Transit to Salt Lake City and Fun Stuff©

Hiya folks…long time no type. Gunther here again…I managed to escape from the O2 Rehabilitation Facility and we’re back down at a low enough altitude where I think I’ll survive…so I’ve retaken the reins of the blog from Kara.

Thursday we were up early for our 300 mile transit up to Salt Lake City…about 20 miles back down UT state highways to I-15 then straight up the freeway. We arrived at our destination about 1530 and settled in quickly to site B34 at the Pony Express RV Park just north of downtown. We had a date with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir who have a public rehearsal at 1930 on Thursdays…they’re rehearsing for their Pioneer Days concerts this week so it promised to be worth listening to.

We set off and found a surface parking lot in downtown and trekked the 1/3 of a mile or so over to the Beerhive Pub for brews and dinner. Neil had Desert Edge Brewery Latter Day Stout and Connie had Two Row Brewing Inevitable Amber Ale…both were pretty outstanding. They had this neat refrigerated portion of the bar top…a metal trough with cooling coils in it to keep your brew cold. That’s it just below Neil’s pint below.

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Connie had a bruschetta to go along with hers and Neil had the best chicken strips we’ve ever tasted. Rather than the processed and frozen crap you usually get…this was a whole chicken breast smashed thin, breaded, and deep fried sort of like a schnitzel. It was then topped with Parmesan and run under the salamander to melt and was served with honey-mustard sauce.

Once that was done we walked back over to the Mormon Convention Center where the rehearsal…and the later concert…will be and listened to the rehearsal. Men to the right, women to the left and the altos…Connie’s peeps…are towards the center.

The rehearsed with their headliner for the Pioneer concerts…his name is Allen something…he’s a “famous recording artist and youtube sensation” according to the emcee…we never heard of him but he was pretty good and obviously having a great time. Not too much religious music on the program as it’s the Pioneer Day celebration…but he showed a pretty good range of styles. Rehearsal kept getting stopped and started…just like in Connie’s old days in choir and the New Dominion Chorale.

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Afterwards was home and bed…we were tuckered out.

Friday we wanted to head down to Temple Square and see what there was to see…and catch the 1200 Organ Recital in the Tabernacle.

Temple Square is a 35 acre complex where they run the Mormon Church (more formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or sometimes LDS)…similar in purpose to the Vatican in Rome.

Here’s the Temple…we couldn’t go inside because it’s members only…ya gotta have the decoder ring and know the secret handshake to get in I guess.

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Neil took a second shot of the temple reflected in the fountain…had to piece it together as a pano as he left the really wide lens in the car…but he would have had to piece it together anyway he says.

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And here’s the Assembly Hall…it’s just another church on the complex…I’m not sure whether they deliberately set out to build more than one or whether it was more a case of outgrowing the original…we counted a total of 3 (at least) and the original Tabernacle was on the site of the Assembly Hall but was razed for it.

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And here’s the Tabernacle.

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From reviewing wikipedia…there was the original Tabernacle which was members only…then the current Tabernacle was built…then the original Tabernacle was torn down and the Assembly Building constructed. Later the Temple was constructed at which point the Tabernacle became open to non Mormons.

Finally…two houses that Brigham Young lived in. The first is Beehive House…named after the beehive cupola on the roof. He lived there when he was territorial governor and the head of the church. Second is Lion House…named after the lion over the porch where he lived after retiring.

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From there we headed off to the Tabernacle for the 1200 Organ Recital…on the 11,700+ pipe organ in the 2300 or so seat auditorium/church. Quite nice…and it really sounded good as well. Afterwards we headed home for lunch and rest.

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Saturday we had 2 goals…first was to go out and see the Great Salt Lake…but we found that the water is really far down, in fact at the marina we were going to go visit to see it all of the sailboats had been pulled out of the water as it’s too shallow for them…so we just opted to stop by the viewpoint…if you can call it that…off of I-80.

Suffice it to say that the Great Salt Lake is pretty much a bust. There’s a thick haze layer over it that clears up once you get a little east. If you’re at the viewpoint the water is probably a mile away and you’re looking over dried salty muck…think Death Valley type desert if you’ve been there and you’ll be pretty close…it was awful looking and hot as heck in addition so we didn’t stay long. What a dreary place.

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You can actually see that there’s water in this one…although Neil had to crank the Dehaze filter in Lightroom up to about +35 to see it.

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Once we were done with that we headed east about 30 miles from the lake viewpoint to Park City for lunch. Park City is on the east side of the Wasatch Mountains and is littered with ski lifts on the peaks to the west of downtown. Think of it as the Pigeon Forge of UT and again you’ll be pretty close. It’s about 2,600 feet higher than Salt Lake City is and about 20 degrees cooler. The reason we chose it for lunch was a place named Freshie’s…they are owned by a couple of 30something refugees from Maine and specialize in Lobstah Rolls as the downeasters would call them…in early July Freshie’s captured the crown of “World’s Best Lobster Roll” at the Down East Lobster Festival in Portland ME. Since they were the winners…and not from Maine but Utah of all places…and since we were here…we figured it was worth the drive.

It was only Neil’s second Lobstah Roll evah…again as the downeasters would say…and it was a huge improvement over the standard one you get at most places back there. Usually it’s the top split hotdog bun with cold mayo-based lobster salad in it…like tuna salad except lobster. Freshie’s spreads lobster mayo on the outside of the bun and then toasts it on a griddle…the oil in the mayo makes it golden brown and delicious as Alton Brown would say…then the inside gets a little more lobster mayo on the bottom, stuffed with lobster meat, and topped with a tablespoon or two of melted butter, lemon peel, and chives. The girl making them said that she had added it up and although it seemed decadent it was actually only about 380 calories. We got two of them with chips and a drink for about $33…it was pretty good but probably overpriced for what you get…but then since Park City is really just Pigeon Forge West they charge Disneyland prices.

I guess if you have to put a lobstah on a sandwich it’s probably the best way to do so…but Neil says he would much rather the crustacean give it’s life for lobster ravioli or lobster and linguini and it was wasted on a sandwich.

Monday we set off for a trip to the UT state capitol building…we tend to always go there and take the tour when we pass through any state capital. This was a bit strange as it’s the first state capitol building we’ve been in that didn’t have much security…there was a single guard who was randomly at the desk but no metal detectors or anything else was to be seen. That’s the way it used to always be back before 9/11 happened. It turned out that the tour guide volunteer was sick so a lady from the visitor center took us on the tour.

We learned that the population of Utan is about 65% LDS overall and ranges from just a hair over 50% in Salt Lake County to over 80% in 3 of the most rural counties…we knew that LDS was the predominant religion here but thought it was something less than 65%…our tour guide told us that just as there were cafeteria Catholics there were lots of cafeteria and non-practicing LDS members. The capitol build was built between 1912-1916 and underwent a major renovation in 2004-2008 which included the addition of earthquake protection measures. Essentially the building is supported by 250 or so concrete columns holding up it’s 170,000,000 pounds or 85,000 tons. Since the building is situated…as is the rest of Salt Lake City…on the Wasatch Fault and susceptible to earthquake…the renovation included the addition of a base isolation system to allow the building to move relative to the ground and thus better survive an earthquake up to magnitude 7.3. Basically each of the columns was cut and had an isolation system inserted into it…each system is about 3 feet in diameter and 18 inches or so tall. Each isolation system has a central vertical core of lead about 8 inches in diameter surrounded by horizontal layers of steel and rubber. During an earthquake the lead deforms (it wasn’t clear whether it melted or just elastically deformed) and the combination of the lead and the steel and rubber plates basically serves as a shock mounting for the weight on the column. The overall effect is to mechanically isolate the building from the base rock it sits on and thus if/when the earthquake happens the ground can shake underneath the building and the building won’t move. They don’t make the building earthquake proof but earthquake resistant.

The acoustics up on the second floor…which is actually the main floor that’s one to the rotunda…were pretty spectacular. The lady in the photo below is going to sing the National Anthem on Pioneer Day on July 24…Pioneer Day is the celebration of Brigham Young founding Salt Lake City and is actually a bigger holiday here than July 4th is. She was practicing and sounded really great…even without a microphone she was clearly audible and she was at least 50 yards away in the photo. Very little echo or reverb in the rotunda area which was surprising considering it’s almost all marble.

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Painting in the legislative lobby on the 4th floor.

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Statue in the rotunda area.

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The Gold Room next to the Governor’s office…used for bill signings, meeting important people and the like.

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Painting just below the rotunda…like many state capitols there are are statues and paintings symbolizing the values of the state in the corners that hold up the rotunda.

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Light sconce.

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Ceiling decoration…they’re fascinated with children here in Utah.

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Window in the Governor’s office.

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The Governor’s office…all of the furniture is constructed out of wood from trees that were felled during the 1999 tornado. 

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Brigham Young…founder of the LDS, inventor of Utah, and first territorial governor of Utah. Our guide in the background…don’t know why she wore those sky heels to walk around on marble floors doing a tour.

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House chamber.

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Painting on the far wall of the House chamber…all the paintings in here are of people signifying that the House is the chamber of the people. This is actually Brigham Young’s grandniece…she was the first woman to vote in Utah and that was 50 years before universal suffrage was granted by Congress. Women lost the right to vote due to polygamy being practiced in Utah when it became a state and then regained it when the rest of the country did.

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Senate chamber…votes here are still by roll call vice the electronic voting used in the House.

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Bison sculpture in the legislative lobby area…our tour guide again on the right.

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Supreme Court chamber…they actually have another building elsewhere where they transact most of their business but by law they’re required to meet at least annually in the capitol building…so they do that in April each year here.

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One of the base isolation systems in the basement…the next photo shows the interior and how they’re constructed…again, lead core and steel and rubber plates. Basically it’s the equivalent of a giant Slinky toy.

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North entrance of the building looking over the reflecting fountain.

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Interesting stuff found on the net this week.

Found this on a photo forum Neil frequents named Ugly Hedgehog…thought it epitomizes the complete idiocy of all sides involved with our elected officials in DC.

Once in a while we just have to stand back in awe of government.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever –
46 million people now receive Food Stamps.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior,
asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.”
Their stated reason for the policy is because “The animals will grow dependent on
handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”
Besides that…it’s a $100 fine if you do.
Thus ends today’s lesson in irony.

That’s how it works I guess.


Guess it’s not so secret any more.


Rainbow at Yosemite Falls.


I guess this sign means No Fishing…or maybe No Running with Fish…or something.


Things I have learned from the movies.


Prehistoric Googling.


And finally…a tip for cooking your kale.


Tomorrow we’re off on a 2 day transit…overnight in Elko NV then arrival in Reno NV Wednesday afternoon.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to Transit to Salt Lake City and Fun Stuff©

  1. Barbara says:

    We visited Antelope Island north of SLC out in the Lake. It had free ranging buffalo, prong horns, big horn sheep (we didn’t see any) and mule deer. It is a state park with swimming and other activities. We just took the driving tour. We also visited “The Golden Spike National Historic Monument, the site of the driving of the last spike to join the first transcontinental railroad. Both were interesting and worth the time.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Thanks…we thought about Antelope Island but never made it out there…the haze over the lake was so bad we just didn’t think we would see much. Didn’t know about the Golden Spike…rats. We’ve moved over to Reno NV today.

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