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Utah Trip 2009

Day 1 of 10

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Friday, April 10th
Fly to Salt Lake City, stay in Provo, Utah

If I had complete flexibility, I'd probably have scheduled this vacation for late April or early May. But now that Nathan's in Kindergarten, we have to work around the school's schedule. And this was his spring break. So we were off to Utah in mid-April. Let this be a warning to all of you without kids or with kids under 5: you may never be able to plan a fall vacation for the next 19 years after your kid enters school, so be sure to get your fall trips in beforehand!

We took a 10am flight from SFO to Salt Lake City, breezing through the shortest security line I've ever seen (maybe people just don't fly on Easter weekend?). The flight was a brisk hour and a half, and we landed in Salt Lake City at 1pm (there's a 1 hour time difference). We picked up the rental car (mini-van) and headed out. This was my first time using my new toy, a Garmin nuvi 760, on a trip outside California. In general I was very happy with it, but I'll mention a few quirks in the coming days. I will say it was a bit disoriented by the flight (it was turned off), and took a couple minutes to find a location fix after I turned it on. I'm pretty sure this is normal after flying somewhere, but it's something to consider when you're trying to find your way out of the airport and onto the highway (and the GPS is flashing a big question mark at you).

Beautiful snow-covered mountains lined our view to the east as we headed south. Our first stop, after lunch, was the REI in Sandy, Utah. It should be our goal to visit every REI, or at least an REI in every state they're in. Sadly, I've only visited REI in 5 states (they're in 27 states). In any case, we had to visit REI to get some camping stove fuel, the one thing we never ship or carry on the plane, of course.

After our shopping trip, we continued south to the UPS Store in Provo, Utah. Here we picked up the cooler and two boxes we'd shipped out on Monday. While it's definitely more expensive to ship stuff via UPS than to bring it on the plane, I don't think there's physically any way we could get through the airport with all our camping gear and two kids. Plus it probably wouldn't fit in our car. In any case, we'd done this for the Colorado trip the previous year, and it worked well. If I had to do it again, I probably would have shipped it out on the Friday before, so that I could use UPS ground instead of paying extra for 3-day service.

After dropping some of our stuff off at our rental room, we continued on to the next step, the grocery store. We bought almost everything we thought we'd need for 5 days of camping, and it came out to not nearly as much as I expected. Seemed much cheaper than Colorado the year before.

While trying to find a place to eat dinner, I found myself circling around and around looking for parking. It wasn't until after dinner that I realized why it'd been so hard to find parking -- we were parked right across from a church, and people piled out after a Friday night service just as we drove away.

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