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Questions We Had

The days when Ruth & I were driving together, we realized that we had a lot of questions about the land we were passing through, but limited access to any online resources.

Here are the questions we had. And being the good librarian that I am, I have looked up some answers, too.

What do you do with your land in Wyoming? All this empty land with nothing on it. Why buy land in Wyoming?

You grow hay on it. We just drove through at the wrong time of year.

Why does I-80 close often enough in Wyoming to require signs and flashing lights?

It's not the cattle drives, as we guessed! It actually is due to the weather. Since the jet stream can sit right on the top of this part of Wyoming, the wind can get nasty during the winter storm season, to the point where travel on the roads can get really dangerous.


Why is the Great Salt Lake salty? Did the Great Salt Lake Desert used to be underwater?

It was a prehistoric mostly-freshwater lake called Lake Bonneville, which used to be the size of Lake Michigan and house a huge fish population. This lake is endorheic (it has no outlets besides evaporation -- I just learned that word today by the way), so this caused years and years of concentration of the minerals found in the freshwater lake. It eventually turned salty because of all the buildup of minerals and all the fish died. The large-scale evaporation of this lake is why the desert is there.

(Sources: [1] [2])

What was that thing at mm26 on I-80 going through the Great Salt Lake Desert?

It's called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah.

(another picture)

Update 7-15-2010: And on Google Maps street view now!

Do cats' ears pop?

My Googling points to "yes, possibly", but the link I'd use to source it is only in Google's cache. So I'll defer to the animal scientist here -- Ruthie, you probably have more reliable sources than I do?

Why is the road going to be icy if the pavement is dry?

Cold air circulating under the bridge plus high humidity conditions cause condensation to form on the bridge and then freeze. (I totally remember Dad telling me this once, but I forgot.)

Is that mini-tornado thing called a dust devil?

Yep. Go Ruthie!

Mar. 25th, 2007

We have internet now, so I can post and say that everything is working out great! The apartment is looking good, the cats have settled, and the humans have gotten a lot of sleep. The past several nights I have slept 10+ hours at a time.

I dont know the area yet, but we're a five minute walk from a park - complete with old fashioned carousel and train rides around the lake. Seems like a really cute town.

partial camera dump

I have to put up my pictures from the trip, but for now, have a short video that I took at the Salt Lake Desert:


You can't see the salt deposits I was talking about, but you can see their dark shadows on the bottom of the pond.

Update 7-15-2010: Google Maps view of the rest stop, including the beautiful tree that I adored.
Four and a half days to get there. Four hours to fly home. amazing. It's time to get my luggage and see Jason and Amie again!
The Great Move is nearly over. The road-weary Ruth and James are on their way to sign the lease and take the road-weary cats home, finally! Movers have been hired to help them unpack the truck. Meanwhile, I am at the San Jose airport waiting for my flight at 1320, arriving in Chicago...I don't remember. Sometime around 1930 local. And my lunch is patronizing me.
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Yay, my phone has power again. Jealous of their apartment - it is quite lush outside. Can't move in till tomorrow, so off to a ho

California at last

Holy cow, we did it. We made it to Sacramento. It's 1:21 am Central time? Crazy.

We stopped in Sparks, NV (neighboring to Reno) for dinner. Ruth had more mashed potatoes at Applebee's. At this point, I was in a good mood and ready to push on to the Bay Area if James could hack it in the truck.

And then we hit the border.

And realized we forgot about a little thing called the Sierra Nevada. After banking downhill in the dark in narrow lanes for about 20-30 minutes, I realized I was going to have a panic attack. We pulled over in Truckee, which is just north of Lake Tahoe. The one hotel there had a big sign saying NO PETS ALLOWED. We reviewed the magic Road Trip Guide and found nothing between there and Sacramento. So I took an anti-anxiety pill, passed Ruth the keys, and passed out in the passenger's seat while she drove us the rest of the way here.

Oh yes, and Jack was howling the whole time. Two hours of cat yowling while banking 5-6% downgrades on a dark road -- Ruth was quite stressed at this.

But we made it! We're all lying on our beds watching TV. I have coffee. The cats are free to sniff and explore. We'll probably sleep in tomorrow. And then...they go apartment hunting, and I find a nice place with free wireless to get some work done. (I am extremely tempted to find some long-range public transportation and show up at the 6a office!)

But for now...the sleep. It's good to be back in California. I ran my fingers through the tall thick grass outside to make sure it was real. It was.
Not car sick anymore-still scared tho.

Jack is a little lonely. He's not sedated today - for better temp regulation in the desert - so he's been crying for love all day...
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