Day 1: Salt Lake City to Grand Teton National Park


Follow this link to see a full album of our photos from the first day of our travels.

We finished off our very strange summer with a week-long vacation to two great National Parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone.  We began by flying in to Salt Lake City where we spent the night at a hotel near the airport.  We woke up in the morning to a beautiful sunrise over the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains.  We called a Lyft to get a ride to to pick up our camper van, and our driver Chris gave us a tour of the highlights of Salt Lake City.

Chris dropped us off at Basecamper Vans where the staff member Jen met us to show us how to use our van with a fold down bed in the back and a pop-up tent up top. With this knowledge we headed off to the grocery store to stock up on food for the week.  Peter described the grocery store experience with one-way aisles and the need to avoid other shoppers as like being in a Super Mario Bros. game.  Stocked up on food, but our tummies rumbling we picked up lunch at Del Taco.

There was a long drive ahead of us, 311 miles, but it turned out to be fun.  This was probably because of the novelty of traveling through three new states – Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming – and seeing the constantly-changing landscapes.  The suburbs of Salt Lake City gradually turned into cattle ranches.  After crossing the Idaho state line we left the flat basin behind and headed into rolling hills. We stopped for gas and refreshments at Lava Hot Springs, a local hotspot for camping and boating with its own water park.  We passed by historic markers for the Oregon Trail and then phosphorus and gypsum mines before diving into the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

At last we arrived in Wyoming and enjoyed the awe-inspiring views of the Snake River in the Bridger-Teton Forest.  We stopped in the well-heeled vacation town of Jackson for supper, getting take out from Hand Fire Pizza.  While waiting for our order to be ready we took a photo under the elk antler arches in the Town Square park and checked out the oddly out-of-place lifesize sculptures of figures ranging from Ben Franklin to Jeanne d’Arc to a bison.  Kay was also able to find a keychain with her name on at it at one of the souvenir shops.

With our bellies full, we continued on to our destination – Grand Teton National Park – stopping to take many photos in front of the sign.  As we continue deeper into the park we come upon a field where a whole herd of bison are grazing!  Finally we arrive at our home for the next two nights, the Colter Bay Campground tent village, where we will stay in a tent cabin with a wood stove.

Book Review: Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Including Jackson Hole by Don Pitcher


AuthorDon Pitcher
TitleMoon Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Including Jackson Hole
Publication Info: Avalon Travel Publishing (2011), Edition: Fifth Edition
ISBN: 1598807366
Summary/Review: I read a couple of travel guides to feed my daydreams of taking my kids to Yellowstone in a few years and enjoyed the armchair tour.  This guide is good in that it describes not only the National Park, but offers an extensive description of fascinating places to visit in the surrounding region.  This of course expands my daydreams to what would be a months long visit to Yellowstone and its environs.

Recommended booksLost in My Own Backyard by Tim Cahill and The Rough Guide to Yellowstone & Grand Teton by Stephen Timblin.
Rating: ***

Book Review: The Rough Guide to Yellowstone & Grand Teton by Stephen Timblin


AuthorStephen Timblin
TitleThe Rough Guide to Yellowstone & Grand Teton
Publication Info: Rough Guides (2011), Edition: 2,
ISBN: 1848367716
Summary/Review: I read a couple of travel guides to feed my daydreams of taking my kids to Yellowstone in a few years and enjoyed the armchair tour.  This guide is good in that it lists of options for hiking in and around Yellowstone.  This of course expands my daydreams to what would be a months long visit to Yellowstone and its environs.

Recommended booksLost in My Own Backyard by Tim Cahill and Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Including Jackson Hole by Don Pitcher
Rating: ***