Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Actual Travel Entry!

So here I am, minding my own business at my desk, enjoying a delicious Rob Roy (one and a half parts scotch, one part sweet vermouth, dash of bitters, garnish with cherry), when my editor drops in for another one of his useless “social visits”

Editor: So, the Travel Slob, once again there's a lull in your activity.
The Travel Slob: Hey, I write all the time, stop complaining so much.
Editor: Your last two articles were about comic books.
The Travel Slob: Well, I drove to the comic book store to get them.
Editor: That's not travel.
The Travel Slob: Sure it is. Just not very far.
Editor: I can't believe I'm paying for this.
The Travel Slob: Quality service! That's what I offer.
Editor: Well, I'm not paying for this. Make a real Travelogue or you're fired.
The Travel Slob: So will I get a travel expense account?
Editor: Use that money I can't believe I'm paying you.

Lucky for me, I had a great reason to travel already, as lately I've been seeing a wonderful woman by the name of Amanda, who is not in the same state as me, so I made arrangements to visit and it was off to Salt Lake City Utah and its surroundings! Amanda has joined my regular readers, bringing my latest reader count all the way up to five!

To maximize travel time and minimize travel costs (thanks to cheapskate Editors who don't give their traveloguers expense accounts), I left very early in the morning to leave from Oakland Airport. Since I don't go to the airport often, I had to call upon my nemesis, Delores, my GPS. Yes, once again I called on her for directions. Once again mid-trip she decided I was off course and decided to recalculate right as I approached an important fork fast. Much her dismay I picked the correct fork and made it to the airport with time to spare. Her days are numbered.

Getting up at 3am to drive to Oakland and take an airplane at 6am to get to Utah seemed a great idea, but I spent a good portion of the day sleeping. Though I was excited to see my lovely lady, I was very very tired. So much so that I required the first stop to be a coffee shop. I ordered a large. It was a 24oz cup. 24 ounces! I'm serious! I'm used to stores that stop at 20 but not Utah! They go up to 24! It's the 11 of coffee shops! I like that state already.

Much was not done this day. I met her grandparents – a lovely couple by the way, with a lovely home they graciously opened to me after I swore on a stack of Bibles that I wasn't an ax murderer (I'm making that last part up.) We also elected to see “Prometheus”. It's a terrible movie to watch for story, but a great movie to take your girlfriend to as there's many parts she has to hide from. Oh yeah... I won't review that film. I'm not getting paid enough for these travelogues, so there's no way anyone will expect me to tack on a film review for free.

Lehi is a lovely little town south of Salt Lake City. Yes, for all my curious readers, Utah is Mormon. The rumors are true! Lehi is the most Mormon of part of Utah, with an LDS church as common as Starbucks are in Seattle but without the coffee. There's a certain pride in the common history of the state, of a like I haven't seen even in Oregon which loves to tout the Oregon trail but has few connections otherwise. The common thread ties many in the state together, it seems.

Thursday evening was ended with a walk along one of Amanda's favorite trails. On the way back, the sun was setting, and twilight (the time of day, not the book) hit in a cool evening. A large form flew by to our surprise, silent and quick. We looked about, and in a nearby field spotted four Barn Owls, hunting for mice in the nearby field. Occasionally one would pass by and gaze at us curiously. Sometimes we'd hear one cry in triumph as it would snag its prey. They flew and hunted in perfect silence in the stillness of the evening. One cannot easily capture such a moment in words, and could never plan such a one.

We are a cute couple, and we decided to be cute at Thanksgiving Point, which has many attractions. The ones that attracted us that day were the gardens and the Paleontology Museum. The former were quiet and serene, but the hot day wore us out quickly. After a quick lunch we moved on to the museum, which was so immensely cool. As an red-blooded American boy I thought dinosaurs were the coolest thing ever. In first grade I got a stick book of dinosaur stickers with explanations of the beasties. I was hooked ever since. They had a whole museum for those things! Utah is lousy with fossils!

24 oz coffee, fossil fields … Utah is awesome.

Saturday was trip to the zoo day, which seemed a great idea, save that it was Dori the elephant's birthday. The crowds in the zoo were overwhelming. Worse, nowadays it seems parents drive their children's strollers like snowplows, shoving through crowds to get to where they want to go, pushing people out of the way so their little angels can see the animals and then not move from the spot and then get insulted when the next snowplow tries to do the same. I've never seen a larger group of people so completely oblivious to the presence of other people. We didn't stay as long as we might have liked, but it was for the best, perhaps.

The evening ended with grilled buffalo steaks – a home cooked meal that was delicious as anything could be. A meal with a loved one is great, a meal made by or made for a loved one is even better.

Sunday my lady love and I traveled to Big Cottonwood Canyon for church – two small Protestant churches met in the amphitheater for a special outdoor service there. We spent the morning surrounded by nature. The afternoon we went just outside of Heber City to spend Father's Day with her family, eating steak. I actually cannot eat steak for while now. I have eaten it for several days in a row. I've found I have a steak capacity, and I met that capacity. We arrived at her Uncle's home just in time to miss seeing a moose and her calf. Nature eludes me again. Fortunately, family decided to be entertaining enough.

In all, this was a great trip, made better in that I spent it with someone for whom I love. We'll meet again, soon, and more times as well. The future indeed looks bright.

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