Salt Lake City, Utah

We were in Utah for business this week. Check out pictures of Temple Square and the Great Salt Lake.

Day 1 - the Drive

We flew into San Francisco and picked up our van, then headed out to Utah. CW and I spent the night in Battle Mountain, NV. As you approach Battle Mountain on Route 80, you are greeted by signs declaring that the town has been voted "The Armpit of America." With suitably low expectations we checked in to the hotel, featuring a tiny swimming pool and broken wifi. CW visited a local "casino" which was nothing more than a collection of gambling machines - no real games to be found.

Day 2 - Temple Square

The next day we took a few hours and went into downtown Salt Lake City, despite the heavy rain. Our taxi dropped us off at Temple Square. If you are ever in Salt Lake City, you must go on the tour of Temple Square.

We were greeted at the entrance by a pretty American girl, Sister Thomas. She talked with us for awhile about her faith, and explained she was here as part of an 18-month volunteer program. The entire time she had a look in her eyes that reflected her religous zeal. It was an amazing thing to see, especially in America, where Christianity is normally confined to an hour-long service on Sundays about why Jesus Christ is great and isn't everything swell.

Our tour began, and was led by a girl from Argentina and one from Chile. Again, they were happy to share there faith. We were also chatted up by a few older gentlemen, and a matronly woman who scolded us for not having jackets in the foul weather. Everyone was eager to proselytize, and it was kind of overwhelming.

As CW went to the mall across the street, I continued to walk the grounds, and checked out the conference center. We called for a cab, and were picked up shortly thereafter. The rain stopped as soon as we were in the car, as if God was finished washing away our heathen influences from His holy grounds. The entire visit was mentally fatiguing, but well worth it.

Day 3 - The Great Salt Lake

Another rainy day, but when has that stopped us? We picked up swimming masks at K-Mart and drove to the Great Salt Lake. Stopped first at a marina, looking for a beach. The area smelled of dead seafood, and there was no real place to get down to the water.

We drove back up the road a ways and encountered the Saltair Resort. This hotel has a past extending back more than 100 years. You can read more about it here. The postcard that CW bought earlier showed a beautiful hotel in a Moorish style. The reality was far different.

The lot was closed, and a warning sign said "No Trespassing After Dark." We walked around the gate, and went down toward the hotel. To the right were derelict rail cars, which used to house various gift shops. The bullet holes, the broken glass, the urine-stained mattresses proclaimed this wild territory, so we quickly moved on.

We headed toward the beach, and CW took to the frigid waters of the Great Salt Lake. I walked out about 15 feet before I couldn't feel my feet, so I headed back to shore. CW went out a long ways and swam around for awhile.

Utah is a very cool state, and Salt Lake City is rather picturesque sitting at the base of the mountains. I'd recommend anyone to visit and check out the atmosphere, at the lake and in the town.

This article was updated on June 7, 2005