Updated: Aug 28, 2019
So we finally made it to Santa Clara, California. We did a big push from Salt Lake City all the way through Reno onto Santa Clara. I was willing to stay in Reno for the night, but the boys wanted to push on. I think they were a little tired of the traveling. I don't blame them, it was a long trip. ( We are currently in a coffee shop finishing up the vids etc and I just looked at the tip meter and its on 3333 miles! 5 days).
We took time to visit the Salt Lake, some of which has water in and you can swim in it. The other sections are just salt. In fact the world land speed records have been set here. They have a track 10 miles long and 80 feet wide in the middle of the salt flat!
This drive felt longer than the others. The road was very undulating, weaving between- well I am not sure what they are, too small to be called mountains but too big to be just hills. Long ridges and "mesas" or something. Maybe Mr. Dapolito can tell me what the proper name for them would be? It wasn't as deserty as I thought it would be. Although dry, it was greener and had the occasional water. There were many rest areas, gas stations and small towns along the way. What they are doing out here in the middle of nothing I am not sure. I think there was a lot of small mining operations and the occasional ranch. (We did see lots of horses).
We drove past Reno but didn't go in, stopping briefly for dinner just outside town.
As we crossed the boarder into California, there was an Agricultural pit stop, where you have to give over any fruit that you have with you. The lady asked where we were 'returning' from and when I said Raleigh, North Carolina her eyes went wide! She asked if we had any fruit with us. I shared that we had some carrot sticks and celery left over from our dinner. She very kindly explained that they were vegetables and not fruit. I said 'its been a long drive"!
The first part over the mountains into California was very pretty as we followed a river and watched the sun go down, but then it became the worst drive of the trip, as night fell and we entered the 10 lane highway experience (5 each way), full of trucks. We got into Santa Clara around 10:30pm local time.
It has been quite confusing with the times as our bodies are on one particular time (not sure which one), but the local times keep changing. So when the boys kept saying, keep going we will get in at 9:30 pm, that's plenty of time. The fact is I would have been driving for about 15 hours, it's just that the clock kept getting turned back!
We stayed at our regular Motel that we stay at whenever we visit Ben at Santa Clara University, the "Mission Inn", which has now been taken over by Best Western and is now a "SureStay" motel. Much nicer now than it used to be, but has reasonable rates and is within walking distance of the University and now around the corner from where Ben is living. He lives in a house with about 20 other students (not quite) and shares a room. Rentals are insane in this area, and this is the only way these guys can afford to rent a house. It's not bad, typical student pad. It has about 30 rooms or something, a couple of bathrooms and kitchen etc. Daniel and Charlie (and later their friend Franklin) will be sleeping on couches for the next couple of nights (I'm going to stay with my friend Omead as there is no room for me at the Inn). I am going to help Ben sort out some stuff with the cars and health insurance etc while I am here. The boys are going down to Monterey on Wednesday to stay at friends of a friends house. Should be quite nice. I think Ben will join them on the weekend. If all goes well, I will fly out on Saturday.
As I write that last sentence, it is just hitting me that I am really leaving... this is finally it. It will be a very emotional week...
We just met up with Ben.. see photo below!!!