The Pioneer Loop. Day 16: Homeward Bound

5 October 2018

(Location: Salt Lake City – Home)

Woke up to cloudy skies again, at least for now. After brewing coffee I made a start on the cases, getting them at least into a semblance of order and control, before we went for a quick breakfast. By then, around 10am, it was sunny, so we set off for a look around the city centre.

Most of the sites are related to the Mormon church. It is quite odd to me, as I’m used to seeing the city centre buildings being council/municipal buildings, whereas here they are all of religious origin. They did look good though in the fresh autumn air and it was nice to walk around (48F, but a warm sun).

We also walked to the old station area, now a commercial and residential redevelopment.

After that it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for the flight home. We had secured an extra hour on the room, so had showers and packed the final items. Somehow everything went back into 4 cases, although the weight was not as well distributed as on the outbound trip. Andrew brought the car around from the car park and we loaded the cases in.

I had plotted a route to the airport on urban streets (rather than the interstate) in part so we could refuel the car before returning it. Whilst at the petrol station I realised that, as I thought might happen, last nights heavy downpour and storms had lowered the temperature enough so that there was snow on the mountain summits. It was good to see and confirmed the changing of the seasons.

After dropping the car off at the airport we walked to the international terminal towing the suitcases. We then found out that this is only for arrivals and we needed terminal two! Luckily, this was only a short walk back again. Having got rid of the cases (only an hour in total after leaving the hotel) and gone through security (reasonably fast) we made our way to the Delta lounge where we had food and drink and then settled in to spend a couple of hours waiting to board. It is a busier lounge and smaller than Virgin’s, but better than sitting out in the concourse and queueing for food at fast food outlet!

The information board indicated that the flight was boarding just 40 minutes before departure. We left the lounge and headed for the gate where we were able to board immediately. We got settled and had a drink before take off and, despite the shorter boarding time, we pushed back five minutes early.

It was a great time of day to depart. We got to see the Watsatch mountains and the Rockies of southern Wyoming, with snowcaps in the evening sun. We continued across Wyoming towards Rapid City, South Dakota. There was very little beneath us.

After watching the sunset it was time to close the shades, eat dinner, watch some movie and settle down for some sleep. As usual, and despite the lay flat beds, sleep was a bit elusive, although I did get some dozing done.

As we approached the UK, the lights came on and we were woken (or disturbed) in order to have breakfast before starting our final descent. We didn’t eat too much of that. I never really feel like when you’d rather be sleeping (wrong time zone) and you just feel tired and grubby.

After landing, and going through customs and getting our suitcases (two were out nearly first but there was a long wait for the other two) we headed for the Virgin arrivals lounge. This was great! We got to have showers and eat a proper breakfast or, in Andrew’s case, two proper breakfasts…

After that, we caught a shuttle bus to the car park, found our car and set off for home. The satnav, which we still weren’t used to on this car, took us a weird way, along A roads and through town centres instead of onto the M25. After a while we realised what it was up to, ignored it, and found our own way to the motorway. Progress was being made, with stops for services, and we had detoured off and back on the motorway to avoid some congestion, and then we got stuck on the M1. The road was closed and we were caught between junctions with no way out. We were there for hours. Many hours. Eventually the road was reopened and we were able to continue towards home. After a stop at the chip shop on our way in, we arrived at about 7.30pm. It had taken 8 hours – almost as long as it took to cross the Atlantic!

Tired, but glad to be home.

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