ewwwwwww. That back again -- makes my muscles tense in sympathy.
But great photos -- nice to see that country again.
ewwwwwww. That back again -- makes my muscles tense in sympathy.
But great photos -- nice to see that country again.
To Jacob Lake.
We turned onto Scenic 12, a wonderful Byway with so much to see and do along it's lenght, that we hope to come back another day and explore it in more depth. For now though we have to make do with a couple of short stops along the way The first of these was a turn out by the side of the road called the Larb Hollow overlook which has wonderful views of the Waterpocket fold in Capitol Reef and the Henry mountains.
From Larb Hollow.
We then drove over the Hogs back, a section of road that runs along a ridge and has drop offs either side, before stopping briefly at Calf Creek for more superb views. Just down the road is the Kiva Koffeehouse that we had been looking forward to stopping at. It was another place that we had called at last time we drove through the area in the RV, only to find it closed. It's an interesting building that's blended in with the mountain almost as 'one' and has a curved glass front supported by huge timbers offering great views.
We ordered some food that we thought would be quick and easy and a coffee. The coffee was OK, but we were not offered any refills while we waited for an age for our food. When they did bring food to our table it was for a couple who had ordered after us which seemed to highlight the fact we had been forgotten. Eventually we got our food but with no apology and no offer of a refill of coffee. The couple sitting near us were having similar issues and between us we managed to laugh about it. The waitress appeared to be on a 'trip' of her own and the person who took our order kind of made us feel like we were an inconvenience and that she was doing us a favour serving us ! It's a unique place in a beautiful setting and is worth experiencing once for sure, just don't expect to much in the way of service or hospitality judging by our visit.
We got back on the road and I already knew that a quick revisit to Bryce canyon was not going to happen, which was a big shame as we love this park, but we know we will be back one day, just don't know when ! Just a little way past Tropic we came to the Mossy Cave Trailhead so we pulled off the road for a quick look. It's part of Bryce NP, but located right by the roadside of UT12 and offers a wonderful easy walk along Water canyon with views of Hoodoos and windows in the rocks above. Water canyon is actually an irrigation ditch dug out by Mormon pioneers with picks and shovels from 1890 to 1892. Mossy cave is not much of a spectacle, at least not at this time of year when dry, but the walk is and you can continue to a small waterfall and beyond if you so wish, it's very peaceful as well.
With reluctance we drove past the turn off to Bryce canyon and continued through the red rock arch in Red canyon on the edge of the Dixie Forest, another great place for a stop and a walk among the red rocks.
It was time to get a move on as we reached US89 and headed south towards Kanab and US89A to Jacob Lake Inn. We drove through some small towns that looked as though they were struggling to keep going with a mix of run down and quaint buildings and then into the Kaibab National Forest with some wonderful views. We stopped at Le Fevre Overlook which offered great views of the Grand staircase and surrounding areas as the sun was setting.
We arrived at Jacob Lake at 7:40pm only to be reminded that we had gained an hour with the time zone. We checked into our cosy cabin in the woods before making our way back for an evening meal at the Inn. They had the choice of a sit down restuarant or a bar and stools set out in a square with the waiter in the middle. We chose the bar which had a nice friendly atmosphere with good food. This was the first time all trip we had stayed two consecutive nights in the same lodgings which was a bit of a relief as I knew if worse came to the worst, then I could rest up here for a day and a half with my back. Of course I was keeping my fingers crossed as tomorrow we plan a trip to the North rim.
Todays mileage 249 Average speed =45mph. Return = 33.5mpg.
Total mileage = 3440.
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-14-2013 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Added route map.
Highway 12 in Utah is probably one of my very favorite drives - anytime of year (except Winter). Hope you enjoyed the very best bakery around at Jacob Lake Lodge. We've been known to re-route our trip just to stop by for a treat!
Yes I have to agree Pat, Utah 12 is a wonderful drive, especially when combined with UT24 around Capitol Reef.Highway 12 in Utah is probably one of my very favorite drives
Oh no ! I feel as though I missed out on something special ! We spent time and ate in the lodge, but resisted the goodies on offer at the bakery !Hope you enjoyed the very best bakery around at Jacob Lake Lodge.
The North rim.
Our little cabin in the woods was basic yet cosy, it was quiet and relaxing, it was definitely our type of place. We walked the long way around the camp to the Inn to ease my back once again and then sat down to a lovely breakfast of pancake, eggs and sausage patte. It was very nice as was the service. We had a look around the store and then slowly made our way back to the cabin through the woods, it was time to make our way to the North rim.
The Grand canyon was the place it all began for us, the main reason for our first ever visit to the USA 6 years ago. It actually goes back a lot further than that to my childhood dream of visiting this wonder of the world which, 'way back then', seemed an impossible dream. I guess the interest in the USA started while watching spaghetti westerns, films like 'Easy Rider' [that was some road trip !] and a fellow by the name of Elvis Presley, who was making is come back. When planning our first trip we researched and discovered and learnt so much more about the USA and a lot of that was done here at Roadtrip America, we were helped by real people with real experiences. The information provided here with such attention to detail was invaluable and is something that no App or mapping program could ever provide. I'm pleased to have been a member ever since and I still learn and discover new things every day here.
Enough 'waffling' already, we were soon on the road and excitedly heading south along the Kaibab Plateau on AZ64. Before heading to the area around North rim lodge, we turned off towards Imperial point and Cape royal. Much to our dissapointment the Cape Royal road was closed so we continued to Imperial point which offers the highest viewpoint in Grand canyon NP. We walked along the rim and headed a short way along a trail through the woods which started to steer us away from the canyon, but we got some lovely views towards Marble canyon in the distance.
We spent 2 to 3 hours just taking in the views and enjoying the moment, soaking up the atmosphere and wonder of this place, boy it felt good ! We then drove back to AZ64 and towards the North rim lodge area. We parked up in the first parking area we came to and started to walk which is something we like to do for a little exercise, easier parking and to see those little things we might otherwise miss. In this instance we spotted a few British sports cars from 'Yesteryear' that were immaculate and drawing attention of passers by. The path led passed views of Roaring Springs canyon and onto Bright Angel point. The path to Bright Angel does have a small section where there are steep drop off's either side and Lezli done well to overcome her slight fear of heights. Thank goodness for railings !
You have to keep an eye out for pick pockets in the area and do not let your bag out of your sight ! This one I caught in the act. Lol
We slowly made our way to Grand canyon lodge and visitor centre where we had a wander around and got a bite to eat. We had Pizza and coffee sat outside on a bench on the veranda watching the GC road train come and go. This was supposed to be lunch but it was 5pm and the first thing we had ate since breakfast. We were very impressed with the buildings and their stone walls, high ceilings and large timber supports all looking rather Granduer. The views from the lodge sat high on the rim were also impressive. It was now late afternoon/early evening and all thoughts of visiting Marble canyon this evening were gone, we were not going to miss the opportunity to witness the sunset over the North rim so we walked out of the lodge and onto a path that took us to a small outcrop with railings and found a comfortable rock to sit on. [No it wasn't softer than the others but was well formed. ;-) ]
It was a great experience and as difficult as it was, I put the camera down and we sat together in silence, words were not needed.
[I did however take a few shots early on.]
Rather than go back through the lodge we decided to follow the Transept trail around it, not knowing where it led but hoping back to the road. As we walked the sun had dropped behind the canyon and melted away to leave darkness and the path started to head further from the direction of the road. We noticed some lights from a building above us, up a steep bank and a cross a wooded area, not the sort of terrain my back needed at this point, but we went for it. Half way across we were given a fright in the dark, a swift movement followed by the snapping of twigs. We just made out the shape of 2 deers running off that we must have startled. The short cut worked out well and after making our way through the cabins and to the road we ended up just 100 yards from our car.
Sundown from the Transept trail.
We drove back towards Jacob Lake hoping to make it back in time for something to eat when we saw the lights of Kaibab lodge and decided to have a quick look to see what was on offer. It had a little store that we had a quick look around as the desk that we presumed was for lodging and dining was busy. We then stood near the desk for a little while, but everyone seemed too busy to even acknowledge we were there, never mind offer assistance, so we jumped back in the car and made it back to Jacob Lake Inn with time to sit at the bar and enjoy another good evening meal in nice company. We strolled back to our cabin at 10pm and were still chatting about the Grand canyon. Our thoughts then turned to tomorrow where it was back to Vegas and hand the car back.
Mileage 105. Average speed = 43mph. Return = 41mpg.
Total mileage =3545
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-29-2014 at 11:11 AM. Reason: Broken map link
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-23-2013 at 03:02 AM. Reason: Typo.
Fabulous shots of the cars and the Grand Canyon. Thanks for sharing the thoughtful memories too.
Back to Vegas.
This morning we wanted to get the bags sorted out packed and ready for the flight home tomorrow and the car cleaned ready for it's return, but first breakfast was calling so we strolled over to Jacob Lake Inn and had sausage and egg with a pancake. It was a wonderful way to the start the day with great food and a friendly face serving us. We started to discuss the Grand canyon and the old debate came up, where's best north or south rim ? There really is no straight answer, both are fantastic in there own way. The north rim is usually recommended as a way to escape the crowds that flock to the south rim, but as we travel out of season that wasn't an issue for us when we were at the south rim. If push came to shove we both agreed that the south rim would be our first choice for the number of viewpoints and different perspectives they offered, but either one would do for us. Of course we were denied the opportunity of driving the Cape Royal road and witness the views there, so we will have to return here one day before making a final judgement. [Good excuse]
We walked back to the cabin and Lezli started to sort the cases out and pack our little touristy memorabilia bits we had collected along the way, while I started sorting out the cars special collection of a 'Gazillion' bugs from 6 States. Armed with a bowl of water and a bug cleaning pad we had bought for the screen I set to it. I got most of it off but had to get Lezli to do the lower front section as my back was still sore and I didn't want to risk it just as it was feeling a little better. Car cleaned and cases sorted it was time to drag ourselves away from our little cabin and hit the road. All thoughts of visiting Marble canyon and Coral Pink sand dunes were put aside because of time [well the lack of it] but as there is so much more we want to explore around these parts, it means we will be back !
We drove back up US89A through Fredonia to AZ389 towards Colorado City, but first we had planned a brief stop at Pipe Springs National Monument. We saw the sign and visitor centre and turned off the road but decided to skip the visitor centre and follow the road to take a quick look to see if we could see the spring. We ended up in a small community with a few locals looking at us as they seemed to be wondering who we were and what we were doing. We felt a little uncomfortable but not in a threatened way, more like as though we were trespassing. We turned and went back to the visitor centre only to find that it was the entry point to the monument.
We started with a walk around the museum that told of life around this natural source of water including that of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians whose reservation surrounds the monument and the pioneers that came here. As we made our way outdoors there were many exhibits on show including horse drawn coaches, shelters and old camps. There are stone buildings that remain from the poineer era including Winsor castle, a fortified ranch house that was used to protect them from the Indians. There is livestock in the paddocks, ducks on the pond and the odd chicken running around, then there are the gardens that have been spring fed and cultivated for a thousand years. The time flew by and our brief visit went well past the hour mark and that was without a ranger guided tour that they offer around Winsor castle.
It was a very rewarding experience and more than we were expecting.
We crossed back into Utah in Colorado City and continued to Hurricane and UT9 to I15 which took us through the scenic Virgin river Gorge section which is said to be the most expensive piece of Interstate per mile ever built.
Virgin river Gorge I15.
Time is once again moving swiftly along but we didn't want to pass up on the chance to drive through the Valley of Fire so we exited onto NV169 towards Moapa Valley and Overton where we once agian found ourselves snacking in McDonalds.
More to follow............
Day 15 cont...... After eating and having the 'local' lad tell me that the only way back to Vegas would be to come back this way on ourselves through Moapa Valley and up to 115 or face hours of driving south untill we eventually came to Vegas I was a bit concerned. This was a bit of a curve ball as we were already later than expected and had to return the car and I thought that it was an easy drive through Valley of Fire back to I15 with no back tracking. Thank goodness it turned out that I knew a bit more than the local.
We entered the Valley of Fire State park and it wasn't long before we were wishing we had more time to explore deeper into the park and spend more time from the car. We knew from day 1 it was going to be a quick detour with just an overview of the place as we made our way to Vegas and that we would have to come back another day, if it felt worthy enough. WE WILL BE BACK !!
We drove right through the park on the Valley of Fire Highway and re-joined I15. As we made our way south we started to see signs for US93 to Great Basin NP and Pioche City, we had seen so much since we followed them signs just a couple of weeks ago it seemed like 'then' was another trip altogether ! It was a 'bitter sweet' moment as we recalled those earlier parts of the trip while knowing it was soon to come to an end. Soon the Stratosphere tower was just visible in the haze and we were making our way through the Vegas traffic back to our hotel.
It was 5:30pm when we checked in at the Best western McCarran Inn and after emptying the car and having a coffee we drove the car back to the rental office. The process was quick and simple, we drove into the car park and stopped in a bay signed for 'returns' behind a few other cars. The attendants were walking down the row scanning the cars and recording mileages. It was just a couple of minutes later that we were attended to in a friendly, fuss free way. The guy's eyes widened a little when he took the recorded mileage and as there was noboby queueing behind he said "Wow, that's some trip I take it you didn't stay in Vegas" and a brief chat followed before we got the free shuttle bus back to the airport to meet the hotel shuttle bus. First we went to the flight desk as our check in time was 4am [three hours for International flights] and the first shuttle bus in the morning was 5am, we thought this should be ok as it's under a 10 minute journey but wanted to check. The flight attendant said they prefer people to arrive 3 hours before but if that was our first available shuttle bus then we would be OK.
We were back at our hotel at 8pm and the Strip was lit up and beckoning us to go there. We had thought about a late night out and to just go through with no sleep or get a take away meal from around the corner. Before deciding anything I decided to check with the porter that the shuttle bus would definitely leave at 5am and explained that we needed to leave on time and he said no problem. While I was there I asked if there was a nearby diner and he said there were a few to choose from just a 10 min walk away. That sounded great, clear our heads and get out for a couple of hours. We ended up in the Hard Rock Cafe on the corner of Paradise Rd and E Harmon Ave. This was the original Vegas establishment, but they have since opened one on the Strip which is the more popular, which in turn makes this one a quieter and more relaxed affair but is still very impressive with all the memorabilia from the music industry covering the walls. The food was great and service was excellent and we were glad we decided to eat out on our final night.
Todays mileage 265. Average speed. 52mph. Return. 35mpg
Total mileage = 3810
We managed a few hours sleep when our early morning call awoke us. We got the coffeee on the go and showered and then made our way to the lobby, we were instantly surprised at the number of people there waiting. As we made our way out of the doors the driver done a headcount and then informed us that there were to many people and asked for those with a non urgent time schedule to step back and he would be a half hour. Nobody wanted to give up their seat and I explained that our check in was an hour ago and that I had spoken to the desk and they had said I would get away at 5am. As he informed me that they do not take bookings there was a bit of shuffling for position going on around us so that very British bit of me that has been taught to queue patiently went out of the window and despite risking my bad back I told Lezli to get the other end of the cases and put them in the back of the van and jumped into a seat and waited while the driver sorted out his problem.
The flight was on time and there were no problems with checking in. We had a 4 hour change over in NY which gave us time to wander around and have something to eat before boarding our onward flight. At least changing in NY made the second leg of the long flight shorter than we have been used to but it was still loooooong. I must have walked 15 miles around each plane just to try and keep my back from getting so stiff I wouldn't be able to move at all. We arrived at Heathrow feeling weary and a little sad that it was all over, but after clearing customs and heading out to look for our DIL, I heard a little voice calling 'Grandad, Grandad' [or as close as a 20 month old can get] and a cuddle and a kiss later I was feeling much better.
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-29-2014 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Broken map link
Interesting it almost came to warfare to catch the shuttle.
Really enjoyed the entire tale!