Friday, July 22, 2011

Northern Utah Staycation

Last Tuesday we headed out for a fun three day vacation in northern Utah and a little bit of Southern Idaho. First stop was Antelope Island. We first stopped at the visitor center. The swarm of brine flies and a past smelly stop at Saltair a few years ago was enough to convince the kids they didn't want to go for a swim/float in the Great Salt Lake. Instead we drove south to the ranch while looking for buffalo. We saw one in the distance on the drive back. The mountains of the Wasatch Front are in the distance across Farmington Bay
Initially the ranch was owned by the LDS Church with earnings going to help the Perpetual Emigration Fund.
It was then privately owned up until the 1960s when it was abandoned.
It is now a sort of living museum about early 20th century ranching. There were no takers for real buffalo burgers at a restaurant on the island so we headed back across the causeway for cow burgers at Wendy's. Luckily there was a Thai restaurant next door for dad to order from.
Next stop was the Golden Spike National Monument at Promontory Utah--30 miles west of Brigham. The trains are functioning steam engine replicas of the Jupiter--coming from Sacramento and the 119 coming from Omaha.

This is where the Golden Spike was driven on May 10th 1869 linking the continent via Railroad.

The 119 chugging away.
The RR track heading West where many Chinese coolies helped lay the track and blast the tunnels through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We drove through Brigham City where we bought Grandma Emmett some Almond Cream candy from the Idle Isle. We also got to see the newly placed golden Angel Moroni atop the under construction Brigham City temple. Spent the night at Grandma Emmett's.

Next morning we headed north through a green, beautiful Cache Valley with Grandma and occasionally dad providing a great guided tour of all sorts of fun info. We passed the busiest Lottery store in Franklin (frequented by many a Mormon from non-gambling Utah) and then Whitney the home town and burial place of Ezra Taft Benson. We detoured in Preston past the High School where I student taught back in 1979 and where the movie Napoleon Dynamite was set. We then headed east via Emigration canyon (the trail of the Lotoja race) up and over into Bear Lake Valley.
We stopped in Paris (named after a man named Perris--who surveyed the town. The US Post Office thought the person requesting a post office had misspelled the name so they used the France capital spelling). Marie's great-great grandfather Jacob Tueller and her great grandfather Christian Tueller, along with several of his brothers were the Swiss stone masons mentioned in the above sign who did the stone work on the Paris Idaho LDS Tabernacle.

It is an impressive building from the 1880s. A son of Brigham Young was the architect and he used a popular design of the time--three distinct towers.
The red sandstone was hauled from a canyon 18 miles away on the east side of Bear Lake. In the winter the stones were hauled on sleighs across the frozen lake. It took a few years to get permission from headquarters in Salt Lake City to build the tabernacle so while waiting the townspeople stock piled stones and timber on the tabernacle block.

Like the Salt Lake Tabernacle the roof was in the design of an inverted ship hull. All of the interior is original--over 100 years old. A very impressive building.
Behind the pulpit area and underneath the pipe organ there is a small room used for prayer meetings and council meetings. I remember meeting in a similar room in the Logan tabernacle when dad was called by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley to be a member of the stake presidency. Our nice guide told us that many well known church leaders had sat in this chair as they met prior to Stake Conferences. She would not name names lest we turn to idolatrous worship, but I'm sure Joel (above) and Sarah (below) are sitting in the seat where many prophets and apostles have sat.

On the southwest end of town we visited the Paris Idaho Cemetery where many a Tueller are buried including Christian and Jacob. Of the four people in the photo only Will does not have the middle name of Tueller.

Grandma Emmett knew that her great aunt Elizabeth Caldwell had married a Wallentine from Paris. What she didn't know was that they were both buried in Paris, until we found their tombstone. Elizabeth was 13 when she crossed the plains with the Willie Handcart Company with her widowed mom Margaret. Her younger sister Agnes is the mother of Veara the mother of Norda the mother of Chad the father of Sarah, Joel and Will.

Next stop the Garden City cabin of Tom and Donna Nielsen where we joined the Tom Emmett family for an afternoon of fun. Every summer during my childhood I would spend a weekend at this cabin with my friend Kirk Nielson and his family.
Sarah and cousin MacKinley.
Cousins playing badminton.
Golfing into the lake. Thanks to the Nielson grandsons for sharing their many golf balls. The level of the lake is way up--back to the level I remember from my childhood.
We found several water snakes in the reeds along the shore. Sarah thought they were very cute and fun to play with. We also saw frogs and a muskrat.
We stopped at LaBeau's for Raspberry shakes then climbed up the switch backs and down a beautiful Logan Canyon to Grandma's house.

Here is a story I wrote about driving down these hills into Garden city back in the 1960s: One of my best friends growing up in Logan, Utah was Kirk. His father Tom was a gruff brick mason who built a family cabin on the shores of Bear Lake. Once a summer, Kirk would invite me to spend a weekend with his family at the cabin. I remember one summer driving to the cabin in the family station wagon with Tom and Donna, their teenage daughters Tana (my piano teacher) and Teri, sons Kirk age ten and Greg age 8 plus pet dog Bing. We left Friday evening and began our hour drive through Logan canyon. Once over the summit we began our descent into the Bear Lake Valley down the winding switchbacks. I was in the far back of the car with Kirk. At one point we realized that Tom was pumping the breaks, but nothing was happening. Then he started to down shift the car but we still kept picking up speed. The breaks were gone! In one last attempt to stop the car, Tom pulled hard on the hand break which broke off into his hand. I can still remember looking forward and seeing Tom with the break handle in his hand and no breaks or gears to stop the accelerating car. Coming up in a few hundred yards was a sharp 90° turn to the right. The turn skirted a steep drop off. If we didn’t soon slow down we would for sure go flying off the drop off—most likely to our deaths. Before we had too much time to panic or think of our impending death, the car all at once jerked off the road to the right and up a gentle incline full of sage brush along a seldom used jeep track. The car soon rolled to a stop and we were safe. Later Tom told us that over the years as he drove through the canyon and down the switchbacks he would take note of side roads and turnouts with the specific intent of knowing where he could turn off in time of danger. He had noticed the jeep track on previous trips and remembered it in the midst of dealing with brake failure. Tom had planned ahead and then followed that plan to save his family.
Tom and Kirk then hitched hiked down into town where they borrowed a pickup truck to then come and retrieve the rest of us. Us three boys all happily volunteered to ride in the bed of the truck, but Tom and Donna said it wasn't safe so all seven of us and the dog Bing crammed into the cab of the truck. As we headed down the rest of the switch backs, Bing started to pee. Teri thought it was Greg shooting a squirt gun and told him to quit. Greg denied doing such a thing. It was then that Teri figured it out that the water was coming from Bing.

Historic Chairs in Grandma's front room. On the left is a chair from the theater box of Brigham Young that was purchased from a granddaughter of Brigham Young. On the right is a chair carried across the plains in a handcart by Margaret Ann McFall Caldwell, mother of Elizabeth and Agnes. After a day of pulling the handcart, Margaret loved to have a chair to sit on. Much better than a rock or log or snow.

Our final day included a driving tour of Wellsville and Hyrum Dam until the 11:00 opening of the Jensen Historical Farm--Western Historical Center. The kids got to milk a cow, gather eggs, see a blacksmith in action, learn to wash clothes and tour a 1917 house.

They also learned about beaver trapping and got to try their hand at tomahawk throwing.
Sarah bought Will a coon skin hat. We drove home that afternoon so Joel could be a ball boy, along with the rest of the boys on his HC Storm soccer team, at the final BYU men's soccer game. Will and I went to watch.


  1. Thanks sweet Emmett Family for stopping at LaBeau's for a Raspberry Shake! Thanks for supporting my Mom, Renee' LaBeau. My Mom turns 79 in a few weeks, and can still do circles around those teenagers! Last weekend she stood for 16 hours straight with a 5 minute break. She is amazing to me! All of her 10 grandchildren have worked there. They have learned their work ethic by her example. Three grandchildren are working for this summer. What could be better than working side by side with your G-ma. Our daughter Bailey just flew back Thursday to work for a few weeks. Great money!!!
    Glad you had a fun 3 day trip! Have wonderful 24th!
    Chad, Deb and I promise to treat you and family at LaBeau's next time!
    We Love The Emmett Family! Thanks again, Tamara LaBeau McMurdie

  2. Looks like a great time. Sorry we missed you, although we saw the same snakes, frogs, and muskrat on Saturday at the cabin.