My family and I are still on the road, exploring sites and having a great time! In my last report I shared with you how we’ve been stopping by state capitol buildings to explore.
After leaving Boise, we headed onto Utah. Now the most direct route would have likely been to head to Pocatello and cut straight south. But of course, we didn’t take that route! Instead, we went to Twin Falls, going south into Nevada (so that way the kids could say they went to Nevada) and east into Utah. This meant driving across the Great Salt Lake Desert which was an interesting experience. Here are some sites we saw along the way…
I call this shot: “Kids of the Wild West.” It was taken right outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.
This is what the drive looks like through the tip of northeastern Nevada. The scenery is pretty, but there’s not much happening town-wise. We did stop at a couple small towns called Jackpot and Wells to use the bathrooms and buy a postcard. I can’t say I’ll come back to this part of Nevada (sorry if you’re from there!).
Now when we pulled over the ridge and into west Utah? Things got really interesting. Have you ever done this drive – through the Great Salt Lake Desert? If not, it’s worth doing at least once.
This picture doesn’t appropriately capture how wild and eerie this landscape is. There is nothing for miles except white, wet ground. When we drove through, there was a misty haze that made you feel like you were in the middle of a strange fog. There was also a fantastic storm so we got a great lightning show, too!
A couple hours later, we pulled into Salt Lake City! It’s a beautiful city and we had the chance to stay there a couple days.
Of course our first stop was the capitol building – and it’s an impressive one! Capitol count for this trip so far: 4 (Olympia, Salem, Boise, Salt Lake City). When you’re at the capitol steps, you have an impressive view of the city, too:
Now, I have a bit of an unfortunate incident that took place at Salt Lake City. Many of you suggested I check out the City Creek Center in the downtown area. I soon found out why: the place is massive, covering two city blocks and has a manmade stream running through the center. I took a couple pictures as we were walking around. And while we were window shopping in Restoration Hardware, I went to grab my camera… and realized it was GONE! We searched everywhere, but no one had it. Thank goodness I’d been downloading photos everyday so I only really lost the ones of our first day in Salt Lake. So the capitol shots you see above? Those are actually the retakes with my new camera…. $300 later. I’d like to think it was just set down and lost, but I do remember putting it back in my purse. Hmmm.
On the good side, I was able to replace my camera with the exact one that went missing. I’m also glad that if in fact it was stolen, nothing else out of my purse was taken! I cringe at the thought of how we would’ve replaced the keys to our rental car!
Lest you think this experienced dampened my experience of Salt Lake City, I can assure you it did not. My husband and I are already talking about coming back. It looks like there’s so much to do here we just weren’t able to do it all!
After two days in Salt Lake City, we headed north to Jackson. On the advice of others and our own research, we decided to take another slightly indirect route. We headed north to Brigham City and took route 89 which snakes up beautiful country into southeast Idaho. I really can’t stress enough how beautiful of a drive this is! It is windy though, so Dramamine is needed if you’re prone to motion sickness!
Eventually you’ll spill out to this place called Bear Lake which is just spectacular! Half of the lake is in Utah and the other half is in Idaho. My husband was dreaming about a vacation home here some day.
The road winds just about an hour in Idaho and then you reach one of my favorite places on earth…. WYOMING! If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and go. It’s breathtaking! In the photo above, my son has one foot in Idaho and one foot in Wyoming.
Also, you might be in Wyoming if you see a couple of cowboys in the hills, riding through sagebrush.
Finally we reached one of my absolute favorite vacation spots ever: Jackson, Wyoming! The town definitely feels resort-y, so yes, it can be spendier. We ended up finding a hotel for about $129 a night right outside of downtown. There are places to shop, great places to eat, and the setting is jaw dropping.
I had wanted to do something fun with our kids in Jackson, so I did some research on Yelp and found about this place called the Bar J Chuckwagon. It’s family-friendly entertainment and barbecue dinner all rolled into one price ($12 for kids, $22 – 32ish for adults, depending on what you order – and that includes taxes and gratuity).
The Bar J show runs nightly from Memorial Day weekend through September and the doors open at 5:30. We’d been told to get there early for a good seat, so we showed up at 5. There was already a line forming!
While you wait for the 7pm dinner bell, you can walk around the little village, eat a biscuit, or ride a wagon (for an additional fee). We did opt to take the wagon ride, but it was short and my husband and I agreed later we’d probably save the $10 bucks and skip it next time.
The place feeds 750 people nightly and it’s amazing how well-organized it all goes down! You start going through the line at 7, and by 7:30 they were giving instructions on how to clean up your plates. In about 40 minutes or so, everyone was fed and the plates cleaned up. It’s mind boggling.
After dinner, you’re treated to some of the best cowboy music you’ve ever heard! These guys are amazingly talented and witty. The show does run quite awhile and I noted more than a few kids sleeping in their parents’ arms by the end of the show. If you go, bring blankets or maybe even kiddie pajamas so you can change them just before the show. We enjoyed the show so much, we ended up buying a couple CDs and getting them autographed to take home!
Phew! That’s enough for one report, I think! Up next, I’ll share our adventures in Yellowstone National Park. From there, we head to Cody, Wyoming and then sadly begin to make the long trek towards home.
Have you been to any of these places before? Thoughts? Additional trips for others who might be planning a road trip?
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