It's... that time of the week for an escape to..... New Mexico! In just one day we had left Vancouver and arrived in Oregon, where we stayed the night at Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area. Situated next to the freeway it was not the best of location, but despite the noise of traffic we managed to get some sleep. Morning came with the smell of bacon and coffee from neighboring campsites, our start of the day was hot chocolate, instant noodles, chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, peanuts and dried apricots. It was not the typical camping breakfast I normally make but with no fresh groceries at hand that would have to do. It gave us lots of carbs and energy to start the day though, after a hot shower and a quick pack up of our belongings we headed out of the campground and were on the road again.The sky was clear like the day before, the plan was to make it to Salt Lake City, it was 10:20 AM and 6 hours later than the start of the previous day, how would we do? Regardless we decided to try our hardest, it was not long before the camera began to capture items of interest along the way, a car activity we indulged in to keep us awake. Pictured below a strange looking dome caught my eye, it was part of a manufacturing plant where cement may have been produced but there was no sign to confirm this.
A train on the tracks, the name Union Pacific proudly displayed on its side, I like the choice of sharp looking font.
A few cars away, a gloriously painted American flag soaring in the breeze, this was one of the few instances where rail cars were not covered by graffiti.
The highway continued on, the barren slopes were gradually replaced by golden fields, straight horizontal lines carved into the plains indicated crops were harvested.
Further down, evidence of the yield, hay bails ready to be picked up and stored away or sold to another farm.
Some parts of the pasture, however, were still green and vibrant with growth.
A tractor parked near the edge of the road, no persons nor activity was to be seen, it was Sunday on a long weekend in September after all.
"Horses!" I exclaimed with thrill, this would be one of only 2 decent shots of the animals. The ones that followed for the rest of the trip were either blurred, blocked by passing cars or standing bushes, or the camera was tucked away in its case. I honestly did not think I had any pictures of horses to share, it was a delightful discovery, especially of them grazing in the morning light with a herd of cows.
The little car motored on, the scenery was quick to return to the blue skies and arid hills on the horizon.
I quite like how the soft morning sun lit up the ridges of the low lying mountains, I just think it brought the hills to life.
Some circular shaped sheds along the route, their function remained unknown though its rusty and rugged appearance reminded me of African or Tibetan huts. If I saw this picture I would say it was from another part of the world, and not have the faintest clue it was American.
One of the things we were on the constant lookout for were road signs, this helped gauge the fuel requirement and washroom stops needed on the way. Ogden, Utah was where we planned to stop to ask about campgrounds near Salt Lake City, the map indicated there was a visitor centre there. It seemed to be a big enough city we figured our chances looked good, the sign said 67 miles to go, Ogden here we come!
The time was about 5 PM, the afternoon sun began its declining set to the West, the blonde fields shone in its golden rays. I was impressed by the colors on this journey so far, I had no idea it would be so different than what we were accustomed to at home and surprised the views would be this grand.
To the right, the odd building could be seen, there would be many more miles where there was nothing but open wasteland.
"No Services" as stated at the bottom of this road sign, one of many such indications were to come. We knew there would be some parts of the map, in fact for long stretches of the highway, bare facilities such as gas and washrooms were non-existent. Thank goodness the car filled up in Ontario, Idaho, good for the day and hopefully enough to get us to Salt Lake City.
Thoughts of where we would spend the night circled our minds when we saw this abandoned home by the side of the road.
The interstate led us on, we decided to keep our options open and figured camping on an RV site or a farm would not be so bad.
It felt silly to worry, we were on vacation! Our attention returned to the landscape before us, corn fields against the backdrop of mountains, could you imagine working on a farm with a view like this every day?
A truck parked on the edge of the ranch, in the distance a car was zooming down the street creating a line of dust cloud.
Carefully cultivated plots, from afar everything looked so neat and tidy, how would one know which area was best suited for what purpose?
Lots of farm houses here, some grown trees were seen scattered across the pastureland, we were nearing Ogden visitor centre and was looking forward to some good local recommendations.
One last shot before setting the camera aside, a graffiti covered building on the outskirts of town, an unexpected but colorful Ogden welcome, a far cry from the earth tone palette we had seen.
It was 6:50 PM when we arrived at the visitor centre, only to find their hours were from 9 AM to 5:50 PM. We left the campsite too late in the day and lost an hour due to the change in time zones, apparently Utah operates in mountain time which meant an hour ahead. There were some brochures left outside the centre, but browsing through them found no tips on budget accommodations so we headed for Salt Lake City.
Entering the city, the car's navigation system guided us to Camp VIP, which turned out to be a KOA Campground on North Temple Road. What a relief to find a new home on our second night on the road! The tent was set up with a torchlight to the sound of clapping insects, I still have no idea what they were but it was soothing. The next task at hand was fresh groceries so we set out to find the Supersavers as suggested by campground staff. We couldn't find our way in the dark and with ongoing construction we settled for the nearby !Viva! Supermercado, as the name implied it catered to the Latino community. Greeted by mariachi tunes from the doorway speakers, we were instantly transported into a brightly decorated store. Sorry there was no pictures but envision pinatas hanging from the ceiling and bin after bin of so many kinds of fresh and dried peppers I lost count! I must have had a ridiculous look of glee on my face because one of the workers came and said hello with a big smile.
Dinner was barbecued pollo asado, Mexican buns and hot tomato stew with peppers and onions. Dishes were done with hot water in an outdoor sink and by 10 PM we were in bed. Sleep was better than the first night resting to the sounds of crickets, we were very much looking forward to a new day for more adventure on the road. The New Mexico journey will continue next week!