When faced with a menu that read "Noodles, Chop Sueys, Chow Mein, Egg Foo Yung, Meats (steaks, pork chops, etc.), Fried Seafood, and Sides (which included gravy rice)" I was afraid, very, very afraid...
We were in Utah, Ogdan, UT after a 500 mile run as straight north and west as we could make it. We'd swum at the hotel to get the blood moving and we were pretty hungry. The sign outside had said "Utah Noodle Parlor" and instead of being faced with something vaguely Italian or Noodle Companyish, we were faced with The Deep Unknown. So John ordered the Pork Chop Suey with green peppers, and I ordered the "Beef Noodles" and Jet ordered his usual, the plain, boiled rice. And the waitress looked at us funny. There were combos on the menu, for $15 a piece, that listed three of the dishes and "deep fried shrimp", but that seemed like waaay too much food after a day in the car.
I was very pleasantly surprised. First, because the hostess had said it might be a forty minute wait for food (the place was PACKED, which is likely the only reason we stayed) and the food came in just ten minutes. The second was because the food itself was pretty tasty. Jet's rice was as you expect. John's chop suey seemed to be bits of pork, celery, and onions in a corn starch gravy topped with raw green peppers, still sweet and crisp and it came with a bowl full of rice as well. My dinner was the biggest surprise, instead of beef stir fried with noodles, I got noodle soup. Ramen, to be precise, with a beef broth and soy sauce soup, plenty of crisp green onions, four thin slices of salty beef, and half a hard boiled egg. It was delicious, light, and exactly what I needed.
All the other plates that went by had huge, deep fried things layered on top of big plates covered with what looked like John's dinner, so I suspect that most folks that went there ordered the combos with the "deep fried butterflied shrimp". But those "shrimp" were nearly hand sized... it may have accounted for both our waitress' surprise and the speed of our vastly more simple food. Plus, it's been a very, very long time since we paid less than $20 for a sit-down dinner, including tip, for all three of us. So that was very much to the good.
The overall plan is this road trip out to John's parents' house, a week out here with a celebration of a friend's child's graduation from the University of Washington and a visit to a dentist of mine from ten years ago who may be able to at least give me peace and a great tooth guard for night time use if not fix the troubles I've had with my Maryland bridge. Then a plane trip home for a couple of week while I wrangle the OUR center garden and our garden for a bit, and then a plane trip back out for John's family reunion and then a meander to the south and back home.
The trip out went well. We're at John's parents' house now.
After the stay the one night in Ogden, we went to Promontory Pass and saw where the Golden Spike was driven into the first transcontinental railway in the US. We arrived at the site at 10:15am on Saturday to find that they were going to do a recreation of the driving at 11 and at 1 on *only* Saturday. The one steam engine was already there, the 119 arrived at 10:45, and we saw the whole thing. Volunteers recreated the whole presentation as well as it's known and the "tapping" of the ceremonial spikes and the driving of the last, iron spike into a rail way system that no longer exists.
Both engines were recreations as the originals were scrapped at the turn of the century for $1000 scrap fee. The railway these recreations sat on went for only a few hundred yards before petering into prairie, the hard won grades sit crumbling back into the land. It's sad, too. Jet was sad about all the people that died to build something that no longer exists. The thousands upon thousands of Chinese that dug and died in those mountains. But there was also the cool story of the 2000 Chinese and 1000 Irish that laid 10 miles and 56 yards of track in one day. :-)
Plus I loved knowing that there were four ceremonial spikes, only three of which are in known locations these days. The fourth is lost to time.
It was much better than we had any right to expect, as we hadn't known when the recreation was or if there even was one. We were expecting to just go out to the site and see some signs on dirt, instead we were treated to two steam engines burning wood and coal to wail away at the crossings.
We also got to see rockets. There was a NASA rocket display out the middle of nowhere that included the booster rockets for the shuttle that had the infamous O-ring problems. There were scores of rocket bodies out in the same area. And the land around that site was covered as far as the eye could see with bunkers and two-story buildings that had slide exits from the top floor for... emergencies.
We ended up at Three Island Crossing State Park in Idaho, and we camped out in 90+ degree weather. The park was just manicured, with mown lawns to "camp" on, and a nice trail down to the river. We still had to have the obligatory fire, though, so Jet could watch it. But we ate camping food (spaghetti, cole slaw, and fire grilled garlic bread), walked to the river to get bumped by thousands of bugs (thank God for DEET), and slept on the new air mattress. It was much better than the original cushions. So that was June 2.
June 3 was a run through 90+ degree weather to Yakima. We stopped at the National Center for Birds of Prey and got to see real peregrine falcons, harpy eagles (they're HUGE), and I got balefully glared at by a real Andean Condor. Meep. Also got to see a National Geographic video of a peregrine getting clocked at 180 mph and they talked of her getting clocked at more than 240 mph the next day! Jet liked seeing a video of a red-tailed hawk killing and eating a rattlesnake, too. That was worth doing. I'm likely to contribute to their Peregrine fund from now on, too.
The Super 8 in Yakima was very quiet, had a great, COLD pool, and the day ended with rain. Real, NW rain. It's supposed to be 60's and raining a bit on and off here for our first stay and I'm in heaven. The run from there to here was relatively short and quick.
Jet's been great in the car. He learned cat's cradle "Crows Feet" one day and has been showing it to everyone. We did paper airplanes, drawing mazes, dot-to-dots, Uno, and Klutz car Bingo. We got the Klutz car trip book with the activity pad in the back, and Jet's loving it to pieces. We only did one movie the *whole* trip, and I just had to have a nap one of the afternoons, so Jet watched The Incredibles while I napped. But other than that he's just been entertaining himself or playing with one of us.