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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    272

    Default Spring 2007 - Roadtrip #3: Utah

    First it was 48 states in 30 days in Summer 2005.

    Then it was the Great West in Fall 2006.

    So, for Spring 2007 my folks and I have once again packed up for a 2 week road trip. This time we're going to see Utah and all of its National Parks. We're also taking routes so we can see some California National Parks, as well as the desolate central Nevada terrain. (Original thread is here).

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    ======== DAY 1 ======== (Updated May 13, 2007 - 9:00pm PDT)

    On May 13th at 12:00pm PDT, we left our home in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Ten minutes after leaving we discovered that the Chevrolet Uplander mini van we rented had dead accessory outlets. I was in a state of panic but then my dad being the mechanic he is figured it was just a blown fuse. So it was. We switched fuses with the rear A/C blower (since no one is in the far back of the van anyway) and all was well again. We'll pick up an extra fuse somewhere along the way.

    Anyway we headed up I-15 past Barstow and arrived at the Calico Ghost Town at 2:30pm PDT. This was the final day of their annual Bluegrass Festival, so we got to hear some slammin' tunes. I normally despise country music, but if it's bluegrass then oddly enough I dig it.

    After walking around, seeing the Maggie Mines, and having a buffalo burger, we headed out at 5:00pm PDT and stopped briefly at Barstow Station before heading directly west on Hwy 58. (Our GPS unit permanently lost satellite reception from this point on so I was driving blind with just the road map.) We turned north on Hwy 395 at Kramer Junction and arrived in Ridgecrest at 7:00pm PDT. Here we will stay for the night...

    Tomorrow comes 105°F Death Valley. (Woo wee!)
    Last edited by Kinless; 05-13-2007 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Small edit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Please post in a linear fashion....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless View Post
    Below the dashed line I will be updating this post, newest information on top so you don't always have to scroll to the bottom. When our trip is completed, I will reverse it chronologically and add a conclusion.
    Joey, (Kinless) as much as I can see the logic of your intent, please post each new entry at the bottom of the thread so that it reads chronologically (you won't be able to change it by editing the thread at the end of the trip).

    Enjoy Death Valley tomorrow! Which entrance are you using?

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
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    272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Enjoy Death Valley tomorrow! Which entrance are you using?
    We'll be heading in from the west using Hwy 178 up to Hwy 190 and then heading east through Stovepipe Wells and towards the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

    The main goal for tomorrow is Badwater Basin. (It's that whole geographical nerd thing I got going.) And we'll probably take a look at the Devils Golf Course, Artists Drive, and then loop back around and see Dante's View.

    I see other interesting PoIs but I want to try and stay on paved roads.

  4. Default

    This is my first week of my Road Trip coming in now less than a month. Bay Area>Yosemite>Zion>Bryce>C. Reef>Arches/Canyonlands, so I'll be following your travels closely.

    Have fun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    Default Day 2

    Ah hah, the "Edit" feature is gone. Sneaky... [Editor's Note: Sorry, there was some abuse of the tool]

    ======== DAY 2 ======== (Updated May 14, 2007 - 10:00pm MDT)

    We left Ridgecrest reasonably early and headed out on Hwy 178 through Panamint Valley. I absolutely love traveling down the middle of the valley while high mountain ranges tower over us on either side. We turned at the 190 junction and headed east toward Stovepipe Wells. I had to stop and take pictures of the "Elevation: Sea Level" sign. Awesome.

    After heading to Furnace Creek, my dad gets it in his head he has to see Scottys Castle. Grah, that wasn't part of the plan, so I initially scrapped it, but I was getting the pout show, so while at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, I decided to sacrifice Dante's View for the Castle. In the meantime we headed first to Badwater Basin and got pics of the -282 ft elevation sign. There were a LOT of people in this area. After spending 20 minutes here, we headed back and checked out Devils Golf Course. (I snuck a few licks of some salt deposits. Mmmm...) and then we topped it off with a drive through Artists Drive (and Palette). Good stuff.

    We headed back to Scottys Castle. Unfortunately the timing wasn't quite right. We got there at 2:15pm PDT and the next tour wasn't available for another 45 minutes, and we had to be in St. George, UT that night, so we made the decision to take a quick look around for 20 minutes and then book it.

    From there we used Hwy 267 to head towards Hwy 95 via Scottys Junction, passing through Las Vegas for gas and food before continuing (using the 215 belt) over to the I-15 north.

    I loved the I-15 portion through Arizona as we rounded about the tall rock formations. WOW. Loved that. Gotta do that again soon.

    Here we are in St. George, UT with a time zone change to Mountain. We visit a long-lost friend in the morning and then head to Zion. Good times...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-14-2007 at 10:14 PM. Reason: Policy Note

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
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    272

    Default Day 3

    ======== DAY 3 ======== (Updated May 16, 2007 - 7:30am MDT)

    After visiting one of mom's old friends in St. George, UT (and buying some western gear 50% off from a place going out of business) we continued up the north I-15 briefly before taking Hwy 9 east heading toward Zion National Park.

    Of course as we near, the signs claimed the parking lots were full, but Dad has his Golden Age passport, which gets us all into the park free. It wouldn't have been so if we had to park outside the boundaries and shuttle in. So we said we were "going through" (which technically we were, just not right away, hee hee) and found plenty of space at the Zion Visitor Center. (I'm sure it's much harder to find one of the 450 spaces at peak times on weekends or in the summer.) I know why they want to keep vehicles out of the park as much as possible, but heck we were driving through anyway, and we were only staying 3 hours.

    We took their shuttle and went all the way up to the Temple of Sinawava, where the walls of the canyon completely surround you. We took a little stroll down to the Virgin River and I soaked my feet in freezing cold water. Great stuff.

    Back down the shuttle path we headed, stopping at Big Bend, Zion Lodge, and the Patriarchs before coming back to the center.

    We continued east on Hwy 9 through the mile-long tunnel and a little more of the park before emerging on the other side and striking Hwy 89. We headed north and made our way to Hwy 12 where we settled in at the Bryce Canyon resort. I made reservations for one of their 2-room cabins (parents loving it) and here we are.

    Day 4 will be horseback riding and driving through Bryce National Park...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Hey, stop this.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless View Post
    Day 4 will be horseback riding and driving through Bryce National Park...
    Man, you are making us office-bound trippers very envious! Seriously, I am enjoying the tale....

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    Default Day 4

    ======== DAY 4 ======== (Updated May 16, 2007 - 7:45pm MDT)

    Today we got an early start and headed out to the Scenic Rim Horseback Ride staged across the street from Rubys Inn around 9:30am MDT. (The girl who saddled my horse was quite easy on the eyes, I must say...) We spent the next 90 minutes riding through the forest to the North End of Bryce. I hadn't ridden a horse in over 10 years (and my folks over 30 years) but we all thought it was the greatest thing ever. Surprisingly, I'm not sore. Yet.

    After that concluded, we drove to the south end of Bryce, starting with Rainbow Point, and slowly worked our way back up north. It's a good thing, too, because it saved the best viewing for last. The Bryce and Inspiration Points were the highlight of the entire run. I must have taken over 100 pictures today. After 3 hours of that we headed east on Hwy 12.

    All was hunky dory for a while. But here's where the whole vacation quickly went south. I noticed most small towns on this highway posting 40 MPH speed limits, to which I always kept to the rule of "never go 10 above the post," meaning I kept it in the 45MPH area. Unfortunately when I passed through Escalante, I failed to notice that the limit in this town was 30 MPH (on a 4-lane highway??? Most 2-laners had at least 40!) so just as I'm getting out of the town, I got flashed down by the local officer who clocked me at 47 in a 30.

    Son of a...

    That's pretty low for a small town. Guess they were getting hard up for lunch money. I'd say something but that would drastically alter the G-rating of this thread.

    He did me a "favor" and wrote me up for 11 over instead of 17, saving me $50, but that's still $107 I won't be spending on this trip. Not to mention what I'll have to do back home to keep this ticket off my record. I've never received a moving violation in my life, but the thought of higher insurance premiums kept me from enjoying the rest of the Hwy 12 scenery.

    We've stopped here in Torrey, UT, just a few miles west of Capitol Reef National Park, where we'll be spending the morning. Then it's off to Moab.

    *sigh* Son of a...

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Default Day 5

    ======== DAY 5 ======== (Updated May 17, 2007 - 10:15pm MDT)

    After leaving the small town of Torrey, UT, we continued east on Hwy 24 into Capitol Reef National Park.

    I was still bitter about the events of the day before. (Yes, one of my personal faults is the 24-hour "I hate my life" syndrome when something very unfortunate happens. You'll have to deal.) But I forced myself to take pictures of the highlights of the park. After hitting the visitor center, we headed down the Scenic Route and gawked at the huge rock formations high above. We didn't go into any of the gorges, since we didn't feel like dirt roads today, and cumulus clouds were starting to form.

    After heading back, we continued east on Hwy 24 through the rest of the park and seeing some more hot spots. Some of them were unfortunately hiking distance and the parents didn't want to do that, so had to pass up the major Capitol Dome.

    Leaving the park, we continued on Hwy 24 and connected to Hwy 95 south. Being the scenic route, the rock formations continued their steady presence, towering over us at every turn. We passed through Glen Canyon and saw the overlook of the Colorado River and onward south. After a few hours we finally arrived at the Natural Bridges National Monument.

    We did the 9-mile loop and found all 3 bridges. The only one I really hiked to was the last one, Owachomo, which is the prominent-looking arch. My folks watched from the outlook as I descended to my goal. The 0.2 miles down was easy. Not so much on the 0.2 miles up. Need to exercise more. Whew.

    This being our final event for the day, we continued east to Hwy 191 and headed north. We could see thunderheads looming, and by the time we neared our destination of Moab, UT, we could see the lightning bolts off to our west. *happy sigh*

    I really like this town of Moab. It has everything you need (well, except the Wal-mart, but whatever). It's quaint, and we had dinner at Pizza Jay's. Excellent Italian food.

    We're staying here 2 nights, so no excessive driving for Day 6. Arches comes first, then Canyonlands the day after. More rock gawk for us tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
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    Default Moab is a favorite of ours too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless View Post
    I really like this town of Moab. It has everything you need
    There is a cool place on the south side of town overlooking the river with good food and nice views. Also a pretty great mural....Still enjoying your telling-of-the-tale.

    Oh, and I finally got the dcTPP award in the mail to you.... It will be waiting for you upon your return home.

    Mark

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