The drive to Flaming gorge was like many so far encountered, long, straight and bordered by grassland, with the occasional small western town sprinkled along for interest. Having paused briefly in Pinelodge to get our fix of contact with the outside world we set out to find some mustang. This involved a detour up a scenic drive which ran 20 miles along an escarpment between Rock Spring & Green River. Whilst the towns aren’t much the scenery was and the wild horses even put in an appearance. Finding a spot to camp proved a little harder than expected but we eventually settled on a spot for the night in time to watch a huge thunder/lightning display in the distance. Bed that night with just one thing on our minds – is that storm coming our way?
It didn’t and the canyons and ridges on the drive to Dutch John were amazing. Deciding to treat ourselves to a refreshing day on the water we hired a 2 person inflatable kayak and headed to the Green River. A great 7 mile float through some level 2 and 3 rapids brought us to our end point and our car (which had been moved from A to B for us). Feeling that we had the paddling thing mastered we strapped the kayak to the roof and drove back to the lake for some more fun on the water. Without the assistance of the current we quickly realised it was a lot harder and plumbed for a swim instead and paddle back to the shore. On landing Rachel quickly realised she no longer had the car key in her pocket!! Ooopps Hoping the rental office still had our spare key we asked a couple landing their boat to borrow their phone. Tense moments and many discussions later it was confirmed our spare was in the car so now all we had to do was break in. Thankfully Dennis (our new best friend) had a full tool box and we set about removing the quarter light trim and thus glass. Success!! All we need now is to replace the rubber trim, get the glass re-fitted and get a new spare key cut. Pausing only to watch the sun go down over Flaming Gorge we left the park, treating ourselves to supper at a genuine All American Diner, before finally pulling off the road for the night en-route to Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake is hot, very hot. And possibly the neatest place ever. The city is maintained beautifully with wide boulevards and flower beds and you can spot the non-residents (at least in the city centre) as they are the only people not smartly dressed. Unfortunately, local Toyota garage confirmed nearest glass trim is in San Francisco so we’re stuck with the cardboard and gaffer tape for a few more days. Having taken in a few of the sights of the city and fortified ourselves with a good lunch we headed west passed the bottom end of the salt lake and out on to the Great Salt Desert. This is one place you don’t want to break down, it is barren beyond belief but beautiful in its own way. The occasional random roadside sculptures are great though – a fully decorated Christmas tree, 2 shark fins in the salt crust.
Having survived 500 or so kilometres we arrived in Ely for the night. With our aim being Yosemite to catch up with Matt, Garfs and the kids we didn’t hang around and hit the Hwy 50 towards Reno. ‘The Loneliest Road in America’ traverses alternate mountain ranges and wide flat valleys. We passed old opera houses, petroglyphs, the current site of TopGun (yes we did play the theme tune loudly as the jets trained overhead), the world’s largest ammo depot and created a new game – The Gummy Bear Challenge. Tired and hot we reached Yosemite and invaded the Baughs camp spot in time for supper.