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Airstream camping in Ogden, Utah


The Utah scenery abruptly vanished when the wind kicked up and created a brownout of smoke and grit from Provo to Ogden so thick we could barely see the huge temple in downtown SLC. People everywhere were apologizing. (“It’s never like this!”) A crusty guy in line at the gas station convenience store reported that “one of the islands in the lake”—what on earth could he have been talking about—was on fire due to a lightning strike.

When a state park is downgraded to a county park it falls into a bureaucratic black hole for a period, making it impossible to find online or otherwise. Such was the fate of Fort Buenaventura, which we finally discovered hidden behind the railroad yard. Built in the 1840s by trapper Miles Goodyear as a re-supply fort for (three guesses, first two don’t count) the Oregon Trail pioneers, it’s now an endearing recreated version of the original fort with a campground where fur trade re-enactors stage events like shooting contests and locals gather for their enormous family reunions.

Ogden has a couple of unique must-sees. The vintage Peery Theatre is a sensational example of the kooky Egyptian Revival architectural style of the 20s, when the nation went wild after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. The train museum in Union Station celebrates Utah’s railroad history; the “golden spike” at Promontory Summit was driven north of Ogden, commemorating the completion of the transcontinental railroad. (Later the tracks were relocated to a more sensible location in town.) Gun and car geeks will enjoy the adjacent classic car and Browning firearms museums.

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