Salt Lake City to Evanston, WY - I-80
The start of Day 2 required a little backtracking. I had used Interstate 80 on my return from Park City the night before, so I once again tackled the Wasatch Mountains in 4-lane comfort--only this time, in the opposite direction. I-80 is everything you'd expect in a road that cuts through these impressive hills.
I realized quickly that Day 2 would be a day spent dodging clouds. As I started out, the skies didn't look promising...
... but by the time I reached Echo Reservoir, at the edge of the interstate, blue skies ruled. There's a good parking area for eastbound travelers, that allows you to view the lake.
Be sure to check out the sandstone cliffsides near the I-80/I-84 junction. They look a lot like some of the rocks you'd see in Arches National Park, minus a few thousand years of erosion.
Evanston, Wyoming is the first big thing east of Salt Lake City, but you soon learn that in Wyoming, "big" is a relative term. With only about half a million people in the entire state, each town receives just a tiny share of the population. When in Wyoming, don't be surprised if, after traveling for an hour without passing a single home or business, you come upon a solitary town with just one tiny main street.
Evanston's Main Street is just a block off the main route through town, and it's worth at least a passing glance. A few old ghost signs add to the western feel which, here, is definitely authentic.
The old Strand Theater may once again see the flicker of a film. Fire destroyed it in May, 2007, well over a year before I visited. It was quite obvious that in that time, almost nothing had happened, except for the addition of an appeal to someone to save the old structure, spray-painted on the plywood that now covered the entrance. A few weeks after I stopped by, I learned the owners agreed to donate the structure to a local agency, which will attempt to raise money and restore the Strand.
The town's most outstanding Main Street building is the red brick structure, which used to be home to the Blyth & Fargo Company. The old ghost signs on the front and side have been repainted...
... so I drove around back for a more authentic look. I always find better photographic opportunities in alleyways, anyhow.
According to a lengthy account of Blyth & Fargo's history, the store did business in Evanston for 109 years, and benefited from the town's boom days in the 50's and 60's. The article doesn't say exactly when it went out of business, but my math suggests it closed in the early 80's.
Leaving Evanston, stay on Interstate 80 for a while, until you reach Wyoming Route 414.
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