San Francisco to Salt Lake City

Road trip retrospective, as promised. Here Bird demonstrates his downward dog on moving day morning. And yes, that's a neon hipster "stunna shades" scarf he's wearing. I'm not sure it made it to this coast, sadly.

So long, California! These landscapes are already so foreign. So far I miss the 1 the best. Northern California HWY 1, that is. M said there are coastal drives on this coast that compare, but so far nothing comes even remotely close.* Specifically, if she and I decided to hop in the car and go to Half Moon Bay (as we often did), bad weather or bright blue skies, the 1 was always nothing short of breathtaking - without even getting out, if we wanted. Even in the pitch black of night (sometimes even more so). We've yet to travel up the coast to Maine, so perhaps that'll change north of Salem. If anyone knows of any particular stretches that'll give the Pacific a run for its money, do tell!

*There were the Berkshires, which I think we only just kissed on the way in from New York state. Gorgeous! Tremendous! But no coast, alas. 

Crazy goddamn dingo animal! Oh, Chipotle. He's like ten years old now (human years, that's a terrifyingly spry 70 in dog years) and still just as batshit insane as ever. Nothing compares to the honeyed elixir of pure deranged focus in his eyes. Poor Bird cowering in soft focus yonder. It's 100 degrees out and all he cares about is A/C on his face and lunging at all of the cars going in the opposite direction of the highway. FOR 3,000 MILES, WHEE.

We ended up leaving my mom's house on a Friday night a lot later than expected, so we did our best to haul ass to Reno, NV even though it wasn't the original plan. (The original plan was to haul ass all the way to Salt Lake City, har har. Thank heavens we left a day early!) Reno was boring and ugly, but there was an awesome tamale guy at the oil change place in the morning as we left, so that was rad. This little plane was adorable, somewhere in the Nevada sky outside of Reno.

How cute is a town named Lovelock? The cutest. We stopped here (still in Nevada) to let the dogs pee (sorry!) and then we saw a big old train on the road, fast and striking against the flat hills and vibrant blue sky. And then it headed into this tunnel! And so did we. Neat!  This day didn't feel like a real road trip, or like we were moving away. The night before didn't feel like it, either. It felt like we were maybe popping up to Auburn or Tahoe for the weekend. It felt like we were just driving somewhere new to meet some friends in Utah, on a typical, silly impulsive whim.

We were waiting for it to feel "real," like a big deal. A really, really bona fide BFD. It didn't! Not yet, actually.

I feel like we drove forever across Nevada, I mean it took all day long, but eventually after see-sawing through altitudes we didn't expect and unchanging landscapes, the bottom dropped out and Utah's salt flats yawned before us like a stark alien planet, baking in the late afternoon sun. They were gorgeous. It was actually really shockingly beautiful and new, and we both loved it.

M had had had to leap out and run around in it all. She scooped up bunches of salt and the good Lord only knows what else and put it in a ziploc bag, I think (where is that?) and we kissed and held hands and sucked it all in with our eyeballs except the tiny, twitchy part that was still on the clock and very aware of the fact that we were going to be late, late, late for a very important date with our friend and her girlfriend in Salt Lake proper! So off we went...

...taking a series of extremely blurry photos which tells me that somebody sweated onto the lens and/or a dog licked it, I don't really know. Our best Salt Lake photos were ruined by the film, but I'm posting them anyway.

A blur that would foreshadow our wild, wild night indeed. 

Would you look at that slab of insanely perfect fish? Would you please just look at it?! I'm guessing it was delicious. (I wouldn't know, I ordered the filet mignon.) We dined, conveniently, where we were sleeping that night, at the Hotel Monaco. Let me just tell you, after a night at La Quinta (Reno), a girl really appreciates the more luxe offerings of a 4-star hotel. Bless M's heart, she rushed downstairs to meet our pals in the bar while I freshened up for a late dinner and drinks.

Their restaurant is supposedly the best in town, and we all glutted ourselves accordingly. It was delicious. M says she still thinks about the gazpacho she had, with watermelon and tomato and cucumber and some kind of amazing cheese. There was, of course, hilarity when it came to confusing liquor laws and the ways in which a small group of lesbians can push those laws to the limits, but it was a beautiful meal. Also, we have never seen so many newlywed Mormon couples before in our lives. So many! Like at least half a dozen. You could tell the real traditional ones because they were standing about ten feet apart and the poor girl was always swathed in too much clothing for the heat. My heart bled for them, and then felt guilty for bleeding.

Our post-meal stroll was one for the books. Are pianos in the street ever a good idea? Much like nude beaches, it's never the ones you want to see or hear who inevitably come out to play, but what are you going to do? Kids were king after-hours on the main drag of Salt Lake City. Very loud, very drunk kids. When in Rome...


We found a rebar forest. There was a butch corner, a contest, and femme whispers. Finally, bed. The trippy view from our hotel room window (the building opposite had colored lights that pulsed through the rooms and we couldn't quite figure them out). Naturally, drunken plans were made for brunch the next morning!

Center Center! Alright-y then.

Hi, it's real bright out here and I am still, in fact, intoxicated. Maybe. Definitely. Mimosas?! MIMOSAS!

Or this guy! I mean, it was a really impressive statue.

This was a really impressive white building.

I liked this. Our host was like, "Pfft, lame shit," but I was very fond of this arched eagle malarkey.

Here's our room! Didn't you want to see it?! Guess what else is super impressive?! See that brown striped bag on the bed? That's MY BAG. That's my whole femme shebang 7-day road trip bag, damn it. I still love it even though the TSA bastards ruined the straps on my latest flight. I love that it's kind of tomboy, but it's mine. Never mind that I had to go to THE MALL in Salt Lake City to get some damn maxi dresses to cover my legs so they wouldn't burn on the road. Such a rookie mistake!

Side note: The dogs were mostly A-OK when we left them in strange new rooms to go eat food with our friends at various stops across the country. Thanks, dogs! 


Sadly, we had to leave our friends in Salt Lake to head to Wyoming. WYOMING! We loved Wyoming even more than we loved its friendly, welcoming dino and 50-cent ice cream cones, despite wind that nearly knocked us down and threw me into a Denver-grade panic, despite the wildfires breathing down our necks, despite the darkest night we'd ever seen. Wyoming almost made us quit our new house!

We'll pick it up there next time, kiddos. Off to Bedfordshire!