May 13, 2010 Day 23 Engines, Antelope and Bison

We start our day with me (LCC) shaking PTCC awake. If we want to see Golden Spike and Antelope Island today she needs to be up and ready before 9 am. After a quick breakfast and packing the lunch bag we hit the road for the 1.5 hr trip north to Promontory Point. Traffic moves along fast and before we know it we are there. This park is located in a very remote area. There is nothing around for miles. We get there the same time as a school group that is going to do a reenactment of the final spike going in the ground. The 119 engine was just coming from the roundhouse so we got to see it pull up in front of the Jupiter. We didn’t stay outside because it was chilly but we went back inside to the museum and watched the movie. PTCC got her Jr Ranger book when we got there so she was working on it and filling in the answers. After the school group was done we went back out to take pictures of the engines. They are not trains because the have no coaches or cars. (That’s something out of the Jr Ranger book). We finished looking around and got our National Park stamp and then asked about the auto tours. They were both closed-one because of snow (when will it ever melt?) and the other because they can’t keep the cows off the tracks and don’t want them hit by cars.

So we went out to the car and had lunch and then left for Antelope Island. To get there you have to drive over a causeway for 7 miles right out into the center of Salt Lake. We do that and stop at the Visitor Center. PTCC gets another Jr Ranger book this one for a Utah SP. Then after watching a movie about the island and touring the museum PTCC gets her Utah Jr ranger badge. We then leave to tour the island by car. First we stop at the beach and walk out about ½ mile to get to the water. We can see the tiny brine swimming in the water. Lots of birds actually stop here to feed when they are migrating from north to south to fuel up for their trip. We taste the water and it is very salty, I think the movie said 60% more then the oceans.

After checking out the beach we continue our drive around and stop when we see bison in the center of the island. Of course we stop and take pictures. It is our first animal sighting in Utah. I’m sure we’ll see lots when we get to Yellowstone. We continue until we get to the road that leads to the Garr Ranch. This road is about 9 miles long and very curvy I never saw a speed limit sign so I was driving 55 mph. After driving about ½ way I saw a sign that said 25 mph. That seemed way too slow after going 55. We come to the ranch in a very remote part of the island. We are greeted when we arrive by a lady that gives us a brochure and tells us a little about the ranch. There is a self guided tour we take and look at all the outbuildings. The ranch house is the oldest continually inhabited Anglo home in the state of Utah (from 1848 to 1981 when the island became a state park), and it is the oldest Anglo built house in Utah still on its original foundation. The house was made originally of adobe because trees were few and far between. We finish looking around and then start to head back to Salt Lake City. That causeway seems so long both ways! We got some amazing pictures but only saw bison and some birds. The island has big horn sheep, antelope, coyotes and bobcats. But we never saw them. Traffic back was pretty good, we got back in time for CC to call and tell us about his day. We are talking when a bad thunderstorm blows in from the mountains but in the end it doesn’t amount to much.

Tomorrow I think we will try the nature trail.

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