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Doing the interstate game again. Rolling into a motel at eleven o'clock at night reminds me of the way traveling parties tend to find an inn in fantasy stories (Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, etc.), except that in my case, the adventure aspect is much more mundane, and the whole common room thing - with a raging fireplace and some entertainment - song or dance or stories or just general merriment - is pretty much non-existant. Still, the parallel is neat.
We had a long day of driving today (surprise), though I think I was more rested today than I have been all trip, having got to bed around 10pm last night. We watched part of Fire in the Sky while getting ready to ship out this morning. Watching the alien scene again, it's obviously not as terrifying as when I watched it as a kid, but I do still think it's intense - it's practically torture porn in that one scene - yes, I'd call it "alien torture porn". It is a great movie, in any case. Felt great to finally get a shower, and my hair has improved vastly, though I think it'll take another 2 or 3 washes to get back to normal...
Heading out on the remaining stretch of the Extraterrestrial Highway (NV-375), we finally, after over a week in the desert lands, saw some cacti! We also passed what must have been the road that leads to Area 51, but there was a car ominously parked there, so we didn't dare approach... There were also some cows actually on the shoulders of the highway, which despite hundreds of miles of open range, is the first we've seen of them that close to the road. And, there was one particular roadkill carcass being swarmed by creepy black birds. All really good mood setters for desert driving!
The detour back up through Nevada to join with I-80 at the eastern border involved some scenic stretches - lots of pretty mountains. Driving those two-lane, two-way roads that are so empty you spend long stretches without seeing a car is a nice getaway from the interstate game. Although, it can be annoying having to slow down every time you go through a town, but then again, it gives you a chance to actually see the town, even if you don't stop there.
Just before meeting back up with I-80, and entering Utah, we got a nice overview of the Great Salt Lake Desert, which we then crossed, on the interstate. Really cool landscape there. Back through Salt Lake City, over some more mountains, into Wyoming after dark, and finally into Rock Springs. This is kind of unconnected, but boy was it tranquil in Rachel. Population under 100 (not including aliens). At the ET-Hwy sign (in other words, away from the generator of the Little A'Le'Inn), it was silent. Aside from the infrequent passing car, there was no sound, and aside from the highway and the trailers in Rachel, no sign of civilization in any direction out to the mountains on the horizon. Living in a remote place like that obviously has its challenges, but my god, just being there, just standing there and sensing the environment, is so much more spiritually fulfilling than doing so in a big city/suburb poisoned by the inescapable reminder of the existence of people. It makes me wonder about things...
Yet another long day of driving tomorrow, and it's already late, so I better get to sleep. It'd be nice to spend more time visiting the places we breeze through, or at least take more time sight-seeing, but that's not what this trip is about. Maybe another day...