An Extreme 4x4 Mountain Ride

The plane left for Salt Lake City at 7 a.m. on Tuesday , September 15th, and returned to Minneapolis from Las Vegas at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22nd.† We were gone eight days.† It was a great trip to a part of the country we had not previously visited.

The airport is located four miles west of downtown Salt Lake City and so we drove our rented 2015 Toyota Corolla to town to see the Temple and Salt Lake.† See the mountains in the distance?

The Salt Lake Temple reminded me of the castle at Disney World.† Itís definitely vertical and ornate, with lots of spires and appears very white.† We were told this temple was the only building on the large property that we couldnít get inside, that itís for members of the Church of Latter Day Saints.† It was built by Mormon pioneers between 1853 and 1893.

I believe this is another view of The Temple.† We werenít there very long because we had to get on the road to Moab, a five hour drive to the south, where we had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast.

This attractive building is the Mormon Assembly Hall, built in 1882.

I saw that the Assembly Hall was reflected in a city building after we left the Mormon Square.

It started raining but we still drove north to see the Great Salt Lake.† The view of this vast expanse of the shallow lake was much better from the plane where we saw salt dunes all over the interior of the lake.† Itís very dry in the southwest and drought has affected the lake.†

Then we headed south where the country landscape was bordered by mountains all around.† We drove miles and miles and could see for miles and miles but never spied a cow or a cowboy.

One time we saw windmills where the blades are closer to the ground than in North Dakota.

Every now and then, not very often, a gas station was around the bend and we stopped for candy and chips, not gas.

The Toyota went 35 miles to the gallon, driving 80 mph, the speed limit, which made the ten-gallon tank last a very long time.† See the train with oil cars?† Just like in North Dakota, but we only saw one oil rig.

Although sparsely populated, the state has no shortage of four-lane highways.

A couple times we saw an abandoned cattle coral from days prior to the drought.

Our arrival in Moab brought us back to civilization and the Adobe Abode, where we spent two nights and $350.† It included two breakfasts.

It was getting dark fast but I took a couple pictures anyhow of the fabulous scenery outside the door.

All of the Adobe Abode was handmade and built by a middle aged couple specifically to be a bed and breakfast.

Maybe you can see that I brought my laptop along.† There was no place to set it except on the bed.

I thought there must be a creek running through Moab because of the long stretch of green that meanders below the mountains and through our backyard.† Allan said itís the Colorado River.† Makes sense to me.

We had plenty of time the next morning to walk outside, take pictures, and check my email before our 4x4 canyon guide arrived at 8:30 a.m.† Allan had arranged the adventure before we left Minnesota.

Dave, owner of this vehicle, said he bought an older Chevy Suburban and put $100,000 into it to turn it into this extreme all-terrain vehicle.

It was total open air, no doors, no roof, no windows (except for the windshield), only steel bars.†

And it had four-inch wide straps that secured us over our shoulders, around our waist, and through our legs.† It gave a whole new meaning to ďbuckle up.Ē

Youíd never call it a joy ride.† We climbed narrow mountains and crawled where no other critter does.

Dave called this Intimidator Hill, a steep narrow mountain with no sides and we rode across the top of it like camels across desert dunes, only much faster.

Screaming, gasping, guttural sounds pierced the mountain air, all of them emanating from me.

Dave would stop his extreme vehicle in front of a six-foot rock in the ďpathĒ and climb it like a giant spider.

This is not the grave of someone who didnít survive the extreme tour.

It seemed like we were on top of the world.

The Colorado River was far below us.† Dave told us that back in history, Indians would come out of the mountains in the summer to live down by the water.

The cactuses are small here because there is very little water for them but can grow quite large down near a water source.

Thank you for this amazing adventure, Dave.† As I said, it wasnít even on my Bucket List.† Iím glad you knew what you were doing.

Biking in this place seemed more dangerous to me than our 4x4.

A few puddles pockmarked the surface of some flatter petrified sand dunes, like a wet moon surface.

In another area Dave used his water bottle to highlight several dinosaur tracks left in the petrified stone.

After three hours it was back to Intimidator Hill where we met oncoming traffic.† Our vehicle clung to the rock as Dave didnít make the other guy move over.† Frightful.

We couldnít have been closer to the edge.† Iím surprised we didnít roll over and over all the way to the bottom.

This is sort of what I saw from the plane only much bigger.† As you can see, in many places the bottom of the lake is above water.