Checkout was at 10:00 AM. Kevin and I got up early to drive back to the overlook to watch the sunrise over the backside of Grand Teton. The air was cool, but there was a warm breeze. It seemed so strange and opposite of what we normally experience in the South.
The next couple of hours were a little rough going. A slow leak in one of the rental car tires turned out to be due to a rock stuck in one of the treads. Kevin prepared to take it into town to get repaired while I repacked and got the kids bathed. Before he left, I went to switch our last load to the dryer…and discovered a nighttime pull-up that had exploded in the washing machine. UGH! I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but it’s like slimy snow that sticks to everything. I took all the clothes out of the washer; Kevin helped me shake them out off of the porch. Then I had to clean out the washing machine and run all of the clothes again. What a pain! The boys were a huge help getting everything ready to go: packing, washing dishes, taking out the trash, and carrying the suitcases down three flights of stairs for me. We were on the road by 9:30 AM!
Kevin stopped briefly to look at a some regionally made fishing boats; he and Mont went inside while the rest of us waited in the car. We stopped for lunch in Idaho Falls at Scotty’s Drive-in restaurant. While we were sitting at a picnic table, a car pulled up behind us with three men inside. One got out and accidentally locked the other two in the car. He walked up to order for them inside. One of the other men opened the door and set off the alarm. We all jumped; the little ones covered their ears. Mont was screaming. The gentlemen in the car couldn’t get the alarm off. It went off for at least five minutes. Another customer eating outside went in to find the driver. He couldn’t get it off; pushing buttons on the key fob, he got it beeping faster. It sounded like it was going to explode. It was all quite comical. Everyone was so relieved when it shut off; we were laughing hysterically.
The Golden Spike National Historic Park in Utah is three-and-a-half hours away and on the way to Salt Lake City. This is where the Transcontinental Railroad came together in 1869. I couldn’t tell from the website exactly which parts of the park are available right now, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to see one of the historic trains working. Morgan, my four-year-old, LOVES trains.
Man, it was hot out there! 100 degrees. The visitor’s center was closed, but the bookstore was open. The park has been able to maintain operations throughout COVID-19 because it is almost entirely an outdoor park. There are two working replica trains–one coal powered and one wood powered. During scheduled times of the day, conductors move the trains while a ranger talks about the machines and the history of the West as the Transcontinental Railroad was being built.
The park also has a couple of driving trails where the tracks ran with stops along the way preserving the history. We took the East auto tour. The 2-mile narrow dirt road took us past areas that were blasted, a natural arch that is a memorial to the Chinese people who built much of the rails, and down the steepest part of the rail line in Utah.
We continued on to Salt Lake City to The Kimball on Temple Square. This hotel is in a historic building that converted apartments into time-share optional apartments. It was an odd set-up. It was across the street from Temple Square, the beautiful home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–the Morman Church. It was so dated that we found it comical–like staying at grandma’s house. Kevin thought that the bedsheets were from the 40s. It was clean enough, though. A one-night stay with a separate bedroom and bathroom for Edwin and Mont were positive features. (After reading this back to Kevin, he didn’t feel like I emphasized DATED enough. “Like 1991. Red velvet carpet. Did you tell them about the red velvet carpet?” OK, Y’all. REALLY dated. Can you tell that the dated-ness bothered Kevin more than it bothered me?)
Kevin wanted a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but I felt like Morgan was just spent. He was wild and I knew that dinner would NOT be pleasant. We ate at this mostly-closed food court inside a mostly-closed mall. Chick-fil-A was the only restaurant open in the food court. They flipped the lights out on us at 8:00pm sharp and started putting the chairs up on the tables. OK, guess it’s time to go.
We went to bed early with a goal of 7AM departure time for Arches National Park. Oh, for what it’s worth, I miss my pillow.