It is great to be back on the road. We crossed the Utah state line on day 12 as planned. To date the trip was gone well and the adventure that we expected. The RV park reservations and the weather all seem to be on our side. This post will be on the north Utah experience. Look for the post of Utah south to follow once we hit Nevada in late September. The first Utah stop was the Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, then Salt Lake City, followed by Brigham City and finally Provo.
As we left Colorado again we lamented that there was more that we could do if time allowed…
Utah port of entry was the northeast corner of the state a high desert area. The landscape definitely changed as we cross the border between the two states.
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
Our National Park RV site was the Green River campground in the Dinosaur National Monument. We were right on the river with a great view. The Green River Valley setting of desert, water and mountains set the stage for great visuals. Adding to our quality of life on the road, the Utah sun along with the new Solar panels did their job to keep the batteries charged and our quality of life on track.
Being from the mid-west, seeing farming operations in the desert along the river was fascinating. The Chew family farm has been in operations here for over 100 years.
The area still has limited cattle grazing but is mostly a thing of the past. The park showcased an old ranch owned by Josie Morris. Legend has it she had several encounters with the law over cattle rustling (never convicted), was married five times, furnished horses to Butch Cassidy plus other outlaws and ran the ranch to age 89. She died at 90 in 1963. The old ranch house built in the 30s still stands with most of the other out building long gone. She was creative on how she managed water rights and used the land. Evidently she made impression on many people as there is plenty of information documenting her life.
The area was a nice introduction to Utah. We knew we were in the west with lots of mountain and great scenery. Yes, even some red rock. The area has many Pictographs done by the Fremont Indians…some say could date back to 200 to 1,300 AD.
The reason we were drawn to the area were the dinosaurs. The museum and quarry we found very educational. There is plenty of good information on the how and why the concentration of Dinosaurs in the area. The excavation was over several decades and truly a passion for those who did it. It took us about three hours to tour the facilities and grounds.
SALT LAKE CITY AND THE GREAT SALT LAKE
Next stop was Salt Lake City the capital of Utah. We stayed about 10 miles out at North Salt Lake at a very crowded private RV park. We spent one day in the City. The Mormon influence is overwhelming. The city is laid out on a grid so very easy to navigate. The downtown area is clean and very nicely landscaped. There is a three story shopping complex which is well done. It covers more than one block and is both inside and outside with walkways over the streets. Has all the major stores plus places to eat.
I have always had a fascination with the Great Salt Lake. I remember a picture of my Grandmother Woodard wading in the lake from the 40s. She had great memories of a trip west with my Aunt and I remember listening to stories of her trip. We found a good way to experience the lake was by traveling to Antelope Island. It is connected by a causeway from the main land. It has lots of wildlife like Buffalo, Antelope and Deer. It is developed mostly for recreational use now. We had less than a half day so had to leave a lot of the island unexplored. After being in the lake, yes you need a shower soon! Not sure I can share my Grandmother’s memory as a neat experience.
WILLARD BAY, BRIGHAM CITY
Our next move was to Willard Bay State Park. The bay is actually a fresh water reservoir used by farmers for irrigation. There is a dike built around it as a barrier to the Great Salt Lake. The lake is also used for boating and fishing…very interesting concept. They are in the process of raising the dikes to hold more water. The RV Park was good although very close to I15.
While we were at Willard Bay we traveled north to Brigham City. The city had a very nice look and feel. The main street is lined with Sycamore trees…which are impressive. Close by is the Golden Spike Historical site. This is where the Pacific Railroad tracks from the West met the Union Railroad from the East. We had to check it out. There were two reproduction steam locomotives built in 1979 in action and on display. The stop was educational and the trip there was through ATK land (Rocket manufacturing and testing facility). There was a rocket museum which looked intriguing but passed due to time limitations.
From there we headed north to Logan to pick up the Logan Canyon Highway to Idaho. This is a very challenging winding and curving road through the mountains. The main objective was to spend some time in Idaho as that is one of the states still on our bucket list. Idaho looked good; we will be going back on our next trip west.
PROVO AND UTAH LAKE
Our last stop in our North Utah segment was Provo, staying at the Utah Lake State Park. The objective was to catch up on the laundry and do some shopping before hitting the National Parks in the South. On the list was to check out Brigham Young University. The campus was much newer than I expected. We learned a little more about the Mormons and their way of life.
We are now more than ready to see some red rock. Our first stop will be Arches where the next blog will pick up. The trip is still on schedule, the equipment is holding together, the weather is outstanding and most importantly enjoying being on the road again. Loving the warm days and cool nights although as I write this it is 95 out…
Larry and Jan