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GoF West 2007

July 2-6, 2007, Park City, Utah

Page One of Five

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Day One

Early morning saw us packing the TC with a bit too much luggage. I knew it was a bad idea to wait until departure day to see if the bags would fit in the car. A bit of creative re-packing finally got the bags in, but they were stacked up higher than I would have liked and blocked the rear view mirror somewhat.

On the road and running late, it wasn’t long before the first minor annoyance popped up. The speedometer was bouncing wildly and the cable sounded like it was going to break. Some plastic ties came into action and made enough improvement to continue onward. The weather was cool but nice and our new rear end gearing was giving us the extra highway speed we needed to make up time.

After about 100 miles, we pulled into Victorville and met the other five cars we would caravan with to Utah. With breakfast consumed, everyone took their jackets off for the drive into the Mojave Desert. As we traveled east the temperature climbed sharply, but the cars had no trouble climbing the long hot grades of Interstate 15. Near triple digit temperatures turned the fuel stop in Baker into a much-needed ice cream fest. Back on the road, it was time to tackle the rest of the mountain ranges between California and Nevada. These long grades were a game of power versus momentum. A couple hours later we were the first to cross the Nevada line, so momentum won the day! The long climbs had splintered the caravan somewhat so we paused briefly to regroup.

The rest of the day’s drive was uneventful and hot as we worked our way into Las Vegas and to the hotel. That evening Linda and I bought some small floor mats to cover an oil slick on her floor carpet and then fueled up for the next leg. A nice dinner with some caravan friends capped off the evening, but not yet ready to call it a night we took a drive down “the strip” for some photos and sight-seeing.

Day Two

The first order of business was to rebuild the speedometer at the breakfast table. It was already too hot to do it outside in the sun! I got the needle stabilized but the trip meter was now inoperable. A worthy trade off in my opinion!

Leaving Las Vegas, we headed east to Hoover Dam for some sight-seeing. After a stop for photos we turned around and drove to Boulder City to check out helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon. That didn’t work out so we skipped it and drove north around Lake Mead and Valley of Fire. It was already very hot in Boulder City, but that was nothing compared to this part of the drive.

Driving around Lake Mead, the temperature continued to climb to around 110-degrees. At this point we felt like we were in a rolling oven. The mister we brought was a god-send and worked quite well, but the cooling effect lasted only seconds at a time. Still it was better than nothing. I felt the need to stop twice to grab photographic evidence of our drive through this desolate land in our M.G. Linda wasn’t as hot on the idea (pun intended?) because if we fell behind and broke down, we would be on our own out there. As luck would have it, we caught the group and continued through the heat without incident.

A stop at a deserted boat launching area offered us a water faucet which we used to wet down with, and then we continued north past Valley of Fire where there was obviously no relief from the heat. Adding to the experience was ten miles of extremely rough pavement, marked by a sign reading “Rough Pavement Ahead”. The sign was located about a mile from where the road smoothed out again.

In Overton Nevada we took a much needed lunch break at the only game in town… McDonald’s. Much ice cream was consumed. From there it was back to I-15 and into Mesquite where we fueled up, and where it was still brutally hot. The last 60 miles took us down the Virgin River Gorge and across the Utah state line where I stopped yet again for photos. The rest of the group, unknownst to us, stopped at the Utah Welcome Center. We cruised right past and got to the hotel in Saint George first. Another victory! Obviously there was no race but one needs something to entertain one’s self with when driving through Nevada.

One of the other cars, a TD, pulled in with very sloppy steering. A look under the bonnet revealed three out of four steering bolts missing, and the fourth very loose! One person went off to find an auto parts store for some emergency repair parts while the TD owner and I hopped into the TC and went back looking for some bolts laying in the road. He had a hunch where it might have happened, and sure enough we found one of the bolts and rubber pads! That was enough to keep the car going so all was well.

Day Three

Starting early to avoid the heat, we turned east to Zion National Park. The views throughout the park were spectacular as always so we made a few photo stops. At “checkerboard mesa” we attracted a lot of attention from tourists. Our drive continued through the park to the eastern exit, where we again stopped for photos and again attracted a lot of attention. One pair of German tourists had even followed us through the park from the previous stops to take more photos.

We made a lunch stop in Hatch on Highway 89 where we found a rather disgruntled horse tied up out front and a chef who was single, but looking. Moving onward we drove through Red Canyon, a spectacular area with Bryce-like formations in brilliant red. After more photos we continued up the road to Ruby’s Inn at the entrance to Bryce Canyon.

After checking in, we drove into the park and visited a few of the sights. All but one other couple in the group turned back early to see a rodeo, but we continued to the end of the road at over 9,100-feet in altitude where we were greeted with incredible views of the Bryce Canyon formations. Making sure we got our $25 worth, we hit every pull-off on the way back to enjoy the view and take photos.

On to Page Two…