On the Road – Utah

 When I left Reno I hit US 50 and got within a couple of hours of the Bonneville museum in Wendover, UT.  I decided to find a hotel and get some rest in Ely.  After getting up bright and early I connected with US 93 for the final miles to Utah. 

I made a quick stop at this garage and took some photos of the cars and trucks that were sitting in the lot.  Little did I know that this would be the best car stop in Utah.

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The road was not much different from traveling on America’s Loneliest Highway.  When I came around the last corner and saw the Nevada side of Wendover the city reflected the casino spirit of Nevada and when I crossed the border to the Utah side of Wendover the difference was dramatic.  A quarter mile down the road was my goal and MS Streets & Trips announced that it was less than 0.1 mile on my right.

I cruised on and looked around as Streets & Trips did its count down of yards to go.  Zero appeared and nothing.  I went a half mile further and there was nothing so I turned around and cruised back by slower.  The police station was at about the right spot so I pulled in and parked.  I went in and asked about the museum and was told that it had closed a couple of years ago and the building was now occupied by an auto parts store.

Making the most of my time I went to the Wendover Air Museum.  Wendover was one of America’s bomber training base during WW II and in particular was used by the B-29 squadron that delivered the atom bombs that were used to end the war.  The museum is currently quite modest, but there are hopes that funds can be found to improve on what exists.  If the base was on the Nevada side of the border I suspect that would not be a problem, but I fear that it will be a real challenge on the Utah side.

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Off I went to my next stop which was on the other side of Salt Lake City.  The highway consisted of more long stretches and mountains to climb.  Traffic was sparse but the views were terrific.  Then I had to get around Salt Lake City.  That took a while and brought me back into American urban life with all the familiar franchise signs and plenty of traffic. 

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All of the sudden I was around the city and everything changed.  The road became a hill climb with spectacular views.  When I was within about an hour of the Kaiser “Bill” Brown private museum in Altonah, UT, it was late in the afternoon so I found a room for the night.

In the morning I walked to a local café and had breakfast.  It was nice to be able to cross the street without running from curb to curb and listening to the small town chit chat.  The breakfast was good and I walked back to my hotel room and packed the car.  A local cat checked out the Evolution.

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I drove to Altonah and went to the address on the web (18530 W. Yellowstone Rd) and found nothing.  It was a disappointment.  From the looks of the guy’s web site it would have been interesting to meet up with him.

One thing I noticed as I was driving out to Altonah was what at first looked like low clouds.  Then, as I got much closer I could tell by the smell that it was smoke.  I guessed that Utah was having a huge forest fire.  Reports are that it consumed 23 square miles of forest.

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I drove to Wyoming and went through many smoky sections of the highways I took.  Nothing that obscured the view, but always the heavy smell.

The roads to Wyoming were great and then I got to Wyoming itself.  More mountains to climb and often reaching over 8000 feet.  A lot of changes in scenery as it went from rock to birch forests to pines.  I could even see areas where there had been forest fires a year or two prior.

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Twenty miles into Wyoming and you could still see the smoke blowing in from the Utah forest fire.

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So I will stay the night in Laramie.  It is the home to Wyotech, but I won’t be visiting the school this trip.  I am off to Rapid City, SD tomorrow and a new museum the morning after.

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This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Museums, Car Stuff, Cars, Road Trips. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to On the Road – Utah

  1. Noel says:

    Weren’t you gonna do something at Bonneville, or was there really nothing to do/see there? Or was that the Wendover stuff that wasn’t there?

    Haven’t been to that side of SLC for a long time. Am usually downtown and then up into the mountains to ski., either Park City or Alta/Snowbird. There is some nice driving country east and north of SLC as you go out past Park City. Good fishing in the streams there, too. And Park City is a fun, funky place to visit. Also great roads as you go south to Moab, but that’s the wrong direction for your trip!

    Did you do I-80 across Wyoming? I don’t remember if there are other choices, but I haven’t had to do that in a long time.

  2. jimsgarage says:

    My expectation was to spend time at the Bonneville Speed museum – but it no longer exists.

    I took the state roads from SLC to WY. That had the best views.

  3. Lauri Shaw says:

    Really enjoyed the photos of the cars, trucks, and scenery. I’m glad you’re getting the opportunity to take this all in at a leisurely pace. Sometimes it’s the unexpected that makes the day special rather than wht was originally in the plan.

  4. Noel says:

    The local roads sure beat I-80. I remember a long, leisurely lunch many years back in Green River, Wyoming on a trip west. I had to make time, so I was on 80, but got off here and there. I sat on the river bank and looked at the river and the land and wished I had more time to explore. Glad you’re taking the time to do this trip on the “blue highways.”

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