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31st May 2016



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Summer travel log

05th September 2011

what we saw – presented in pictures


My wife Kris and I just returned from our summer vacation – this time with two of our grandkids. We drove 2100 miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Reno, Nevada to visit four of our children and five other grandkids. Then we drove back home, another 2100 miles.

However, this article isn’t about our mini family reunion. Rather it’s about the return from Nevada across the mid-section of the USA and what we saw through the windshield.

For those of you who have yet to see some of the sights of the West, I recorded our trip home on film. Most of the pictures were taken from inside the auto.

We saw a lot of sim-tractor trailers out on the interstate. Here’s a familiar triple.

The high plains of Nevada is vast and dry. Here’s a dust devil.

The interstate highway traverses mountainous terrain. Here you can see how the road winds to conform to the hilly surfaces.

A huge letter on the hillside is used to identify a nearby town to passing aircraft. Here the letter “C” shows pilots that they are passing Carlin, Nevada.

To the best of my recollection there are only two tunnels on I-80. Here’s one of them cutting through a Nevada mountain.

On the western border of Utah are the famed Bonneville salt flats. Here the two grandkids are collecting salt as a souvenir.

Right in the middle of the Utah desert (far from any town) is this sculpture that someone constructed years ago. It’s known as the “Tree of Utah”.

With all of the salt flats and lake (Salt Lake) nearby, there’s a lot of salt processing taking place. Here’s a giant salt pile being readied for salt shakers around the world.

As we were on a tight schedule to return home, the only visit that we had of Salt Lake City this time was through the windshield.

The scenery from the driver’s seat is gorgeous when viewing the extensive mountainous areas of western Wyoming.

Wyoming is known for its vast natural resources including oil. The town of Sinclair is essentially a refinery with a railyard that serves to transport petroleum products far and wide.

Look to the left and you’ll see a very long freight train such as this one making its way across the Wyoming landscape. The trains are a common sight and speak to our nation’s immense transportation infrastructure.

You’ll often see small pumpjacks such as these scattered on the plains. These devices are used to extract oil from low pressure wells.

The west has been harnessing wind energy for several decades. There are large windmill farms in Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

For the outdoor sports enthusiasts among you, this is Cabella’s world headquarter in Sydney, Nebraska

Of course we were treated to great weather, blue skies and gorgeous clouds along the way.

We passed a military convoy unlike we’ve ever seen before. There were twenty or so federal security vehicles and a helicopter escorting a single semi-tractor trailer. Maybe it was a secret weapon???

When you reach Kearney, Nebraska, you’ll pass through the “Archway” which is built over the Interstate. In all my trips out west, I’ve yet to stop there.

For the grandkids, the highlight of the long drive home was a meal at this place in Geneva, Illinois. Need I say more?


Over the years, I’ve made several dozen similar cross country trips so I’m familiar with many of the sights along the way.

Yet I always seem to find new and interesting places and things to record along the way.

No, the inside of the car is not the best way to enjoy the USA. This time we traveled to take part in the mini-family reunion in Reno so we dispensed with the sightseeing.

But I did take a few snapshots as a reminder of some of the places that we still want to visit when we’re less pressed for time.



Written by Arnie Lee


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