Monday, April 30, 2012

Pedersen Park near the falls

The falls of Idaho Falls enthrall us, we spent some time yesterday in Pedersen Park on the other side of the bridge from where we were the day before, the area part of the Idaho Falls Greenbelt. We saw some more great scenes of the falls.

Then we came across a replica of the Taylor Toll Bridge. What became current day Idaho Falls was first the site of Taylor's Crossing on the Montana Trail, a timber frame bridge built across the Snake River in 1865 by Matt Taylor and completed in 1866. The frame of the bridge was constructed while the Snake River was frozen to the point it could support its own weight and then finished when it warmed up. In true pioneer spirit some of the parts used to construct the bridge was salvaged from a wrecked Steamboat. Taylor's Toll Bridge served the new tide of westward migration and improved travel for settlers moving north and west. Some sample tolls set by the Legislature were the same for ferry or bridge; man and horse 50 cents, horse and carriage $3. It is estimated that 19 million tons of freight passed over the bridge in 1867 alone and only up to June since the bridge was damaged by a 3 foot wave of water in June 1867 and rebuilt over the winter.

In 1879 a narrow gauge railroad bridge was built near the toll bridge. In 1885 the drive began to make the bridge free to compete with the railroad so in 1889 it was declared a public highway. This was just in time for the old wooden bridge to be deemed unsafe and a new iron span bridge was built. Eventually more and more freight was delivered on the railroad that the toll bridge fell in disuse and eventually was destroyed. In 1989 another drive was started, this time for a replica bridge to commemorate this historical site and as a remembrance to the pioneers and the pioneer spirit.

Here is how the original bridge looked

Here is the replica bridge today with the current railroad bridge in the background.

Here you can walk across the replica bridge.

There was a path by the river that continued the Idaho Falls Greenbelt that we walked on for awhile and we saw this duck which neither one of us have seen before so we have no idea what kind of duck it is. It was obviously used to humans as it never flew away even with people a lot closer than us. It also seemed to pose for picture taking so we could not resist.

Photos from this adventure have been uploaded to in the Idaho Falls set. Idaho Falls has surprised us in the amount of neat things that there are to do in the area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Idaho Falls - The Falls

Yesterday we had lunch at Smittys again where we had breakfast. Between the two of us we have eaten breakfast at a lot of places across this great country but this is the first time we have seen sourdough waffles and pancakes so you know we had to try them. They were made from Aunt Bessie's 100 year old recipe and they were wonderful. They were the most unique waffle and pancakes we ever tasted and we highly recommend them. The pancakes were a little thicker than a crepe but that type of thinness compared to a regular pancake. You can sub pancakes for the bread so Bob did that with an omelet and Jo got the waffle and we split. A side note is that we have added the waffle to 'Our Favorite Things - Food' list on the left side of our blog. We do have to warn you that they are a little pricey but we felt worth it.

We then went to see the Falls of Idaho Falls. The falls were created by the diversion of the Snake River for a hydroelectric plant, the first of which the city built in 1900. There are 3 hyrdoelctric plants in the area that supply over 50% of the power needed for Idaho Falls.

Here is a picture of the Snake River before the falls.

Here is a picture of the diverting of the Snake River.

Here are some pictures of the falls that result from the diverting of the Snake River.

There is a neat park and trail next to the falls and it was neat to just walk and take pictures. There are benches along the way with themes like spud, horse, fish and the bluebird one showing below. You can just sit and watch the raging waters and listen to the incredible sound that they make. If it was warmer we would bring a book and just sit on the benches and enjoy life.

We also saw some baby geese along the path.

Photos from our walk along the falls have been uploaded to in the Idaho Falls set.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Museum of Idaho - A T-Rex named Sue

We woke up to very light snow flurries yesterday; we guess we are going to be tested on our potential for snow versus our potential for tornadoes as our next stop in West Yellowstone Montana is getting more snow right now but looks to be clearing off before we get there. With a high in the 40's and a wind chill in the 20's, a cloudy and blustery day, we decided today was an inside day.

We had a great breakfast at Smitty's Pancake and Steak House in Idaho Falls. Jo got a small German Pancake with apple topping and it was incredible. Bob is more of a meat and potatoes kind of breakfast eater so he got the sausage breakfast with sausage patties, 2 eggs, hash browns and a biscuit instead of toast and a side of gravy. Everything was done just right, even the over medium eggs which is sometimes tough to find. There are a lot more menu items, especially in the pancakes, waffles and french toast section than we have time planned for our visit so we guess we are going to be eating there a lot.

We then went to the Museum of Idaho, mainly to see "A T-Rex named Sue". Sue was discovered in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in western South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson and named for her. If not for a delay due to a flat tire giving Sue Hendrickson more time to explore "A T-Rex named Sue" would not have been discovered in 1990 or at all. Sue was unique in that a vast majority of the bones were still there making Sue the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) specimen ever found. 

Ownership of Sue was an issue that finally had to be settled by the courts which took 5 years because Sue was found on private land that was part of the Indian Reservation that was also held in trust by the US Dept. of the Interior. No kidding, we are not making this up.

Since the government was involved things get even more interesting. Believe it or not in 1992 the FBI and the National Guard raided the site where bones were held and being cleaned and moved them to another site until the legal dispute could be resolved. Again, we are not making this up.

The owner of the land eventually retained ownership and Sue was put on the auction block at Sotheby's where she fetched a record $8.36M. The five year dispute gave the Field Museum of Chicago time to build a partnership that included Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, McDonalds (Corporation and Ronald McDonald House Charities), California State University system and individual donors. The deal was for the Field Museum to have permanent display of the original bones and that copies were made for traveling shows. One copy is in Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida and two others were for traveling tours sponsored by McDonalds. We were fortunate enough to see one of the traveling copies and have already made plans for a stop in Chicago to see the original.

Here are some photos of "A T-Rex named Sue".

We also got to see Corpolite, which is dinosaur dung.

Sue was only part of the Museum so next we journeyed onto the Eagle Rock display, a town in miniature where artifacts from the dentist, barber, blacksmith, etc. are displayed along a mock city street.

Idaho Falls has an interesting history with regards to the naming of the town. It started out as Flathead Crossing then Eagle Rock Ferry the Taylor's Bridge then the aforementioned Eagle Rock finally settling on Idaho Falls in 1879. The next part of the museum was a Natural History Museum with stuffed elk, bear, goat, etc. along with a Shoshone village scene.

But the best was yet to come as this museum has an extensive permanent dinosaur exhibit. We saw some really cool displays of dinosaur skeletons, castings showing how they were found and other informative display, and the most complete skeleton of the Camptosaurus in existence.

Here is a picture of a casting of a dinosaur right at the surface that was close to being lost forever before it was found.

Here is the Camptosaurus skeleton.

Here is what the they think the Camptosaurus looks like.

Here is a Stegosaurus skeleton.

This is just another example of a great museum in a place that you would not expect one.

Photos from this visit to the Museum of Idaho have been uploaded to in the Idaho Falls set.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On the road again and a new State camped

We left on Wednesday from SLC to Idaho Falls, which gives us another State camped in as full-time RV'ers so we have updated our 'States Camped' map on the left side of our blog.

Here is the route we took:

View Larger Map

With rain in the forecast for later in the day in SLC it started out partly cloudy. As we progressed towards Idaho it started clearing up. The clouds caught up with us in Idaho Falls after we arrived and rain is in the forecast for the next couple days. While here we plan to see T-Rex Sue at the Museum of Idaho, visit the Falls, the Zoo. On the rainy days we will just do inside stuff and save the outside stuff for when it is not raining.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Temple Square (finally)

We know that we have been saying that we were planning to go to the Temple Square in SLC for the last few days but we finally went yesterday. We got up, had breakfast and caught the free shuttle. We walked around the area, here are a couple of photos.

The flowers were in bloom and amazing. Here are a couple of photos.

We had lunch at the Lion House Pantry which served up food cafeteria style but it was still pretty good. We both got the lime cilantro chicken with a corn based pico de gallo on top and it was flavorful without being spicy, which we wish more places could accomplish. The mashed potatoes were good as were the dinner rolls, but the steamed mixed veggies and steamed green beans were average. The best part was the piece of cherry pie that we split, has to rank among the best we have ever had.

After lunch we walked around some more and then went to the Family History Library.

This place is amazing; the records that they have most of which are available to you from computer screens provided by them. The paid genealogy sites are available free while using their computers. There is so much info here that we basically barely scratched the surface. We considered this just a reconnoitering trip for both the Family History Library and the Temple Square since every two years we will be in Denver for Bob's medical tests and heading from there to Arizona via Utah. We thought about staying an extra day in SLC but Thursday looks like a rainy day from SLC all the way to Idaho Falls so we will just have a lot to do on our next visit.

Photos from this visit have been uploaded to in the Salt Lake City set.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ruth's Diner and a grocery store

With the unexpected heat wave of upper 80's and the road construction everywhere and the fact we probably couldn't park anyhow we feel like just taking it easy here in SLC. But one place we wanted to go to is Ruth's Diner so we went there for lunch yesterday, and we are glad that we did. Here is a photo of Ruth's Diner showing the canyon which I got off of the internet, the snow has melted by now.

To be honest we had breakfast which included a fresh asparagus omelet, hash browns and pecan cinammon roll french toast. Each breakfast comes with a mile high biscuit which we ate with the what had to be homemade raspberry jam on the table and a side of gravy. Everything was excellet. As mentioned before this place was on DDD and while Guy Fieri was there they made baked mac-n-cheese which looked wonderful so we got that to go for supper. The biscuits were so huge combined with pretty good sized portions that we brought enough home for a breakfast in the future.

We then went to a Smith's Food away from downtown hoping for parking and it worked. Smith's is part of the Kroger's chain so it had a fuel discount program just like Frys so we bought a gift card and groceries to get us 10 cents off of a gallon of diesel which got us down to $4.059 which was much better than the last fillup at $4.399.

Back to the park to unload groceries and read until supper time where we had the Ruth's Diner baked mac-n-cheese which was excellent. What surprised us when we opened the package to warm it up was that it included veggies. The warmed up veggies were also wonderful, a mixture of squash, zucchini, onions red and green peppers. Add Ruth's Diner to your list when visiting SLC.

Since we can take a free shuttle to Temple Square from the KOA and not have to drive we may do that after breakfast today. Then Wednesday we are off to Idaho Falls where it looks cooler but also rainy.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh the day we had

We had an easy day planned yesterday with Mass then brunch then our home away from home - Wal-Mart. But then it turned into quite a day.

After cereal we headed for the Cathedral in downtown SLC. We left early because we knew downtown parking would be fun, and it was. We were early enough for a small lot behind the Cathedral and the 'oh the day we had' begins. There were two 'legal' spots left in a U shaped lot. At the far end there was a car illegally parked which made turning the U interesting in a 1 ton dually. When we got to the spot we realized it was too short for the truck so we headed out. In the meantime someone illegally parked at the entrance almost blocking our way out of the parking lot. Bob thought a couple of things like just heading into church and sorting things out later but we decided to try and get out. We said 'almost' blocking us in, what it took was collapsing the side mirrors and Jo guiding from the front since Bob was totally blind as to how close the duallys were. Jo did a great job but you probably could have only fit 1 sheet of paper on one side whilst 10 sheets could have fit on the other.

The next stop on the 'oh what a day' parade was an industrial lot near the Cathedral. We saw a sign with Weekday parking rules and a few cars in the lot so we thought we were safe. Only as we were leaving did we see that Saturday and Sunday were Clinic parking only. We saw some 2 hour visitor parking sites so we decided to move to one of the three maybe four open sites. Others had he same idea, one of which was another bad parking award winner who parked diagonally taking up two spaces and a car just pulled into the third while Bob was moving the truck. Bob pulled into the maybe a fourth site that had a visitor parking sign overlapping on the right side of the site and a Staff parking only sign overlapping the left side. By now we were almost late for Mass, glad that we left early but we were now chugging up a steep hill with the temperature rising with each step. Did we mention that SLC is setting record highs while we are here? About 25 degrees above normal. We were huffing and puffing as we entered the Cathedral but we got there just before the procession.

Here is the Cathedral from the outside

Here is the inside of the Cathedral

When we left the church about and hour and a half later we weren't entirely certain the truck would be there, or might be booted if still there. But the truck was there and not booted, but wait there is more to the 'oh what a day' parade. Bob had seen Ruth's Diner on DDD (Diners, Drive Inns, and Dives) and wanted to eat there. Now the diner is on Emigration Canyon Blvd about 10 minutes from the Church. Our gps took us right there but when we arrived the parking lot was full, the street parking on both sides of the road was full, and there were a lot of people waiting outside so we decided to punt and just head for Wal-Mart figuring we could stop and eat at someplace along the way. Not knowing the area that well we let the gps take us the same direction we were heading instead of back the way we came and in 10 minutes we would have at least been down town. The other direction took us through Emigration Canyon, miles and miles through the Canyon. A beautiful drive, at least that is what we kept telling each other. Finally we get to I-80 and take it towards SLC, miles away at this point.

Here is a picture of Emigration Canyon towards SLC.

We are so remote there are no food or lodging info signs at the exits. We get to the Wal-Mart exit and we see an IHOP and we head there. There is parking for about a dozen cars at IHOP and they all are full, or one that was too small for our truck. We spot a Carl's Jr with parking and maybe because we were so hungry at this time but the green burrito and taco salad sure were good.

Fully charged we head to Wal-Mart and turn where the gps tells us and all we see is a parking garage so we figure just another gps issue so we go around the block and lo and hehold this is the only Wal-Mart we have ever seen with a parking garage and we have been in a lot of Wal-Mart stores. A parking garage should tell you how bad the parking is in this area. The ramp up said no large trucks and after the fun with the Cathedral parking we decided to try the ground level which was full so we just decided to punt and hit Costco which we saw on the way to Wal-Mart. We stopped and got a a couple of things and then just head back to the park. Now we know why we don't usually venture out on a Sunday.

Finally the 'oh what a day' parade ends with a note about record high temperatures. Not only will the daily record highs be shattered but there is a possibility that the all time high for April could be set while we are here. We don't think there is global warming we just think that it is our travels and our bad luck with record high temperatures like in the Upper Peninsula last year and now Salt Lake City is why people think there is global warming :-)

We plan to visit the Mormon Temple Square on Monday and do a genealogy check after we get our call back on the satellite dish and maybe tour the Cathedral on Tuesday. We borrowed the photos of the Cathedral and the Canyon from the internet and will have our own if we go on the tour. We also would have liked to take pictures of our canyon adventure but the phone was being used for gps.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2012 Travels Map Gadget issue

There is a known bug with Google Maps and it just hit our 2012 Travels Map Gadget. Gadgets are the static items on the left of our blog like 'Our Favorite Things' and 'Current Location'. The issue deals with how the KML feed interprets one of the markers. If you click on 'View Larger Map' below the empty map a larger map will appear and all the markers are there so we think the map is fine.

We plan to leave the gadget there, hopefully it will be fixed soon. We tried using MapQuest for the code to embed in our gadget and it is very difficult to use for this purpose. If you have a map for travel which mapping service do you use (google, mapquest, other)?

Bob called Winegard on the satellite dish issue since they have Saturday hours but we did not get a callback so that will probably happen on Monday. Watching TV with commercials is eye opening. First of all the commercials are SOOOO loud. Secondly, there are so many of them. Some of the shows we missed we might be able to catch the rebroadcasts since they are on USA, A&E, etc. which repeats the shows. We really didn't do much on Saturday since we were waiting on the callback, besides Jo wasn't feeling good and Bob felt a little pookie himself so we just took it easy.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On the move again - to Salt Lake City

We enjoyed our stay just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park at Ruby's Campground, part of the Ruby's Inn complex in Bryce Canyon City. The only drawback of the campground is cost which is why we had a short stay here.

We moved to Salt Lake City yesterday. It was a beautiful day for traveling, a longer trip than most at about 270 miles but we decided we wanted to see and do things in Salt Lake City so this would save us miles each day back and forth.

We are staying at the Salt Lake City KOA for a few nights and plan to visit the Temple and check our genealogy. Most of the places that Bob has listed for the area are food places, we know that is shocking. We do have a complaint about the KOA though in addition to the high cost, we asked for a site that a satellite dish on the roof would work when we called a couple of weeks ago. We were told they had plenty. We checked in yesterday and mentioned again the dish on the roof at the back of our RV. We get to the spot and we swear the biggest tree in the park is at the back of the site. Why don't the people in the office go out and take a look at the park? We switch spots to a much smaller tree, all sites have trees at the back so this must be a park that caters to motor homes.

We did our setup and the dish just kept searching and searching. We stowed it and tried again but no improvement. Well we bought a portable automatic dome dish for just such an emergency so we set that up. Now this worked and locked in but we got no signal at the receivers inside. By this time it was getting close to TV start times so we stowed everything and setup the TV antenna and cable and had to watch our shows live. Who says full-timing isn't rough? Luckily Winegard has Saturday customer support hours so Bob will be calling them today.

The photos from our stay at Bryce Canyon City have been uploaded to the Bryce Canyon folder on our photos on now that we have a good wifi signal. We also have to catch up on all the blog reading.

Here is the route we took from Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City:

View Larger Map

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 2

Basically a photo journal with some commentary.

First stop was the Natural Bridge, which is not a bridge but really is an Arch like you would see at other Utah National Parks especially at Arches.

Agua Canyon

Ponderosa Point

Rainbow Point

Yovimpa Point

A pullout near Rainbow Point. Since we were there in April the shuttle was not running so we had a little bit more flexibility than you would have in May-October when the shuttle is running.

Black Birch Canyon

Farview Point

Swamp Canyon

Pygmy Nuthatch (this one is for Judy) on a tree at Bryce Point. Really makes you appreciate Judy's photography skills as we deleted a lot of pictures of the backside and blurry ones. This was the only usable one.

Bryce Point

Inspiration Point; accessible by road and then up a steep incline or by the rim trail from Bryce Point. We would recommend the rim trail as it is less strenuous on the knees.

Fairyland Canyon; this really amazed us. From an erosion perspective this area is much younger than the other areas. In fact in relatively few years the edge of the overlook where we took the pictures will slide to the canyon floor. This area is so active that after a storm you can actually hear nature at work; water trickling downslope and pebbles clattering to the base of the cliff. Though caprock preserves the pinnacles for a while, they eventually tumble. New hoodoos like the ones pictured next will appear right where we were standing when we took the pictures.

We have really enjoyed our stay at Bryce Canyon National Park and if you have not visited here you must add this to your list.

As we mentioned before we will upload the countless number of photos we have taken here when we have faster and more consistent internet.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo