Salt Lake City – July 31-August 1, 2016

All Aboard!

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Our first stop in the Salt Lake City area was the Golden Spike National Monument, the spot on the railroad line near Promontory Point where the east met the west.

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It was quite a drive out there.  (The guide later asked us, “Who thinks that we are out in the middle of nowhere?”  After we all raised our hands he explained, “Well, we’re not.  We’re just on the edge!”)  I was secretly second-guessing myself for planning this stop.  I mean, at this point of our trip, driving for the point of driving?!?!?  Just to see a railroad spike?!?!?!

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But we were pleasantly surprised.  There’s not a lot there, but what IS there is well-done.  I learned more about the politics behind the whole thing.  I was disgusted by the behavior of the railroad workers from the east moving west.

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And I was equally disgusted by the treatment of the Chinese laborers.  (I guess these would technically be the workers from the east moving east!)  In contrast to their counterparts, they actually washed up & changed their clothes before dinner at night.  They didn’t lose sight of who they were, despite their grueling work.

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We also were delighted to see the two engines which were present during the ceremony.  The eastbound engine burned wood, while the westbound one burned coal.

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From there we drove to Antelope Island State Park, which is a large island in the southeast portion of the Great Salt Lake.  Driving on the causeway to the island, we arrived upon a shocking scene (we expected water the entire way!) and a terrible smell.

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The scenery was really interesting.  During one of stops we saw visitors walking from the parking lot down to the lake.  It was quite a distance.

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But the whole reason we came was to see if we would float, so we jumped out into the intense heat and headed toward the water.  (You’ve got to realize that just short days ago we were steeped in very crisp temperatures.  This over-90-degrees-and-sweating stuff was killing us!)

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The walk on the beach was NOT a walk on the beach!  The sand was so hot that we had to wear shoes.  It also had thin shards of rock mixed in with it.  While we walked, the shards and sand entered our shoes and scraped us with each step.  We were so glad to get to the shore!

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Well, until we saw the flies.

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The kids entered the water wholeheartedly, while Cliff and I were more reserved about it.  This was unlike any beach we’d ever seen.  Or ever hoped to again.

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There were these cute little brine shrimp, though.  They reminded me of the Sea Monkeys I had when I was a girl.  I ordered some from Amazon so my kids could hatch some when we got home!

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The only thing keeping us in the water was the realization that not only would we have to walk through the flies and retrieve our shoes from their grasp, but we would also have to again make the trek back to the RV.  (Do you see it up there in the parking lot?  I was starting to have flashbacks from the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone!)

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So we did what had to be done.

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I met a European woman on my way back.  She asked, “Eees eet wurt zuh valk?”  It took me a minute to comprehend what she was asking, but I finally smiled really big and replied, “YES!”  as she walked on past me.  And then, I started to feel guilty.  Did I just lie to her?  I dreaded this walk!  I finally concluded that it was worth the terrible walk to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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The RV was unbearably hot inside.  We made plans to start up the generator, crank the AC, and get out of Utah, never again to return!  We were so miserable!  I’m so glad that we did it…but I never want to do it again!  Seeing bison as we exited the park did help us feel a little better!

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On the way out of Utah, we made reservations for the next two nights at the Buckboard Marina at the Flaming Gorge, Wyoming.  We were thrilled to be approaching our favorite state!  That’s all for now, folks!

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