Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Mexico Diary Day 3 Salt Lake City and Beyond

Hola! Hard to believe it's the first day of Spring today with rain, bits of snow, grey clouds and the gustiest of winds! The weather has been creating havoc for the past few weeks but let's not fret and escape to... New Mexico!! We are on our third day of the road trip, in just 2 days we have driven over 1,500 kilometres and arrived in Salt Lake City. After a restful sleep at Camp VIP we woke up to the sounds of chatter from adjacent campers, breakfast was boiled eggs, refried beans on Mexican buns (a new creation thanks to the previous night's shopping spree at !Viva! Supermercado) and fresh tomatoes, it was good and very filling. 

Fueled with energy we headed off to the showers and later on, the visitor centre located in the downtown area. Numerous questions of future destinations were met with patience and cautious advice, about an hour was spent talking to a very knowledgeable staff volunteer. Armed with helpful information in brochures and maps of various locations, we left with many thanks and headed out of the city...

... But not without making a stop at the Salt Lake Temple pictured below, the city is home to a large number of Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was not part of our plan but we could see the church from the car.
The prestigious looking towers drew us near... 
 ... and soon we were on the temple grounds gazing up at the centerpiece of the Temple Square, it stood a prominent 222 feet in height and is the largest and best-known of all the temples.
There was a pool in front of it, with no wind that afternoon the tranquil water captured the spires' image, for some reason its reflection faired better than the actual building.
At the top of the tallest tower, the golden Angel Moroni stood, one hand held a trumpet as he blew into it, as if to summon all of God's creatures in His presence. I am not of religious faith but this is one of the most divine structures I have ever come across.
A look around the acres revealed other buildings situated close by...
... as well as their mirror image on the calm pond.
Incidentally the pool was the centre of the attention that day, many families had brought their loved ones to the church grounds to pass their Monday that September long weekend.
We wished our schedule was as leisurely as theirs but there lied ahead many more miles to cover that day. A brief focus on the flowers before departing, as with any public garden colorful blooms play a welcoming and cheerful role. 
As we walked on the camera decided to capture the signs on the post, apparently there were many unexplored areas at this location and as it appeared only a small region of the entire 10 acres was discovered. 
The stroll through the Temple Square was a short one, in fact it lasted only a few minutes, but the excitement of this new finding took a toll on my big breakfast, I was famished once again and in need of nourishment. "Hungry already?!" was David's response when I announced it was lunch time, somehow I become a creature with a voracious appetite during our holidays. Quick to the rescue was a Mexican restaurant I noticed earlier on, truth be told I saw Rancherito's on our way to Camp VIP the night before, and many more times when we drove on North Temple Road.
The man behind the counter announced #1 on the menu was the most popular of all combos. After listening to the description of beef fajita with rice, refried pinto beans, guacamole, lettuce and 2 tortillas with 3 different kinds of chilli sauce, "2 please!" was the reply. As we chomped away at the gigantic meals a family of 4 smiled at us, they were sharing one #1 and were very much amused at our expense.
Would you look at this delightful platter below, I dreamt of savoring Mexican cuisine during our road trip and I must say it was one of the most yummiest food I ever tasted. At a reasonable $7.75 per combination it kept us full for an entire 8 hours, enough to last until dinnertime at 7 PM. I went back to the counter for a drink of horchata, the first time I heard about it was a post on Etsy. It was another gratifying discovery, filled to the top with ice in a huge styrofoam cup, the refreshing rice milk stayed cold for the next few hours, a great accompaniment in the warm car.
Driving off towards the interstate, the car passed by some businesses in the Latino district, their vibrant and color store signs caught my attention. I have visited Chinatown and Little India in Vancouver but this was a brand new experience.
Adjacent to the shop above more Latino retail, I was curious as to what it would be like to live in an area like this, would it be as entertaining as the restaurant visit?
Back on the highway, signs like this gave an up-to-date time required to arrive at certain parts of town, an aid to traffic congestion it was something we frequently observed in major American cities.
Also spotted along the route were advertising billboards for various trades and professions, but this one from Chick-fil-A stood apart from the rest. We first became aware of its poor handwriting which led to the crude spelling... then the 2 cows gave the final clue to the message. I still chuckle when I look at this!
Mountains bordered the edge of the city, I remembered one of my art instructors commented on how breathtaking the scenery was. Even though our stay in Salt Lake City was short, it was certainly sweet and what a sight!
The hills continued, their colors and shapes ever changing as the road carried on.
Wind turbines that we witnessed earlier in the trip presented themselves again, but this time they were in the vicinity of the city, and not in the outskirts as previously noted.
A bit of blue tried to peak through the clouds, the skies were not as clear as Day 1 and Day 2, but the temperature was somewhat cooler much to my relief. Forecast predicted a bit of wet and grey that day. 
Regardless of the poor weather prediction, it did not dampen our spirits. The little car went on and bade farewell to the yellow flowers that lined the freeway, our New Mexico road trip will continue next week! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was a meal. Fabulous vistas. I admire the way you document your travels.