Month: September 2012

Yellowstone Trip – Day 1

Today was a long driving day.  We left the house at Cave Creek at 6:45am, and landed in Fillmore Utah at 4:30pm.  We drove for the first four hours, after getting gas, with no stops.  Where is the dog when I need her?  Speaking of Natasha, Mij said she whined and howled a bit after we left, but she took her into work, and it sounds like they both survived.  Mij was kind enough to send a pic of Natasha, lying in my chair this evening:

Natasha was upset this morning – she kept hopping in the car as we were getting it loaded up. We’re sure she will become Mij’s shadow while we are gone.

 

We are enroute to Jackson, Wyoming.  The plan is to get there in two days.  Today was a 500+ mile drive.  We were both dreading getting in the car again, but the drive turned out to be beautiful.  It was much more scenic than expected, and all the roads were good.  The weather was also perfect.  I took over 500 photos … there was so much to see.  Of course, not all of them are worth looking at 🙂  Be warned though, there are a ton of pics in this post.  

We are staying at the Best Western Paradise Inn in Fillmore, Utah.  And it is Paradise … clean beds, air conditioning that works (don’t really need it), and an onsite restaurant.  All for $79.  We miss the mutt, but did enjoy the chance to have dinner in the restaurant – nothing fancy, but it was FINE.  Even if peas were the vegetable of the day.

Following are a ton of pics from the day’s drive, and they really don’t do justice to one scenic mile after another.

Here we are on Hwy 17, climbing our way to Flagstaff (didn’t we just do this?). We’ve been on the road about half an hour at this point.

 

We picked up I40 at Flagstaff. You can’t tell, but that is a Cemex Ready Mix truck in front of us.  We were on I40 for a few miles, before catching Hwy 89, which is one of the main routes to the Grand Canyon.  

 

We were on Hwy 89 for over 250 miles.  There were several stands along the way, selling crafts like jewelry. This area in Northern Arizona is part of the Navajo Reservation.

 

This is the old bridge that crosses the Little Colorado River. We could see the cliff/ridge of the Grand Canyon when we looked to our left. I’m going to guess that is West, but you know how good my geography is.

 

There were many really interesting rock formations – much like in the Painted Desert.

 

Here is another group – it looks like the photos I showed earlier this week, but the “dunes” are not as well-formed.

 

Lots of red rock in the cliffs as we drove along. We also saw some interesting artwork.

 

A look in the direction of the Grand Canyon. Of course, you can’t see the canyon from here – you have to drive quite aways to get to the rim.

 

We stopped in Page, AZ for lunch (Jack-in-the-Box), and continued on Hwy 89 across the Glen Canyon Bridge.

 

Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona in the United States, near the town of Page. The dam was built to provide hydroelectricity and flow regulation from the upper Colorado River Basin to the lower. Its reservoir is called Lake Powell, and is the second largest artificial lake in the country, extending upriver well into Utah. The dam is named forGlen Canyon, a colorful series of gorges, most of which now lies under the reservoir.  (source: Wikipedia)

This photo is from Wikipedia, and shows the Dam, as well as the bridge on top. We didn’t have time to stop and visit, but it looks interesting.

 

This is our photo of the bridge today. You can only see the top of the dam as you drive over.

 

A view of Lake Powell – this is one of the most popular lakes for house boating and other water activities.

 

You can barely see a large houseboat out on the lake.

 

Just after Lake Powell, we cross the border into Utah.

 

We continued to see many different kinds of rock and cliff formations.

 

The vistas just don’t stop. This was near the turn off to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The monument comprises 1.7 million acres in Utah, and has many different geological formations. Definitely a must do for a return visit.

 

If you don’t like weird rock formations, just skip ahead a bit where there are some cows.

 

I said I took a lot of photos …

 

Kanab was the first bigger city we came to in Utah. It’s got a lot of western character, and is reasonably close to the entrances for Zion and Bryce National Parks.

 

After Kanab, the road winds up the mountain, reminiscent of parts of the Sedona area.

 

There was such diversity in the rock – it kept changing, and in some areas, you could see all kinds of geological chaos occurring.

 

We saw lots of horses and cows today. I include this one, because I know Maris likes horses 😉

 

There were a few small segments of cliffs that looked like this – foreshadowing what we’ll see in Bryce Canyon next week.

 

This is a deer warning sign that has twinkling lights around the edges, to get your attention (I guess). It is solar-powered.

 

A farm with cows.

 

Cows with a view. The red cliffs are most likely
part of Bryce Canyon National Park.

 

We turned off of Hwy 89 onto Hwy 20, in order to cut over to I15. We saw some more cows – this one is going to wrong way, according to the sign.

 

Hwy 20 was also very scenic. It did have some windy parts that reminded us of Hwy 330 to Running Springs.

 

We joined I15 North, and had about 70 miles to go to get to Fillmore. There were still some good views, but not as striking as on 89. We shall see what tomorrow brings, since we go past Salt Lake City and then into Wyoming.

Click HERE for the next post.

Packing up – Again!

Happy to report Natasha is definitely back to her bouncy self. Even with that, Mij says she’s happy to have her for a couple of weeks. We are getting ready to leave early tomorrow for our trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We will also be stopping at Bryce and Zion on the drive home. It will be odd to travel without the pup – do you think Lou will still stop if I need to go to the restroom?

The weather has been beautiful here, even though it reached 90 yesterday. Such a dry heat 😉

Lou was throwing the monkey for Natasha yesterday, and accidentally freaked her out. The monkey caught in the tree branch. Mij was nice enough to get photos with her iPad:

 

 

 

This morning, I was out early with the dog, and saw a strange phenomenon in the sky.  I was quite sure it was the exhaust from an Alien Spaceship, but Mij later confirmed it was the Contrail from a missle launch in New Mexcio.

 

Day 7 – The End (of Phase 1)

The last day of travel on this part of the trek was from Holbrook, Arizona, to Cave Creek.  Cave Creek is also in Arizona, just north of Phoenix.  We were excited to go “home” for a few days, and also to see Mij.

We were awakened early, and Natasha was ready to go out at 4:50 AM.  To be fair, she doesn’t have a watch, so she didn’t know it was not 7:50am (of course, she also wasn’t confused about the time  – given iPhones, time zones, daylight savings, no daylight savings, and so on).

We stayed at Best Western Inns every night on this trip across country. All were good - some very good. The Arizonian was FINE, although I wouldn't stay there in the middle of the summer unless they improve the Air Conditioning.

 

We were packed up and ready to go by 7am. The storm skipped Holbrook the previous night, so it was cool but no rain. Route 66 runs through Holbrook, and you can see some of the historic hotels and buildings.

 

Not long after getting back on I40, we passed the Cholla Power Plant - it was going strong.

 

Trainspotting was pretty good on this leg of the trip. I'm beginning to see why geeky guys might go camp out to watch the trains go by...

 

A closer look at the Locomotives - there were four on this train (I forget exactly why). I do know BNSF is one of Lou's favorites, and he has about 3,000 little BNSF railcars at home (in the train room).

 

Our long journey on Interstate 40 is almost at an end.

 

There's another train in this photo, but I took this one as we started to get our views of mountains. We are heading into Flagstaff, and beginning to climb elevation quickly.

 

Another look at the mountains. These were the first "real" mountains we'd seen in some months. Maine and New York have mountains, but they are more like rolling hills when compared to the ruggedness of the West.

 

Leaving Flagstaff - it is just about ready to start raining.

 

We have less than an hour to go - Hwy 17 to Carefree Hwy.

 

The sky was foggy/hazy as we came down the mountain, but still had some nice scenery.

 

We must be getting close - the Saguaro are plentiful.

 

We made it home to Cave Creek by 11am.  It sure felt good to know we had a few day’s rest.  Natasha didn’t quite know what to make of the house – she spent some time bounding through the hallways, and explored outside.  Then we heard a terrible, high-pitched screeching sound.  We found Natasha sitting in the hallway, looking rather stunned.  We checked her over, and she seemed sensitive around her right ear, but it wasn’t clear what was going on.  Did a scorpion bite her?  I even looked underneath the bed for snakes (hey – this is the desert).  She just didn’t seem right, so I popped her into the car for a trip to the vet.

It was great to see Mij, and she quickly took Natasha back to check her (Mij and I both got a little teary-eyed as we talked about missing Beau).  She found a foxtail in Natasha’s ear.  She also got lots of squiggles and kisses from Natasha.  Doc Baker soon arrived to deal with our emergency.  He was able to get the foxtail out with just a shot to take the edge off.  She was good, and he got the nasty foxtail out.  Whew – what an arrival back to Cave Creek.

I checked her after all our stops for burrs, stickers, and critters, but must have missed the foxtail.  I’m guessing it latched on to her a few days before, and finally made it’s way to her eardrum.  We’ve never seen such a sudden/terrible reaction to a foxtail.  With the Goldens,   we would diagnose it when they started shaking and pawing at their ears.

That was our drama for the day.  Thank Goodness this happened after we reached  Cave Creek.  She is back to her sassy self today, continuing to explore new territory and find new ways to make mischief.

I attempted to take a sunset photo last night – but didn’t have time to change lenses, so this is more of an impressionist look at our Arizona sunsets:

Sunset through the trees...

 

I did better with the sunrise photos this morning.  The house and landscaping all look great – it’s like we never left (well, not quite – Mij is much neater than we are):

 

 

Sunrise in the backyard

 

Road Trip – Day 6, The Answer

Didn’t mean to leave y’all hanging, but it’s been a long day … we will get to that in the next post.

First, to conclude Day 6.  We left Amarillo around 7am.  We (Lou) figured we would reach Gallup, NM far too early, so we changed our reservation to Holbrook, AZ.  The travel day was good, but long.  We made it to Holbrook by 5pm, but that meant 12 hours travel, since we gained two hours.  The last couple hours were spent driving slowly through the Petrified Forest National Park, just 20 miles from Holden.

I left off in the last post with us crossing into New Mexico.  At first, it looked like this:

It looks a lot like Texas, but the scenery soon changed. I thought it was cool how I got this photo of our car. Then I realized, the carrier on top of our car is silver. So, this is what we almost look like if you were following us.

 

We had glorious clouds to watch, and we soon started to see some of the red rocks and mountains New Mexico is famous for …

I shot over 500 photos as we drove through New Mexico. Don't worry, you don't have to look at all of them.

 

Lou is the Rail Fan, but I enjoy taking photos of the trains. Lou was good at spotting them. He also explained to me about the number of locomotives, the pusher cars, the type of cars, why a train was stopped - you get the picture (it was actually interesting)

 

Clouds and Red Rocks. What more could we ask for?

 

One more, much the same as the previous one.

 

We stopped in Santa Rosa for lunch, and cruised some of Route 66. (We ate at McDonald's - they don't allow dogs at the Comet)

 

One of the things I would like to do is drive along more of the old Historic Route 66 trail. Unfortunately, I'm afraid much of the old stuff might now look like this. There are some parts that have been maintained or restored - we'll have to do some research before making the trip.

 

We did pull over at a scenic turnout for some shots of the Old Laguna Pueblo.

 

Some History...

 

And, just one of many many more shots of red mountains / cliffs I still have to go through.

 

We soon made it into Arizona, stopping at the Welcome Center for a much needed bio-break (for the dog!).  Then we drove on and into the Petrified Forest National Park.  We were here a couple of years ago, and it was just as spectacular.  We didn’t stop to take a lot of photos – we were pretty tired, but did get some as we slowly drove through the park, before heading into Holbrook.

This is the first area you see when you drive in. It really is a Painted Desert.

 

Lou asked Natasha to pose for a photo (we don't have enough pictures of her). She might not have been too happy - looks like she is in a wind tunnel. This was about the time my hat blew off my head as well.

 

More proof that Aliens once inhabited the earth.

 

More proof...

 

I liked this one, with the storm clouds brewing in the background.

 

And here is one that Lou took. Interesting rock formations. We also saw some of the petrified logs that are lying around, but didn't take many photos of those on this trip.

 

This completes Day 6.  We checked into our room at the Best Western Arizonian, and pretty much crashed.  I’ll put Day 7, the final leg of the journey, up tomorrow.  I will say that we arrived safely in Cave Creek today.  There was a little drama to the day, but you’ll need to check back tomorrow to get the scoop (it’s only 8:45pm here, but my body is saying 11:45pm).

 

Road Trip Day 6, Amarillo Texas to ???

We did something very strange today.  We spontaneously made a decision to change our itinerary – the one in the trip binder.  This is quite a momentous occasion, since we do prefer to stick to our plans.  We departed Amarillo on time, actually before 8am.  We had a good trip today, although we are both tired.  Make that all three of us are tired.

Cadillac Ranch

Shortly after leaving Amarillo, we spotted Cadillac Ranch:  Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, TexasU.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, and it consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of mid twentieth century Cadillacs; the tailfin) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.  (source: Wikipedia)

Cadillac Ranch is also featured in the movie Cars, although it is referred to as Cadillac Range, and it is next to the town of Radiator Springs. (I didn’t have to look this part up)

People stop and visit the Cadillacs, and many take spray paint to paint their own grafiti - this is actually tacitly encouraged by the owner.

 

Driving through Texas, we saw lots of processing plants. Some I really don't want to know anything more about.

 

We did see some horses, and some cows. No moose.

 

Mostly what we saw was a lot of nothing...We know some nice people who live in Texas, it just isn't our favorite place to drive.

 

Fortunately, like Beth said in her comment, we were soon entering the Land of Enchantment.

 

Natasha woke up briefly from her morning nap to bark at the motorcycle that went by.

 

And that, folks, is where I am going to leave off tonight.  You’ll just have to check in tomorrow to see where we actually ended up after today’s journey.  We are safe and secure, so no need to send bail money.  Just too tired to post any more.   Thanks for following along on our Road Trip.