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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 4: St. George, UT (Leg: 221.4, Trip: 1,099.7)

Well, we did the 221 miles of the last leg with no problems today. We left at 9:35 (yes, we slept in!) and made it to St George at 3:00 after filling the RV with gas. It was an easy drive because it was so short. There was no wind to speak of and while it was in the 40's in Nephi when we left, it was 84 degrees in St. George when we arrived. Thankfully, this RV has 50 amp power and plenty of air conditioning.

I didn't get a chance to see the stars much last night. I went out to look about 9pm or so, but the sky was still light in the west. Since we are just on the west side of this time zone, it means that the time is actually more advanced than the actual sun's position. If we were on the eastern edge, dawn would be sooner and so would sunset. I did see a few stars and constellations, but not the Milky Way. I would have had to wait another hour or so. Maybe in Arizona I will see it since they are now on west coast time. I won't see many here in St. George since there are many city lights and right now there is a thin alto-stratus layer of clouds.

This is the closest I've come to seeing any major wildlife so far on this trip! This was at a rest stop midway on today's drive. Utah has done something interesting with their rest stops and it shows some thinking. I'm sure they have budget problems just like all other states. But instead of closing all the rest areas, like Arizona did (How unwelcoming of them), for many of them they closed the "rest area" and joined with businesses to create "rest stops." A rest stop is at an off ramp where there are services (food, fuel, lodging, etc.). One of these services, usually a gas station like Flying J or Chevron agrees to allow travelers to use their facilities without a purchase requirement. Everybody wins....the state probably only pays a small stipend to the business to open the facilities to all travelers, much cheaper than maintaining 2 rest areas (one in each direction)...the business wins because more people are coming to their facility and I'd bet a good portion of them buy something...the traveler wins because the rest stops are available...and the citizens win because they don't have to support the old rest areas and their maintenance. Seems like intelligent thinking to me. (get a hint, Arizona).

The mountains have changed a bit. They still have some snow, as in the picture above, though less than farther north. But the shape, as you go south, is more mesa-like. The picture below is an example of the first one I saw with the different shape. It is probably older and has weathered more which explains the flat shape on top. The color of the mountain soil also has shifted to a deep red color.

As always, you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

If you like to speed, you'd love driving in Utah. The speed limit is 75mph through most of the state except in Ogden, Provo, and Salt Lake City. And in one 17 mile stretch that we drove today, the speed limit was 80mph. They say this is just a test. However, before we got to the 80mph area, we saw at least 5 state troopers with lights flashing and cars pulled over. We did not see any during the 80mph area. I figure that the cops wait to catch people who fail to drop back to 75 after the test area ends. Great way to make the budget!!!

After we got all setup here in our spot, my friend George Shelley called and confirmed tomorrow's 10am tee time. I'm really looking forward to playing golf with George again. We used to play several times per year, but not since he move to St. George.
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