When it came time to finding somewhere to stay in the Salt Lake City Area, the options were slim and the reviews were poor on every account. Our best chance for a pleasant environment was Utah Lake State Park. It was located in Provo, near I-15, 45 minutes south of downtown SLC, and on a lake with roomy spots. Since it was a state park, each site only had water and 30-amp electrical hookups. Our plan was to stay a few days at the state park, and when it came time to dump our tanks, we could move to a private park down the road… and trade the spacious surroundings for 50 amps of power and a sewer connection. As you will see in the pictures below, we got lucky and never had to move to the more cramped private RV park.
We spent a total of 11 nights in Provo and it was a pleasant spot. Provo is a clean and active college town. We were happy to take advantage of the city’s park trail system. Piper and Cessna got lots of good walks on this stop. We went to downtown SLC once together, and I went back twice by myself – once to attend Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and once to see Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium, at the events center where the Jazz play basketball. We drove north to see The Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island State Park. We took daytrips to Sundance Mountain Resort and Park City. Mike was able to catch some fish from the Lake, and he was also able to do some cleaning on the outside of the coach. Two things that make him happy. I should clarify that cleaning the coach does not actually make him happy, he just enjoys the results when it is over. He keeps us looking very presentable. Some campgrounds do not allow cleaning of the coaches, so one must take advantage when possible.
The drive north on I-15 was pretty with snow capped mountains always ahead in the distance. The route was mostly flat with a few sections of climbing and descending. We went up about 1,000 feet and came down about 2,000 feet during our three hour drive. A semi-truck only came into our lane once during a descending curve as it blew past us in the left lane.
We got to Utah Lake State Park on opening day of the camping season. Other campers had already arrived, but there were still plenty of spaces available. I was slightly worried because the park did not accept reservations until May 1st. The entire month of April was operated on a first-come-first-served basis. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry, we had plenty of options on campsites when we arrived.
Provo Municipal Airport was situated at the edge of the park, so Mike had fun watching all sorts of planes and helicopters fly past us on their final approach to the runway.
Quail at our campground.
Upon checking into the park, we settled on two other spots before we finally got ourselves situated in A23. After we got through the front gate, we pulled into a large parking lot and disconnected the Honda. We then drove it through both A and B camping loops to see which spot we thought would be the best. We picked a spot in the B Loop, and Mike went back to drive the Monaco over. As he approached the entrance to the B Loop, he realized a tree with low hanging branches was in the way. He didn’t want to scratch our paint, so he abandoned that plan and drove to an alternate location in the A Loop. As he was setting up, I went to figure out the self-pay station. That is when I discovered there was one spot in the A Loop with full hook-ups (we had planned on only staying a few days because the camping spots only had 30 amps of power and water connections – no sewer). It was actually a camp host spot, but there was no camp host yet. It was $35 per night ($5 more than the other spots). I checked with the camp host in the B Loop to make sure it was okay if we took that spot instead. When she said yes, Mike unhooked the power, put the slides back in, and moved us to the full hook-up spot. This was great! We had a sewer connection AND 50 amps of power. We wouldn’t have to move now. We could stay there for up to 14 days before we had to leave the park! We paid for one night at first, just to buy some time and review our travel plans. The next morning we paid for 10 more nights.
The only problem with being in a camp host spot was that everyone kept stopping by to ask us questions. I didn’t think it would be too big of an inconvenience until after we had gone to bed on our first night. All the lights were off – outside and inside. We were sound asleep when someone knocked on our door. I got out of bed and held the dogs at bay while I opened the door. The guy wanted to know if we were camp hosts. After he left I made a sign with magic markers and taped it to our door before I went back to bed. The next morning we re-located it to a sign in front of our spot.
A bi-plane coming into Provo Municipal Airport.
Utah Lake was pretty big, but very shallow.
We had nice views from our campground, and yet it was so convenient. We were only 3 miles from downtown Provo, and even closer to the Interstate.
A view from one of Mike’s fishing spots.
After we left the Mormon complex we walked UP HILL to The Capitol Building. It was about to rain and we wanted to explore more parts of downtown in a hurry, so we didn’t go inside.
We spent one afternoon in downtown Salt Lake City, so of course we had to check out the Mormon Tabernacle. It was an interesting experience. The Church of Latter Day Saints has about a 10-acre complex in the center of downtown. “Greeters” are stationed all across the complex to approach people like us. They wanted us to spend time in the visitor’s center and would hardly take no for an answer when we said we were just looking around downtown – in general. I also learned that hardly anyone is allowed inside the Tabernacle. The doors were locked. Only the most worthy of the congregation are allowed inside the doors. The lady said it was the most sacred place on earth. Never really encountered a religion that didn’t let its own followers inside its primary building of worship. The Mormons that we saw visiting the building were gleefully taking pictures of their families outside the locked doors. I will say they were pretty doors. I’ve met many people who take issue with how Catholics handle their own affairs, so live and let live.
The mountains to the east of our campground turned pink every evening at sunset.
We drove over to Sundance Resort to look around one afternoon. I found out the Sundance Film Festival is actually in Park City. The resort was very nice, and the people who were skiing had Mount Timpanogos practically all to themselves.
The view from Aspen Grove Trailhead near Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort.
We saw this old sick skunk wobbling down the road of the campground one evening as we were sitting outside and enjoying the sunset. Poor thing was literally on his last leg. It was sad to see, but I was glad we knew he was there so we could be on the lookout when we walked the dogs after dark. That would be a bad surprise to stumble upon!
Our next stop on our walking tour was the Cathedral of the Madeline. I had to stop my mumbling about the locked doors when we arrived at this stop because the Catholics had locked their doors too!
I had read about how beautiful the Cathedral was, so I went back on Sunday to attend Mass. I figured the doors would be unlocked then!
The organ and the choir during mass were unbelievable!
After our walking tour of downtown, we drove to the “cultural section” of town to have a late lunch at a place Mike found online. It was the only place in town that served crawfish, and we were having a craving. They were pretty good. The sauce was called Cajun and it was better than nothing!
There was a hill off of I-15 on the way to Salt Lake City that was always busy with hang gliders.
We spent another day looking around Park City. We had so much fun, we decided that we would stay there for a week when it was time to leave Provo.
A selfie from the roof top patio of No Name Saloon.
We could not leave Utah without seeing the Great Salt Lake, so we made the 1.5 hour road trip north to Antelope Island State Park on another day trip.
The lake was pretty low. There were many yards of sand all around the edges of the water.
A view from the beginning of our hike with the dogs on Antelope Island. The no-see-ums were horrible, and they had teamed up with the gnats to try and make us leave. The dogs really needed a walk, so we made it about 23 minutes before we hit our breaking point and turned back for the car. It is hard to walk on a skinny path holding a leash while swatting yourself in the face constantly.
We didn’t see any antelope on Antelope Island, but we did see buffalo. Actually, I didn’t snap a photo… but as we were parking near a camping area to go on our hike, there was a large buffalo that had situated himself beside a camper’s tent. Didn’t see any humans, so not sure if they were hiding inside or out and about in the park. That would have been a bit unnerving to me!
The dogs inspecting their human’s fresh catch of white bass. They approved.
Mike had so many fish to clean, he had to set up a station where he could sit down and relax during the chore.
Hruska’s Kolaches, a taste of Texas in downtown Provo!
We haven’t seen too many rainbows lately.
Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.
A view from the trail near Bridal Veil Falls, looking toward the Timpanogos.
Shiny river along the Provo Jordan Parkway Trail. We had a nice walk on this trail during our last full day in Provo.
This brave robin joined us at our campfire each evening. He insisted on being part of the conversation.
A flock of yellow breasted blackbirds appeared at our campground about three days before our departure.
Last sunset in Provo.