Landscape: On the way to Utah

I've driven passed it a hundred times

In 1994 I spent a year at Utah State University. What a place! It’s located in Logan, Utah.

Sam and I were engaged through 5 months of my days at Utah State. We met when she and her sister were Juniors in High School and my friend Dane and I were freshly graduated from High School, 1991. I dated Sam’s sister, Stephanie and Dane dated Sam.

I broke up with Steph and Dane with Sam within a couple of weeks and then I went on my mission for the LDS church to San Antonio, Texas. Two years passed and I returned to Boise. The day I returned I took myself to a church dance. Sam re-introduced herself and charmed me. I left that night with her phone number.

We dated for a few months and then Sam moved to Logan from Salt Lake City to be close to me. Looking back I realize how bold and confident that move was. Sometime she’ll say that she isn’t confident, or that she is scared to do things. But she quit school and moved. Just like that.

I drove my Dad’s big yellow van to her appartment in Salt Lake to collect all of her belongings. She still wears the Utah State University sweatshirt that I wore that day when she swung her appartment door open and she hopped into my arms, kissing my neck.

The feeling that I had when we were together during this time can only be explained as rushing waters going down hill. It could not be stopped. I knew before she moved that we were meant to be together. One afternoon we shared a take-out box of chinese food from Smith’s grocery store and I was told that we were supposed to share our lives together. It’s one of the times that I have recieved a direct message like that. Sam felt it too. We both looked at eachother over sweet and sour chicken in my dumpy appartment while JP, my roommate blathered about his graphic design classes. It was a divine happening. The Lord tells you things at the most unexpected times.

Sam couldn’t sustain herself living in Logan and I was a starving student too so she moved to Boise a month into our engagement to live with her parents and work. I drove to Boise every weekend. It’s a 4.5 hour drive. I devised a clever system to keep myself awake. First, I made it a tradition to cross the Utah state line at 100 MPH. Second, I hooked a plastic grocery bag to my ears and spit the shells of the sunflower seeds I was eating to keep myself awake into the bag. I looked like a horse with his feed bag. I got lots of looks from a lot of people but I didn’t care, I was on my way to Sam.

This mountain is a distinctive landmark near the Utah border. I always looked forward to seeing it increase in size as I sped towards it. I always meant to take a photograph and finally, 15 years later, I did.


  1. What an awesome story. You and Sam really are perfect together. Love reading your blog Jon.

  2. Laughed out loud about the grocery bag around your ears. I’ve eaten MILLIONS of sun flower seeds on road trips and never had that idea. I’ll have to try it next time I go somewhere.

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