This weekend was my first long-distance trip in the hybrid. My good friend Spencer is having his missionary farewell sacrament meeting. A great excuse to go to Utah for a weekend. Denver to Salt Lake. Approximately 550 miles. I should be able to do that on one tank of gas.
Fast-forward a bit to the trip. I didn't quite make it on a single tank. Going across Wyoming, I hit a lot of wind. Strong winds blowing from head-on to crosswise. I averaged maybe 34 MPG across Wyoming. Not horrible, but certainly nowhere close to the 50 I was boasting.
I noticed on my way that the temperature started dropping. Maybe I could've saved a little fuel if I turned off the A/C and opened a window. Unfortunately, the temperature drop was accompanied by rain, all the way to my in-laws' in Kaysville. When I got close, I decided to fuel up again, so the next morning I could make it to southern Salt Lake without any worries. I open the door and it's BITTER COLD. The gas pump wouldn't read my credit card, so I had to pay inside. A TV behind the counter is talking about the weather, announcing a SNOW ADVISORY for the foothills. WTH?! (Please note the second paragraph, above, for a further clue of why this is a problem.) Up until this point, my car was running the A/C to keep the interior of my car cool. After the air exchange getting gas, it was now running the heater.
After staying overnight at my in-laws', I got ready to drive south, watching the weather go from simply overcast, to rain, to hail, and back. And still cold. My father-in-law offered me a jacket, but I declined. I was planning on leaving for home straight from Salt Lake, and I was going to be inside anyway, right? The drive down wasn't too bad, although there was one instance where a cop car with lights on was going 35 in one lane of traffic -- and all four lanes were keeping pace behind him. ??? It's really annoying when the sight of a cop makes people slam on their brakes and suddenly go 10 MPH under the speed limit, but this was the most extreme example I've seen in a long time. Utah drivers. Sheesh.
I ended up getting to the church about 45 minutes early. I'd rather over-estimate my drive time than under-estimate. I thought the weather would have more of an effect on the commute, but perhaps the fact that it was Sunday in Utah made up for it. As I waited in the parking lot, the hail came down again. ::shakes head::
Sacrament meeting was awesome. The opening hymn was Let Us All Press On, one of my favorites. Spencer's talk was great, too. It was ::consults thesaurus:: wonderful to hear his testimony. Despite the lack of micromanifestations and an explanation of his albino East Indian appearance, it was worth the trip. And the closing hymn was God Be with You Till We Meet Again, and the organist stopped playing during the last chorus, so we sang that a capella. WAY cool.
After sacrament meeting (apparently blowing off Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society is some kind of 7th Ward tradition) was food and stuff at the Bagley home. Outside. Once again, I refer you to the paragraph above. I got to meet some of Spencer's friends, who were all pretty cool. They didn't seem at all put out by having a 33-year-old in their midst. Unfortunately, during that time, I ended up dropping my laptop on the Bagleys' tile entryway. The corner of the long-life battery that sticks out of the back for an inch or so took the full force of the impact. Fortunately, the laptop itself was undamaged. The battery case is cracked, however. It appears to be working still, but I think I'll be getting a replacement, just in case.
The drive home was better. There was a lot less wind, and it was more behind me than in front of me. I averaged about 54 MPG on the return trip. I was listening to the scriptures on the way home, sort of. To keep myself entertained, I was doing a little MST3k. I'm sure that requires a talk with the bishop. It was made worse by the fact that I had Skeletor saying "And he prays!" stuck in my head. (To preserve your sanity, don't click here -- thanks, Allison.)
I got home at midnight. The temperature was 61°, which was the warmest temperature I'd seen since first crossing the continental divide in Wyoming the day before.
I did record Spencer's talk and take pictures at the reception thing, for all posterity:
TALK mp3 warning – slow link