10/12/2010: Day 19: More Salt Lake City then on to Wyoming
We woke slowly in the Salt Lake City HoJo Express, still tired from the previous evening's tour of Temple Square and maybe logy from the rich dinner up on the LDS Roof Garden Restaurant.
We were also grumpy for interrelated reasons. Me because the HoJoWiFi was schizo. I couldn't get online reliably. We barely were able to check email by the front desk. And Karen because she feels like a photography and blogger widow for all the time I spend on these reports. She has a point. So I am composing an essay about that to publish later. Sure, that will help.
We did get packed up and the car loaded not long after 9:00. So we left the car at HoJo and walked back along the West edge of Temple Square to the Salt Lake Visitor's Center. From there, we walked back to and through Temple Square to the Beehive House, where Brigham Young had set up accounting offices, and then his residence. We took a free half-hour tour of his lovely little mansion, saw his own handwriting, and admired many fancy articles of furniture. The prophet ended up with a pretty cushy life.
We then walked on to the Cathedral of the Madelaine, a Catholic church. It was empty and open. We could not find any of the promised Self-Guided Tour books, nor anyone to ask about them. But we wandered around and admired the gory imagery in paintings, and the glowing stained glass windows, and the ornate furniture and fixtures.
We then followed bad advice to get to the State Capital, climbing several steep blocks up A Street to a park that was the site of a tower. The Capitol was visible just two blocks over, with an uncrossable ravine in between.
Karen grumbled and fretted, but I chose to cheerfully consider it as good exercise as we walked way down the street, over, and back up the hill to finally reach another State Capitol. There were two school buses parked out front. The sounds of irrepressible youth assailed us as we opened the door. But the guides/herders go them moved off and they quieted down a bit. I liked the multi-level sky lighting, where the second floor rotunda floor has translucent panels to let light down to the first level. The wings had white glass roofs to let in much light.
Then we walked back down the hill, and I dithered about whether to go up to the observation deck on the 27th floor of the LDS Administration Building. The walk among the Victorian Mansions was nice, though. Much like my neighborhood, but ritzier.
I finally decided to go up to the observation deck, while were in the neighborhood. As with other LDS sites in this city, it was free. But "free" means including a 20-30 minute talk on some facet of Mormonism. Ah, well. We are visiting a Holy City. We found an escort to take us through security and up the elevator, and looked down on Salt Lake City, and out to the hazy Salt Lake itself.
By now it was after 1, and I was feeling the sunburn from hours of walking around in chill wind under the high altitude, brutally blue sky. I was also hungry. So we decided to find a place to eat, get espresso, and get online in what was reputed to be an artsy quarter called 9th and 9th (where 900 East meets 900 South). So we dined at the Coffee Garden, and shared a Quad Shot Latte, while I posted text for the day from the California Border to central Nevada.
We headed out of town around 3:30, early rush hour. Once on I-80, we just headed East, crossing the Wyoming border. We passed through a field of wind turbines. Those monsters always impress me. The best view was as we crested one hill, and over the next hill peeked just the tips of turbine blades, like leisurely bunnies leaping across the interstate. They vanished as we went into the valley.
Near sunset, we stopped in Green River, WY and checked into the Oak Tree Inn behind the shiny chrome Penny's Diner. After lugging the luggage into the room, we stepped outside to watch the last of the color fade from the sky over the banded red and brown pillars and hills.
We had passed through Green River in 2003, and toured the Flaming Gorge just to the south. It is well worth a visit. But we've been there, and were trying to get home on a schedule.