Well, my friends, if you have stuck it out with me over the last twelve days and almost as many posts, you know that I have just reached the halfway point of this grand adventure. I’ve rolled up 4008 total miles to date (I’m tracking actual travel mileage from point to point, but not the in-between driving downtown, out to get dinner or things of that sort), and have at least three thousand more to go.
Today was a very interesting day. It was of course a travel day, getting me from Boise, Idaho, land of the blue Smurf football fields, to Salt Lake City, land of the Mormon Tabernacle, a pretty colossal choir and a large body of water that could only be described as briny on the western side of town.
The drive was visually stunning today. They have all been good in their own ways, each day of getting from point A to point B, but some sights are just more spectacular than others. Some are so much different from what I’m used to seeing every day at home that I think that makes me sit up and take notice in a more intense way as well. Today, there were hills and then foothills and then what I consider small mountains that only lead to bigger mountains in the form of the Rockies, which I will get to traverse again tomorrow in a different part of the chain.
The stark contrast between the sandy, flatly colored hills and the bright green irrigated areas was just beautiful. What made it even more fun was putting on the earphones, cranking up some good music and seeing that the speed limit was eighty, with most folks doing eighty-five plus. I actually looked down at one point when the whole column of us was cruising along merrily and saw that I was doing ninety-two. If you like to drive, this part of the United States was made for cruising past some wonderful scenery. I thoroughly enjoyed it today.
Do you know that there are signs out west that we would never, ever have back home in the south? Some funny ones and some pretty serious ones. Here are but a few to consider:
“Game migration, next ten miles.”
Now, does this mean that bears are going to be thumbing for rides on the side of the road until the next exit, that armadillos will actually be seen alive on the off ramps instead of splatted, or that Canadian geese will be flying in the passing lanes in perfect formation? I’m not really sure. I just know that I kept my eyes peeled for moving Monopoly pieces as well as jumping deer coming out of the dust to my right and left today.
“Deer crossing, next four miles.”
Now, how in the Sam Hill do they get the deer to cross ONLY in that four mile stretch of interstate? Do the deer have pedometers? Compasses? Little deer GPS’s strapped to their noses? It’s sort of like asking why so many Civil War battle fields are beside major interstate highways. It completely misses the point. Why did the deer cross the road? Probably to get to the other side before mile marker five.
“SPEED LIMIT 80”
This one speaks for itself. Yee haw. I love the south, but damn…
Now, when I got to Salt Lake City this afternoon, I had actually made it with some daylight hours to spare, which was my plan. I wanted to go downtown to see the Mormon Temple and other sights and perhaps find a nice spot for dinner. I proceeded to do just that after checking in, and I was not disappointed. I could not go into the Temple, of course, because that is restricted to practicing Mormons and fraught with rules of engagement. I could not see the Tabernacle, which I really had wanted to tour, because there was a musical rehearsal going on the whole time I was there. I was able to walk the grounds, go into both the South and North Visitor Centers and see the exhibits there, and see the various installations on the grounds. It was a very enjoyable hour or so. Here are some images from that exploration.
Oh, that reminds me. I had a neat and minimally intimidating experience in parking this evening. When I got to Salt Lake City, there was a parking place almost directly in front of my destination. How often does that happen in the big city? Never! I was thrilled.
I realized after I maneuvered into the space that it was set up for electronic payment or pay by phone or scan. Not a parking meter anywhere to be seen, and no slots for quarters and nickels and dimes. Now, I did not have an app to scan the little code on the sign, so I searched for one and downloaded it on the spot, standing by the car. Then, when I scanned the sign, it directed me to another app that was easily downloaded and that was specifically for the purpose of paying and then tracking the time that you were away from your car and when the time that you had paid for would run out. Very cool real-world use of technology, all from your smart phone.
The two apps I used if you are interested in checking that out are:
QRReader, by TapMedia, for iPhone, and
Quick Pay or qp.
To wrap up the night, I jumped on another app that I use quite a bit when I’m out like this, which is Yelp. I found a neat little place called the Blue Lemon, just across the street from the Temple area and right around the corner from where I had parked my car. The steak tacos were excellent and more than filled me up for the night. Toward the end of my meal, the app on my iPhone gave me a warning that I had about fifteen minutes left on the “meter” and that I needed to get back to my car.
All in all, a very good day with great scenery, fun driving, a little sightseeing and a nice meal to wrap it all up.
I’ll have a very long five hundred mile-plus driving day tomorrow to reach my daughter’s house in Denver, but then will be able to stay put with her for two days before heading for Kansas. There will be hiking, coffee in Boulder at a new place there, and other fun things to do in Colorado.
Thank you, my friends, for reading.
Good night from Salt Lake City, Utah.