Friday, May 04, 2007

Salty Life (May 1 -2)

Posted May 4th from Baker City Idaho

We spent 2 days in Salt Lake City and certainly the presence of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” is a dominant part of that city. I’ll describe more of the specifics later but the “Mormon” experience caused me to think about several things.

One was I found myself thinking “the tours in Temple Square may be free in the sense of no money but there is a real cost – that of listening to a lot of talk about their beliefs”. I also found the idea of latter day revelations to be difficult to believe and had to remind myself that whether I believed or not didn’t give me the right to be derogatory and disrespectful – which is an important message for everyone in dealing with those who think and believe differently than we do.

One the other hand, I found much that I could support and agree with – the emphasis on Jesus as our Savior, the emphasis on the church as his redeemed body, the emphasis on family values (the early approval of polygamy notwithstanding), the emphasis on hard work and economic independence and self-sufficiency (that they believe comes as a blessing to those who serve Jesus) – these are things that any Christian should be able to align with.

The one final thought tied back to the sermon we heard in Cheyenne on Sunday morning from Ray Ward. The lesson was from John --when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus and Peter took out his sword to fight them. Jesus told Peter to “put away his sword”. The point was that Christians are not called to “fight for Jesus” but rather to follow him and proclaim his wonderful love. Jesus has already won the fight by his death for all. Now there is lots of language about being soldiers for Christ but that is about our personal battle against Satan and his forces – not a battle against other people. The point of the lesson (in part) was that we too often as Christians used his word to “fight against” and “beat down” other people to try to force them to conform to our way of thinking. We would be better to live our lives following Jesus – relating to and loving people the way he did and let him fight the battle and claim the victory – as he has already done.

The reason I relate this to the Mormon “experience” is 2-fold –

1) their dedication to their understanding of what Jesus wants from them is a good example of the power of “salt, leaven and light” BUT

2) their passion for “proselytizing” seems a bit strong and gives a sense that they are treating people who believe differently as the “enemy” – It made me wonder if we as Christians convey that attitude to non-Christians. Can we follow Jesus and let him fight the battle – or do we need to take out our swords and cut down the “enemy” who doesn’t believe as we do?

Well – end of sermon and back to the journey of the “HHR’s” (healthy happy rovers)

The Cherry Hills orchard campground in Kaysville just of I-15 is about 15 miles north of Salt Lake City. It is a beautiful spot overlooking the Salt Lake basin with snow capped mountains as a backdrop. It was listed in our AAA camping guide but the real reason we picked it was because Phil Bullock recommended it from a time they had camped here. To get to it we took I-84 and came around and back down from the north. It would have been about the same distance to continue in on I-80 and come up I-15 but we were close to rush hour and our experience on Tuesday confirmed that it would have been a serious traffic jam if we had done that.

Anyhow, as I mentioned at the end of my last post, we packed a lunch and headed to downtown SLC on Tuesday to visit the Mormon Temple square. This certainly was a time when it was great to have the HHR in tow since we would have been hard pressed to find a place to park the BBB in downtown SLC.

Linda writes in her journal that we “went to Mormon location. Heard all about Joseph Smith-(how he had) a vision (and was) made a modern day prophet (and was given) the book of Mormon. Interesting story -saw a movie showing how the Mormons were chased out of Illinois & Missouri and then brought to Utah by Brigham Young. They irrigated barren land and made a beautiful valley”

Of the Temple square Linda writes “Beautiful buildings and flowers. (Several) “free” tours (but) had to listen to a lot about being a Mormon”

(The guides were mostly young people who came to SLC for an18 month mission service and their job was to testify about their faith. If you were mostly interested in the history of the Mormons or the architecture of the buildings, it would be better to go on your own and read the information that was posted -- however, some places you could only get to by taking a tour).

There is a interesting display in the North visitor's center -- in a dome there is a mural depicting the universe with a statue of Jesus in the center -- illustrating his position as central to the creation.

Linda continues “Heard the Tabernacle organ for ½ hour – enjoyed all but first piece” (which was a loud “hard” sounding composition)

The organ had an tremendous range – from the sound of a bell tinkling to the one more like a bass drum or tuba . The acoustics in the Tabernacle were amazing – you could literally hear a pin drop from 150 feet away.

We arrived in SLC around 10 a.m. and left around 5:30 p.m. and toured most of the buildings on Temple square that are open to the public. It was a beautiful day – nice breezes and a dry 89F (30C).

The roof top at the 21000 seat conference center provides a dramatic view of the city. (Our guide took this picture of us on the roof)

The “Beehive house” which was Brigham Young’s residence and early church offices was interesting but they rushed us through – which frustrated Linda because she wanted to stop and look at the furnishings and the decorating. The main purpose of the tour was to emphasize the importance of family “sealing” to Mormons and the young ladies couldn’t answer many questions about the historical aspects of the actual building and furnishings.

There was also a special series on Mormons on TV which Linda watched for both evenings.

Linda continues (May 2nd). “Got up this am and went to Antelope Island. Saw antelope and prong horn deer, quail and coyote but no bison” (The island has one of the largest free roaming herds of bison in the US – around 500 – it is culled each year to prevent it from overgrowing the available grazing land)

At the Garr ranch – part of the ranch house is one of the oldest original buildings in the state of Utah – over 150 years old, Linda writes “saw three (great-horned) owlets in their nest just about ready to fly and saw the father owl sitting way up in a tree”

We were going to hike up one of the trails 1.2 miles (2km) to “Dooley’s peak” but we got up about 200 yards and decided it was too steep – since we didn’t have our hiking boots and Linda doesn’t do well on steep climbs (nor do I for that matter). So we stopped and had our snack, took some pictures and went back to the car.

Linda continues “went down and walked on the beach of Great Salt Lake. Very salty – only brine shrimp & flies live in it. Walked in water (up to knees – it was a beautiful day around 80F (25C)) & might have gone swimming They say you just float”

(We had left our swim suits in the car because we thought it would be too cold – but really didn’t seem to be any worse than Lake Superior in early July – but it was a long walk to the car so we decided our wading would have to do).

We (mostly me) had decided that since we were so close we would take the “long way” to Idaho and drive west on I-80 to Nevada so we could see the Salt Flats. We had arranged for a late checkout from the campground and we arrived back at 2:30, hooked up the car, took showers and began the final preps for leaving.

I need to go back a little bit. Our auxiliary braking system (Brake Buddy) has a transmitter that is supposed to light up a receiver in the motor home when the brakes are activated. It had worked originally but when we tested in Cheyenne it didn’t light up – so when we arrived in SLC I thought I would just be sure that the reason it wasn’t working was because it was in the “shadow” of the motor home so I took the receiver and plugged it into the auxiliary power outlet in the car (where I have had the rear view camera plugged in and it had been working earlier that day) – and discovered that the fuse had blown. (I still haven’t figured out why -- I just got a replacement fuse last night so I’ll experiment with it maybe to-day) -- Anyhow – this was electrical problem #1.

Tuesday night – just after Linda finished watching the Mormon special our 12V TV in the bedroom died. Again, I haven’t figured out what is wrong with it but I think maybe the power supply gave up. Electrical problem # 2.

This brings us back to Wednesday afternoon. During the final preps for leaving we were checking the lights to be sure the connection to the car was working and discovered that the brake lights weren’t working (on the motorhome). I also discovered that the 4 way flashers wouldn’t work and concluded the 2 things were tied together. I thought maybe the heavy usage on Monday climbing those long steep hills had fried the flasher (remember I mentioned that in my last post).

I asked and found that there was an RV service center about a mile away so we finished the rest of our preps and drove there (using parking light switch to simulate braking). When I got there the guy said they were really backed up and would not be able to look at it until the next day. But he also said that he didn’t think a flasher failure would cause those symptoms – had I checked the fuse? So I went and checked the fuse and sure enough it was blown. Electrical problem #3 – all of which happened in or near SLC – go figure!!

It seems really weird that we had three electrical failures almost simultaneously in completely unrelated components (or circuits). My rationale for the brake light –hazard light fuse blowing was that with the extra load from the tow car and high usage it had overheated and blown just as we were coming in to SLC – I know the hazards were working up to 10 minutes before we stopped.

Anyhow, they have been working fine since I replaced the fuse (I used my spare and the guy at the RV place gave me 2 more so I’m OK if it happens again).

We were on the road by 4 and drove to West Wendover Nevada arriving around 7 with a short stop at the scenic overlook of the Bonneville flats. (The picture shows me standing in a "puddle"of saltwater along the edge of the salt flats - it does look like snow & ice!!!)
There is one flat straight as an arrow 35 mile section of highway across the flats heading into the Utah-Nevada line – incredible and interesting driving because we had high cross-winds for the whole stretch.
We parked overnight in a Casino parking lot – high winds and thunderstorm overnight.

Well that’s it for now - I have some pictures and I’ll update these posts at some point to include a few of them. (Done May 5)

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

1 comment:

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

I'm enjoying your posts on your trip, Charlie! Thanks.

Dee