Thursday, November 20, 2014

By The Time I Get to Phoenix, Day 1

Mount Powell at Sunrise
Deer Lodge, Montana

The end of October found Kevin and me making a quick trip to Phoenix, Arizona.  Just a down and back, but an interesting four day drive, none-the-less.  We arose early on Saturday morning, October 25, and were on the road by 6 a.m.  It was still dark and quite foggy here at Wild Horse Plains, Montana, and I guessed we'd be in fog all the way to Butte, some three hours away.  Well, the fog lifted around Drummond, and by the time we passed Deer Lodge, there was color in the sky.  

Turning south on I-15 just west of Butte, I was reminded once again that most of Silver Bow County, like most of Montana, is rural.  Yes, Silver Bow is the smallest county in area in the state, and yes, one hundred years ago, fully one fourth of the people of Montana lived there, but still, once you get outside of Butte and the surrounding communities, there's a lot of open land.  By  the time we crossed into Madison County, the fog was returning, and when we crossed the next line into Beaverhead County, it was back full force.

Beaverhead County Line, I-15 Southbound

We stopped for gas in Dillon, but held off on breakfast till we could get to Dell.  I use any excuse I can to eat at the Dell Calf-A (say it out loud if you don't get the name), and I recommend it to all traveling through southern Beaverhead County.  With our bellies more than full, we returned to I-15 and soon were crossing Monida Pass and heading south into Idaho.  We had heard that Idaho had raised the speed limit to 80 mph, but this was our first chance to experience it.  Clark County, Jefferson County, Bonneville County and Bingham County all flew by, although we did stop for gas near Blackfoot.  No more stops in Idaho, not even at the Near Eastern restaurant I so enjoyed last time I was in Pocatello, and in no time at all we crossed into Utah.

Utah, too, has raised the speed limit to 80 on I-15, and it seems we traversed the northern part of the state rather quickly.  I love photographing public buildings, but as Kevin was in no mood to get off the interstate in Salt Lake City, I had to take this picture of the Utah state capitol through the windshield of a speeding pickup truck.  Sorry 'bout that.

The Utah State Capitol
I-15 Southbound, Salt Lake City, Utah

South of the metropolis, we needed fuel and stopped in Fillmore.  Much to my surprise, I was able to get shots of two government buildings in this seat of Millard County.  As we passed the sign noting that we had entered Millard County, my first thought was of our thirteenth President, and sure enough, both the county and its seat are named for the man who was President when Utah became a territory.  Although it seems to me they got the names backward.  Shouldn't the town be Millard and the county Fillmore?  

Turns out that Brigham Young selected this spot in the Pahvent Valley to serve as the capital of his proposed state.  Originally, the proposed state of Deseret included most of the land the US claimed through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and spread from the Pacific Ocean in southern California to the west slope of the Rockies in Colorado.  When California entered the union in 1850, Utah Territory was created with its boundaries significantly reduced.  It covered only present day Nevada, Utah, and the southwestern corner of Wyoming.  Fillmore was in the geographic center of that area, and Young felt it was the perfect location for his new capital.  Young laid the cornerstone and over a period of two years the first wing of a proposed four-wing building was built.  The Utah Territorial Legislature met there for three terms before the capital was moved back to Salt Lake City.  I also photographed the Millard County Court House which stands on the main street of Fillmore, just in front of the original capitol building.  

The Utah Territorial Capitol
Fillmore, Utah

With the gas tank full and no further photographic side trips envisioned, we got back on I-15 and drove on to Beaver.  Kevin remembered a good Mexican restaurant in Beaver, as well as a decent priced motel.  We didn't try the restaurant, and found that the motel he remembered was now quite expensive.  We found another place to stay and I checked on Yelp for a place to eat.  While not the one that Kevin remembered, we ended up eating (at my insistence) at Maria's Cocina where I had the best restaurant-cooked chile relleno I've ever had.  Their flan, however, left a lot to be desired, in my opinion.  Definitely not worth the extra blood sugar.

After dinner we retired to our motel, and rested happily after a day on the road.  One last note about Beaver, Utah.  Beaver (the city) is the county seat of Beaver County.  The High School is, predictably, Beaver High School, and what do you suppose their mascot is?  You got it, they're the Beaver High School Bandicoots.  Nope, just kidding.  They're the Beaver High School Beavers. Really now, doesn't anyone in the area have any imagination?

Evening skies over Beaver, Utah

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