I started my current job in May of 2019. Where I work is based out of Salt Lake City. Everyone in my role and on my team works remotely, but they'd fly everyone out to meet in person once a year. I went out a few months after I got hired. There were plans in 2020 to do the same, but we all knew what happened.
Now that things have calmed down with COVID, they are finally bringing us back to these meetings. Many people have come and gone on my team in the last four and a half years. It would be nice to meet all the new people.
For this trip, I'd be flying. It is one of the rare trips I wouldn't be hitting the road. When I fly, I always try to pack light. I want everything in a single carry-on. I guess this is no different than when I worked for TABC and traveled all over Texas. I lived out of a single backpack for the whole week.
I could easily get a few days out of a backpack. I packed my 20L MOLLE backpack and put 2 MOLLE pouches on it.
I would be getting up early, so I wanted to also have a quick breakfast waiting for me in the morning.
I put everything in the car the night before so I could get up and go the following day.
My flight was at 5:50 AM. The next morning came quickly.
I drove into the darkness and to the Madison airport.
I put directions in for the terminal, and somehow, Google Maps took me to some random business next to the airport.
I parked in the economy lot and walked over. The airport was pretty dead.
I got past security and then filled up my water bottle.
Before you know it, I was on the plane. My backpack fit easily between my legs.
I landed in Dallas. The crazy thing is the gate I landed at was only one over from the gate for my flight to Salt Lake City. I had a few-hour layover, so I wandered around. I got some coffee and found a chair to sit on. I read and drank coffee.
At times, it was hard to read. The guy next to me was sleeping and snoring loudly. He would then randomly wake up, blast a video on his phone, and then fall asleep again. Eventually, I just headed over to Auntie Anne's for lunch.
On the plane, I charged my phone. I tested a gadget I just bought nicknamed a “USB condom.” This device cuts off any data connection and only allows power. This prevents someone with a rogue USB port from accessing your phone.
I got window seats each time. While my phone was charging, I enjoyed the views.
I met up with some of my coworkers at the airport. We took the train together to our hotel downtown.
The hotel room was nice.
It also had a nice view.
I dropped my stuff off in the room and was ready to explore. The train pass I bought was a day pass, which also worked for the bus. I figured I could get a county or two in since the first courthouse was a little over a quarter-mile walk away.
I walked down the road to the Salt Lake County Courthouse.
Across the street appeared to be the old courthouse.
The state capitol building was within eyesight.
It was still about a mile or so away, so I hopped on the bus.
The Transit App was good at letting me know when to get off.
It was awesome seeing the Utah State Capitol!
I decided to harness the power of AI and figure out what other county courthouses to go to.
I found that Davis County was the closest county, so that would be my next stop. Before getting back on the bus, I went to the visitor center to get some water.
I noticed my phone was starting to get low. I always carry around a power bank for this occasion.
I started charging my phone as I walked to the 455 bus. This would take me to Farmington.
I had a lot of stops ahead of me, so I got to sit back and enjoy the views.
I got close to the Davis County Courthouse and then requested my stop. It was a short walk across the road.
I then walked to the bus stop and enjoyed the views.
Lo and behold, the same bus and driver came along! He must have made his route, and I timed it right that I got on the same bus.
I was starting to think about supper. I hadn't eaten since the airport. I wanted to go to Del Taco. The first and last time I had Del Taco was coincidentally in Salt Lake City. I had taken a road trip out west and stopped through town in 2013. It had been a decade, so I wanted to try it again.
I was looking at the bus route and realized that I'd be going to Ogden, the county seat of Weber County.
It seemed stupid for me not to visit that courthouse, so I got off and walked downtown.
Google Maps gave me a bit of the runaround, so I did a ton of walking to finally find the courthouse.
I found out the last 455 bus would be leaving soon.
I ended up running part of the way but made it in time.
Thankfully, this bus would take me right in front of my hotel. It would just take a while.
I just sat back and enjoyed more of the views.
I accidentally closed out of the Transit App, and it could no longer lock in on the bus I was on. It claimed I'd have to wait until 5 AM.
Google Maps was of no help, so I trusted my gut. Eventually, I could zoom in and watch my movements in regards to bus stops.
I requested my stop, and it was a short walk to the hotel.
I had been texting one of my coworkers while riding the bus. His flight wasn't coming until about 9. We decided to meet up and grab a later supper. In the meantime, I ironed my clothes. I found that I must not have folded them too well.
I then hung out with a few other coworkers. When the first coworker came in, we decided to go to Del Taco. We realized the buses were no longer running there, so we walked down the street. We found a place called “Beer Bar” and asked the bouncer if they had a grill. He said yes, so we went inside.
I got a huckleberry bison sausage and fries. Everything was perfect, but the fries were incredibly amazing with the fry sauce they had.
After eating, I was spent. I hit a wall and returned to my hotel room. I got everything in order to sleep.
I only got about 6 hours of sleep. I found this locally-made energy drink that perked me up and got me ready for a full day of meetings.
The meetings went well, but I especially loved the breaks and views from the office.
After everything was done, we headed back to the hotel. A group of us coworkers hung out, and I bought some local beer to try.
I got another 6 hours of sleep, and then we returned to the office. It was definitely more ominous outside.
We had another day of meetings, and it was time to head back to the hotel. It was still a bit ominous.
Our whole team had an escape room planned for team building. It wouldn't be for a few hours, so we had some time to kill. A coworker and I walked across the street to the Maverick. This appears to be the local convenience store chain. I was pretty impressed with what they had to offer.
I got more local beer.
Another coworker had rented a truck, so a few of us piled into that. The rest of the team was taking Ubers. We made a pit stop at the liquor store.
The liquor store was so slow. It took forever. We ended up being a bit late to the escape room. The funny thing is they weren't ready for us, and we still had to wait a bit. I guess this was a productive use of time.
Our group was the only one to get out of the escape room. We waited for the other teams to finish. We ate Jimmy John's there and headed back to the hotel. I was hanging out with the same group, and we had a couple of drinks.
We decided we'd check out a local bar in the area. We ended up hearing a bunch of noise in the hotel bar. We went there, and a good chunk of our team was there. It was 10:30 PM, and they were already doing the last call. I quickly got a beer and talked with people.
After that, a few of us walked up the road to this Japanese-themed bar.
Their last call was like midnight. I had a drink there, and we all walked back to the hotel. I hung out with the original group of coworkers I had been hanging out with when I arrived. We had a few more drinks and went to bed late.
Surprisingly, I got 6 hours of sleep again. I met up with those same coworkers, and we got breakfast in the lobby. The coworker who rented the truck drove us to the airport. It was definitely still gloomy out.
One of my coworkers was on the same flight, so we went through security together and found our gate.
Eventually, we were in the sky. I booked a window seat and enjoyed seeing the mountains, circular fields, and a massive solar farm.
I figured it would be cool to hop on the wifi until I saw the prices.
After that, it was more looking out the window. This time, I saw many (most likely Amazon) warehouses.
When I landed in Dallas, I found out my flight was delayed. The gate changed, too.
My coworker and I had to go to another terminal, so we took the Skylink together.
We got supper at The Salt Lick. It was so-so, especially compared to the actual Salt Lick.
My gate continued to change in the meantime.
My coworker was soon on his flight to Memphis. I had a few hours to kill.
Eventually, I got hungry again and got some wings and candy at 7-Eleven. I also got a Coke since I was hitting a wall with tiredness.
They said the flight would be full, but I got lucky. Nobody was sitting in the middle seat!
We finally got into Madison, and I could see the Capitol Building.
The terminal was dead when I got off the plane.
I could see why my plane got delayed. There was a lot of weather still impacting the area.
It was a little past 1 AM when I got home. Everyone was sleeping, but someone woke up to greet me.
I will say this was an awesome trip. It was nice seeing everyone from work in person versus over Microsoft Teams. I also got more comfortable taking public transportation to visit counties. I have been thinking of doing this more in densely populated areas like the Northeast. My new experience has definitely got me thinking a lot more. I'll be doing a lot of planning in the next bit.
My map is more fragmented now.