The drive to campus was exciting, as it was mostly uphill to the foot of the mountains. I got a little turned around the building on campus that houses the geography department, but managed to find the offices right at 10am, just as the faculty exited their meeting. Five minutes into my first meeting, all the nerves were gone. It helped that the professor was laid back and very talkative. We spent the first 20 minutes looking on Google Maps (yeah, total geography nerds) at all the different recreation activities within 4 hours of Salt Lake City. If anyone that lives here gets bored, it's their own fault. We spent the rest of the hour discussing his work (definitely impressed him that I had read some of it already), the future of the department and labs, and how I fit in. It was fantastic news to hear that the department's funding would be increasing for the fall semester.. even better chance that I see some of it.
My second meeting was with another lab director, who was also very talkative and easy to get along with. Helped that she was younger, as well. We discussed my previous course work (once again, clearly impressed), research experience, and joked about how annoying it was to work in a lab with no windows. After a brief tour, I was introduced to a few current graduate students. During a brief talk with one in particular, he asked if I had made my final decision yet. I responded with "No, I still have other programs I am interested in.." to which the professor immediately chimed in with, "Well, hopefully we can get him here." Yeah, talk about a good feeling. I left my meeting feeling confident that I had just done enough to secure some funding for myself. I concluded the campus visit by walking around and taking a few pictures, as well as sharing the news with a few people.. which reminds me, my dad never called me back. Hey dad, call me back! Haha.
|View from east side of campus|
|The football stadium|
The remainder of the day was spent eating great food and relaxing, for the most part. We had an amazing lunch at an authentic Napoli-style brick oven pizza place. The pizza was light and so delicious!
|Espresso. Desperately need some caffeine.|
|The brick oven.|
|Diavolo pizza.. perfectly balanced and light. You could taste all the fresh and imported ingredients. Indescribably delicious.|
After relaxing back at the room for a bit, we headed out for some sightseeing, only to step outside to nasty, cold rain. Our attempt to see the Great Salt Lake was foiled by the weather, of course. We made the 20 minute drive there, only to see the shore. You couldn't see anything else behind the low clouds and rain. We headed to Squatter's Pub to grab a beer and wait for the rain to potentially pass, which we knew was slim. Naturally, we were only there for 20 minutes before we looked outside to this:
|Biggest snow flakes I've ever seen|
A little while later, we grabbed dinner at a place called Pat's BBQ. Honestly, the best BBQ I've ever had.. not to mention $14.00 is a good deal for this plate of food:
And no, there was no way I ate all of that. Not even half of it. The pulled pork and brisket were perfectly smoky. Didn't even really need a sauce. The coleslaw was the best I've ever had. Definitely eating well on this trip. A little treat to myself because God knows I will be right back to my healthy ways when we get back to Indy.
That's it for tonight, we've gotta get up in approximately 4 hours to tackle our outrageous 12 hour drive to San Francisco. Can't wait for the drive through all sorts of terrain and to finally see San Fran, a city that has been at the top of my list for quite a while.