Friday, June 10, 2016

Road trip 2016

So, I decided that on this trip to San Diego, Darlene would fly (quicker, easier on her body) and I would drive solo. That's right - drive to San Diego from Calgary. Ever since I got my little B250 3 years ago, I've been waiting for an epic road trip. My plan was to do it in 3 days on the way down and 2 days back.

Leg one was Calgary to Idaho Falls ID. That took 10 hours or so. It had been a long time since I drove I-15 and I remembered parts of it being boring. But my memory seems to have failed me, because the scenery was spectacular. Once you get to Montana, the rolling prairie soon gives way to distant buttes and once you reach Great Falls, the terrain starts to get a lot more hilly. By Helena, you're right into the mountains and they're always in sight for the rest of the trip.

Leg two was Idaho Falls to Henderson NV. I didn't realize just how big the Salt Lake City metro area is now. It seems to go on forever. The trip through Utah was beautiful. It had been and still was raining. I was surrounded by distant rain storms pushing up against the mountains and everything was a bright, fresh green. In places it got as cool as 6C, especially higher up. There was still snow at the highest elevations. The soil is so red once you reach Arizona, the colour reflects off the bottoms of the clouds. It's weird to see red clouds. Once I came down out of the hills into the desert of Nevada, the temperature hit 25C. I saw my first palm tree (of the trip) on the outskirts of Vegas. Henderson is a huge city now too. This leg took around 9 hours.

Leg three was Henderson to San Diego. I was up and on my way before sunrise. The highlight for me was seeing the sun come up behind me as I crested the first set of mountains in California. Most interesting place name: Zzyzx. The Mojave desert is something to see. You definitely don't want to break down out there. Once I reached the pass through the San Bernardino mountains, I slipped into the valley that opens up into the greater LA area. The traffic and construction around Riverside was unnerving, but once you get from the 215 back onto the I-15 around Temecula, it's clear sailing all the way to San Diego. This leg is at most 5 hours. I got to San Diego much earlier than I expected, so before picking Darlene up at the airport, I hung out at Spanish Landing Park and took in the ocean breezes.

I had in my mind that the drive back was going to be brutal, having to pull it off in two days. But it wasn't that bad. 12 hours got me to Layton UT, just north of Salt Lake City. The second 12 hours got me home. It would have been much better if not for the almost one hour delay of road construction between Mesquite NV and St George UT. 13 miles at around 15 mph. Brutal.

Would I do it again? Right now, my brain says no way. But ask me again in 9 months and I'm not so sure. The view throughout I-15 is breathtaking, and ever changing.

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