Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 6

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't mind Wyatt's grouchy face (a familiar sight many mornings, I'm afraid to say), we were all enjoying a breakfast buffet at the Red Lion in Idaho Falls, before parting ways with Grandpa and Grandma Grasshopper.  We really enjoyed having them join us for a few days - and not just because they upgraded our cabin, and bought us pizza ;D

They were homeward bound, while we headed south into...

We had told the boys about our major destinations, but kept a few things up our sleeves, to see if time allowed.  And it did :D  It really wasn't very far out of our way, and we just couldn't pass by Promontory Point without stopping.

This is where, on May 10 of 1869, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific RR's were joined by the driving of the famous Golden Spike.  The NPS has beautiful replicas of the Jupiter...

... and the 119.  And they're not just beautiful, they're functional.  Both engines were steamed up and running, while we were there.

Though we didn't stay until the afternoon, when they reenact the event, the rail-fans in the family were duly impressed with the detail of the engines.

And, as an unexpected bonus, we discovered that ATK Thiokol is just a few miles away.  Definitely worth a stop!

I was intrigued by the playful appearance of the building, but I can assure you that those slides are not for anyone's amusement.  Working with rocket fuel has its hazards.

Among other things, ATK made reusable solid rocket motors for the Space Shuttle.  Pretty big!

Their large rocket display is free, and open to the public.

The Minuteman.

I snapped a lot of pictures right through the front windshield, (I know, classy!) just to remember the kind of country we were driving through.  Being in Montana and Yellowstone, though higher and drier than home, still felt familiar with all the trees and water and mountains.

But today?  Lots of flat farmland.  Really flat.  And lots of two-lane road.  The boys were noticing all kinds of things - like how everything smells different, because it's so dry.  (Except skunks.  Why so many dead skunks?  They smell just as bad everywhere.)  But I didn't realize until later the effect the roads were having on them.

Oh, the two-lane roads were great.  You could still go 70 or 75 most of the way, so we were making good time.  And we saw more of the country, too.  But without the familiarity of big freeways, like I-5, they felt like they were out in the middle of nowhere, and this contributed to a bit of anxiety, later.

Most of the trip was all about God's beautiful creation, in its wonderful variation.  But we also had the chance to meet up with some family and friends.  Kerry's sister lives in Salt Lake City, so we headed there next.

Oh boy, we are definitely in Mormon-land, aren't we?

Hillary took us up into the hills, to overlook the city.  I was really surprised at the air quality... or lack of it.  My polarizer was working overtime to try to cut the haze, but it was still pretty bad.  This is the best view we got of the actual Salt Lake, off in the distance.

Right in the middle of SLC is the wonderful Liberty Park, and we spent some time hanging out there.  Here's Kerry and Hillary.

And with the boys :D

The park has a (simplified) sculptural model of the (local) Jordan River and its tributaries, in the nearby Wasatch Mountains.  It looks like different stone was brought in from the different canyons to make the part of the model they represent.  It was a fun water feature to poke around on a hot afternoon :D

After dinner with Hillary, we pushed on south to Provo, to get us closer to tomorrow's destination.  But for that, you'll have to wait :D

Day 6 Miles : 329          Total : 1683


Cutzi said...

I'm really enjoying all of these post Julie! What fun you had!

And I especially love Utah. I have a dear friend who lives there and when I was about 20 I went to visit her. We had a great time exploring. So much beauty. And even all the "Mormon stuff" is pretty interesting.

leah said...

I really love your travel entries - I get to live vicariously through your travels! I miss the West - the topography is so varied. Our forests are pretty here, but the landscape doesn't change unless you drive a LONG way (about 1000 miles). I miss driving where we could see a horizon!

The dB family said...

That church is amazing!! How nice that you can visit family too while on your trip.