They call it the San Rafael Reef, a 30-mile-long barrier, a sandstone wall at the eastern edge of nowhere. For centuries, only the most intrepid travelers found their way through its narrow slot canyons and into the forbidding landscape of the San Rafael Swell. The early Spanish Explorers detoured 20 miles north to avoid this wall. Then in 1957, Congress decided to increase the nation’s interstate highway system. I-70 would be built though the San Rafael Swell, cutting through the Reef. Here at Spotted Wolf, workers could stand in the canyon and touch both walls. Engineers and surveyors used body harnesses and ropes to work as high as 400 feet above the canyon floor. Crews excavated 3.5 million cubic yards of rock from the area where eight miles of road cost $4.5 million. In 1970 the way was opened for two lanes of traffic from Fremont Junction to the Colorado State Line. Two more lanes were finished in the mid-1980’s. The ride through the Reef takes five minutes, entering a wild and spectacular landscape.
We stayed at Antelope Valley RV Park (an RPI park) in Delta UT, a small town of about 3,000 folks on US 50. Once we get into Nevada, US 50 is called the “Loneliest Road in America”.