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4/7 thru 4/20 - Traveling Northwest

We've traveled through four states the last three weeks, here's a quick post of some
photos and highlights from the first three (Oregon is getting its own post in a few days).

We also sent Flat Stanley home to Chicago, if you'd like to see what he has to say about our travels I've done a separate post, #70.


Our Parking Lot site at the Great Salt Lake
We stayed at the Great Salt Lake Marina State Park - sounds nice, doesn't it? It was actually 6 gravel campsites in the marina parking lot. Our campsite used to be right on the shore of the Great Salt Lake but it's dried up quite a bit so we had a short walk to the water.  Salt Lake City averages over 300 days of sunshine every year, unfortunately two of the four days we were there were rainy and WINDY.  The wind was so bad our first night that the port-a-potties by the Visitor Center were knocked over.

We ran some errands in Salt Lake City and spent two hours at the LDS Family History Library to do some family history research.  I love Libraries!!  The two hours went fast and we could easily have spent a few more.  I did discover that is a better resource for us, Marty and I were actually filling in our family histories from the Ancestry site onto the LDS database.

We left Salt Lake City and headed west on I-80 to the Bonneville Salt Flats, 40 miles of salt that you can drive on!  It looks like snow and is so bright that we had to go back to the car for hats and sunglasses.  In the summertime people come from all over to race their cars on the salt.  The fastest anyone has gone is 622.407 miles per hour!!!  It's an amazing area and it would be fun to be here in the summer when you can drive it.


We stopped in Wells, NV to visit Marty's cousin, Peg.  He hadn't seen her in 40 years!  Peg and her late husband, Gene, retired to Wells from San Francisco in 2001.  They bought an old hotel, the El Rancho with plans to live in it and restore it to it's former glory.  They moved in upstairs and went to work fixing it up.  After some ups and downs they were able to rent out the first floor for local events.  In 2008, Wells was hit by an earthquake which damaged most of the older buildings in town including the El Rancho.  Two months later Gene passed away from cancer.  Peg has an amazing support system in Wells, they've helped her move into a small house and they've helped clean out the hotel.  We walked through the hotel and it was easy to see what it once was (once you saw past the pigeons that flew in through the roof).  We had a wonderful visit with Peg and won't wait 40 years before our next visit.

Since we were in Nevada there were also slot machines in all the local eating establishments.  I love penny poker video - max bet of 5 cents and I won $1.00, it doesn't take much to keep me entertained.

What's left of the school in Metropolis
About 12 miles outside of Wells is the ghost town of Metropolis.  It was founded in 1910, had a school, thriving hotel, and other businesses.  Unfortunately, when the town was built the water rights weren't secured and it can be very dry in the high dessert.  They had a few years with unusually high precipitation and then they didn't and the town dried up.  By 1950 it was a ghost town.

We also took a tour of a very interesting business that is only legal in Nevada - Bella's Brothel!  Marty was outside taking pictures and the "Madame" came out and asked us if we'd like a tour - oh my!  She went to get one of her girls, a very, shall we say curvy woman who was very exuberant and was upfront with what she had to offer (if you know what I mean).  She showed us most of the rooms, it was interesting but I was very happy to get out of there.  Good thing I've read "50 Shades of Grey" or I might have had a few more questions. Donna's and Bella's are across a parking lot from each other and from what we understood from our perky tour guide the "girls" at Donna's are in their 50's and 60's.  It makes me cringe just writing it - yuk!


Dan and Kaden
From Nevada we continued our journey traveling northwest to Boise, ID.  My cousin, Dan and his 12 year old son, Kaden live there and since we've never met Kaden it was time for a visit. We spent all day Wednesday with them, Dan showed us the sights of Boise and we had an excellent pizza lunch at Grimaldi's - the best since we left Chicago. 

On Thursday evening we drove about an hour southeast of Boise to visit Bruneau State Park, home of the largest sand dunes in North America. 
Dune Grass at Bruneau State Park

Brueneau Sand Dunes and the Snake River in the foreground

Gotta get those steps in - I love my fitbit, it keeps me motivated

We are currently in Oregon and will be leaving here on Wednesday (4/29) to start our job in Forks, WA.  My post for Oregon should be up before we leave for Washington.