Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Woke Up Early, Flew to Salt Lake City
I love flying cross country. Especially since I've driven the basic land route 7 times now, I'm starting to get familiar with the landscape and can recognize areas from 30,000 feet that I've passed over at 18 inches.
This morning's was a beautiful flight. No problems coming out of Philly and a wide pass over southern Jersey, Delaware and Maryland revealed the headwaters of the Chesapeake beneath a bank of thin, milky clouds. Most of its melted off in Philly, but there's still a lot of snow out there in the exurbs.
Not much else happened for the next several hours scenery-wise. Though I was reprimanded for chewing my gum too loudly by the guy sitting next to me, which totally threw my enjoyment of the in-air screening of The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Throughout the remaining two hours of interpersonal awkwardness going on between seats 10B and 10C, I gathered through furtive glances at my nemesis' laptop that he was an attorney - figures he'd be so litigious about my gum-chewing habits. My revenge was spying and secret judgment.
Anyway, when the clouds parted again we were over western Nebraska, the sandhill region in the panhandle, specifically, and I spotted Lake Ogallala underneath a layer of ice in the distance. The only completely contrasting feature for miles amid a patchwork of dusted snow and scrubby brown range land. I only know about said lake because I spent a night in Ogallala on my 3rd cross-country road trip when the distance between Chicago and Jackson Hole proved too much for one concerted push. Driving in Western Nebraska gives one plenty of opportunity to absorb the available tourist literature on Nebraska's largest lake(!), readily found in truck stops, and wonder what it's like to bass fish and water ski on the dammed-up waters of the Upper Platte River.
Next we were passing well north of the Front Range and flying directly above I-80 in southern Wyoming. Here I recognized the Medicine Bow mountains, which constitutes the prettiest piece of I-80 for about 500 miles from Utah to the Nebraska border. A Google Maps search of the satellite imagery reveals this wild-looking place, which from the plane looks to be an impenetrable forested plateau with a rocky, above-timberline core, has actually been devastated by logging operations.
Then it was the primordial lands, dinosaur fossil-filled lands on the Colorado/Utah border.I wanted a glimps of the legendary high Uintas but didn't get it with the cloud cover.
Next stop: Omniture Summit.