Salt Lake City and Antelope Island

Trip Start Nov 22, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Salt Lake City and Antelope Island
Bob had to fly back to New Jersey again at the end of July to take care of some business, so we camped in the Salt Lake area for a while to have access to the airport. Interestingly, there are not many campgrounds in the Salt Lake area, and we ended up at one that was part of an amusement park. This actually was a pretty nice park, with lots of shade trees and pretty big spaces. Full hook ups. (But no Internet! I ended up traveling to three towns and many miles to finally find a public library that actually had wireless!) The campground borders the fenced side of the amusement park's zoo, so we could walk along the edge of the zoo and see emus, ostriches, llama, Alpaca, deer, goats, and other creatures in the evenings.
The highlights for us during our Salt Lake stay included a day in Lagoon amusement park, a trip to Hill Air and Space museum, a trip to Antelope Island (located on the Great Salt Lake), and a trip to the eastern mountains and canyons. Lagoon was a fun day of roller coasters, log flumes, and rafting rides-like a small Six-flags. It wasn't very crowded and we were able to ride each of the rides without too much wait. We brought the little Nikon and Bob took video of our roller coaster rides. Lots of fun, and lots of me screaming in the background! (I scream for scientific reasons-not because I am scared. I read somewhere that screaming helps to counteract ill effects of G-force and so it is good for you-well, maybe I read it, or maybe it's an unproven hypothesis on my part-I really can't remember . . . ☺) Don't forget to ask Bob when you see him who won the go-kart races. . . . It sure was a fun day.
Antelope Island was a treat. We headed out there on the motorcycles. An 18-mile or so ride to the island, and then a scenic drive to an old Mormon homestead, the Ranch. On the causeway between the mainland and the island thousands of birds stand in the waters along the roadside. As we were arriving, the hazy sky was the same color and tone as the water. As we rode along, the land reflected in the water; the sky above and the water below were the same color and created an optical illusion of a symmetrical landform suspended in the air. Hopefully our pictures will convey this.
There's a reason they call it Antelope Island. As you drive along on the main island road, you can see many pronghorn in the grassy fields along the roadside. And there are bison too-the first we had seen on our trip so far. We rode to the Ranch and picnicked in the shaded grass picnic area and did some birdwatching. Then we took the short self-guided tour around the ranch. There is an old house, root cellar, and barn. There were many barn swallows in the barn, and we noticed a huge nest in the rafters made of large twigs. We both guessed that this must be a present or former home to an owl. We were right! The ranger told us that two great-horned owls that lived in the barn and showed us an area behind the house that they frequented. Well, Bob spotted one of them in resting high above us on a tree limb. What a sight! We got a few pictures and hinted around a bit to see if we could find its partner. We only found the one owl, but we were very excited to have spotted it.
We also took a long day trip outside of Salt Lake with the bikes along Routes 65 and 66 through the Wasatch mountains and the Emmigration, East and Echo canyons. Some great scenic motorcycling in this part of the country, and a bit cooler than in the immediate Salt Lake area. There are a number of reservoirs along they way. We stopped by the water at Echo reservoir, watching osprey dive for fish and having a late picnic lunch before heading home. We put well over 100 miles on the bikes that day, and I got a nice bit of sunburn to remember the ride by!
We packed up and left Salt Lake at the end of July to head north to Grand Teton and Yellowstone.
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