Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two Weeks in Salt Lake City

May 16 to May 30:

On Tuesday morning we finishing packing up The Duchess and pulled out of our campground in Glendale UT around 7:30 AM. We had a drive of about 300 miles north to our next location in North Salt Lake UT. We had a smooth drive along I-15 stopping for lunch and also to fill up the motorhome along the way. We arrived in the early afternoon and got everything hooked up and set up for the next couple of weeks we will be spending here at the Pony Express RV Resort. The campground has paved roads and concrete pads with grass in between each site. The only strange thing is the location of the sewer connection which is at the end of the site near the road.

We are meeting our friends, David and Cindy Potts, here in Salt Lake City. They arrived the same day as us and are located in the site next to us. David & Cindy have a 43 foot New Horizons 5th wheel that they purchased new in 2015. Cindy is still working remotely until the end of May, so she is limited during the week depending on her work schedule.

We spent the first couple of days getting caught up with the Potts, doing some grocery shopping, trying to sort through all of the pictures we had taken in southern Utah and working on this blog. Since we are in a big city we took advantage of the shopping to visit a Trader Joe's and Costco along with a large local grocery store called Smith's Marketplace. On Wednesday (5/17) we had rain in the morning, sunshine in the afternoon and then some snow flurries late in the day.

Friday afternoon David, Connie and I visited the Utah State Capitol and took a tour that lasted about 45 minutes. The capitol building is located at the base of the mountains and overlooks Salt Lake City. There was a high school choral group singing songs in area below the rotunda and we listened to them for a few minutes while waiting on the tour to start. Being late on a Friday we were the only ones on the tour.

We stopped in a one of the local breweries, Squatters, and had a sampling of several of their brews. Each of us had to order two beers to sample since Utah has a law that says you can only be served two drinks at one time (once you finish those two you can order two more). Strange rule! We were not impressed with the brews as they did not have much flavor.

Saturday (with Cindy not working) the four of us took a trip out to Antelope Island State Park. Antelope Island is the largest of the ten islands located on the Great Salt Lake and the entire island makes up the park. We stopped at the Visitor's Center and were warned about the "biting bugs" on the island whose bites look like lice bites. We saw several people wearing netting over their heads so all of us sprayed on bug repellent. We visited the beach and one of the "points" on the island. I tasted the water which is 4-6 times saltier than the ocean.

We then took the 11 mile drive along the edge of the island to the Fielding Garr Ranch. This was originally established as one of the Mormon Tithing Ranches with livestock including cattle and sheep. There was a large barn on the property where the sheep shearing took place. We ate lunch, visited with one of the volunteers who told us the history of the ranch and then took a brief tour of the  property. Today there are no cattle or sheep on the island. There are 700 American Bison that roam the island and are cared for by the park staff and volunteers. The bison located here have some of the purest genes are the off spring are sold for a lot of money to improve other bison herds around the country. This park in the only state park in Utah that is a money making operation.

Sunday it rained so we stayed around the RV park. Monday we spent the day cleaning our vehicles. I took the Jeep to a car wash and then waxed it. We used a mild soap solution (very little Dawn with warm water) to wash off the road dirt from the motorhome.

On Tuesday, Carl and Pam Manganaro, arrived in our campground. They had been in Heber City UT attending the wedding of Carl's son last week-end and make the short drive north to join the Potts and us. After Carl & Pam got set up the four of us visited The Temple Square. This is home to the largest Church of Later Day Saints temple, their Tabernacle and Assembly Hall. There are two Visitor Centers, Joseph Smith Office Building, the Family Ancestry Building (home to one of the largest genealogy collections in the world) and the Church Headquarters Buildings. We also visited the Beehive House where Brigham Young lived along with his third wife and his children with her. The Mormons practiced polygamy during the 19th century and Brigham had over 25 wives and numerous children. The Beehive House was his "headquarters" where he entertained and welcomed guests and dignitaries as both the head of the church and for a while the governor of Utah.


On Wednesday Pam, Carl, Connie and I traveled to Brighton UT along the Big Cottonwood Creek. The creek was full of water from the snow melt and flowing rapidly. We were hoping to take the road from Brighton to Park City, but it was still closed from the winter snows. So we drove back down to Salt Lake City and then around the mountains to Park City. Park City is home to the Sundance Film Festival and has become quite the tourist town. We ate lunch at the High West Distillery (very good food). Connie, Carl and Pam had drinks made from their distilled products and were impressed with how good they tasted. After lunch we spent a couple of hours walking around the town.

On Thursday Carl, David and I played golf at the Eaglewood Golf Course located about 15 minutes away from our campground. It was a very nice course located above the city with a "senior rate" for green fees of $22. While we played golf, Connie and Cindy went shopping. Later in the afternoon we rode our bikes along the Jordan River Trail which runs along the river just outside the RV park.

On Friday afternoon all of us visited the Red Butte Gardens which are located on the campus of The University of Utah. The gardens are located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains and have a combination of plantings from roses, native desert plants, formal gardens and plants used for medicinal purposes. At with all gardens not all of the plants were in bloom during our visit.

Saturday and Sunday were more days for grocery shopping, laundry and getting ready to move. We tried to stock up on groceries since we will not be near any large towns for a while.

On Monday the six of us traveled up to Alta UT which is home to two ski areas. We were going to hike some of the trails but there is still several feet of snow on the ground (there were several people skiing/snowboarding). So we ended up walking the summer road to the top of the Alta Ski Area which was about a 5 mile hike with a gain in elevation of 1,000 feet. We ate lunch at the top and then hiked back down the road. Great weather with clear skies and warm temperatures.

Monday night we dumped the tanks, pulled up the water hoses and got The Duchess ready to leave early in the morning for our trip north to Idaho. We had a great time in the Salt Lake City area and could see ourselves returning to this region again. We learned a new game while we were there called Jokers and Marbles which Connie enjoyed way too much (she won every game). So glad we could be with friends and hang out together for a while.