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  1. #1

    Default Pacific Northwest - Summer Sojourn 2014

    It is time to hit the road again! Another big trip planned for the next 2 - 1/2 months.

    The general itinerary is;
    Tucson to N Arizona
    S. Utah, then across Nevada
    California - E. Sierras, Yosemite, Placerville, N on I-5, & Lassen Volcanic NP
    Oregon - Central and US 101 from Florence to Columbia River.
    Washington - Cascades to W Coast
    Alaska - fly to Anchorage then 7 days Southbound Cruise
    NYC - mid-June, a quick trip (fly) for some National Park sites missed last Fall.

    All of this area has been traveled before, although we always find new surprises along the way!

    Whew - I'm tired!

    With poor connectivity in the West I will probably try to post, at least, once a week.

    Stay tuned,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Pmount View Post
    Whew - I'm tired!
    And you haven't even left yet!


  3. #3

    Default Ice Break on the Santa Cruz

    Leaving behind 100 degrees and cactus flowers. On Friday the ' Ice Broke on the Santa Cruz'. A local TV station adopted the contest from Alaska - where the ice really does break up. All Spring people can submit the day and time they predict the ice will break - the first time it reaches 100 at the airport. Santa Cruz refers to the River that flows north, from Mexico, through Tucson. Water flowing is not exactly a year-round occurrence. There is water in the channel only a few days a year, if we are lucky. Be careful if someone in Tucson asks you to go fishing for sand trout, they are pulling your leg!

    The cactus flowers start blooming in February and different species continue to bloom into summer. There is a lapse, then the barrel cactus bloom in August.

    Blooming in my yard this AM

    Saguaro blooms in front yard this AM

  4. #4

    Default Grand Canyon to Kanab, UT

    Sunday, May 18, 2014
    Start: Tucson, AZ
    Finish: Canyon Vista campground (USFS), S of Flagstaff, AZ 487

    On the road by 9 AM. North on I-10, then I-17 through Phoenix. First stop was for a drive-by letterbox along the frontage road. 95 degrees, didn't feel too bad, as long as you weren't exerting yourself! A quick stop at Costco for gas and lunch before continuing north towards Flagstaff.

    First National Park Service (NPS) stop at Montezuma Castle, much quieter than usual. On their information board they had posted that their visitation yesterday was, 1388. The parking lot is very small, we've had trouble parking there in the past. An overcast sky and breeze made the air very pleasant. Besides the ruins Wet Beaver Creek runs along the base and has water most of the year. Below the Visitor Center is a nice picnic area near the creek and shaded by towering Arizona White Sycamore trees. While there we purchased the collector token for this site. About a year ago national park sites began selling these quarter-sized pewter-like tokens. Most parks sell them for 99 cents, a fun collectible. Folders, similar to the ones sold for smashed pennies are also available to store the tokens.

    Montezuma Castle

    Wet Beaver Creek

    Towering Arizona White Sycamore

    Continued N on I-17, up the Mogollon Rim into Flagstaff. Right before I-17 crosses I-40 we took the Lake Mary Road south for,a few miles to a small campground along the rim of Walnut Canyon. Besides camping this is a very popular trailhead for rock climbers, it also is a connector to the Arizona Trail.

    Comfortable temperature, but very windy, as predicted. We were able to sit out of the wind up against the van.

    Monday, May 19
    Start - S. Of Flagstaff, AZ
    Finish - Ten X campground (USFS),S. Of Tusayan, AZ

    Very quiet night in camp. Woke up to chittering, my description of the sound Broad-tailed Hummingbirds make. We had hung a feeder when we arrived and there was no action last night. They found it this morning, I observed at least 5 coming and going to the feeder. They are a bit aggressive with each other, but put on a good aerial show.

    While traveling through Flagstaff we visited Walnut Canyon NM. Highly recommend taking the trail down, and then up to see the ruins. The peninsula where the ruins are located make a unique setting. The trail distance is. to long, but the 200 plus steps at 7000 ft elevation makes for a tough walk. They are currently rebuilding the trail, with some access limited, but the main ruins can be seen. While in the area we checked on a letterbox my husband had planted over a year ago. There had been approximately 10 finders.

    In town we shopped at the new REI, off Butler, near Northern Arizona University. We drove into downtown to find the old post office, 1936. The copper work on the front is beautiful. Many of the Flagstaff buildings are built using the Coconino red sandstone. The county courthouse, built in 1894, is a prime example.

    Old Coconino County Courthouse

    We left Flagstaff on US 180, heading north towards the Grand Canyon. The wind continued to be very strong. In Tusayan we stopped at RP's Stage stop for a set of smashed pennies, new set for us. Before entering the park we stopped for a new letterbox and to do some maintenance on one planted a number of years ago.

    We arrived at the entrance station at 1:30 and saw the Full sign- lodging, trailer village and Mather campground. We headed back south to Ten X and found a site there. This time of year, and on a Monday, we have always been able to get a campsite in the park as long as we arrived before 3 PM. For anyone heading this way, Ten X also has reservable sites through

    Back into the park to look for one of the original buildings that was used as a post office. Luckily it was marked with a plaque. We had a picture, but most of the Bright Angel cabins look alike. The original logs are still exposed on the exterior of this building. Later we found the post office that served after the cabin, and before the current one in the Market Plaza. We walked along the rim and got additional passport stamps at Kolb Studio and Verkamp's Visitor Center. Before heading back to camp we enjoyed a Grand Canyon Pale Ale at the Pizza & Pub at Maswik Lodge. The pub was not busy and much more relaxing than most of the places along the rim.

    When we got back to the campground we saw a bundle of wood at an empty campsite. In our travels along Route 66 we have seen almost everything use Rt 66 as part of their advertising. This was a new one for us - Route 66 wood, Get your sticks on Rt. 66.

    Old Post Office at Grand Canyon Village

    Post Office plaque

    Rim View

    Rt. 66 wood

    Tuesday, May 20
    Start: S of Tusayan, AZ
    Finish: Ponderosa Grove campground (BLM) 15 miles NW of Kanab, UT

    Checked Fried Steak for breakfast! Grand Canyon plate at Maswik Lodge includes 2 eggs, choice of meat, chicken fried steak and gravy for us, potatoes and toast for $7.50. Same plate in January was $6.25. Along with a bowl of oatmeal for $1.95 this made a great meal to share.

    As crowded as the village was Monday afternoon Yavapai Point Geology Museum was empty. What a pleasure to view the canyon and exhibits without wall-to-wall people. The bookstore manager told us it stayed quiet until 11 AM when the train and tour busses arrive.

    A stop at the main Visitor Center we stopped for passport stamps. They had a nice display of all the stamps you can get in the park. The only one missing was the one for the Albright Training Center, which we got yesterday.

    Passport stamp display

    We drove east on AZ 64 towards Cameron with stops at Grandview Point, Tusayan Museum and Desert Tower. At Grandview Point there was a hotel built in the 1880s, that also housed a post office. Mining was also done there. All remains of both businesses were removed when the park was established. Interpretative signs have historic pictures and good background information. The short trail at Tusayan Museum displays the archaeological remains of prehistoric village, including a small and large kiva. I always enjoy the view at the base of the Watchtower at Desert Tower, a nice long stretch of the Colorado River looking north, upriver.

    It may still be a week away from Memorial Day, but the crowds and rental RVs indicate the summer tourism season is in full swing.

    RV rentals at Grandview Point

    Last year a portion of US 89 south of Page gave way, closing access to Page on US 89. There was a long run-around through Tuba City and Kaibito. Last Fall T-89 was fully paved and opened at Gap, AZ. They paved Navajo 20. This was our first time on and we were pleased with this excellent road.

    A couple of stops in Page for passport stamps at the Powell Museum and Visitor Center, letterbox and supplies before crossing the Colorado River and stopping at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. This is the location for tours of the Glen Canyon dam.

    As we left Arizona we realized we had seen all but 4 state's license plates in the 2-1/2 days traveling in Arizona.
    Missing- KS, MS, WV & ME

    On our way to Kanab we stopped at Big Water Visitor Center, part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, a BLM site. They have great fossil displays. The volunteer on duty told us they are discovering and excavating dinosaurs, some fairly complete, on a regular basis.

    Outside of Kanab we camped at a BLM campground, Ponderosa Grove. Only a few sites and only $5 a night, $2.50 for Golden Age. Located within the Coral Sand Dunes, a few miles before the state park by the same name. Still windy!

    Wednesday Preview: Zion campgrounds full by 9 AM!

    Sunday - 1
    Monday - 2
    Tuesday - 2

    Passport Stamps
    Montezuma Castle National Monument - Camp Verde, AZ
    - Montezuma Castle National Monument - Historic Visitor Center 1960
    Theodore Roosevelt 1858-1919 - The National Parks: America's Best Idea
    Arizona's Centennial 1912-2012 - Montezuma Castle
    Walnut Canyon National Monument - Flagstaff, AZ
    Grand Canyon National Park
    Albright Training Center - Grand Canyon, AZ
    Grand Canyon National Park - Kolb Studio
    Grand Canyon National Park - Verkamp's
    Grand Canyon National Park - Yavapai Geology Museum
    Grand Canyon National Park - Yavapai Point, AZ
    Grand Canyon National Park - Grand Canyon, AZ
    Grand Canyon National Park - Grand Canyon Visitor Center
    Grand Canyon National Park - Tusayan Ruin
    Desert View - Grand Camyon, AZ
    Historic Kolb Studio - Grand Canyon South Rim
    Verkamp's Visitor Center - Grand Canyon
    - Albright Training Center
    NPS Arrowhead
    Wilderness 50 years 1964-2014

    Old Spanish NHT - Powell Museum, AAz
    Old Spanish NHT - Page, AZ
    Glen Canyon National Recreation Area - Page, AZ
    Grand Staircase-Escalante NM - Big Water, UT
    Old Spanish NHT - Grand Staircase - Escalante NM, UT
    -Nothronychus graffami (dinosaur)

    Smashed Pennies
    RP's Stage Stop - Tusayan, AZ

    NPS Collector Tokens
    Montezuma Castle NM - 1
    Grand Canyon NP - 2

    Wildlife Sightings
    Abert's Squirrel
    Mule Deer
    Black-tailed Jackrabbit

    Common Raven
    Northern Mockingbird
    Turkey Vulture
    American Robin
    Western Bluebird
    Hummingbird, broad-tailed
    Swallow, ?
    Black-throated Warbler
    Great Blue Heron
    Stellar Blue Jay
    Piņon Jay
    House Sparrow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Evidently you passed by the exit on I-17 to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon/Slide Rock SP, before the fire began? I do feel for those in that area -- just went through that. It's going to be a looonnnnnnng summer in these dry areas....


  6. #6

    Default 5/21-24 ut & nv

    Wednesday, May 21

    Start: NW of Kanab, UT
    Finish: St. George, UT

    Even though the days are windy, the nights have been very still - good sleeping. We thought we would get into Zion National Park by mid-morning and be able to get a campsite at South Campground, the first come- first serve campground at Zion, with 127 sites. We arrived at 10 AM and were told they had received the call an hour ago that the campground was full for today. Once down at the Visitor Center we were able to book a room for the night in St. George, so we enjoyed the day in the park. I picked up the Junior Ranger booklet, ages 4 and older. We rode the shuttle into the canyon and enjoyed some time along the Virgin River at the end of the road.

    While at the ranger program I learned that Tarantula Hawks have the second most painful sting of any insect. In a previous field trip report - Central AZ - I posted a picture of one. These have always been a favorite critter of mine. I had no idea that they would sting! I also learned that the female stings and her antennae are curly. So, should I get closer next time to see if it is a female or not?

    View into The Narrows

    Back at the Visitor Center I received my Junior Ranger badge from an energetic and appreciative ranger. On the way to St. George we found 2 letterboxes, one that we looked for on two previous trips, very clever clues.

    Ostrich babies along the roadside

    Shout out to Motel 6 - $45 with excellent free WiFi, plus coffee, tea, etc 24/7.

    Thursday, May 22
    Start: St. George, UT
    Finish: Upper Lehman campground(NPS), Great Basin NP, Baker, NV

    Quick stop at the St. George BLM office for passport stamps for the Old Spanish NHT. North on I-15 and stopping at Kolob Canyon, a unit of Zion NP. While there we met a couple on their honeymoon who were as fanatic as us in collecting passport stamps and completing Junior Ranger programs.
    Honeymoon Couple with Junior Ranger patch blanket

    After a stop in Cedar City for some groceries and another stop at a BLM office we took UT 130 north to Minersville, then on UT21 through Milford to the Nevada border and ultimately to Great Basin National Park.

    Arrived at Great Basin National Park around 2 PM and went immediately to the campground. A few spaces available, enough so we could get a first-choice spot for us. Usually we take one with lots of shade, on previous visits it has been very warm, over 100 degrees in the valley. This weekend it was going to be cool, upper 60s with some showers possible. Campsite 8 was next to the creek, no other campsites near by and plenty of open sky for sunlight.

    Campsite #8 - Upper Lehman Campground

    Mule Deer

    Friday - Saturday
    Start & Finish: Great Basin National Park

    Relaxing morning in camp then down to the Visitor Centers to get passport stamps, tokens and a Junior Ranger booklet. It was cool and overcast, looked and felt like rain at any time. Also visited the office of the Great Basin National Heritage Area, right across the street from the visitor center in Baker. This is a newer heritage area, but the staff had great information of the area covering 2 states and 2 counties. They did not have a passport stamp, but were planning on requesting one from Eastern National, the organization that provides then to eligible sites.

    Great Basin National Heritage Area office

    Campground sign at 11:30 AM

    After lunch I took the Lodge Room cave tour at Lehman Caves, part of the park. It is the shorter tour, 1 hour and all ages can attend. My group had 4 toddlers with attentive adults.

    Cave tour introduction

    Cave interior

    Cave Flowstone

    Cave Bacon

    Campground sign at 3:30 PM, and the rest of the weekend

    Another relaxing, but cool afternoon and evening in camp.


    Flowers along trail

    Another relaxing - aka late start - morning in camp. First stop was at the Baker visitor center to receive my Junior Ranger badge. The booklet took a bit more time, than many, which was fine because we were here for a couple of days. There was more drawing/sketching than others, which I am enjoying. Drawing is a new skill for me.

    We drove up to Strawberry Creek, past the developed, but primitive campground in the park. It was also full. After a stop at the Baker Archeological Site, W of town, we had lunch in Baker at TD's. Tasty Mexican food and local beer, Ruby Mt. Pale Ale, brewed in Wells by some local ranchers.

    Gopher snake

    Stopped at the Ranching Exhibit, between Baker and the park. I like the metal work along the roof line. The old car is a popular photo op.

    Ranching Exhibit Metal Art

    Wine cooler

    Back to camp for birdwatching and early campfire. We had some wood we had purchased in town, but a neighbor camper had gone out to collect wood (outside the park) and brought us an armload of wood and kindling.

    Weekly Update
    Expenses: $383.73
    Miles: 1,013

    Wednesday - 2
    Friday - 1
    Saturday - planted a new one

    Passport Stamps
    Zion National Park
    -Human History Museum
    Springdale, UT
    Kolob Canyons
    Old Spanish National Historic Trail
    St. George, UT
    Cedar City, UT
    BLM Cedar City Field Office, UT
    Great Basin National Park
    Lehman Caves
    Baker, Nevada

    Collectible Tokens
    Zion NP
    -The Narrows
    -Great White Throne - 6,744 feet
    - Angels Landing - 5,785 feet
    Kolob Canyon -
    Great Basin National Park

    Smashed Pennies
    None new

    Wildlife Sightings
    Rock Squirrel
    Ground Squirrel
    Black-tailed Jackrabbit
    Mule Deer
    Gopher snake
    Racer snake

    Common Raven
    Western Bluebird
    House Finch
    Red-tailed Hawk
    Great-tailed Grackle
    House Sparrow
    Cassin's Finch
    Western Tanager
    American Robbin
    Black-throated Sparrow
    Yellow-rumpled warbler
    Ash-throated Flycatcher
    Prairie Falcon
    Canada Goose
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    Northern Flicker
    Pinyon Jay

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default wine cooler

    I liked the "hi-tech" wine cooler.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I like the "wine cooler" as well. But also would love to know what program/website/app you use for the expenses graph?


  9. #9

    Default Expense Graph

    expenses graph
    An app I use on iPad - BizExpense. It is the most adaptable to add categories.
    FYI - meals includes groceries, as well as meals out.
    This was one of our 'cheaper' weeks. Always have a goal of $500.

  10. #10

    Default CA Bound - May 25-26

    Sunday, May 25
    Start: Baker, NV
    Finish: Sherwin Creek campground (USFS), 2 mi SE of Mammoth Lakes, CA

    View of Wheeler Peak in the Snake Range - finally a sunny day

    Heading across Nevada today on US 6. This IS the loneliest highway across Nevada. We've driven US 50 across NV several times and always enjoy that trip. Stops in Ely, Austin and Eureka break up the drive. There are also several places to camp.

    162 miles between services: Ely to Tonopah. Along the way we crossed the southern end of the Pancake Range. This is the area my husband did his Master's thesis at UCLA in the early 70s. He researched the trilobites of the area. This area is half way between Ely and Tonopah.

    Looking north along the Pancake Range

    As we drove past Warm Springs we saw one of the largest herds of Big Horn Sheep grazing near the abandoned buildings.

    Big Horn Sheep - just a few from the herd

    Rest Area - 25 miles E of Tonopah

    This rest area had nice spaces, some picnic tables and a clean restroom with toilet paper. There were no signs restricting camping. It appears it is maintained by the state road department.

    Stopped in Bishop for groceries, gas ($4.21/gal), camp stove repair kit and a USFS stamp for Inyo NF. Arrived at Sherwin Creek campground in the early evening. Pretty full, but I had made reservations. Another very nice campground, campsites were big and had a bear box. The bear box is so nice to have to store food and supplies. Probably mid-70s, perfect evening temperature.

    Monday, May 26
    Start & Finish: Mammoth Lakes, CA

    Went into town for a quick breakfast then up the mountain to pick up the shuttle down to Devil's Postpile National Monument. During the summer, Memorial Day weekend and mid-June into September you have to take the shuttle ($7/person). Leaving the driving to them is well worth the price, it is a steep and a narrow road down into the canyon. Lots of hiking and a resort with a cafe are also along the route.

    While there I was able to complete the Junior Ranger booklet and received a very nice patch. The ranger on duty was the one who gave the Junior Ranger walk while I was at Yosemite last September with my grandson. We recognized each other and got caught up on our Fall/Winter travels. The formation of basalt columns is very unique and beautiful.

    Devil's Postpile

    Top of Devil's Postpile

    Junior Ranger pledge with Ranger Elsa

    Back up at Mammoth Mtn ski area, across from where our car was parked, there was a black bear in the back of an open pick up chowing down on bags of food. We were there when the snowboarders who were having their food eaten arrived. I heard one cry out "he got my samwich", another yelled 'our beer'! It was also causing quite a traffic jam on the road.

    Bear in truck

    Monday afternoon it was very quiet in town. We treated ourselves to a local IPA and sandwich before heading back to an empty camp. Besides the hosts there were only 3 campers in an 87 site campground.

    Passport Stamps
    Devil's Postpile National Monument - Mammoth Lakes, CA
    Inyo National Forest
    -Bishop, CA
    -Mammoth Lakes, CA

    Collectible Tokens


    Wildlife Sightings
    Ground Squirrel
    Big Horn Sheep
    Belding's Ground Squirrel
    Mule Deer
    Black Bear

    Wild Turkey
    Turkey Vulture
    Western Tanager
    House Sparrow
    American Crow
    Red-tailed Hawk
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    American Robin
    American Coot
    Brewer's Blackbird
    Yellow-rumpled Warbler
    Stellar's Bluejay

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