After our late night on Tuesday, we slept in a little at our Pocatella motel. We ate breakfast at the motel, gassed up, and were on our way by 8 a.m. (Sorry for the bugs on our windshield, distracting from the gorgeous view of what was ahead...cleaned it off, and the bugs continued to hitchhike with us.)
Corbin was alert and ready to show me sights in our next state of Utah...one of his favorite states because of the National Parks in the southern part of the state. He and Susan have hiked down there and want to go back. Our drive on this day would just be taking us through the northwest corner, coming south on I-15, and then heading west on I-80. By the expression on his face, I can tell he is contemplating the answer to a trivia question. Thus far I had not driven because I kept him talking. What a great inspiration it was to get the Trivia Pursuit game back in Nebraska!!! We had been using it the whole way since.
It only took us a couple of hours to arrive in Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah. Corbin had been here on both of his other trips this summer, and had already seen the Capital Building, but since we were going by it, he drove around it again for me.
As we were coming into the city, I found myself turning my head every which way trying to capture all the sights. There was just too much to see! Above is just one of the sky lines as we drove along. Since I wanted to see the infamous Salt Lake Temple, located in the middle of the city, Corbin found a parking lot at the corner of Temple Square so we could spend some time walking through the area.
I don't know exactly why, but walking through Temple Square was perhaps the highlight of my trip west! And I had not even anticipated going there! The place filled me with wonder, and I felt my spirit was totally open to worshiping God while we were there. There were some things He was teaching me. We must always remain open and teachable by God's Holy Spirit, no matter where we are, but in this "holy city" of the Mormon faith, I felt God in a very close way. Any prejudice I might have carried had no right to be shaping me. I wanted to see things from God's perspective, and He honored my desire.
Because the Salt Lake Temple was the most sacred of all the buildings, no tours are given, and only members of the Mormon Church are allowed inside. In one of the visitor centers there is a small scale replica of the temple, cut in half, so you could see what is on the different floors. I would like to have spent more time with that, but there was a lot of territory to cover, and we only had an hour's time on our meter.
My first impression of the area was how everything was so pristine! Whether I was in the buildings or walking the outside paths through beautifully landscaped gardens and past fountains, it was very clean, very organized, very well laid out. There are 35 acres in and around Temple Square. From the brochure:
Guided tours and presentations feature historic sites, interactive exhibits, art displays, 70-mm films, parks, and gardens. Also featured are the largest genealogy library of its kind in the world and the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. Enjoy all of this in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Tours are available in more than 30 languages at some locations. All are free.
Also located in one of the Visitor's Center was a small scale model of Jerusalem A.D. 33, before the temple was destroyed.
This is the Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. I could have gone in there, as the public is invited to choir and orchestra rehearsals and broadcasts. Rehearsals are Thursdays and broadcasts are on Sundays, and we were there on a Wednesday.
Here is the Assembly Hall, built in 1882 with white spires and stained glass windows. Free concerts are presented weekly. I did not enter any of the buildings except the two visitor centers. Time did not allow, and I think I was in awe of it all. Definitely calls for a return trip!
To the left is the Church Office Building, which is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Time did not permit us to go to the 26th floor observation deck. What a view we could have seen of Salt Lake Valley from up there! Next trip...
The people of the Temple Square, not the visitors...I guess I will refer to them as the Mormons as I don't know how else to distinguish them, were all dressed very modestly and simple...not for show, but for respect. They all smiled and were openly friendly. They seemed very accepting of us visitors, and some of us were not dressed so modestly or respectful. I was as impressed with the people as I was with the buildings and grounds. It's hard to explain what I felt in my heart as we walked around, so what I have just written is my best attempt. By the time we left there, I knew I wanted to make another trip back some day and spend more time. There is so much to see and learn and do there.
The Conference Center is a building which seats 21,000 people, has a waterfall cascading down the south side of the building, and has an expansive roof planted with four acres of trees and flowers...just to give you an idea of how large the building is. It's the building we parked next to when we arrived. Below is a close up of one of the entrances. It was the last building we went by on our way back to the vehicle. We did not see the waterfall or go up on the roof top. You can understand why I want to make another trip to Salt Lake City and spend more time at Temple Square.
Temple Square is right in the center of Salt Lake City. They are doing some revitalization of down town, connecting some buildings, a shopping complex (I think), by an elevated enclosed walkway.
You can also see the State Capital Dome from Temple Square. The whole city entices me to return some day. I couldn't say that about most of our journey west. I was very pleased to see sights and states I had only heard about before, but I am not compelled to want to go back. However, Salt Lake City affected me differently. This whole trip west has been more than I could have dreamed of. What a gift Corbin gave to me!!
Corbin had taken his father to The Park Cafe on their trek across the country, and enjoyed it so much, he wanted to treat me there also. It was very crowded...a very popular place with all ages. We were able to get a table out on the veranda. It's located across from a lake and a park, but I don't remember the names...just seemed like a family place to go.
Time to get moving...we had quite a few miles ahead of us, and most of the rest of the stretch wasn't going to be that interesting...not much to see. But first we passed by the southern end of the Great Salt Lake.
Corbin wanted to show me an unusual phenomenon at Bonneville Salt Flats. Believe it or not, this is part of Great Salt Lake. You can actually walk on the salt, but it's not at all like walking on ice or sand. It has a totally different feel.
My husband, the chemical engineer, explains what happens. As best as I can interpret it, there used to be a huge body of water...10-15 times the size of Great Salt Lake...and the salt got trapped. The water evaporated, and left behind the salt flats. To better understand it, you can research it by googling Bonneville Salt Flats. It could be the 8th wonder of the world. And to think, I had never heard of this before! For sure this trip west was broadening my horizons and knowledge!!
Well, we are about to leave Utah behind, heading into Nevada on I-80. This picture was shot two miles from the state line at Wendover, Utah. We paid $3.06 for gas at this stop, which was much higher than our other gas stops. We were in the middle of nowhere, almost!
We stopped in Elko, Nevada for a restroom break, a McDonald's value cheeseburger, and ice cream treats at the Dairy Queen. We were on a long stretch, and for sure working through the Trivia Pursuit cards! Our next stop was in Winnemuca, Nevada, where Corbin got a meal at KFC/Long John Silvers...a little of each. I was still full from my ice cream sundae.
We arrived at our last motel of our journey about 9:30 Wednesday night. This was in Sparks, Nevada...not far from Reno. Tomorrow we would be arriving at Susan's. Corbin was starting to get a little more than anxious to see his wife again!!
The blog continues, but it is winding down. Inserting the pictures has taken me much longer than I had anticipated, but it's a much more interesting story with the pictures!
I invite you to check out my blog, "Reflections on Genesis", which can be found in the section at the top right called "My Other Blogs". It is a 50 chapter blog, one chapter for each chapter of the book of Genesis from the Bible. But there are pictures to go with each blog to support my reflections. It is by far the most read of my blogs...readers from all around the world. I am amazed. I couldn't get Zondervan to publish my book, but I am published in far away places that a book may have never reached! Thank you, Jesus!!