Second drive out

Monday, I got out of work right on time. The sun was out after many days and the lure of the mountains got my venturing spirits high. The Go-Live was going okay so far; had heard of only one issue related to an integration. As I drove on Bangerter, I came across Rt. 201. Earlier Ben had mentioned going to the foothills to get a sprawling view of the valley at night-time. So I thought, let me do that, though I could be early. I drove 201 West not knowing where exactly it would lead me to. My Garmin was with me, and that always makes me not worry about directions. I can get lost and come back again!

24-Feb-2008 19:33, SONY DSC-W120, 2.8, 5.35mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160

After about 30 minutes driving I reached Kenecott Copper Mines – not sure if the mine is still functional. At this point, the mountains started to flatten out and I realized I wanted to go into them. Little did I realize I was miles from within the Great Salt Lake. I turned south on Rt. 111 and was in the midst of a town (Magna). At 5:30 PM, there was no one on the streets. Cars were parked as if in a movie studio, not a single soul was in sight. There was a convenience shop and some rice kitchen. At last, I saw a man walk out with his little daughter – maybe he was picking her up from her dance school.

I missed opportunities to snap the quietness of the town. At last I stopped and I did get out to the surprise of a by-stander and took a couple of pictures. The colorful facade of the pizza shop was an exception to the deserted look of the town. Many houses on the street had their windows boarded reminding me of the state of the economy. I could recollect the days when this town was at its heyday and jobs were for the asking. The IT boom of the 90s is way gone and won’t be surprising if computer engineers find the same fate as those steel engineers of Pittsburgh or the auto-workers of Detroit. The fact is the need for computing and information processing is still growing. Man will create news and data – has done that in the past and in the present and will do in the future. Only in the past, we couldn’t process as much as we do now.

I managed to sneak up to the foothills of the copper mine near the railway track to catch the setting sun highlight the mountain’s backdrop. Turning onto 5400E, I passed through the city of Kearns (there was a sprawling fitness center!) and met Bangerter Highway again. It was getting dark.

24-Feb-2008 19:37, SONY DSC-W120, 4.5, 12.7mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 250

The funny thing is though there was an expanse of flatness to the city, I couldn’t really get good pictures of the mountains with an unobstructed view. There were these electric poles everywhere that were unsightly that would take away the glory. As I reached high points, I was either too close to the car behind or there was no shoulder. I didn’t fret about it – see, it is important to focus on the big picture! There were plenty and plenty of small eateries and Mexican restaurants on the street. I wouldn’t have to go searching for an Indian restaurant again tonight, I thought.

Finally I came very close to Mt.Olympus. By then it was pretty dark to get good pictures. So I turned back. I thought I will stop at downtown SLC and enjoy the city during the night. I somehow thought I was close by. I realized it was South Salt Lake City I was in. I got dinner at a nearby Noodles – Thai peanut soup and Japanese spicy noodles; it was spicier than I expected. The soup was good.

The evening breeze was slapping onto my face outside the restaurant. The traffic was still at its peak on Rt. 215. The international medical center stood towering on the other side. I still had time to get back to the hotel and I headed out to downtown SLC. There must have been many events going and I couldn’t find parking close to Gateway Center. The Energy Solutions center had some Disney show going on. I decided I can’t stop and walk too much as it was getting colder. The days were almost warm, but the temperature drops pretty fast as the night approaches.

Back at the hotel, I called home and described my drive. Rama was happy that I was happy. I had the TV on and I saw flashes of 24; thought it was an ad. Then I realized the real show was starting. So I told Rama I will call back later. Vikas complained later that I traded a TV show to wishing him goodnight as I hurriedly ended the conversation with him. Of course, I would have called back later. Though, 24 is ridiculous, I didn’t want to miss it.

Monday was getting over. There could be an easy Tuesday before I took the flight back home. However, Tuesday would turn out to be something else.

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