Monday, April 4, 2016

Magic Pants, Salty Water and BBQ

Book of Mormon

Provo, Utah

Yesterday we drove north to Provo past sites visited on our last cross country.  A second look at these fabulous places was still as awe inspiring as the first look. The Wasatach Mountain Range escorted us into Provo which sits surrounded by snow capped Unita Mountains.  The architecture is lovely and there is a beautiful tabernacle in the center.  We strolled around the small downtown area, past the tabernacle and considered where to eat dinner.  Place after place was closed.  We soon realized that it was Sunday and probably a city ordinance to be closed.  We did find a cafeteria on the outskirts of town and barely got served at 7pm before closing.  More photos can be see at flickr.

Today we continued on to Salt Lake for 2 days.  As we had seen The Book Of Mormon in San Diego, we felt well prepared.  However, we did not see one man dressed in black pants, white shirt, black tie.  We spent the first half of the day downtown where we toured Temple Square.  It is very impressive!  The grounds are beautiful and immaculate.  The trees and bulb flowers are blooming.  One cannot enter the Temple but can enter other buildings on the grounds such as the Tabernacle where the famous choir performs.  Salt Lake also has a very impressive library designed by Moshe Safdie, the architect of Crystal Bridges Museum.  The library has incorporated small shops and kiosks. 
Wayne at Temple Square
Later in the day we ventured out to The Great Salt Lake.  One passes vast acres of salt flats and a smelting plant on the road to the Lake.  The area seems barren despite the surrounding mountains.  As it was early in the season, no boats or activity were to be seen.  No birds either.   
Great Salt Lake
More pictures are at flickr.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Navajo Nation Reservation

Navajo Nation Reservation, Grand Canyon
As we drove east out of the Grand Canyon National Park, we stopped at a few more viewing points.  We never saw a bad view, and remain awestruck.  The views became even more amazing as we traveled on.  Our destination was Provo, Utah.  To get there we had to drive east first around the Canyon and through the Navajo Nation Reservation's Western Agency.  The road hugged the edge of the Canyon to our north and offered extensive views of the desert and the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon.  

Navajo Nation Reservation Arts Sales along the Little Colorado River
We came upon a Navajo set of arts tables and stopped.  Here we found a porcelain Christmas tree ornament that was hand painted with symbols. 
Navajo Nation Reservation, The Painted Desert
 Our drive from there took us through the painted desert, by the Colorado River and into Utah.  In Utah we edged past the Grand Staircase Escalante and Bryce Canyon, beautiful areas we visited several years ago.  It was a long 8 hour day of driving.  But the sights were so lovely that we hardly noticed.  Provo is a beautiful little town that has kept its historical buildings in original shape.  What we didn't realize is that we had arrived on a Sunday, and there was nothing open in downtown.  We assumed this was a Mormon rule.  We did find a cafeteria on the edge of town.  We arrived near closing at 7pm.  When we asked for some roast beef, we were told it was put away.  HA!  Having paid full price we insisted on bringing it out.  It was not worth the argument.  Cafeterias never fail to disappoint.  
Entering Utah near Bryce Canyon
Provo, Utah
Beautiful Pictures of the Ride are at flickr

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Grand, Grand Canyon

Wayne on the South Rim
After a brief stop at Home Depot to buy screws, nuts, and bolts to shore up our duck-taped oil pan cover, we headed for the Grand Canyon. The road took us around the San Francisco Mountains, across the Coconino Plateau and deep into the Kaibab National Forest which is comprised of beautiful ponderosa pine. Our lodgings are in the park at the Yavapai Lodge in the Grand Canyon Village.  We're housed on the second (walk-up) floor in a very nice room. Despite the early season the Park is busy.  We are happy to have found a room inside the park, and able to take advantage of the shuttle bus.  As soon as we deposited our gear, we took the bus to the visitor's center and sought advise on the best course for a single day visit.  Mather's Point is behind the visitor's center.  This is where Wayne got his first view of the canyon from the South Rim.  He was awe struck.  From here and on advice from the ranger, we took the shuttle bus along the 7 mile Hermit Road view points ending at Hermit's Rest.  We walked between some of the stops along a rim path that provided views of the Colorado River.  It would be impossible for me to describe the beauty, the vastness, and the breadth taking experience of the canyon.  Pictures alone cannot do justice either.  In addition to the expansiveness, the colors of the rock layer sequences change with the light and atmosphere.  Because the canyon was incised out of a plateau and is not hidden by mountains and vegetation, one walks suddenly up to the edge and can see the the geology for miles.  The approach to the along the flat ground does not prepare one for the depth and distance of the Canyon.  The canyon floor includes rock nearly 2 billion years old.
The Colorado River
Tonight we drove out of the park to have dinner at the Grand Hotel's steak house.  A funny memory was listening to the family next to us talk about their day of horse riding and touring, then watching them all walk out bow legged and waddling.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Flagstaff, AZ on Route 66*

Prescott National Forest nearing Flagstaff, AZ
As we drove out of California and into Arizona, the views became more expansive, the land flatter and more desert-like.  We passed by Joshua Tree National Park which we had visited in 2010, crossed over the Colorado River and into Arizona. I'm beginning to feel like I can see for "Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles." Flagstaff, some 6 hour drive east of Palm Desert, was our destination.  The intention was to stay here one night in order to reach the Grand Canyon early the following day.  Then, we could take an entire day to explore the south rim, stay the night and head out again early toward Utah.
Mt. Humphreys in the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff, AZ
Looming over Flagstaff are the San Francisco Peaks, the largest of which is Mt. Humphreys.   We are now about 7,000' elevation and can feel it.  Just a small amount of exertion can leave me breathless.  

Flagstaff has preserved the historic downtown through which runs the historic route 66.  It was here that we found the Beaver Street Brewery and dinner.  
Wayne and Sweetness enjoy a brew at the Beaver St. Brewery
Leaving the Brewery our car loudly announce it was dragging the oil pan cover.  Seems the Jiffy Lube guy left out most of the retaining screws.  Never fear.  My Renaissance Man purchased a few screws and, voila, all fixed.  We thought the earlier duck tape solution might not hold up in the Grand Tetons.  
Mechanic Wayne securing the oil pan
Route 66 preformed by The Manhattan Transfer