The drive from the campsite to the Salt Lake City was longer than we thought. We went up and over the mountain pass to the other side of the mountain where we camped on a motorway with one lane closed. Our camper is slow going up mountains so we had a long tail behind us. Because we entered the city area from the south we drove some 50 km through all the outskirts of Salt Lake City before reaching our objective: The Mormon temple in the heart of the city (actually way up on the north side.) While looking for the temple we met 2 young sisters who were happy to guide us to the temple plaza. Many young Mormons do 1 ½ year of voluntary community work. Some are sent around the world while others serve in and around the temple complex. The 2 sisters handed us over to 2 other sisters whose task was to give tourists a tour of the 2 church buildings open to the public. The smaller church is there for praying and the large hall of singing, lectures etc. The main temple is not open for the uninitiated and also was not visible due to restoration work. The atmosphere was very pleasant and the sisters did their best to explain the principal of their religion. (It is based on the book of Mormon which was revealed to Joseph Smith in 1826 which describes, like the old testament in prophet stories/books, what happened to a group of believers which ended up in South America some 600 BC and includes the teachings of Jesus Christ. The group started in the New York area but was slowly chased (persecuted) out of the east of the country and moved to the unoccupied Salt lake area in the west, which was just purchased from the Spanish. There they settled and flourished, even today.) Across the street from the temple complex is a modern temple complex. A very large modern shopping mall. The climate is such (dry and sunny) that most plaza’s are in the open air with the usual expensive shops around the plaza. We refrained from shopping and settled for the food court. We left the city late and drove again over the mountains back into the Rockies. There we found a campsite near a water reservoir. There are grass fields on the side of the hills dotted with large, unoccupied, parked RV’s. It looked like the owner parked their campers there on Thursday in order to reserve the spot for the weekend.
We followed the Hwy 40 further east into the mountains. At Vernal, we stopped and visited the Dinosaur museum. This is a fantastic museum showing the full range of fossils found in the nearby mountains. In one layer out of the Jurassic period they dug up many skeletons of Dinosaurs. But on top of that layer is a younger Cretatious layer which had fossils of many of the predecessors of the animals which populate the earth nowadays. For me the most interesting one is a heavy tank-built animal like a inodorous which had several horns with which they head butted like the modern elks fighting for the cows. After the museum, we decided not to drive to the actual fossil dig site but instead drove up the mountain through all the geological strata to the Flaming Gorge. In the gorge below us, a dam closes off the Green river (a contributor to the Colorado river) and forms a large lake. The cliff has several camping sites (mostly closed for the season) in a forest of nicely smelling Ponderosa pines. We had made an agreement to meet our friends in Boulder (550 km further) the next day, so decided to already make a start and drove down the mountain following another route. This was initially a very bumpy dirt road but once we crossed over the Wyoming state line back into Utah and later Colorado the road improved. I do not know if this is also due to the oilfield on the mountain slope we drove through. Before sunset many trucks pulling a fishing boat drove up the mountain. We had a lovely moon rise in the evening at this site which is on the shore of the Green river which had just come out of the bottom of the dam further up river.
The drive to Boulder was long. Initially it was not busy on the road but after Steamboat spring, which is a ski and outdoor activity resort it gets busy. Interstate 70 climbs up over the mountains. The highest pass is at 3411 m. Fortunately it is a 6 lanes highway so there was enough room for the cars and trucks to overtake us. We were restricted to third gear and 50 km/hr. In Boulder we quickly found the house of Robin and Rich where we will stay for the next few days.