We took a trip to Utah the week between Christmas and New Years. We drove from Pasadena, CA to Richfield UT which took around 10 hours because of traffic. Once past Las Vegas there is no traffic to slow you down. The drive through the desert is so picturesque. When I was a child and we took long trips, I thought the desert was really boring. Not anymore. The first few days we visited relatives in the Richfield, UT area.
In Richfield, UT we stayed at the new Hampton Inn. Our room on the 2nd floor had a great view of the distant mountains and the cows next door. A great place to stay with an indoor pool to wear out the kids each night. There was free WiFi Internet access throughout the hotel.
In the Fishlake Photo Album you’ll see photos of the Tundra with chains on the front tires. That was on a drive to see my Uncle’s cabin in Salina Canyon. The road is not cleared during the winter and normally only accessible by snowmobile. You can see in front of the Tundra the snowmobile tracks. Once the chains were on, we made some distance up the road. We took ATVs the rest of the way.
I’ve always enjoyed challenging driving conditions, since here in Southern California we get very little bad weather. Snow driving and off roading are always fun.
A few interesting items that we talked about in Utah. First, my Uncle is an avid hunter, who’s hunted in many states and Canada, has already sighted a wolf in the Henry Mountains (another reported sighting) in Central Utah. If you’ve read the Little House books as a child or to your children, you’ll know what this is about. I’ve come upon bears while camping and they’re often scared off. I’d fear the wolves more than mountain lions (when not alone) and I hope that someday camping won’t become too dangerous.
The IMAX movie Treasure of the Gods, has a story of the Spanish enslaving Indians to work in their gold mines. When I was a child and spent many summers with my Grandfather driving throughout central and southern Utah in his truck, he told me stories of lost Indian gold. These stores persist to this day. I speculate that when these Indians freed themselves from the Spanish, they passed on the stories down the generations and then told them to the current inhabitants.
We spent the last three days of our trip including New Years eve, in Fishlake Utah. We stayed in one of the Fishlake Lodge cabins. The view from our cabin was panoramic. It was great to wake up and see this wonderful view every day. When I made the reservation I asked if my cell phone would work there, the answer was no. I asked if they had Internet access, the answer was no. Well this made it much easier to relax, since I had no way to connect (and work). This is a great winter hideaway, there are few people here in the winter. No restaurants and one little (expensive!) store with a poor selection. Bring your food, the cabins have a kitchen ready with everything to make your meals.
We fished on the side of the lake and, unfortunately we caught nothing. We’re novices but we tried. My wife said we should buy the book Fishing for Dummies, and my daughter said we should jump in the lake and she would fish for dummies.
We took a day trip to Capitol Reef National Park. When traveling to places like this, the photos just don’t do justice to the sights. In comparison to Zions National Park and others, this one is more remote. Some of the most scenic drives are on graded dirt roads.
In my Toyota Tundra I’ve installed some Amateur Radio gear. One of the applications that I run is APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System). This system allow the reporting of my location and allows remote messaging. It happens that the ISS (International Space Station) also has APRS gear. During the trip I was able to communicate through terrestrial locations as well as the ISS. On the APRS maps you’ll see locations and method color coded. I used the settings that AJ3U suggested. These worked great. I set all the ISS passes in my PDA, when the PDA beeped, I pressed two buttons on the radio and my APRS traffic went via ISS. Fifteen minutes later, press two buttons, and I’m back to terrestrial APRS.