After stopping by in Salt Lake City I've finally left Utah and the canyon and park areas. Salt Lake is a nice place, an up and coming city that can't quite decide whether it's trying to play in the big league or not. But beautiful, with snow-capped mountains all around, visible from just about anywhere in the valley. Drivers will love the extremely wide streets that have few cars and ample parking. And when the coffee selection at the gas station consists of Decaf and Decaf, there's no mistaking where you are... (for non-US readers: that means in Mormon country, i.e. Utah).

Due to Fall progressing I decided to make a short detour through Yellowstone before it shut down for the Winter. Not much hiking was possible there or in the Grand Tetons through which one drives coming from the South. (You can of course go on some serious hikes there, but with the temperatures being what they are at 6000-8000 feet in October, and cold winds blowing and the trails already snow-covered, I passed.) In addition, I was advised that the Brown and Grizzly bears will go into hibernation soon, and currently are in a preparatory feeding frenzy. Normally they'd stay away from the trails with all the people and noise, but since there are few visitor at this point, chances are that one may run into one of them, which -feeding frenzy!- might not be a pleasant experience. The geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone are of course "open" year round, and quite a spectacle - I tried to capture it on photo, but it's not the same w/o the sulphur smell and the gurgling/ popping/ hissing sounds coming from everywhere. And after more than 6000 miles driving a park ranger got me the first ticket of the trip for speeding. I guess it had to happen at some point.

After recuperating from a slight cold in exciting Butte, MT, for a couple days -and seeing the funny and interesting film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"- I finally reached the West Coast, and stayed in Seattle for five days. At first it seemed like the cliché would come true - it started to rain the very minute I crossed the bridge into the city, but five days of sunshine followed. It's a very civilized city, quite compact, with lots to see and many spots to hang out. The number of Starbucks locations is unbelievable, and there are at least two other chains, and many independent shops as well. I thought I was addicted, but there has got to be serious coffee (ab)use going on here. Although, being in IT myself, I'm no stranger to a caffeinated lifestyle.

Today I arrived in Vancouver, and everything seems nicely inexpensive. I hadn't thought about the exchange rate before – maybe I'll stay a little longer than planned. Starting Tuesday a few rainy days are forecast, though. We'll see.




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