We spent most of the last week or so cruising around the American Southwest.
There’s a lot of empty space there. Southern Utah is for people who think Colorado is just too crowded these days, and when people think southern Utah is too busy they move to northern Arizona. You can go miles and miles with nothing but the road and the scenery for company.
And the other drivers. Because this is America after all. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on the open road without a town on any horizon, trapped behind some behemoth RV pegged at exactly eight miles per hour below the posted speed limit, which is a whole number multiple of anything you’d find east of the Mississippi River and forever tantalizingly out of reach.
This was Kim’s second time in Utah. She spends a week each summer grading AP chemistry exams, and the last two years have been in Salt Lake City. She has always wanted to tour around that area – to visit the Scenes Of Natural Splendor that dot the former Mexican territories – so this year the girls and I flew out at the end of her grading to meet here there.
We managed to get to O’Hare International Airport despite the best efforts of the Illinois Department of Transportation, who took the opportunity that day to rip out all of the interstate leading to the airport and replace it with promises of a better road in the near future, probably on a day when I don’t have to get to O’Hare. The flight was uneventful – we brought enough snacks that we didn’t have to worry about the various allergens in the ones provided by our airline, and I had volume two of the Game of Thrones series weighting the plane down slightly to starboard where we sat – and a couple of hours of air travel later we were there.
Kim met us at the airport and we rented a car and drove to a nice little hotel in downtown Salt Lake.
Have you seen The Book of Mormon? I have. There’s a song entitled “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (say it out loud) and it is extremely difficult to visit there and not have that run through your mind at least once. I have no idea what the people who live there think of the song, or the musical in general. I can’t say I thought to ask.
Our hotel was only a couple of blocks away from where all the chemists were staying, so we wandered over and said hello. They seemed like nice people.
Salt Lake is an impeccably clean city, from what I saw. Even the gas stations had manicured lawns. And the streets, at least in the downtown, are indeed wide enough to give credence to the old story that Brigham Young mandated that he be able to turn his team of oxen around in them.
We didn’t stay long, though. We had plans for the next day. Grand plans.