Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 60

by Kathy 26. October 2009 14:25

<< Day 59: Yellowstone (Mammoth Springs) to the Grand Tetons  | Day 61: Park City to California Border >>

Grand Tetons To Park City, Utah


We were awakened last night by a thunder and lightning storm, which whisked away the haze and left the morning air crisp and clear.

Our view of the Grand Tetons:

The smells of the cottonwood trees and other plant life were more intense after the rain, just as Ranger Michael had said two days ago.

Our plan for today was to drive to Park City, Utah, using backroads as much as possible. It would be a long day on the road, almost 7 hours of driving.

Before leaving, Genevieve and Sebastian set off on a small hike around the campground.

Heading out, we saw buffalo grazing in the nearby fields:

A dainty-looking pronghorn was mixed in with the stout bison figures.

Some last views of the Grand Teton range:

As we drove south toward Jackson, we passed the National Museum of Wildlife Art. We didn’t have time to visit, but we enjoyed the outdoor sculptures, as well as the architecture of the building (which blended in beautifully with the hill behind it).

Jackson is a popular ski town in the winter, and we could identify the ski runs from the tree patterns around the town.

The downtown area had many rafting-trip businesses, small hotels, restaurants and shops:

We saw two different arches made from antlers.  Here is one of them:

Beyond Jackson were many small farms and lots of horses.

The hillsides were covered in aspen trees, which have white bark. When we first saw the aspen trees, they contrasted so greatly with the surrounding fir trees that we thought they were pine trees infested with bark beetles (like we had seen in Yellowstone).

Our road ran along the Snake River, which we crossed and re-crossed countless times.

The Boy Scout High Adventure Camp was located next to the road, and had what appeared to be a challenging obstacle course.

Here was a narrow bridge that obviously was not designed for our tall and wide RV.

We passed numerous rafting groups. Here are some rafts on a calm stretch of the river:

As the canyon walls got steeper, the river narrowed, creating more white water.

Views through the canyon:

This lake was at the top of a wide flat valley.

The valley had many farms.

The double-flag barn:

This house spoke to me of solitude.

A simple fence design:

In the town of Afton, Wyoming, we drove under the “World’s Largest ElkHorn Arch”:

We laughed at this playful bear (too much to drink, perhaps?):

We passed through Bridger National Forest.

After cresting a mountain pass, at 7500 feet, our road descended through an area with pale red soil and much fewer trees.

Welcome to Idaho!

The wind was pretty ferocious in this valley, full of farms.

Some of the homes:

We climbed a mountain with a very steep grade, through hills covered in sagebrush. The road downhill was freshly paved and wound through Montpelier Canyon, which is part of the Caribou National Forest.

This was definitely not a landscape where one “can’t see the forest for the trees.” (Whisper: There aren't many trees.  And where is the forest?)

The road-builders had cut through large sections of rock:

In the town of Montpelier, Idaho, we happened upon the National Oregon/California Trail Center.

We stopped to have lunch and see the exhibits inside the Center.

In the mid-to-late 1800’s more than 200,000 men, women and children traveled 2000 miles across the western United States on the Oregon/California Trail, most seeking new homes or a way to make their fortune. The journey took five months by wagon, often pulled by oxen.

Montpelier was settled by Mormons in 1864 and provided a resting stop for travelers along the way. When wagon trains reached Montpelier, they had already gone about 1000 miles, and they still had to cross many more miles of tough terrain to reach Oregon or California.

One of the challenges for the travelers after leaving Montpelier was to cross a high mountain known as “Big Hill.” The descent was so steep that many wagons had to be tied to trees with rope, and let down slowly. A monument to the Big Hill lies outside the Center, and we all had fun "helping" this wagon get down the hill:

We were welcomed into the museum by Dave:

The museum offers a “living history” tour, but we simply didn’t have the time to linger and enjoy it. We did, however, browse through many of the museum exhibits.

There were many paintings that represented various aspects of the Trail. Here is one by Gary Stone, showing the difficulty of crossing a rock-strewn area:

The journey involved many hardships, and approximately 20,000 people died on the Trail.

Other exhibits in the museum focused on the founding of Montpelier.

We also learned that when the railroad finally connected Portland with the Midwest in 1884, steam trains quickly replaced wagon trains as the means for western migration.

The museum contained an old Thomas Edison cylinder phonograph machine, the Amberola. Linda (a museum worker) demonstrated the Amberola for Genevieve and Sebastian. The song played was “I’m Sorry I made You Cry.”

Linda also demonstrated the use of an old cash register that had been used in a Monpelier store.

We were very grateful for Linda’s attention, as she pointed out things that we might have overlooked on our own. For example, she showed us this wooden grave marker with an “all seeing eye” and a Mason compass carved on it.

The marker had been placed on the grave of a man named Hugh Sommers, who had died in 1920 while passing through the valley. The grave marker had been created by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization. (The wooden marker had fallen over in the cemetary, and a new stone marker now stands in its place.)

The museum also had a display about the Native Americans who used to live in the valley before being driven out by European-Americans.

Near the Center was a park with a small playground that the children enjoyed before we continued our drive.

Sebastian, the monkey:

The roads leading out of town were sparsely populated and didn’t have many signs.

We were supposed to be on a road that would wind south beside a long body of water, Bear Lake. When we had traveled for 20 minutes without seeing a lake, I knew that we had missed a turn somewhere.

I looked on the map and discovered that we were on a road heading east, not south. Plan “B” was quickly created, with a route that would link our current road with one that would get us heading south again.

We crossed vast, open stretches of terrain.

There weren’t a lot of trees. This homebuilder had used the natural slope of earth to create some privacy:

The sky entertained us with its constantly changing cloud formations:

In the distance, we could see rain.

And even more rain.

Welcome to Utah!

Our road zig-zagged between Utah and Wyoming, crossing the state-line several times this afternoon.

Here are some of the homes we saw.

This small group of houses had a water tower, but the name of the town or community was not painted on the side.

The school in the tiny town of Woodruff:

We all smiled back at this barn:

Four large trucks passed us in the opposite direction, carrying huge concrete beams. Here are the first two:

The Bear River Lumber Mill had big stacks of sawed wood, as well as a large area with tree logs ready to be processed.

Our narrow road connected with Interstate 80 for the last hour into Park City.

We passed a train hauling many UPS truck trailers:

The train from the other direction. I waved, and the engineer waved back.

Some people were fishing on Echo Reservoir:

We stayed in a small RV park on the outskirts of Park City.

We said our goodbyes to Chris—she would be staying a few days in Park City with some good friends. She had been a fabulous addition to our group during the past week—the perfect house guest, really. We were so glad that she could join us.

Genevieve and Sebastian were thrilled to find a rock climbing wall at the RV park. They both shimmied to the top multiple times.

It was wonderful to see their self-confidence building with each climb!

The sun and clouds overhead appeared to have formed the entrance to another dimension.

We enjoyed some delicious sushi tonight at a nearby restaurant. After dinner, we topped the evening off with a relaxing swim in the pool.


<< Day 59: Yellowstone (Mammoth Springs) to the Grand Tetons  | Day 61: Park City to California Border >>

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Comments (6) -

10/27/2009 7:13:38 AM #


auuughhhh!  you were in park city and didn't see sundance...oh, and the food.  the food is out of this world.  well, i can see that without a blanket of snow the charm would be fading...but sundance is always beautiful.  and during the summer they give rides up the ski lifts to drop off for mountain biking and hikes or just to see the view and then there's the lodge and the grill/the tree room (my alltime favorite restaurants)...can you tell it was my retreat from provo when i went to school there?  sorry to be a geek - but next time your in the area - let me many awesome things for kids to do...from the heber creeper (an old open train that goes all the way through the canyon following a river) to the waterfalls to the canyon.  sigh.  i'm hankering for a roadtrip.  if only the film festival hadn't gotten so big and turned into some creepy thing where people like paris hilton show up bedecked in furs to get her pic taken in the used to be a pretty amazing event that everyone could participate in.  

truly, i can't wait for the kids to grow up so we can hit the road and show them the world and finally see some of the sights i've missed in all my travels.  this is a fun little glimpse into my future (cross my fingers).

becky United States | Reply

10/27/2009 4:28:32 PM #


Becky, we did some fun activities in Park City the next morning, but then we were in "homeward bound" mode and didn't linger.  The area was definitely lovely and deserves a longer stay (next time!).

Kathy United States | Reply

10/28/2009 9:47:15 AM #


quick question...everyone get bored now and then, but do the kids ever whine about wanting to go home or any of that?  is it fleeting when they do, if ever?  i was thinking about it and your kids look so happy and content and are always playing with big smiles - just wondered what some of the struggles have been, if any.  or do you pretty much have to stay one step ahead of them with planned out activities and what not?

becky United States | Reply

10/29/2009 11:55:57 AM #


Becky, we were actually surprised that the kids flowed along so beautifully.  Neither Genevieve nor Sebastian ever complained that they wanted to go home.  However, Genevieve did comment several times during the last few weeks that she "missed" her room, with her books and belongings.  A lot of careful planning went into this trip (based upon lessons we learned from our past travels with the kids).  Every day was different.  Flexibility was critical; as much as possible, I tried to have various options for us to do, based upon our moods.  We tried to limit our driving to 4 hours or less, and we also created an itinerary with a lot of balance in it--different activities, museums, kid's playtime, "new" experiences, swimming, etc.  In doing research, I always tried to look at a proposed activity from the children's perspectives.  The RV was great for keeping the children entertained while on the road--they could do puzzles, play games together, read, take naps, look out the window, watch movies or other programs on the DVD player (we stock up during the year with new programs that they haven't seen yet; "Bill Nye the Science Guy" was a huge hit, so we brought along about 10 of his DVD's), and entertain themselves.  Traveling together in such close quarters for two solid months, I thought we would have some difficult moments, but we really didn't.  I think that the kids viewed each day as a new adventure (which it was!), and they woke up fresh and excited, wanting to know, "What are we doing today?!"  Our kids are also at the ages now where they are pretty easy-going, and excellent travelers. Feel free to ask more questions!  Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

10/11/2010 10:18:52 AM #

Brendon Dickerson

Hey, My name is Brendon Dickerson, and I am a resident of Mountain View Wyoming.  I was just looking through your photos of Wyoming, when I found one of the Bear River Lumber mill.  That mill has been in our family for years, and I have spent a pretty good amount of time there when I was younger.  I just thought it was cool to see a picture of someplace that I am familiar with on the Internet.  I hope you enjoyed all the time you got to spend in Wyoming

Brendon Dickerson United States | Reply

10/11/2010 10:45:02 AM #


Brendon, we really enjoyed our time in Wyoming--it is a beautiful state with lots of amazing scenery.  I'm glad that you found our photo of the Bear River Lumber Mill.  Thank you for sharing your family connection with the mill.  The surrounding area didn't seem to have a lot of tall trees; we were wondering where the logs come from, and whether it is more difficult now to find trees for the mill.
Thank you again for your comments!

Kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

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   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
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   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
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   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
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   World’s Most Dangerous Road

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   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
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   Dawson Creek
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   Jasper National Park
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Costa Rica
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   Manuel Antonio
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   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
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   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
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   Nkasa Lupala
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   River Dance Lodge
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   Cañón del Pato
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South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
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   Badlands National Park, SD
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   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
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   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
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   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
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   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
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   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
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   Olympic National Park, WA
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   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
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   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
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   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

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   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
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   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
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   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
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   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
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   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
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   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
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   Hackberry General Store in AZ
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   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
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   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin