Home Up Day 6

Day 5 - Touring Antelope Island, then on to Salt Lake City

Refreshed and relaxed after our first 'paid' night, we were able to do some laundry, have a nice dinner of hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and take a walk around the RV park. It was very nice, even though it was just a few yards off the highway, and right next to a large quarry. Didn't notice it at all. Ogden seemed like a nice place. After breakfast and a little cleanup, we headed back down I-15 to the Antelope Island State Park out in the lake. I-15 was the typical big roadway, the real main artery north and south in Utah. Lots of commercialization on both sides of the highway, it seemed to be the most 'developed' stretch of road we'd seen since back in the East around Baltimore.  Scenery was very nice though, with the mountains seemingly just out of reach to the east, and off in the distance, the Great Salt Lake. There was still no let up with the wind though, it was gusting to at least 30 or 35 MPH, and the temperature was in the low 90s.

We drove the short way down to Syracuse, and then headed west along a built-up road to the entrance to the State Park, same place we'd been to yesterday afternoon. The park is really all of a fairly large island a few miles off shore in the lake. It had been privately owned for a while back in the early 1900s, with sheep ranching and some farming going on, but it was now a state park. Very primitive, the camping facilities were little more than pads for an RV or tent, some picnic tables, and trash cans. No running water through out most of the park, as wells would simply be prohibitive to dig, being as they are in out the middle of a huge salty lake...We paid our $10 fee, and started on the long, straight causeway out to the island. The wind really picked up here, and before long we heard an ominous flapping on the side of the RV. The wind was so strong that it started to unwind the 20 foot long patio awning along the right side of the Bounder, and the cloth was flapping to beat the band.  Hal pulled over along one stretch of the causeway that was a bit wide, and we got out to look. The rear support arm had come loose and was banging back and forth, which let the awning unfold. There was not much we could do there, as there was no place to get out of the traffic (such as it was...) We tightened things up as best we could and kept on going to the island proper, and then headed the short distance up to the Visitor Center, where we figured we'd be able to make proper repairs.

 The causeway to Antelope Island - six miles of this  

Once up at the Visitor Center, which perches atop a slight bluff at the end of the Causeway, we parked the RV with the awning to the leeward side, and between the author up on the roof, and Uncle Hal down on the ground, we managed to get the thing unrolled and then rolled back up completely. A particularly strong gust threatened to blow me off the roof and out into the lake, but I clenched my toes and held on, somehow.  We tied it down securely, or so we hoped. Something had happened to unspring the spring that kept the tension in it to stay rolled up, so we weren't absolutely sure.  While up at the VC, you could look back along the causeway towards the mainland and the hazy blue of the mountains to the east.

The place was certainly desolate. No trees to speak of, just scrub grass, tumbleweed and rocks. The road around the perimeter of the park was your tour, so we headed to the first 'point of interest', something called Buffalo Point. Along the way, damn if we didn't see some buffalo. And a mule deer. No antelope yet, though.

Buffalo Point overlooked one of the small bays up at the north-west corner of the island, and you could see buffalo down along the valley floor if you looked hard enough. All I could think of was that it must have been very hot down there.

Once we'd had our fill of Buffalo Point, it was back on the road and just follow it around. A fair number of buffalo were seen, and finally along one stretch of the road we saw our first pronghorn antelope, the namesake of the island. 

The road wound down along the eastern shoreline of the lake, towards the very bottom of the island where there was a restoration of a 19th Century Sheep Ranch, the "Fielding Garr" spread. Trees were a welcome sight. There was a corral with some horses, a farmhouse and barn with some old implements, and other interesting stuff. We spent an enjoyable 45 minutes here looking around, and then headed back up to the causeway and back to the mainland. Once back on solid ground, we headed south on I-15 through Farmington and other communities, down to Salt Lake City.

 The Fielding Garr Ranch  

 Melissa at the spring

 Back towards the causeway


 Heading back to the mainland

I-15 was a breeze, we made the 50 or so miles down to SLC in under an hour. There was a good amount of traffic but three or four lanes of highway made it all go smoothly. That's the biggest difference I've seen between interstates out West, and those back East. Out west, even the inter-city routes are three lanes or more - the wide open spaces out there make it so much easier to do that, unlike in the more densely built up east. We Came out through Syracuse again, and then headed south. Many small communities along the way, with houses built up along the foothills to the east. As we approached SLC, we saw the capitol building just north of the city, and then the downtown buildings. Not a huge metropolitan area, but it seemed nice and bright. Snow capped mountains to the east.

 Towards I-15 and south

 I-16 Southbound along the Wasatch Front

Housing up the foothils, near Farmington

 Salt Lake City skyline

We found our KOA without too much trouble, having been forewarned about the light rail construction going on in the street fronting it. They're building a commuter rail system between Ogden and SLC, which should be really nice when they get it done, but of course until then, the main drag is all torn up.   We got situated, and decided to rent a car, so I took a taxi out to the airport, and picked up a Ford Crown Victoria. It was the first cab ride where I actually had to tell the cabbie where the airport was. He must have been new...

End of Day 5 - 94 miles
Total Mileage from Salem to SLC - 2394 Miles
Average Moving Speed : 55 mph
Total Driving Time : 44.5 hours (includes six or so hours on Antelope Island)

Day 4

Day 6