Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekending in Wyoming

(click any of the pictures for bigger, clearer wyoming goodness)

At the end of May, I got an invitation from my friend Brenda to come to Wyoming. The new Transformers movie was coming out (we went to see the first one in Michigan two years ago), and she needed me to fly out there so I could go see it with her. She offered to pay half my travel. How could I resist?

I found a ticket for $168, packed my bags, then unpacked them because it was going to be another month before I left. But last weekend, I repacked them and flew from Columbus to Salt Lake City (picture is outside the plane window just before landing in SLC) where I was met in the airport by my favorite Brenda in the whole world! She had her folder o' plans in her bag and we were off!

First stop: Star of India restaurant, featuring chicken tikka masala on the lunch buffet, and an excellent green monkey god on the wall.

We walked downtown a little, and Brenda pointed out the Mormon Temple, which is cleverly disguised as City Hall, since it says "City Hall" right there on the side of the building. Clever.

We went to Zim's (a craft store right out of an old lady's basement circa 1950), a yarn store called Blazing Needles that had an excellent patio garden off the back, and a quilting/knitting shop where everything had adamant "DO NOT TOUCH!" signs, which made it difficult for us to enjoy ourselves besides sneakily touching all of the off-limits items. The Bohemian Yarn Shop was closed by the time we found it, since "33rd Street", "3300 Street", and "33" all mean the same thing to SLCers.

It came time for us to drive the two and a half hours to Green River, Wyoming, and we set off. I took a gazillion pictures on the drive, because the scenery was outrageous, and considerably more mountain-y than Southwestern Ohio is.

The view off of Brenda's back porch ain't bad, either. She says it's the ugliest part of Wyoming, but if that's true, the ugliest part of Wyoming is still pretty beautiful.

Brenda's husband James took us to Arctic Circle for lunch. We had penguin poppers, broiled baby seal steaks, polar bear potato cakes, and iceberg shakes for dessert. (Attention PETA: this is a joke. Arctic Circle is comparable to Dairy Queen.)

Then James and his Toyota Tundra accepted the challenge to take us up to see the GR on the side of one of the hills surrounding the town of Green River. Pay special attention to the tower on the right with the gigantic arrow pointing at it.

That's the same tower on the right in this picture, with me standing next to it. Oh yeah. King of the world, baby. Or... something.

It was so awesome to hang out with Brenda... and see Green River from above.

After the trek up and down the hill, we went prairie dog hunting! James usually shoots them with guns, but we only shot them with the camera. They're cute little buggers, but they're pests; scrambling all over the place, ruining the landscaping, spreading diseases, and selling drugs outside the Tasty Freeze.

Then we went to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. SPLOSIONS! And more SPLOSIONS! And robots! And SPLOSIONS!

The next day we went out and played on James' ATV. There are some trails really close to their house down by the river, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! Here's James and Katherine (their 2.5 year old) ready to go for the first ride.

Here I come!

There was an eagle living in a nest on top of a pole near the ATV trails. She let us get pretty close on the ATV, but not without getting a little irritated.

I took this photo from the top of one of the hills. If you squint, you can see the truck in the distance, where everyone was waiting.

After the ATV rides, James took me to the shooting range, which is just across the river from where we had been riding.

I'd never even touched a real gun, let alone shot one before going to Wyoming. I told James and Brenda that I'd be coming back to Ohio as a real woman! James set up little bright orange clay pigeons on the ground for me to shoot. The first gun I tried was his 22 long rifle. The first time I aimed and shot, I hit one of the clay pigeons. Some of the other pigeons took more tries, but it was really fun! James was a good teacher, showing me how to load the rifle and release any bad shells.

I also got to try shooting the pistol. (James says now I can keep up with Michael Westen and the other characters on Burn Notice!!) I can't remember what size it was, but it was a lot harder to aim than the rifle, although I also hit a pigeon on my first shot with the pistol. I learned how to load and change out the magazines, how to cock the pistol, and how best to aim. And, that no matter how cool it looks, it's less efficient to hold a pistol sideways when shooting it.

Then it was time to say goodbye. I got hugs and kisses from Katherine...

Took pictures of the Welcome to Green River sign (admittedly, taking pictures of the "welcome" sign on the way home seems somewhat out of logical order)...

And headed back to SLC. We found our hotel (did you know there are two different Redwood Roads in Salt Lake City? And if you get on the wrong one, you won't be able to find your hotel?), had dinner at Dee's Restaurant (best. dinner. ever.), and my plane left early the next morning.

Thanks to James, Brenda, Katherine and Sally (the dog!) for a WONDERFUL weekend full of excellent experiences and good times. Is it too soon to come back next weekend??? I love you!!


Melissa said...

Glad to see you thought Wyoming was pretty. I happen to share your opinion, but I grew up there!

Just a correction though--You're right about that building that says "City Hall"--it IS city hall. The Mormon Temple is white with six spires, with a big golden statue of an angel on the biggest spire. It says "The House of the Lord" on the side.

Things in Salt Lake are usually named in a logical manner (even the street names, once you know the pattern).

BFF Wendy said...

I'm strangely turned on by the rifle photo.

Brenda said...

Interestingly enough, I found three more mormon temples on my way out of SLC. One cleverly disguised as a Loaf N' Jug Gas Station.

I can't wait till you come back! The county fair is the last week of this month. It's just like any other county fair, but dustier.

Kimmie said...

That photo of you with the pistol is maybe the scariest picture I have ever seen. And I know a couple of people you should send it to.

Kim said...

Prairie Dogs selling drugs outside the Tasty Freeze....priceless.

And Fi better watch her back.

Wendy's sister,
does that make me SFF Kim?