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  • Writer's pictureMartijn

Super social days in Salt Lake City

Apart from traveling while many of you are in lock down and feeling very light because we sold our house and only carry 100 things each, this trip also gives us the opportunity to meet wonderful people everywhere.

We landed in Salt Lake City International (KSLC) on April 13th and look what we got to step on!

The gesture was made by Nate of TAC Air FBO who had been informed of our arrival by Scott, whom we had met in Kanab.

We would never have gone to Kanab (town we had never heard of), had it not been for the recommendation of Tye, the Bryce Canyon FBO manager. And if we had not gone to Kanab, we would not have met Scott and Terah from Salt Lake City. On the morning we left Kanab, they had just landed with their Cessna and were planning to go to breakfast with the courtesy car. There was no one present in the FBO but the instructions were clear and easy:

Scott asked us which country our call sign “LV” was from and we started a conversation which led us a few days later to step on the red carpet upon landing in his city and the following evening to give a presentation in his church for the “Wednesday activity” of a group of boys.

Before and after that presentation, we were invited to their home for dinner and dessert. The discussion was mostly around traveling and flying (of course) and I am confident our paths will cross again. Maybe in Guanajuato Mexico, a city that Terah loved and that left a great impression on me when I visited as a teenager (during my Mexico City years) because of its Mummy Museum. The city’s website describes the museum as “gruesome and horrific” but if you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I have a taste for scientific-biological exhibits. In any case, both Terah and I would like to go back to Guanajuato, so it would make for a great meeting place when Alex and I are on the Pacific side of our trip. Japan, where Scott has served as a missionary in his youth, would be another great choice, especially since he speaks Japanese and they both have already traveled there.

While in Salt Lake City, we also were invited to dinner by Dee and her family who we met on the tour we took in Monument Valley, led by a Navajo guide who explained all kinds of things about their traditions, his youth and the matriarchal society.

Navajo "hogan"

In their community, according to another guide at the Goulding’s Lodge we stayed at, girls are the ones who will transmit the culture and get tradition classes to prepare them, while boys simply learn to “do as they are told” 😊

Unlike many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dee had not served a mission when she was a young adult because she had joined the religion only when she was 26. But her family members had served in Belgium, France and Brazil and her daughter knew a youth who was currently serving in Buenos Aires. Our dinner was delightful, the view of the mountains from Dee’s home is stunning and the conversation was inspiring. I think there are not many places in the world where there is so much global and language knowledge as in Salt Lake City.

Of course, we also did some sightseeing using my “GPSmycity” app. The center of the SLC, and of the entire Church if I understand correctly, is the grandiose Temple square with the Temple itself, the Church Office Building (on North Temple street), the Church History Museum and the Tabernacle (West Temple street), the Church Administration Building, the Salt Lake Assembly Hall and the Eagle Gate (on South Temple street). The square was full of spring flowers and we were frequently greeted by pairs of missionary girls who offered to answer any questions we had about the buildings or history which largely compensated for the fact that all buildings were closed because of Covid and the Temple was being renovated.

We were very impressed by the grandeur of it all and cannot even begin to imagine how much more fascinated we would have been had the Temple not been in scaffolds and the buildings open.

The Temple

The Church Office

The Tabernacle (we could see the organ and guess the acoustics through a window!)

Assembly Hall

Eagle gate

Flowers everywhere!

Next to Assembly Hall is a sculpture representing the early settlers who traveled with all their possessions, often from New York

All is very well explained in Wikipedia:

Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by early pioneer settlers, led by Brigham Young, who were seeking to escape persecution they had experienced while living farther east. The Mormon pioneers, as they would come to be known, entered a semi-arid valley and immediately began planning and building an extensive irrigation network which could feed the population and foster future growth. Salt Lake City's street grid system is based on a standard compass grid plan, with the southeast corner of Temple Square (the area containing the Salt Lake Temple in downtown Salt Lake City) serving as the origin of the Salt Lake meridian. Owing to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named Great Salt Lake City. In 1868, the word "Great" was dropped from the city's name.[11]

Immigration of international members of the LDS Church, mining booms, and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed "The Crossroads of the West"….Salt Lake City has developed a strong tourist industry based primarily on skiing and outdoor recreation. It hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The part about the Winter Olympics and the tourism industry is very logical: everywhere you look around a street corner, you can see mountains, and only about 30 minutes from the city center is the ski resort of Park City where we touched snow for the second time since leaving Buenos Aires. (the first time was in Boulder, Colorado).

We also made a quick trip to the Great Salt Lake (20 minutes from the center) to check if it was true that its water was 8 times saltier than the sea. I tasted it and it was indeed very salty but I couldn’t say exactly how many times more than the ocean…

Alex on the shore of the Great Salt Lake

While we stayed in “Little America”, the hotel Dee’s family had recommended back in Monument Valley (because it was right across the street from the prestigious Grand America which was for “unlimited budgets” only), our LV-GQF slept outside at Salt Lake City International Airport. On the eve of our last day, we became a little nervous because the outside temperature was going to drop well below zero (Celsius) during the night which meant the injectors might freeze and we would not be able to start the engine. Therefore, we booked a hotel for the plane too, i.e. a space in the hangar of TAC aviation.

Grand America

Our place:)

The room at Little America is not too bad, and it has a view on Grand America!

And LV-GQF's hangar is also royal! Can you spot it?

Our accommodation cost for April 15th had just doubled, but thanks to this decision, we were able to start the engine the next morning and enjoy a West-bound IFR departure to navigate through the frequent Great Salt Lake-occasioned-fog towards Coeur D’Alene (Idaho).

West-bound??!! Some of you have pointed out that Greenland was in the other direction -thank you for that- but a new opportunity came up: during our social stay in Salt Lake City, we got a message from Tom and Nathalie who were going around the world Westwards with their young children in their D-IDEE and were currently in Coeur d’Alene, Aerostar’s global headquarters. This was the closest we would ever be to them, so we decided to meet up before we both continued in our respective directions.

Tom and Nathalie: the third family we shared a meal with in 3 days

Because I was mesmerized by the red carpet, I omitted the other details of our arrival in Salt Lake City but it had also required Alex’ IFR skills: the top of the mountains were barely in sight during our flight and the controller had requested fly at 13000 feet to avoid terrain. Luckily, we did not miss everything: I was able to spot a frozen lake as well as a jet that the controller had asked us to look out for.

During our descent, the clouds disappeared and revealed the mountains all around which we would not stop seeing until we left again 3 days later.

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