Utah--SLC Oquirrh Temple to Park City: Snow?

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
Trip End Jul 12, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

DAY 54, Monday, June 8--Today we had a rare opportunity that was very exciting. We were lucky to be in Salt Lake City near where a new Mormon Temple in South Jordan was open for tours for two months until its dedication in August. After dedication, no one other than members of the church with the recommendation of their local chapels will be able to enter. Members regard the temple as the house of the Lord--a place of holiness and peace separate from the world. LDS builds temples throughout the world, believing God's Church and priesthood authority were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple was beautiful inside, but photographs were not allowed. We have a brochure we can share with you later, which includes pictures of the rooms. Colors were soft white and neutral beiges and golds. The décor was tasteful and peaceful with fine woods, marble, rich fabrics, and paintings. The areas of the temple were the Recommend Desk, Baptismal Font, Men's and Women's Dressing rooms, Ordinance room, Celestial Room (the most beautiful), and the Sealing Rooms, where husband and wife and children and parents are united or "sealed" as an eternal family. The Celestial Room symbolized the exalted and reverent state all may achieve through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. The room was very bright with huge embossed windows, creamy white colors, and a huge crystal chandelier in the center that reflected all colors of the spectrum. You could say it was as close as you could get to a heaven on earth. We were fascinated and felt it was a very special opportunity to learn more about the religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Afterward we drove to Park City, UT, about 25 miles east of SLC, but at a much higher elevation. This was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and is a big ski area, receiving 500 inches of snow a year. Since it was off-season, the downtown with all its trendy restaurants and shops was slow. We took a tour of the Olympic site, and heard how really difficult and dangerous luge, skeleton, bobsled, and free-style skiing really are. It's been raining some almost every day recently, especially late in the afternoon. We tried to cross the Guardsman Pass through the mountains even though we heard it was closed. All the gates were open, so we headed up the mountain, switching back and forth on the narrow gravel road. The view of the Wasatch Range from high up was like a postcard with snow on the tops of the mountains. Driving along, we soon found we were at the top of one of the mountains, and the other mountains with snow on the top were below us. Here on June 8, there was still huge patches of snow. Then we found there was snow on the high narrow road. Praying, we got past it and safely back to a paved part of the road when we found here almost 3/4 of the way, the road was closed with gates--no warning at all on our side miles and miles back. So...back we went over the high, narrow, icy road at an elevation of 9,728' per our GPS, now in the rain that had started in the 44 degree weather. A lot more prayers, and we safely navigated back down and drove back to SLC in the driving rain. None of the thrill rides were operating at the Olympic site, so we made our own unforgettable one.

DAY 55, Tuesday, June 9--Today was a catch-up day for on laundry, groceries, etc. We went back to the famous Red Iguana restaurant, the only restaurant we have been to twice on this trip. Tomorrow we head out for a two-day 500 mile journey to Yellowstone National Park, where we will happily meet up with Sarah, picking her up in Cody, Wyoming about 80 miles away. In the evening we headed back downtown to Temple Square for the outdoor concert in Brigham Young Historical Park. Before the concert we walked the gardens in front of the Temple, saw the reflecting pool in front of the temple, and visited the South Visitors' Center with its exhibits on the construction of the Temple. There are other buildings in Temple Square to visit, but we only had time to visit the Beehive House, which was Brigham Young's original home. Utah is the Beehive State, named by Brigham Young, referencing a story in the Book of Mormon. The Beehive House was later expanded greatly by his son. Due to more rain, the concert was moved from the park to the Assembly Hall, one of the early buildings, built before the temple was finished. It is beautiful Gothic style with stained glass. Oak and marble were not available to the early pioneers, so the pews and columns were constructed of pine and then skillfully painted to look like oak pews and marble columns. The attention to detail in the building is only surpassed by the detail and luxury of the Temple. The South Visitors' Center had pictures of the Temple's interior, which we are not allowed to enter.

The free concert performance was by a male comedic accapela singing group called Voice Male. The members have been singing together 14 years since college. John, the two percussion voices would have impressed you. The baritone was very precise, and could mimic multiple instruments. There was a bass who sounded just like a big bass drum. The concert was hysterical and "family friendly" ; it had to be to be held in Temple Square's Assembly Hall.
The Mormon Church here "lays out the welcome mat" for visitors. We topped off our SLC experiences with a stop at Letherby's Family Creamery, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, with super ice cream delights at reasonable prices. Wish we had one of these near our home.

DAY 56, Wednesday, June 10--A miserable travel day, leaving Salt Lake City for Idaho Falls, ID. It rained the whole drive, sometimes very hard. The terrain has changed from green, irrigated, wide open fields to hills in the Targhee National Forest that are dark brown and grey rockcovered by trees much of the way, some aspens. The dirt has changed from the soft tans and reds seen earlier to black volcanic. Island Park Recreation Area is a big fly-fishing area with raft rentals.The Buffalo River is the summer home for buffalo. Lots of ponds and small rivers, such as the S. Fork of the Madison River. We saw a lot of residences with the Lodge Look.

In Idaho Falls, we found the "falls" of Idaho Falls, a hydroelectric project called Greenbelt, which supplies 50% of the town's power. It was pretty, but the rain caused our visit to be short. Here we found another Mormon Temple, our 4th on this journey--lots of Mormons from Arizona to Wyoming.

Idaho Falls did not impress us. The downtown is run-down with closed stores and theaters. All the retail moved out near a mall built in 1984, filling in with suburban sprawl between downtown and the mall. Even the mall was just "average", no cool stores, only the same old Penney's, Sears, Dillard's, etc. and clothing stores for teenagers. On the way back to the RV, we picked up a pizza from Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza, one of the best pizza chains in the country. They only make pizzas to go; you bake them at home. We were amazed at the line to buy them this rainy night. Our baked pizza was super with fresh crispy dough, chicken, cheese, and veggies.

DAY 57, Thursday, June 11--Another miserable day driving to Yellowstone with more rain. We saw our 5th Mormon Temple in a town called Rexburg, Idaho.. We got to Yellowstone and the weather cleared enough so we could picnic at Madison near the West Entrance.  We saw our 1st animals: bison, elk, coyote, and uinta squirrels. More on Yellowstone next time. We pick up Sarah tomorrow in Cody, yeah!
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Where I stayed
Salt Lake City KOA
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