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Mt. Washington, OR
Mt. Washington, OR

7/01/05 - Three Sisters
Today we continued along route 22 to Sisters (Map), stopping briefly to view Mt. Washington. They had a fire there recently and there was a good exhibit about forest fires.

In Sisters we had lunch and looked through several of the many interesting shops. There were many motorcycles in town including these two with side cars photo and this very unique bicycle photo.

There was also this beautiful garden photo that welcomed us to this very interesting small town.

Three Sisters Mountains in Central Oregon
Three Sisters Mountains in Central Oregon

As we left town we stopped to take these photos of the beautiful Three Sisters mountains, all of which are over 10,000 ft tall.

Then we drove through some beautiful country along US 26, including areas near the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument photo, and stopped for the night just outside a campground in the Wallow-Whitman National Forest. I had no idea there was so much scenic country, or how many national forests there are, in eastern Oregon.

Jet Skis on the Snake River
Fun on the Snake River

7/03/05 - City of Rocks
Yesterday we drove from Oregon to Village of Trees RV Park on the Snake River near Rupert, Idaho (Map) (which is just east of Twin Falls). We planned on making it a one night stop but discovered there was a place called City of Rocks not far from here. So we decided to stay an extra day and do some exploring. We are very glad we did.

Today, on the way to City of Rocks National Reserve we stopped along the road to enjoy some beautiful flowers that someone had planted. Then we stopped for lunch at this very cool restaurant called the Sage Mountain Grill in Albion. I found the bark on this tree photo in front of the restaurant very interesting.

After lunch we happened on a group of picturesque horses, old machinery and a very old house. Then we were treated to a real bull fight photo - between two real bulls - what an experience.

City of Rocks National Reserve
City of Rocks National Reserve

The City of Rocks National Reserve was a very interesting drive. On all sides were these tremendous granite rocks, from mounds to towers to nearly every shape imaginable. On the way out of the park we encountered some free range cattle. Here are some more photos of the City of Rocks.

7/04/05 - Fireworks in Utah
Today we drove to the Salt Lake City area and wound up at the Mountain Shadows RV Park in Draper, UT. We had to get the big shoehorn out to get into our camp site (actually I would up parking the wrong way, so I didn't have to do so much tight maneuvering) but we got front row seats to an impromptu fireworks photo display, put on by various residents of the park.

7/05/05 - Salt Lake City
This morning we decided to explore the Salt Lake City (Map) area. It is much larger than I imagined, stretching for dozens of miles in every direction. Our first stop was this very odd looking, stainless steel, diner. Perhaps you are familiar with Winger's but this is a first for me. They make a pretty good burger too.

The Great Saltair.
The Great Saltair.

Then we drove west on I80 for a few miles and saw this very unusual site near the Great Salt Lake called The Great Saltair. We decided to go in and see what it was and discovered that the place had a long and colorful history. Inside was a large hall with a great staircase leading to a large second story balcony, where I could see Antelope Island.

There were a few shops on the ground floor, but basically the entire building was empty. According to the photos on the wall, this current building was a replacement for one many times its size, built in 1893 by the Mormon Church, but destroyed by fire in 1931. The original building was rebuilt, but the level of the lake dropped and it was closed down during World War II. It was a very popular place to swim, and enjoy entertainment of all kinds, in its time.

Then in 1970 another fire completely destroyed the original building and the current building was opened in 1982 near the site of the original. In 1984 the lake reached record highs and the main floor of the building was under five feet of water for several years. In 1992 a new owner restored the building and added a concert stage, where concerts are still presented, occasionally, to this day. There are plans for further improvements and more events at this interesting, but sadly deteriorating facility.

The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the massive ancient Lake Bonneville, which covered perhaps 20,000 square miles about 20,000 years ago. It is the largest lake in the US west of the Great Lakes and the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The salinity of the water averages about 12% (up to 25%), making it much saltier than the ocean, and very easy for people to float in. The Great Salt Lake has about 10,000 miles of shoreline, is about 75 miles long and 35 miles wide. The level of the lake varies from very low (1963) to very high (1983). Four rivers empty into the lake but there are no outlets.

Mormon Temple
Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, UT

Next we drove downtown and checked out the Mormon Temple and other interesting buildings there. We also saw many beautiful flowers, several great fountains and some beautiful horse-drawn carriages around Temple Square.

7/06/05 - Moab Utah
Today we drove down i15 to US50 to I70 and then down US191 to Moab, Utah (Map). Along the way we stopped for a look at Devil's Canyon photo. It was a very beautiful trip. Here is the view from the Archview RV Park where we will be staying for the next week or so.

7/07/05 - Colorado River
This morning we got up and went into Moab, which is a very cool little town just south of Arches National Park, where we had lunch. Then we decided to drive Northeast on route 128 along the Colorado River photo, and then into the Castle Valley photo to see the Castle Rocks. What an incredible trip!

The trip back down the Colorado was just as fantastic, with majestic rock formations at every turn in the road. The setting sun added some beautiful long shadows to the scenery too. Here are some more photos of the Colorado River and Castle Rocks.

Arches National Park
Arches National Park

7/08/05 - Arches National Park
Today we took a drive through Arches National Park. The road into the park is a spectacular introduction to the wonderful sights to come. One of the first things we saw was a rock formation known as Park Avenue photo. Then a short drive took us to the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint. A short drive later, we saw the Courthouse Towers and the Three Gossips photo.

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

Along the next few miles of road we saw many fantastic formations, including the Great Wall, the Petrified Dunes and the Rock Pinnacles. Next came the very intriguing Balanced Rock.

Then we turned right into the Windows Section of the park, where we saw many more fantastic rock formations, including the Cove of Caves and Double Arch photo.

Next we went back to the main road, past Balanced Rock, and headed North past Panorama Point, to Delicate Arch. Because it was about 104 degrees in the shade, I decided not to hike up to Delicate Arch for a closer look. Instead we started down a four wheel drive trail until we came to a closed gate, where decided to turn around and continue our tour of the rest of the park.

The final northern leg of the trip took us past the Salt Valley and the Fiery Furnace, to the Devils Garden area. Then we turned around and did much of the same trip going south, past the Fiery Furnace, Balanced Rock and the Courthouse Towers.

Arches National Park, UT
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, UT

I have seen many fantastic places in my life, but Arches National Park ranks right up there with the best of them. I really want to see Canyonlands and several other national parks in Utah, but I think they'll have to wait for another trip to this magical part of the country. Here are some more photos of Arches National Park.

After we left the park we went back into Moab to grab a late lunch. On the way we stopped where US 191 crosses the Colorado River and discovered what appeared to be a cave dwelling, and a beautiful spot on the Colorado River.

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