June 21, 1999 - Day 16 - Delta to Salina, Utah
data inexplicably not recorded - approx. 65 miles traveled
229 roadkill (that is NOT a misprint!)
If you get your road map of Utah out, you will see that to follow Rte. 50, we go about 25 miles southeast from Delta, then about 20 miles northeast to Scipio on Interstate 15, then another 20 miles southeast again to Salina (pronounced Sa Line Uh, please).
It's probably 30 miles between Delta and Salina as the crow flies, but the geography dictates the route here. There are two parallel mountain ranges and the planners of the old 2-lanes took the paths of least resistance across and then between them.
Typical of today's vistas
Not the wild and desolate scenery of yesterday's travels in the western desert. There are more towns, and more cars on the roads, especially I would guess, at night, which explains today's phenomenal roadkill count.
This is the day that blows the Roadkill Roulette out of the water, folks. Go figure. It was jackrabbit alley, is all I can say. I saw dead jackrabbits in every conceivable form. I'll spare you the details, but it was only fitting that the ceremonial 200th roadkill of the day should be nothing other than....
They have cute ears, don't they?
Many of you are aware of my fanatical devotion to Millard Fillmore, our most mediocre President. And here I was, in perhaps the only county in America to be named for him. What a day!!! It seems that in the early 1850's, Brigham Young was pushing REAALLLY hard for Utah to be granted statehood. So he had nothing to lose in naming a county in a remote part of his territory after the Prez. The county seat? Of course: it's Fillmore.
Thank goodness for the excitement of Millard mania and the diversion of the roadkill count, because when I was traveling southeast today (most of the trip), I was driving into the teeth of a really hard headwind. Very discouraging stuff. I told my friend Lon, a fellow cyclist, that I try to visualize myself going "between" the wind. Truth is, that works for about 10 minutes.
The original Mini-Mart
Sorry this is a little dark. It was a pretty cloudy day (another blessing) and I should have taken the lens filters off.
This old place is in the town of Scipio on Rte. 50. I wonder if my family stopped for gas there in the old '53 Buick?
Between Scipio and Salina, a hundred of these trucks must have passed me, and they would travel in packs of three or four. When I arrived in Salina, I asked somebody what they carried and the answer was 'coal'. About 30 miles east of Salina off of I70 is an open pit coal mine. These trucks carry that coal from the mine up towards Scipio where there is a train port and it heads to coal powered electric plants in the east. The convoys run non-stop, 24/7.
Do you remember when President Clinton established Escalante Staircase as a national monument in 1996? He made a big deal (election year) of appearing with that gorgeous backdrop of the southern Utah skyline; our environmental president. But the whole package with that deal was that major coal deposits a little farther north of Escalante, previously off-limits to mining would be allowed to be opened up to development.
You can see numerous coal trains every day coming into Chicago via the Burlington and Northwestern lines. Perhaps from Utah? Maybe from Gillette, Wyoming.
How many of you have your air conditioning running right now?
Settled in for the night at the Lone Star Motel, cheap and clean, and then headed over to Mom's Cafe for dinner. More on her tomorrow.
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