Thursday, July 16, 2009

on the oregon trail: day 13

Monday morning, we headed off to Salt Lake City. Val had looked up a Starbucks location, but she hadn’t looked up driving directions—she just looked at a map and tried to figure it out. As we approached Salt Lake, I was driving, and she was navigating. I got off on the road she said . . . which turned out to be the right road, just 10 miles or so north of where we wanted to be; however, I spotted a Starbucks in a strip mall, and we were in business. We decided that, rather than taking I-70 to Denver as I wanted to, we would take I-80 through Wyoming and then drop down into Colorado. My car (Uncle Tommy named it “Toad” before we left, but I can’t call it that because I think of it as a girl, and “Toad” is a terrible name for a girl) didn’t like the mountains at all, and we figured 80 would be less mountainous than 70. All this to say, we looked for a hotel in the Fort Collins area. This time, Priceline gave me the option of looking for a 3-1/2 star hotel, so I did, putting in $50 as my price. I didn’t think any hotel would accept it, but The Hilton did. THE HILTON!

After securing out hotel, we made our way to Temple Square. At this point, Val began driving, while I navigated with my trusty atlas. (I adore maps. I could spend hours looking at them, and I understand them, so we decided that perhaps it would be a better plan to have Val drive and me navigate.) Because of the time (it was after noon, and we still had a good eight hours of driving left), we didn’t stop, but we did drive around, and we saw the Mormon Temple and Tabernacle . . . sort of.
The Mormon Temple . . . what we saw of it!

As we were leaving Salt Lake City, my car got really angry. It got very hot, and lights started flashing, and I was honestly afraid something serious was happening. We began driving in the truck lane, very slowly, with the hazards flashing, and we stopped at the next town for lunch and to let my car cool down. We called Dad, and he said to drive in direct in the mountains, which helped immensely.

We stopped at Coco’s in Rawlins for supper—partially because we knew Nate would be jealous! I didn’t say much about Coco’s before because I intended to dedicate a whole post to it, but that didn’t happen, obviously! Coco’s is in the historic Blake house in downtown Rawlins. (I don’t know what makes the house historic; I just know that it is because of the sign out front!) For the past two years, it has been run by an Asian couple; apparently it’s been several different restaurants in the past 20 years. The cuisine is quite varied—sandwiches, steaks, seafood, pastas, and Asian dishes. The first time we went, I had a French dip sandwich, and Monday night I had chicken fried steak. It was phenomenal! The service is excellent, the atmosphere is cool, and the food is wonderful. So if you’re ever driving through Wyoming on I-80, consider a stop at Coco’s!
Three very satisfied Coco's customers.

We got to Fort Collins around 9:30 p.m., and as we drove through Old Town, we were amazed at how many people were still out and about. The Old Town area looks really cool—it would be fun to explore sometime. Val and Steph had been talking about getting ice cream, so when I checked in at the Hilton, I asked the guy at the front desk where we could find ice cream. He gave me directions to Coldstone and a local place in Old Town; what I hadn’t realized was that Val and Steph really wanted Dairy Queen! I wasn’t about to go back in and ask—I already felt horribly underdressed in my t-shirt and yoga pants. So we drove around for a while without ever finding a Dairy Queen. We did find a Sonic and a McDonald’s, though.
We really did stay here!

The Hilton was amazing. I’m used to Super 8’s and Days Inns—the Hilton was a huge step up! We rode up to our room in a glass elevator. The room itself was awesome. It was decorated beautifully, had a huge TV, a comfy chair, and a nice desk, and overall was just really nice. We definitely enjoyed our stay!
We love our room!

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