The drive that day started out pretty ugly scenery-wise, a featureless landscape broken only by wind turbines and power lines and it was getting hot.
So I got off the interstate at a place called Gooding, ID and followed the Snake River where numerous waterfalls gushed into the river from the cliffs. This is big time dairy farm country as the pungent odours indicated. Entering Nevada it began to cool down as the elevation rose. Just inside the border at Wells, Nevada, I stopped for gas and looked for coffee. There was a place among the truck stops with a kind of faux Italian motif that prominently advertised espresso. I needed to stretch my legs and decided to give it a shot (pun intended) I ordered my usual double short americano which flummoxed the server, "we only have 12oz cups". "So don't fill it full", I replied. When she announced a price of $4.25 I did a double take. She said it was the owner's special custom blend. This better be good. And it was. Very good. In Wells, Nv. Who'd a thunk. The drive from there through the Great Basin to my nephew's place in Ely, Nv. was gorgeous, through a broad valley bookended by high mountains. I've done this drive before but have never seen it so green due to a comparatively wet spring.
My nephew and his wife have a beautiful, new home surrounded by his hay fields and horse paddocks and I passed a nice evening there.
Next morning off early continuing through the Great Basin, down the length of Nevada, up and over another couple of mountain ranges and winding up in St. George, Utah. Despite my fears, the temperature remained comfortable until then with even a few drops of rain. But it was stinking hot there. The highway drops down a long way to St. George and approaching town I crested a hill and before me was the first of those outrageous red rock formations, quintessential Southwest. I just about drove off the road! This is the beginning of that amazing red rock topography, Zion on one side followed by the Vermillion Cliffs, rugged, wildly coloured cliffs stretching for many miles.
I was hoping to camp that night but v arrived at Lee's Ferry too early to stop. Lee's Ferry is the favoured launch spot for Grand Canyon raft trips and I'd camped there before.
Someone there told me there was camping on my intended route through the Hopi reservation so I continued on. And on, and no camping in sight. By then I'd been driving for about 10hrs and not eaten much and was starting to flag. In desperation, I made a couple of cheddar cheese tacos (not recommended) and revived a little. Still no campsites. A sign for a motel but way overpriced it turned out. By then I was close enough to Albuquerque to just keep on going. So, after 15hrs, I arrived, dead tired, in Albuquerque where my cousin, Lance and his wife live and where the reunion was to be held.