Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 US Trip - Day 14 - Thursday September 18th 2014

Well this is it, the final day in the RV. Everyone was up at around 6am. The plan was to be away by about 7am and get into Salt Lake City by around 10am. It would have been around 7.30am by the time we got under way. The drive away from Bear Lake was met with some frustrated parents rushing to drive their kids to the bus stop to meet up with the local school bus and with some very long hills.

We had one final pitstop at a McDonalds for a coffee and toilet break before the final leg of the journey. The drive along the i80 into Salt Lake City was pretty intense. Traffic was certainly some of the heaviest we had seen so far. Not only was there cars but also lots of large trucks. Not sure what the speed limit was for that section of road. All we did however was keep up wth all the other traffic that was around us. The road was at times 4 lanes wide packed full of people wanting to get down the hill as quickly as possible. It swapped from long left hand turns to right hand turns as it made it's way down the hill into the valley basin.

Once we were done on flat highway we were all relieved and stopped off to perform our final refuelling before getting back to Cruise America by about 10.15am. As we still had all our luggage we thought it wise to use two of the RV's to drop off it off at the Hilton Hotel. Pete and Daryl made it back with a few minutes to spare.

We grabbed a late lunch at finally checked into our rooms by around 3pm and had one final celebratory dinner before calling it a night. Certainly was a great trip with lots of great memories and experiences.

2014 US Trip - Day 13 - Wednesday September 17th 2014

Well the plan was to leave early but even though Trev and I were up at 6am we thought we would have a sleep in. We left the RV park at around 9.30am and leasurely drove down towards the town of Jackson stopping off for pictures where it suited us. Made it into Jackson just before 11am and met up with the others who had left earlier on. This gave everyone a chance to look around, shop or to grab some breakfast. I decided to walk around and take some photos before grabbing a mocca and a croissant. We were back in the RV's around 1pm and refuelled on the way out of Jackson.

The drive down to Bear Lake was supposed to be boring but the scenery was still spectacular. The colours on the mountain side were amazing. The green of the pines being broken up by the yellows, organes and reds of other deciduous trees. Once again we followed river valleys before hitting flatter territory around Bear Lake.

The KOA RV park was very nice and not busy at all. The facilities were probably some of the best we had seen so far. After setting up shop we all walked down to the marina for some photos before getting back to top up our propane gas before we delivered the RV's back to Cruise America in Salt Lake City tomorrow morning.

As this was our final night there we spent time packing our bags and throwing out what ever we didn't need. We had bought some firewood so spent some time 

With this being the last evening for me to try to take some astronomical photos I setup a short distance away from the fire and then attempted to take some photos in wide angle and once I had zeroed in on my main objective of Andromeda (M31) I put on the large 100-400mm lens and took as many shots as I could. Will need to do some post processing once I get back home.

The plan for tomorrow is to be up early for the final jog into Salt Lake City.

2014 US Trip - Day 12 - Tuesday September 16th 2014

Had agreed with Pete that the night before that we were going to get up early and walk down to the edge of the lake and take some pictures of the sunrise on the Teton mountain range. I was up just before 6am, quickly dressed then knocked on Pete's RV. 
He had a coffee waiting for me which was great and he gave me the news that Lawrence had decided to sleep in. Shortly aftewards we were on our way down to the lake edge. We walked for around 30 minutes and possible not in the most direct path. It was around 6.45am by the time we got to a spot that we liked and started to setup. First it was the GoPro on a time lapse setting. Then it was onto the laptop controlled DSLR. Pete was trying all different types of shots with filters and composition. We stayed there until it was around 8.15am. And by the way the sunrise was spectacular with some nice cloud cover adding to the atomsphere.

The walk back was adventurous with a Blair Witch moment but we eventually got to the RV's. It was then time to grab some breakfast before meeting back up with everyone for the cruise on the lake. The weather was spectacular and the lake very still which made for a very enjoyable time. The captain and first mate were very knowledgable of the local area and answered questions from the passengers. I was surprised to hear that the lake completely freezes over in winter. Just goes to show the extremes that this part of the country experiences.

The afternoon was spent driving down to Jenny Lake, taking a another short boat cruise and doing some short walks to admire some stunning waterfalls and scenery. On the drive back to Colter Bay we stopped in at Jackson Lodge where we initially grabbed a drink before spotting a moose and possibly a bear.

After getting back to Colter Bay I defrosted some of the stir fry I had cooked one one of the previous nights. It wasn't too bad. Givne the early start I wasn't going to have a late night so did the usual photo/video hosekeeping and then headed off to bed.The plan for tomorrow is to get up early and go back to Jackson Lodge to see if we can spot some more animals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 US Trip - Day 11 - Monday September 15th 2014

No one was in a rush to get up this morning. The previous couple of days had been long and we had no set agenda as yet. As the showers in the RV park were located a long way away and around $5 per shower I decided to bath in the small RV shower. It did the job.
After a quick breakfast and then meeting up with Pete and Maggie for a coffee we walked down to the local marina. We had just missed a lake cruise so we booked in tomorrow morning. Amazingly, or not, had to sign a disclaimer form for the 1.5 hour trip around a relatively calm lake. Oh well, this is America. We then decided to head up to a place called Jackson Hole where there is a ski village and a gondola ride up to the top of the mountain. The journey there took over an hour but along the way we saw some amazing views of the Grand Teton mountain range. If you've been to Queenstown in NZ, a bit like that but a lot bigger. 

The gondola ride up was very quick taking only about 15 minutes. It can hold up to 100 people which is very impressive and took us all the way up to 10,500 ft or 3200 metres. After a quick photo shoot we grabbed some freshly made waffles from the small restaurant located at the peak. We then had a walk around and admired the mountain range that was behind and to the sides and the valley in front.
On the way back down we spotted our first brown bear in the wild. It was a small glimpse but definitely saw him. I will have to check the video when I get home to see if I captured him or not. Once we arrived back down in the village, the others grabbed a bear and we sat on the grass and caught some sun. It was now past 4pm so decided it was time to head back towards the RV park.
Along the way we stopped off at a restaurant located by the lake and had a very nice meal whilst watching the sun setting over the Grand Teton mountain range. The silhouette was amazing and hope the that the photos do it justice. It was then another 30 minute drive back to the RV park where we finished for the evening.

A quick picture of the Grand Teton mountain range...

2014 US Trip - Day 10 - Sunday September 14th 2014

For Pete, Maggie and Ragnar this was a very early morning. They got underway just after 5am with the intent of getting up to a valley where a lot of animals would congregate early in the morning. The remainder of the group left around 7.30am and made our way back into Yellowstone and then up towards Mammoth Springs. Along the way we passed a number of geysers and we stopped for a photo opportunity at one of the them. Being so early still the air was quite brisk still so time of beanies and thermals.
From there we traveled up stunning valleys that seem to change geology around every corner. I cant really describe it other than to say you need to see it for yourself and for those of you that have I hope that I am doing it justice. We pulled into Mammoth Springs just after 10am. Located on the northern border of the Yellowstone Park this is an area filled with different types of geysers. All unique and very beautiful.
We eventually met up with Pete and Maggie at a waterfall located around 20 minutes out of Mammoth Springs. We grabbed a bite to eat, checked out the falls then pressed on further south. We wanted to check out two additional waterfalls, Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls. Located in the Canyon area of the park the views from the looks outs were amazing. Colours of the rock and soil added to the spectacle and we were left in awe.
Another stop on our journey south was Fisherman's Bridge where we took a few photos of the Yellowstone River and the large lake that it feeds into. We then pressed on for the final hour or so of driving stopping at Lewis Falls before reaching Colter Bay RV park just before 6pm. This RV park appears to be quite old given the maturity of the trees that we find ourselves in.
Cooked a stir fry for dinner and froze 3 additional meals but I suspect I will only use one of these before we finish up on Thursday. Headed down at around 8.30pm to do some washing at the local 24 hour launderette. Caught up on some emails and Facebook before heading back and crashing.

2014 US Trip - Day 9 - Saturday September 13th 2014

After a poor nights sleep, combination of being hung over and a bit too hot we got ready to head into Yellowstone National Park for the first time. Instead of taking 4 RV's, we opted for 2 so Trevor and I went with Daryl, Kate and Lachlan. I was a mute for most of the day as I tried to consume food to then down some Nurofen.
Due to some road closures in the park we decided to visit Old Faithful, the regular occurring gyser. We arrived there around lunch time but prior to that we negotiated slow traffic which stopped to watch a large male elk in a field. Then there was a bison walking down the road just doing his own thing. It passed the RV within a metre or two.
Yellowstone is full of volcanic activity and we stopped off to see smaller geysers, mud pools etc. The smell of sulfur did not assist my fragile stomach state but I managed. We would walk across a series of board walks so not to trample on bacteria mats that had formed from the flowing vents.
We arrived at Old Faithful at around lunch time. We were worried that there would be a large number of cars trying to get into the car park but we didn't have any issues. Plenty of space for everyone. As we ate in the car park we notice a large steam release so we knew we had just missed Old Faithful going off. So we finished up and headed to the large visitor centre to figure out the next activity. It was around 90 minutes away so we walked around exploring some of the other geysers that are located close by.
The next performance by Old Faithful was to be at around 1.52pm +/- 10 mins. We got ready by about 1.35pm and waited for the sign that she was going to erupt. It certainly threw up a lot of water and released a lot of steam before quietening down around 4-5 minutes later. After a quick group photo we headed back to the car to visit some other geysers. Then on the way back we passed a large group of about 50 bison grazing near the road. It is quite easy to tell when there are animals about as a traffic jam results with everyone slowing down. On the way back to the RV park we saw some more elk grazing in one of the rivers and another bison trotting on the road. It was great to see these majestic animals in a natural habitat.
Arrived back in the RV park just after 5pm and headed out to dinner about 6.30. Had a very nice dinner but most of us were feeling pretty tried that we then made it an early night with most getting into bed before 10pm.

2014 US Trip - Day 8 - Friday September 12th 2014

The stop in this RV park was for only one night and we packed up and headed back into town, only a 5 minute drive away. We wanted to refuel and also fill our propane tanks which we use for cooking, heating and running the fridge when we are not on power at the RV park. After checking with one service station, they couldn't do it as the propane tank can't be removed from the vehicle. So we went across the road and they helped us out.
The gentleman who ran the business had a truck out back so we lined up the 4 RV's and filled them in no time at all. Total cost per vehicle around $15. We also took the opportunity to refuel before heading towards the evenings destination of West Yellowstone.
Starting out on the planes once again we started to head towards a stunning mountain range capped with fresh snow. We then crossed the mountain range enjoying once again pine forests covered in snow. The drive was very enjoyable as we passed some very nice ranches and another ski resort before stopping in the town of Bozeman.

We grabbed a coffee in a local book store before starting the last leg of the journey towards West Yellowstone. Once again the scenery along the way was stunning. We travelled up valleys flanked by a river on one side and sheer cliffs covered with pine on the other. On crossing rivers this would switch so it never really mattered which side of the car you on the views you got were breath taking.

We eventually arrived in the town of West Yellowstone around 2pm and after checking in we were setup. This park is simple amazing with over spots for RV's of different sizes. Walking around we spotted some very large ones worth at least $100k US. Not sure what you would pay for equivalent in Australia, certainly a small fortune.

Located a short walking distance away was a bear and wolf park. This was a great opportunity to see these elusive animals. There were a number of enclosures for the different animals and they spend a short amount of time looking for food placed, or hidden, by the staff. This was to allow the animals to mimic their normal behaviour. One group of bears performed for around 30 mins then a 15 minute break to setup for the next bear, Sam. Now Sam was a grizzly and he was huge. Searching for food he was flipping large rocks with ease. After a short swim he finished up and then the preparation for the next performers was underway. The wolves were in siesta moood and were lounging about. Beautiful looking animals.

In the evening we retired back to the RV park for some drinks as we watched the sunset. Once the direct sunlight disappears the temperature starts to drop and this was time for us to get dinner ready. I once again scabbed off others and had a steak and pasta meal with Pete, Maggie and Ragnar. Then it was time to pour a vodka, or two, and continue the Presidents and Assholes card game. Many laughs were had as we talked about nothing and everything.

2014 US Trip - Day 7 - Thursday September 11th 2014

We all woke early as we knew that the weather forecasts were going to offer some incredible contrasting views of the sun kissed snow capped mountinas and that we had a decent drive in front of us. And we were not disappointed. We  drove out of the RV park and to the side of a lake where we stopped for a photo opportunity. The temperature was still quite brisk and we excitedly took lots of pictures of the snow covering the mountains, tress and ground. The pictures you may have seen would not do the experience justice. Just breathtaking.
From there we drove up to a picnic area that had access to the lake so more pictures were taken down there. Once everyone was done we then started the long drive out along through snow covered forests. But as we've experienced elsewhere on this trip, the terrain changes quickly and we go from mountainous pine covered hills to bare open planes.
We stopped to refuel the RV's and grabbed some lunch at a nice local cafe. Service was good and everyone had a hearty meal. I went for a plain hamburger and fries downed with a Pepsi. From there we wanted to visit a dinosaur museum but unfortunately it was closed. So we got back in the cars and pushed on to our next stop, Great Falls.

This town has the Missouri River running through it and there are some water falls near some man made dams. The water flow wasn't particular great so the opportunity for pictures was limited so we found a local super market and stocked up on food. Service again was very good and after loading up the RV's we were on our way.
We drove for a couple of more hours, firstly on open planes and then through mountains. We passed a ski resorts out in the middle of no where and looked like a nice little place to ski. Along the way we also had to slow down a number of times due to deer on the road. There were single deer and pairs, mother and child.
The final stop of the night was the RV park. Not particular big but would do the trick. After checking in the majority of us feed some local trout that were in one of the dams on the property. Reminds me of my time as a child in the Snowy Mountains.
I finished the evening my staying out outside taking pictures of the night sky. The evening was crystal clear so though I should take advantage of it even though the temperature was well below zero. I had approximately 40 layers on and was warm. In the end though, i achieve what I aimed to do and that was to see and photograph the Andromeda Galaxy which is one of ours nearest. Through both the image stabilised 18x50 binoculars and on the sky tracked photos, all it looks like is a smudge. But it's definitely there. The moon, though not full, started to appear adding to the noise pollution so I packed up for the night.

2014 US Trip - Day 6 - Wednesday September 10th 2014

We knew today was going to be cold, but didn't think it would turn out like this. Woke at about 8am after a good nights sleep. Wasn't particular cold but as always had on a lot of layers. Was initially greeted with snow capped mountains behind the RV camp but then it started sleeting followed by light snow then heavy snow. We decided that today was not going to be spent driving around but instead to catch up on washing and other things. I did a load of washing and dried it before catching up further on some blog updates.

Trevor, Karen and Laurence cooked a hardy lunch of bacon, eggs, tomato and toast. Very enjoyable in such cold and miserable weather. Some of the guys ventured out about 2.30pm to go in the outdoor spa whilst it was still snowing and blowing a gale. I wisely chose to stick it out in the RV.
Snow continue through the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. A couple of us chose to have pizza delivered which could be ordered through the reception desk. Delivery of the pizzas came from the local town only about 10 minutes drive away. I am sure that they rely heavily on people ordering pizza when they just could not be bothered to cook. The pizza when it arrived was devoured pretty quick and we were all happy with the result.
We finished the evening with the boys congregating in one RV playing the card game Presidents and Arseholes whilst the girls congregated in another and I have unconfirmed reports the topic of discussion was fashion, nail polish colours, hair tints.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 US Trip - Day 5 - Tuesday September 9th 2014

Woke to a chilly morning. The vodka from the night before had made for a pleasant sleep and got out of bed just before 8am. Some of the others were up and getting some breakfast. I grabbed a biscuit or two for breakfast and some orange juice. Had a quick shower up at the shower block before packing up and getting ready for today's drive. Compared to the first two days this was only going to be quite small.
Before leaving I was able to get some money out for the first time in a couple of days which was a pleasant relief. Not being able to get money out had been a real pain considering the effort I went to to organise the global currency card.

We hit the road just before 10am and this was going to be my first day of serious driving. The journey took us back towards the Glacier National Park entrance that we went in yesterday, but instead of turning off we kept on going as the RV's wouldn't be allowed. We later found out that the weather conditions had closed the road so felt very fortunate to have been up it yesterday.

The drive north was spectacular with large mountains either side and a hint of sleet. A cold change had moved in over night and the sky was overcast but that did not detract from the spectacle. We had our first stop at around 11.15am after we turned off the main road we were driving along. The small town had a general store, some cafes and restaurants. We all grabbed a coffee and a bit to eat before heading to our next destination inside of the Glacier National Park beside a lake. At this stage it was snowing and very cold along side the shoreline though we took our time for photos. From there we head back out of the park and north further still. It didn't take us long to move from driving along valleys to be out on open plains again before taking a left and heading back towards the snow capped mountains.

We finally arrived at the RV park, located just outside of St Mary, just before 3pm. AFter checking in we hooked up the power, water and sewerage. After a quick bite to eat we went for a walk around the RV park which is quite large in size. Located beside a lake it has some amazing views though we will need to wait until a sunny day to really enjoy it. After the walk we decided to have dinner at a restaurant that was highly recommend by people at Peter's work. It was at the Many Glacier which was around a 30 minute drive away. The vista was nothing short of breath taking. On a sunny day you all you would want to do is sit there in awe. At the end of one of the lakes flanked by large mountains was the Many Glacier Hotel. After finding a spot to park, difficult to do with 3 RV's, we were greeted by an amazing foyer filled with chairs either located strategically around a fire place or looking back along the water. Utterly breathtaking. This was not a place for hobos, but that of the well to do. Nothing much has changed here for the 100 years that the hotel has been around. We grabbed a place in the line before being seated in a reasonably amount of time. We all had a good feed with me consuming a double pork schnitzel on a bed of vegetables.
The drive back to the RV park was a slow one as the journey there had been spent missing cows that were grazing on or beside the road. Caught up on some emails before settling into bed with the heater turned on ready for a cold one overnight of -3C.

2014 US Trip - Day 4 - Monday September 8th 2014

The plan for today was to get up into the Glacier National Park. We however, would not be able to take the RV's as the road we were driving on would not accommodate. There were some other alternatives such as catching courtesy buses throughout the park but we opted to hire a van capable of holding 10 people. We dropped into the local airport and this was my first opportunity to drive on the right hand side of the road. I felt I went fine, all it requires is a higher level of concentration. Pete and Laurence were able to hire the car and they followed us back to the RV park where we picked up the rest of the gang. Though it was a tight fit it was a good option for us.
We drove for about 15 minutes before we hit the park and stopped off shortly after at a lake for photos. From there we ventured deeper into the park following a lake and then one of the rivers that feed into it. The views out the window were amazing. Large mountains on each side, some with pine trees whilst others were just rocks. We stopped a few more times for pictures before pushing towards the top to Logans Pass. This was a very busy place given the time was around 1.30pm the car park for around 60-80 cars was completely full. A few of us got out of the car and grabbed some lunch before we finally got a car space. We then decided to do a walk up to a lookout at about 2.30pm. Just before we left I noticed a thermometre said about 10C. The walk was not overly difficult and much of it was along a board walk. After getting in trouble momentarily by a ranger for before "off trail" for taking a photo he let us go as there were bigger fish to fry further up the mountain.

Along the way we saw white mountain goats and marmots before being entertained by some chipmunks at the top of the mountain. At the lookout we posed for photos before starting to head back down the mountain. About 15 minutes after leaving we were completely shrouded in fog and could only see approximately 100 metres in front. This continued all the way down to the car park at which point the temperate had dropped to 4C. We were all glad to get back into the car but thankful for being able to experience such a great walk and beautiful vistas. The drive back down the mountain was amazing and we enjoyed the sites we had seen earlier in the day one last time. We got back to the RV park around 6pm and dropped off the 10 seater back to the local airport. On the way back we stopped off to buy some "hard liquour" that can only be sold in special state run shops. Beer and wine however can be bought in super markets. We arrived back to the camp site by about 7.15pm where we tucked into some pasta cooked by Trevo, Karen and Laurence. We then all spent the night and the camp fire being buffeted by cool winds. I decided to call Westpac to see why my Glocal Currency Card had not been working and was surprised to hear that they had put a hold on it. I verbalised my frustrations to the operator around the fact that I got no notification of this decision though was thankful that the card was now reactivated. Tomorrow I would give it a go at the general store located a short 2 minute walk away.

The final task for the evening was to try to take some long exposures of the night sky. Though the setup appeared to work well, the high winds and very bright moon light made it a difficult proposition. I will have to wait until I get home to Sydney to properly check out the results.
The evening was a late one given this was the first night of us all enjoying the hard liquor around the camp fire.

2014 US Trip - Day 3 - Sunday September 7th 2014

Overnight the majority of us froze in our beds. We hadn't quite figured out the heater and the setting of the thermostat. Only Pete and Maggie had a comfortable night sleep and with the new information at hand as to how to get it working we wouldn't make that mistake again. After unhooking the power and water we were on our way to Bannack, a historic village now a ghost town. This was the real wild wild west with stories of shoot outs in the local tavern and the barber located in one corner not missing a stroke of the cut throat razor. Amazingly the town was still occupied until the 1950's and concerned locals grouped together to preserve the town. The entrance fee was small and we spent about an hour or so before heading back to Dillon to grab some lunch and some extra supplies.

Once we grabbed some local delicacy, McDonalds, we were on our way. The roads I must admit are amazing with dual lanes for pretty much all of the day's driving. The scenery changed quite a bit from rolling planes to more mountainous covered with pines. Along the way to our stop this eveing in West Glacier we made a small detour to visit a wild life sanctuary that had bison, elk and deer. For $5 we were able to drive through a section taking photos. Got some amazing shots that I will shar elater on. We stayed there till just after 6pm and then made the final push towards out final destination, the RV park in West Glacier.

It wasn't until around 9pm that we got there. Everyone was exhausted from the days driving and were happy to settle in for a quiet evening.  

2014 US Trip - Day 2 - Saturday September 6th 2014

Woke up after a good nights sleep. The bed was very comfortable and compared to that of an airline seat I did appreciate lying horizontally. We all met in the foyer before heading out for some breakfast. We wandered around but wasn't able to find anywhere so we ended up back at the hotel where we grabbed the usual bacon, eggs, fruit, coffee etc.

The plan for the today was to pick up the RV's, do some shopping and then get on our way. Pete had organised for some cars to pick us up and to drop us down at the Cruise America depot for around 10.30am even though they had said we should look to arrive in the early after when all the vans would be ready. Fortunately when we got there two RV's where ready so we grabbed those with the intent of doing the shopping first and then picking up the remaining 2 RV's later. After a quick orientation as to how to use the RV we were on our way to Walmart. For all the pages on the internet bagging Walmart and their customers I found it to be very nice and had everything we wanted. We spent about 1.5 hours in there grabbing stuff before we headed back to the Cruise America depot to pick up the final 2 RV's by about 2.30pm. We were then on our way.

The journey out of Salt Lake City was a busy one. Lots of traffic but thankfully we were on good roads and with Pete in the lead with his GPS we simply followed. We tracked along the valley floor with large mountains to one side and slowly as we got further away the traffic began to die down. We were on our way. Watching the 3 RV's in front of us in a convoy was amusing and I am not sure what other road travellers would have thought either. From a scenery perspective we were driving along open planes. Not a lot of trees about and if they were they were small shrubs.

We eventually arrive in our first overnight stop in Dillon at around 9.30pm where we refueled and made it to the RV park. Then became the first adventure of hooking up power and water. The night sky was clear and there was definitely a coolness to the air. We were not long out of bed given that it had been a long day.

2014 US Trip - Day 1 - Friday September 5th 2014

Well as with most of my preparations for finishing up cleanly at work, it didn't work out too well. Made getting ready for the trip that more difficult. Whilst I was sort of ready from a packing perspective i didn't leave myself with a huge amount of rest the night before the flight. Friday 5th September started early with the alarm clocking ringing at around 5.30am. I had been clock watching for part of the morning.
The cab picked me up right at 6am and the journey to the airport took about an hour. Checking in was very quick and the usual people watching took place. Got through immigration and security checks relatively quickly and then it was time to grab a coffee and croissant.
Boarding of the flight was delayed by about 45 minutes and I started to get a little bit nervous for my connecting flight though I had approximately 3.5 hours to play with. Once we got off the ground I realised that there was a familiar face on board, Karl Stevanovic. Throughout the flight he came back to entertain some of the other staff that were on the flight with him. The girls were swarming around him like puppy dogs. One word, "player".
The flight itself had good food and movies. The only mishap was when they came around with an ice cream which was fantastic to eat though it instantly froze to my tongue when I first tried to eat it. Luckily I didn't remove a large chunk of my tongue as I remove it.
The flight landed about 15 minutes later in the end and quickly disembarked. Getting through customs was also quick along with baggage claim. I then dropped the bag off for the onward flight to Salt Lake City and then went about finding my connection. I had landed in Terminal B and needed to get to Terminal 4. Had no idea how long that was going to take me to get there but thankfully the terminal was next door and was able to walk. Got through another security check and then onto the gate. I had to catch a bus to a smaller terminal where the flight to Salt Lake City would depart. Made it in plenty to spare and wait for about 45 minutes.
The plane to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles was small holding only about 60 passengers. The flight was not full and fortunately the lady originally sitting next to me moved to another seat that was vacant. Our steward, Juan, was Hispanic. I like Hispanics because they define my gender and state of mind so well.
After taking off and heading over the Pacific Ocean for a little while we tracked back and headed east. View California from above you can really see that it is a very dry state. The rest of the flight was a mix of me falling asleep and looking out the window.
Checked into the Hilton Hotel with no issues and dropped my bags off before heading out. Salt Lake City is hosting a Comic Con and there were people of all ages out there in their uniforms and costumes. There were even whole families that were getting into it to a high level of quality. I had hoped to see Polygamy Man, who is a super hero capable of managing multiple "wives", though did not see him.
I then visited some churches and the local mall which was landscaped to a high level of finish. Running through the main street is a free tram that does a loop of the main shopping areas and the other avenues of the grid pattern were wide, spacious and beautifully designed.
I returned to the hotel after completing a loop. I chilled for a little bit longer in my room before catching up with Daryl, Kate and Lachlan. They took me through their holiday so far which has compromised island hopping in Hawaii before arriving in Salt Lake City this morning after an overnight flight.
We then made contact with Karen, Laurence and Trevor and bumped into them in the hotel foyer. From there were ventured down the road to grab some food. The food was good and hardy and very reasonably priced. I had pork shank which is just like lamb shank but with pork instead. After finishing dinner we retired back to the hotel.
Around 9pm Pete and Maggie made contact that they had arrived. I was debating whether I would catch up with them this evening as at this point I had not slept in a bed now for 30 hours. I decided that the bed could wait and met them as they pulled up in their cab. Karen, Laurence and Trevor appeared shortly afterwards and we had a night cap to round off the evening.