Tuesday, May 9, 2006

a backyard bonanza

The Mormon Church has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City, visited by millions, including us for a few minutes in the middle of this sunny, slightly chilly spring day.  The flowers at the Temple are incredible, though Sister Stephanie (who was intrigued by the microphone I was wearing) did not OK Don’s request to take home a bouquet or two. 

We spent the morning at an amazing folk art site just east of downtown SLC called Gilgal Gardens, built from the 1940s into the 70s by a stonemason named Thomas Child.  He was a well-read, devout Mormon who wanted to take the things he was thinking and make them tangible and permanent. And like he told people, it was his yard, so why not?  There’s a sphinx with Joseph Smith’s head, a pile of Nebechanezzar’s body parts, Isaiah’s cave and an awesome self-portrait with Thomas wearing what appears to be some darned dapper plaid pants. The rocks are huge,and beautifully cut, with inscriptions that probably mean more to people of faith than heathens like us!   But with the Friends of Gilgal doing their part, the site has been reclaimed from years of overgrowth and reborn as a city park that’s open virtually year round.  Score one for the good guys...

Speaking of which, score one for Don today.  He got lunch at “the top vegetarian restaurant” in town (great coffee too.)

We didn’t do quite so well, however, in our search for “gravity hill,” a mystery spot where cars are said to appear to roll uphill.  We did,in fact, get yelled at by some joggers while attempting to defy gravity!

And after a long, seemingly fruitless search for an actual pyramid that houses something called the Church of Summum and I’m not making this up, a mummy-making operation, we finally found the darned thing (smaller than expected.) Kudos to the map-savvy Patty Bear, and an unnamed barista at Pioneer Square for their roles in helping get THAT monkey off our back!

Traffic out of SLC was aggravatingly slow, but eventually we broke free and bolted for Pocatello.  Mike napped, but awoke in plenty of time to cross the Idaho line, now RVRR’s 41st state.

Musical highlight--Neil Young’s Prairie Wind, the Rolling Stones Starbucks Music We Listen To compilation, Ralph Stanley & Jim Lauderdale “Lost In the Lonesome Pines.” 

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