Dominating Ogden as you head out of town on US-89 is a huge mountain – Mount Ben Lomond. I suppose someone of Scottish descent named it way back when – but it’s a bit of a double name, since “Ben” is “Mountain” in the Scotts language – so in effect we are saying Mount Mountain Lomond – the first “Mount” being redundant. Sort of like saying “ATM Machine”. It’s a gorgeous mountain – and rumor has it that an executive of Paramount Pictures back in the 1930s saw it from the window of his train and designed the old Paramount logo from it.
Having lunch at a small place in Paris, I happened across a retired couple from New Mexico who were traveling on a pair of BMW touring bikes (which I liken to big sewing machines.) Like me, they were spending a couple of weeks just wandering about and enjoying the road. We talked bikes for a bit, and destinations and routes – they were heading up on US 30 through Arco, Idaho and Craters of the Moon, while I was continuing up on US 89 through Jackson and towards Yellowstone.
The old road now headed over a small mountain range and dropped down into Wyoming and into the Star Valley. This is a very pretty valley high in Wyoming, and a place with another family connection although it’s distant. Being of pioneer Mormon stock, I have lots of relatives due to the polygamy that was practiced by the early pioneers. My great, great, great, Grandfather was a guy named Archibald Gardner. He had 16 wives – some of which he stashed up here in the Star Valley. During the 2004 Olympics, you may recall one Rulon Gardner who won the gold medal in wrestling. When I saw him on the Olympics and they said he was from Afton, I knew he had to be related – he looks like old Archibald. Well, he’s the obvious local hero – and has a gas station/burger joint/motel in town. I’m sorry I’d eaten down the road in Paris, otherwise I might have been able to sign “Rulon’s Wall of Fame”. (And he looks a little like my nephew Ben Harmer too...)
So, I checked into a nice Best Western and will get up early and head out. Sunrise and early morning in park are always wonderful anyway, and I’m looking forward to the ride. I still hope to hit Seattle by Friday. I’m getting a bit road weary and anxious for my home and my own bed.