After all the delays leaving Las Vegas I finally arrived in Salt Lake City the following morning where I was picked up at the airport by my friend Ben who I was visiting for the week. The first thing that struck me about Salt Lake City driving from the airport was how spread out and flat everywhere looks, obviously because it's all salt flats out there. After arriving back at Ben's and meeting his wife Liz and their little boy Atticus we all went out for a meal where I had my first ever meatloaf! Good stuff, very filling.. Even better when its smothered in barbecue sauce and cheese..
My memory is a bit hazy after the first day or two as I didnt really do much else in my time in Utah other than chill at Ben and Liz's and drink lots of beer and play Call of Duty. Not that thats a bad thing. As Utah is a Mormon state all the beer is regulated at 3.2% which means you can drink 9 or 10 bottles and only feel tipsy. We worked our way through 4 cases in the week I stayed there! In the middle of the week I went shooting with Dave, a friend of Ben's who used to be in the armed forces. He knows a lot about guns so I was in safe hands. We picked up some ammo and headed for the range up in the mountains on the outskirts of the city. I hadnt fired anything before so I was a bit nervous to be fair. I started off with a P-90, a semi automatic machine gun which fires small rounds so the recoil isnt too bad. As i'm not a US citizen I wasnt allowed by law to fire off a burst of shots, I could only fire single shots. The kick off the P-90 wasnt bad so I moved onto the next gun, an AR15, a semi automatic rifle which as the bullets are bigger, delivers a slightly bigger amount of recoil. I didnt do too badly as I managed to hit a paper target straight through the middle at 200 yards! Next I had a go on a bigger rifle that I forget the name of and finally I tried Daves pride and joy, the TRG 42, which holds the world record for sniping. It's a stupidly huge rifle and with the new scope that Dave had just bought it cost him $7000. One round costs $4.50 alone and the bullets arent small. As the round was the biggest i'd fired and the gun is especially light I was a bit nervous that it might take my shoulder out on firing it! It didnt but it does give a hell of a kick and its damn loud.
After a few hours of shooting rifles and blowing up a plastic bottle of explosives I had a go on Dave's handgun, a 45. When you see people in movies firing handguns with one hand that just doesnt happen. You need two to keep your arm from jarring up in the air when it goes off. We messed around for a bit and shot a golf ball which I didnt do too badly at!
I had a fun day shooting and would do it again. I cant recall what I did that evening, probably just drank a lot of beer again, ha ha. The next evening, Dave came over with his other half Mandy and we had a barbecue. The next day I earnt my keep staying with Ben and Liz for the week and cleared out their shed into a skip that the council had dropped in the street. It was the most work i'd done in 9 months and it felt like it too! Still, the beer tasted even more worthwhile afterward. On the weekend, I went out to the mall with Liz and Atticus as I had barely left the house and hadnt seen much of Salt Lake City itself. I dont think I met a single Mormon either, not knowingly anyway. But I didnt mind not seeing any sights as I came to visit Ben and meet the family so I had a good week.
So at the end of the week after saying farewell, I caught my flight to New York where I was determined to make the most of my last 7 days away.