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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

New Friends and Powder

A Synopsis of Our Utah Visit

~January 3rd thru January 8th , 2023~

Days 934 to 939

On January 3rd, we left Lake Oswego for Utah with a midway stop in Boise, Idaho as we made our way to Utah to visit our new friends, Katie and Wayne, whom we met on the 4th of July in Chicken, Alaska, celebrating Independence Day at the only bar in town……the Chicken Saloon. Before parting ways (we had different routes planned), we made sure to exchange information with plans to hopefully visit them in their home state of Utah and maybe even ski, so here we are. We’re glad we made it happen.

The drive was mostly windy, drizzly, and cold but with a delightful, snowy landscape as we drove on Highway 84 east. After a 435-mile day, we checked into the Oxford Suites in Boise, where we had just enough energy to drink 2 complimentary glasses of wine from the hotel bar, chow down a little Panda Express and bathe Sadie. Sadie even got a few perks from our stay such as dog treats and a collapsible water dish.🐶

The next morning, we got up a little too late for the complimentary breakfast which ended at 9:00 a.m., so we hit a local Starbucks for a few breakfast sandwiches and coffee. We had a little over 300 miles to go to get to Katie and Wayne’s, but managed to get over the pass and arrive before dark. What a beautiful home in a gorgeous setting.

The snowy mountainous terrain is so pretty. The four of us just picked up where we left off, sharing the rest of our Alaskan adventures and just enjoyed getting to know each other a little better. Hopefully they didn’t mind the fact we were NOT early risers 😬. Sorry guys. They made Sadie feel so welcome as well and went above and beyond with their hospitality, from the private downstairs quarters we had to ourselves, the ever-flowing beverages (my first time trying honey whisky (which I liked I might add), and one delicious meal after another. Of course, when in Utah, skiing is a must (if you’re a skier).

Jeff and I had not skied for about 7 or 8 years leaving me a bit nervous about hitting the slopes again. We rented excellent equipment, so between that and the dry powder that Utah is known for, the skiing was exceptional. After about 3 beginner runs, I got into a pretty good groove, though not like the old days. My legs were jelly by lunch time. I did a few runs with Jeff, but when he explored powder skiing between the trees with Wayne, Katie was nice enough to stay with me, helping me graduate to the intermediate runs.

There were no lines, so we got a lot of skiing in. By 4:00 p.m. we were toast. What better way to end the day than a warm soak in a hot tub. While Wayne and Jeff participated in that, Katie and I practiced our pool skills (in the game sense).

The following day, we woke up with sore muscles which wasn’t a surprise. Later that afternoon, Katie and Wayne took us to the oldest bar in Utah called the Shooting Star Saloon. In fact, it is the longest, continuously running bar west of the Mississippi.

Once inside, you don’t know where to look first….there’s so much to see; a ceiling loaded with dollar bills (it’s thought there is about $14,000 on that ceiling), cool paraphernalia everywhere, a bathroom that looks more like a jail cell and mounted on the wall is Buck……the largest St. Bernard ever recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records. Buck weighed 298 pounds and stood 41 inches tall in his day. Now that IS something! A full moon above a snowy landscape and a game of pool rounded out the day.

Our final day with Wayne and Katie was a relaxed one watching football (though we couldn’t tune into the 49’er game), observing the wild turkeys warming themselves near the hot tub, and relearning a card game called Play Nine that we first played in Alaska. I played miserably, but still enjoyed it. We’re definitely adding that one to our list of things to get. Dinner was homemade pizzas and exchanging favorite recipes before turning in early 💤 for an o’dark thirty wake-up call to get back to California before dark. But what a great time we had with our new friends and hope to reciprocate once we become homeowners again.

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