We had the option of paying $8 per person, each way, to ride the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, or we could pay $2.50 to ride Trax (the light rail system). We were up for an adventure, so Trax it was:
So much entertainment for two suburban girls! Amy snuck a picture of the RULEBREAKER with her feet on the seat right next to the sign that says "No Feet on Seats" - people also brought service dogs and bicycles on board (which were allowed). It was a fun way to get around the city, provided it actually went where we thought it was going!
Amy is into craft beer, so on Friday we walked to Red Rock Brewery for lunch. As we neared the restaurant, we could see that we needed to cross the street - there was a crosswalk, but no signal. A woman walking ahead of us got to the crosswalk, picked up an orange flag that was in a tube attached to the crosswalk sign, and walked across the street. What a clever idea, Salt Lake City! Naturally, we had to have some fun with it:
Doesn't she remind you of a mama duck, leading her goslings across the street? Alternatively, you can tell she's an elementary school teacher...
The food at Red Rock Brewery looked amazing. It was hard to decide what to get, but in the end Amy got the wild mushroom polenta while I got the pear and walnut pizza with a side salad:
We laughed because we went there thinking we'd get the highly-recommended burgers, but both of us ended up going vegetarian. Our meals were really good.
On Saturday, we decided to try another brewery for lunch. Amy picked one and mapped it out; once we broke from the morning sessions, we hightailed it to Bayou. Wouldn't you know it, after walking nearly a mile, we got there only to find it closed for lunch on the weekends. Gah! So we turned around and zipped over to Squatters - nothing like burning some extra calories before you eat, right? Squatters was great! We learned the previous day that you can't order a flight of beer to sample in Utah - the most you can get is two at a time. Our waitress was pretty cool and brought the three samples that Amy wanted to try all at once - she just put the extra one in front of me to comply with the rules.
Apparently I was carb-hungry that day, as I ordered a fresh hot pretzel to share, plus my salad was plated on Navaho fry bread. Yum and yum! No picture of the pretzel because it was demolished too quickly. All that walking, you know...
Once we were finished with the afternoon sessions at the conference, we decided to walk over to Temple Square, where the huge Mormon temple is located. The gardens were gorgeous:
The close up on the bottom left is actually tiny-sized daffodils. This area had tons of flowers, a huge water feature, cherry trees in full blossom and a large reflecting pool. Really, really pretty.
We also saw the Temple, and never in my life have I felt so underdressed. There were scores of women and girls of all ages around us, and just about every one was wearing a skirt or dress, with their hair and make up done. I later found out that there was a big woman's conference going on that day, which explained the plethora of women. We took a few pictures at the Temple, but didn't attempt to take any tours there because of time constraints:
Amy at the LDS Temple.
We went to the mall afterward - it was right across the street. Amy was looking for something to wear to dinner that night, so we tried on some clothes at H&M - first time for both of us to shop there. She ended up finding a cute top at Loft, and I'm reminded of how much I wish there was one in our town - such cute clothes, such great sales!
The next morning, we took the Trax back to the airport - this time, helping three other USAFit ladies who'd taken the more expensive shuttle when they arrived. At that point, we were old pros at it, showing them how to buy their tickets, etc. Shortly after we got there, we saw that our flight was delayed by nearly an hour. No worries - we had a huge layover at D/FW. We had lunch and waited. Then we decided that Starbucks sounded good, so I left Amy with our carry-on luggage and made the trek four terminals over to get our drinks. As I was walking there, I heard some high school girls exclaim "look, SNOW!" - and yes, it was snowing, if you tried to see it hard enough. Mostly just light rain. By the time I got back to Amy, who was sitting with her back to the window and hadn't noticed the weather, it was definitely snowing. Which was NOT in the weather forecast that morning - I'd checked!
Iced venti nonfat latte in hand, snow in background.
Eventually, the gate attendants announced that because of the delay and the full flight, they'd check any of our carry-on bags for free, so we happily surrendered our bags - how nice that we wouldn't have to drag them around D/FW during our layover, right? We watched them get loaded onto the plane...they sat outside long enough that some of my clothes were wet when I opened it at home:
Amy's bag is the black and yellow one going up first; mine is the red one near the end (just in case you needed to know that pertinent information, haha).
The flight crew was near us, and I heard them talking to the gate attendants about being good to go with the weather. I didn't think much more about it until we got on the plane...and sat there. Finally they announced that we needed to be deiced before we could take off. We first taxied to one area where the deicer man in a truck came out and sprayed the engines; then we went to the main deicing area where the entire plane was sprayed - first with an orange solution, then with a green solution. By the way, I've decided that one of the most miserable jobs has to be a plane deicer - the poor guy was out in the wet snow, in a bucket on a truck, holding a hose of whatever chemicals they use...that cannot be fun:
...and now I know what it takes to deice an airplane.
As you can imagine, this all took a while. I kept looking at the clock, and calculating how long our flight was supposed to take vs. when we were supposed to board our flight to College Station - which, incidentally, was the last flight there for the evening. Yep, living in a small town does not get you a lot of flight options. We finally took off around 5:00 pm SLC time, which was 6:00 pm Texas time. The flight was scheduled to take two hours and thirty-five minutes, and our next flight was scheduled to board at 8:30 pm, so after landing at D/FW and taxiing to the gate, we'd miss our flight. Here's our faces once we realized this:
Great. We're going to miss our flight and end up spending the night in the airport.
But we quickly saw the absurdity of the situation - there was nothing we could do except laugh at this point, which we did...
The flight was pretty uneventful, although I did get to hold a baby(!!!) for a while. At one point, I remarked to Amy that it felt like we were speeding - I don't know why I thought that, except for the engine noise, maybe? It made sense, though, if the pilot could get us there quickly, as most of the passengers had connections that they were going to miss. And sooner than I expected, they announced we'd be landing, and gave out the gate connections - we were going to taxi to a gate in the C terminal and had to get to the B terminal via Skylink (their monorail). We had hope! We might actually make our flight! It was then that we realized we'd checked our running shoes when we let go of our carry-on bags, and we'd have to run in our Danskos, oof. At least we only had to deal with our USAFit backpacks, instead of dragging our bags.
It really felt like The Amazing Race - we got off the plane as quickly as we could (which wasn't all that quick seeing as we were in row 26) - it was 8:27 pm. We sprinted through the terminal to the escalator, got to the Skylink just as a train was arriving, and got on, where we had a couple of minutes to catch our breath before arriving in terminal B. We got off and sprinted again...let me just say speedwork has never been a favorite thing of mine, but I'm glad I can turn on the afterburners when I need to! We got to the gate, and it was the weirdest feeling to see no one but the gate attendants there. They checked us in and we got on the plane:
WHEW!!! We were spent.
Now this is the look of relief. Two thumbs up for making our connecting flight home!
About 45 minutes later we were back in College Station. What a wild end to our Salt Lake City adventure! By the way, despite what we did, these are NOT running shoes:
Two-inch platforms, rigid soles...pretty to look at, but I never want to run in mine again!
One last picture of The Amazing Racers with our backpacks:
Home at last!