Believe it or not, I did not cause a single person to spontaneously combust during my visit to Utah. I understand why this might be a concern – after all, I am a long-haired, heavy metal, craft beer character. And Utah. Well, take those three things, and spin them 180 degrees.
Still, I enjoyed my visit. Here are a few completely random observations about a two-day stay in Utah, which took us from Salt Lake City to spend two night in Logan before returning to Salt Lake City for the flight home. We were there for Sarah to run her first post-baby marathon, which was the excellent, well-run, super-scenic Top of Utah Marathon.
Driving a Prius Kind of Sucks
This is less about Utah and more a general observation. We both loved the Prius gas mileage. The steering, breaking and acceleration, however, were absolutely porcine. Possibly even bovine. If Subaru dials its hybrid XV Crosstrek in for better gas mileage (and a halfway decent name), it will have people like us volitionally selling our current Subarus and getting into hybrids.
Ogden is a Weird Little Town
I don’t know quite what to make of Ogden. The first person I saw there was a shambling homeless dude who was not firing on all cylinders. The town seems to have a homeless problem, which for us culminated in a dude stinking up the entire first floor of the Grounds For Coffee. This coffee shop, by the way, has some weirdness of its own. One day, the barista cranked out some quality cappuccinos for us (attention, espresso snobs – they only offer one size). Two days later, the barista did a pretty half-assed job -- possibly because she had a crowd of local hipsters clamoring for her attention. I dunno. Personally, I’d poke my nose in and see how big the crowd is. If there are more than two people in line, I’d cross the street to the friendly Pearl Milk Tea Club.
Ogden, though, has some cool old buildings that have been gentrified silly. They are home to trendy, spendy shops. Nothin’ wrong with that. I also have a place called The Barrelhouse that I need to mock: On a chalkboard listing its craft beers, it listed Stella Artois. People, this is Europe’s Budweiser. It is made by the tanker ship load. It is not in any way “craft.” That’s like saying Justin Bieber is kvlt.
The Mountains are Cool
The drive to Logan (Utah) is dotted by some moderate-sized mountains. They look brown and dry, which reminds me of The Remarkables, those beautiful, stark, cinematic mountains you may have seen in Lord of the Rings -- or lining the adventure sports capitol of Queenstown, New Zealand.
Logan is Exceedingly Pleasant
On the surface, Logan is a 21st century Mayberry – a walkable city center, little farmer’s markets, awesome old-school brick houses. Ahhhh, Americana. Yet you can find a yoga class (not on weekends, as easily) and a decent coffeehouse in the form of Ibis.
It has trees. It has rivers. It has a beautiful park or three. And even a place where you can acquire freshly harvested bull semen. OK, maybe that’s not so Mayberry -- or is it, Otis?
But Logan Have Three Problems (As Borat Might Say)
Food, blight and a – ahem, how shall I put this? – fermented beverages.
First the food. Here’s the honest truth: For the better part of 24 hours I didn’t want to eat anything. My prime suspect is HuHot Mongolian Grill. I woke the morning after it, and my stomach wanted nothing. Every food commercial on TV and every smell made my stomach feel like it was full of live frogs. I only got better after a handy purchase from the pharmacy, which led me to Jack’s Wood Fired Oven. There, a pepperoni pizza with smoked cheddar cheese led me back toward normalcy. Sarah didn’t exactly give rave reviews to an Indian place she tried, even though Anneka approved enough to attempt snagging a platter of naan from a nearby table (cute babies can get away with nearly anything).
So, blight. I mentioned all the awesome, cozy-looking houses earlier. But walk away from the nicer areas, and there are some areas that just look flat-out abandoned. Some businesses seemed more closed permanently than closed for the day. Lots of empty buildings, and more than a few boarded up.
And onto fermented beverages. OK, I get it – this is a very Mormon city in a very Mormon state. But the archaic beer laws got repealed years ago. And if not beer, let’s talk about all that honey that makes everyone around here swell with pride like a tick gourging on a moose’s rump. Turn some of that into mead! If Superstition Meadery in Prescott is proving anything, it’s that people will love mead once they try it. What’s not to love about wine made out of honey? And if the local honey is that awesome, do those hard-working bees some justice!
That wraps up my ramblings of Utah. I’d like to stay a little longer – but some mead or craft beers would make my return far more likely. As-is, I think Colorado is a better bet for a guy like me.
Hey! I have other stories about being in Utah. Check ’em out!
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