A June 2008 trip
to Idaho by Wildcat Dianne
Quote: Mom and I began our cross-country trip on June 9, 2008. Part 1 covers our trip from Idaho to Utah to Colorado.
Hotel | "Motel 6 Midvale"
Getting through Idaho to Salt Lake City on the interstates was a piece of cake compared to finding our hotel. Mom and I got off the exit for Catalpa Road no problem, and the hotel was supposed to be on the right side not far off the offramp. Easy? Not! Mom and I went about a mile down Fort Union Boulevard before pulling into a BBQ place to ask for directions. The nice young man in the restaurant called the Motel 6 and got us on our way in the right direction.
After we got into the parking lot of Motel 6, we unfolded our stiff and sore bodies out of the car. Poor Loki was a pretzel coming out of the car, and I walked him around the hotel grounds waiting for Mom to register us. Since Loki's arthritis makes it hard for him to go up and down stairs, we had requested a ground floor for him along with a microwave and fridge to store our perishables that we would be needing for our night's stay.
Upon entering our room, I was a little concerned about how tiny the room was with the two full-sized beds and small bathroom with shower stall. It was going to be a lot of fun maneuvering around the room with Loki underfoot every minute, but the room was very clean and in a nice area of town which was what counted most. We were only going to be there one night before heading to Colorado the next morning, and we weren't expecting the Ritz Hotel.
After getting settled in our room and Loki had been fed his Muttballs and yogurt, we ordered take out BBQ from the restaurant we stopped for directions upon our arrival in Midvale and got ready for our night's stay. While taking a shower in the nice hot shower with great water pressure, I felt something hit my legs twice through the shower curtain. Then Loki moved the curtain to stick his head into the shower to say HI! BRAT! I thought it was going to be a Psycho experience in Midvale, Utah!
After my shower, I took the God of Mischief Loki for his nightly walk around the hotel, and I felt safe walking around the grounds without my pepper gas. Loki and I had a great view of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, but Loki enjoyed the view of the fire hydrant on the side of the road. Typical dog!
At $55.72 for the two of us and the zoo, the Motel 6 in Midvale was one of the most expensive Motel 6's on our trip cross-country, but with the clean but tiny room and courteous service, it's well-worth staying here if you come to the Beehive State for a visit and are on a budget.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2008
Motel 6 Salt Lake City South
7263 Catalpa Rd
Midvale, UT 84047
Mom went into the hotel to check in while I pulled Loki's stiff body out of the car and walked him around. The hotel was the biggest Motel 6 we would all be staying in during the cross-country trip with five floors and interior entrances. Mom didn't like the interior entrances and would have preferred an exterior entrance to make it easier to walk Loki in case he woke up in the middle of the night. But me being the safety nut, liked the idea of the interior entrances because the doors are locked at night and one can only get into the hotel with their hotel key and no riffraff can get inside.
Our third floor room was located near the elevators which made it easy to get Loki out at night for his potty runs, and our room was a little bit bigger than the previous night's hotel room in Midvale. We had two queen-sized beds with a bathroom with a tub and shower along with the sink located outside the bathroom. My only peeve about the room was the location of the bathroom. It was too close to the hotel room door, and if one of us was using the facilities and one opened the door when someone was walking down the hall, they would have gotten a show. So, Mom and I made sure that none of us opened the door while the other was using the toilet. The bath and toilet area was very tiny which made it hard to get around there when Loki was checking things out or drinking from the toilet. Dogs will be dogs!
Dale, the young man in the office, was very nice and accommodating when we needed change for the laundry facilities next to the office. On one occasion, Mom went into the office for change to dry Loki's car blanket, and Dale was watching the Celtics/Lakers game on TV. He apologized for not seeing Mom at first, but Mom understood and told him that we were watching the game, too, and had grown up only 40 minutes from Boston. Dale then told Mom he was rooting for the Celtics, too.
Tiny bathroom aside, the room was very nice and clean, and we had a great view of the tram going from Greenwood Village to Denver, and Zoe and Xena spent most of their waking hours looking out the window enjoying the view from the third floor.
At $48.66 for two of us for one night and free for the zoo, this hotel was one of our least expensive rooms during the whole trip, and it was located in a safe area near several hotels and a Conoco gas station next door for easy fill up of the car the next morning on the way out. We had one of our best night's rest here, and when Loki needed to go potty at 1:30 a.m., and I felt safe walking him outside the hotel with music from the Hampton Inn next door accompanying us. I would highly recommend this hotel for one to stay in if they are visiting Denver and are on a budget. It's in the suburbs and once we got over not being able to get into the parking lot easily, we had no trouble getting out of the hotel the next morning to the gas station and finally on I-25 south heading towards our Day 3 stop in Amarillo, Texas.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2008
Motel 6 Denver South Tech Center
9201 E Arapahoe Rd
Greenwood Village, CO 80112
Restaurant | "Famous Dave's BBQ Restaurant"
Not only did the scrumptious smells coming out of the kitchen turn me on to BBQ that night, but Famous Dave's also has curbside pick-up for anyone who places a take-out order. Famous Dave's BBQ has four locations in the Salt Lake City area, and it has offered great BBQ to its residents for many years.
After we finally got to our hotel and settled in, Mom and I checked out the Famous Dave's Menu for dinner. Mom felt that Loki deserved a treat from the menu, too, and after making our decision, Mom called Famous Dave's and placed our order. Mom and I both got the BBQ Chicken Platters ($10.95 each), and the spoiled rotten Loki dog got a Kid Wilbur Kid's Meal with a Cheeseburger and Mashed Potatoes ($6.99). The guy on the phone told Mom that the food would be ready curbside within 10-15 minutes, and I was out the door as soon as Mom told me.
After I picked up dinner and got gas for the next day's trip, I returned to the hotel with our dinner. Loki was pretty hungry after his long day on the road, and Mom fed him his Wilbur Meal first after cutting his cheeseburger in pieces. Loki dug into his meal and enjoyed it very much, including the mashed potatoes, but I had drunk the soda that comes with the meal on the way back to the hotel.
Mom and I dug into our BBQ Chicken meals like starving wolves being so hungry after a long day on the road. Our platters came with a chicken leg quarter, a breast, and a wing and had cole slaw, baked beans, a little corn on the cob, and a corn muffin that we saved for our breakfast the next morning. Everything was really good, and I also added a little kick to my chicken with some Devil's Spit BBQ sauce that came in little packets in our bag.
Bellies full of chicken and all that BBQ goodness, Mom and I settled in for a quiet night of baseball and sleep before heading for our next destination the next morning, Greenwood City, Colorado.
Famous Dave's BBQ is open seven days of week. On Sundays-Thursdays, they are open until 10 p.m. or as the sign at the door says "Whenever we get the urge to do a little night fishing!" and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Our meal cost us about $30, and the menu was extensive and the servings are huge and filling. Next time you are in the Salt Lake City area, try Famous Dave's BBQ for dinner. You won't be disappointed.
1166 Fort Union Blvd
Midvale, Utah 84047
Restaurant | "China Lee Mandarin, Szechuan, Cantonese Cuisine"
After both of us perused the China Lee Menu, we were ready to call them to place or order. I got an order of Vegetarian Eggrolls ($2.50) that had two eggrolls for Mom and I to share and for entrees, Mom got her usual Cashew Chicken ($8.25) and I tried something different with the Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce ($8.99). Both entrees came with rice, and the girl on the phone said it would be about 30-45 minutes for delivery which was free.
The time waiting for the food flew with Mom and I unpacking and cleaning up and before we knew it, our delivery guy was knocking on our hotel room door with our food. He was very nice and smiling when I opened the door, and we tipped him nicely for his good service and to help out with his gas for the ride back to his restaurant.
All cleaned up and hungry like the wolf, Mom and I dug into our food. My Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce was stocked full of big yummy shrimp, and Mom enjoyed her Cashew Chicken very much, too. There was enough rice left for both of us and Loki's breakfast the next morning with his dog food. I made sure I ate all of my shrimp and most of the onions and peppers in the meal before pushing it away and saying no more! It was that good.
In addition to free delivery, China Lee has an extensive menu with good food from three of China's largest language areas, Mandarin, Sichuan, and Cantonese. The prices are very reasonable, and the portions are HUGE! Mom and I spent about $22 plus driver tip for two entrees and an order of eggrolls, and it came with hot mustard sauce and plates for us to eat off of. I would visit here again if I was in the Denver area, and I highly recommend the China Lee for delivery if you are staying in a local hotel.
4662 S Yosemite St
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Mom and I got up in Meridian at 5:30 a.m., cleaned up, and started to load the car. It turned out we had way too much stuff to load into a 2002 Ford Taurus, and we had to jettison some things we could buy when we got to Pensacola. Loki was eager to get his new life started and tried to climb into the car on his own, but his arthritic legs wouldn't allow him to get in, so I had to help him inside. Then Mom and I crammed Zoe and Xena into the car in their carriers. Poor Loki was pretzeled into the car with not much room, but he was able to lie down in the back seat.
Mom and I pulled out of the driveway of our former home in Meridian about 6:30 a.m., which was about one hour ahead of schedule for us. After pulling into the Moxie Java on Meridian Road for a couple of lattes and muffins for our breakfast, we were on the way to Utah on I-84 East. "Good-bye Meridian and Idaho!", I said to Mom. "Our new life!", Mom added.
Day 1's trip was very uneventful except for hearing Xena sqwaking in protest from her carrier in the backseat. "Time to break out the loud music!", I said, not wanting to hear YOW! MEOW! GRRR! the whole time. I had Mom put in The Wicked Tinkers, the Scottish-American bagpipe band we saw in person at the Celtic Festival in Boise last September. After a couple of tracks of heavy bagpiping and drumming, Xena calmed down. "The music worked! Xena must have Scottish blood in her!", Mom crowed! Every crevice in the car was stuffed with our belongings needed for the trip and our bad judgement in packing. We were going to buy a minivan for the trip, but after Katie passed away two weeks before and the price of gas scared the bejeevers out of Mom, she settled on a mid-sized sedan for the trip. In Mountain Home, Idaho, about 40 miles from Meridian, Mom and I pulled into a Chevron station and took Xena out of her carrier and put her on Mom's lap for the trip. We were then able to stack Zoe's cage with her still in it into Xena's cage and that gave Loki some more room to stretch out into the backseat.
Loki was a good passenger for the whole day, sleeping almost the whole time except when I had to take a detour off of I-15 onto UT-126 for about 15 miles due to road construction. Loki didn't like driving slow and whimpered most of the way down UT-126. Mom and I were also getting antsy thinking we missed the turn back onto I-15 S, and I pulled into a gas station in a small Utah town to ask the cashier for directions. He reassured us that we were in the right direction and only had to go left and drive up UT-126 for another few miles before hitting the connector for I-15.
The scenery through the Wasatch Mountains of Utah was beautiful, and we made good timing getting into Salt Lake City, but traffic was a little heavy getting through the city itself, and I had to slow the car down due to I-15 S through Salt Lake City is only two lanes. Loki woke up from another nap in agitation for my having to slow down again, and Mom and I had to keep reassuring the old boy that we were almost at our hotel and he would be able to stretch out and have a good meal in the hotel. By this time, Zoe and Xena were quiet and Zoe was passed out in her carrier, and Xena was asleep on Mom's lap for the time.
We finally arrived at the Motel 6 in Midvale, Utah about 3:30 p.m. on June 9, but not without getting lost. The Motel 6 was on the right side of Catalpa Road, but we couldn't see the Motel 6 sign. After driving about a mile, I pulled into Famous Dave's BBQ Restaurant and asked the nice guy for directions. He went out of his way to call the hotel and get us in the right way. After grabbing a menu (I thought BBQ would be good for dinner that night), I ran back to the car, and Mom and I headed in the right direction to the hotel. We finally pulled into the hotel parking lot and while Mom went and got us registered, I got Loki out of the car to stretch his legs. Poor Loki was a big pretzel and rolled out of the car onto his butt on the sidewalk. It took a while to get his old arthritic body going, but after a while Loki was walking around without much trouble.
Once we got into our hotel room which was only four doors from the office, Loki ran into the bathroom and had a long drink from the toilet and climbed into the shower stall. After declaring all facilities fit for human consumption, Loki followed us back outside where we were unloading our car for the night in the room. Zoe hid under the bed and stayed there the entire night while Xena investigated every nook and cranny before going to bed with Mom.
After getting takeout BBQ and gas for the next day, Mom and I settled down for a good night's rest in Midvale, Utah. While watching Cleveland trounce my buddy George's Detroit Tigers 8-2, I poured over our road atlas and Mapquest directions for our next day's trip which was to take us from Midvale, Utah to Greenwood City, Colorado, a suburb south of Denver. It was going to be our longest leg of the trip, a little over 500 miles, but I was glad to have that leg done in beginning of the trip instead of at the end.
Mom crashed by 9 p.m., but I was able to stay up until about 10:30 that night and managed about 6 hours sleep before our wake-up call at 5:30 a.m.
Leg 2 of our cross-country adventure will be continued in another entry.
US 40 is also a mountainous road that led us into some very high altitude areas near the end of our trip, ski resorts like Steamboat Springs, Colorado that was crowded with summer tourists, and just when I thought we were finished with twisty mountain roads that used to leave us white-knuckled after completing them, we hit a long stretch of US 40 that had hairpin turns that made me slow the car down to 15 mph and had both Mom and I cursing the whole way. Of course, Loki woke up from one of his long naps to add his protest to the twisty turny roads, and I was going to be very happy to make it to the hotel that night.
At Steamboat Springs, Mom and I pulled into a 7/11 for gas and to make sure Loki, Zoe, and Xena were OK. Loki took a little water and was one beat puppy while Xena was passed out under the passenger seat, and Zoe was passed out in the carrier. After a quick potty break, I pulled out of our parking place that was getting polluted by one of the employee's mother and her cigarette smoke. They looked like real winners, and I was glad to get out of there to look for a gas pump to fill the car's tank. I was patiently waiting for a car to pull out of a pump when some rude woman cut me off and stole the pump from me. I was pretty pissed off, and when it looked like no other pump was going to open up soon, I said "screw it!" and went to the Kum and Serve down the road and paid ten cents more for gas than the 7/11 would have charged! GRRR!
After most of the day on US 40, our ears were popping, and our voices were weak from being in the high altitude all day. Mom felt like her chest was going to explode which is common for heart patients like herself and especially after one has open heart surgery. We were very happy to leave US 40 and get onto I-25 South, but we hit the rush hour traffic that we were hoping to avoid but after it took longer than expected to get through US 40, rush hour in Denver was inevidible.
Eleven hours after starting our trip from Midvale, Mom, Loki, Zoe, Xena, and I crawled into the Motel 6 parking lot sore, tired, and hungry. We didn't feel like looking for a restaurant to eat dinner that night and were grateful that the young man at the hotel desk had some take out menus for restaurants that delivered to the hotel. Loki was a pretzel once again when I got him out of the car, and I had to walk him around outside to loosen up before heading up to our third-floor hotel room where he passed out after eating dinner.
Mom and I got Chinese food from a local restaurant and settled in for the night except for taking Loki out for his last walk of the night. Mom and I were very exhausted and passed out early that night while trying to watch the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals. After a good night's rest, Mom and I were ready for our third leg on our cross-country journey to Amarillo, Texas, which, thank God, was about 75 miles shorter than Day 2's adventure.
Please go to my second journal Driving Cross Country on Cruise Control II for the Texas leg of our journey!