Salt Lake City:
In Salt Lake City, we stayed at a really nice, large and shady KOA. Travel days towing with the power steering connected takes it’s toll and the tow-car was dead on arrival. The KOA team loaned us a battery charger. so problem solved! We normally don’t stay at KOA but this one was the closest to Temple Square and we were very pleasantly surprised and would recommend this park.
A train stop right in front of the park made it super easy to travel the few miles into Temple Square where we went to the LDS visitor center and the Mormon Tabernacle. The temple is beautiful and is a popular place for Mormon weddings. There were two wedding parties posing for pictures around the temple while we were there.
Without really planning it, we ended up spending two afternoons at the Family Search Library. We had been on Ancestry.com for a while and had attended some genealogy lectures in Oregon with my parents so we decided to check it out. The personal service of the volunteer researchers and experienced genealogists was an unexpected surprise. The church provides assistance free of charge and we appreciated getting some ancestry clues. A free organ recital highlighted the range of the pipe organ and was another highlight.
Antelope Island State Park:
We moved North of Salt Lake City to Syracuse, Utah and stayed at Antelope Island State Park. Antelope Island is in The Great Salt Lake. When we arrived, bison were grazing on the hill above our campsite!
The sites were HUGE paved pull-thrus with concrete patios, an awning over a picnic table, a separate grill table and a fire pit. No hookups, no problem! The park has beautiful views of the lake, mountains, rocky outcroppings and animals. On a sunny day, we hiked to buffalo point with amazing views of the lake on both sides and the mountains beyond. I rested on a beautiful rock embedded with pink pebbles, heaven for a rock-lover.
The visitor center had live brine shrimp on display. Brine shrimp and brine flies provide delectable food for migrating birds in season. There were a few birds, mule deer and quite a few pronghorn around there. It must be amazing bird-watching during migration!
Despite some rain, we visited the Fielding Garr ranch and a historical homestead site one day. We went back out to the ranch on a sunny, late afternoon “safari” drive, hoping to spot animals. There was a large herd of bison hanging out near the ranch. Rolling in the dust is a favorite activity and there is a pecking order for who gets to roll and when. Some head butting ensues when the order is disturbed. The bison were much more animated in larger numbers. We really lucked out when the light became golden and a bison came right in front of our car and started scratching his chin on a rock before crossing the road.
The last day, we walked down to the water’s edge. There was a weird, shimmery, mineral-foam on the edge of the water. On the windy afternoons, the foam breaks free and rolls across the sand like tumble-weeds. When it stops rolling, the minerals harden into a thick, shale-like crust. Sometimes the shale crust breaks into interesting shapes like the ghostly image below. We tasted the extremely salty water, bleh! Brine shrimp are plentiful in pools of water. Dead shrimp lay in reddish waves as the water evaporates away between rains. There is a sulphur/mineral smell that was affecting my breathing so we retreated back away from the water. Such an alien landscape!
Bison visited our campsites each day but one day, they walked right through our patio area! I am a little bit fearless (and stupid) around animals. One time in the Yukon, Canada I went outside the RV while a herd was hanging out by the side of the road. Their sentry bison were very watchful of me as I was taking pictures like a mad woman and not noticing their protective stance. Now, I’m a little more educated about how dangerous bison can be so I got my pictures that day by taking cover inside the RV! These guys look like slow plodders but the can jump straight up 6 feet and can run 30 miles an hour! Oh, they have horns too!
Our last hurrah was full-moon rising above our campsite and bison grazing on the hill!