Where's the Midges?

-- by Nathan Massie

When I looked in the paper on Saturday, I noticed the article about the clouds of midges along the shores of the Great Salt Lake. The weather looked to be nice, but according to the newspaper, that same good weather would bring out the midges. I feared that, along with our experiment to try a Sunday driving event, the midges would keep people home.

I shouldn’t have worried. It was a great turnout on an absolutely gorgeous day. If I didn’t know better, I’d say we beat the rain hex that has plagued the Antelope Island drive for the past several years.

We gathered at the capital, and the weather was so wonderful that I lost track of the time. We left a bit late, but had light traffic up I-15 to Antelope Drive in Layton, so we could tool along at a steady 60 mph. We had 10 cars (mostly Triumphs!) from Salt Lake and pulled into the parking lot behind the Burger King in Layton to another half-dozen or so cars. Like I said, a great turnout.

After a bit of talk and peeking under a few cars’ bonnets, Jon Hermance sounded the horn (where’s Floyd when you need him?) and we drove out to the island. We lined up along the causeway while everyone made it through the toll booth, and noticed very few midges. Had the newspaper article been wrong? After all the cars were ready, we took off for the island. It was only as we neared the island, and the water, that we saw the columns of midges spiraling up off the roadside weeds. Still, at a leisurely 40 mph pace, the bugs just didn’t present a problem.

This year we stayed to the left as we got to the island and drove to the Garr ranch for our lunch stop. That drive to the ranch is one of my favorites. It’s smooth but twisty, with a few hills. I think the speed limit sign said 25, but we went by it too fast to know for certain. There was a large herd of buffalo (OK, bison) on the slopes near the road. Fortunately, they weren’t close enough to be a worry. After all, an adult bull might just rival our cars in size and weight.

Maybe it was because of the rain, or because it was a Sunday, but we had no problem getting picnic tables in the shade once we got to the ranch. After lunch, and the rousing game of Antelope Island trivia, we wandered about the ranch buildings. There’s a new, albeit small, museum in the barn that’s quite fascinating.

After leaving the ranch, we headed around the island in a clockwise fashion. We visited Buffalo Point, then drove past the beach, and finally, back to the marina and onto the causeway for the drive home.

Sharing the fun were: Gary, Sandy and Margaux Lindstrom; Jon and Susan Hermance; Rob and Mary Foye; Chris Shell; Pugs Pivirotto; Andrew Frink; Michael and Mary Scoggins; Mike and Becky Chambers; Mitch and Greg Johnson; Julie and Michael Schoonmaker; Rich Goodman; Roger and Jill Davis; Scott and Barbara Reinsimar; Bob and Dixie Jahnke; Steve Nelson, and our Fearless Leader, Nathan Massie.

Click on any photo to see a larger image.

The group assembles and showers each other with mutual car envy.

OK, some chit-chatting also transpired

A westbound look at a southbound car

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours ... .

Which way are we heading?!?

The Umpteenth Ward assembles nearby for a cultural outing

Snow draped mountains framed the scene at the rendezvous point

In Clearfield, where our reinforcements were gathered (personnel and food)

Picnicking at Garr Fielding Ranch

An outlier at the picnic

Nathan running the Umpteenth Antelope Island Trivial Challenge. Example: "What does an Australian wash his face in?" Answer: a bison

Speaking of which, they were having an outing, too

At Buffalo Point, pondering Buffalo Burgers

A southbound look at a northbound Australian