On (the) 9/11, I was scheduled to fly home from Denver where I was attending a business meeting. I had a presentation to give, a shuttle to catch, and a relatively quick flight home. But as those of you who were also out-of-town that fateful day may remember, renting a car (or truck, van, U-Haul), or buying a bus or train ticket, was nearly impossible. So a few days later, two other Bay Area attendees and myself were finally able to get a rental car and make the long drive home…straight through. It took us about 20 hours to cover the 1,300 miles.
We all remember the particulars surrounding our lives during that period in time; where we were, who we were with, what we did, and how we felt, were forever stamped in our memories. For me, that drive west on Hwy 80, filled with sharing stories with other disconcerted travelers, nonstop listening to news and talk shows, and speculating what happens next with my travel companions, was a big part of my indelible experience. So, having to get home quickly from Denver again, (we had scheduled a flight to Houston that coming Friday), and making our way to hwy 80 and headed west, again, I couldn’t help but do a bit of reminiscing (this is where we stopped for lunch…..this is where we got out for a walk, etc). All of which has little to do with this particular trip, other than the sharing of a memory.
Of course this trip, so many years later, was not going to happen in 20 straight hours. Our first stop was the Hampton Inn, Green River, Wyoming. Not much to say about Green River other than we had a nice view of some cool rock formations from our room, and the dog friendly hotel didn’t have any grass growing on the premises (very frustrating for those of us traveling with dogs).
We got up early the next day, took Wilma for a walk to a nearby dirt lot, and started on the long drive to Elko, NV. Getting back into the swing of things, Robin found a great sandwich place in Salt Lake City for lunch, and we stopped at the Bonneville Salt Flats for a quick walk (104 degrees) on the salt.
Arrived at the TownePlace Suites in Elko (lots of grass), found a Quiznos for dinner, and Wilma found a properly confined spot in our room in which to rest.
The next stretch of hwy 80 took us through Northern Nevada to our final stop (on this trip), the Best Western Plus in Truckee, CA. We figured the biggest challenge that day was going to be finding somewhere for lunch, as there are not a lot of good dinning options on that part of hwy 80, but Robin managed to find “the best Greek food” in the small town of Fernley. We were a little concerned when we found out that the restaurant was located in the food mart of a Union 76 gas station, but it turns out the place is pretty popular and the Mediterranean Platter was great.
Unfortunately we soon learned that hwy 80 was closed at the NV/CA border due to a brush fire, so we had to take a detour up the Sierra’s on the windy Mt. Rose highway. The delay cost us an hour or so but Wilma handled the road just fine and we enjoyed the great views of Lake Tahoe as we passed through Incline Village.
Probably the best thing about the Best Western was its close proximity to the Fiftyfifty Brewing Company. We were able to walk next door and enjoy a really good beer flight, burger, and chicken Caesar salad.
Arrived home safely on Wednesday afternoon, unpacked, did laundry, repacked, and caught a flight for the Roland Wedding in Houston (which was great fun and a wonderful event.) We even found a great Cajun restaurant for dinner Friday night. That’s fried crawfish and shrimp etouffee, and fried catfish. The oysters and gumbo were gone before I could get the camera out!
3,650 miles, 13 beds, 2 wildfires, 1 waterfall, 1 skunk, 1 dog fight, 1 spilled coffee in the Range Rover, 1 Savior (thanks again Andi).
Best hotel Stay: TownePlace Suites, Elko, NV. Great customer service, nice upgrade.
Worst Hotel: TownePlace Suites, Layton Utah. We’ve become very sensitive to smelly hotels.
Today we started planning another road trip (back to Durham for another wedding) for this fall! Shhh…..don’t tell Wilma! We’ll be back!
I’ll end by sharing a video of the ritual Wilma and I have when we first arrive in a new Hotel room….