GAR: Day Three – Rawlins WY to Winnemucca NV (652mi)

The shortness of the day yesterday — driven by the windy battle from behind the wheel — dictated a long drive today. With proper stops and a timezone change, we made this leg with wind left in the sails.

We stopped at a rest area along the way, and took some photos of prairie dogs. Very cute little critters, and fun to watch play and romp. From a big game perspective, this was the biggest mammal we’d gotten close to, and was certainly enjoyable to watch.

Crossing into Utah, we drove to Salt Lake City, and stopped for a bit at the edge of the lake. It was gorgeous! The weather was so much nicer than the weather I endured there a few years ago. The skies were blue, and there was plenty of visibility, with plenty of reflections in the lake. The best was yet to come, however.

As we were winding up our time in Utah, we came to a rest area just at the edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Again, three years ago, there were nasty skies, and really bad weather. This time, the weather was wonderful… and there was water on the flats! We pulled up, and found folks wading in toe-deep to ankle deep water atop the crusty salt. We dropped our shoes, and proceeded to wade in the water. The salt was hard, and really rough on the feet, but it was well worth it. We saw folks walking hundreds of feet into the salt desert, wading and exploring. This was by far the best stop of the day.

Another cool thing lay along the roads. Wherever the side of the road was light colored, folks had left messages, spelled out in rocks, for passersby to see. This was a kind of viral graffiti that was really amazing. Some messages were quick ones — someone’s name, or school mascot. Others were pledges of love, memories of other folks, along with some elaborate buildouts made of wire and beer bottles. Mixed in among these were tire tracks entering and exiting the salt desert, testimony to folks who’d spent a little youthful time breaking the law.

The weather was certainly a big deal during this leg. We left Rawlins at 35 degrees, and arrived in Winnemucca at about 85 degrees. In fact, the heat was pretty doggone oppressive, even more so with our room.

The hotel was just adequate, nothing fancy or elegant, and reflected the style of a 60s casino… kinda like it was trying to look like a wild west saloon room. Styling didn’t bother me, but there seemed to be no way to get it cooler. The air conditioner was definitely blowing, but it wasn’t cooling the room off. In truth, the whole hotel was that way. Waaaay too hot and sticky for my tastes!