Saturday, May 25, 2013

Stop Two On The Yellowstone Experience: Orem, Utah

As I wrote last night, Orem, Utah was stop number two of the Yellowstone Experience road trip for the RVFTLC family.
And I thought it was awesome in many ways.
And also an eye-opener on a different way of life and yet refreshing.
I have been in Southern Utah a couple of times and thought it was great. Being in North-Central Utah is almost better because it is another gateway to two of the five National Parks that are in the Beehive State. That would be Arches National Park and Moab.
Orem is in Utah County, same a neighboring city Provo. Provo is the home of Brigham Young University.
If Utah is the most Republican state in the nation, Utah County is the most Republican county.
To give you an idea, in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney handily defeated the Dear Leader, President Obama. The carnage?

Romney     142,337     88.3%
Obama         15,791      9.8%

The remaining 1.9% were scattered among also-rans.
Yeah, its GOP land without a doubt.
But the interesting fact is that, again, it is a university town, Provo. As is Orem with Utah Valley University. And yet, this is the result. Which should give hope that not all college and university towns are doomed.
It is not just the politics that I love. After all, I live in the complete opposite in Pasadena, California.
You can tell that family and traditional values are important to this community.
And the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pretty dominant.
Because this is more of a suburban area, more neighborhoods. And many, many more Mormon churches. They are distinctive in Utah especially. They are red brick and have the white steeple with no cross. LDS explain that they do not use the Christian cross because they look at that as the past and not the future with Jesus Christ in charge. Anyhow, there are so many Mormon churches that if one looks off the freeway, you can see as many as three in very close proximity. Sometimes there is one right next to another. It is amazing to a non-LDSer as I am.
And again, there is the strong family life that is encouraged here.
But, we got a bit of a shock when we went to dinner at a nearby restaurant to our La Quinta.
We went to a barbecue restaurant, the name escapes me, and it was great. But it was while we gave our nice waiter our order we noticed something strange.
We were not asked immediately what we wanted to drink. As we finished our order, Mrs. RVFTLC said that we would drink water. And the waiter said that since WE did not ask, he assumed we wanted water. And we were not the only ones. I walked around to use the rest room and NO ONE, not one person had a drink but water.
And then it occurred to me.
This is Utah. And LDS central. And a strong tenet of the faith is avoiding caffeine. As well as alcohol. It is part of a supplemental book of beliefs known as Doctrines and Covenants. And the specific belief is known as The Word of Wisdom.
Now, I am not Carrie Nation as I do not consume the Devil's Urine. But I also don't tell other people what to do on that score. Same with tobacco, even though 40 years of smoking unfiltered Chesterfield cigarettes killed my father. With them on illicit drugs. But you totally lose me on the coffee and tea. Sorry, I would be the best Jackmormon on that score.
But as odd as it was to this Coca-Cola, coffee drinking American, it was in a sense refreshing to see people clearly live what they believe.
And that is the sense I get in the whole state of Utah. The LDS influence is strong enough to even influence non-Mormons in the positive ways.
What is interesting is that in Utah County, Salt Lake County to the north and a couple of other counties, the majority of the people of Utah live. They live in an area known as the Wasatch Front, the foothills of the Wasatch mountain range. Many of the homes are built right up the hills. It is long and narrow. And trust me, when driving through Southern Utah, you yearn for this region of population.
I can not explain it other than I felt very much at home in Utah. It was great to be among people that take their faith seriously. That were genuine and friendly. And yeah, one thing about the coffee led to this comment from your humble blogger.
You know the one place you will not find a Starbucks?
And yeah, we did find a Starbucks!

Next stop: Jackson, Wyoming, home of the three liberals in Wyoming!

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