Cache Valley Offers Something for All of Us
How do we happen upon Logan, Utah? Somewhere during the long winter in New York followed by frosty gray spring rains and hours spent listening to tunes about the merits of Route 66, the Brawny Sherpa and I become keen on the idea of taking a road trip. I’ve long marveled at gypsy wagons, Airstreams, and teardrop campers. Let’s do something both retro and current.
A little research reveals that roadtripping on Route 66 today wouldn’t quite be what some of the songs promise thanks to the passage of time and realigning ‘improvements.’ This adventure will need to have a different destination, but where? We’d both done long hauls to Florida in our more youthful years, but they were mostly of necessity when airfare was beyond our capacity. I’ve been to Colorado; he’s been to Nevada; how about Utah?
Somewhere in my search for things to do beyond Salt Lake City, I discover the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, which promises scenic vistas and cliffs. Will they look like those old cowboy films? We will find out.
Thinking about those old movies, and about Utah’s late entry into the union (it achieved statehood in 1896), gets me pondering a bit of history. Off we are going to the land of settlers, or is it pioneers? Is there a difference? I add the Cache Museum Daughters of Utah Pioneers to our itinerary.
Hoping to provide even more learning opportunities for all of us, we plan a visit to the American West Heritage Center, where I look forward to riding a wagon and getting to see some bison up close and personal. I am curious about how the tension between indigenous people and the settlers is addressed and hope to learn how both groups managed to live so much more sustainably than we do. The lesson of this summer vacation will be self-sufficiency.
Given my academic pursuits, I’d like to include a quick swing by Utah State University while in Logan just to see what is. Plus, I’ve heard good things about the ice cream on campus. For art, I aim for the Logan Fine Art Gallery downtown. The youthful adventurers will be kept amused on a sculpture tour of the campus and in particular look forward to finding the one called SNAFU.
Having just attended a performance of Scott Joplin songs at a historical house in New York and reignited my own youthful passion for syncopated rhythms, I hope to catch a performance of Ragtime the Musical at the Ellen Eccles Theatre, a part of the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre. Will I actually see a cakewalk?
My fear of the West in the summertime—that it is nothing but unending desert and scorching, waterless afternoons—is misguided. Just a few hours in to planning our itinerary, I can tell that the real challenge will be finding enough down time and appreciating those scenic vistas. There is going to be a lot to do.
I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep the Brawny Sherpa, by day a tree-hugging arborist, away from the 1,500 year old Jardine Juniper Tree, which can be hiked from the Wood Camp turnoff on U.S. Highway 89. He is also mentioning something about bristlecone pines and how they are some of the oldest living trees. Should we pass one by, I won’t be able to tell, but he will, and I know we will stop to admire it.
All of us look forward to a food tour. Having recently visited a coffee plantation in Costa Rica, I am curious to see how Caffe Ibis is handling its coffee beans. The youthful adventurers are very keen on opportunities to learn how to make gelato at Beehive Grill and taste cheeses at Gossner Foods. All of us look forward to visiting Cox Honeyland to figure out how they’ve managed to keep bees thriving when so many around the planet are very stressed.
What little I know about Utah has to do with religion and a reputation for good skiing. I am not entirely sure what I will find in Utah, but I am about to find out. I look forward to this Western adventure with its mix of healthy outdoorism and more urban-adventurer sorts of pursuits.