On Thursday, we had options. Utah locals had told us about many roads we could potentially take to reach the resort where the first night dinner and first night stay would be. The earlier we hit the road, the more of those optional side roads we could take, so I was eager to get moving! Nugget was uncertain about the weather (there was a threat of rain), but followed my lead. We were out the door early (for us).
The first recommended road we'd encounter was Utah 128. This is a popular tourist road, with many camping sites and hiking trails, some "ranch" hotel/resorts, and many other features along the way.
As we first turned down the road, we saw the beautiful cliffs, rounded by weathering over the years. Their reddish-hue contrasted with the green vegetation painted a beautiful picture. What a gorgeous spot and a unique landscape.
Further down the road, the cliffs looked a bit less exotic, but the green to red contrast remained, and the views of the river were wonderful. The landscape continued to seem less and less exotic and interesting as we headed upstream, and I got the feeling the road would have felt more dramatic, more impressive had we been coming the other way. But we were coming from the south, so this was the direction we took. We were still in awe of the area, I'd just recommend northeast to southwest, if you're choosing your direction. A collection of photos:
After Utah 128 we were back on larger roads for a time. Even on the big roads, there were spectacular views, and I enjoyed watching the railroad snake through the landscape on a similar, but not identical, path to the roadway.
Local folks had recommended a few other roads to us, but these were described as local secrets and local treasures, so no specifics. As we reached the smaller versions of these roads rain rolled through. Temperatures grew positively cold, to my Texan sensibilities, and when we stopped I found myself grabbing my coat and trying to tip-toe around puddles in my sandals. My feet got wet anyway, oh well.
The rain created a fog in the mountains. We had reasonable visibility down the road, hazards could be spotted in plenty of time, but the fog meant we could only see a bit of green around us, not the full views through the valleys. Still, we don't get rich green vegetation with cool, dense fog in Texas in June. It was beautiful and comforting to me.
The route had us meandering through Park City and we arrived at the hotel/resort at a reasonable time in the afternoon. As we pulled in we saw a bright blue wagon in front of us... We know that car! And there's a Boxster even further up! Despite dinner being hours away we're already running into folks going on the Adventure.
I explored the hotel a bit on foot... I say "a bit". It was not a large space. So I struck out into the surrounding area. It's a bit of a curated tourist trap sort of space so I wandered around fairly freely. On one edge of the space was an open meadow, intentionally preserved wild space. A stream ran through it, and the stream was overflowing onto one of the paths (I assume snow melt). This was my favorite part of the walk and I stayed in this area a bit, then rested in our room befoer dinner.
Dinner was served buffet style in one of the conference rooms. We started milling about on foot, many people already there, Mandy organizing everything and keeping us all contained. We were like a herd of cattle, Mandy catching stragglers, and the rest of us grouped, no one stepping out from the group or standing out. We chatted a bit, though, and all of us being car enthusiasts, "What are you driving? What do you wish you were driving?" were great conversation starters. Paul and Todd arrived, gave us a bit of a welcome speech (I'm sorry, I don't remember a word of it, I just remember feeling like it was a good casual start to things). Finally, Mandy managed to convince us to start getting food, sitting down, and eating. We sat at ... just some random table, and talked with folks as we ate.
After people had a chance to mostly finish eating, Todd and Paul started making their way around the room, visiting various tables, starting conversations. Both hosts showed a genuine interest in each of us. Or maybe they're great actors... or both. Regardless, conversations were great, both with the hosts and just among ourselves. It was a wonderful way to start group events for the Adventure.
Some folks lived in Park City or otherwise weren't staying at this hotel so split off a bit earlier than others. Other people had brought beverages and invited everyone to share a drink. While I would have loved to sit around and chat, I have got to spend time relaxing and sleeping or I will wear myself out at an event like this, so I made my way back to the hotel room. It was just across the hall, right there, so that was easy! To bed I went, eager for the drives in the morning.