mountains

fav things about SLC

1. Gardens of all kinds everywhere. So much grows here! Tomatoes, zucchini, squash, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, grapes. It's wonderful. Also all the fruit trees! Peaches, apricots, plums, apples, pears. 

2. Solar panels. Totally normal and everywhere. 

3. The mountains are right here. 

4. Wildlife. Not just mustangs, but also pronghorns, elk, moose, deer, quail, fish, ducks...

5. Bookstores: Central Book Exchange is my favorite so far. I bought a copy of Heidi Julavits' The Folded Clock: A Diary the other day on my second visit. I hadn't read any of her work before, but remember her name from working in the Graduate Writing Department at Columbia. 

6. Farm to table restaurants, craft beer, coffee shop culture. Still tons of places I want to check out. Hands down my favorite coffee shop is Alchemy. I discovered it while still in Brooklyn, and it has not disappointed. 

7.  So many hiking trails. I've been up Emigration Canyon, but there are other places still to explore. Looking forward to checking out the Jordan River Parkway Trail. There's really not a shortage of outdoor activities here. 

8.  This place: NHMU Rio Tinto Center. Such an amazing cultural space designed by Ennead Architects

9.  Yard Waste. They collect it. When I was living in Queens years ago, it was announced one neighborhood in the City would pilot a compost collecting program. Not sure what happened, but it wasn't implemented in my Brooklyn neighborhood before I departed NYC. 

10. Everyone has dogs! We've been so lucky autumn has been hanging on. Last weekend I went with a cousin and her dogs to Parley's Nature Park. I was told it's a dog park, but it's more like a great place to go walking with off leash dogs. They love it--multiple water features and lots of great smells. Not the same as hiking in the woods, but it's still great. I'd only ever been to dog parks where people sit around while the dogs play. That's boring! It's fun to watch the dogs have a joyful time, but more fun to walk while watching dogs. 

I'm certain this list will grow. It's a wonderful place full of new experiences.

 

road trip

I arrived in Salt Lake City a week ago after a 4-day road trip across the country from Brooklyn with my mother. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. 

Gary, Indiana was the first interesting stop. I wanted to see Michael Jackson's boyhood home. The neighborhood is partially abandoned. On his street, many homes are boarded, while on surrounding streets earth is reclaiming land. Large swaths of empty overgrown lots made it feel post-apocalyptic. 

Jackson Family home.

Jackson Family home.

House across the street from Jackson Family home. 

House across the street from Jackson Family home. 

In the neighborhood around the corner, so much decay. 

I hope Gary will experience a renaissance. 

Next stop was Chicago. It's changed so much since I was there last in 2009. We had lunch at my aunt's house and picked up an umbrella stand. Long story, short version: My mom's dad gave it to my dad's sister when they moved into the house nearly 40 years ago because he was friends with the family who built the house. Now they're selling the house and the umbrella stand will stay in the family. It was a delightful visit.

From there we continued on, stopping in Iowa City to see the University of Iowa. Love the eclectic mix of architecture on campus, especially Hancher, the performing arts center by Pelli Clarke Pelli. 

Arts Building West by Steven Holl was also a treat to see. 

We continued on through the rolling hills of Iowa and spent the night in Des Moines, a little farther than halfway to SLC.  We were both exhausted from two straight days of 8+ hours in the car. We had to drive across the busy state highway from our hotel (not because we were exhausted, but it wasn't pedestrian-friendly) to a Bennigan's (the other choices were Taco Bell, Wendy's or McDonald's) for a snack and a glass of wine. 

Celebrating the halfway mark!

Celebrating the halfway mark!

Rolling hills transitioned to cornfields. 

Somewhere in Nebraska after all of the cornfields, the midwest starts becoming the west. It's stunning. I was driving, so not many pics. 

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Sinclair saddled up

Sinclair saddled up

The final night we stayed in Cheyenne, a great Old West town. We drove around a bit before dinner. I love all the old buildings and signs. 

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The next morning we stopped a few hours outside of Cheyenne for coffee. Not much was open except for Rifleman. I went in to ask the whereabouts of Penny's Diner. There were four rugged old timers sitting at the bar at 7:45am. 

I thought only bars in New York are open at 6am, and on a Sunday to boot.

I thought only bars in New York are open at 6am, and on a Sunday to boot.

Some people think Wyoming is boring, but I think it is really beautiful. The iPhone doesn't really do it justice. Most of the 6.5 hours was spent in it. Desolate and magical. 

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We finally made it! 

Autumn color in the mountains.

Autumn color in the mountains.

Woot! We reached our exit.

Woot! We reached our exit.