Third Stadium's the Charm

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December 20th 2018
Published: December 23rd 2018
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The third day of our trip saw us visit our third college football stadium: Utah State University in Logan, Utah. And frankly, the third time was definitely the charm. This school had the best stadium views of any of the schools we visited in Utah. They all had mountains to be seen, but the ones at Utah State were the highest, the snowiest, and the best, in both our opinions.

We visited Logan on the way from Salt Lake City to Boise. For those of you looking at a map, it might not appear to be directly on the route between these two cities, and you would be correct. But it was only about 25 minutes added to our trip, and since I don’t know whether I will ever be in this part of the country again, and EVERY college football FBS stadium is on my list, I planned on seeing it. This was my best opportunity, and it gives me a clean sweep of all the Utah FBS schools in one trip. All three in three days.

We didn’t really have much to do in Salt Lake City today, since there was a 5-hour drive ahead of us. And we’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in and leaving whenever we need to. This is, after all, a holiday. And despite being on the road with a 21-year-old college dude (instead of just my old self, or my 60-something-year-old dad), we tend to get back to the hotel relatively early. I’m not complaining. They say that it normally takes about one day per one-hour difference in time zone to become accustomed to your new time. If that’s the case, then we should be accustomed to Mountain Time today, but I wouldn’t really know. Since we go to sleep around 9:30-10:00 PM local time, which would be 11:30-12:00 for our regular time zone, it would feel like we haven’t adjusted. But I’ve been waking up progressively later every day, and we’ve started getting hungry later with each day, so I guess it’s something.

On the way to Logan, Nick introduced me to the soundtrack from Dear Evan Hansen, which I had never listened to before. It was pretty good, and I’ll probably be acquiring it for myself soon. I had heard of the musical, but I was unaware of the story or any of the songs. I do recommend giving it a listen, if you get a chance.

The views once we got off the interstate to head to Logan were incredible. We had about 30 minutes of that before we pulled up to the stadium. There were new “oohs” and “ahs” every corner we turned or pass we came around. I really am glad I brought Nick with me, since he is also a mountain guy (like me), but he had never gotten to see the Rocky Mountains up close like this. So his wonder at these sights makes me feel better.

Anyway, we got to the Utah State University football stadium, parked, and walked right in. They were doing some construction, so the gate was wide open. We got to go in and see what the fans see, and it was breathtaking. I would get distracted by the mountain views if I attended a football game here. They had a bull statue across the street (not sure why, since they call themselves the Aggies), so we took some photos with it before moving to the main part of campus.

We parked at the bottom of a large hill, which was mostly covered in snow. A few college boys were sledding down the hill when we got there. Just as we found the steps up the center of this hill (which was a great view), one of the guys slid down and almost kept going right into my rental car. I watched with trepidation as he approached it, and he showed no signs of slowing down. But finally he banked to the left a little and got his hands on the grass and stopped about 1 foot before slamming into the bumper of my car. So we continued to climb, hoping that the car would be undamaged when we returned.

We walked through a snow-covered quad and had similar thoughts as we had at the football stadium—how hard would it be to have a conversation or class outside when those mountains soar above the campus? But we made it to the campus store, where I got my pennant for the pennant wall back home Then back to the car, which was undamaged, and time for food.

We opted for fast food at the Arctic Circle restaurant. Why would we go for fast food in a place like this? When I was doing research for this trip, I discovered that one of Utah’s culinary contributions to the world is fry sauce—sauce for French fries. Is this a big deal? Yes, because I love making my own sauce for them. Normally I have some mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise, which I’m pretty sure is what the new mass-produced versions that I’ve begun to see in stores include. But they originated in Utah, and I was told that this chain—Arctic Circle—is the original original. So I had to try it. We each got some meal deal, and they call themselves ARCTIC Circle because they’re big into frozen treats: ice cream, milk shakes, etc. Nick got some chicken thing with a huckleberry shake, and I got some fish meal. It wasn’t anything special, but the fry sauce was quite good.

After that, we got on the road to Boise, which was just over 4 hours from Logan. The mountain views became less and less impressive as we approached our destination. This wasn’t because we were becoming more accustomed to the mountains, but because we were moving further away from the Rockies. The land was becoming flatter and definitely more sparsely populated. But we made it to Boise just before dark, which was my main goal for this day of travel.

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