Utah state facts
Nickname: Beehive State
Capital City: Salt Lake City
Birthplace of: beloved bandit Butch Cassidy (1866)
Famous for: Mormons, red-rock canyons, polygamy!
Best souvenir: Wasatch Brewery T-shirt: Polygamy Porter -Why Have One?
We were zig-zagging our way south from the Bear Lake, ID still sticking to small roads (but not too rough as we were still limping on three wheels). The weather was stunning and sunny all the way to Salt Lake City. This was the first city since the beginning of our journey we wanted to visit. Not that we are religious but we are interested in religion just a smuch as in culture, people, food and so on. Were fascinated by the little story we knew about the Latter Day Saint (LDS) religion, also known as the Mormons and thought where else we could find out more about it if not here, in Salt Lake City the capital city of (not just Utah but) the Mormon religion.
Salt Lake City was established in 1847 by several followers of the Mormon Church who extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley. The city’s population is nearly 190,000 and just less than half of this are members of the LDS Church. The city itself is very pretty and there’s a slight European feel to it with gorgeous old, colonial buildings and tram lines running across town yet surrounded by breathtaking snowy peaked mountains. Really beautiful. We could park Burt at the heart and also at the top of the city by the Town Hall Centre. This was great and everything we wanted to see was walking distance.
In downtown there lies the headquarters of the Church on the 10 acre Temple Square where you can find the Church Office building, the Temple (where not just visitors but certain members of the Church aren’t allowed to go in), Culture Centre, Library and The LDS Museum. This was a fascinating experience and we spent a few hours wandering around and talking to the well groomed, well spoken (single, young, female only) missionaries who are volunteer representatives of the Church and were from all around the world doing their 18 months “experience work” for the Church in order to participate in the religion on deeper levels.
This was a fascinating experience and we were glad we went even that the price we paid was to stay in a noisy and relatively expensive RV park in the outskirts of the city.
As we were still concerned about our worn-out wheel hub we had to plan our route shorter, more direct and on relatively smooth roads to Bakersfield, CA where John has family and we planned to stop there for a couple of months anyway. Now, we also planned to have all the repair jobs done (a few more adjustments and fixes too) there. So bearing all this in mind we decided -heavy heartedly, to miss out on southern Utah and just head across from Salt Lake to the Salt Flats on I-80.
Interstate 80 is bonkers. Flat, straight and looooong. The second part of the roads is flat as a pancake but was wonderfully weird.
When we arrived at the Salt Flat we learned that it isn’t “ready” yet. Being too early in the year (1st Feb!) it was brown and wet. Someone would be disappointed but we loved it anyway.
After our late lunch we rolled in to town (Wendover) on our usual way…
It was getting late in the day to move on so after visiting the Wendover Airfield Museum (for John’s biggest joy), we had to stay in this town. Which was actually a fun experience for a couple of reasons. One; despite the snow patches the climate was considerably warmer (for my biggest joy) and Two; the town had 2 faces; being split by the Utah-Nevada state border, one side of the town looks just like a regular town with gas stations, supermarket, post office and so on but as we crossed one traffic light (and the border) we found ourselves in a neon city with huge casinos, bright lights, palm trees, harsh green fake grass and bars. We decided to stay this side of the town 🙂