On Wednesday the 27th, we began our journey to the next National Park on our list, the Arches in Utah. Our first stop on the way was in Idaho at a State Park called Bear Lake. We really didn't know a lot about the lake but it was a respite along the way. What a nice find! The lake was huge. Half of it was actually in Idaho and the other half in Utah. It is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide with lots of beaches and marinas on both sides of the lake. The color of the water with the mountains behind made us think of being on a tropical island. Tourquoise..beautiful.
|Bear Lake View from Campsite|
We arrived here after a long drive from the Tetons and stayed two nights to refresh and relax. Absolutely no driving for one whole day! The afternoon breezes would kick in and just cool everything off which was nice because the temperatures were in the mid 90s. You could actually sleep with the windows open and enjoy the cool night air.
June 29th-July 1st
Friday came and it was time to hit the road again. This time we headed around the lake into Utah. As we left Bear Lake, there was a herd of about 80 cattle coming right up the road. We stopped to see where they would go and watched as they moseyed on past us with two cowboys riding right behind them. We're not sure where they ended up, but none of them were in any hurry and neither were we.
We needed to stop in Salt Lake City to have our converter for the batteries replaced, so we left the RV with the shop, unhitched the car and toured Salt Lake City. We went to Temple Square where we sat in on the Organ Recital at the Temple.The acoustics in the Temple were phenomenal. The Organ itself has 206 ranks totaling 11,623 pipes organized into 8 divisions and played from a 5 manual console. I remember being there in the Temple with my children in 1978 when we heard a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
|Organ in the Mormon Temple|
We had lunch at a cafe in the old Utah Hotel which has been refurbished by the Mormon Church and is spectacular with its stain glassed roof, crystal chandeliers, antique furniture and its old world charm. It's now called the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The people were very friendly and probably looking to recruit us.
|Great Salt Lake|
Overall, we enjoyed our brief visit to Salt Lake City. When the RV was finished being serviced, we left and headed up through the mountains to Jordanelle State Park in Heber Valley just outside of Park City where the winter olympics were once held. Again, it was a very pleasant experience. The park was on a reservoir. What a playground of activity.. from fishing and swimming to power boating, sailing, paddle boarding, canoes, and kayaks.
The temperatures were still in the high 90s to 102 but with the afternoon breezes it cooled off every day to the high 60s by nightfall. Perfect for sleeping! We originally had planned to stay here three nights to go into Salt Lake City and see the surrounding areas. Since we had already seen Salt Lake, we didn't travel back over the hills again. Instead, on Saturday, we explored Heber City, grocery shopped and just tried to stay cool. But, on Sunday we were up and out early to hike the Heber Valley Outlook Trail in the Wasatch Mountain Range before the temperature started to rise. It was an easy 1.8 miles round trip up a trail used by a lot of the locals for mountain biking and horse back riding as well.
|Smoky View of Heber Valley From Overlook|
I say an easy trail, I mean for walking. For mountain biking they were rocky, narrow, and steep none of which seemed to bother the bikers that we saw. The views were a little hazy due to the smoke coming up the valleys from the many fires in the region. Fortunately, we are no where near the fires and we are keeping alert as to any dangers in that area.
After that, Tim fished in a little stream for a while (don't ask) and we went in to Park City. Lucky for us as it was their Sunday street fair with at least a hundred vendors. From one of whom I bought a cowboy (girl) hat! Very cool now that we're in the west. We had a late lunch and decided to ride the Town Chair Lift up the slopes. Nervous as I am about heights, it was a little intimidating. At first, we thought we didn't have a bar across the front, but we found it alright. I couldn't even watch the folks riding up and down the lift with the bar up while I had a white knuckle ride! There are many lifts that go up the mountains right from the town area itself. One actually crossed right underneath us. In the summertime, the mountain bikers bring their bikes up on the lifts and ride their bikes down the mountain on very steep and narrow paths.
|A Steep Look Down on Park City|
|Chair Crossing Under Us with Bike Path Below|
Utah has been amazing for traveling through thus far. The mountains and the canyons with their sheer cliff walls are beautiful. The highways are built right through them all and we chug up one side and down the other. On the way to Arches, we stopped in Provo for another RV check. Tim thought we were having transmission problems with the way we would lose power on these hills, but after a quick diagnostics, it was determined that we need to use a higher octane gas for the altitude that we are driving in. Wyoming and Utah have regular gas at 85 octane rather than 87 which is typical of most regular gasolines. So we will start using 89 which is the next available grade. We have been over 5000 feet for over a month and a lot of the hills (more than hills I guess) take us up 2000 to 3000 feet in under 10 miles or so.
That resolved, we moved on and reached the Arches National Park around 5:30pm. It is amazing. Tomorrow early morning the temperatures should be in the 70s, so we will begin exploring before the temperatures rise up to the typical 102.