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He had a dream, we won the trip and now we are back from two weeks in Utah.

It was better than we dreamed it would be. We flew United Airlines from Auckland and then to Salt Lake City. A nice touch on the flight to the States was the Captain recognising a retiring cabin crew attendant who had just completed forty years with United. Everyone in the plane clapped for him.

Our five days in SLC were occupied with visiting the Mormon Temple complex where we listened to the Tabernacle Choir perform with a full orchestra. A tour of the lush gardens and learning to research our family history rounded out this activity. We visited the State Capitol and I got a run down on American politics. We were in Utah when the motion to impeach President Trump was put in place – fascinating from our outsider’s perspective.

We did two road rides of the iconic Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Going up to ski resorts at over 2500 metres was a challenge for the lungs but the altitude training may pay off when we go riding back in New Zealand!

We found some good restaurants within walking distance of our Hotel reinforcing that SLC has good hospitality places.

We then drove four hours south to Moab, a mecca for mountain bikers. It is situated within easy driving distance of two National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands, which we really enjoyed exploring, hiking to unusual land formations and rocky perches to get spectacular views. The landscape is so vast and such a contrast to New Zealand , being rocky and dry. It was a special sight to watch the sun set over some of these rocky formations.

The day we mountain biked was special as the track passed very close to a bear eating. There seemed to be rides for all abilities . Rafting on the Colorado River was another adventurous undertaking with skilled and knowledgeable guides.

We drove back to SLC on long , straight roads with the longest passing lanes I have ever seen.

The last morning was spent visiting Antelope Island in the Salt Lake, north of SLC. Here we saw an antelope and a huge herd of bison crossed the road in front of our car.

So, our Utah trip had it all- history, wildlife, spectacular scenery, adventure and friendly people.

I would like to thank Leanne for the chance to travel with United Airlines, Corey and Karen for their inspirational talks about Utah and Oregon, Jo Corbett, our travel agent for all the hard work she does to ensure our smooth travels and money towards our accommodation and Lewis Ryan for drawing my name to win this prize.

Still buzzing and happy to recommend this destination to others.

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