Saturday, September 29, 2012
We returned to the shuttle getting off and on the shuttle back toward the Visitor's Center. Prior to the Visitor's Center is a musuem of natural history and a 22 minute movie about Zion is shown that we watched before returning to our car at the Visitor's Center. On the east side of the park there is a long tunnel, a mile plus, that has several turns. Cars going in opposite directions are able to pass without problems but larger vehicles as RVs can only go through without passing opposing traffic.
Returning to the campground, we saw a restaurant a short distance from the campground, Buffalo Bistro, and thought we'd give it a try. We stopped and saw signs stating closed so we returned to the campground and while talking to the campground owner mentioned the restaurant being closed. She said that they should be open and then called to find out that indeed it was opened. So we returned for dinner at this unique restaurant. We were seated on the porch and the cooking was done in a corner of the porch. Tom had a ribeye steak and I had wild boar ribs- they were served with a salad, grilled potatoes and zucchini squash. The food was very good. We brought a dessert of apple cobbler back to the motorhome to eat later.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
We continued to Lee's Ferry, an area that was used by the Mormons when they moved into this territory. Today, rafts floating down the Colorado land here and other rafts going on more adventuresome raft trips take off from here. Fishermen also use this area to put their boats in the River. We were surrounded by beautiful Vermilion Cliffs.
Returning to Page, we grabbed a lunch at a barbeque restaurant before going on the Upper Antelope Canyon tour. Antelope Canyon is on Navaho Reservation and in order to see the canyon an Indian guide must be along. We were scheduled to go on the 1:30pm tour. There was a large group assembled to go on this tour but we were divided into groups of 14 or 15 and then we loaded into seats in the backs of pick-up trucks and took off on a 20 minute ride to the canyon (the last 10 minutes we were on a sandy road and felt like traveling through 8-10 inches of snow). Our tour guide, Rosie, was a real gem as she assisted all of us in taking pictures of this beautiful canyon. The canyon is a quarter of a mile in length.
After that tour we drove out to Antelope Point, the marina of Glen Canyon. There is a long paved downhill walkway to the marina. Golf carts also use the walkway and rides are available to the marina. We chose to walk down but we did ride up - an easier way to get to the top . The private marina had mostly huge houseboats and a few other power boats. There were no sailboats. As we drove from this area we saw another marina that had houseboats for rent.
Returning to Page, again, we stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant before calling it a day and getting back to the motorhome for the night.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Leaving the park we returned to the Goulding Lodge for lunch. The Goulding property consists of a lodge, hotel, restaurant, gift shops, a museum and the campground we are in. In the 1930's the Gouldings- Harry and wife, "Mike"- were responsible for getting John Ford to film westerns in this valley. A building depicted as John Wayne's house in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is also on the property. After lunch we stopped at the Navaho market. Little kids belonging to the merchants were playing outside the shops. Returning to the campground a herd of free-ranging horses were along side the road and a herd of goats being herded by dogs crossed over the road after we passed through.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
After returning to the motorhome, we drove into Moab for dinner at the Blue Pig- a barbeque restaurant. The food was good especially since I didn't have to cook!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
After returning to the campground and doing a few things around the motorhome we set off for Dead Horse Point State Park north of Moab and near the Island in the Sky part of Canyonlands. Like most Park visits our first stop was at the Visitor's Center but before going inside we walked around the outside taking in the views along a pathway. And the views were spectacular looking into a red stoned canyon that is half as deep and half as wide as the Grand Canyon and also like the "Grand" has the Colorado River flowing through it. Island in the Sky also has views into this canyon but none with the Colorado River and, I do not believe, are as breathtaking as the views here. We drove to the Dead Horse Point- this according to legend was where abandon mustangs had died after being corraled on this point- and admired the views. We were pleased that this park was highly suggested to us for it would have a mistake to have not visited it.
We had seen large evaporation ponds from the viewing areas in the state park that were part of a potash processing plant. The ponds were evaporation pools. We had seen signs just prior to Moab to a road that stated "Potash". So as we took the road on our return. The road traveled along sheer rock wall on one side and the Colorado River on the other for 16 miles. Petroglyphs were on the rocks 12-15 feet high making us ponder how this was accomplished. The maintained road ended at the potash plant where we u-turned and returned to the campground.
Our next stop was at the Windows area where there are 3 arches- North Window and South Window and Turret Arch but again there was a hike about a mile round trip. At this point we were feeling done in. We returned to the motorhome for lunch and a much needed rest.
Early evening we took off for Canyonlands National Park- Island in the Sky- which is north of Moab. Stopping at the Visitor’s Center we were given some pointers about stops in the Park. We did drive through the park making the Green River Overlook our last stop to view the sunset. The sunset views are to be spectacular at this overlook but the northern fires smoke interfered once again.
This morning we started out thinking that we were going to drive through a section of the Capitol Reef Park but plans sometimes change. We came to a pull-off that was for a natural bridge so we parked and found it was a mile hike to the bridge. A mile was not that far, so we thought, and so we started walking. The trail was well marked but there were hills to climb and it became warmer as the morning progressed. But we made it – a total of 2 miles in 2 hours. The natural bridge was worth seeing at 128 feet high and 130 feet wide, I believe I have those numbers right.
After the hike we were ready for lunch and it was after 12 noon. I had prepared a picnic lunch so we went to the area where we had seen the deer yesterday. The deer were not there but there were other folks picnicking in the area. There were 2 huge trees in this area with very knotty trunks that seemed unusual to us.
When lunch was finished we took a drive on Scenic Route 12 south to Boulder. This drive is through green mountains that had patches of bright yellow Aspen trees. There were overlooks in which the red cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park was visible. A very pretty drive. Free range cattle were the only “wild” life that we saw and they, like the buffalos in previous parks, didn’t hesitate to walk across the roads in front of cars. In Boulder there is the Anasazi State Park that we stopped at the Visitor’s Center. A good day but tonight we are feeling that bedtime may come a little earlier.
Leaving the Visitor’s Center we rode up to an area called Buffalo Point that had a trail to climb higher up. We walked up a short distance but there was thick smoke from forest fires in Idaho that impaired viewing. We then drove down to the Fielding Garr Ranch. The ranch house is the oldest standing Anglo building in Utah. In 1848 Fielding Garr, a Mormon, had been assigned to establish a ranch on the island for managing the church tithing herds. The ranch was operated by the Mormon until the mid-1870’s. A businessman, John Dooly, Sr. bought the island and brought 12 bison on the land. Sheep ranching was also set up and became one of the largest in the western states with more than 10,000 sheep. A failing wool market in the 1950s caused a change to cattle ranching was continued until 1981 when the island became a state park.
The ranch is now a museum for the public to wander through. The bison herd has grown to over 600 and are rounded up yearly with some being sold off in order to control the size of the herd.
This evening we went into Salt Lake City. We could see the capitol from quite a distance and after driving up some steep hills we were able to park and take some pictures. From there we went to Temple Square where the Mormon Temple, Tabernacle and Assembly are located. The monument dedicated to the seagulls that saved the crops from the locust or grasshoppers is also located in this Square. Quite an impressive group of buildings with beautiful flower beds everywhere.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
We left Jackson, Wyoming a little after 8am this morning after saying good-bye to Larry and Joanne. We would be going separate ways and do not expect to meet up again until we get home. Shortly after pulling out of the campground we were in Idaho. The hillsides were really pretty as there were lots of red trees among the green pine trees. I thought the only color out here was the yellow of the Aspens at this time of the year. We later came into some farming areas that had acres of newly harvested fields of grain. As we came to the town of Soda Springs we passed a large phosphate mining operation of Monsanto. Eventually, we got on I-15 that took us into Utah and south to North Salt Lake City, 279 miles. The campground, Pony Express Resort, is a extremely nice campground and compared to The Virginian in Jackson, Wy. a real bargain. Jackson was $63.00 a night, Pony Express is $40.00- same hook-ups only Pony Express has much better internet accesss.
Today, being Sunday, football games were on the television and after the continuous going for sometime we just kicked back and laid low. Tomorrow we plan to get out and explore this area.
Tom and I decided to cancel a day of our time here as the smokiness of the area affects the beauty of this environment. The campground refunded our money without any problem.
Later in the afternoon Tom and I drove over to Teton Village to take a gondola ride up the mountain to find that was not running anymore today. We then drove up through the National Park. In the Moose area we saw a black bear and then a moose. We saw a dirt road and decided to take that road. What a mistake! The road was very primitive with rocks, ruts, and extremely rough road. There were some pretty views of the Snake River. When we finally got on the main road through the park it was late evening. We drove up Signal Mountain, saw deer and the saw beautiful sunset views on the Tetons from the summit. Returning to Jackson we stopped at a Wendy’s for a late supper before returning to the motorhome.
Well, what a bummer of a day. Last night Tom started complaining of back pain and had a real uncomfortable night trying to sleep. Advil was barely touching his pain. So this morning after eating breakfast we decided we should see someone about the pain. There are several clinics in the park with the closest one being in the Lake area which is a short distance from Fishing Bridge. The clinic was not busy and Tom was seen after filling out the paperwork. After an exam by a physician’s assistant it was determined that Tom probably had a kidney stone. Pain medication was given and directions to drink lots of liquids. So we spent the remainder of the day in the motorhome with Tom drinking (water, mostly) and me cooking and reading. We did take a walk about the campground this evening. The pain medication seems to be reducing the discomfort. No pictures today to tell the story.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
We traveled the 79 miles and got into our campsite. After a little rest we got in the Jeep and started exploring this unique park. The pictures tell much of the story.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
We did take a break for lunch going to the downtown area of Cody to The Irma, a restaurant in a old hotel. We all had the buffet lunch which we found to be quite tasty, including the buffalo sloppy joe's and spinach lasgne. A bread pudding with whiskey sauce was the dessert and there sure was whiskey in that sauce.
Before returning back to the campground we drove to the Buffalo Bill Dam and visitor center. We watched a film about the construction of the dam in the early 1900's. The dam was constructed during the winter months often with temperatures below freezing since the flow of water was so heavy due to the melting snow in the mountains.
A beautiful day with the temperatures in the low 80's but this morning it was 49 degrees when we got out of bed. Tomorrow we are going into Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone park.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
We noticed a lot of haze hanging over the mountains and had seen a fire burning in the distant mountains as we passed through Buffalo so we believe the haze is smoke. We saw a badger run across the road in front of us- something we had not seen before in the wild. I believe I enjoyed the 313 mile trip being able to sit back better than Tom did driving this route. We stopped in Greybull on a back street to eat lunch in the motorhome. We arrived in Cody at 2:30pm expecting to see Larry and Joanne but they were not here yet. It was almost 4pm when they finally arrived. They had taken another route plus stops had to be made periodically for their dog and for picture taking. We will be here until Thursday. This evening we all went out to dinner in Cody at La Comida restaurant. It was a pleasant evening so we ate on the restaurant patio but a chill is in the air.
Monday, September 03, 2012
The does were able to jump the fence but the fawn was having a frantic time trying to find a way through the fence and we were adding to his stress so we quickly moved on. Miles from Devil's Tower we were able to get views of it and the roadside pullouts allowed for picture taking.
Arriving at the Visitor's Center we saw that a ranger led walk around the tower was scheduled for 9:30am so we whiled away some time and then went along on the one and half hour walk.
Periodically, the ranger would stop and talk about the various aspects of the "Tower", the geology, the recreational, the spiritual and the flora and fauna. The "Tower" resulted from magma that cooled underground causing it to contract and fracture into columns. Erosion of the sedimentary rocks over millions of years exposed the "Tower". A horizontal cut through the "Tower" would appear as a bundle of pencils grouped together. There are hiking trails around the base of the "Tower" as well as over 200 trails to climb to the top. This is one of many sites in this country that has special meaning for Native Americans and throughout the surrounding area prayer cloths are seen tied to trees by Native Americans.
Ponderosa pine trees and an oak tree grow about the base of the "Tower"- the oak is seen from this elevation and lower and the ponderosa in higher elevations. In the grassy lower level near the park entrance prairie dogs abound. Porcupines live around the base of the "Tower" in the piles of rocks and in the winter eat the bark of the ponderosa trees. Rattlesnakes, coyote, cougars, deer and squirrels also frequent this area.
Leaving the "Tower" we continued on a circular route through scenic rural Wyoming. In the little town of Aladdin (population of 15) we stopped at Cindy B's restaurant for lunch of burgers that had been recommended by the campground personnel. The food was good. Their pie is supposedly very good but we were too full of the 1/2 pound burgers to partake.
Continuing on our next stop was at the Vore Buffalo Jump.
This archeological site was discovered when Interstate 90 was being built in the 1970's. The sink hole was used by the Native Americans to stampede the herds into the hole that resulted in the death of the animals and the butchering and processing of the meat in the hole. There are 7 layers of bones that are being uncovered by University students during the summer months.
A building has been erected over the dig area. It is overseen by a foundation set up ny the Vore family on whose property this area was found.
Tomorrow we will move on to Cody, Wyoming. We should meet up with Larry and Joanne there as we have been hopscotching across the country with one another. We will be going into Yellowstone on Thursday and should get together a time or so while there. We will be staying at Fishing Bridge in the park, Larry and Joanne in West Yellowstone at a private park.
The weather has been very pleasant here. The high today was 81 degrees with sunny skies. It was 59 degrees this morning- great for sleeping and no air conditioning needed. This sure beats the 100 degrees we saw in South Dakota 2 days ago.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
By 8am we were on the road once again and shortly after starting out we were in Mountain time so we gained an hour. We passed huge fields of sunflowers this morning in South Dakota as we had passed yesterday in Minnesota.
Leaving the interstate we drove the loop road through the Badlands. We had taken this drive before but the views continue to be amazing and beautiful to us.
Leaving the badlands we were immediately in the town of Wall, S. D., the home of the famous Wall Drug Store that has billboards all along the interstates.
We had been here once before but decided to stop again and, like before, found nothing to get overly excited about. Back on the road we stopped for fuel and a short while later at a rest area for lunch. Entering Wyoming we made a stop at the visitor’s center to pick up a state map and gather information about Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. Two hundred sixty-eight miles of travel, the last 20 miles into the state of Wyoming, and we made our stop at Sundance. We will be here for 2 nights- time to catch our breaths and get a side trip to Devil’s Tower tomorrow.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
Today’s 319 mile trip took us into South Dakota. Before noon we were in Mitchell, South Dakota and stopped to see this year’s Corn Palace decoration. The title of the decoration was “Youth Activities”.
We have seen this palace several times previously but it was always late spring or early summer after the decoration had been worked over well by the birds throughout the winter. The display we saw today was newly done this summer and very little picking had been done by the birds yet. It is amazing to see this knowing that the pictures are entirely of different colored corns and seeds. And each year the theme and pictures are new. After stopping for lunch at Culver’s and filling up with fuel we continued on.
Before crossing the Missouri River there is a rest/viewing area that we stopped at.
To me this is one of the more scenic areas on I-90. The blue water of the river surrounded by the golden hills as the road descends down a lengthy hill is breathtaking. It was quite warm and windy as we walked to the viewing area at this stop. Along the way we saw large fields of sunflowers with their heads drooping in the afternoon sun. We did stop at Presho. S.D. for the night at New Frontier Campground. Not the cheap camping tonight- $28.89- but we have full hook-ups and some laundry can get done. The temperature at Presho reached 100 degrees today and it is quite windy. Winds are usually blowing steady across the grassy plains.