Salt Lake City, Utah

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Oct 27, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, August 5, 2011

After we left Colorado Springs we stopped one night in a hotel in Laramie before starting our long trip back West. Our first stop was at Salt Lake City, or to be more precise the town of Alpine, about 30mins south of downtown SLC. We were originally going to be staying in a hotel but we were hooked up with a place to stay by our new friend Karsten (the guy we were supposed to stay with in Ceder City). He got in touch with his mum Holly and she put us up for two nights at her very pleasent house and showed us a good time for our short stay.

We managed to get a lot of sightseeing done considering our short stay. We got acquainted with Holly after our first night as she'd been working a night shift at the hospital when we'd arrived the previous evening. She got our day started with a nice fried breakfast and gave us some advice about what to visit. For those that don't know, Salt Lake City is like the Mormon capital of the world - founded by a mormon and his followers in 1847. It still houses the headquarters of the church and has an amazing area of real estate right in the center of downtown. Called Temple Square it has some extraordinary architecture: The Temple itself, the Tabernacle Building which has some incredible acoustics (see video below), the original church, and much more. We first checked out all these buildings and spoke to two young girls on their church mission (one from Boston, one from North Carolina) who were working there and helping tourists.

One of the fundamental principles stressed within the church is the importance of family and as a result a huge library of genealogical information is housed across the street for the temple and open to public access. We decided to take the opportunity to have a nose around there and was amazed at the amount of resources that are available - one entire floor was dedicated to the British Isles and had all kinds of books, census information, and film of original birth, marriage, and death information registries. With some assistance I saw some original documents that listed the registration of my dad and uncle's birth. Apparently you can see all this stuff online now too, so great if you want to do some digging into your ancestors!

After this we went for a walk around the town and grabbed a delicious sub sandwich at Jimmy John's. Check them out if you're ever in the U.S.

In the evening our host took us up into the mountains for a delicious steak picnic. It was a beautiful area and great to get up into as SLC is pretty much surrounded by mountains so it would have been a shame not to go into them. The picnic made it all the more enjoyable of course! We had a nice walk afterwards alongside the river running down the mountain and got some nice insights from Holly into what living in America is like. It's kind of a shame that we haven't met many people on our trip to talk to, or certainly that our interactions with people have been too brief (but always pleasent).

On our leaving day we managed to stop by one more tourist spot - the world's largest open pit copper mine at Bingham Canyon. It was bloody huge! Some quick facts:

It's the world's largest man-made excavation
2.5 MILES wide
0.75 MILES deep
production started in 1906
became so big that actual towns built in the area were disbanded so digging could expand
provides 13-18% of the U.S.'s copper needs

Just some of the interesting thing's we found out when we stopped through. Go Copper Mine!!

So that was Salt Lake City, and in case you're wondering no we didn't visit the Great Salt Lake itself... apparently it's just a whole lot of mud and water. Plus, once you've seen one lake, you've seen 'em all! And so we continued West, driving throught the white-hot desert back into Nevada...
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