Well, we’ve just finished our 12th day on the road. We’ve traveled close to 3500 miles since leaving Long Island on August 21st. We have traveled through13 states during the trip. Probably a holdover from when we were kids and took car trips, and something we did with our three when they were young, we are license plate spotting. As of tonight, we have spotted 45 of the lower 48 states, missing only New Hampshire, Louisiana, and North Dakota…as we were in South Dakota, we’re surprised we don’t have North Dakota on our list…we probably saw it and didn’t note it. We figure that if we were to see either Alaska or Hawaii, they would be bonus points! We’ve also spotted Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec from our neighbor to the north, and US Government plates. Driving all these miles, on and off Interstates, we are very surprised that we only saw the aftermath of two accidents. A pick up truck that slid off the road in the rain in Pennsylvania and a tractor trailer truck on it’s side in a ditch in Ohio. We really haven’t run into a state where the drivers are any worse than any other state. The same kind of folks we see at home, those who are either driving too fast, slowing down cause they’re on their phone, or totally at a loss as to where they are going. Oh, and the most important statistic of them all…we are still talking to each other and having a good time!
We left Ogden, Utah this morning and headed to Salt Lake City. Our objective today was Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, the Mormons. It was an easy drive down Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City, and we were surprised how quickly we were at Temple Square after leaving the Interstate. The area around Temple Square in beautiful, with broad streets and nice looking buildings. After circling Temple Square once, we entered an underground garage and parked. When we took the elevator to street level, we realized we were in City Creek Center, a beautiful Mall, but a mall! Eventually we got our bearings, and figured out which way to walk, and entered the Square. Temple Square is a beautifully landscaped 3 square block area containing many beautiful buildings, 3 of which were built by the pioneers. The Temple, Tabernacle, and the Assembly Hall date to the 1800s.
Our first stop was the visitors center, where we picked up a map and learned about a walking tour of the Square that was about to leave. We joined a group led by two “sisters” of the church. These were young women who are members of the church and who work in and around the square as missionaries. We learned that only Mormons can enter the Temple, as it is considered a very holy place to the church. It took over 40 years to build the Temple, and it is built out of granite. In the beginning of the building, it took 4 days to haul the granite to the site. When the railroad came into the area 20 years later, it only took 4 hours. We were able to enter the Tabernacle, which is the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Organ and the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It has wonderful acoustics, which you could tell from the clear way we could hear our guides. Then we went into the Assembly Hall, which is their church. Interestingly, we found out that the Assembly Hall is also built of granite..the scraps from the building of the Temple. The two young ladies we had for guides (one from New Mexico and one from Guatemala), told us about the church, where it came from, why they are called Mormons (because as well as the old and new testaments of the Bible, they read the Book of Mormon), and a little bit about their beliefs. It was an interesting way to spend about a half hour, and learn what we were looking at, and how it came to be, but we’ve discovered that there always seems to be at least one bozo in our tour group. Today’s was from Pittsburg, and asked the stupidest questions and made the most inane comments.
Some Views of the Temple
This is the famous Tabernacle Organ and site of the Tabernacle Choir concerts
The Assembly Hall
If you know anything about the Mormons, you may know that in 1894 they started collecting genealogy records, and now in Salt Lake City have the largest repository of genealogical records in the world! Just across the street from the Tabernacle is the Family History Library, and it was our next stop. We walked into the lobby and a church member immediately asked what they could to to help. We said we were interested in doing some research on ancestors from the British Isles. He directed us to the elevator and level B2, which contained the British Isle records. A very nice lady, also a member of the church, set us up on a couple of computers, and helped us through the records, and helped Susie find her family’s roots in England. I wasn’t so lucky, but I know my cousins Jeanne and Walt have tons of records on the family, so it was really just an interesting way to pass an hour or so. The people there couldn’t have been nicer, and are more than willing to help members and non members alike trace their roots.
We walked back to the car (once we found our way back through the mall) and headed towards our next stop. The GPS took us back to the Interstate a different way than we had come, and we must admit it was a very different view of Salt Lake City. No longer the pretty buildings, and people dressed up (all the woman around the Square were wearing dresses and the men were in black suits, white shirts, and dark ties), now we were in rather desperate looking area with kind of scrubby people. Oh well, every town and city has their good and bad areas.
We rejoined an old friend from the beginning off our trip, Interstate 80. Because of the way we planned our trip, we are in a zig zag portion, and were actually heading east on I-80, even though we will not be going as far as the George Washington Bridge any time soon! We traveled over mountains again today, but this time on the Interstate, rather than a small two lane road. We passed through some interesting country this afternoon, and passed many interesting land features. It is truly an interesting and beautiful country we live in! Our stop tonight is Rock Springs, Wyoming…the last time we return to Wyoming. We only traveled 213 miles today, but we knew we’d be spending the majority of the day in Salt Lake City, and we didn’t plan traveling far. We are staying in a very nice Comfort Inn tonight, and have decided that of all the hotels we’ve stayed in, we are happiest in this chain.
Some of the sites we saw on the road this afternoon
We did for dinner tonight what has been our norm on the trip, to seek out a local place rather than take the easy way out, and go to the Applebees that’s just down the road. Susie found an interesting looking place, just a couple of minutes away called Wingers Roadhouse Grill. It is a local chain, with outlets in Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. We walked in, sat at a high top in the bar, and immediately the waitress brought us a bowl of popcorn. We ordered a couple of Amazing Blonde drafts, that they brew themselves. The beers were good, and only upon getting the bill did we discover that they were just $2 each. Susie asked our waitress Sam what she would recommend from the burger section of the menu. Without a second of hesitation, she said, “a Fowl Cow Burger.”. Following our, “When in Rome” advice, we both said, “sounds good” and two of them were on their way to us. Let me copy from the menu, exactly what a Winger’s Fowl Cow Burger is:
Fowl Cow Burger…A House Specialty.
Fresh ground chuck, a juicy chicken breast, Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheese,
mayo, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and topped with a fried egg!
Not to be outdone, Sam offered sauteed onions, and we agreed that was the perfect addition! When the burgers came, we were both impressed and a little intimidated. They were huge, and accompanied by a pile of delicious fries I asked for additional napkins and Susie asked for some of their signature BBQ sauce. We cut the burgers in half and dug in! They were great, but this was definitely not a burger you put down till you were finished! So glad we cut it in half! News flash…We finished them! They tasted as good as they looked, but I think I went through about 4 napkins! Excellent dinner.
Now we’re back in the room, looking to relax and enjoy our evening before we hit the bed, A vodka may be in our future, who knows! Excellent wifi in this hotel, so posting today’s blog and a bunch of pictures should be a breeze tonight!
Till we see you again….