Thursday, September 29, 2011

Figment – 09-11/21-11 WY/UT Trip – Salt Lake City, UT

Well, I’ve had a nice rest in a huge KOA with tall trees. The weather has been perfect. I will say that my face is dirty and no one has bothered to clean me up yet. I do like to look pretty for all the other RVs I visit with the mamas are gone. Of course, I’m the prettiest one here.
It is getting a little old just sitting though. The mammas have been out having fun and seeing things and I’m missing out on all that. I do get to hear the stories and that is some help. They have been looking for houses and I’m not sure how to take that. Does it mean they’ll keep me with them? So many things to ponder while I sit all alone.
Then I heard they went to Park City and walked most of Main Street. Seems they had a good time. I heard Mama Mary bought over $20. worth of chocolate, so I’m sure she had a good time.
On Sunday, they went and had a nice home-cooked dinner with Maralyn K, a nice young lady who Mama Conni worked with out here 17 years ago. Apparently, they do keep somewhat in touch thru the year. I know they share the same birthday, but Maralyn is “much” younger than Mama Conni. Anyway, they came home pleasantly full and all cheerful from their special visit.
I know we won’t be leaving until Thursday since Sadie has to see the doctor again tomorrow. If all goes well, I’m sure we’ll be hitting the road. It will be good to have the wind in my face again.
I’m sleepy now – nite, nite.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mary - 09-11/21-11 WY/UT Trip - Salt Lake City, UT (cont)

Sadie's corneal graft surgery was successful and we were able to take her home the same day. Her eye is sewn half closed and is red over the graft. Although she resembles Rosemary’s baby, the red is good – means the graft is establishing blood flow. Her follow-up appointment is in a week, so our stay in Salt Lake is going to be a bit longer than planned.

We love Salt Lake and have often thought of moving to the area. Since we’re still considering where to retire, we spent time looking at houses. Needless to say we want both mountain and valley (city) views. We found the perfect house, which wasn’t at a perfect price, but saw enough to make us confident we could find a place we’d love if we decided to move.
Great house - two story w/ basement
View of Salt Lake from Wasatch Mountains

While in Salt Lake we visited many of our favorite places. Conni lived in Salt Lake for 6-7 months when on a TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment in EDS speak) seventeen years ago. She knows a lot of the best places for site seeing. We visited Temple Square, Trolley Square (shops, museums, restaurants), Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine, and had dinner with a friend, Maralyn, from Conni’s TDY days. Maralyn also treated us to a fabulous home cooked meal and we learned about a great drink combining Fresca and Ocean Spray cranberry/pomegranate juice. Yum!
Trolley Square

Maralyn - great friend, wonderful company
 and awesome cook.

Copper Mine

Temple Square, 35 acres in downtown Salt Lake City, is the literal center of Salt Lake City and symbolic heart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On July 24, 1847, after being driven beyond the U.S. boundaries for their religious beliefs, the Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. The church’s president, Brigham Young, declared “This is the place,” and within four days had chosen the site for the Salt Lake Temple and designed the city’s grid layout, which is fabulous. The temple construction began in 1853 and was completed in 1893. The walls are 9 ft. thick at the base and narrowing to 6 ft. thick at the top.
SLC Temple

Beautiful flowers and gardens throughout Temple Square

Meeting Hall in Temple Square

Temple Square is also home to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra, where you can hear a pin dropped on the stage from any seat; the Family History Library, the largest genealogy library of its kind in the world; the Conference Center, which seats 21,000 people and has an expansive roof planted with four acres of trees and flowers; a 26-story church office building; and many other church buildings.

Kennecott Utah Copper’s Mine is the world’s first open-pit copper mine. Since 1903, enough material has been removed to create a pit that is more than three quarters of a mile deep and two-and-a-half miles wide. It has yielded more than 19 million tons of copper, as well as gold, silver and molybdenum. The mine was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Kennecott Utah Copper's Mine
Conni next to a haulage truck tire
Statistics of hauling truck tires
Hauling truck dwarfs a regular pick-up

We also took a drive into the Wasatch Mountains and beyond, home to many ski resorts near Salt Lake – Park City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton to name a few. Beautiful country.

Rocky Mountain Choclate store - favorite place in Park City
Next stop is Moab in southeastern Utah.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mary - 09-09/10-11 WY/UT Trip - Jackson Hole, WY

The town of Jackson, WY, elevation 6,209 feet, is located in the Jackson Hole Valley at the edge of the Grand Teton National Park. The town is full of shops, museums and restaurants. This time of year flowers were everywhere – in the parks, in window boxes outside of shops and in hanging baskets in front of all the businesses. Jackson, and all of Wyoming, has a very ‘western’ flavor in scenery, homes and buildings, and certainly in attire.  We stayed in a park just west of Jackson and the Snake River on the road to Teton Village Ski Resort. Next stop is Salt Lake City, UT.

Teton Village Ski Resort

Teton Village Ski Resort

Shops in Jackson

Antler Arch - Entrance to park in Town Center

Jackson Shops

One of many bronze statues in town

Chef making breakfast

Mary - 09/07-10/11 WY/UT Trip - Yellowstone

Hello all. I'm going to regress a bit and catch-up on days skipped. I'll start with Yellowstone National Park.

Congress established Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872. Nowhere, including New Zealand and Iceland, are there as many geysers as in Yellowstone. The latest volcanic eruption occurred here 640,000 years ago and spewed out nearly 240 cubic miles of debris. The present central portion of the park collapsed, forming a 30 by 45 mile caldera, or basin. The magmatic heat powering those eruptions still powers the park’s geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.

We’ve been to Yellowstone before – winter and summer – so we limited this trip to the southeast side of the park. We entered the park via the south entrance and stopped at Grant Village for lunch. We traveled along Yellowstone Lake (North America’s largest mountain lake) past Natural Bridge, Bridge Bay and Fishing Bridge. Yellowstone Lake is 20 miles long, 14 miles wide, and 430 feet deep at its deepest point. Our only wildlife sighting was an elk crossing the road and bringing traffic to a halt while he meandered around deciding where to head next. What a rack he had! Evidence of the devastating fires of the 80's is visible everywhere -- many of the destroyed trees still stand but are now surrounded by new trees. The park is still magnificent and a favorite.

Waiting on lunch

Yellowstone Lake

Geysers at Yellowstone Lake

New growth following fires in 80's

Sunset at the Campground

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mary – 09-13-11 WY/UT Trip – Salt Lake City, UT

Yesterday we relaxed and caught up on bills and picture editing and a wee bit of housekeeping. We took Sadie to an Opthamologist today for a follow-up from her CSU appointment. The doctor said the ulcer on her eye has worsened and she needs surgery. She is going to have a corneal graft performed Wednesday. Fortunately, she won’t have to stay overnight. We are extending our stay in Salt Lake so her one week follow-up appointment will be with the same doctor performing the surgery.

We spent the afternoon driving around neighborhoods in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. Most of the homes have awesome views of the mountains and the city. We will probably check out more tomorrow. The weather is absolutely beautiful; although, Conni complained once today of being hot – it was 79°. How quickly we’ve become spoiled with the cooler temperatures! We saw it was 106° in DFW and really feel for all our friends and neighbors.

The Utah State Fair is this week and the state fairgrounds are located right next to our RV park, so we will likely hit the fair while we are here. You should have seen us when, unbeknownst to us, they held a fireworks display on Sunday night. We both thought we were under an air attack with bombs dropping all around us. Sadie wasn’t too happy either. We drugged her the next night and then discovered the fireworks were just that one night.

I’ll close with many thanks to our friends who are keeping an eye on the inside and outside of our home, picking up our mail, and watering plants. We are blessed to have such wonderful neighbors.

Mary – 09-05/12-11 WY/UT Trip – Moran, WY

We had a wonderful week in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Driving from Casper to Moran, we approached the Tetons from the east – a first for us. It is amazing to drive through miles and miles of relatively flat ranch and farmland then all of a sudden see 13,000+ foot mountains rise from the valley floor.  We drove the inside park road at the base of the mountains and stopped several times to enjoy the view and take pictures of the mountains, Snake River, and beautiful lakes.  We saw a moose in Jackson Hole and a bull elk in Yellowstone. Unfortunately, we didn't spot any bears but there were many warnings posted. Yellowstone is slowly recovering from the devastating fires of 1988. Some of the dead trees are still standing beside the 5’-6’ new growth. We drove to Salt Lake City on Sunday – one of our favorite cities in the US. I'll post Yellowstone pictures in a few days.
Tetons from Moran

View from Pinto Ranch

Sadie testing and tasting the water
in Lava Creek at Pinto Ranch

One of several Pinto Ranch homes

Grand Teton and Snake River

Snake River in Grand Teton National Park

Smoke from fires in the park filter the sun

Be Bear Aware signs post throughout the parks

Jenny Lake

Friday, September 9, 2011

Conni – 09-05-11 WY/UT Trip – Moran, WY

This has been a very memorable day to me. As Figment said, we’re very close to a ranch I spent about 5 months on when I was in my early teens. I recognized it easily and we drove up to the gate to take a picture. If it had just been me, that would have been it and we’d have driven on. Thankfully, Mary was very pushy about driving on in and finding someone to talk to. As it belongs to millionaires and I was cheap hired help, I was not comfortable doing that. Glad she just went up to the door and knocked though.  As it turned out, a 71 year old lady was there and we soon discovered that she was a teen at that time too, but about 4 years older than me. I had gone horseback riding with her and we jumped the irrigation ditches. She didn’t remember me, but that was fine. She was surprised at how much I remembered about my time there. A very gracious lady. She told us to just drive thru the pasture down to a river and then over to a creek thru hundreds of acres of hay fields. Tractors were working there with round bales. When I was there, it was square bales and I drove a tractor from the fields with the hay to be stored in a huge barn. What a wonderful time and how nice to see the place again and do a little exploring. Thanks, Mary, another memory I’ll hold dear.
Pinto Ranch, E Cockrell, Moran, Wyoming
Pinto Ranch Main Road
Orignial home is in the stand of trees.

Ernest Cockrell Home
Recently built in front or original home.

Pinto Ranch Foreman's Home
Conni stayed in this house.

Hay Fields with Teton's in Background

Pinto Ranch Creek

Sadie Having a Drink
Freezing water and she just walked right in.

Pinto Ranch Original Homestead