A Travellerspoint blog

October 2013

Austin, TX

Stop #27 Austin Lone Star RV

sunny 84 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Left Dallas traveling south on the interstate to Austin. As a truck was passing by, the driver starts signaling to Bob. Your first thought is "oh crap" somethings wrong with the trailer, so, the first exit we come to, we pull off. We both hop out and start walking around the trailer. Hmmm, we don't see anything out of order. What could it be? Of course, we don't want to find anything bad, but, now we don't know what he was trying to tell us. I ask Bob what was he signaling because I didn't see him. It was like he was trying to tell him the trailer was bouncing up and down...you know, he had his arms together and was moving his hands apart. All of a sudden, it dawns on him....he tells me, "he was doing the Gator chomp"! (We have "FLORIDA STATE" on the back window of our trailer) lol, damn Gators! gator.jpgArrived in Austin and let me tell you, Tampa has nothing on Austin with "malfunction junction"; all Austin traffic is horrendous, all the time. We haven't even been out during rush hour. I don't know how it would move.
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Got settled in with the RV and headed to downtown to search out some good music. It appears the Austin Film Festival is going on so it was bustling down there. Of course, as far as I know, it might always be like that. Anyway, after the hunt for parking, we "walked the streets" just to get a feel for the city. Finally settled on the Stage on Sixth which turned out to be a good choice. We had gotten there kinda early, around 7pm, so not real crowded, but, it definitely picked up as the night wore on and we ended up staying there because the band was so good. It was more of a rock band, but played all genre really. I must say we were a little surprised at the type of music being played at most clubs. We thought it would be more country, kind of like Nashville, but turns out, to be more rock then anything, but, you can find just about anything.

Day 1 - Sat, Oct 26, 2013
Another day of laundry
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And then, some FSU FOOTBALL!!!! We looked for the Austin Seminole Club so we could join them for the game but, they obviously don't meet for every game, although they had met last week for the Clemson game. Oh well, we just pulled out the grill and the steaks and got ready.
NC State Wolfpack vs FSU Seminoles and what a blowout 17 - 49!
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Day 2 - Sun, Oct 27, 2013
Took a road trip to visit San Antonio today. We started out at the Alamo, Remember the Alamo? I really thought it would be much larger which seems to be the consensus of most people. It was interesting and makes me wish I had been a little more studious in my American History class.
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Walked over and hopped on the tour bus thinking to get a good overall view of San Antonio and the places we want to go visit. Hmm, it was an hour "tour" that rode way out of town to the missions then back into town swinging by about 5 "popular" spots. I really thought there was a lot more to San Antonio than the Alamo, Riverwalk and the Missions.
MissionEsp..rmacher1102.jpg Mission San Francisco de la Espada
P1020148.jpg Mission Concepcion

After the tour, we hoofed it back to the Mercado which had actually been one of the stops. There was some kind of health fair going on there so it was very crowded but we stopped at a couple of restaurants to try their beer and margaritas.
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P1020175.jpg Mi Tierra Restaurant

Passed this beautiful cathedral on our way - the San Fernando Cathedral
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We decided it was way too crowded so walked back to the Riverwalk, found some more beer and margaritas along with some decent Mexican food.
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On the way out of town, we drove around the King William Historic District which was settled in the 1840's by German immigrants building impressive houses designed in the Greek Revival, Victorian, and Italianate styles. By the early 1900's the neighborhood had started to wane as families died out, but, in the 1950's, it was recognized, once again, as a neighborhood with a lot of potential and property began to be bought up and restored. Very beautiful. Reminds me a lot of the garden district in NOLA.
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Day 3 - Mon, Oct 28, 2013
It was overcast this morning, but, cleared in the afternoon to a hot, sunny, 83º. We have made reservations to take the boat tour on Lady Bird Lake which is really a reservoir on the Colorado River in downtown Austin. The real purpose of the "tour" is to watch the bats fly from under the Congress Avenue bridge at sunset. These are Mexican bats which immigrate (legal or illegal?, no idea), oh yeah, that is migrate, to this bridge in the spring and then leave in early November. Anyway, the boat leaves from the Hyatt on the river, so we went a little early so we could sit out on their patio balcony overlooking the river and downtown and get "primed" for the bats!
The boat tour
P1020208.jpg note "bat" on back of boat
P1020214.jpg "white" tree, a reminder to all of the Texas drought

Congress Ave Bridge..people waiting for bats to fly
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P1020228.jpg joints under bridge where bats "hang"
P1020290.jpg Start of "the flight"

It is estimated, there are over 1.5 million bats residing under the Congress Ave Bridge in Austin from March until early November, eating 20 to 30 thousand pounds of insects A NIGHT! The exodus from the bridge will last from 30 to 45 minutes. The bats "discovered" the bridge in 1980 when it was renovated, giving them a new home.

P1020314.jpg most will follow the tree lines to avoid being seen by predator birds

Bats flying over treeline and down the center of the river looking for food
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Back to the dock on a beautiful night in Austin
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P1020392_copy.jpg State Capital on Congress Street

Day 4 - Tues, Oct. 29, 2013
Took a day off to just "chill" today with plans for some Texas BBQ tonight before we leave the state. After perusing the internet, we decided we would try Rudy's which has locations in Texas and Oklahoma. Well, when we pulled up to Rudy's, it was actually at a Shell gas station so we were wondering if we had made a mistake, but, we were there, so we would try it, especially since the parking lot was packed. On going in, you see the maze cordoned off in front of the counter where you place your order. Fortunately, the line wasn't too long and moved quickly. If you are a new customer, they will give you samples of any meat without bones (ribs) to try before ordering . All sides are sold by the container and the meat is sold by the pound. Your order is placed in a large tray along with with what looks like freezer paper for your "plate" and about a half loaf of bread. Bread is free, so go back for more if you need it! Yuuuummmmmm. It was delish! We had the juicy brisket and st louis ribs. Also, tasted the jalepeno sausage links which they make themselves and it was wonderful! Sure wish they had these in Florida.
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Day 5 - Wed, Oct. 30, 2013
Packin' up and movin' on....headed to Beaumont for an overnight stay.

Posted by scpurvis 05:23 Archived in USA Tagged san_antonio austin rudys_bbq congress_ave_bats Comments (2)

Dallas, TX

Stop #26 Treetop RV

sunny 76 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Where are the beautiful snow-capped mountains? Where are the Red Canyons and the incredible rock formations? Where are the beautiful lakes reflecting the majestic mountains surrounding it? GONE! I guess this is slowly acclimating us to our return to Florida. Actually, it seemed rather sudden that we have left all that behind. We are really needing a "family fix" so gradually heading that way but I sure do miss those alluring vistas that inspire you to "go climb a mountain".

Oh well, now we are in Dallas, TX, the ninth largest city in the USA by population! Home of the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys, the infamous Book Depository, the grassy knoll and the George W Bush Presidential Center. Oh yeah, and Southfork which we won't be seeing.

We rode into the city to find the Southern Methodist University which is the home to the George W Bush Presidential Center. While there, we took a ride around their beautiful campus. Very reminiscent of FSU with all their brick buildings and huge oak trees.
P1020092.jpg Laura Lee Blanton Bldg - Facilities Mgmt
P1020096.jpg School of Education
P1020097.jpg School of Engineering (for you Rob)
P1020093.jpg Riding through the campus

On to the Presidential Center which was very interesting. Brought back a lot of memories of the "hanging chads" and dispute over winner, Hurricane Katrina and of course, the 9/ll terrorist attack.
george_w_b..tial_center.jpg Not a very august entrance, but it's what's inside that counts
P1020119.jpg 43 and 41
P1020112.jpg 9 millimeter Glock 18C, was found in the spider hole with Saddam Hussein
P1020113.jpg "personality identification playing cards"
P1020110.jpg Metal beam from World Trade Center
P1020108.jpg Lest we forget!

George W Bush Oval Office
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Downtown Dallas
P1020084.jpg Dallas County Courthouse, built in 1892 of red sandstone, now a museum
P1020090.jpg Cathedral Santuario de Guadelupe built in 1872
P1020122.jpg Texas Book Depository
grassy_knoll.jpg Grassy Knoll

After finishing at the Presidential Center, we had an early dinner, then, attacked the Dallas traffic. I think there are more freeways, tollways, fly overs, cross overs, etc in this city then anywhere else I have ever seen.
high_5_interchange.jpg Dallas HighFive interchange (Courtesy Google)

Made it back safely; heading to Austin and hopefully, some good music tomorrow.

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Posted by scpurvis 13:34 Archived in USA Tagged dallas_tx george_w_bush Comments (1)

Lubbock, TX

Stop #26 Twin Pines RV - Slayton

sunny 74 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Deep in the heart of Texas! Ok, not really but in Lubbock, anyway. Home to Buddy Holly and the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world. We did see a lot of cotton.
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This is another one night-er but we did unhook and drive into Lubbock; after all, this is the birthplace of Buddy Holly! We went to the Buddy Holly Center which, as you can guess, has a lot of Buddy Holly memorabilia. The restored home of Crickets drummer J I Allison, which was recently restored and moved to the center property is also open to the public. This is where Allison and Holly wrote their hit "That'll be the Day" after having just been to see the John Wayne movie "The Searchers" where he used the phrase "that'll be the day" five times, inspiring Holly.
P1020078.jpg J I Allison House
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Next door to the Center is the Buddy and Maria Holly Plaza which has an 8 1/2 foot bronze statue of B Holly.
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We had a nice dinner at the Triple J Chophouse and Brew Pub in the Warehouse District, then returned "home" to get ready for another drive tomorrow.

I need one of these "money pumpers"!
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Posted by scpurvis 06:44 Archived in USA Tagged lubbock_tx buddy_holly Comments (5)

Santa Rosa, NM

Stop #25 Santa Rosa Lake State Park

sunny 67 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

This stop in Santa Rosa will just be for overnight. We often use rvparkreviews.com when we are trying to decide where to stay to look at the ratings from people who have stayed previously. This has worked out very well and we really haven't had any surprises and been fairly pleased with the selections we have made. Well..........this state park got high reviews, just had to be careful your site had both water and electric. When we arrived, there is no one to check in with, just a sign to go to your site or if you don't have a reservation, pick a site that doesn't have a "reserved' sign on it. Ok, no problem, except I had not written down our site number and I couldn't find any email confirming our reservation. Finally, I called the phone number on the park website and got our site number. Well, not sure who rated this park but it was just more desert and the lake was not very close, although, you could see it from the campground. We did have water and electric at our site, but, they were on the opposite side of our trailer hookups. Oh well, it was only for one night and we didn't even unhook the truck....ready to make our getaway in the morning.
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Pulled out the next morning, headed for Texas. Those trains are running, sometimes two at a time, side by side, with one waiting in the distance. We saw a lot of containers from China!
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And the wheels on the train go round and round...............

Posted by scpurvis 06:13 Archived in USA Tagged santa_rosa_lake_state_park Comments (2)

Gallup, NM

Stop #24 USA RV Park

sunny 60 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

SEMINOLES WON!!!! Remain undefeated.

Leaving Arizona, headed east now. I am trying to not view this as the end of our trip but it is hard not to since we are "headed" home. We had originally planned to go up to Cortez, CO and stay for a few days, but, decided to just stop in Gallup, NM and drive up for the day to Mesa Verde NP instead of of pulling the trailer up there. We are traveling on I-40 which runs right along the railroad tracks and there must be one of those big long trains every 30 minutes, hauling coal and containers. More desert! I have to admit, it will be nice to see some lush green scenery, big, huge oak trees, sparkling water....and on and on.
P1020017.jpg Note train going by.

Day 1 - Sun, Oct 20, 2013
Headed out to Mesa Verde today which is about a 2 hour drive but we didn't want to be this close and miss it. For those who have not been out here, Mesa Verde NP is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. The Anasazi, or ancient Pueblo, inhabited Mesa Verde between 600 to 1300 and began building their "cliff dwellings" around 1100. On the drive, we passed some more of those intriguing rock formations. I wish I had a time lapse photograph of how some of those are formed. Interesting.
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Arriving at the park, we stopped in at the visitor center to get tickets for the Cliff Palace tour. There are 3 "dwellings" which require a ranger tour but only the Cliff Palace (which is the largest) is open. I have a feeling, even though the government is open for business, the "shutdown" is the cause of this as they are all generally open until the end of October. We take the 21 mile drive through the park to arrive at the general area of the dwellings. There isn't much between the Visitor Center and "the end of the road" but some beautiful vistas.
P1020056.jpgP1020073.jpgP1020074.jpgP1020040.jpg this is actually the canyon where a lot of the cliff dwellings are located

Taking our time on the drive, we arrived at the Cliff Palace area with time to spare before meeting the ranger who would guide our tour We took the opportunity to just scout things out. On meeting with our guide, we were warned of the strenuous trail down and up to the Cliff Palace, steep steps, climbing over rocks, climbing up and down ladders, etc. Looking around at the people gathered, Bob and I were both wondering how some of those people were going to accomplish this trek. Hah, I was wondering how WE were going to be able to do it! A few people did back out, but, for the most part, the group remained intact.
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The Cliff Palace is truly amazing when you consider it was built in the 1100's. It took almost 100 years to complete the 150 room "palace" being built from the local sandstone, mortar and wood beams; the majority of it being built in a 20 year time span. The wood beams in the cliff enclave are still structurally sound due to the low humidity and protection from the elements.
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After our visit to the cliff palace we to a short jaunt to the Spruce Tree House, another cliff dwelling. This one, you can tour on your own and actually go in it. Maybe this is why it isn't as well preserved but still, amazingly, standing after centuries.
P1020070.jpg Part of trail going to Spruce tree house
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Back to Gallup, after our tour, to prepare for the trip into Texas.

Posted by scpurvis 14:04 Archived in USA Tagged mesa_verde gallup_nm cliff_dwellings Comments (1)

Camp Verde (Sedona), AZ

Stop #23 Distant Drums RV Park

sunny 50 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Left Mt Carmel and Utah for the last time on this trip, headed to the Sedona, AZ area. Except for the brief stint (2 nites) in Mesquite, NV, we have been in Utah for 3 weeks. I really never imagined being in Utah for 3 weeks but it really was a great state with lots to see and do. We are staying in Camp Verde, AZ which is just down the road from Sedona and just down the street from the Cliff Castle Casino for those who care about that!
P1010943.jpg Distant Drums RV Resort

Day 1 - Wed, Oct 16, 2013
Taking off on a scenic drive today, the first thing we came across was the infamous Bell Rock going into Sedona. According to Wiki, some New Agers consider Bell Rock to be a a portal into the Earth or a gateway to other dimensions. Hmmm, after driving through Sedona, I think there are a lot of those so called New Agers around Sedona. Next to Bell Rock is Courthouse Butte.
P1010916.jpg Bell Rock
CourthouseButte.jpg Courthouse Butte
P1020012.jpg Cathedral Rock

Just down the road from these rock formation is the turnoff to The Chapel of the Holy Cross. It was first attempted to be built in Europe but was scratched because of WWII and later built in Sedona.
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view from chapel parking lot. Private house in picture was once under contract with Nicholas Cage but he backed out, too many tourist.
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P1010923.jpg two sisters rock formation

Passing through Sedona, we go into Oak Creek Canyon, a river gorge between Flagstaff and Sedona. It was very nice drive, but, I think we have been spoiled with Glacier, Yellowstone and Tetons.
P1010931.jpgP1010938.jpgOak_Creek_Canyon_02.jpg

The canyon ends on the south side of Flagstaff, so, while there we stopped at the visitor center to see if there was something there we wanted to see. Flagstaff really turned out to be smaller then we thought but the historic district is a big draw to shoppers. We passed on this today. The Lowell Observatory, an astronomical observatory established in 1894, is located on Mars Hill just north of town. It is home to the Discovery Channel's $53 million dollar telescope. We will try to get up there one evening while we are here.
250px-Clark_dome.jpg Clark Dome courtesy Wiki (never made it to observatory unfortunately)

Returned back to Camp Verde, stopped by the casino just for yuks. We signed up for their "club" card because it gave us $10 free slot play and walked out with $64 without spending a dime. Now that is my kind of gambling!!

Day 2 - Thurs, Oct. 17, 2013
We spent the morning trying to decide where to go and where to stay when we leave Sedona. This is more time consuming then you would think but, finally got it figured out, at least through most of Texas.
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That accomplished, we head over to Jerome. The road to Jerome makes several switchbacks as it comes up out of the valley before arriving in town at an elevation of over 5000 feet. It is perched on the side of the mountain, which stacks the roads in the town on top of each other as you travel up.
P1010949.jpg Jerome, AZ
P1010950.jpg Jerome and old mine

Jerome is another one of those old mining towns which seem to be so abundant out west. Beginning in 1876 when 3 prospectors staked claims on rich copper deposits. They eventually sold out to a group which formed the United Verde Copper Company. Long story short, the town grew with the mining operation and eventually became the 4th largest town in Arizona with a population of 15,000, at the time. As the ore deposits ran out and mine closed, the population dwindled to less then 100. Today, because of tourism and its status as "ghost town", the the population is now around 500.

Audrey shaft headframe used at Little Daisy Mine. Built in 1918, used to bring up ore from the 1900 foot shaft.
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P1010946.jpg Used to lower miners into the mine

Douglas Mansion now state park office. Built by James Douglas, owner of the mine, as "hotel" for his family and mining officials.
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Just down from Douglas Mansion is what was once the hospital for mine workers; had to be nearby because of so man accidents. Now a private residence.
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Narrow Gauge train used to haul ore
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Heading back to Camp Verde from Jerome, we decide to swing by "Montezuma's Castle" which is a national monument which features preserved cliff dwellings of the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people, occupied from approximately 1100-1425 AD, with occupation peaking around 1300 AD. These people evenutally abandoned the area, supposedly because of the weather conditions. Sure took 'em a long time to figure out they didn't like the weather.
Anyway, since Uncle Sam went back to work today, the monument was open and we got to take a picture. Because of the deteriorating conditions, you can no longer climb up to the adobe dwellings which is more like a 5 story apartment building then a castle.
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Day 3 - Fri, Oct 18, 2013
Hike day. We found a couple of hikes we thought we would do today...Doe Mtn and the Natural Bridge hike, neither that long of a hike. Headed out to Doe Mtn first which was a 1/2 mile climb up and then just a hike around the rim. The hike up wasn't that bad as it had a lot of switchbacks, just a lot of rocks as obstacles to make it interesting.
P1020007.jpg Bob coming down part of trail

Views from the top
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Helicopter flew by....can you believe the blue skies out here?
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Well, scratched the Natural Bridge hike because we spent too much time up on Doe Mtn. We will miss all this hiking when we get back to flat Florida!

Day 4 - Sat, Oct. 19, 2013
Headed to New Mexico today. Big game tonight, FSU - Clemson, both undefeated. GO NOLES!

Posted by scpurvis 07:28 Archived in USA Tagged sedona jerome_az Comments (1)

Mt Carmel, UT

Stop #22 Mt Carmel Motel and RV

sunny 55 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Now we are doing the last leg in reverse, so, I will just turn the previous pictures around. Just kidding. You do get a little different perspective going the opposite direction. Plus, some nice sights leaving I-15 heading towards Mt Carmel up hwy 59.
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We are staying in Mt Carmel which is very close to the entrance of Zion National Park. Great view from park.
mt_carmel_rv2.jpg Our neighbor hiked hill to take pic of our trailers.

Day 1 - Sat, Oct. 12, 2013
THE PARKS IN UTAH ARE OPEN! Today we head to Bryce which is about 45 minutes away. The drive through the Red Canyon was spectacular. I have probably said this before, but, the rock formations and colors just amaze me.
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Entering into Bryce Canyon, we continue to be amazed. We decided to head over and do a short hike on the Navajo/Queens Garden loop. I had read online to start on the Navajo Trail at Sunset Point as this was the steeper of the two, ending at Sunrise Point off the Queens Garden loop. The park map suggests just the opposite, so, we weren't sure but decided to go with recommendations online....glad we did. P1010685.jpg Sunset Point, start of Navajo Trail Thors_hammer.jpg Thor's Hammer Rock formation
P1080669.jpg switchbacks going down into the canyon on Navajo Trail

As we go down, I keep thinking, at some point we are going to have to go back up! It was a long way down. Once you reach the bottom, you are on "Wall Street". From the pictures, I am sure you can see why it is so named.
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Out of the confines of "wall street", we find ourselves in the grand amphitheater.
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Continuing on the trail, we arrive at the Queen's Garden loop which will take us back up to Sunrise Point.P1010709.jpgP1010717.jpgP1010724.jpgP1010732.jpg

The climb back to the top starts, but, online reviewers were right! It wasn't nearly as steep, but still, quite a climb.
P1010737.jpg amphitheater from Sunrise Point P1010739.jpg

Back in the truck to finish the tour of Bryce National Park. We stopped along the way at the various overlooks.
P1010742.jpg Fairview Point

Views at the Natural Bridge Overlook
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Ponderosa Point
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Rainbow Point
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Leaving Bryce, we travel up to the Cedar Breaks National Monument which is another natural amphitheater stretching 3 miles across and has an elevation of 10,000 feet at the rim. With the higher elevation, we did find some snow on the ground which is always worth mentioning when you are from Florida. Views from Sunset Point at Cedar Breaks amphitheater
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We crossed the Markagunt Plateau and came upon the Navajo Lake which was created by a creek which was blocked by lava flow.
P1010769.jpgP1010775.jpgP1010776.jpg Navajo Lake

We passed Markagunt Plateau volcanic field which is a blocky unvegetated lava flow known locally as the 'Black Rock Desert. This lava field is calculated to be 1000 years old.
P1010777.jpglavafields.jpg

Also found on the plateau is the bristlecone pine trees which are estimated to be 900 years old, having taken root after the last volcanic eruption.
bristlecone-pine.jpg No one said they were beautiful...but if you were 900 years old, you'd probably look like that, too.

Day 2 - Sun, Oct. 13, 2013
Today we go to Zion and have planned to do the hike up to Angel's Landing. We are entering from the east side and the drive in is beautiful. We do have to travel through the 1.1 mile long tunnel which was built in 1930.
P1010782.jpg end of tunnel

Zion vistas
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Court of the Patriarchs -- the three pinnacles names, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
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Zion Canyon on the hike up to Angel's Landing
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Portion of hike called Wally's Wiggle because of the 21 switchbacks up the mountain
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Before the final assent, you come to an area called "scout overlook". From this point on, you use chains as handrails going up the rocks for 1/2 mile. We were very careful! Six people have died from falls here since 2004. We were lucky as we had a few drops of rain just before we started going up and were afraid we would have to abort because the rocks get so slippery. But our luck held and it didn't rain until after we had started down on the "wiggle".
scout_overlook.jpg

From here, the precarious trip up:
P1080785.jpg look closely for the people going up the rock

Once at the top, the views are incredible:
P1010819.jpgcircled area is the park shuttle P1010829.jpgP1010830.jpg
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Then, the precarious trip down:
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It was truly worth the climb, the view was just indescribable!

Day 3 - Mon, Oct 14, 2013
Today we are headed back to Zion to do a short hike up to the Emerald Pools; lower, middle and upper pools. The trailhead starts out at the Zion Lodge where you cross over the Virgin River and proceeds from there.
P1010859.jpg Virgin RiverP1080819.jpg Lower emerald pool P1010878.jpgMountain reflection in Middle Emerald Pool P1010881.jpg View on TrailP1010887.jpg Lower pool viewed from top upper-emerald-pool-2.jpg Upper Emerald Pool (none of pools looked emerald to me)

Not much water in pools as it has been very dry in Zion. We were thinking of doing the Narrows hike but since the weather was so cool, we thought it might not be a good idea since you hike in the river. Sounds like a good summer hike!

Finally, we get to see ONE lone bighorn sheep
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Day 4 - Tues, Oct 15, 2013
So glad we got to see Bryce and Zion. Now BACK to Arizona!

Posted by scpurvis 07:03 Archived in USA Tagged zion bryce Comments (3)

Mesquite, NV

Stop #21 Casablanca RV

sunny 70 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Mesquite, NV, what can I say about Mesquite? We selected this location because we had been driving awhile after skipping Panguitch (Bryce) and Hurricane, UT (Zion). It is jut across the Arizona/Nevada border, so, as you can guess, it is a casino town. In fact, the RV Park was part of the casino.
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We traveled over and through the Virgin Mountains and Virgin River Canyon which gave us a nice drive.
9E2C69502219AC68172E6B46C1FC48B1.jpg Cattle drive 9E2E98702219AC68175E74654D9664A3.jpgP1010646.jpgP1010648.jpg Rock wall

Day 1 - Thurs, Oct 10, 2013
We realized quickly we should have only stayed here one night and moved on. Unless you want to just hang out in the casinos all day, there is nothing else to do. We took a short ride out to Scenic, AZ which turned out to be not that scenic. Came back to RV park and had a 3 hour happy hour then comedy show at the casino, dinner and that was it!
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Day 2 - Fri, Oct 11, 2013
We have reservations in Vegas for tonight, but, on checking my mail this morning, my wonderful daughter sends me a link that Utah is opening up their National Parks by Saturday! Hooray for Utah! So, guess what ....... we are backtracking just a bit to catch Bryce and Zion. We are so darned lucky. Someone up there is looking out for us! Backtracking to Mt Carmel, UT. I guess it was karma we didn't stay just the one night in Mesquite!

Posted by scpurvis 14:32 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Sterling, UT

Stop #20 Pallisades State Park

semi-overcast 76 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

It was another scenic drive from Moab to Sterling. We stopped at several viewpoints on the way just to take it all in.
P1010605.jpgP1010600.jpg San Rafael Reef in the distance P1010607.jpg I70 cutting through San Rafael Reef P1010608.jpgP1010610.jpgP1010616.jpgP1010619.jpgP1010622.jpgP1010623.jpgP1010624.jpg

Ok, so we get to the park and it is really beautiful, on a little lake, golf course right at the end of the campground and very quiet which is what we were looking for since it seems like we have been going non-stop. I think Sterling has like 235 people here so you can't get much more quiet. This really was just a stopping place between Moab and Panguitch, UT which is right outside Bryce. Oh that's right, we don't even need to bother with that...it is CLOSED! Actually, I read the road through Bryce was open but you weren't allowed to stop. We will see when we get there.
P1010628.jpg View from our site.

Day 1 Tues., Oct. 8, 2013
We watched the Rays beat the Red Sox last night! HOORAY! Will try to catch the game tonite. We are having to watch on ESPN mobile where you see a baseball diamond that shows all the pitches and even when they hit, shows where the ball goes. Not as good as the real thing, but, better then nothing.
Really didn't do much today but read and cleaned a little. Bob went into Manti, the next town up that has someplace to get a haircut, and....got his haircut. He came back and was telling me he had to go to a salon because there was no barber. The girl had done a real nice job, so, I went in for a trim. That should hold me until I get home! Well, that was our exciting day. Here are a few shots of the sunset tonight. Spectacular!
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BTW, Rays didn't make it :-( I know there are some happy Red Sox fans, though (NH).

Day 2 Wed., Oct 9, 2013
Pulling out this morning, headed to Panguitch, UT and Bryce Canyon. We missed Panguitch. I mean we really MISSED it. There was nothing there. It was close proximity to Bryce but we did see the RV Park as we passed by but that was about it! Decided we would go on to Hurricane, UT which is between Bryce and Zion. Arrived at RV park in Hurricane, and since our reservations were for Sunday, not Wednesday, there was no room at the inn. In speaking with the "girl" (and I use that term loosely) at the RV check-in, she was telling us there really wasn't that much to do there but the parks, so, we headed to Mesquite, NV, our next stopover. Damn government!

Posted by scpurvis 06:06 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Moab, UT

Stop #19 Spanish Trail RV Park

sunny 69 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

We had about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Park City to Moab. Snow was predicted for today in Park City and they were right. We even hit some flurries driving south. A nice drive even though we had one 10% grade to go down.
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Of course, we had planned on visits to Canyonland NP and Arches NP but with the big SHUTDOWN, don't know if that will happen. Maybe we will be able to just drive through. We'll see. I will catch up on laundry, again, this afternoon and we will be ready to roll in the morning.

Day 1 - Fri, Oct 4, 2013
Rode down to entrance to Arches NP just to see if we can maybe move the cones blocking the road. Well, we could move the cones but we couldn't get by the Park Ranger sitting there so on to something else.
police13.gif
P1080435.jpg Entrance to Arches National Park

We took the road north along the southern edge of the National Park following the Colorado River. I am sure we are missing some awesome stuff in the park but this drive was pretty darn good.
P1010498.jpgP1010499.jpg Colorado River

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Returned to Moab and followed the river south this time on what is referred to as the Potash road. Again, very beautiful rock formations. I looked up how the formations are made and, of course, it is very complicated, but, kind of interesting....so, I won't bore you with it because you can google it, too.
Also, along this road, we saw some petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks. Yes, I did say dinosaurs. There are ways of dating this stuff down to a couple of million years and since the tracks were somewhere between 100 and 155 million years, I'll take their word for it.
P1010506.jpg Petroglyphs from the Formative Period (1500BC - 300AD)
P1010507.jpg More petroglyphs in same area P1010509_marked.jpg Circled items are theropod dinosaur tracks dating back 190 million years.

Some interesting sites along the way:
P1080441.jpgP1010516.jpg726D6CE72219AC6817983C712CD0BCCD.jpgP1010518.jpgP1010523.jpg Jug Handle Arch P1010526.jpgP1010527.jpgP1010535.jpg thought this was interesting , boulder perched on small mound

P1010537.jpgF672B7A92219AC6817847659F8406854.jpg Rock climber P1080452.jpg Close up of rock climber 727209622219AC681738BBABB9A62EE2.jpgP1080455.jpgP1010543.jpgP1010549.jpg

Day 2 - Sat, Oct 5, 2013
A day of football and baseball. FSU played Maryland, both undefeated at gametime! Only one could remain undefeated...who would it be? FSU....whoopee! The Noles swamped (no pun intended for my Gator friends) Maryland 63 - 0! Yahoo! Our exuberance would be short lived though, as we tuned into the Rays/Redsox playoff game. It just wasn't to be for the Rays in Boston; a loss, 3 - 7. Now they move to St Pete, so MAYBE.

Burgers on the grill for dinner. Geared up for a good hike tomorrow.

Day 3 - Sun, Oct. 6, 2013
Today we head to Dead Horse Point State Park since we cannot get into Canyonlands and this is right on the border. You are actually looking into Canyonlands from some point. Oh well, as close as we can get; thank you again US Govt.. Dead Horse Point, as the legend goes, is an area in the canyon where cowboys would drive wild mustangs. It was a plateau surrounded by the Green River below. The mustangs would be corralled in, the entrance blocked off and then the "good" horses culled out and the others let go. Supposedly, for whatever reason, the rejects at one point were never let go and all died, thus, Dead Horse Point.
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We walked the East Rim of the canyon, then, headed back to truck.
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From Dead Horse, we headed to Needles Overlook. It was quite a drive as went from the north side of Canyonlands to the south side, not through (thank you US Govt) but around. Passed by Wilson's Arch and Hole 'N the Rock. The Hole looked a little touristy so we didn't stop but supposedly someone built a house in the rock (Kind of like the House ON the Rock in WI but not as grand)
P1010582.jpg Wilson's ArchP1080600copy.jpg Hole 'N the Rock (jeep in circle on rock)

It was a little hazy at Needles Overlook so we really couldn't see the Needles in Canyonlands but we did see some awe inspiring rock formations and canyons.
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Day 4 - Mon, Oct. 7, 2013
Headed out today to Sterling, UT for a couple of days stopover.

Posted by scpurvis 08:06 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Park City, UT

Stop #18 Jordanelle State Park

semi-overcast 53 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

We arrived at the state park outside Park City along with 40 mph winds. The park sits on a reservoir in the canyon, so, hoping these winds aren't the norm here. The temps are suppose to get up into the mid to high 70's for the next couple of days, but, then another cool off. There aren't many people camping today but the weekend was full and they must get a load of boaters in the summer because the marina has a huge parking lot.
P1080231.jpgP1080234.jpgP1010224.jpg Jordanelle Resevoir

Day 1 - Mon, Sept 30, 2013
Today, we decided we would do the scenic drive up to Mirror Lake via the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in the Uinta Mtns, even though we got a late start. Just being lazy. We are allowed to do that sometimes. We had decided to make the stop in Park City just because it was a short drive from Salt Lake and it would cut the drive time down when we headed to Moab. It is really a very pleasant surprise, so beautiful and the colors on the mountains are stunning. As we head into the Uinta Mtns., we run into about a dozen olympic trainees going the 23 miles of the byway, getting in shape for olympics.
These guys have tons of endurance!
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Next, we come upon some wild animals roaming the roads. Okay, not exactly wild, but, they were on the road!
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We stumbled upon the Provo River Falls hidden away on a turnoff. This turned out to be a great stop; not only beautiful falls, but, we decided to take a short hike up to the top of the falls. The only problem, we would get to the top and on ahead, there would be more falls. We went up until the river flattened out and decided to turn back and resume our course. What was really nice, we only saw two other people walking around up there! After the previous NP's we've been to, this was a nice change.
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We continued on up to Mirror Lake which, I assume, was suppose to "mirror" the surrounding snowcapped mountains. Unfortunately, the wind is galing (if that is a word) thus, no mirror on the lake but there were some people out there fishing, if you can believe that. It was COLD!
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Headed back down the mountain from Mirror Lake, we take another side trip up a gravel road. A couple of miles up the road, there is a turnoff to Lamar's Meadow, sounds good. Well, the road is not for our truck, maybe a bulldozer,it is so rocky and has large trenches in it. So, we decide to walk up. We had some absolutely beautiful views going up and the trek wasn't too bad being on a pseudo road. Too bad, we never reached the meadow because we decided we better turn around after close to 2 hours. We looked at the GPS when we got back to the truck and the "road" was on there, but, went forever!
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Continuing on, we take another detour through the Uinta Nat'l Forest. This would take us for miles and miles across rolling hills with beautiful scenery. We eventually ended up not THAT far from the campground!
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Just before we hit the main road, we ran into a "herd" of sheep with their sheep dog!
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Day 2 - Tues, Oct 1, 2013
Government SHUTDOWN.....we will see how it effects us on our trip as we proceed.
We decided we better get a little earlier start today then we did yesterday. Headed over to the the Olympic training facility where they still practice for the ski events. We watched practice for some of the jumps for awhile and then headed out towards Sundance (no, we did not see RR).
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P1010414.jpgP1010415.jpgP1010416.jpgP1010417.jpg27C9B3692219AC6817A8BC89B14DE2F4.jpgP1010419.jpgP1010420.jpg27CECEF62219AC681779D44981CF1111.jpgP1010422.jpg KerPlunk!

Headed over the Wasatch Mountains for some beautiful scenery viewing. We are also checking out some hiking places for tomorrow. Hopefully, the weather will be good for us!
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This mama and baby moose were playing in the water of a little lake coming down the mountain.
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Came down the mountains on the Provo side, so, had to drive around the mountains through the pass to get back home.

Getting back to the campground, we stop by the marina to check it out. The boat ramp is waaaaayyyyy long. I guess the water really comes up when the snow starts to melt.
P1010451_copy.jpg Pic taken at top of boat ramp; arrow shows truck at bottom.

FInally, an evening with hardly any wind, so we are going to take advantage and build a fire. As usual, Bob did an excellent job on the fire and, sitting out, we had a few visitors down at the lake front.
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Day 3 - Wed, Oct 2, 2013
Headed to Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains to Brighton Ski Resort. We found a nice hike going up the mountain down from the resort which goes by three lakes.
P1080389.jpg Mountain in background we are headed up!

Once we got past the ski resort trails and lifts, it got really beautiful. The weather was crisp, around 42º when we started out but it sure felt colder when we got up top and in all the wind! What was really great is we only ran into a couple of people going up and while we were up there. Things picked up as we started down and saw a few more people. I guess they wanted to take advantage of such a nice day because 3-4 inches of snow is predicted for tomorrow here.
P1010468.jpg looking down on Brighton Resort
P1010469.jpg trail going up
P1010474.jpg Lake Mary
P1080401.jpgP1010493.jpgP1080398.jpg Lake Martha
P1010480.jpg Lake Catherine
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Day 4 - Thurs, Oct. 3, 2013
It's cold, suppose to snow here tonight so probably good we are moving on. Headed to Moab, UT and will see if we are going to be able to get on the roads in the Nat'l Parks.

Posted by scpurvis 08:59 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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