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Part 1 (Continued)
Great American Dog-Friendly Road TripTM
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The next day we stopped in Reno for lunch at the Wild Oats Natural Food Market. Pets are not allowed inside, but while one of us waited outside with Toby, the other one went inside to get food from the deli and brought it back to the outdoor table. The food was great but the wind kicked up mid-way through our meal and almost blew everything off of our table!
From Reno we continued on our trip heading east on Interstate 80. The terrain was mostly dry like a high plain desert. Not too much to see on this stretch of highway other than some passing trains like the one shown here.
We stopped for the night at the Motel 6 in Winnemucca, Nevada. Dogs are welcome with no extra pet fees.
Heading the other way (west) on Interstate 80 was a huge oversized truck load. With most oversize loads you can usually pass with care. However, this one was so wide it had a police escort and all the cars heading westbound on the highway had to follow behind it.
This was something a little different from the usually desert terrain. The Interstate goes under this big hill via some man-made tunnels.
The town of Elko, Nevada had a nice park where we stopped and had lunch. I can't remember the name of the park, but heading east I believe we took the second Elko exit. When still on the highway, you should be able to see it on your right. The park also had one of the best playgrounds for kids that we saw on our whole trip.
I think this was the last exit in Nevada before entering into Utah. We should have filled up the car with gas at this exit because ahead of us was one of the longest stretches on our trip without any gas stations along the highway (between West Wendover, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah). We didn't run out of gas, but it was pretty close.
As we got closer to Salt Lake City, we saw a funny looking cell phone antenna tower. In some parts of the country, the towers look like trees to blend in with the environment. I guess in a desert region, they want it to look like a cactus. Regardless of the effort, it still didn't quite blend in.
You know you're getting closer to Salt Lake City when you start to see salt residue along the highway. 
Here is a photo of Morton Salt's salt manufacturing plant. They chose this location because of the high salt content of the Great Salt Lake.
The Great Salt Lake covers 1,700 square miles and has a maximum depth of about 35 feet. This lake is about 3 to 5 times saltier than an ocean. Because of the high salt content, people swimming in the lake have an easier time floating. There are no fish in the lake, but there are brine shrimp and brine flies. The lake is also the largest lake west of the Mississippi River and the 4th largest terminal lake (no outlet)  in the world. 
Getting closer to Salt Lake City, there was a big building that  looked like a Temple. 
We stopped for 3 nights at the  La Quinta Inn near the Salt Lake City airport in Utah. Dogs are welcome and there is no pet fee. It was located in a nice open spot with a few other hotels and commercial buildings that had lots of grass to walk on.
Salt Lake City sits at an elevation of about 4,300 feet above sea level. About a million people live in the city and the surrounding area. The city has some nice parks and overall the people seem very friendly towards dogs.
Liberty Park  in downtown Salt Lake City was one of the best city parks we've visited in terms of overall usefulness, atmosphere and pet-friendliness. The park has a small but nice amusement park for kids which includes a carousel, swing ride, little car ride and more. The park also has a large playground, lots of areas to walk and frequent live entertainment. Leashed pets are allowed in the park including the amusement park, just not on the rides.
There was a festival going on at Liberty Park the day we visited and dogs were welcome. They had entertainment, vendor booths and food. It was refreshing to see this kind of venue without a "no dogs allowed" sign.

Ensign Peak Trail and Overlook is a nice short hike located about a 5 to 10 minute drive from the Utah State Capitol in downtown Salt Lake City. You will get some great views of downtown from this trail. Pets are allowed but need to be leashed. Getting there can be a little tricky. You'll need to drive through a residential neighborhood to get there.  From the State Capitol head east to East Capitol Blvd. Turn left and go through a neighborhood. Turn left on North Sandrun Drive. The trail will be on the right and there should be ample parking on the road.

Next Newsletter coming in January 2005: On the road to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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