As I mentioned before we have passed through Salt Lake several times but we have never really explored it. Since we had some open time on our schedule we decided to stay for at least a week and Lee immediately looked for a place to get the truck brakes and other lingering issues worked on. While he was working that out I was excited about running lots of errands and going to stores we haven’t had access to for 5 months. Mod Pizza is a great example of a place I wouldn’t go out of my way for but when I saw it I thought oh I missed that.
Our big goal with food though was Chinese buffets (Salt Lake has 2) and the Chuck-O-Rama which is a yummy farm cooking buffet that we ate at once before while passing through. Not only was it great to have so much variety but the prices were WAY lower than Yellowstone, so we splurged a little.
One of the interesting things about the Salt Lake area is it is actually many cities all along one valley corridor. From almost every one you get glimpses of the beautiful mountains and it is a clean and friendly area. Clean and friendly are a big deal to me when judging a new place and I cemented that opinion by going and getting a hair cut. Getting a haircut and the grocery store are the best ways in my opinion to learn about a town. In this case I had my haircut by a wonderful young woman who grew up in this area and really loved living here. She was a great ambassador for the area and gave me a great hair cut so I handed her a $20 tip in cash on a $19 haircut. When she hesitated and asked me if I was sure I knew I was in the right kind of place.
Here are some pictures of the small towns in the area. Because the mountain runoff provides 60% of the local water most of these towns are nestled up against the base of the mountains. Beautiful.
As you can see in these pictures there are lots of beautiful Churches of the Latter Day Saints but there were a few other denominations as well. The vast majority though were Mormon churches or historical sites. While we were here I only saw one Jehovah’s Witness church, one Lutheran, one Baptist, and one Synagogue. I am sure there are more but the lack of diversities on churches certainly stood out. Also when we went downtown we saw that an entire huge section was dedicated to Temple Square. Unfortunately they were working on the main church and had it closed off but we got to see the administration buildings which were huge and beautiful. It reminded me quite a bit of sections of DC and this area was definitely the focal point of the downtown area. Salt Lake is also the capital so we did get to add another capital building to the list of those we have seen.
Overall I was really enjoying the city and thinking this might be a spot to retire to when we ran into a couple of not so great issues. First Lee took the truck into a Ford dealer to get the brakes fixed and he asked for a list of everything that needed fixed. We were totally shocked when the price tag came back at $9K. The truck at this point (2014 with 170K miles) only has a blue book of $25K so we were in a quandary. We have been talking about replacing the truck for a while now with Lee firmly for and myself firmly against taking on the debt. We have existed in this stalemate but the sticker shock of the quote put it back on the table. I won’t bore you with the details but after some discussion we decided to see what was available. Turns out not much because thousands of trucks are sitting back east waiting for the Ford symbol plate on the front grill before they can be shipped. Yes folks you can’t make this stuff up.
Ultimately we found a lightly used model for around $75K but it didn’t have most of the upgraded features we wanted. Plus we could order exactly what we wanted for $10K less just needed to wait until it arrived. During all this there was pressure to at least get the brakes done, which Lee approved but ended up costing $3K. Yes I know that is totally ridiculous but they replaced the entire brake assemblies instead of just the pads and rotors. Turns out the dealers are making their money on their service departments because they can’t get new vehicles to sell and frankly I think we got ripped off. They had their documentation all in a row though and since we approved a NTE of $3K there wasn’t much we could do.
In addition to cost of the truck we needed a rental car and Lee had a lot of trouble finding a reasonably priced one. Eventually he used a site called Turo which is like Air BNB for car rental. I have never heard of such a thing and to be honest was pretty weirded out by the idea, but it turned out OK. For $31 a day we rented a basic Ford Fiesta which we picked up and dropped off at a guy’s house. To be clear the car was pretty basic and the brakes squeaked some but it was serviceable and for running around town totally met our needs.
And we definitely needed a vehicle because Lee took our truck cover to an awning place who said for $250 they could had a zippered opening to keep the cover on when we were traveling. This will provide extra protection for the e-bikes when we travel and the price was very reasonable. They needed the whole week though and as soon as the truck was done with the brakes we had to take it there to have the cover installed.
It looked nice and was reasonably priced but when we went to hitch up the hole wasn’t big enough. At this point we had two choices, we could extend our stay in Salt Lake for $50 a night or move on down the road. Lee thought he could widen the hole himself so we decided to keep moving. That’s the problem with life on the road. When you have an issue with a repair more times than not we have discovered we just have to suck it up because the time it would take to get additional work done doesn’t work with our schedule. And yes we have a loose schedule this time around but how much of that do we want to spend sitting here. Jack’s face really sums it all up.
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Super bummer on the truck. For new everything it doesn’t sound too bad though. SLC is a fun town but I wouldn’t want to live there. The Mormons really do run everything. Back when my brother lived there trying to run a business was difficult if you weren’t Mormon. I know some laws and things have changed a bit though. See you soon!
I lived here for 20 years. In 35 years traveling across the United States I found no city or state more corrupt. The best thieves in the world reside in the Salt Lake Valley. That is why I left. 22 years ago it was different, or, at least it seemed so. But, yes, now they will squeeze every nickel out of you that they can. I think people are catching on. The jig is up.
Wow that is super interesting. Thanks for the feedback