Salt Lake City and the trip home

Published: July 4th 2018
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Salt Lake TempleSalt Lake TempleSalt Lake Temple

Built by pioneers between 1843 and 1893. The interesting history of its construction was explained by one of the volunteers.
Our camping days are over. It’s motels for the rest of our USA trip.

Salt Lake City

You can’t go to SLC without visiting Temple Square. We were just outside the free transit area of downtown SLC but right beside the trolley that took us to Temple Square. It’s a pretty well organized site with several information centres. These centres are staffed by young volunteers who were very helpful in explaining the many aspects of Temple Square as well as their Mormon faith.

You can’t tour the Temple but the visitor centre has a great model so you can see what you are missing. Considering the conditions in this area in the latter half of the 1800s, it is amazing. The assembly hall is beautiful. The conference centre is huge; it can seat 21,000 people. It has a four acre roof garden landscaped to match the various areas of Utah. The views over SLC are great.

The highlight of our SLC stay was not our visit to the ice cream shop next to the motel. I had what we would call the “small” banana split. It was memorable though. It was so big that it had started
Handcart Pioneer MonumentHandcart Pioneer MonumentHandcart Pioneer Monument

Many of the early Mormon pioneers were too poor to afford the luxury of a wagon pulled by oxen. They had to load all their worldly possessions in handcarts and walk to Utah.
to melt before I finished. It overflowed the bowl onto the plate under it. I didn’t even bother to spoon up the excess. Enough was, indeed, enough. Dianne was content with a child’s milk shake but even that was huge.

Antelope Island

I had vague memories of an island in Great Salt Lake from my business trip there years ago but it wasn’t until this trip that I realized how big it is. Three times the size of Pender Island. Okay, maybe that isn’t all that big but it seemed large when we started driving around on the island. Even though it is very close to SLC it is virtually undeveloped. There used to be some farms/ranches there but now it is a State Park.

There are between 500 and 700 bison roaming free on the island. It was really odd to drive along and see a large group of them on a distant beach on the lake. Some were closer to the road as if it were their turn to provide the photo ops.

We hiked up to the top of Buffalo Point which gave a great 360˚ panorama of the island and the lake
The TabernacleThe TabernacleThe Tabernacle

Home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can attend one of their rehearsals if you happen to be there on the right night.
around it. You could see the two campgrounds; one had shade and the other was just tables out in the beating hot sun. Not surprisingly, there were no campers. We did drive into the campground to use one of the picnic tables for our morning snack. We found one that was in use: a pronghorn family had taken advantage of the small amount of shade provided by the roof built over the table. Dad kept a wary eye on us while Mum stood over the young one lying in the shade. The ranger told us we were very lucky. The adults usually keep the kids out of sight.

We toured the visitor centre and one of the original ranches on the island. We were reminded that Great Salt Lake has no outlets. Its level is strictly controlled by evaporation. This results in large fluctuations in the level of the lake. When you look at Google maps, on first glance, Antelope Island doesn’t even look like an island. The lake depth of the lake can vary by 20 feet. That causes massive changes in the shoreline. At its record low the lake covered 950 square miles (its average is 1,700
Conference centreConference centreConference centre

Seating for over 20,000 people. They hold semi-annual meetings of the Church assembly here as well as major concerts.
sq. mi.) but at its high the area was 3,300. That is quite a difference.

Baker City

On our way down to Zion we had made two stops that I hadn’t thought out too carefully so the driving was not evenly spread out. I was more careful on the way back and, fortunately, Baker City was at a perfect spot to overnight as we wanted to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre nearby. We had seen it on the way down but didn’t want to take the time to stop.

The centre had great exhibits and a couple of movies that really outlined what the people making the trip went through. I can’t believe I complained about taking three days to drive from Mission, B.C. to Zion, UT. Those people covered 2,000 miles in 6 months and a lot of them walked most of the trip. We were going 80 miles per hour at times; they were lucky to make 10 miles a day.

Outside there were wagons similar to the ones they used; one was an original. We love Big Red. There was also a trail to some of the remnants of the actual wagon
Roof top gardenRoof top gardenRoof top garden

Unbelievable how they put a real garden on top of that huge assembly area.
ruts from the original trail. Not exactly a four lane divided highway.

The last leg

Our last stop was a renovated 1950s era motel. A great choice. Had an attached restaurant that was just like you would expect from the era. There were lots of locals having breakfast and they all seemed to know each other. We tourists stuck out like sore thumbs. But it was a very pleasant experience.

Not like passing through the Seattle area at rush hour. In the pouring rain. Actually, I think it was a monsoon. At one point I saw a road sign that said it was one mile to the exit I wanted. Just in the nick of time I realized the line of cars on my right was in the line up to take the exit. Lots of people whizzed down the highway and pushed their way in right at the exit but when you are a stranger to the area in the weather conditions we were experiencing, safe is better than sorry.

It was so nice to arrive at the Sumas border crossing and be waved back into Canada. It took a couple of miles to get
Old buildingsOld buildingsOld buildings

When compared with buildings we have seen in Italy and France these are positively new buildings. But when you consider the conditions under which they were built, they are amazing.
used to the metric road signs and the price of Canadian gas. On second thought, I don’t know if I will ever get used to the current prices of Canadian gas.

Final statistics

I found it interesting that Big Red was able to report the following information:

• 99.5 hours of driving in the 30 days we were gone
• 986.6 litres of gas (260.6 US gallons)
• 7,177.3 kilometres (4,306 miles)
• 80 MPH max speed limit we encountered (128.7 kph). We passed some trucks but very few cars. They passed us.

Random thoughts

• Dianne did a pretty good job as photographer for this (and all our other) trip
• Best line on the trip: When Dianne told a ranger in Zion she had a question that she felt would stump him, he replied "You can't stump me. If I don't know the answer, I make one up"


Faithful blog readers may remember a comment in an earlier entry that talked about our trip back to Montpellier, France in February 2019. That will not be our next blog. That is reserved for our September 2018 trip to Gold River and
New meaning to the word trustNew meaning to the word trustNew meaning to the word trust

I am not sure I would want to be the guy on the right. You really have to trust that the guy with the sledgehammer knows what he is doing.
a two day trip up the west coast of Vancouver Island on the MV Uchcuk III. The trip also includes a few days camping, visiting friends up island and our Nanaimo friend, Brutus, (New Year’s 2018 cat sit). The fun is ToBeContinued.

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Antelope IslandAntelope Island
Antelope Island

Quite a change from the busy SLC just a few miles away.
The causeway to the islandThe causeway to the island
The causeway to the island

Gives you an idea of the havoc than can be caused when the lake rises in years of heavy runoff.
Great Salt LakeGreat Salt Lake
Great Salt Lake

Lots of beaches but few swimmers at this time of year. I guess the beaches are pretty popular in nicer weather even though swimming in the heavily salinated water is tough.
View of Buffalo PointView of Buffalo Point
View of Buffalo Point

Once we got to the top we had the 360 degree view.
Family picnicFamily picnic
Family picnic

Dad sure kept an eye on us as we checked out this little family.
Photo opPhoto op
Photo op

It was their turn by the road. There were lots off on the beach but were too far away for a good picture.
Life sized exhibitsLife sized exhibits
Life sized exhibits

Lots of them plus many plaques explaining the various aspects of the march.
Prairie schoonerPrairie schooner
Prairie schooner

Big Red just smiled.
Original rutsOriginal ruts
Original ruts

Hard to imagine 2,000 miles of this sort of thing not to mention the canyons they had to descend then ascend on the other side. No Tim Horton's to stop at for a quick refreshment.
St Francis de Sales ChurchSt Francis de Sales Church
St Francis de Sales Church

The Mormons weren't the only ones who built churches in the area. This one was completed just after the Temple in SLC.

It poured the night we were in Baker City and during our trip home through Seattle.
Rush hourRush hour
Rush hour

Unbelievable traffic. People do this every day.

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