If you read this blog, then you know how we feel about road trips. We love the open roads, wide expanses, and colorful characters we meet along the way. So when we saw the Outdoor Retailer show pop up on our calendar, we knew we would fire up The HEX Bus and make a run across the desert to Salt Lake City.
The drive started as expected with mile after mile of LA-area sprawl. But once out of San Bernardino, we were on and off of the old Route 66 trail and on the way to Vegas. I love this drive across the Mojave. The desert landscape has really grown on me to the point where I really look forward to anytime I get to make this drive. On a more unusual note, there were some pretty intense storms dropping a lot of rain just ahead of us. In fact, the ground outside of Vegas was covered as far as the eye could see with several inches of water and we followed these storms most of the way to Utah. Beautiful.
We stopped at The Summit Inn, a vintage Route 66 landmark, and were intrigued by their ostrich burgers - although time did not permit a sampling. Then we swung by the world's largest thermometer, window shopped the alien jerky, and blasted our way into Vegas, where we found freeway closures due to flash flooding from the heavy weather.
Heading north from Vegas, the scenery starts to morph from arid desert plains filled with joshua trees to steep canyon walls that rise up from nowhere to meet the interstate as we headed across the corner of Arizona.
The rocks around us continued to change into a deep red color as we moved from Arizona into Utah. I'm always surprised to see such trash-free, little towns around St.George baking in 100-degree-plus temperatures and yet boasting perfect, emerald green little league baseball fields.
If you are ever along the I-15 in Utah you have got to check out one of our favorite spots: Kolob Canyons at Zion National Park. We popped into the park and took our Splitty for a drive along the canyons to enjoy the epic vistas at dusk. This was definitely a highlight.
After that, it was a pitch black blast up to Salt Lake City which we made in respectable time and fashion.
In Salt Lake City, we had a little time before setting up the show to cruise around the 9th & 9th area of town, which houses the local creative-types and coffee-junkies. Then we pulled our bus right onto the show floor and it became our booth display for the Outdoor Retailer show. Needless to say, we were a big hit, with many a "best booth in the show" comment from the attending retailers. The other thing you can count on from The HEX Bus is a steady stream of conversation from anyone who sets eyes on it. It brings back memories and evokes feelings for almost everyone, and it's cool to hear all these kodachrome recollections that come flooding back to each person's consciousness. It connects us at a more personal level with the people who support our brand.
I will say that the weather continued to be unpredictable during our entire stay in SLC, raining nearly every day and drenching us to the bone at least once.
Other highlights included sunset at the Great Salt Lake, some tasty artisanal pizza at The Pie Hole, and some of the best BBQ I have had in a long time - complete with peach cobbler - at R&R. We also stopped by one of our local stockists, FRESH, and peeped some vintage mid-century furniture at Tomorrow's House and The Green Ant, both recommended.
But the best thing is always just seeing the beauty of the countryside slipping by outside your window in the way only a road trip can provide. If you have a road trip coming up, enjoy it! If not, we hope you enjoy this quick account of ours and make sure to watch the video for a little more flava.
'Til next time.
The Great Salt Lake