Utah is stunning.
It’s the color and the shapes of the “mountains” that makes it standout.
View Utah – Best Interstate Drive in a larger map
Friday morning I was thrilled to discover that I would arrive at Green River just before sunrise for my favorite portion of the ride to California. Green River-to-Richfield. A trip we’ve done many times and one that, unfortunately, my night driver has seen only twice.
Green River is a way-stop along I-70 at exit 164. It has two truck stops, a post office, some fast food and a couple of locally run establishments including a cool coffee place, which I did not see this trip. We stopped here last year for a few hours on a Schneider load to Texas so we could sleep and both be awake for the drive through Moab. It’s a must-do by flying to Salt Lake City and renting a car for a circle tour.
With the sun rising behind me, I departed Green River and returned to the Interstate. Utah has done this road well, there are several view areas with restroom facilities. I’d love to wake up to this view one morning.
Driving along the Interstate, we are at the very top end of the amazing rock and canyon formations including the Arches, Canyonlands, the Glen Canyon Natural Bridges and Bryce Canyon. The I-70 corridor is through the San Rafael Swell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_70
In the minutes before sunrise, the canyon cliffs rising from the Interstate are a muted pink, the clouds, grey, driving along I-70 through Spotted Wolfe Canyon at mile marker 147, the four-lane road winds through the canyons, taking the driving up close to the rock formations, revealing the rocks that have smashed together changing from subtle pink to deep red and others that are slices of rock on top of each other reminding me of a Red Velvet Cake. I can see the texture in the rocks some similar to the look left by the master mason slabbing cement on a rock fence.
It’s a climb here, so I can enjoy my 40 mph, inspecting each side of the canyon and I drive through. At the top of this climb, the view opens wide, I can see
hundreds of miles in each directions.
The last time we were through in May, also at sunrise. we decided schedule be damned and stopped at a View Area to peer down thousands of feet into the Canyon, the rising sun lighting up the depths.
The drive is uplifting delivering two vantage points, one, very close and personal, the other high up and god-like looking down on creation.
As the sun climbs higher in the sky, the pinks change to vibrant reds, a vibrant red the naked eye sees, not the one created by sunglasses that brighten everything in view.
The first stop after Green River is Salina with its small truck stop, a hotel and a Denny’s. Continue down the highway to Richfield, the only real community along this barren and beautiful stretch of Interstate.
Take the circle tour:
Out of Salt Lake City, south to Provo, take US 89 East to US 6 South to Price, Utah, continue on US 6/191 South at I-70, head east six miles to Green River where there are overnight accommodations.
Depart Green River when there is light in the sky, but the sun has not popped over the horizon, drive slowly through Spotted Wolfe Canyon and up into the hills, continue to I-15 at the junction head north to Salt Lake City.
If you have more time, go to Moab first, from Green River, continue east on I-70 for about 20 miles and turn south of US 6/191, return on the same route to I-70 then head west.
We have driven the route south of Moab on US-191 to meet I-40 in New Mexico, by Four Corners and Shiprock ending at Gallup, New Mexico. Another great drive.
We haven’t “done” Salt Lake City, yet. We hope to deliver a load in early fall that will allow us to stop. When we do we’ll check the New York Times 36 hours in Salt Lake City for must-see ideas.
Now we need more time to stop!