Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tues, Sept 29: On the road to Salt Lake City, Utah

It is not as cold this morning and there seems to be less smoke. We are moving early. It is 8AM and we head toward the Yellowstone’s West gate. The idea is to see some more wildlife, sun rise was at 7AM, but in reality we would like to be in Bryce Canyon National Park tomorrow night and that is 600 miles away. Plus we want to spend a little time in Grand Teton National Park.

Well, there are not many animals to see. The eagle is still high up in the tree and there are three elk near the same place we saw the nice group yesterday, but they are too far away.

We do see another bison, but it also is too far to photograph. The light is right to get some neat shots of what the Indians called the "Valley of 10,000 Smokes."This is the area of thermal activity near Old Faithful.We can definitely see how they came up with that name!Near the South gate we stop for Lewis Falls. It is in a really pretty setting.After we leave the Park we hit 7 miles of big time road construction and are held up for some time. They are completely redoing the whole road and we have to wait for a pilot car then weave around all the heavy equipment.

Finally we get a good view of the Grand Tetons across Jackson Lake. We stop at the Colter Bay Teton Visitors Center for a map and information. We are so long we can’t always pull in to the overlooks. The Ranger gives us a map and shows the places where we won’t have a problem stopping. Dick would be really "upset" if he pulled in somewhere and had to unhook to get out! Carolyn shops for children’s books again. At the Visitors Center we learn that there are three fires in the park or right on the park border. That explains the haze. To bad because it is an almost cloudless day. We see several staging points for the people fighting the fires. The general policy on fire now is to let the natural ones burn out and to try to put the man made one out. One of the current fires was started by hunters.

On to Jenny Lake which is our favorite viewpoint. The wind is picking up and has cleared most of the haze.
We head on out of the parkand to Jackson where we stop for Subway sandwiches for lunch. From here we head mostly south and a little west to the southeast corner of Idaho. We have been this way before, but don’t remember the winding, up and over road as it goes from one high river valley to another.It is a beautiful drive! We are in beautiful fall colors of aspen, birchand red maple.We leeave this pretty canyon and drop down into a more baren area.Then we are out into a open, broad valley of little towns and wheat fields. We stop at the little town of Paris, Wyoming to look at the Paris Tabernacle built in 1888and stretch our legs. It was designed by a son of Brigham Young and is very handsome. It is 5pm and there is not a soul in town; not even a car driving through!

We cross into Idaho a little later and drive along the west shore of Bear Lake. It is a big lake and must be very popular. There are many vacation homes and recreation sites along the shore.We climb up and over another set of mountains and again are heading down a beautiful canyon full of fall color.We finally get to Salt Lake City a little after 8PM, an hour after sunset. We are running ahead of the first big winter storm of the season that is expected to drop as much as a foot of snow in the higher elevations which is the main reason we drove this late. We wanted to out of the mountains before the storm goes through. The wind has been blowing hard all afternoon and is suppose to have gusts up to 60 and 70mph overnight.

We find a camp ground and after some confusion get set up and fix a light supper. By the time we get in bed the wind is blowing so hard it is shaking the rig big time.

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