Look at my Moab and Salt Lake City pictures.
I thought that maybe I could update the blog as each day passed, and I guess I could have. All but two of the nights allowed me access to the internet. I got caught up with where we were and lost the desire, though. I'll recount things now, for posterity, as I've been known to search my own archives to see when and where I did things.
We flew out of FWB early Tuesday morning. The flight to Atlanta is short; it doesn't take long to eat an airline snack yet we all had to rush to get them down before landing. We had to wait in Atlanta for 2 hours before the line to Salt Lake City. On that flight Michelle and I sat with the aisle separating us. I had a quiet guy to my left and Michelle had a fidgety, toe-stomping woman to her right. They played Hitch during the flight. As we approached SLC I looked out at the Great Salt Lake while Michelle dozed happily and nearly laid her head upon the fidgety woman's shoulder. We had a rough landing that jostled Michelle awake. Our pilot was retiring that day so we clapped.
After securing a rental car we drove to Layton just north of SLC. The hotel had an uncrowded indoor pool, internet access, and a Barnes and Noble across the street. We spent a little time walking around, noting the cool climate and mountains in the distance.
The next day I spent time sipping a Grande coffee and reading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire. The cafe in B&N had quite a few frequenters and the baristas talked with customers about things. Just as I was thinking about putting the book down to go get a bite to eat a man walked to my table and offerred me half of his oversized sugar cookie. He had just bought it at the counter and let me break it through the bag on my own. At that point I had a large cookie, coffee, and the book, which was perfect.
That night we ate at Rooster's brewery. The weather was again perfect and we sat outside in this brick courtyard with overhanging trees.
Vacation officially began the next morning when Michelle and I picked up our rental car from Hertz. It was a green Ford Taurus that made a noise at high speeds (something blowing loose in the door or something). We drove straight out and hit 80 East towards Park City on the backside of the Wasatch range. A nice visitor's center lady advised us on some things to do but we ended up just hiking the steep stairs that lead to successive levels of residentail homes. At the top level we could see the city below us. We walked along the street and eventually noticed a Labrador sleeping up ahead. As we approached, he woke up and started wagging his tail. I said something to the effect of hey dere boy! and he got up and ran...to get his ball! He brought it to us and we threw it a few times for him, there above the city. We started to move on, since, finally, a trail was in view just beyond the spot the dog was laying. The dog noticed this and bolted up the trail ahead of us, ball in mouth. Along the way the ball slipped from his mouth and he chased it down the mountain about 10 feet. We kept going on the path and he eventually turned back to go talk to another dog that had come to the path's start.
The trail ran on up and down, parallel to the city below. We crossed some open areas under the ski lifts and moved into more dense woods with Aspen trees. It was pretty and light barely made it in.
We descended into the city and crossed a landscaped bridge. Park City has lots of interesting mountain houses and we noted them as we walked towards the main street. We went into one shop that was a lot like Anthropologie . They had a CD player and a bunch of jewel cases strewn near it. Currently playing was Coldplay's new album.
We drove to a Burger King disguised as a two-story cabin that had a really nice view of the slopes. After that we had Starbucks coffee and hot chocolate.
We left Park City and drove back into town to check into the Hilton on West Temple, a couple blocks from the Mormon Temple. We rested and then explored and took a guided tour. A couple weddings were happening at the Temple entrance. The sun was bright but the temperature mild.
That night we tried to go to the Gateway mall for some food but got all tangled up in some one-way streets that pissed me off, so we drove back up the highway towards Layton. We found Garcia's Mexican behind the hotel we stayed at the first nights. There wasn't a crowd so I had my doubts but the food and salsa were excellent.
After eating we stopped at the Movie Trading Company since they advertised some no art DVD's for $4.99. We bought 5 for $20 and then saw the $1.99 bin they had, where I found Phone Booth and Secondhand Lions. Blockbuster sends off boxes of old rentals and MTC sells them without cover art for awesome prices. We should have one of these around here.
The next morning we woke up early and began the 4 hour drive to Moab. The road led us through mountain passes and down into drier lands. We drove along side the Price River and into Price, then over the Green River, and finally turned off 70 to head south into Moab. As we got closer I noticed lots of trail turnoffs with familiar names: Klondike Bluffs, Bar-M loop, Gemini Bridges and was excited to get mountain biking. We drove on and crossed a wide Colorado River. The valley was green and tall, red sandstone cliffs rose into the sky. We were told we couldn't check into the La Quinta for another hour so we drove back to the river and enjoyed the scenery. An older, nomadic looking guy adjusted his belongings under the bridge in the shade. There is a remarkable difference between sun and shade out there.
Once we checked in Michelle called the Chile Pepper Bike Shop and was told that they liked to do rentals from 4PM one day to 12PM the next day, to keep tourists out of hot midday sun. So instead of going the next morning to pick the bikes up we went that night and got them. The rentals were a bit pricey considering it was their off-season, but they were nice. Michelle got a Cannondale Jekyl and I got a Cannondale Prophet with a big Lefty fork. The girl attending to us was bruised and scarred in places and gave us some advice on which trails to try out. She also recommended no less than 100 oz of water for each of us.
We drove back to the hotel to get some water and get ready for a ride at the Bar-M loop, which sits near the Bar-M Chuckwagon restaurant. We should have done Klondike Bluffs but the Bar-M was a lot of fun. The trail parallels the road into Moab partly before darting off into the desert surrounding Arches National Park. We were alone out there and took in the scenery. We saw some funny looking plants, rabbits, a canyon, some washes. The sun was coming down on our way back and it had cooled 10 degrees. Also, the sun set at about 9 or 9:30 every night, so we ate late dinners.
After dropping the $1500+ bikes off at the hotel we went out on the main street to find some food. We settled at the Slickrock Cafe and were served by a nice dude named Sasha. Outside on the street, almost every car or truck had some sort of recreational device attached: F-250's pulled ATV's, while cars and SUV's had mountain bikes and canoes strapped to them.
The next day we drove up Kane Creek road to Hurrah Pass, near the trailhead for Amassa Back. We didn't ride too long and I later came out and took the 4WD Taurus up and down the cliffside gravel road towards Kane Springs. It was a rough road (in a Taurus) that felt close to the edge but it offerred amazing views, and way down between the cliffs the river makes everyting green and lush.
We also rode parts of the trail Moab is famous for: the Slickrock Trail. It was awesome coasting up and down the sandstone. A dashed white line guides you and it feels like a roller coaster at times. After pedalling up a few steep hills, though, I was getting worn out.
After returning the bikes we ate at Zax, napped (hot part of day), and then headed into Arches. The road into the park winds up a mountain side and then descends into awesome rock formations. We pulled off at almost every stop for a quick hike and photos. The trail leading up to Delicate Arch is fairly long in the going--uphill battle--but easy coming back. On our way back into Moab I looked in the rearview mirror and could see the lights of cars zig-zagging down the mountain as they left the park.
The next morning we hiked a little and then drove back to Salt Lake City. We stayed our final night near the University of Utah, which is slighly up on the base of the mountains. The Red Butte Gardens were near our hotel and we hiked one of the walking trails nearby and watched the city lights come out in the valley.
Then we woke up tired, sought gas to refill the rental, waited, flew, waited, flew, watched a movie, visited, washed clothes, got 5 hours of sleep, and were back at work before it felt like it was over.