Which do you want first?

I’m in Jackson Hole for a couple of weeks, visiting my friend Joe. I’d love to keep him out of this, but there’s really no way to tell this story without including him. So … sorry Joe.

You’ve met Muzz and Jumbo. They’re Joe’s dogs. They’re AMAZING dogs. I love these dogs. And we both thought, wouldn’t it be fun if we took a road trip and did some camping with the dogs? Wouldn’t that be fun? SURELY it would.

No. As a matter of fact, it would not.

It’s only fair to start by saying that, as an adult, I haven’t owned a dog. I have no idea what it’s like to travel with a dog. I sort of see dogs as these happy-go-lucky, easy to please, jovial creatures. This is not how Joe sees dogs. If he senses any kind of discomfort in his dogs, he takes it on himself, tenfold. Fair enough. I just didn’t know to anticipate this.

Which is how all of this got started…

1. We stopped in Lava Hot Springs, this quirky little Idaho town, which I thought was kind of interesting and hilarious and Joe thought was kind of obnoxiously touristy. You know me. I could have spent DAYS in this town, talking to locals, eating at the two local restaurants. Joe, not so amused.

THEN we took the dogs for a walk. They had to be on leashes, and this is where it all falls apart. Jumbo and Muzz are not leash dogs. They’re accustomed to living right on the edge of Grand Teton National Park, for goodness’ sake. So, Muzz went crazy and Jumbo went stubborn. They both dug their heels in, refused to walk the same directions, refused to potty break, refused to drink or eat. In seconds, Joe’s vacation mood was dead. Permanently. Not that I would realize this for a long time, because I, my friends … I am an optimist. I have no idea why.

2. Next was Salt Lake City, where we decided to stay for the night so that we could eat this amazing Mexican place we love.

Red Iguana: Doesn't look so pretty; tastes SO GOOD. Seven kinds of homemade mole PLUS a special - mango mole - which I had.

The food here is mind blowing, and – in case you go – so is the line. Be prepared to wait. Better yet, take a party of six or more, and you can make a reservation. My mango mole enchiladas were wonderful; Joe barely ate because he was all “bunched up” (his words), anxious from the stress of having the dogs in the car for five hours and driving in Salt Lake traffic, which was complicated by some wicked road construction.

But here’s the GOOD news … After dinner, I went for a walk downtown, where I discovered that the next day was the Salt Lake City Marathon!

The next morning, I got up early for a run, and I saw some of the people finishing (how anyone was finishing at 7:30 AM, I have no idea … I think it might have actually been the the 5K part), but still, I got a little teary. It’s always so moving to see people finish a race. Any race. Then, there was a fantastic little coffee shop a block from our hotel, so when I finished my run, I stopped in to get coffee for me and Joe (and a cinnamon roll for Joe, because, have you noticed? I’m SWEET). The guy who worked there, Oliver, was lovely and told me all kinds of places we should go.

The gist: I love Salt Lake City. It is a COOL town.

But wait, there’s more: I thought once Joe and the dogs had a good night’s sleep in out dog-friendly hotel room, things would be fine. We were headed to Bryce Canyon to do some hiking and camping. This is EXACTLY what Joe wanted to do. I was excited, too. Surely it would be GREAT.

It would not.

Here’s a preview:

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2 thoughts on “Which do you want first?

  1. Oh no! What happened next?
    I LOVE Salt Lake too. That is where my parents lived when they were first married. I was out there for a week in ’03. Have fun!!

  2. Don’t worry. The exciting conclusion is coming your way later today. And it’s not very exciting. But I’ll definitely be coming back to Salt Lake. You and Mark can come too!

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