Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bear Lake

It’s not Crater or Tahoe, but Bear Lake is one of the scenic lakes in the country. 8 miles wide, 20 miles long and over 200 feet deep. The intense turquoise-blue water is due to the reflection of limestone suspended in the water.

When we arrived I said, Finally we will get to paddle the yaks. The camp host said the breeze would pick up in the afternoon and it did. Fine, we would go out in the morning. That was Monday and it’s been blowing like stink since then. And so it goes. The upside is that it’s like being on the Gulf or in Baja. The waves roll in and crash on the beach. The seagulls, pelicans, grebes and other web footed critters paddle back and forth. Very peaceful.

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Our primitive campsite

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The Week In Review

Monday, May 21 -  Today we moved to Bear Lake State Park near Garden City, UT.  The park is located in several areas.  On the west side is the full hookup area and each site has a ramada.  But they do not have views of the lake.  The east side of the lake is much more scenic, but no hookups which is fine with us.  We are at South Eden but all of their sites are reservable and they are all reserved for the Memorial Day holiday.  We will stay here for three nights.  They also have the only water on this side of the lake.  We drove along the road and into Idaho just because it was a mile north. That makes three extra states we have been in this month for a few minutes.

It’s easy to relax here overlooking the beautiful lake in the pleasant weather.  Ideal for sitting outside, propping your feet up and reading.
Thursday, May 24 - We moved into the non-reservable campground today - Rainbow Cove recommended by the campground host.  Our site is very large, probably four buses would fit.  After finding our campsite, we drove to Logan, about 50 miles away over the front range.  We needed to go to Wal-Mart, pickup a light switch for the refrigerator  and do some laundry.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and got a lot of information.  Every year the University and the city host Summer Citizens for six weeks.  You can take courses at the school that are very inexpensive.  People come back year after year, especially those that live in very warm climates.  We have wondered what we would do next year and this may be it.  Also, Logan is a pretty town with lots of stuff to do.

Friday, May 25 - I had a stomach ache Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday.  Today, Don has a stomach problem.  So we are staying inside which is fine since it’s cloudy, windy and cool.

Saturday, May 26 - The weather forecast for today was 70% of rain, cold and windy.  However, it was very nice this morning and we had our coffee outside under blue skies.  We puttered around the RV, had nice lunch and a nap.  The sun woke me up coming in the window.  And then it changed, but not before the batteries were  charged.  Finally the rain came, so now it’s cloudy and much cooler.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In The State of Erosion - VI

Sunday, May 13 - We did not do much today, except recover from two days of sightseeing and resting up for more sightseeing next week.

Monday, May 14 - Once more we got up and hit the road. First thing was to go to the Apple store to get my computer fixed. Didn’t take long and it wasn’t anything serious, just operator error. Since it was too early for lunch, we went to Temple Square and toured the upstairs area of the museum and then we went to the LDS Family Research Center. They have lots of records on ancestry and people can also research their families on line, including my brother and our family. Then it was lunchtime and we went back to Red Iguana and had another fantastic lunch.

One of the things we like to do is visit State Capitols. It was probably the best one we have visited - sorry Louisiana. The interior has no furniture, except for a few display cases. No seating, no flags, portraits. Quite bare. That makes the variety of stone used in construction really stand out.

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Tuesday, May 15 - Not too much today. We went into Ogden to Forest Service Office but it was closed (they took at really long lunch) and we didn’t wait around to see if or when they would return. The Forest Service Office is located in the old Union Pacific Railroad Station. We looked at several old trains that they have. They even have a caboose - I miss the caboose! The station is very nicely restored. There are two museums there so we will do that at at later date.

Wednesday, May 16 - Today was museum day. First we went to the Hill Air Force Base Museum. They have a room dedicated to World War II and prior planes and another for more modern planes. We spent two hours touring in there. When we came out, there was a blue LD parked in the lot. After we finished our picnic lunch, they came back to their rig. A very nice couple from Montana with a 26 1/2 Island Bed. We had a nice chat.

Our first stop back at the Union Pacific Station was the Forest Service Office. We had a very nice and helpful chat with the Ranger. Then it was on to the Browning Gun Museum. There are lots and lots of guns. The ones that interested me most were the miniature guns - very small and they actually work. Downstairs we went to the Automobile Museum. A very nice collection that had belonged to the Browning’s. Most are 1920’s and 1930’s, restored and they run. Browning was a prolific designer, turning out over 150 designs or one every few weeks.

Thursday, May 17 - Another lazy day. We don’t feel badly because we do nothing. This is our home for many months of the year. When we are at home, there are many days when we do nothing, so we don’t see the difference.

Friday, May 18 - Morning rain - guess that’s why there is green grass and trees. Afternoons activities were laundry, groceries, and gas. Don’t we have fun!

Saturday, May 19 - We took a scenic drive today, but it was a little hazy. The views of the basin would have been fantastic on a clear day. At least, we got an idea of what the basin looks like from above.

We have enjoyed many casual conversations with those in the LDS faith over the years. They are always gracious and outgoing. Their children are always well mannered. No temper fits, no whining about wanting a toy or candy in a store, no I’m bored, can we go now.

This trip we got the opportunity to have more serious conversations with several couples. We remain impressed. It is obvious to us that their lives are  guided by their faith. They are very family oriented.

We think that the first thing that most people think of when they hear ‘Mormon’, or the more correct term LDS, is plural marriage, even this was formally repudiated over 100 years ago. It’s about time to quit persecuting them for that.

I have heard some say that they don’t think that Mormon’s believe in Jesus Christ. The name of the faith is The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. They have three books of scripture, the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon. Jesus is depicted in art and word. While I am of the unwashed, I can not but think that they believe in Jesus.

You don’t just join their church by indicating some interest and sit in a back pew a few times a year. You first prove you understand the faith and you make a life commitment to serve the church.

In a bookstore, I saw a book titled something like 12 Documents for Mormon’s. It had the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, etc. Do you know of any other faiths that consider the core principal’s of the US to be so important?

Utah is the Beehive State. This week I found out that it refers to the industriousness of bee’s. And everywhere you look here you see industriousness. The infrastructure here is top notch.

Here’s what is all comes down to for me. Utah, founded by LDS, has what is left of the best of American principals and ideas. It’s a place where John Wayne would be comfortable.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In The State of Erosion - V

This has been our sixth week in Utah. Our latest thinking is that after we finish SLC, we drive back to south end of the state and spend some time at Cap Reef. Perhaps the last week of June we will get to Great Basin NP and after that head west on US50.

Sunday, May 6 - Time to move on although we will miss looking at Split Rock Mountain. We’ve really enjoyed our stay at Dinosaur. We moved east to Strawberry Reservoir which is very nice. You can get long term camping spaces there. Also there is a marina. There are a lot of large homes built on the hills overlooking the water. They are nice, but there are not any trees at all, so the houses looked naked. Ed & Carol are here and we chatted with them for a while. Who knows where we will see our next LD people.

Monday – May 7 – The low last night was 27. I think that is the lowest we have experienced for the trip. We are at 7,500 feet and there is still snow above 10,000 on the north faces.

We hoped to paddle the yaks today. The wind was calm until 9 and then it started blowing. And so it goes.

Looks like we will just be lazy today and figure out where our next hop will take us.

Two things about Utah streets. 1) Downtown, they are wide enough to make a U-turn in a four-horse drawn wagon. Brigham Young declared this requirement. 2) The addresses are logical, but maddening. 1847 East 5010 South.

Tuesday, May 8 - Our goal was to get to Payson, UT. We entered the basin at Provo. It is the home of Brigham Young University. The part that we saw indicates that it is a lovely campus. The off-campus housing seems to be exceptional. The town is clean and upscale. Our goal here was to visit Utah Trikes. It is a good size store selling only recumbent trikes. I  test drove two and had a great time. Wish I could have brought one on the spot, but we don’t have room for it. I selected a Catrike Villager. We will have it shipped home.


We landed at the Payson Wal*Mart for the night. There are some fine FS CG’s in the nearby canyon, but there is no cell or TV coverage there and tonight is Dorothy’s TV night.

The CBS station started pixilating during the 5:30 news. When we cut it on at 7 for NCIS, it was not watchable. It was perfect again at 8. And so it goes.

Wednesday – May 9 – We moved north 15 miles to a state park on Utah Lake to make spaghetti sauce. It takes five hours to cook and that is a little longer than we care to run the genset. It spoiled our record of being off-the-grid for 49 consecutive days.

We are in the Lakeshore Campground, but none of the camp sites have a view of the very large lake. There is a marina and quite a few sailboats.

We have not been near a Costco since El Paso and that was mid-March. So we made a run this morning. We had a good time and bought things I did not plan to buy, of course. But, we did not get the haddock and salmon fish that we wanted. They did not have either one, but the fish they did have were extremely expensive.

Thursday – May 10 – We drove two hours north on I15 to Ogden. Lots of traffic due to road construction and lots of grit in the air due to windy cold front moving in. After we cleared the road construction, the traffic cleared out. My first view of Salt Lake City is nothing like I remember it from 1965 - imagine that.

We are in a really nice FS CG called Anderson Cove on Pineview Reservoir. We have green grass, trees and a lake - what more could you ask for? We excellent cell and TV signals. Ogden, 15 minutes down the hill, is rather upscale. We plan to do a lot in SLC, which is an hour away.

Having not been here before, I only had a fair idea of the terrain. The glacier sculpted Wasatch Mountains bound the basin on the east. Homes are built on the lower slopes, just like in LA. Everything is located between the mountains and the desert to the west. This is prime ski country.

We have seen several new 10,000 square foot homes and very few for sale signs. Unemployment is 5% in Utah. Every town, large or small has nice parks. The infrastructure, physical and social, seems sound here. Plus, all over Utah, are cute blond 5 yo girls.

Friday, May 11 - This morning we went to Salt Lake’s Hogel Zoo.  It’s not as big at the San Diego or St. Louis Zoo, but still nice and we saw some interesting animals.

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We walked around for two hours so then we need to find lunch.  We were looking for a Middle Eastern grocery store and what better way to do that than go to a Middle Eastern restaurant and inquire. We went to Mazza’s.  We had potatoes harra for appetizer and I tell you I had the best baked eggplant over rice ever!  I will try to copy that recipe. Don’s dish was good, but nothing like mine.  I am going to Google Potatoes Harra now.

Saturday, May 12 -  Our goal today was to get me a pair of comfortable shoes to wear while we are walking on trails.  We went to New Balance shoe and found a pair.  After walking for a while, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been aware of my feet.  It has been years since that has happened.

After our shopping excursion, it was lunch time so we went to the Red Iguana, a highly recommended Mexican restaurant. Their specialty is moles.  They have seven of them, they gave us a sample of each and they are very good!

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Next we went to Temple Square.  While at the Visitors Center we were lucky enough to chat with two LDS members who were also touring. They gave us a lot of information about the Temple which non-LDS members cannot enter.  I think the most important information was the basis of their religion.  They feel that they are Christians and the basis of their religion is Jesus Christ.  No, they did not proselytize. Hopefully, Mitt Romney will be our next president and I think that it is interesting to know about his religion. We then toured the Tabernacle where they have their annual Christmas music that many of us have seen on TV. The organ is huge - the largest of any I have ever seen.  There was a gentlemen playing the organ.  Next we went to the Assembly Hall. This is a very old building and it also has a very large organ.  The last place we went was the museum which detailed the Mormon’s travels from when they were run out of Illinois until they arrived in Salt Lake City.

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Assembly Hall and it’s organ

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The Organ in the Tabernacle

Today, we are going to take it easy. We have a lot of places to visit next week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

In The State Of Erosion - IV

We are in dinosaur country. Lots of 150 million year old bones in this part of Utah [also in CO and WY] Most things are named Dinosaur or Split Mountain. The local football team is named The Dino’s.

We got bumper stickers I Love Drilling. This should make us popular in the liberal states. Wells are all over the place. Vernal has a mile long stretch of drilling related firms.

Sunday, April 29 - The Green Valley campground at Dinosaur NM has 83 sites.  Half of them are closed because there aren’t many people yet.  Of the loops that are open, at least half of the sites are closed due to “Dangerous Trees”.  We can’t see anything wrong with the Cottonwoods - no dead branches or dead trees.  And most of the best sites are the ones that are closed.  But we can’t complain because we moved to a larger site and it has a good view of Split Mountain. We have cell phone, internet and television here.  It’s been a month since we had TV.

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In Our Back Yard – Split Mountain

Monday, April 30 -  We can’t seem to get over how beautiful this place is and how much we like being here.  Thanks to Terry and Betty for getting us to come here two years ago.   It’s 1:00 and we are the only ones in the campground.  There were six last night.  We went to the Quarry.  It is an ancient sandbar where a lot of dinosaur bones washed down and weren’t discovered until the 1920’s.  These are the best that we have ever seen.  The Quarry had been closed for about five years because the building was deemed unsafe. [Built on Bentonite]

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Bones In The Quarry

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Only Real Dinosaur We Have Seen

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How about this one Patrick?

We went to the Visitor’s Center and had a nice chat with one of the Rangers.  We mentioned that we had really noticed a difference in the National Parks from our previous visits - there are a lot less rangers.  What that means is the parks that are supposed to be preserved for future generations to enjoy is probably not going to happen.  There is more vandalism, such as Indian art being destroyed or having graffiti added, Indian ruins being destroyed and not obeying the rules.  It’s very sad.  So off I go on a political rant.  Congress is planning to cut the park’s budget another 10% next year.  These are the people that vote for worthless selfish shit for themselves all the time.  I would be willing to bet that no more than 5% of Congress (and certainly not Obama & family!) ever spend time in our National Treasures.  This is very sad!  Theodore Roosevelt must be rolling in his grave.

Tuesday, May 1 - Wow, can’t believe it’s May!  Today wasn’t too exciting.  It was cloudy with very light rain.  We did laundry and grocery shopping.  Back at cg, we are still amazed at the beauty of this area. 

Wednesday, May 2 - We drove to Island and Rainbow Parks yesterday. [Parks are another name for holes] From the overlook at Island Park you can see the islands in the Green River.   When we got there we discovered that we have been there before.  Old age is wonderful - you get to see everything once again for the first time.

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Thursday, May 3 – It was overcast early, but cleared by 10, so we took a drive on Blue Mountain Road. We were not expecting much, but when the road climbed to 7,600 feet we had a drop dead gorgeous view of the entire Uinta Basin. I thought it looked somewhat like Cathedral Valley, only much larger.

We think the colors here are quite diverse and the rock formations are more varied than anywhere we have been.

After arriving back at the campground, two LD’s drive in.  That’s a surprise!  Even more surprising is that it’s Ed and Carol Daniels from Florida, Southeast LDer’s, that we met before we even got our LD.  With them was John and Linda Leach from Colorado.  We had a nice visit and then we cooked dinner together.  It’s so much fun to spend a joint meal with friends.  It’s great seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Friday, May 4 - We took a really long drive today to Brown’s Hole. This is one of the places where the Wild Bunch hid out. [You know Butch, Sundance, etc.] To access the Hole, which is a basin of farm land, you have to enter through Crouse Canyon. The canyon is just wide enough for a one-lane road and the creek which runs through it. The 1st Armored could not get through the canyon unless they were invited.

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A Swinging Bridge We Crossed Over The Green River

After dinner we chatted with Ed & Carol.  The weather is wonderful and it was very pleasant sitting outside.

Saturday, May 5 - We took a drive to the middle section of the monument. We just love this place.  We will be moving tomorrow after eight days here. Dorothy’s foot has been in pain the last three days.

Sunday, May 6 – We lounged around until 10:30, drove into Vernal did the weekly marketing and headed three hours west to Strawberry Reservoir. Ed had alerted us that this might be a good place. He was right. We are higher, 7,000 feet, so it’s cooler and we don’t have TV. We do have the fastest Internet we have had anywhere ever and a great view of the water below. We streamed 60 Minutes and a missed episode of Blue Bloods.