A pretty uneventful drive for the most part. We made a stop in Rawlings, WY for lunch, and popped our heads into the Wyoming Penitentiary Museum. We missed the tour group around the actual hoosegow, so we poked around the museum, which looked like it was curated by a class of sixth-graders. Informative Xeroxes were mounted on colorful posterboard, a vast array of shivs sat in protective cases, while other artifacts of the penitentiary sat out in the open, accompanied by wildly speculative signage (“Why was this spoon found so far from the kitchen? Was it used in an attempt to escape the prison, or was it simply misplaced? We can only guess.”). It was not long before the strange smell and macabre mementos of Wyoming hangings had us back on the road.
We made it through Wyoming and into Utah, a state which looks from the highway like a model train set. We cut across the panhandle (is it considered a panhandle?), passing through Salt Lake City (surprisingly big) and the Great Salt Lake (very pretty), but the highlight of the state came at the very end, at the Salt Flats. The prospect of seeing a place recommended entirely by its flatness admittedly may sound unappealing, and indeed, Dorothy was mainly concerned with getting there by sunset out of fear of breaking down in a vast expanse of nothingness, so she put pedal to floor, racing the sun. We reached the flats just as the sun was setting, pulled into a rest area, and...well, marveled. It was an incredible, dare we say breathtaking, sight, an ocean of white adorned with naturally occurring patterns where the salt had cracked, stretching all the way to the mountains on the horizon. This was Phil’s time to find himself (check that off the list), while Dorothy humored his rambling and hackneyed epiphanies about his own insignificance and the infinite nature of etc., etc., man. Dorothy continued to drive the rest of the way, while Phil babbled in the passenger seat. It was a nighttime jaunt through the mountains that terrified us both, and we were relieved to reach the bright lights of Elko, NV, pale-faced and exhausted.