Good evening Lj readers,
how are things? I : am back! from a recent vacation to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a fun and relaxing time. This particular trip was in a way the exact opposite of many trips I have taken in the past. Of course one of the joys of traveling is to experience new things. In this case, it was quite literal ~ ! Read on for more.
 What often happens : one heads to the airport, gets on a plane and flies to one's destination.
 What actually happened : I arrived at the Columbus Airport
and relaxed. I swung into a terminal Starbucks
and purchased a chicken (, which I then took off of it) sandwich - something the other "Ohio" Starbucks
' usually don't have on their menu. My receipt nicely had a 'do a survey and get a free drink' offer on it. Southwest
announced my flight was delayed in Baltimore, MD. So : they flew us to Baltimore (!) (keep in mind we are, of course, ultimately going 'west'), transferred us to another plane, gave us $100 in flight credit for our time and then flew us in to SLC. In all it wasn't bad - I got into town only 3 hours later than had I, normally. Alas this did cause me to miss the two Sundance
movies for which I had a plan to see (Jamie Marks is Dead
and The Signal
), but that's alright. I walked to a great nearby vegetarian-friendly place (Frisch Compassionate Eatery
), poked around a Whole Foods
then headed back to my inn.
 What often happens : using the internet, I print out coupons to local places to eat while vacationing.
 What actually happened : after walking 26 (yes, 26) blocks to and from a local Starbucks
I had incorrectly thought had a Clover
machine (a machine the company uses to brew rare coffees ; only available in select states in the US), I relaxed back at my comfy and affordable inn / hostel (entirely "turn key" ; one checked one's self in and out! free cable, wi-fi, a computer lab and 24 / 7 stocked-with-free-food-and-drinks kitchen as well) before heading out again. Objectively walking the long distance around town gave the area a nice "homey" feel, as I explored. I found a nearby Clover
in the city proper and enjoyed a very mild (no bitter taste at all!) rare blend called Finca Nuevo Mexico
. Afterwards I explored the small but thought-provoking Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
(free admission) and picked up something to eat. Of the 3 coupons I had, one had a new name (they nicely gave me something of a discount), the other stopped serving food (yes, 'stopped serving food' - They were a bar now!) and indeed the 3rd actually worked :) .
* Emily and I
My young niece (holding my finger) and I.
 What often happens : using Google Maps
et al, I plan an itinerary for each day.
 What actually happened : I had little idea where the day would take me. woo! I checked out of my hotel in the morning and hopped the convenient light rail (literally 1 block south) to a change station a few stops west. I then switched to the lower ("ground") level, which was the Front Runner
line that ran to my sister, who lives in Utah with her family, 's house. I called her and we met! I met my niece Emily for the first time - a whole 4-ish months old! I passed along a big stuffed bear I got when I was a young child called Ted Ted to her. My sister's husband Nathan was at work, so we drove to nearby Antelope Island
, a huge island off one of the many lakes of the SLC area. We were fortunate and saw not only the namesake antelopes, but also 8 of the 600-ish bison (in groups of 1, 5 and 2) living there. The mountains really are lovely - my sister can literally look out their bedroom window and see them in the distance.
We then drove to a Starbucks
in nearby Ogden which, amusingly also did not have a Clover
machine in it (although in this case, the workers explained, it truly was a last minute "we changed our mind about it" from the company). We stopped at a nearby local store (Harmon's
) to pick up something for dinner, finding both tasty cheeses and free samples of things (including : root beer cookies! How about that). Back at home, we joined Nathan and made homemade pizza - something I hadn't done in quite some time.
* Saturday / overall
 What often happens : I 'check out' of wherever I am staying, and find a ride to the airport.
 What actually happened : nicely spending the night at Nathan, Jen and & Emily's place, they were able to give me a ride to the airport in the morning. Thanks! My mom was nicely and coincidentally flying in to town later that very same day, so they poked around nearby, then circled back to the airport to pick her up.
It was great to head to a new town as always, even if I did happen to miss seeing 2 movies. Of course I can always see them later - these screenings were not the 'only time' they would be available. It is only so often I get to see my sister - I was glad to connect and reconnect with everybody. I shall endeavor to head out each year ~ .
Okay. Have a good night!