To Wendover

IMG_4807It’s amazing what a difference a good night’s sleep can make. I slept very soundly last night and I think the others did too, or at least better than they had been. We were much more chipper this morning.

It was an easy departure since I hadn’t bothered to unhitch. The site was very level so I just hooked up power and water and stabilized. I overheard the meanest sibling conversation ever in the campground bathroom. Two little girls were in there and one was beside herself, sobbing. Between sobs I could make out that she had probably been responsible for locking  their family’s keys in the car. Older sibling says, in an overly dramatic, shocked voice: “YOU locked the KEYS in the CAR??!!” Younger girl sobs: “NO!! You not be mad! Mommy mad! Not YOOOOUUU!” Older sibling is clearly heartless and replies, “Oh I can be mad too! YOU ruined our WHOLE ADVENTURE! It’s ALL YOUR FAULT!” Wow. That’s hard core, man.

Our first pit stop was at Little America, famous for its soft serve ice cream cones. It was a little early for ice cream for me, but Darren had one. I was happy to find an air hose to top up the tire on the driver’s side of Dory. It had been looking a little less full and read 40 psi when I checked. Should be 45. The trouble was finding a place with easy access to an air hose, but Little America is a full service joint and had two, positioned nicely for trailers.

IMG_4814We had more on and off rain during the drive. I’m trying hard to pull the clouds with us all the way to the West Coast (apparently). There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement for most of the day. We found a Whole Foods in a lovely ski resort town in the mountains just above Salt Lake City and that was kind of exciting. We had a late lunch there and stocked up on things we’re used to eating.

IMG_4818Passing through Salt Lake City, I was keeping very alert because there are lots of interchanges. I was more focused on that than gas and by the time I left all the city stuff, I was coming up fast on the salt flats. I started really paying attention to the “Range” screen, indicating how much farther I could go with the gas in the tank, at around 100 miles of distance to go. The range screen read around 120.  I’d be cutting it close, but would likely make it. I don’t like cutting it close so I started looking up nearest gas stations just after I’d entered the straight, flat, salty part. Sure enough, multiple search engines were telling me all the stations were at least 20 miles behind me. Darn it. So I had to choose whether to turn around and double back, or trust that the range would beat the miles to go.

I decided that I dislike doubling back a lot. Perhaps a personality flaw.

We rolled along for a little while and then the wind started picking up. Headwinds. Big time. I could see a storm was blowing in across the flats and I could feel the car being pushed around. Thankfully, there was really no additional effect that I could feel on Dory. Like, she wasn’t swaying, nor did it feel like the wind was catching her any more than the car. But I could for sure tell we were up against some serious resistance.

One thing I knew about headwinds: it kills your gas milage. So…. I started seeing the gap between our range and the miles we had to go getting smaller, and smaller. I saw multiple cars pulled over to the side and I’ll bet you they’d run out of gas. There are NO services along that stretch of road. I knew it was coming and still got myself into potential trouble, so if you come upon it unaware, it would be easy to get stuck.

Crunch time happened the last 50 miles. This is when I was no longer confident that we’d make it and the range indicator just kept declining faster and faster, as I kept driving slower, trying to minimize the effects. It was also too late at that point to turn around. I reminded myself that I am paying for roadside assistance and “stupidly getting into a pickle” is, I believe, one of the things I am paying them to save me from. I have only run the gas down far enough to see the light come on two times. Today made number three. At that point, it’s just drive and hope and get ready to pull over if needed. Oh yeah, it was raining during this last bit. And did I mention the crazy wind?

Finally, we saw the lights of the Blessed truck stop in the distance. 8 miles, 7 miles….. When we rolled into the station, the range indicator said I had a whole 5 miles to go! Gravy. My dad used to love that stuff. I hate it. A perfect gas fill for him is when you roll into the station on fumes. I think he believed that was “efficient” or something.

Here’s another reason I love my car: the pump said I put 17.8 gallons in and I happen to know it is a 19.5 gallon tank. I believe that is intended as a cushion for stupid drivers and I will try to erase that knowledge from my memory to prevent me from thinking I can push it farther next time.

IMG_4829Our site is a little less crowded, though I wouldn’t call it scenic. There was a nice view where I could watch the next set of storms roll in over the salt flats. I’d meant to stop and take pictures against the white landscape, but it wasn’t the most relaxed time to do that. Oh well.

Tomorrow we shoot for Reno.

Total miles: 300.7, Engine Time: 5 hours, 44 min, 15.2 mpg <— headwinds!

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