Shortly after leaving Salt Lake (shortly being used here as a relative term) we found ourselves driving through Utah's famous Bonneville Salt Flats. And lest you are in ignorance, as I was at the time, the salt flats have the following claims to fame:
- Home to the Bonneville Speedway, where people go to drive really, really fast.
- Where scenes from blockbusters such as Independence Day and Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed.
- Home to attractions such as the postmodern sculpture Metaphor of a Tree and little else. Except for salt.
- This was the first pit stop that Alissa and I made on our all-day drive. We parked the car, walked a few feet out onto the flats, looked around, got back into the car, and kept driving. It was very exciting.
The rest of the day takes up little space in the memory banks. It was all a haze of driving, reading, driving, telling each other our deepest secrets, driving, hunting for rest stops, driving, and driving.
Part-way through the drive, we passed Battle Mountain, NV. The residents of this town are so thrilled that their collection of buildings qualifies as a Census Designated Place that they celebrated by marking their community in a memorable fashion not likely to be missed from the freeway. I don't know anyone from Nevada, but I know BM is short for in Florida youth culture, and I can't imagine the sort of people who would emblazon this above their community... unless they were trying to be ironic.
There were worse places to be from, I suppose. We passed a sign for "Lovelock, NV." Saucy.
We passed from Utah to Nevada, then from Nevada over the Sierra Nevadas and down into California. As we drove through the Lake Tahoe district and spotted signs for Donner Pass, Alissa and I resurrected the old what-would-you-do and who-would-you-eat debate. We decided that neither of us would be worth it: Alissa would be too chewey, and I don't carry enough meat.
By the time we arrived in San Francisco, we were heartily tired of being in the red Beetle. To compound our frustration, we nearly ran out of fuel before we found a gas station, the GPS got confused and took us through the airport parking lot to find our hotel, the toilet in our hotel room did not flush, and we wound up at a sticky-tabled IHOP for dinner.
But there were bright sides to our evening in SanFran. The hotel staff fixed our toilet issue while we were out to dinner. Nearly all of the other hotel guests were Chinese, causing one of us to feel right at home. Best of all, we were only a few miles away from our morning destination: hitting the Golden Gate Bridge before driving down the Coast through Big Sur.
Only a few days of our trip remained, and we planned to enjoy them to the fullest extent.