So, where are we? Yes. Wednesday night, the 20th.
After Hoover Dam, we made our way through the gorgeous Virgin River Gorge on I-15, which gave us the first taste of the amazing, dramatic landscapes coming over the next few days. I had booked us at the Best Western Coral Hills in St. George. It had decent reviews and the price was good.
(I don’t believe I’ve ever stayed in Best Westerns before – but I stayed in three on this trip, and was generally impressed. I felt that most of the time, the value for the money was unbeatable.)
Why not go all the way to Bryce that day? We could have – it would only have been about two more hours, but the truth is that accommodations around Bryce Canyon National Park are a lot more expensive than they are outside the park. I didn’t know how long we’d spend at Hoover Dam, or what we would discover after we left, so I thought it best – financially, and flexibility-wise – to not think any further than St. George for that night.
It was a good choice! The hotel was very clean, run by friendly, helpful folks. And a nice little pool.
We had some free time in the evening before sunset, so I asked the desk clerk what he would suggest, and he pointed up the cliff above the hotel and mentioned the Pioneer Park – another good choice!
It’s just a park full of red rocks, but you know, the rocks are huge and in intriguing formations, and a great landscape for racing about and pretending you are on another planet or whatever you do.
The white in the distance is the LDS Temple – the first built in Utah and the oldest in continual use in the state.
After a couple of hours there, it was dinner time. I was determined to do LOCAL NO CHAINS. Across the street from the hotel was a diner-looking place called the Iceberg Drive Inn. It seemed to be a regional chain, so I amended the rule to LOCAL NO NATIONAL CHAINS, and in we went.
Mistake. Should have gone to Wendy’s. Because evidently, Mormons do Wednesday night church, too? So they were all there. The burgers took forever to get to us and the shake? For which they are famous? Only the 14-year old got one, and since it was chocolate, he was in favor, but really just looking at it, and taking one taste, I wasn’t impressed. They sell it on the “IT’S HUGE!” factor, but really, it’s more like a Wendy’s Frosty than an actual milkshake. Plus, they really are stupidly large.
Eh. At least it was just across the street, we could walk back and forth, and therefore absorb the Homey Utah Vibe along with dozens of our local LDS friends…
Bonus: Why is this town, established by the LDS, called “St. George?” And why are there allusions to “Dixie” all over the place?
1. It was named after a fellow who urged his companions and fellow townspeople to eat raw potatoes as an antidote to scurvy. He was named George, he did life-saving work, so he was referred to as a saint.
2. Brigham Young assigned his fellow settlers to plant cotton at the outbreak of the Civil War, and many of these people were from the South. So…Utah’s Dixie was born.
Tomorrow: Bryce, finally!