Today was a planned “day off,” something that’s very essential on longer road trips. One of our favorite places for such an event is Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our first stop was at Vertical Diner, a vegan greasy spoon that’s to die for.
We then quickly made our little way to City Cakes, a vegan bakery where we picked up several delightful things, such as a triple chocolate brownie, peanut butter chocolate bar and Smartz got her first vegan macaroon!
Wanting to take some photos of urban decay, our host, Mandy, attempted to take us to an old power station near the Great Salt Lake. The only problem was that the building (called The Temple of the Birds) and the debris surrounding it (which included an old street car) had been completely removed. It was a real bummer. However, I was thrilled that we got to drive on some original 1930s concrete from the Old Lincoln Highway!
Not letting the grass grow beneath our feet, we ventured into the Temple section of the city.
To visit the huge Mormon Temple.
We stopped by a visitor center, where I checked out a model of the temple itself. Unless you have a “temple recommend,” you cannot enter the temple. This is the closest we “Gentiles” will ever get to it.
Another visitor center had three floors of biblical paintings, with a long spiral ramp leading to a statue of Jesus.
One of the floors features around twenty Old Testament paintings, and included a sculpture of Adam & Eve (with Tammy Wynette apparently playing Eve).
After having an interesting chat with two Mormon missionaries (one being from Greenland!), we ventured outside for the obligatory photos of the temple.
Speaking of obligatory, this is where most newlywed LDS couples have their photo taken. Huzzah!
Several original buildings have been preserved near the Temple. This one is the Beehive House, which served as Brigham Young’s office and residence.
While our Mormon discoveries were not yet finished, we took a break to have some vegan ice cream and other delights at City Cakes. All were amazing.
Tomorrow (July 24) is Pioneer Day. This was the day when Brigham Young first saw the valley that would soon become Salt Lake City. It’s a huge celebration in SLC, with a parade anticipated by all. Some anticipate it so much that they camp out over night for the perfect spot. Many had already grabbed their spots by 11am (22 hours before the parade starts). Some rather more intense individuals were camped out the night before. It’s a big deal.
The spot where Brigham Young first saw the valley has been well preserved as “This Is The Place Park.” We trodded up that way to see what we could see.
The park contains other monuments, as well. One to the Mormon Brigade and another to the Pony Express. There seems to be a reconstructed village, too, but by the time we got there, it was closed.
Our lovely day off ended with a drive through Emigrant Canyon, tracing the paths of the Mormon emigrants into Salt Lake City.
We had thought about camping out with the good folks on the streets, but decided instead to get up early the next day for what promises to be the best parade in the world (if you can judge such things by the people camping out two nights to see it).