Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sparks, NV to Provo, UT, The Worst Day of our Trip (and it wasn’t bad)

AdventureMan is still feeling really bad, so I am going to drive most of the day, until it is time to navigate our way into Provo, UT and he is going to sleep.

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About an hour out of Sparks, I feel uneasy, and I ask AdventureMan, who has briefly awakened, to check behind me to see if my purse is there. It isn’t.

I stop, call the hotel, and by the grace of God, the purse was turned in by the breakfast room lady, who found it where I left it.

So on one of the longest driving days, I add two hours driving by forgetting my bag.

It could have been so much worse. The bag could have been not turned in.

I am busy beating myself up and AdventureMan consoles me. I am wondering if this is the beginning of Alzheimer’s, and he laughs and says I had a lot on my plate. He is so kind, just when I need it.

As it turned out, AdventureMan sleeps most of the day, and the drive is quiet, uneventful – and beautiful. There are a lot of hills, and the car eats gas because of all the uphill stretches, and some of those uphills go on for a long time. I think I am doing fine on gas, more than 3/4 of a tank, when we pass Elko, NV, one of the last places to buy gas. It matters because when we get to the salt pans, we are down to 1/2 a tank, and the salt pans go on forever, and there is no gas station. Even past the salt pans, it is a long way to the next gas station, and we are breathing a sigh of relief, even paying outrageous gas prices, when we find the next gas station.


We’re about an hour away from our hotel when AdventureMan takes over the driving, through Salt Lake City, which goes on forever, to Provo and our hotel. As he is driving, we laugh. I have had a gorgeous day for driving, but suddenly, in the midst of the thick traffic, it appears to be starting to snow. Oh aaarrgh!

All AdventureMan wants for dinner is a can of soup from the MarketPlace, and there is an Arby’s next door, so I walk there. It is empty when I enter, and I order, and then, behind me, comes a group of 11 very happy looking people, from teen agers to grandparents.

“We each have $3.49 to spend!” one says breathlessly, “What can we get for $3.49?”

The counter-server is momentarily flummoxed, and one of the eleven says “I’m just going to have a cookie, so you guys can share what is left of mine.”

I couldn’t imagine how this was all going to work out, so I grabbed my order and left. As I walked to the hotel, snow flakes were hitting my head.

May 2, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Civility, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Financial Issues, Road Trips, Travel | Leave a comment

Crossing California on CA 20

This was going to be one of those days we dreaded; we don’t have any happy destination today, it’s just one of three days driving to get where we want to get next. We’re going to see Little Diamond, and to meet her babies!

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But first, we have to leave the California northern coast, where we have had so much fun, and get to Sparks, just past Reno. It’s one of those drives where we could drive an hour more, but an hour more just puts us no-where, on I-80 where there are not a lot of great stops.

GoogleMaps tells us what routes to take, and to our great surprise, we are on CA 20 most of the day, crossing California west to east, and we encounter very little traffic, and some gorgeous views and nice driving.

AdventureMan is feeling awful. He caught some kind of respiratory virus, so he drove the first hour, and then I drove most of the rest of the day to get to Sparks. Our hotel is right off the interstate, a piece of cake.

En route, as AdventureMan wakes up, we realize we had better find a place to eat as we have a long stretch ahead of us with no great prospects, so we decide barbecue, and he says “There is a Mongolian BBQ in Yuba City” and I say “Yes! I LOVE Mongolian BBQ” and he grumps because he is not feeling well and Mongolian BBQ does not count, in his book, as BBQ. But, he loves me, and the Mongolian BBQ is right on the road we are taking, and turns out to be a great stop.


After choosing your ingredients, you hand them to one of two cooks, and the cooks dance around a large barbecue drum, cooking your selections. I’ve never seen Mongolian BBQ done that way before, but it was fun, and the result was delicious.




I had never seen this before, either, but we saw it all along CA-20, different prices listed depending on whether you used cash, credit card or debit card.


I had thought this route would be hot, but it was cool, and we saw snow close up.


We also didn’t know this route would take us over the infamous Donner pass, where a group of pioneers got stopped crossing the mountains and ended up cannibalizing one or two of their party in order to survive.


Welcome to Nevada!


Old mining train


We found a small Mexican place to eat dinner in Sparks, Betos II, and we were the only non-Mexicans eating there. The food was all pictured on the wall, quickly prepared, and delicious:


May 2, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Eating Out, Family Issues, Geography / Maps, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | Leave a comment