Spontaneous Pilgrimage to Salt Lake

After our lovely visit from Catherine and crew we were also graced with the presence of our dear friend and fellow pilgrim Kaitlin who drove down from Larkspur, CO with her pup June Bug in tow.  Little did we know that her arrival would bring such exciting and spontaneous adventures for the coming week.  From Cuchara, Kaitlin had plans to travel to Salt Lake City to surprise our friend Dean on the eve of the Grand opening of his dinner service at Cucina Deli.  Jay and I had visited Cucina a month prior to help set up the beer list for this very event and we had all been following the the preparations and hard work of Dean and Tracy to make this monumental step possible for their business.

View through the car window in Utah.

It only took an evening for Kaitlin and June Bug to inspire us to tag along and not only suprise Dean on his big night, but his wife Tracy as well.  As many of you know, I am quite the planner, so attempting such a spontaneous trip on a whim and just dropping in on the Pierose's was quite out of my norm.  But with no schedule, the company of good friends, and a 4 wheel drive vehicle at our disposal, it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up.  We spent the evening in Cuchara packing and picking out pretty dresses to wear to the big event which was quite exciting considering I've been wearing athletic leggings and t-shirts almost the entire time we've been out in Colorado.

More photography from the back seat.

Juney and Jay...party of two. That's the big
painting that Kaitlin traded on the right.
The trip across Colorado and into Utah was filled with laughter and the start of a bond between June Bug and Jay that remains unbreakable to this day.  She spent much of the ride nested on his lap enjoying the view.  We stopped for the night in Grand Junction, CO.  It was nice to have our crew together again, traveling west, and this time the accommodations were much better than the bed bug ridden albergues we had shared just a few months ago in Spain.

We arrived in Salt lake with all the familiar scenery from the past month bringing back warm memories of our stay with Dean and Tracy. We went straight to Cucina to surprise them and it was yet another sweet reunion.  Later that evening we put on our Sunday best and even hot rolled our hair before sampling some of the best beer and tapas in Salt Lake at the Cucina grand opening.  Smoked duck, dumplings, meatballs, and ravioli were accompanied by Epic brewery's Brainless On Peaches beer for an out of this world dinner experience.  Yum.

Ouch!  I just kept thinking about all of the foot pain we
experienced on the Camino to get me through this one.
We continued to celebrate for the rest of the evening making the greasy home style breakfast at Penny Ann's Cafe a welcome sight the next morning.  I was also determined to get the tattoo I had been planning in honor of the Camino while in Salt Lake.  The crew graciously toted me from parlor to parlor in search of someone to take my walk in appointment.  We finally settled at Big Deluxe Tattoo where the two hour top of foot session began.  I had chosen a stamp that I received on my Pilgrim's Passport while on the Camino.  This paticular stamp was from an unofficial establishment along the side of the road while walking across the Meseta. It had been raining most of the day and there were very few stops along the route so when the Oasis appeared Jay and I were relieved to rest ourselves on the lawn furniture set up by this industrious Spaniard and partake of some hot cafe con leche.  It was nothing fancy, but just what some weary pilgrims needed along the endless Maseta on a rainy day.  The minute the owner behind the folding tables set up with coffee and snacks stamped my passport I knew it would be the one for the tattoo.

On the return trip from Salt Lake we stayed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where Kaitlin had some serious trading to do with a local artist.  She traded one of her paintings much coveted by a tattoo artist that went to her art school for his services on some dahlia and camino shell tattoos.

Kaitlin's painting that she traded for her tattoos.  Check out more of her art at Happy Camper Blog
Kaitlin designed a beautiful shell tattoo based on the waymarkers that guided us on our pilgrimage across Spain.  Most everyone in our Camino family has plans to get the tattoo she designed and I jumped in the tattoo chair once more to get mine while in Steamboat Springs.  Steamboat just so happened to be getting the best snow in all of Colorado so the streets were teaming with gear clad skiers.  It was fun to explore this ski resort town where you could see the skiers plowing down the mountain at the end of main street.  What a truly wonderful unplanned week full of friends and surprises.

My Camino shell tattoo courtesy of Kaitlin
and 9th Street Tattoo Studio.

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