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Driving from Sacramento to Knoxville - Day 2

Posted 05-03-2021 at 07:51 AM by Igor Blevin


Day 2, Sunday –

Battle Mountain Nevada to Laramie Wyoming



The Super 8 in Battle Mountain is very basic but works, and serves breakfast. $80.

I am surprised the hotel was full up last night. I don’t know what to expect during Covid restrictions. I thought there wouldn’t be many travelers in nowhere, Nevada and hotels would be empty. It turns out the local gold mines are going gangbusters and the hotels are filled with mine workers. It is 8 am and I am eating breakfast alone while the miners are already hard at it.

It is still the same old empty, ugly Nevada. Cruising at 80 mph takes the sting out of it. Believer is eating miles like I eat Doritos.

I am ensconced in blissful comfort. The seats hold up hour after hour. I just love this car. I never want to sell it. Would a BMW 440i be a better mile eater at this speed? Probably. German cars excel at high-speed comfort and stability. Think Autobahn. They are almost wasted driving around town at low speeds. Any Honda or Toyota can do that.

But I am thrilled with Believer. If it only handled better, it would be a great GT car.

In no time at all, I am in Wendover, Nevada, a whopping 500 miles from my hotel in Laramie and the day more than half gone. Without stopping, it will be at least 8 pm before I am there. Swell. Another grueling drive. Wishing I was on a flower-sniffing, sight-seeing road trip, I remind myself this is a business trip and get down to the business of high-speed cruising, cruise control set to 84 mph. On to Laramie! Laramie or Bust. Go east, young man! LOL. I am 63. “Young” man. What a silly.

The miles drone on and I am really getting sick and tired of seeing the ugliness of the desert.

Boring.

From Death Valley to Kamloops, it is all the same desolate, brown barren emptiness. You can have it. And yet there are people living here who wouldn’t live anywhere else on earth. God love them. If you are happy, I am happy.

It is worth noting that somebody loves living everywhere in the USA, from the densest pimple of high-rise condominium towers in mid-town Manhattan, to the frozen tundra of North Dakota.

While traveling, I love to ask people how they like living where they live, and almost always get the answer they love it there. All except for the slender young ladies in Vermont and New Hampshire, who can’t leave soon enough for the sunny beaches of Los Angeles or San Diego.

There is somewhere out there for each of us. You just have to find yours. When I find my place, I will know it.

There are entirely way too many casinos in Nevada. Enough already, sheesh.

Know this. Your odds suck. Suck is the root word for “sucker”. You are guaranteed to lose. Trust me on this. Nobody builds a Casino to lose money. I don’t get the gambler’s mentality. I really don’t. Willful ignorance? Delusional optimism? Stupidity? I don’t get it.

Either way, you walk out broker than when you walked in. It is like the Lotto. Nobody wins that thing. My brother plays the Lotto. He doesn’t expect to win but he says it gives him a weekly moment of hope in a hopeless world. For him, it is willful delusion. “Sure, I won’t win, but I get to pretend I could.”

So that is what his weekly stipend at the local liquor store buys him – a brief moment of hope. Each week.

Crossing Nevada at 80 mph, it strikes me how empty Interstate 80 is. Trucks dominate, but at 80 mph you don’t pass too many too often because they are almost doing the same speed. It is such a treat just to drive on open, uncongested, free-flowing highways. It reminds me of my childhood. I am old, and I remember sitting in my parent’s car on California highways, and there was just a lot of room between cars. We were spread out. It didn’t feel like a parking lot moving at 65 mph the way everything feels today. Fast forward to 2020, and everywhere I go in Sacramento, it is congested. It is either combat driving being constantly tail-gated and cut-off, or else it is stop-and-go gridlock.

Face it. There are just too many of us. Maybe we need it to rain for 30 days and 30 nights. C’mon, 40 would wipe out ALL of us.

I have been driving across Nevada all day long, and it is the most pleasant and peaceful thing, just to share the highway with a small handful of other drivers, while at times there is nobody else for as far as the eye can see. Bliss. I am in my element. I am driven to drive.

If this white stuff is salt, this must be Utah. I wish I could stop and see the Bonneville Speedway. No time. This is not a road trip. This is a business trip, and keep moving, I must!

Cruise control is a godsend, isn’t it?

Crossing the arid wasteland of Utah at 80 mph is mind-numbingly dull. Imagine crossing Utah at 2 mph, as the Pioneers did. Just crawling across the hostile moonscape. And that assumes your wagon wheel doesn’t break, or have your horse hobbled, or you don’t sprain an ankle, have elderly afoot, or run into other obstacles like high water table.

It must have been brutal. Day after grueling day trying to survive this hellish wasteland.

College was hard for me. If I knew how hard college would be, I would never have gone.

Engineering is a great career and I would never have made the money or had the job satisfaction that I did had I not graduated from college but my point is, ignorance is a gift. Not knowing how hard college ahead of me was going to be, I just soldiered on day by day. By the time I got to upper division coursework, I was too invested to drop out. It helps that I am naturally blessed with the virtue of perseverance, but still the gift of not knowing future difficulties and hardships helped me slog through college and get my BSCE degree.

The pioneers enjoyed the same benefit of ignorance. Not knowing how brutal the trek would be crossing Utah and the West, must have been the same kind of benefit. This is not the same as “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, but more of, “if I knew it was going to be that bad, I would never have done it”.

If I am this bored and tired of looking at the bleak surrounding Utah moonscape, I can only imagine how the pioneers felt about it, crawling along at 2 mph. Months of walking through it.

How maddening. Ignorance is bliss. It truly is.

4 pm gas stop at Texaco beyond SLC. New Laramie ETA 10 pm or later. Crappola! Why does this happen every trip? I never hold to schedule. Too many breaks, errands, and long stops.

So far, the trip has been completely uneventful. Here, on the east edge of Salt Lake City, I was just about to have an event. One that would involve a little silver car, the Utah Highway Patrol, and a carefully chosen speed trap.
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  1. Old Comment
    Love your blog... Keep it coming! Can't wait for you to get to Knoxville and report on your impressions and experiences.
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    Posted 05-03-2021 at 03:39 PM by AnotherBravesFan AnotherBravesFan is offline
 

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