On The Road: Snoozers, Salt Lake, and a Sphinx

We moseyed out of Alta, Wyoming about mid-morning and headed south, hitting a bit of Idaho before crossing the state line into Utah. We watched the changing scenery and listened to more of The Mysterious Island (and we’re finally, eight hours into the book, getting to the “mysterious” part). Grandmother and I had to get recaps from Tim a couple times because we took some little snoozes (falling asleep to a good book, I call it).

imageWe took a break from the book, and I spent some time interviewing Grandmother. Mom bought a set of conversation-starter cards for us to use at the table during Thanksgiving dinner and other times we got together (though we only made it through one card at Thanksgiving). Since Grandmother had so much to say in response to the one card at Thanksgiving, I thought I’d bring the cards along on this trip and record her answers. We went through several cards before we went back to our book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we reached Salt Lake City, we decided to get out and stretch our legs at a place called Gilgal Gardens that Grandmother and I read about on RoadsideAmerica.com last night. It sounded kind of crazy: This guy had over one hundred thousand pounds of rock delivered to his backyard in a quiet neighborhood in downtown Salt Lake, and he proceeded to carve some of the most unusual sculptures and engravings. After he died, the city of Salt Lake wanted to buy the property and raze it for another purpose. People in the artists community found out about it, outbid the city, and saved the property. The funny thing about all of this is that most of his neighbors had no idea what was in his backyard. I read that he did give tours of the garden, but he must have been pretty low-key about it. To read more, check out the Roadside America link:ย http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11817

It was so interesting, please forgive the plethora of photographs that follow…

This unassuming house has a secret garden of stone...
This unassuming house has a secret garden of stone…

image

No biggie: Grandmother and Tim hanging out with a sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith. What?
No biggie: Grandmother and Tim hanging out with a sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith. What?

What makes this site so intriguing and utterly fascinating, aside from the above monument? Well… let’s see…

Random body parts in a mini-cave? Check.
Hands coming from the roof of a mini-cave? Check.
A man with a boulder for a head? Check.
A man with a boulder for a head? Check.
A self-portrait in stone of the artist wearing brick pants? Check.
A self-portrait in stone of the artist wearing brick pants? Check.
A disembodied head next to a cricket? Check.
A disembodied head next to a cricket? Check.
A dedication plaque to random people, with the odd inclusion of Queen Victoria to the list (though she'd been dead 50 years when he installed the garden)? Check.
A dedication plaque to random people, with the odd inclusion of Queen Victoria to the list (though she’d been dead 50 years when he installed the garden)? Check.

Most of the stone pathways had Bible verses, philosophical ideas, and maxims.imageimageimageOh yeah–there were some flowers too:

imageIt’s a shame Mr. Child died without leaving any of the stories of his sculptures behind, but at the same time, it made it possible for us to look for our own interpretations and meaning in each of the sculptures. We had some interesting guesses and explanations! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After our tour of Gilgal, we decided we needed a stop at Baskin Robbins to recover from the 98 degree temperature (a far cry from the 72 degrees we left this morning at the ski lodge). We enjoyed some ice cream, and then took a turn around Temple Square, one of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die recommendations.

As we drove further into Utah, the landscape changes became apparent, and Tim was excited to announce he had run over an actual tumbleweed. We’ve stopped for the night in Beaver, Utah, just north of Bryce Canyon National Park. (Another Friends and Family discount was procured… thanks, Uncle Mike!)

Tim and I headed over to a nearby restaurant for salads; Grandmother said she was still full from the ice cream and opted to stay in the hotel to call David Cheng to make plans for our visit on Saturday.

When we got back, Grandmother confessed that she had actually thought about asking us to take her to the Salt Lake City airport because she had been feeling so sluggish, and she didn’t want to hold us back for the rest of the trip. She said she had been diagnosing herself and had determined it wasn’t CHF since she didn’t have any swelling, and her conclusion was still altitude effects. (It’s amazing how her medical knowledge comes in handy!) This diagnosis was confirmed when we were finally a little closer to sea level and she started to feel drastically better. She said that she is sure she’ll make it for the rest of the trip. Tim and I are going to do our best to accommodate her and keep the trip at a pace that will ensure that happens. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Car Story, not captured on audio: Grandfather and Richard gave a neighbor boy a haircut, and the boy’s dad came over when he got home from work at eleven o’clock at night and pounded on the door of Grandmother and Grandfather’s trailer with his fists, completely irate. Grandmother said she thought the guy was going to rock the trailer right off its hinges. The family had scheduled to have the boy’s picture taken the next day, before his first haircut… and Grandfather and Richard had ruined that plan. Grandfather told Grandmother that the little boy had wanted his haircut–Grandmother said, “Now Darrel! That boy isn’t even old enough to speak to say he wanted a haircut!” She said the worst part of the whole thing was that she had to go down to the laundry room and face the boy’s mother. She said she thinks that was one of the craziest things Grandfather ever did.

We thought we might drive through Bryce Canyon tomorrow on our way to Grand Canyon, but we’ll make that call when we see what time we get up and out tomorrow. There is an IMAX at Grand Canyon that Tim and Grandmother are especially looking forward to seeing that we’re going to try to hit tomorrow evening when we roll into town. It’s hard to believe that we have just two national parks (three if we head to Bryce Canyon tomorrow) left of our whirlwind tour!

L

2 thoughts on “On The Road: Snoozers, Salt Lake, and a Sphinx

  1. Gigal is interesting folk art for sure. Probably too late for this advice, but drinking lots of water eases altitude adjustment.

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