Salt Lake City

Trip Start Nov 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Sunday, June 13, 2010


Salt Lake City Day 1 - We checked-out of Robber’s Roost in Green River at 10.30am to begin our drive to Salt Lake City (SLC). The town was deserted, we thought this was because it was a Sunday and as Utah is a Mormon state everyone was at Church. We had to post our room key through the reception letter box as no one was there. We took Hwy 191/6 north and then onto I-15 which goes all the way to SLC, about a 150 mile drive. In the car we listened to Reggie Yates count down to the UK’s newest number 1.

We stopped off just outside a place called Provo for lunch. Once again, the obvious options were burger places but I spotted a supermarket where we bought food from the deli, a much more enjoyable option. On leaving the car park, all the food we had just eaten led to a lapse in concentration by Doog and he made his first driving error. We were waiting at a junction to turn right. When the lights turned green, Doog drove straight past the right turning and then proceeded instead to turn right onto oncoming traffic, on the wrong side of the road. I had a small heart attack, whilst Doog calmly dealt with the situation and pulled off half a U-turn and then carried on straight over the junction. Doog assured me that we weren’t in any real danger and that it only happened because there were no cars in front of him at the lights. With that in mind, we re-approached the junction from the other side and Doog followed the cars in front as we turned left and got back on track.

The rest of the journey to SLC was pretty non-eventful and we found the Barrell’s house without any problem. We had met the Barrell family (well Dan and Arleen and their son Scot) in Mendoza, Argentina, where we had stayed in the same hostel and gone on a wine tasting tour together. They had kindly offered to let us stay with them in SLC. Whether they thought we would actually take them up on this offer I don’t know! We suddenly realised that we should have bought something as a way of saying thank you. We did a quick tour of SLC, but as it was a Sunday nothing was open and we went to their house empty handed.

We knew that Utah and especially SLC had a high percentage of Mormons and so we thought there was a high probability that we could be staying in a Mormon household - although Doog had had a beer with Dan in Mendoza, which make him a bad Mormon! As we pulled up on their drive, we were greeted by Dan, Scot and Scot’s older sister, Carly, who helped us take our bags inside. Whilst sitting in their lounge chatting, we found out that they were not Mormons and we relaxed some more as this family who we had met for just 1 day, made us feel completely welcome into their home. We were introduced to Keith, Scot’s twin brother and Arleen returned after a jog. We then sat eating ‘chips and dip’ while formulating plan for that evening.

As we had heard so much about Mormonism, given that they had founded SLC and seemed to have a strong influence everywhere, Doog and I were quite interested to learn some more about it. Arleen was also keen to go to the Mormon temple and eventually we had convinced the whole family to go on one of the free tours given by missionaries around the temple.

The tour was actually really interesting. We were led around by 2 ‘sisters’, one a missionary from Canada and the other from Mexico. We all followed them around, Dan a little further behind than the rest of us as his enthusiasm dwindled. We walked from the visitors centre, past the Tabernacle and Temple and finally to some kind of museum with the story of how Mormonism began. Doog was full of questions as we both found that there was a fair amount to question, and to every response he just went ‘humph’, sounding like he was less than convinced by the answer given. After almost an hour, we were all Mormoned-out and so after walking round the outside of the Temple and taking a look at the Reflecting Pool, we walked to the Red Rock where we were meeting Carly for dinner. On the way Arleen pointed out the various sights of SLC and gave us an insight into what it was like during the Winter Olympics.

At the Red Rock, Doog shared a pitcher of beer with Scot and we ordered our meals, lasagna for Doog and wild mushroom pizza for me. Dan and Arleen kindly treated us to the meal - a gesture overwhelmingly nice considering they were already letting us stay with them for 2 nights. After eating, Doog and I were taken on a touristic drive back to the house, with Keith and Arleen being our tour guides, whilst Dan and Scot went in Carly’s car. We went past the Governer’s house and drove up by the University’s ground and football stadium. We managed to get back before the other, who we discovered had gone for a sneaky drink.

Before going to bed, Keith found a South Park episode for us to watch about Mormonism. It was extremely funny and had a very catchy Mormon song all the way through it with a lot of ‘dum, dum dum, dum, dum’….and the occasional ‘smart, smart, smart.’


Salt Lake City Day 2 - My Ma’s Birthday! We woke up at 8am, although we both could have slept much longer, we had a day’s worth of activities planned. Scot had to go to school, Carly and Dan both had work, Arleen had a gym class to go to which meant Keith was stuck with us!

After breakfast we left to go on a short hike up one of the mountains that surround SLC. We walked along the Rattlesnake trail, which led to an overlook that gives a great view over the city and beyond to the Great Salt Lake. It was a relatively easy trek, which was only made difficult by the 100’s of caterpillars dangling by invisible threads from the trees along the trail. They made a real spider’s web type maze which we struggled to navigate our way through and so ended up covered in sticky thread and caterpillars all over our arms and faces and crawling on the backs of our necks. It was worth it however for the view, which gave us a good idea of the layout of SLC and the size of it - it was much more sprawling than we had realised. The small downtown area was clearly visible by the handful of tall buildings and we could see Keith’s high school, the industrial area on the outskirts of the city and the tree-lined residential areas. We were really lucky that it was a beautiful day. It was then time to head back to the car through the caterpillar web.

Back at the house, once we had found all the hidden caterpillars on our clothing, I called my Ma to wish her ‘Happy Birthday’ whilst Doog and Keith made lunch of quesadillas. By this time, Scot was back from school and Arleen back from her class so we all decided to go to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake for the rest of the afternoon. It was about an hours drive to get there (Arleen kindly drove) and once we were there we first went on a short walk to the water’s edge. On entering the park we saw a sign saying ‘Gnats are bad. Be aware.’ On getting out of the car, we realised the truth in the statement as we were instantly swarmed by gnats. They were particularly bad when they got in your hair and bit your head - it was so itchy! We found a good rock to sit on and look out to a small island on the lake where loads of seagulls were nesting. Arleen’s friend had told her that we must find a good rock to just sit on and feel the energy of the island. As great as the energy force was, the gnats were also out in force and so we made a hasty retreat back to the car, all of us scratching our heads as we went.

We then went to the visitors centre where there was a display about the island, including a 2.8 billion year old rock which we all touched - we thought that would have a lot of energy. We also watched a short film about the island, which I tried to give my full attention to but in the dark room I found my eyes were desperately trying to close. One of the people speaking in the film was Terry Tempest Williams who also seemed pretty keen on ‘rock energy.’

It was then back into the car to search for bison, which had been introduced to the island in an attempt to increase their numbers after they were nearly wiped out by the white settlers to the States. There are now 600 bison on the island from the original 12 that were introduced. We drove to a trail that led to ‘Bison Point’ a suitably named location to spot bison. The hike was short and although we didn’t spot any from the top, the view was great.

We then drove a little further around the island and as well as seeing a few Californian Seagulls, which bizarrely are the bird of Utah, we also spotted 3 lonely bison. They are really funny to look at, with a sort of hump back - not that we got too close to them. Our next stop was at a ranch, which had been set up in early Mormon times but was now a kind of museum which you could have a tour around and try to lasso a wooden cow. Although Doog had successfully lassoed a cow at our visit to a ranch in Texas, this time his luck ran out…Keith got the closest, managing to lasso one horn.

By this point we were all getting a bit sleepy so headed back to the house. That evening Doog and I were very spoilt as the Barrells cooked an amazing BBQ dinner. Dan cooked the BBQ chicken outside, whilst Arleen made asparagus in a raspberry sauce and salad with the help of Scot, Keith and Carly. Doog and I sat outside and drank beer while all the hard work was being done around us! The food was absolutely delicious and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Arleen brought out freshly baked chocolate brownies served with ice cream….mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

After dinner, Scot, Keith and Carly took us to the Bayou. Since arriving in SLC, we had heard a lot about the Bayou from the Barrells, a bar that serves beer from all around the world, and our expectations were high. It didn’t disappoint, the beer menu was huge - I went for a Belgian framboise beer while Doog opted for an Irish snake bite, aka ‘oil slick’, which is half a pint of Guiness and half a cider in the same glass with the two forming separate layers in the glass. As Doog had two of these, I conducted a little experiment on one of them to see if the drink was mixed, the cider and Guiness would once again separate into layers…the result being that they don’t so Doog had to drink this new milky brown blend. We were all feeling tired after our beer and so we went back to the house. In the kitchen, Doog and I found a plate of brownies along with 6 peanut butter bars (that Doog had taken a particular liking to) left on the counter for us to take with us on our road trip the following day.
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