So the road trip is complete. Left our beautiful home in Calgary at just after 5PM on Friday, and returned home from Salt Lake City, Utah at 8:30PM Monday. Of course not without story and of course a list of my top cities on this road trip.
First of for the trip home. We set an alarm for 5am. Tiana had a bit of work to do when we got home, so we wanted to get an early start on the road. At 442AM Bella was growling about some noise in the hotel hall. I pulled her over for a cuddle for the last 15 minutes of sleep. She then was quiet. At some point thereafter my alarm would go off and wake me up. Funny thing the alarm I remember was a growling dog in my ear and the clock said 5:52AM. Apparently I chose to silence my alarm. Woke up the wife and got ready to hit the road. We were exiting the parking lot by 6:14AM. Not bad turnaround. Dogs tucked in the back for the trip and off.
We planned our driving for our regular refuelling along the way. First stop would be Idaho Falls, well with in our fuel window. So off we went, it is a pretty easy trip. From our hotel onto the I80 for a short trip to the I15 headed north. From there it was all about holding onto the I15 all the way to the border. Put on some music and started some nice chat. The highway was surprisingly busy since I thought it was Presidents day. So what I gather is that everyone in Utah stops everything every Sunday for imaginary sky friend day but they don’t care about Obama and his predecessors. Tons of large truck traffic on the highway and they all were driving like no one else was on the road. Few used signal lights and they switched lanes whenever they wanted, constantly slowing traffic. Especially once we were out of the metro area and the Highway was only two lanes of northbound traffic. However not to be outdone this one dude in a silver Toyota SUV was a bigger ass. This guy was running right up behind people and swerving through traffic. Twice he tried to pass trucks on the right when they were completing a pass. Twice he narrowly escaped death as the trucker was returning to the right lane. A short time after Brigham City the SUV ripped off on an exit and I was happy to know I wouldn’t be the one watching him get squished.
We had been carrying on our merry way for a while and finally Tiana drifted off to sleep. I carried on the drive. But something didn’t feel right. We had been driving for a while and I knew a couple of cities I should be seeing on the signs. Pocatello was the first city I could remember we would pass in Idaho. The problem was Pocatello was at the top of the sign and Idaho Falls was not on the sign. Then I realized I hadn’t noticed anything familiar. I have a pretty good memory and should have noticed something. Suddenly anxiety hit and I woke Tiana. Had her bring up the map on her phone and tell me where I needed to go because I didn’t think this was the right highway. As I said that we passed an interstate sign. It didn’t say 15, but rather 84. As Tiana brought up the map and got our bearings, we realized we had only a minute to ID the upcoming junction and reroute back to I15. I had taken us a solid hour out of the way. Had we not realized it then we may have ended up 16 hours from home in Boise. Oops.
This lead to the need to find a new gas stop. We found a station on the phone in American Falls. Come on it has America in the title of course it would be a big city. Turns out it was not living up to its name sake and we pulled into a small hick town with one dumpy shell station. After leaving American Falls we headed back to I15 and up through Idaho Falls. We changed our fuel stop intervals around new stops. From American Falls we would next stop in Dillon Montana, another small town and fuel up there. From Dillon to Great Falls and from Great Falls probably a top up in Shelby to get us all the way home. Seeing as gas is about half price in the States we weren’t going to pass up that deal.
Again our best laid plans were thwarted. A very strong head wind really ate into our fuel. It became clear filling in Dillon would only happen in one of two ways. 1) We had it towed 2) we pushed it in. And by that I mean Tiana pushed and I would steer. We considered having Kaia sled dog that bad boy in but were quickly reminded we had a husky who was lazy and hated cold weather and it was getting cold in the mountains. So we again adjusted to hit Lima.
In Lima we got some gas and snacks. The redneck at the counter was friendly and offered Tiana a “sack” for her goodies. From there we readjusted for a stop in Helena for gas, simple enough we knew where there was one by the Wal-Mart we had stopped at on the way out to Salt Lake. From there it was off to Great Falls for the Sonic Drive-In, my craving, for a late lunch. Sonic was pretty disappointing, not as good as my memories. The foot long coney dog is cool but was average at best. My tater tots were just that. Tiana had the pretzel bacon cheese dog, she really likes this pretzel bun craze. Her onion rings were awful, I rarely turn down onion rings but I couldn’t eat them. Milk shakes were awesome. I missed Famous Dave’s lunch for sure.
The rest of the trip flew by, a stop in Shelby for gas and a quickly through the border with a very nice CBSA guard and home. A quick driver change back to me in Claresholm, mainly because we both had sore asses and needed the quick break. Now we are home, happy to see our beds, Tiana finishing her work and me entertaining my awesome and loyal readers. I am gassed.
TOP CITY LIST FROM CALGARY TO SALT LAKE
1. Calgary – What can I say this is home. It is a pretty nice city and Tiana and I like being here. There is nowhere in Canada we would rather live. Plus our puppies love it here.
2. Salt Lake City (Metro Area) – What a beautiful city. Very clean and the freeway system is awesome. The whole LDS mania thing isn’t for me and its weird that almost 50% of the city is a member of that church. Outside of that the city is awesome. The core is clean and there are many very nice communities and suburbs. There is a ton of new development suggesting an ok economy and a lot of very nice shopping areas. The people were very friendly. My biggest beef is not any real sports are being played there. I guess there is NCAA football which would be good. No hockey team of any stature and the best baseball is the PCL, which is great but I want an MLB team in a city I would end up in. And lets face it, basketball is the worlds most boring sport to watch live. Plus the Jazz suck and the building looks like an office building, boring. I like that Salt Lake is a very safe feeling city, I saw little homelessness and zero crime. We didn’t drive through communities that made us feel poverty was a huge issue that may lead to crime. In fact most people had a nice smile for us and a kind hello. The dirtiest look I got was on the BYU campus, wearing a ball cap and beard I think are off-limits on Sunday.
Aside from that there was nowhere that really made me feel like I would want to spend a ton of time. Most of the cities are small and boring. Provo was dumpy just south of Salt Lake, Brigham city wasn’t a stop and I think there are obvious reasons that wouldn’t work for me. Great Falls is industrial and not that nice, Helena looked pretty boring and nothing else of any size was on the trip.
We will definitely make a return visit to Salt Lake for another long weekend. The La Quinta by the airport was beautiful.