The last time I was in Utah was in 2009 for a roommate reunion. I drove then, as I did this time. But there were 2 differences this time. This time I took my trusty canine companion, Bailey, the well-traveled dog who has now been on 6 long road trips in 4 different states. The other difference was that my starting point was Washington State and my halfway point was Meridian, Idaho. In the past my starting point has always been California with St. George or Cedar City, Utah being my resting places. I'm not a straight-shot driver!
Besides the adventures of my destination, I couldn't help but make certain observations on the road. For instance, based on my experience living in 3 different states over the years (CA, UT, WA,) I can strongly say that when it comes to courtesy and giving drivers space, Washington drivers rank the highest, with Oregon close behind (since we live so close to the Oregon border.) Here are 5 states' worth of drivers from best to worst...
BEST 1. Washington
Distant 3rd. California
WORST 4. Utah
Idaho has its strengths though. BEST drive-through carwash I've ever been to, and the hotel clerks at the La Quinta were really nice. So were the rooms, and La Quinta hotels are dog-friendly, a great plus for me when I'm traveling alone with my pooch. Idaho was also the best at getting my windshield riddled with bugs. Wait, what? I guess it's all in how you look at it!
I left very early on all of my driving days (around 6am) and put in about 8-10 hours on the road. Driving at night on a long trip is not for me, partly for safety as a woman traveling alone.
After arriving at our friend, Darla's, house in Orem 2 days before Education Week began, it was time to rest and plan our days. My mom joined me, flying into Salt Lake City the day before.
We spent the next day in downtown Salt Lake, acting the part of the tourists. We took a tour of the Conference Center, which I had never seen, and Temple Square, which is always a great place to visit. We ate a yummy lunch at the Garden Restaurant on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah)and visited the very large and impressive flagship store for Deseret Book. The thing that impressed me the most at Deseret Book and at the BYU Bookstore was the beautiful artwork. Such lovely paintings depicting Christ, the pioneers, temples, or scenes from the scriptures. Really, really beautiful.
Here are some pictures from that fun day! Click on them to see them full sized:
(These photos were all taken by me and belong to me.
Please ask permission to use them. Thank you!)
|Outside of the Conference Center|
|View of Temple Square from the roof of the Conference Center|
|Another view from the roof, this time you can see the Utah State Capital Building in the back and the red McCune Mansion in the front. I would've liked to have visited there, because I love historic houses, but there wasn't time for everything.|
|Yes, I took this picture! This is the view of Temple Square from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. A little iPhoto magic was added to make it look aged. One of my favorite photos from the trip.|
|The fountain outside the Church Office Building.|
|Mom in front of the Church Office Building.|
|The gorgeous Salt Lake Temple. I saw an incredible painting of this exact view minus the tourists and the big shadow at Deseret Book in Portland, Oregon, a week later. So tempting!|
|Mom and me standing on the newlywed pedestal.|
|The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is shaped like an "H," but I was grateful to get this view with lots of flowers in the foreground.|
|There are no words.|
|The Church Office Building. Big.|
|Another view of the temple. Do you see a few red twinkle lights on the tree on the right? A worker was already decorating for Christmas! He had been working on that one tree for 3 weeks.|
|The Assembly Hall at Temple Square. Great gothic architecture.|
|Purely aesthetic. I love pathways and lampposts.|
The next day Education Week began! And so did the morning rush. Each day we were up at 6:30am, out of the house by 8am, and pulling into the parking lot at the Marriott Center at BYU at 8:30. The Marriott Center in the huge indoor stadium on campus, used for graduations, special guest speakers, and basketball games. The accompanying parking lot is one of the bigger ones on campus, but still a hike! Despite that, we felt grateful that we were able to park in pretty much the same area each day. It made finding the car a lot easier when we were so tired in the evening.
The week cost around $60, and with that fee you get to attend class series on a myriad of topics. If you begin a series and decide to leave it and attend something else, that's OK too.
I attended a series on Abraham Lincoln that was very fascinating. It covered Abraham Lincoln's spirituality and his relationship with God, which was very profound. I'm tempted to do an entire blog post just on my notes from that class. I also attended several on church history, one of my favorite topics at Education Week, a couple on marriage, one on temples, and one on the Sistine Chapel.
Another series I was faithful to was on music, given by Janice Kapp Perry and Marvin Goldstein. Janice Kapp Perry is one of the most prolific (if not, THE most) composers in the LDS church. Marvin Goldstein in a pianist who has a wonderful style that I could listen to all day.
Walking through campus was a joy, and it brought back so many memories of my years there. But I was still astounded at how much it has changed and how many new buildings have been built. It reminded me of Disneyland a bit, because there are always changes being made, yet the spirit of the place remains the same.
Here are some campus photos I took:
|It wouldn't be BYU without the Brigham Young statue right in front of the administration building. Someone commented on how ironic it is that a clean shaven version is the one used on campus. Way to keep with the dress code, Brother Brigham!|
|Looking across the quad at the library with its fancy new entrance. (OK, new to me!)|
|Along the middle of the quad are those little glass squares, which are skylights for the library floor below it.|
|Another view of campus. Library skylight in the foreground, the HFAC (Harris Fine Arts Building,) and "Y" Mountain in the background.|
|Trying out the panoramic feature.|
|The Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni Building, built in 2006. I took a class here one day.|
|Inside the Hinkley Center, including the shovel he used for the groundbreaking ceremony. This building is such a fitting tribute for such a great man.|
Our days on campus ranged from 10-14 hours during that Tuesday through Friday. There was time for little else, but it was great. By Friday, I was running out of steam and I woke of with a sore throat that developed into a nasty cold by the end of the day. I only attended 2 classes instead of my usual 4. It was a crummy way to end the week! By the time we got back to Darla's house that evening I was a runny mess and just beat. I went to bed at 5pm, only getting up for dinner.
The next day I assessed how I was feeling. I had made a commitment to visit my friend, Chris, and his family in Spanish Fork while my mom and Darla went to visit a lovely lady from our California ward so many years ago.
|My mom and Nora, who was turning 105!!! Doesn't she look great?|
On the way back from my visit, I drove through downtown Provo to check on the progress of the Provo City Center Temple construction. The building was once the Provo Tabernacle, which was destroyed by a fire. I can't wait to see what it looks like when its completed. We have to drive 60 miles to the nearest temple, imagine having 2 of them right there in your city!
|Construction on the Provo City Center Temple--cool!|
Despite my cold, I hit the road bright and early the next morning, rolling into the La Quinta once again at around 1pm. I was so glad to be partway home and able to rest. I just vegged for hours in my room and ordered a pizza. It's called vacation!
The next day I left a little bit later, knowing that the time change would give me back an extra hour. I arrived home around 3pm and found a Welcome Home sign on the door and flowers waiting for me in the dining room:
All in all, a really good trip. It was so nice to be on campus and attend classes. I'm a school nerd, I love things like that. I loved popping into the BYU Bookstore each day and browsing through their overpriced souvenirs. Bought a lot of 89 cent pens though!
If you ever have the chance to attend Education Week I really encourage you to go. We are never too old to learn something new, and the energy on campus, full of people from all over the country who are eager to be there, is really special.