Saturday, September 15, 2007
Road trip - Day 5
Right now we're in a motel in Elko, Nevada. When I look out the window I see nothing but rocks, dust and mountains rising in the distance. The motel is located on a small cliff on the edge of town. It gives the illusion of being in the desert in the middle of nowhere.

This is the final stretch on our road trip to San Francisco

We were supposed to be in Reno by now, but we're running behind schedule. We encountered some car troubles yesterday. (big surprise?)

But let me back track and recap our last 24 hours on the road, picking up where I left off in my previous journal entry

Yesterday We haphazardly threw our luggage back into the car at 10:45 A.M. and checked out of the Prairie Inn in Evanston, Wyoming. The view around the motel is beautiful. I didn't want to leave.

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We ate at breakfast/lunch at a chinese buffet in town. I was just thrilled to discover a chinese restaurant at all in Wyoming. I anticipated Shrimp, crab legs, Sushi, stuffed mushrooms... But all we got was a little set up with a couple of pathetic looking piles of chinese looking rice dishes to choose from. There wasn't even a salad. Desert consisted of slippery and cloudy yellow jellow cubes.

Yuck. But it was cheap and filled us up so I can't complain.

Then we checked out downtown Evanston. It was charming and beautiful. Older buildings lined the mainstreet and mountains surrounded us on all sides.

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We looked at the watch and realized we had to hit the road in order to make it to Reno by 9 P.M.

Unfortunately, it was that moment where "Marty" our little corolla started acting up. He began grumbling and bucking back and forth. At every stop light he started bumping up and down.


So we pulled into a car supply shop and asked for advice. The guy said it was probably dirty spark plugs and the car might be in need of a new oil filter... or something a long those lines. I can't say I understand much about cars, but luckily Eric DOES. He nodded in agreement. So we purchased new spark plugs and a new oil filter.

Eric stuck his head under the engine and started puttering around. I stood there in the hot sun pacing back and forth.

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One hour later (after some internal wire tore apart and needed to be replaced - a very expensive wire apparently.. and then some tool fell into the car and we needed to buy some magnetic stick to pull it out of the engine area again...) the spark plugs were replaced but not the oil filter and the car was still stop and go..bumpy and choking.

We drove around and eventually found a Jiffy lube. We showed him the new oil filter we had just purchased (expensive) and asked him if he could replace the old one with this new one that's made for our car.

"Sorry, We can't use the one you purchased. You have to buy one of OUR oil filters and we'll install it", the Jiffy lube guy explained

"Okay, fine whatever... just do it"

He typed some stuff in the computer and shook his head "Sorry we don't have that part for your car at this time in our storage room"

Eric held up the oil filter "We have it here. Can you put it in? This is the part you need, right?"
"Yep that's the part", The Jiffy lube guy said "But...No. Sorry"

"How about I SELL this oil filter TO YOU and we will BUY IT BACK from you?", Eric suggested

"No. Not possible"

"What if I place this oil filter in your storage room and you pretend to find it, you install it and we'll pay for it again?"



So we had no choice but to hit the road with our car and prayed that it would make it to the next rest stop.

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The View was breathtakingly beautiful during this drive. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the passing scenery or stop taking pictures. I'd never seen anything like this before. It felt like a dream!

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We reached Utah and the view became more amazing and stunning. This was the best part of our drive so far... It made this whole road trip worth it. Just to see what we saw.. The mountains, the rivers, the cliffs, the rocks...

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We stopped in Salt lake City, Utah and began searching for a mechanic. We found one and he was willing to put in the part we had bought.

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"It's gonna take an hour or two though..", he informed us rubbing the grease off his hand with a dirty rag.

So we wandered around Salt Lake City aimlessly while Marty was being fixed. We ended up in an Arby's. (Believe it or not, my first time in an Arby's EVER)

The lady behind the counter was sweet. "You're a photographer", she said pointing to my camera "That's how you say it right.. Photo-gra-pher?"

I smiled "Yes, but It's just a hobby. we're traveling cross country to San francisco and I'm taking pictures"

We got in a long conversation with her and before we knew it, everyone in Arby's was asking us about our trip and involved in the discussion. It helped pass the time and everyone was so nice!

We returned after an hour and Marty was still being fixed. We sat in front of the mechanics shop on a bench feeling like potential parents in a hospital waiting room. the heat beat down on us and we wiped the sweat off our brows. This wait seemed to stretch on for eternity.

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An hour later, Marty was back on the road. We paid the bill... (so far, all the car repair costs equaled about 250 dollars... a minor unexpected financial setback, still a little discouraging)
But the view more than made up for the wait. The rest of the stretch was gorgeous.

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We stopped to take pictures in different rest areas...

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Marty is driving great again, but we took it slow just in case. It's more important that we arrive there ALIVE then fast...

As we were driving through the final stretch of Utah, we hit the Salt desert. Endless stretches of Salty white desert for as far as the eyes could see.

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We stopped and walked through it. Our feet sunk into the ground, the salt was damp... hard and clumpy in some parts.

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It was gorgeous and surreal. I've never seen anything like this.

we held hands and took it all in. This is a once and a lifetime experience... this entire road trip. It all feels like a dream. Sometimes I truly can't believe this is all happening and I don't want it to end. I could live like this forever...

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when we drove in Nevada, the landscape became more sandy and arid.

We stepped into our first casino, right at the border.

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We put a dollar in the slot machine and lost it.

Maybe we'll have better luck in Reno?

Another long stretch of endless road until we reached Elko.

We were relieved when we pulled into the motel parking lot. The only room available had two beds and filled with mirrors...

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Not the prettiest place.

But no complaints. It's cheap! We stopped at a bar and grill that had some of the most amazing food. The best food of the entire trip...

Now we have to pack up the car and start our drive towards RENO. There will be a lot of mountains and desert a long the way. I'm a little nervous about driving through BATTLE MOUNTAIN. But I'm sure we'll be fine. As long as we take it easy and keep the gas tank filled.
I'll update again once we reach Reno and find some lodgings for the night. (Fingers crossed)

Until then....
posted by Clarity25 at 1:35 PM |


At September 15, 2007, Blogger Stacia 

I'm so jealous. I lived in Las Vegas as a child and I miss the desert and the moutains (although I love Virginia too). I'm glad the trip is going well and that people are being so nice. I can't wait to hear about your new adventures in San Fransisco.

At September 16, 2007, Anonymous awittykitty 

I think you'll like the last leg of your trip. We used to have a cabin at Lake Tahoe and lived just north of San Francisco and made that drive all the time. The mountains outside of Reno are gorgeous. Here's to no more car troubles for Marty. :-)

At September 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous 

this is great!! I'm so happy to be able to follow your journeys across the U.S.! Good luck!

At September 18, 2007, Blogger western dave 

ahhhh... you should have called ;-) i know a few good mechanics in slc. glad you made to sf safetly! congrats. peace.