto a Tarmac promontory extending three miles into the desert and not marked on my SatNav. There was no-one about and the distant highway was lost in the mirages. It was beautiful, and awe-inspiring to be at the start of the 10 mile speed track. Had the salt crust not cracked and given beneath my feet as I stepped out onto it, I would have torn off and seen what the car could do. Instead I read the signpost and examined the bullet holes in it's thick aluminium. I turned around to see a car crawling out of the haze toward me and considered setting back immediately. After five hours driving, and with no decision where to head next, I was in no rush to get back behind the wheel.
Thankfully the car was driven by Al, a retired gent from Colorado who regaled me with a tale of his friend at Oxford who studies cultures and has a successful progressive rock band.
It was gone 5pm when I pointed the car back toward Salt Lake City and a hotel a mere 160 miles and a good 140 minutes away.
After some heavy, heavy rain, lightning and rainbows, that's where I am. Over 850 miles into the trip, and a full tank of gas gone in a day. That's a whole £40, and worth ever penny.
Tomorrow I'm heading for the start of the sandy desert, and maybe Arches National Park for sunset.