Iowa, Kansas

Day 236 – Loess Hills Scenic Byway

DAY 236 OF YEAR LONG ROAD TRIP FOLLOWING SCENIC BYWAYS IN THE USA

Well, I considered driving an extra 155 miles to Hamburg, IA last night so I could start off my day exploring Waubonsie State Park while it was slightly cool.  I’m so glad I didn’t do that for two reasons. Continue reading “Day 236 – Loess Hills Scenic Byway”

Utah

Day 203 – Flaming Gorge Getaway

Day 203 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Dinosaur National Monument

I finally tore myself away from Steamboat on Wednesday and traveled to Dinosaur National Monument where I found a campsite near the Green River and tried staying cool in the shade for the afternoon and evening.

Today was simply crazy! I don’t even know where to begin. For what felt like a blistering hot morning (though I suspect it wasn’t even 80 degrees) and an afternoon full of thunder showers, I have to say, my day was nothing short of excellent.

I began the morning in Dinosaur National Monument, a park that spans across the Utah/Colorado border.  I took a variety of short hikes beginning with a short uphill climb to Cub Creek Petroglyphs where I found some of the largest rock carvings I have seen on my adventures.  The carvings included triangles, swirls, and faces in addition to large lizard like animals and a figure that looked like a flute player.  The well defined petroglyphs seemed to have weathered the harsh, desert conditions. Continue reading “Day 203 – Flaming Gorge Getaway”

Colorado, Utah

Day 184 – Monument Valley Meander (Part 3) and San Juan Skyways

Day 184 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Hovenweep National Monument

The full moon glowed through the dust filled sky and the wind continued in force for a few more hours.  Midway through the night, the gusts subsided and we awoke to a glorious day.  As we left Hovenweep National Monument, we passed by prairie dogs, sheep, goats, and a herd dog as we headed south toward the Four Corners Monument, where we will say farewell to Utah and hello Colorado. Continue reading “Day 184 – Monument Valley Meander (Part 3) and San Juan Skyways”

Utah

Day 183 – Utah Byways – Part 6

Day 183 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

All through the night at Lake Powell, VANilla jiggled like a bounce house full of ten year olds.  Sand sprayed VANilla so hard, at times, the sound of it made me wonder if it were raining.  We found no relief from the wind this morning as we headed southeast to Natural Bridges National Monument. Continue reading “Day 183 – Utah Byways – Part 6”

Utah

Day 182 – Utah Byway – Part 5

Day 182 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Capitol Reef National Park

We started our morning drive to Capitol Reef National Park, a park we quickly passed through at the beginning of the week while traveling to Bryce.  I recalled seeing a trail to Chimney Rock, so I stopped there on the way into the park and started the trek that ascended 240 feet in the first quarter mile.  It was already relatively late in the morning and a somewhat warm day, so after reaching the plateau for a panoramic view, I returned to VANilla to rescue Petey instead of continuing on the 3.5 mile journey. Continue reading “Day 182 – Utah Byway – Part 5”

Utah

Day 181 – Zion Canyon Loop and Utah Byways (Part 4)

Day 181 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

After taking advantage of free wi-fi at the local Starbucks, we began the last portion of our loop drive around Zion National Park.  Highway 14 winds its way between high canyon walls streaked in delicate cascades, beneath sandstone cliffs, along stream filled meadows, past icy blue lakes, and over a 9,000 foot pass blanketed in snow covered lava.

We made a variety of stops along the way to simply take in the views.  A trucker, hauling a huge fork-lift, that had ignored the warning sign for semis to use a different route, helped influence some of my stops as I repeatedly caught up to him and the line of cars trailing him at half the posted speed limit. Continue reading “Day 181 – Zion Canyon Loop and Utah Byways (Part 4)”

Utah

Day 180 – Zion Canyon Loop – Part 3

Day 180 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Camping Near Zion National Park

As I mentioned yesterday, I joined civilization, applied makeup for the first time in six weeks, and found a local sports bar to watch the Mavs game.  Here I met Brian from Idaho.  He has been on a six week road trip and has spent much of his time near Zion enjoying warm weather as it is mud season in his home town.  What I was quite impressed with was his ability to find some land about twelve miles outside of town with a sign posted, “Use By Donation”.   Continue reading “Day 180 – Zion Canyon Loop – Part 3”

Utah

Day 179 – Zion Canyon Loop – Part 2

Day 179 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Zion National Park

As I mentioned yesterday, I arrived relatively early to the Visitor Center in Zion National Park, parked VANilla under a shady tree, and boarded the shuttle for a 30 minute ride to the Grotto.  From the Grotto, I took the mile long, rocky Kayenta Trail along the cliff’s edge overlooking the Virgin River lined in cottonwoods.  As I rounded the bend, in the distance a tall cascade of water tumbled from the cliff side in the morning sunlight.  The waterfall reflected every color of the rainbow…what a pleasant surprise.  It was hard to contain my eagerness to reach the Upper and Lower Emerald Pool Trail. Continue reading “Day 179 – Zion Canyon Loop – Part 2”

Utah

Day 178 – Bryce Canyon Country (Part 3) and Zion Canyon Loop

Day 178 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

I suppose I haven’t mentioned people much in the last few days.  I believe there are more foreigners than Americans in southern Utah.  Germans, French, and Japanese seem to be most drawn to the natural wonders of the world.  If I had to guess, several travel agents sell a package to the Grand Canyon and the National Parks in Utah.

I also met a few fellow Texans from the Austin area at Calf Creek Recreation Area.  They opted not to take the whole hike to the falls, which was probably a good choice.  They were on a three-month sabbatical with their ultimate destination being Alaska, so I’m certain they will find more falls while on their journey.  I ran into them again in Bryce, some sixty miles away and a day later!  They commented that yesterday was the first hot day in the area and they simply felt tuckered out.  I agreed.  Being Texans we all laughed that a dry eighty degree day felt like a sauna to us.  It is just an amazing reminder of how bodies adjust to conditions over time. Continue reading “Day 178 – Bryce Canyon Country (Part 3) and Zion Canyon Loop”

Utah

Day 177 – Bryce Canyon Country – Part 2

Day 177 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Bryce Canyon National Park

I spent the whole day in Bryce Canyon National Park, and it was fantastic.  As I drove to the park, bright and early, the cloud covered sky sprinkled drops of rain.  Just before the park entrance, I stopped at some forest land to let Petey water a few trees, and during our 5 minute stroll it started sleeting on us.  I could see a few sections of blue sky beyond the black cloud, so I hoped for the best once I arrived at Bryce Point.  As I continued a mile further, I saw a rain drop defy gravity and flutter upward in the wind…no, it was actually a snow flake.  I saw only a smattering of snowflakes before I passed through some intermittent sprinkles and finally parked at Bryce Point where I prepared for a 5.5 mile hike. Continue reading “Day 177 – Bryce Canyon Country – Part 2”