San Francisco to Denver Road Trip | Day 4: Nevada & Salt Lake City

In May 2014 we drove 1,950 miles through 6 different states (California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado). We went to 5 national parks/landmarks, went to 4 museums, took 2 factory tours, rode a train through the Rockies, went on a boat cruise of Lake Tahoe, took a walking tour of San Fran, hiked the tallest peak in Salt Lake City, saw real dinosaur bones in Colorado, survived the highest altitude we’ve ever been at (11K feet), ate countless memorable meals, and had one Guy Fieri sighting. Check out our route:


We woke up in Reno bright and early for the day ahead which was scheduled to be the longest driving day of the trip. We fueled up with delicious local bagels and got on the road.


Sidenote: I was glad to be moving along, Reno was not my favorite city. Something about it struck me as odd. Despite what you may think, Reno is nothing like Las Vegas. It doesn’t even compare actually – it’s much smaller (obviously), very spread out, and doesn’t have the luxury or opulence of Vegas. It reminded me more of Atlantic City actually – a run down casino town for locals. Just my two cents!

As I mentioned, Day 4 was alternately called Driving Day as we’d be driving a total of 7 hours to get to our destination of Salt Lake City, Utah. For the geographically unaware, this meant driving the entire width of the state of Nevada. Do you know what stops there are along the way throughout Nevada? No? Well I don’t blame you because there are none.


We actually did see two notable things during the drive spanning Nevada state:

1) Wacky weather! Nevada is mostly flat and covered in sage brush so that made seeing far off weather in the car pretty cool. We thankfully only caught sprinkles despite these scary storms ahead of us.


2) Battle Mountain, Nevada. Notable for nothing except its badass name.


We stopped midday for some lunch in Elko, NV which is a rundown old railroad town. Five and a half hours into the drive we crossed into Utah. That left about and hour and a half of driving left for the day. “Life Elevated” indeed – elevate me out of the car, my butt has been asleep for 2 hours.


An hour east of the Utah border is the Bonneville Salt Flats, the only truly noteworthy thing we saw this entire day (sorry Battle Mountain).


The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely packed salt pan (remnant of Pleistocene-era Lake Bonneville) and is most famous for being the site of land speed records.



The Salt Flats are 12 miles long, 5 miles wide, and totally flat – ideal for land speed record breaking. John took our SUV out on the flat for a little spin but I think we maxed out at 20 mph. Crazy, I know.


A panorama of the Salt Flats:


Afterward we were back on the road and, about another hour and a half later, arrived in Salt Lake City.



We quickly checked in to our hotel and headed out for a lovely dinner downtown at Bambara.


Stay tuned for Day 5 where we explore Salt Lake City and Jackson Hole!

Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

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