I flew to Napa at the end of June (on my birthday, actually), and Alastair and I drove his car to Chicago a few days later for his big move across the country. He was working for the same company he worked for in Australia in Napa (remember how we lived separately for a long time?), and he moved to Chicago for good in July to live with me.
The road trip took about 4 days, and it was one of the coolest things we've ever done. We made sure to take our time and see the country. Instead of just trekking east on I-80, we wove north after we reached Salt Lake City and then went east again. It was seriously an amazing trip, and I'm so glad that I took A MILLION photos from the car. Here's a state-by-state recap.
We spent a few days wining and dining in Napa before packing up the car and leaving. It was great to relax and take the time to explore the town while Al was at work, and I got to meet some of his work friends before he said goodbye to them.
We left Napa on the first day of our road trip and headed east to Lake Tahoe.
Soon after we crossed the border in Lake Tahoe, we witnessed a drastic change in vegetation. The world around us changed from pine trees and mountains, that are undoubtedly snow-peaked in the winter, to the desert. Trees became more scarce, and the lands of green grass and lakes turned into parched redness.
We immediately went through Carson City, and then we drove straight across the state in a day. There wasn't much to see, but we were amused by the abundance of casinos and lack of sales tax.
We crossed over the border at dusk and drove through the Great Salt Lake Desert. It was another vegetation change. We were surrounded by nothing but salt flats, which looked like snow. It was hauntingly beautiful and quiet. We were able to get a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake just before the sun set. We spent the night in the outskirts of Salt Lake City. The next day, we drove straight north into Idaho.
On Day 2, we made our way north from Salt Lake City to the Idaho border. We could have stayed on I-80 and taken that all the way to Chicago, but we also wanted to see Yellowstone National Park and thought that we might as well visit Mt. Rushmore. We weren't sure what would ever bring us to South Dakota again. Plus, I had never been to Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, or Minnesota (or Utah) before. Al was more than happy to tick those states off with me. I've already driven through Nebraska and Iowa before on the way back from Colorado, so it was wonderful to tread on new territory.
Unlike Nevada, the land going north was green. The highway passed through some suburbs as we left Salt Lake City, and then we were in Farm Country. Much of our drive was like that through northern Utah and Idaho. We turned east at Idaho Falls and snaked our way towards the Rocky Mountains. We went through tiny towns in the foothills, and although we were delayed by construction on the country roads (the workers stopped us for up to 20 minutes to let oncoming traffic pass through since the roads were single lanes in some places) and there was a complete lack of cell service, it was well worth it to see these places. We could tell that some of these teeny towns were dirt poor, but we could not believe the natural beauty that we saw around us. Soon, we found the Snake River. Wide-eyed and ears popping, we drove along it into the steadily increasing elevation until we reached Wyoming.