I'm not usually the long-distance-weekend trip kind of guy. To me, a trip to Orange County or Riverside is a long-distance trek for a weekend. Yet this past Friday night found Amy and me driving almost exactly 400 miles (after a full day of work, yet) east across California, Nevada, Arizona, and finally into St. George in southern Utah. The occasion was a visit to our friends Natalie, Christy, Sarah, Logan, and various other folks. Natalie, Christy and Sarah had previously made the drive from there to here, so it was only common courtesy to return the favor.
Driving to an unfamiliar place in the dead of night is kind of like using the transporter from the Starship Enterprise. Just as Captain Kirk would be surrounded one second by the mod decor of the transporter chamber, and the next by some corner of the Paramount backlot, we pulled into a dark, hot parking lot and awoke to find ourselves surrounded by stunning vistas of wind-carved red rock.
Visiting a southwest desert in the middle of summer is an interesting experience. Or perhaps I should say a hot experience -- the kind of heat you swim through, feeling every exposed piece of skin char like a grilled Dodger Dog. Still, it's not so bad; it's a dry heat. Just 105-111 degrees (Fahrenheit) worth of dry heat.
Our Utah friends were perfect hosts, and we had a terrific time. And the drive home was much easier than the drive there. Instead of rolling down pitch-black desert highways at 2 a.m., we were able to enjoy the scenery in broad daylight. We even managed to get home by 8 pm, after stopping for lunch, dinner, and the 7-11 just north of Vegas.