It was November 2000 when we made our official move from SLC to the Lonestar State. Tim had moved down a few months earlier but he flew back to drive our Camry down with me. We hit a HUGE snowstorm as we drove through the Moab/Colorado section, adding several hours to the 24+ hour drive. We vowed then to NEVER drive it again and we kept that vow for almost 10 years – flying the friendly skies whenever we went back to visit our family & friends. But they say time heals everything - according to the Dixie Chicks anyways - and I guess its true ‘cause on October 26th Tim & I loaded up the Jetta with a couple bags, Tim’s bike, & our crazy Min Pin and hit the road to visit our families.
Normally Tim & I usually split the drive time whenever we road trip it, but he ended driving most of this trip for the following two reasons:
#1 – Because we load his bicycle in the car rather than on top, we have to lay down at least one side of the backseats and that forces the front passenger seat a bit more forward than usual - not the most comfortable position for someone who is 6’5”.
#2 – I have a thing for wide open spaces – farm land, empty fields – you name it. I seriously could (and sometimes do) spend hours and hours just walking through them & taking photos. Now it just so happens that 85-90% of this 1300+ mile trek is nothing but vast openness - Xanadu! Now I’m just speculating, but I believe Tim was afraid I would be hypnotized by all that open-space awesomeness and would pull over every few miles to photograph it. I neither confirm nor deny if that would have been the case Ü
Of course, you don’t seriously think something like a moving car would stop me and my camera do you?? Heck no! I took advantage of my “Navigator” status and, with the right settings, was able to document the lay of the land quite extensively. I promise to post only a handful of the shots here though because I’m totally aware that most people don’t get quite as excited about open spaces as I do. Poor, poor people - HA!
Most of the trip is on state roads rather than interstate. We spread the trip out over three days…
DAY ONE – AUSTIN to LUBBOCK – 394 miles
Yeah that’s right, we didn’t even make it out of Texas the first day. It’s a freaking huge state ya know. We left Austin around 11:00 a.m. and headed northwest to Lubbock. This shot is about 3 hours outside of Lubbock.
If you look at the sky section right above the trees (can click it to enlarge), you can see the faint white lines of military planes doing drills. Crazy thing is, I didn’t even notice them when I took the shot…told ya I love fields. Ü
Now Sweetwater TX claims to be the “Wind Capital of Texas” and I’m not about to argue with them! I have never seen so many wind turbines in one place - they go on for miles and miles.
She’s all the way to the back of the car, soaking up some rays.
DAY TWO - LUBBOCK to GALLUP, NM – 457 miles
When we left Austin, it was 85+ degrees. When we woke up in Lubbock the next morning, it was in the high 30s – brrrr! The cold temps didn’t stop Tim from hosing down the car –washing away the layer of Texas-sized bugs we’d collected the day before – yee-uck! Gotta love the shorts. At least he brought a long-sleeve shirt this trip…I believe this was a first. Ü
After we said bye bye to the bugs, we motored west – driving this leg of the trip on a certain famous highway. You know the one – it goes through St. Louis, Joplin Missouri, Oklahoma City (oh so pretty), you’ll see Amarillo, GALLUP NEW MEXICO, Flagstaff Arizona, don’t forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino. Yeah, that one.
DAY THREE - GALLUP to OREM, UT – 452 Miles
Picabo & I braved the early morning temps (low 30’s in Gallup) & took a brisk walk near our hotel. There were some swans that doubled as planters along the way and, unfortunately, one didn’t make it through the frigid temps - swan down! swan down! Ü
After the swan-sighting, we loaded up the car once more and headed north on Highway 491 which used to known as Highway 666, the Devil’s Highway.
Between Monticello & Moab, there were several fields full of huge, dried-out sunflowers – pretty cool!
So, after driving three days, 1300 miles, and through four states, we made it!