2019.07.17 Touring Utah

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A short drive from our hotel was the Bonneville Salt Flats.  This was a must-see attraction on KK’s vacation to-do list. This place was one-of-a-kind.  It was formed when ancient Lake Bonneville slowly evaporated and deposited a high concentration of salt here.  It is “extremely” flat.

Bonneville Salt Flats
Marissa and Mallory at the Salt Flats

The Salt Flats are primarily known for their speedway.  It is 10 miles long and 40 feet wide, and prepped by the Bureau of Land Management each summer.  KK has watched time trials at the Salt Flats years ago and told us about his experience.  He was situated 5 miles or so from the start line and could hear the announcements that the car had started, and passed 1 mile, and passed 2 miles, and yet he still could not see the car.  It finally came into a view a few miles away from his vantage point, and then it disappeared across the horizon going the opposite way.

We took our cars out onto the salt and drove around for a bit. The salt looks firm, but it can feel a little unstable at times.  There were several other cars driving around, taking pictures, and even a car with a tent next to it.  Salt Flat Camping!

The salt is caked to the car and the tires. It was a little wet, like we had driven through ice cream.

We were now on our way to Salt Lake City, and lo and behold, we drove right past the Great Salt Lake.  We pulled over at the Great Salt Lake State Park for access.  It was a $3 entry fee, but they provided foot wash stations and showers for getting clean after a dip in the lake, so it was money well spent.

The Great Salt Lake is not the saltiest body of water on earth, but it does average 14% salt throughout the lake.  That is much saltier than the ocean, which is about 3.5% salt.  While this lake is huge, it averages only 14 feet deep.

Walking up to the water, the first thing you notice are about the billion brine flies that form a blanket on the sandy beach.  They get out of your way as you approach, and they move as one.  It was a rather strange sight.  But they didn’t bite, so it’s all good.

Steve, Stephanie, Mallory, Marissa in the Great Salt Lake
Ellery and KK on the beach

We got in a little past our ankles to check it out.  There were plenty of people who ventured out and were floating around, but we didn’t have time for that much fun.

After about 30 minutes of the Great Salt Lake experience, we made our way to downtown Salt Lake City and a visit to the Mormon Tabernacle to hear an organ recital. 

The doors opened at 11:50 for the Noon recital.  The organist walked onstage promptly at Noon, after the crowd had been advised no videotaping and no moving around during the performance.  The organist played 4 pieces, but before sitting down to play, she addressed the crowd for a few minutes.  She was standing probably 100 feet from the audience, and she spoke to us without a microphone, and we could hear her clearly.

She first ripped a newspaper in two and could hear the paper tearing.  She then dropped a series of pins into a cup, and you could hear the tink of the pin drop.  It was crystal clear!  Needless to say, the acoustics were amazing.

The final piece played was a Bach song that was simply fantastic.  This organ has over 11,000 pipes, including some made of sugarpine trees, from when the organ was originally made in the 1860s.

The tabernacle sits in Temple Square, so following the concert we strolled the grounds and looked at the buildings.  The centerpiece is the Temple, which took 40 years of construction to build.

PK and KK at the Tabernacle
The ceiling glows behind the organ.
King Family visits the Mormon Tabernacle
Mormon Temple

By this time, we were ready to eat, and walked across the street to the City Creek Center and had some pizza.  It was a pretty snazzy shopping and entertainment area.

City Creek Center
City Creek Center

The item that most of us agreed we wanted to do next was to go see Cauldron Park, where the Olympic flame was lit during the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City.  The cauldron is actually behind a fence, situated behind a massive jumbotron at the University of Utah football stadium.  To make matters worse, there was a massive essential oils conference event happening at the stadium, so the gates were locked, so we could not get up next to it.  Bummer.

Cauldron Park
Olympic Cauldron
University of Utah stadium

After the Cauldron Park visit, we checked into our hotel and we were in our room before 4:30.  This is BY FAR a record for this trip.  It was a nice change of pace!

Around this time, both vehicles got a car wash to get the salt off.  It’s going to take more trips to the car wash, but at least the big chunks got off.

During the evening, KK and PK had dinner with their longtime friend, Tragina, and her husband.  They ended up staying about 3 hours eating and visiting and catching up. 

The rest of the crew spent some time visiting the nearby Ikea and then dinner at In-n-Out Burger.  (It’s hard to pass by an Ikea!)

Both parties got home around the same time, and we congregated in an outdoor seating area near the hotel front door.  Even though the temperature was in the low 80s, it was very comfortable outside.  It was our last moment together of the trip, as some members of the group fly back tomorrow.  We presented KK and PK a few gifts that were purchased for them along the way during our vacation.  We owe so much to them for providing these opportunities to travel as a family and see the country.  We have a good time together!

Salt Lake City was good to us.  Until next time, SLC.  Tomorrow, we resume the trip Today was pretty low-key in a lot of ways, but we do find ourselves in Salt Lake City, and we will be home in two days. Time for bed and an early start tomorrow!

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