Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Travel Day to Brigham Utah and Golden Spike RV Park

July 29, 2011 North Salt Lake City to Brigham City, Utah.

The last couple of days we did some very domestic things like shopping and cleaning. While walking the dogs last evening, we tried to put a finger on just what we didn't like about Pony Express RV Resort. We decided it was the sterile commercial feel created by the concrete sites, paved roads and lack of mature trees. Coupled with the fact that the sites are very close together with perhaps only 12ft. between the concrete driveways.
Anyway, today was a travel day. We were only traveling about 50 miles north to Brigham City and Golden Spike RV Park. After taking our time getting ready to go we finally got on the road around 10:00. We headed north on Interstate 15. I gotta tell ya, I-15 in Salt Lake City and the metropolitan areas is not a fun route. The road is rough with 4-5 lanes and traffic zipping everywhere and construction for miles and miles. The worst part for me is when I try to stay in the right lane, I suddenly find myself in an exit only lane as we round the next bend! Anyway, we made it safely!

Golden Spike RV Park is not a large park. We were pleasantly surprised that we had a shady pull-thru site waiting for us. By early evening when I took the pictures, the sites around us had filled. The sites in the sun were the last to fill up.

Small grass field in front of our site
We were fortunate that the park allowed us to wash the rig. So I washed the Jeep, fifth wheel and the truck before the sites around us filled up.
The sites are gravel, the roads paved but there's lots of grass and mature trees. The power is good and so far at least, we like this park. We paid $201 for a week with 50 amp full hook-ups, strong WiFi and cable.
So, we will spend the next week exploring the area and catching up with some friends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Cottonwood Canyon Albion Meadow Trail Hike outside of Alta, Utah

July 27, 2011 Pony Express RV Resort, North Salt Lake City.
Well, the plan was to get up early and do a hike in the Wasatch Mountains outside of Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon. However, we got a late start and didn't get on the road till around 9:00 and then we got lost a bit before finding the road towards the ski resorts.
Little Cottonwood Canyon lies within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest along the eastern side of the Salt Lake Valley, roughly 15 miles fromSalt Lake CityUtah. The canyon is part of Granite, a CDP and “Community Council” designated by Salt Lake County. The canyon is a glacial trough ("U" shaped canyon), carved by an alpine glacier during the last ice age, 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. A number of rare and endemic plant species are found in the canyon's Albion Basin. Mountain goats inhabit the surrounding mountains.
Once we got on the right road it was a beautiful ride up a steep mountain road before reaching the ski resort area of Snow Bird and Alta.
Alta is a ski area located in the Wasatch Mountains, just east of Salt Lake CityUtah. With a skiable area of 2200 acres (8.9 km²), beginning at a base elevation of 8530 ft (2600 m) and rising to 10,550 ft (3216 m) for a vertical gain of 2020 ft (616 m). Alta is one of the oldest ski resorts in the country, opening its first lift in 1939.[2] It has an average annual snowfall of 514 inches (1,306 cm).[3] Alta is one of three remaining ski resorts in America that prohibits snowboarders, along with nearby competitor Deer Valley and Vermont's Mad River Glen.
We passed some very beautiful vacation homes on the way up the mountains.
Following our visitor guide, we were supposed to continue past Alta where the pavement ends and continue up a dirt road. However, the dirt road was still closed by the Forest Service because of snow pack. So, we parked and hoofed it up the road.

After the steep climb up the dirt road we came across our first trailhead, Albion Meadow trail so, we took it and came across this mound of snow/ice on the road.

We continued walking up the steep double track trail enjoying the beautiful mountains.

We were in search of wild flowers as according to our guide book they are in bloom at this time of year. We found some flowers but nothing like we had seen in Crested Butte a few weeks ago.

After walking a few miles at about 9-10000 ft. we decided to head on back stopping at a water fall off the trail.

We had a great time and promised ourselves that we will get out more in the future and hike more often. It's so peaceful and beautiful up in the mountains!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jordan Parkway and a Ride Downtown in SLC

July 25, 2011 Pony Express RV Resort, North Salt Lake City, Utah
Monday the 25th was a Mormon holiday known as "Pioneer Days" celebrating the pioneers that settled in what is now Salt Lake City and Utah.  Therefore, there were lots of parades scheduled over the weekend the largest being downtown in SLC.  We had planned to ride the bikes down town early enough to catch the parade. However, Joyce didn't feel well initially and we postponed leaving until nearly 10:00 when the parade was well underway.
We took the Jordan River Parkway which borders our RV Park, and headed south hoping to pickup an east-west side street into downtown.
End of the Pavement 
Unpaved portion of Jordan River Parkway
The Jordan River is to the left of the trees.
Jordan River
The intersections on the trail are poorly marked so it was difficult to determine what the cross streets are. Suffice it to say we went too far south but made it into downtown. Unfortunately, the parade was over by the time we got there.

We rode around a bit and rode through Trolley Square, an upscale shopping area.

On the way back we stopped for a break along the river. Then we came across a golf course advertising cold drinks in the snack shop. We were out of water so we stopped for a snack!

Moments after getting home, my front tire went completely flat. It seems I picked up a thorn. In addition it was threatening to rain so our timing was pretty good. We rode just over 20 miles which was pretty good considering we hadn't been out in a while.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salt Lake City Temple Square and The Great Salt Lake

July 23-24, 2011 Pony Express Rv Resort, North Salt Lake City.
We've been busy since landing at the Pony Express Rv Resort. Yesterday we drove into Salt Lake City for a walking tour of Temple Square in Downtown Salt Lake City, one of Utah's number one tourist attractions and world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We parked in a downtown parking garage and hoofed it after first visiting the downtown visitor center. Temple Square is open to the general public and entry is free. However, don't plan to enter the Salt Lake Temple. It is secured by a fence and security measures. The public is not invited!
Salt Lake Temple
This magnificent granite structure was constructed over a period of 40 years, from the laying of the cornerstones on 6 April 1853 to the dedication on 6 April 1893. The temple is considered the House of the Lord and is sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today Church members gather in more than 100 temples worldwide to worship and participate in sacred ordinances, such as eternal marriage.
We visited the world famous Tabernacle and listened to the acoustic demonstration. A organist was scheduled to play but we missed it.
Inside the Tabenacle
Walking the grounds of Temple Square we were amazed at the beauty and grandeur. The office building below is a massive sky scraper with at least 26 floors.
Joyce in front of Church Office Building

Joyce, reflecting pool and Temple.
We toured other buildings to include the Bee Hive House, former home of Brigham Young. The two twenty something year old "sisters" giving the tour got to be a bit too pushy with their missionary work trying to convert these 50 year olds to the Church of Latter Day Saints. We were the only two in the very small group that were not members of the LDS and they tried to give us their literature and invite us for a sit down... Gimme a break! That kinda ruined it for me and we decided our walking tour was over. I'll spare you the rant!
We got back to the Jeep and took a ride up to the Utah State Capital building. A handsome piece of architecture.
Utah State Capital Building
Today we got up relatively early for a ride out to Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake. It was expected to be hot with temps in the upper 90's.  We loaded the bikes on the Jeep and took a picnic lunch.

Antelope Island State Park
The island is very large and almost tree less. There are steep sloping meadows and some rocky cliffs and peaks. On the ride out to the LDS ranch on the island, we came across this Pronghorn Antelope, the namesake of the island.

Pronghorn Antelope
At the visitor center, we watched a video about the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island. There are herds of Pronghorn Antelope, Buffalo, Mule Deer and flocks of various water related birds.

After eating our bag lunch at the public beach, we decided to walk down to the edge of the Great Salt Lake.We started our journey walking through a sandy beach and then a small desert of salt trying to ignore the awful smell of the lake. The ground looked brown instead of the white color of the salt. When we were close to the water's edge, the ground seemed to be moving. We discovered that those brown moving things were millions of insects called Brine Flies. We touched the water and then quickly headed back up the shore to escaped the Brine Flies swarming around our shoes and ankles. There were folks in the water in swim suits but we didn't like mingling with the hordes of flies even though they are harmless.

After leaving the state park, we took a ride through Layton and found my former high school from about 34 years ago when I lived on Hill A.F.B. We also found the building that housed the restaurant I worked at when I was 15-16 years old. Not much was familiar after so many years. My family only lived at the A.F.B. for a year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Travel Day to North Salt Lake City and Pony Express RV Resort

July 22, 2011. Green River Utah to North Salt Lake City.
We slept good and were ready to hit the road by 9:30. We expected to do about 190 miles today. The weather was clear and cool around 73 degrees as we got started.

Leaving Green River, Utah we went west on I70 for about 6 miles before turning northwest on Hwy 191.
Hwy. 191
From Hwy. 191 we continued on Hwy. 6 entering some higher elevations and canyons.
Hwy. 6
The further north we traveled the more beautiful and green the scenery became.
Near Spanish Fork we jumped on I15 for about 30-40 miles of construction barricades and 4-6 lanes of crazy traffic. The speed limit through the construction was 55 mph but I think I was the only one traveling 55 or less. The picture below was the calm before the traffic storm!
I15 north of Spanish Fork
We had stopped in Spanish Fork to walk the dogs and have a quick lunch break. Subsequently, we arrived at Pony Express RV Resort around 2:00. The only staff we've seen were the two young women manning the desk in the office. They checked us in and then one of them lead us to our "premium site" B22. We paid over $260 for a week's stay.
Our site B22
By the end of the day (after these photos) the park was perhaps 90% full.
The street in front of our site
It's a new park perhaps only a few years old. It's nice however, there are a lot of semi-permanent construction workers and their trucks in the park including on both sides of us. This was more noticeable in the evening when they all began to return home to the RV park. The park's website states, "Pony Express RV Resort is, simply stated, an RV Resort for RVers. Built and managed to accommodate the vacation/leisure traveler, you won’t find yourself mingled with long-term residents...".  Well, I beg to differ with that statement!
Rear of site
The sites are really narrow with immature trees. We are lucky that our door side is shaded in the afternoon as the temps reached the mid 90's in the late afternoon.
Street at rear of our site
Overall, the park will suit us just fine. It's not our favorite type of park with all the concrete and pavement but it seems to be centrally located and has a bike trail adjacent to it that we will have to check out. Joyce made use of the pool already and reported back favorably!
We will spend at least a week in this park and do some exploring.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Overnight in Green River, Utah

July 21, 2011 Green River, Utah
We got up later than expected as it was chilly. Temps outside this morning in Gunnison were in the upper 40's overnight. It was 60 degrees inside our bedroom at 7:00, so we closed the windows and stayed in bed for another half hour.
We finally got hitched up and ready to roll by 9:30. The ride through the Curecanti National Recreation Area on Hwy. 50 was just beautiful. Unfortunately, we left the camera inside the fifth wheel and I didn't feel like pulling over to get it!
The weather was clear and hot in the low 90's. We made it to Green River, Utah and Shady Acres RV Park off I-70 not far from the Colorado border. It's about 95 degrees outside as I write this.  The park is very large but there's only a handful of RVs including two next to us. I'm not sure why they would need so many sites. However, Arches National Park is only 60 miles away.  The Green River is about as muddy brown as any river I've seen. We paid $35 for our site with full hook-ups, WiFi and cable.
We are staying hitched so we can get an easy start in the morning, destination North Salt Lake City.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crested Butte, Colorado...a walk through town.

July 19, 2010 Gunnison, Colorado.
Last night, we went to dinner at the Twisted Fork restaurant in Gunnison with Paul and Mary and Jo and Fred. Each of the couples are avid RV bloggers. We had a good if not expensive meal. Be sure to click on their names to check out their blogs.
Today we took a ride back up to Crested Butte to do a walking tour of the town. 
First stop was the visitor center. We picked up a complimentary map of the town and left the Jeep in the free parking lot.
The mountain Crested Butte rises behind the visitor center.
The flowers were in bloom and abundant at nearly every street corner and patch of ground on Elk Ave. the main street in the historic shopping district.
The Colorado General Assembly has designated Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado.
Joyce surrounded by flowers.
Crested Butte is a Home Rule Municipality in Gunnison County, ColoradoUnited States. A former coal mining town now called "the last great Colorado ski town," Crested Butte is a destination for skiingmountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities. The population was 1,529 at the 2000 census.

In the 1860s and 1870s coal and silver mines began to open in the surrounding area and many little mining towns formed. However, when silver mining hit on hard times, many of these towns failed. Crested Butte was in a better position to survive because it served as a supply town to the surrounding area.
The other industry that supported Crested Butte was ranching.
When the coal mines closed, the town began to shrink, and eventually the local high school was closed. Students had to travel to Gunnison to go to high school. The town did not revive until a ski area was built on Crested Butte Mountain in the 1960s. From the 1960's to 1990, the Crested Butte public school only facilitated K-5 students, 6th grade and higher attended school in Gunnison, CO. In 1990 Crested Butte offered middle school in the railroad depot building. In 1992 a new middle school was completed which allowed the public school to facilitate grades K through 8. Finally in 1997, a new facility for the Crested Butte Community School was completed. This included the addition of a public high school.
Elk Ave. Crested Butte


The primary winter activity in Crested Butte is skiing or snowboarding at nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. Backcountry skiing in the surrounding mountains is some of the best in Colorado. The mountain, Crested Butte, rises to 12,162 feet (3,700 m) above sea level. The ski area base is at 9,375 feet (2,860 m). 14 lifts serve 1,058 acres (4.2 km²) of terrain. 448 acres (1.8 km²) of the terrain are double black runs. The large amount of extreme skiing terrain at Crested Butte has attracted the US Extreme Skiing Championships and the X Games. The longest run on Mount Crested Butte is 2.6 miles (4.2 km) long.
Elk Ave. Crested Butte


Crested Butte is one of the locations where mountain biking is claimed to have started. The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame is located in Crested Butte. Other popular summer activities in Crested Butte include hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, 4 wheeling, disc golfing and fishing
Former City Hall
Crested Butte is in my opinion a beautiful town with historic charm and style surrounded by modern yet rustic million dollar homes and condos. Below is a historic home on Elk Ave. that is rented as a vacation home.

We eventually grew hungry as it approached lunch time. So we happened to come across a public works employee working on a flower garden. He was very kind and told us how to get to Slogar Bar and Restaurant a place that was recommended even by the visitor center. The city employee told us how to get Slogar but also added that it is closed for lunch and only open for dinner. We were disappointed but the city employee quickly suggested a couple of alternatives one of which, was The Last Steep. We stopped there for lunch and were glad we did. I had a taco salad and Joyce had a sandwich meal and both were excellent.
The Last Steep Restaurant

Distant Mountains outside of Crested Butte

Before long the clouds began to roll in over the mountains and we began to feel the occasional cold drop of rain. The timing was perfect as we had completed our walking tour and were ready to head back to Gunnison and do some shopping before heading home to Maggie and Rico.
We had a wonderful day and look forward to the opportunity to spend more time in Gunnison and Crested Butte in the future. 
Tomorrow we will stay home and prepare to move on towards Salt Lake City Utah.