Saturday, May 19, 2012
Day 4: Nephi, Utah, to Ontario, California
Utah scenery is breathtaking. Huge fields in the well-irrigated basin south of Salt Lake City look abnormally fertile, as the jagged hills and towering mountains are clearly very dry. Irrigation waters come from an aquifer which will eventually be depleted, causing everything to be arid again.
After Las Vegas, the highway turns towards the southwest, crossing a corner of Arizona. The road follows the canyons of the Virgin River (downstream from Zion National Park). Sometimes the road seems to be suspended on pylons above the river, sometimes the river is next to the road. At the end just before the California border, the road and river pop out of the mountains and onto the still-sloping plane. Looking back, you can't even see where the road enters the mountainside.
A view of the river and the satellite map of that location:
The Mojave Desert is big, with Joshua trees and chaparral and very few places to stop. We quickly arrived at our final overnight destination: an airport hotel in Ontario, California. Tomorrow we hope to get to Santa Barbara in time to get into our temporary residence (duration: a week) and to see the solar eclipse. After that, we'll have an apartment for the duration of Len's workshop.