Checking out from the hotel, we left downtown Green River behind.
This formation north of Green River is apparently known as the "Book Hills."
Green River primarily serves as a junction point for multiple roads and as a service center on the way. I'm not terribly impressed by it, and the next time our travels take us this way, I do not expect to plan an overnight stay here.
On the other hand, sometimes you don't get much choice. This sign warns of what is reported to be the longest stretch on the entire Interstate Highway System without services.
Devoid of services west of Green River I-70 may be, but not devoid of scenery, especially if you like impressive mesas.
This is the area that I described as Mordor-like yesterday. Try to erase the freeway and consider how you would get through this land. It's daunting. The next exit was signed for "Goblin Valley," completing the Lord of the Rings parallels.
We stopped at most of the view areas that dot I-70 on this stretch of highway.
Everywhere we turned, there were more and more fantastic rock formations.
This is the Ghost Rock View Area, with Ghost Rock Canyon beyond the rocks on which Lisa is standing. Not pictured because I couldn't snap the photo quickly enough was the chipmunk that was running around in the bushes just below the rocks here.
Eagle Canyon got its name, according to one placard, because it was said to be so deep than an eagle couldn't fly out of it.
Trying to get Flickr to geotag locations, I found this location labeled "The Middle of Nowhere."
You couldn't look away for a moment before another amazing rock formation appeared.
The Salt Wash View Area was another impressive collection of views.
Given the geography, it's not hard to understand why the Old Spanish Trail looped around the San Rafael Swell rather than trying to go through it. Building this stretch of freeway was a significant engineering challenge.
It was a little less forbidding-looking once we crossed the summit and began the descent into Salina.
I took a whole lot of photos of the passage through the Swell, which I have posted to their own album on Flickr.
At Salina, we left I-70, which runs a few miles farther to the southwest where it terminates at I-15 near Richfield.
After the trip through the Swell, US-50 from Salina to Scipio is pretty tame-looking by comparison.
At Scipio, US-50 joins I-15, which runs roughly parallel to the mountains ahead. We left US-50 for the last time on this trip, after driving over many pieces of it since we departed Kansas City.
We shot up I-15 at full freeway speed, then turned into Provo in search of a late lunch/early dinner.
...and found ourselves at the Black Bear Diner in Orem. This is #22 in our passport. When the manager heard me mention that it was my birthday while she was marking my passport book, she gave me my dinner for free, and offered us a piece of pie, which I declined (and given what my blood sugar was an hour later, it's just as well).
Leaving Orem, we saw Utah Lake in the distance and turned back onto I-15. Fortunately, it was a Saturday, so we were not stuck in rush-hour traffic as we swung through central Salt Lake City and onto I-80 west.
Standlee Forage has a facility east of Salt Lake City near the airport. As far as I know, they are no relation; however, the company is headquartered in Idaho, where my father was born, so it's possible (especially given the odd spelling) that I'm related to the founder and CEO of this company.
I'm pretty sure that those are the Promontory Mountains across the Great Salt Lake.
Stopping at the rest area on the east end of the long straight stretch across the Bonneville Salt Flats, Nevada beckons to us in the glow of the setting sun.
Around 9 PM, we pulled in to the parking lot at the Red Garter Casino-Hotel in West Wendover, Nevada. We would have just as soon booked in to the Rainbow where we stayed on the outbound trip, but it (and its sister hotels, the Peppermill and Montego Bay) were both sold out.
The Red Garter is a bit of a disappointment after all of the Holiday Inn Express properties, even somewhat lackluster ones like the one in Green River UT. There is no fridge, the rooms are small, and there is no elevator, so we had to lump our bags up to the second floor. But there is a bed and a bathroom, and we don't need a whole lot more tonight.
Tomorrow, we go home. I think it's about time, too.