I took the weekend of from blogging, even though I spent a day in Ogden and I could have turned it into Blogden for that one perfect moment. A missed opportunity.
While driving north on I-15, I stopped in downtown Salt Lake City to grab lunch at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli. I went with their famous “Caputo” sandwich (Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and it was very tasty. The roll it was served on was perfect, slightly crunchy on the exterior, but soft and delicious on the inside. The salami is fresh and does not overpower the rest of the sandwich, nor do the cheeses. I ate half and decided to take the rest with me on my journey. I ordered a cannoli for dessert, but unfortunately it was uninspiring. Overall, a nice place to get a heck of a sandwich. I wish I could have tasted a few other selections on their menu…maybe next time.
I arrived in Ogden, Utah shortly after 3PM, check in and immediately hobbled around the historic downtown section. The Union Station is like a magnet to me, as I was drawn to it again (having visited it a few years back). The building is from 1924, but the interior of the stations is what inspires me. The checkered tile work on the floor, the huge one-piece wooden benches, the windows above filtering the sunlight, my imagination runs wild with images of soldiers leaving and returning from WWII, their loved ones saying their last goodbyes or embracing them upon their return. It is a building that must be flooded with memories like these…at least, in my mind it is.
There are some very cool buildings and houses in the downtown area, but I drove a bit further and eventually found the ghetto of Ogden, so I turned back and headed towards the hotel. I spied a neon shamrock budweiser sign in a window and decided to investigate. It gave the impression on the outside that it might be an Irish pub. I walked in the front door to an establishment named MacCools and was greeted by a server. As I looked around I saw no bar, just tables, which concerned me. She asked me if I wanted to eat and I told her I was just looking to see what their drink selection was and what they had on tap. She went over the selections and then explained that their liquor license was designated as a restaurant license which meant that I could be served a drink only if I had the intent to eat there. I guess this is a way to get around the whole Utah “sponsorship” concept in bars. I told her I was just looking for my return trip through Ogden on the 23rd of August (my dad might be passing through at the same time) and I went back to the hotel.
I went to bed fairly early with the intention of getting up at 3AM and driving to Jackson, Wyoming and arriving in the morning to spend a full day in Yellowstone NP. Unfortunately, I slept for about two hours, woke up and failed to fall back asleep. Finally, at 1AM, I gave up the fight, got dressed, checked out and began the drive to Jackson. I arrived in Jackson long before the sun did, so I filled up my gas tank and headed for the park.
It is extremely hazy here, but it made for a spectacular red sunrise.
I spent about eight hours in Yellowstone NP and was able to check off; pronhorn, mule deer, white tailed deer, elk, bison, coyote and several birds and varmints off my wildlife bingo card (feel free to play along at home).
I am enjoying my new camera lens and the quality of the pictures appears to be amazing. I am taking my time going through the park, and am turning off at almost every campground, picnic site, lookout and visitor center. A very simple rule to follow is if more than one car is pulled off to the side of the road, something unique is close by.
I’m not sure why tourists insist on trying to stand as close as they can to these enormous wild animals, but turning your back to an unpredictable animal, just to get a picture to prove you were there does not seem worth the risk, nor the disruption to these poor animals lives. I’m assuming these are the same idiots who climb over the fences to stand closer to the edges of the canyons and sheer drop-offs. I disapprove, but at the same time I stand there (from a distance) waiting to capture a goring, a stampeding or even a good trampling with my camera.
I have the next four days to explore more of Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP and the town of Jackson, Wyoming, so maybe I will be able to check off some more of those big mammals of the area (bears, wolves, moose and dumb tourists). I am staying in a Homewood Suites, which has a small kitchen and sitting area, so I can cook for myself or prepare meals instead of going out every time. They also offer a complimentary breakfast everyday as well as a dinner Monday-Thursday nights (tonight’s selection: salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and veggies).
Time for me to head downstairs and begin today’s adventure.