Day 3: 430 miles — Lehi, Utah, to Henderson, Nevada.
If I was really doing this road trip to Super Bowl the right way, I would have left a week ago.
Southern Utah is a stunning place that shouldn’t be rushed through in an afternoon.
I woke up in Lehi, a city between Salt Lake City and Provo, to the sight of the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains, then cruised south on Interstate I-5 toward the red rock.
My assignment for the day was to get to Las Vegas and check out the sportsbooks, but the farther south I got I couldn’t take it anymore. I called a buddy of mine, a BYU graduate who I’ve explored Utah with on two occasions, and he recommended I try Kolob Canyons.
The canyons are in a section of Zion National Park just off the Interstate, so I could make a quick stop. First I did a short hike, then I spotted another trailhead a ranger had recommended. Three hours later, I’d hiked about 7.5 miles and nearly filled my phone with pictures.
I followed Taylor Creek up a red rock canyon to a formation called the Double Arch Alcove. There, I found a true rarity: Two people who had no idea who was playing in the Super Bowl.
Rita and Damon (they didn’t give me their last names) live nearby and say they don’t watch television. They were blissfully unaware that the Super Bowl was taking place a few hundred miles to the south.
When I asked why they didn’t watch football, they both looked up at the 2,000-foot canyon walls and the alcove that echoed our entire conversation. They didn’t have to say a word.
Still, they probably would have fared better than me that evening when I pulled into Las Vegas.
I have a gambling problem — I’m terrible at it.
I walked up to the counter at the Caesars Palace sportsbook, plopped down $5 (the minimum) and said I’m betting there won’t be a safety in the Super Bowl.
There has been a safety in the past three Super Bowls, so I’m figuring no way it’s happening again.
“Uhh,” the guy behind the counter said. “You realize you’re betting $5 to win, like, 62 cents.”
“Fine,” I said. “Five dollars that there will be a safety in the Super Bowl. And another $5 on the Seahawks to win it all.”
I saw the Seahawks’ odds were 9-2 (best of any team) to win Super Bowl 50 next year.
Tempting, but I was already $10 out of my comfort zone.
LICENSE PLATE UPDATE
It’s not going well. Just 31 of 51 with Hawaii, most of the southeast and my arch nemesis, Delaware, still out there.
But it’s closer than the score indicates. Just a little thing here or there. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.