All of the population in Utah is practically located in the corridor surrounding Great Salt Lake, which gives the illusion early on that you must be close to Salt Lake City (if you're not used to the drive). In reality, by the time we reached Ogden, we were still a ways off from our destination, and with midnight rolling around we were feeling beat.
Bursts of rain continued to hit us randomly and then stop, on and off several times throughout the day. I remember this becoming more treacherous as we neared Salt Lake. The dirt on our windshield combined with the lights of oncoming traffic and buildings made for one blurry mess. In any case, we made it to Salt Lake City, spotting the giant temple from the interstate and looping around the international airport several times in our effort to find our hotel. By the time my head hit my pillow I was out.
Day Two (08.24.09) We awoke the next day intent on exploring downtown Salt Lake before heading south to Las Vegas. We parked kitty-corner to Temple Square and took a casual walk around the complex, spending extra time to take pictures of ourselves mimicking the statues. If there is one thing I could say about my impression of Salt Lake, it's that the place was immaculately clean and well landscaped.
We followed the Salt Lake Temple with a trip up to the State Capital Building, taking more random photos with statues and pictures of ourselves sitting on the steps. 'I'm Just a Bill' from Schoolhouse Rock was sung (by me anyway, haha).
The entire time I was trying to contain my enthusiasm, not because of any single thing we saw, but because I knew that this was just the beginning of our road trip. We could have easily spent several days exploring Utah, but instead the brief stop actually helped to justify the distance we were covering for the sake of the things we were going to be able to see and experience.
It was upon leaving Salt Lake City that the clouds from the day before finally started to break up. Heading south to Vegas the sun suddenly appeared, giving everything a golden colour and revealing the incredible transformation from the green and grey of Montana. It was as we passed Provo that afternoon I remember quipping, "this is where the road trip really begins".