Hey there, long time no post! I've been away on vacation since Saturday. We made two trips to Salt Lake City and two trips to Lava Hot Springs (Idaho). Don't ask. Well, actually, do ask! You know I'll tell! (Using as many words and exclamation points and parentheses as possible.)
We went to SLC on Saturday for the Neil Diamond concert, which was great! Old Neil actually sounded a lot better than I thought he would (I had prepared myself for the worst), and he put on a great show. After the concert we ate a laaaaaate dinner at Bayleaf Bar & Grub downtown on Main Street, the only place I could think of that was open all night besides the pancake places. It was hot and busy in there, but we very much enjoyed our fried pickles, Korean bulgogi, and fried Twinkie a la mode.
The next morning we left for a family reunion in Lava Hot Springs, ID. Though Lava is very close to Logan (the drive takes just over an hour and a half), I had never been until I got married and started going to this reunion. What a place! I'm not sure I can explain it. Let's see. It's a resort/tourist community, but very unlike, say, Park City. All the main attractions in the town are water-related and within walking distance of each other, so the sidewalks and restaurants are filled at all hours of the day with people of all ages and all body types in all sorts of swimwear. A tiny little grocery market serves the town. Accommodations have...character. Nightlife consists of bars and bingo (or in our family, card games on the motel patio). If you've never been...GO! :)
We went swimming at the city pool complex, which features four large water slides and huge diving platforms, as well as an indoor pool. We also floated the Portneuf River, which is very popular tubing. We had to skip the biggest rapids at the top because we took our two- and four-year-old sons on the big tube with us, but we still had a fun little ride and got all wet. We only got to make one pass because we missed most of the tubing day due to our other trip to SLC, which was for a final job interview for my husband. Usually we spend several hours being ferried through Lava Hot Springs to ride the river again and again.
The only water-related activity in Lava Hot Springs we skipped out on was the hot springs themselves. Too hot for our little kids! Instead we enjoyed the warm spring-fed private pool next to the reunion site.
Dining options in Lava Hot Springs have improved over the last few years. We had some decent Thai food in a converted gas station and some very good burgers and fries at 78 Main, which is a new place at the site of the old (bad) Johnny's. Tyson had the Bacon & Blue burger, and I had a chicken burger with brie and fried green apple slices. Service was great and the restaurant has been freshened up inside.
I highly recommend staying at the Alpaca Inn, and I can't recommend any other motel in town. I love the off-Main Street location, grassy courtyard, and personal touches at this place. The owners are great and the rooms are clean and fresh (somewhat of a novelty in Lava) -- and alpaca-themed! Can't beat that! The other place in town I like isn't actually in town - it's up in the mountains. It's a fun little cabin (with running water, etc.) the owner rents out by the night. It's called the Abracadabra Lava Guest Home and it's a great little hideaway.
After three trips on I-15 that weekend, we drove back through Downey and Preston and saw the most gorgeous sunset ever. Right after I reminded my husband to watch his speed now that we weren't on the highway, he got pulled over for speeding. He was given a warning and we went on our way. Seriously, watch your speed if you ever travel through there!