I visited the University of Southern California

After spending a lot of time with my friend Doug Wreden in the Seattle Metropolitan Area this past summer, I headed out for the next leg of my road trip journey in September. Two months later (i.e., earlier this month), we were reunited in Los Angeles, California after I had arrived in town to set up my temporary base camp for the winter at the Tempo headquarters in Long Beach, and Doug flew in for a few days for an unrelated matter to attend an in-person event at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

We met up in Hollywood to get lunch together at a ramen restaurant with two of our mutual friends, then headed over to the University of Southern California campus so we would be nearby and he wouldn’t be late for his event. Event parking was US$40.00 in the main lot, but we managed to get the best luck possible by finding a side street with free weekend street parking.

We headed into the USC campus and wandered into the California Science Center, a museum with free admission.

This was one of the strangest museums I’ve ever been to, and I probably would not have been too happy if I had to pay to get in.

After we went up the escalator, one of the first things we saw was an exhibit dedicated to COVID-19. It already wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing to see in a museum, especially considering that we had just finished surviving a pandemic and most people probably want to take their minds off of it and want to resume normal life, but the mood and tone of the exhibit was a bit apocalyptic. It had the number of deaths prominently displayed on a digital screen, and the messaging still strongly pushed masking and social distancing. Confused, Doug and I chuckled a bit and went to the next section of the museum.

Next up was a section that was designed as if you were walking into a woman’s reproductive organs. Deep into the “uterus,” there was a video playing de­picting a woman giving birth in graphic detail with great clarity. There were a few small children eagerly watching. Further confused, Doug and I de­cided that was enough learning about reproduction for one day, and we walked through a tunnel (which I imagine represented a fallopian tube) to exit that sec­tion.

On the way to the next section, we took an intermission to watch a short film. The longer we watched, the more confused we got (as if we weren’t in­com­pre­hen­si­bly confused at this museum already). We realized that the film wasn’t actually a film, but rather, just a bunch of stock footage stitched to­geth­er with random words (like “water,” “desert,” “mountains,” “life,” etc.) overlayed on top of the footage. This is one of those “you had to be there to get it” moments, but if you have any experience editing video and you caught onto this, you probably would’ve also found it ridiculous.

If you thought it ended there, you would be sorely mistaken. The next exhibit was about avian life, and there was an interactive game I tried out where you would feed a ball into a tube and use a lever to shoot it out, and it was supposed to reflect something related to birds and how they evolved to sur­vive. I never found out what that was, though… because the ball just got stuck in the tube and I couldn’t get it out.

By this point, I had solidly awarded this the worst museum I have ever been to, and during my year-and-a-half road trip, I have been to a tremendous num­ber of museums.

It seemed like the main attraction of this museum was the area about space, and even this wasn’t that incredible.

The weirdness also didn’t end. There were a set of worn-down tires on display and a sign that said “Touch the tires!” but it was safely behind a barricade. The most prominent display of this entire area, directly in the middle of the space, was a movie and explanation of how astronauts defecated in space, as well as a physical model where you could climb up some steps and see what it would feel like to use a space toilet.

In a neighboring building, the Endeavour was on display. It was interesting to me that, as a space shuttle adorned with United States flags that was part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, an agency associated with United States federal government, they decided to spell Endeavor with a “u.” My best guess is that it was named in honor of or named after something British, but I never found out for sure.

After we decided we had enough of this museum, we decided to go for a walk around the campus some more, first taking a stroll through some rose gar­dens that were not in bloom because it is December, and then walking through a field with a ton of chipmunks. It seemed like the university students treated them well and fed them a lot, because when I stooped down and extended my fingers, the chipmunks walked right up to me, presumably because they thought I had food.

Here is a fountain. (I like fountains and waterfalls.)

Something I found intriguing about the USC campus was how there were random single palm trees planted in random places, at an average density of one palm tree per few blocks. Usually, you’ll see a row of palm trees lined up along pathways or organized in a cluster in open areas, but USC seems to have decided to put single palm trees right in the middle of other trees and buildings.

With my adoration of dogs, I of course had to take a picture with George Tirebiter. This is a bronze statue of the dog located at the intersection of Bloom Walk and Trousdale Parkway, just off West Exposition Boulevard, in between the Marshall School of Business and Zumberge Hall of Science. It was erected in 2006 by Michael Davis and is titled “Mascot/Fan.”

By coincidence, I had great synergy with the dog because I was wearing a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department K-9 hoodie.

Oh, and here is Doug who, after I passed my phone to him and asked him to take a photo of me with George, instead used the wrong-facing camera and ended up taking a selfie of himself (though, knowing Doug, I am guessing it wasn’t entirely a mistake).

After our adventure, we walked towards the Galen Center together so I could bid Doug farewell and head back to my truck. Of course, with my fantastic luck, the route we took led us onto West 34th Street, and we did not realize that its intersection with Figueroa Street right in front of the Galen Center was blocked with a closed vehicular gate and a locked pedestrian gate. … We solved this problem by just climbing over the fence.

I wasn’t really a fan of my undergraduate university years, and I feel like my exposure to the University of Southern California was probably the worst it could’ve possibly been considering the circumstances, but I still enjoyed spending time with Doug and exploring the campus, and it still brought back a bit of the nostalgia of being a younger college student.




The final stretch

After wrapping up my trek through Utah, I cut through the northwestern corner of Arizona on my way to Southern California for the winter.

This stretch of I-15 from Mesquite, Nevada to St. George, Utah, known as the Virgin River Gorge, was the first time I had ever driven through a moun­tainous area back in June 2021 when I first started my long road trip journey. The views were stunning, the road was hugged by cliffs on both sides, and it literally felt like the intro to the wild movie my life was about to be for the next year and a half.

Because of the route I took, I returned to Las Vegas last winter from the southeast via U.S. Route 93. However, this year, because I came back from Utah, I got to drive the Virgin River Gorge in the opposite direction, as if concluding my “movie” and wrapping it up full circle.

Because of the time zone difference be­tween Utah’s Mountain Standard Time and Nevada’s Pacific Standard Time, I had an additional hour to spare in between check-out time in St. George and check-in time at Lake Las Vegas. I decided to use this time to make a stop at the Virgin River Canyon Camp­ground to go for a quick walk and take in the views.

I parked in an open spot on the western camping area and headed southwest down Sullivan’s Canyon Trail.

I went down to the base of the hill before deciding to cut my walk short after realizing that the Sullivan’s Canyon Trail intersects the Virgin River. I was wearing long pants and regular boots, and I didn’t want to get wet, so I snapped a photo of the river and turned around.

Before continuing the rest of the way to Nevada, I snapped a photo of my truck with the mountains serving as a nice backdrop.

My hotel in the Las Vegas Valley was The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada. They were kind enough to upgrade me to one of the suites facing east towards the lake. The suite itself wasn’t exactly the best maintained, and it had a bit of a mildew smell, but I had gotten the room at a discounted rate to begin with, so I was just appreciative of the fact that I was given a free upgrade anyway.

After attending the final class for my Continuing Education management certification at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, checking my PO box, ex­changing some belongings in my storage unit, getting a haircut, stopping by the dentist for a routine cleaning, and taking care of all my other errands, an­other successful Las Vegas trip came to a close, and I continued southbound on Interstate 15 for Southern California.

Of course, it wouldn’t be California without a clown fiesta of traffic. I found myself in a construction zone in the middle of the desert where about two lanes’ worth of road was barricaded off due to construction. This area of the highway also had no right shoulder.

There was a collision.

Traffic was backed up for literally several miles. Emergency medical services couldn’t get through because there was bumper-to-bumper traffic and there were no shoulders on either side of the interstate. The travel lanes were so narrow that, even if the drivers were coordinated enough (which, in the U­nit­ed States, they’re not), they wouldn’t even be able to hug one side of their lane to make enough space in the middle for an ambulance.

First responders ended up having to off-road in order to bypass the traffic, which looked terrifying, because they were basically driving at almost a 45° an­gle and looked like they were about to tip over and roll into the ditch. Because the number of lanes were already reduced due to construction, eve­ry­one had to funnel into the single right-most lane in order to drive past the site of the accident. This segment alone added almost an hour to my drive.

With that, I’ve completed my third big loop of my road trip (or second, depending on how you look at it)—the first being the horizontal one taking me as far east as South Carolina, the second being the vertical one across the Mountain States and up to the Seattle Metropolitan Area, and the third being a small one through western Canada that was appended onto the second loop.

As it stands now, I have step foot in (or, in the case of a very few, just driven through) 41 of the 50 states in the United States of America. The only ones I have left now to visit are Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware.

I’m in Southern California now, at Tempo‘s hybrid office and residential facility in Long Beach. I’ll be staying here on-and-off for the next few months while I rest up and recover.

I’m looking forward to potentially doing a trip on the southern edge of Arizona and New Mexico so I can make a stop in El Paso, Texas and then cross the border to visit Mexico. I’m also thinking about making a drive up to Monterey, California to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the non-profit for which my friend Doug Wreden raised over US$100k and had me dress up in a bunny suit with him to eat a whole salmon as a stretch goal. (Of course, I would make multiple stops along the way, and also visit more than just the aquarium in Monterey.)

However, until then, I plan on relaxing and staying in one spot semi-long-term to take a break from constant travel.




The Utah round-up

I was on a schedule to get back to Las Vegas by a certain date to make sure I was there in time to attend an in-person class for one of my continuing ed­u­ca­tion certifications, so I didn’t quite get to spend as much time in Utah as I wanted to. On top of that, I got snowed in for a few days, and also had a few busy days of work at Tempo, so it felt like my stay was a bit shorter than it actually was. Because I had a disproportionately low number of Utah posts, I de­cided to put together a state round-up like I sometimes do.

I like to break up my drive as much as possible, so as long as there is a convenient hotel along the way, I’ll try to avoid driving more than a few hours at a time. On my way from Twin Falls to Salt Lake City, I decided to spend a night in Ogden, about an hour or so north of my next destination in the eastern suburbs of Salt Lake City.

After resting up for the night, I finished my way down to the Courtyard by Marriott Salt Lake City Cottonwood in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

I haven’t been posting hotel room photos as much anymore because I consistently stay in the same franchised brands and all the rooms look very similar, but I figured it’s been long enough that I’d share again what the newer Courtyards look like, and what my temporary “home” in the Salt Lake City met­ro­pol­i­tan area was like.

Earlier this year when I was traveling through Colorado, I encountered some snow but refused to buy a snow brush because I knew that, with my luck, I would only use it once, then it would stop snowing and I would never have to use it again. This proved troublesome, because it snowed quite a bit, so I ended up having to come up with some very creative solutions to remove the snow from my pickup truck every time I needed to drive it somewhere. Still, I remained headstrong, because I knew that the day I bought a snow brush would be the day it stopped snowing for the year.

If I had known that I was staying so long in the Seattle Metropolitan Area and would be headed back down through Idaho and Utah during the late fall, I would’ve bought a snow brush back in March with the assumption that I would be using it in November. However, I didn’t think that far ahead, so I end­ed up just never purchasing a snow brush.

After seeing snow in the Idaho weather forecast, I didn’t want a repeat of what happened in Colorado, so I immediately bought the largest and most expensive snow brush with the most features I could possibly find after arriving in Idaho. That was a wise decision, because the following day, I used my snow brush.

And that’s it. The curse came through. I never had to use my snow brush again after the very first time. Yes, it snowed a lot in Utah, but when it did, I was parked in an underground parking structure. On days when I was at hotels where there was only surface lot parking, it never snowed.

Now I just have an egregiously high-tech snow brush sitting idly in the back seat footwell of my truck.

Never lucky.

Regardless, the view from my hotel room of the snowy mountains were awesome. Here are three different shots from three different days with varying time proximity to the snowstorm and varying amounts of sunlight.

I was actually very surprised at how many electric pickup trucks were in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area—I saw more Rivian R1Ts during my week and a half here than I had seen anywhere else, combined and tripled. I guess that makes sense then that my very first time ever seeing a GMC Hummer EV pickup truck was also here, in the parking lot of my hotel.

I pretty much almost never post photographs of vehicles that are not my own, but I figured I had to post this one because of how much I like the Hum­mer EV, as well as the fact that this had an amazing matte dark red wrap on it, which is probably the exact same color I would pick if I wanted to get my own vehicle wrapped.

I’m not the biggest fan of the bed design of the Hummer EV, because I like the upright blockier style (like my personal pickup truck, a 2018 GMC Can­yon) more than the smoother angle of the C pillar on the Hummer EV, but the overall technology, innovation, functionality, and luxury of the Hum­mer EV immediately made it my favorite new electric pickup truck reveal when it first came out.

On my way back to Las Vegas, I decided to spend a night in St. George, Utah so I wouldn’t be driving for too long in a single day.

Because of my elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy program, I get to pick rewards each qualifying year via the Annual Choice Benefit. Most travel an­a­lysts say that the suite night awards are highest in value, so I always end up picking them. Unfortunately, because I generally stay at select-tier hotels, the suite night awards aren’t as meaningful to me because there usually aren’t very many suites even available at all on the property, and if there are, they’re not that much better in quality than a regular guest room, apart from just being a bit bigger in square footage.

Suite night awards via the Annual Choice Benefit expire in one year, and I have a bunch expiring on December 31, 2022, so in St. George, I decided to stay at a nicer hotel where I could use the suite night upgrade and actually get a big upgrade—the Advenire Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection.

One reason why I avoid nicer hotels, though, is that it actually gets pretty inconvenient. Fairfield Inns, SpringHill Suites, and Residence Inns generally have straightforward building structures, parking is almost always free, and there are multiple entrances for quick access to the interior. However, the fancier you go in hotels, the more inconveniences arise.

For example, at the Advenire, parking was valet-only for US$18.00 per night. If I didn’t want to use valet, I had to either street park or use a structure on the other side of the street. I’ve had way too many bad experiences with valet parking service, and I just don’t like the idea of having valet touch my ve­hi­cle at all to begin with, so I unloaded my stuff at the front and went searching for this off-site parking garage.

Of course, I took the wrong turn three times, proceeded to drive in circles around the wrong city blocks, had to take detours because of streets closed for construction, and the entire time regretted not just staying at a Courtyard or SpringHill Suites only 2-4 miles away.

By around this time last year, I was pretty set on Colorado being my favorite state, and Utah being second. After visiting Montana, those two states got bumped down to #2 and #3, but the sequence of them remained the same.

I think my last visit to Salt Lake City wasn’t very fair, not only because I picked an older, not-so-well-maintained, past-generation Fairfield Inn, but also be­cause I had the broken glasses fiasco that ate up a lot of my time.

After having driven through Utah again at the beginning of this year, and then again recently, I think Utah has caught up to, or maybe even surpassed, Colorado in the ranking. I still think Colorado is amazing, but Utah has more variety to it, while Colorado seems to stick to a “theme.”

If I’m able to stick around in Las Vegas like I want to when I pick a long-term residence again, that would be good news for the sake of visiting Utah a­gain, considering that it is right next door and on the way to anything towards the east.




Hello, Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City

While browsing through tourist activities to do while in Salt Lake City, I came across the Red Butte Garden, a botanical garden. I found it earlier on dur­ing my stay, but I noticed that there is a 50% discount on admissions starting from December 1, so I waited until the first of the month to visit. Ad­mis­sion ended up being only US$7.00.

I’m glad I got the discount, because this was less of a botanical garden and more of just a leisurely walk in a premium park. That’s completely reasonable and understandable, though, because my visit happened not very long after a series of snowstorms, so it makes sense that the flowers won’t be in bloom.

There were a lot of winding paths, so I sort of just wandered around without truly knowing where I was going. Starting from the visitor center, I believe I went through the Courtyard Garden, possibly the Four Seasons Garden, towards the Children’s Garden, and ended up in the Water Conservation Gar­den.

As I went up the switchbacks northeast of the Water Conservation Garden, I climbed in elevation and made it up to the Prospect Point Terrace. From here, I was able to get some nice views of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

From the top, I looked towards the southeast towards the natural area access points and Seepy Hollow for a nice view of snow-covered mountains.

After making my way down, I meandered around the Fragrance Garde, Medicinal Garden, and Herb Garden. As you can probably tell from the photos, it was a little bit difficult to tell them apart.

I saw from the map that there was a body of water nearby, so I started walking towards the Red Butte Creek and passed a few waysides.

On the way there, I also saw a statue of a moose.

The stream had a light trickle, but the pond was completely frozen over. On one triangularly opposite side of the pond was the Water Pavilion and the Wa­ter Pavilion Garden; on the other triangularly opposite side of the pond was a small waterfall that also only had a light trickle, and fed into another different frozen pond.

I continued on the walking path on the northwestern side along Red Butte Canyon Road and approached the terrace, amphitheater, and stage.

After going around the loop and past the concert and special event entrances, I walked through a relatively dead Rose Garden and Floral Walk. I did end up finding one bright and blossomed flower, but I think this might have just been a special thing by the Orangerie and not actually part of the Floral Walk.

It appeared like I was one of the only people weird enough to go to a botanical garden days after a snowstorm, so the parking lot was pretty empty and made for a good photo opportunity for my trusty truck with a nice backdrop.

If I had known that the Red Butte Skyline Nature Trail was nearby, I would’ve arrived earlier, worn snakers, and gone for a longer hike, but I ended up just exploring the main Red Butte Garden area and returning to my hotel so I could make it back in time to attend a conference call.

Overall, my stroll around the property was a little shy of 2 miles (almost exactly 3 kilometers).

I obviously can’t make a proper recommendation on whether or not I think you should visit the Red Butte Garden based solely on my own experience, considering that I clearly missed out on a big part of the “garden” aspect of the garden due to my off-season visit, but it was a still decent reason for me to go out into nature and get some fresh air, and I don’t regret going.




Hello, Heughs Canyon and Bonneville Shoreline Trails in Holladay, Utah

I had a small internal conflict about whether I should publish this blog post and these photos or not, because when I went hiking at this trail, I forgot my regular camera so I just snapped some quick shots from my phone.

What is extra problematic for me is that the views from this trail were actually pretty amazing, so not only does my phone not produce high-quality photo­graphs, but it doubly does not give the trail justice because of how vast and sweeping the real views were.

Ultimately, I decided to just post these anyway because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of content creators striving too much for perfection and being too hard on themselves. The entire point of my blog is supposed to be for me to leave a trail of memories to look back at, and this will still definitely serve that purpose.

The trailhead for the Heughs Canyon Trail is inside Canyon Cove, a wealthy neighborhood in Holladay, Utah. The “parking lot” for the trail is at the out­side of the subdivision and was just a short row of angled street parking spaces, but as I approached it, I didn’t notice it at first. I was driving too quickly and didn’t have enough space to slow down to get into a spot, so I just continued on into the neighborhood.

There were a lot of areas in the neighborhood that had “No Parking” signs, but I managed to find a clear area close to the trailhead, on Oak Canyon Drive. I’m not sure why, but there were three Greater Salt Lake Unified Police Department SUVs parked there in a row, so I just parked right alongside them in an effort to blend in and pretend like I belonged. That ended up working, because by the time I finished my hike and got back to my truck, I didn’t have a parking ticket.

Being able to park here was actually a pretty big deal, because the neighborhood is built on a hill and it would’ve added an extra 100 feet or so of el­e­va­tion gain and about half a mile round-trip onto my hike. This way, I was able to save my energy for the actual hike, as opposed to just walking to the trail­head.

The beginning of the trail was basically just a straight shot deeper into the mountains via a narrow valley. This area was heavily shaded from the sun, so a lot of areas still had snow coverage, and some areas were even icy.

A little under a mile into the hike, I had an option of continuing deeper on Heughs Canyon Trail, but I instead took a switchback and connected onto Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I’m not really quite sure why it is called a “shoreline” trail; the elevation here was over a mile above sea level and about a thousand feet above the rest of Holladay, so if the water level rose that much, then I guess it could’ve technically been a path along the shoreline.

After making that switchback, I started seeing the amazing views into the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

I continued on along the trail, which progressively opened up better and better views of the city. Again, I’m disappointed that I only had my phone to take photos because its optical zoom is highly limited (as you can tell) and anything above its optical zoom limit is just digital zoom, so you can’t really pick up much detail of the cities and mountains.

Part-way through my hike, I entered the Mount Olympus Wilderness, part of the Wasatch National Forest.

The trail slightly curved along the mountainside, so as I continued to walk, it progressively opened up slightly new angles of perspective of the view of the city.

I loved that there was some very low haze coverage on this day, presumably of some thicker mist or moisture. It created a narrow layer of white above the horizon, but the skies were still clear, so the tips of the mountains to the west still stuck out above the haze, which made for a very interesting sight.

Once I reached the intersection with Mount Olympus Trail, I retraced my steps back and returned to my truck.

My round-trip hike ended up being a little bit over 4 miles (which is just over 6.5 kilometers). I didn’t have a working altimeter so I don’t know for sure, but based on the topographical map, it appears like my total elevation gain for the hike was about 900 feet (or about 275 meters).




Hello, Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah

After traveling across the United States and a portion of Canada for about a year and a half now, it feels like I’ve seen most of what there is to see.

When I go to a new city, I like to go to something that the city is known for (like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, or the Kentucky Derby Mu­se­um in Louisville), but some areas don’t really have anything that iconic. Yes, most places will have some sort of regional history museum, but it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly going to be something with nationwide prestige.

Alternatively, I try to look for specialty museums—museums that might not be tied to a specific place, but are so unique and one-of-a-kind that I likely won’t see a variant of it again anywhere else.

While visiting Salt Lake City, Utah, I found a great example of something exactly like that: the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum, a museum dedicated to Toyota Land Cruisers and other related Toyota vehicles.

This museum had multiple rows of Land Cruiser trucks and SUVs ranging from models from 1953 all the way to 2021. Beside each vehicle was a very thor­ough description that provided specifications, gave a summary of the general model, and shared a history of that particular vehicle (i.e., what it did dur­ing its lifetime and how it ended up at the museum).

Many of the Land Cruisers had modifications for functionality. One of my favorite things about pickup trucks and body-on-frame SUVs is their easy mod­ability and how owners can change specific parts to their liking to serve their own unique and personalized purpose. It’s fun looking at various up­grades and making the connection of how it was relevant to the vehicle’s story.

These dark baby blue and white Land Cruisers were FJ models. If I remember correctly, the one on the right was used as a tow truck.

As I looped around one row of Land Cruisers, I turned around the bend and looked down two more parallel rows of even more Land Cruisers.

Apparently this monster truck version of a Land Cruiser was for sale.

Here are some more FJ models, these from the “Adventure” section. The one thing I remember from this section was that, I’m not sure why, but one of these vehicles had never been used and was straight out of the factory. This meant that a dealership didn’t even have the opportunity yet to remove any of the protective plastic and prepare it for sale. You see the protective plastic film on electronics all the time, but it was very unexpected to see it on the outside of a motor vehicle.

Of course, a Land Cruiser collection wouldn’t be complete without the latest 2021 model. For those who don’t keep up with trucks and SUVs, Toyota de­cid­ed to discontinue the Land Cruiser, so this will be the last model made. I’m curious how this museum is going to react to that—whether they will start bringing in some Sequoias instead, or just focus purely on historical models.

This is a Mega Cruiser from the 1990s designed to be a military vehicle. It is extremely boxy, so it looks unmanageably gigantic. Funny enough, though, I checked the specifications on the info placard and discovered from the dimensions that the width of this Mega Cruiser is actually narrower than the Ram TRX and Ford F-150 Raptor.

This reminded me of when Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck and people thought it was massive… without realizing that the published dimensions made it nearly identical in size to a traditional full-size pickup truck like a Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverardo. This goes to show how much body lines and other aesthetic factors have a play in a vehicle’s perceived size.

This is clearly a Toyota Hilux and not a Land Cruiser, but the reason it was included in this museum, and the reason I included it in my blog post, is due to its incredible story. This Hilux was part of the “Arctic Trucks” collection and served on some of the harshest expeditions across Antarctica and Green­land.

There was a lot of information posted about these expedition vehicles, and reading through all of them made me gain a lot of respect for the people who decide to conquer the most remote areas of the planet in a small group, and along the way, demonstrating great self-reliance by overcoming catastrophic levels of vehicular damage inflicted by unexpected obstacles.

I took a picture of this vehicle because I found it funny that it arrived at the museum with all its Middle Eastern dirt and dust intact. You can see where people had touched it, which I imagine is what prompted the museum to further place an additional sign reminding people not to touch it.

This charred FJ Land Cruiser had my favorite story behind it, albeit a sad one. Owned by a former Butte County sheriff, this Land Cruiser was engulfed in flames during the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, California—a fire that I specifically remember hearing and reading about as it was happening four years ago. It is the most destructive Californian wildfire to date, and it took about three weeks for the fire to be fully contained.

This Land Cruiser sits in the museum to remind us of the fragility of life, the speed at which things can be abruptly taken from us, and the importance of cherishing and appreciating the people and belongings we love.

It was difficult to get any interior shots because of how the museum was organized and how cramped the vehicles were placed alongside each other (which was sort of a necessity due to the vast quantity of vehicles on display and the limited space in the building), but I was able to peek into some of the Land Cruisers that were on the corner edges by the aisles.

Of course, being a pickup truck fan, I had to post at least one photo of a pickup truck—this is a Bandeirante concept prototype that ultimately became the FJ Cruiser.

On the theme of the off-road potential of Land Cruisers, the museum had a very intricate and detailed topographical map of the state of Utah on display on one of the walls. I thought it was extremely well-built, so I snapped a photo of the southwest corner of Utah near St. George, my next destination after Salt Lake City.

If you don’t care at all about cars, this is absolutely not the museum for you. Admission was US$18.00, and someone who is not actually interested in Land Cruisers will probably stroll through in 20 minutes or less, and it won’t be worth the price to get in.

However, if you are a fan of trucks, SUVs, and/or off-roading, this museum is probably going to be a dream come true for you. I personally spent a few hours slowly going through every vehicle, reading almost every single vehicle’s story, and revisiting some aisles twice. There were also some videos play­ing in the ad­ven­ture section, and I stuck around watching decent portions of them to see the brutal expeditions that the trucks sitting directly in front of me had been on.

And there above is the final shot I took down the center of the museum from the entrance/exit.

I’m not really sure where this museum gets the funding to be able to afford all these Land Cruisers and cover the upkeep and maintenance for the fa­cil­i­ty, but I sure hope they can keep it going, because this was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.