24 hours in Utah

My wife and I are from California and she was about to attend a conference in NY. Instead of having her fly there alone, being a great husband that I am, I decided to keep her company. And since my companion pass, where you can fly someone with you for FREE, from Southwest still had a few months before it expires and I happened to have a good amount of points unused, we decided to make this into a week long trip—cramming 2 extra cities along the way (costing us $30 total for the airfare).

First stop, Utah.
My urge to visit this masterpiece by Mother Nature has spiked ever since Melly pitched me on how stunning it was a few months back. Then it officially made it on my bucket-list after reading Melly’s recent road-trip.

Game on:

T-minus 2 till departure


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…and I was still struggling to get my GoPro to work.

 

T-minus 1


We were cutting it close. Southwest’s server was down the night before so we had to check-in at the airport. It was 530 in the morning with smooth traffic, so we thought we had plenty of time.

But of course…

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Like the line from Disney’s Space Mountain. Murphy’s law at its best.

 

T-minus .5


Got our boarding passes and sped through the whole process like a pro. No lag, no wasted time.

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Got to the gate 15 minutes before our flight.

“Sorry, the gate’s closed. We’ll have to put you on standby for the next available flight.” 

Michelle was so pissed, I had to censor her face.

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Not cool.

 


T-0
T-minus wait, what? 6.


We spent the next 4 hours with our fingers crossed.
The next available flight was filled and so we had to wait for the one after.
Finally made it to one with a layover at Phoenix, AZ.
An 1.5 hour flight turned 6.

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T-minus 1


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Turnout, Phoenix International was a decent spot to get some work done.

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It’s now a verified location on WHA, our app.

 

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After 1.5 another hours of flight time, we finally made it:

+0 hour


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We were pretty pressing on time, so we took off quickly after we checked-in our Airbnb.

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4:45PM 1st hour


All the phenomenal national parks are quite far from downtown (2-6 hours drive). With little time, we had to settle on places that are close. Antelope Island was just north of the airport, sat beside the Great Salt Lake.

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3rd hour


As the sun set, the sky glowed red and the mountains were layered with shades of purple.

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I always wanted clouds to complement a sunset; it adds depth to the scene. It was a cloudless day, breathtaking nonetheless.

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What I brought home was more than photographs:

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6th Hour


Dinner at Valter’s.
It was one of the most popular restaurants in town. According to Yelp.

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The dishes were delicious, but what blew me away was their customer service.
The owner, Valter Nassi, was constantly greeting, but not intruding, the diners across the restaurant. When he got to us and asked us about our meals, half way through our dish, my wife briefly mentioned that the cuisine was slightly spicier than her taste, not expecting much of a response. The owner then snapped his fingers and summoned a close-by waiter to remake her dish and made sure that we would be 100% satisfied.

What just happened took us by surprise, even left us a bit guilty. The way he over-delivered opened our eyes. Floored by the extra miles dedicated owners like these take to build a well-rounded venture. (Apparently it’s great for marketing, too)

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Valter himself.

 

8th hour


Swung by the Great Saltair

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This is its 3rd generation, which frankly, wasn’t nearly as cool as its predecessors.

 

9th Hour


Wrapped up the night and prepped for the remaining trip with this pretty handy tool by Goal Zero.

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This is the Serpa 100, which can charge a laptop up to 2 cycles when fully charged.

 

16th hour


Had a great sleep and ready to roll.
By the way, my wife and I, as well as a group of our close friends, are training for a marathon that’s happening this coming March. That’s getting a base of 40 miles a week by the end the training, which means no break while we travel.

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Good thing the weather was AMAZING.

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This was the beginning of our 2nd week. 3 miles down.

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18th Hour


SLC was a pretty wifi friendly city. We’ve seen quite a few retail outlets with big “free wifi” signs hanging from their front door.
Before we took off to our next location, we grabbed breakfast and got some work done at Mestizo Coffeehouse.

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It was an art gallery/cafe.

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Wifi isn’t the fastest, but the cozy and intricate interiors make up for it. Added to our app.

 

19th Hours


On our way to the must-see.

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Art piece by Swiss artist Karl Momen. It’s called “Metaphor: The Tree of Utah”

 

20th Hour


About 107 miles from SLC, downtown. 80 minutes drive later, we finally made it to this majestic plane—the Bonneville Salt Flats (and Utah’s famed measured mile-site of the world land-speed record runs). Current record’s 350.092mph.

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Crystal salt.

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No wifi, no outlet, no seats. Still able to do some editing with the power-supply by Goal Zero, though.

 

24th Hour


Another couple of hours drive back and filled our stomach with some tender and juicy fried chicken ready for our next destination. That’s a wrap. But we’ve only seen the tip of an ice berg, so we will be coming back to this land soon enough.

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