Various locations today

I spent Wednesday night in Eagle Mountain, Utah which is a little north and west of Provo.  Eagle Mountain sits west of Utah Lake, which is just west of north/south Interstate 15.

This was taken just after sunrise, looking east towards the Wasatch Mountain range.  Visibility was noticeably better this morning as a wind shift overnight apparently pushed the wildfire smoke a different direction.

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In order to avoid morning traffic on the interstate (although I would be going south, away from most of the local metropolitan areas) I decided to drive south along the western side of Utah Lake.  That drive took me 35 miles south, at which point I turned left and headed towards I-15.

When I turned left onto Route 6 I saw this old Sinclair garage across the road.  Sinclair (their logo is a big green dinosaur) is a popular gasoline brand here in the west.

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As I drove east I stopped to take some photos of freshly baled hay (or some other crop).

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While walking back to my car a hawk flew past me and landed on a nearby fence post.

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I tried walking past him to get a better shot with the morning sun behind me but he saw me (maybe I need a camo Safety Sam vest, although I guess that kind of defeats the purpose) and flew to the next fence post up the road.

As I drove through the little town of Santaquin I decided to stop and take a picture of this logo for a local convenience store chain.  While seemingly cheerful somehow I find the image vaguely disturbing.  When I get home I plan to have this photo printed and hang it over my bed so he can watch over me as I sleep (things a Stephen King novel are made of).

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Right before getting on the interstate I saw a huge plume of black smoke just to my left.

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The trucks in the foreground belong to a utility crew, working between me and the fire (they were a safe distance away, but were keeping a watchful eye on the situation).  I drove back in to see what was burning.  Turns out it was actually two fires, and was a controlled burn of tree limbs and other debris.  Don’t be fooled by the structures in the photo below – they are not on fire, but are merely in the shot due to the vantage point from which I took the photo.

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Confident that Santaquin was safe, I hopped on I-15 and headed south for the several hour drive to Zion National Park in the extreme southwest corner of the state.

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Today I plan to see the Grand Canyon from the North Rim, then the southern portion of Grand Staircase – Escalate National Monument on Saturday, Bryce Canyon (finally!) on Sunday, and Zion National Park Monday before heading down to Flagstaff, Arizona for my next stop. A busy couple of days ahead.