by James Walker
Day 10 - Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Our stay in Park City wasn't really planned. Due to the fires throughout Colorado, we had changed our plans so we would spend less time there and more time in Utah at the end of our trip, giving us time to see something we hadn't considered before. This was great because instead of running into Salt Lake City as fast as we could, then running out again the next morning, we had time to roam. The only down side was that for our extra night in Utah, we chose to stay in Park City. While it was clean and had some great gluten-free pizza, we were in another Ski Resort town in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record, and there was nothing to do.
While that's not entirely true (Alpine Coaster, Park City Museum), we chose to spend our time in Salt Lake instead. The drive is pretty short and we soon found ourselves cruising confusing streets like East 500 South and South 700 East. Look it up and you'll find that those are the cross streets where Trolley Square and Whole Foods are located. Drive down these streets as a newcomer to Salt Lake City and you'll definitely make a few wrong turns.
Today was an open day, though, and we had time to get lost. Our only solid plan was an Avett Brothers concert that night, so we wandered around town, seeing a few of Salt Lake City's biggest landmarks. First, we stopped at Trolley Square for a bite to eat at Whole Foods, and afterward walked through the courtyards at Temple Square. Here sits a massive temple for those of the Mormon faith, surrounded by a complex of buildings associated with the religion. While we were not here for religious purposes, the temple itself is amazing and well worth a visit.
Sitting behind the temple is a great hall with the Mormon Tabernacle Organ inside. By chance we came when the organist was performing a recital, so we went inside to see the big pipes play. Next we found ourselves at the Hogle Zoo, watching everything from giraffes to polar bears suffer through the hot June sun. Here's a little video. Eventually the time came to check in to our hotel and make our way over to the Avett Brothers show.
At this point, Erinn and I were both fans of the Avett Brothers, but neither of us had heard too many of their songs. Erinn had somewhere around 20 of their songs and we listened to them throughout the trip in anticipation of the show, but we knew going in that most of the songs we'd hear that night would be new to us. What I hadn't anticipated was how much fun the show would be or how much I'd like all of the rest of their songs. It was an absolutely fantastic show down at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. The venue had a big concrete stage surrounded by grass with big steps to sit on and while it was nice to lounge on the grass before the show, everyone stood up and started dancing once the Avett Brothers came on stage. Those songs we did know, Erinn and I sang along with. Those songs we didn't know, we fell in love with.
It was a great show and a wonderful way to end our trip (sort of). While this wasn't the last night of our trip, it was the last new city we would see on our adventure. The next day we were going back to Las Vegas, where it all began for us just ten days before. Neither of us were excited to head south toward home, but ending our adventure with an amazing concert in Salt Lake City one night and some random gambling in Las Vegas the next was a fun way to bring it all to a close.
After the show we walked back to our hotel, singing songs and dreaming of anything but home. Many months later, we're still listening to the Avett Brothers, partly because the music is great and partly because it reminds us of the time we spent on the road and all the amazing sights we were able to see together.
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