2015 Vacation: Days 3 and 4

Day 3: Arches National Park

Our first point of interest was a rest stop by Grizzly River, CO. It was definitely one of the nicest rest stops we've seen. It felt good to get out and stretch our legs a bit.

[caption id="attachment_1888" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Goodbye Colorado Goodbye Colorado[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1889" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Rushing River Rushing River[/caption]

We went through a few tunnels and then, before we knew it, the land turned from mountainous and green to flat and rocky.

[caption id="attachment_1890" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Tunnel Vision Tunnel Vision[/caption]


Because we were doing so well on time, we decided to stop at Arches National Park in Moab, UT. This wasn't a scheduled trip, but the pictures we saw online looked amazing.

[caption id="attachment_1903" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Elephant Butte Elephant Butte[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1902" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Twisted Tree Twisted Tree[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1901" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Tim, Ben, and Karen at Broken Arch Tim, Ben, and Karen at Broken Arch[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1900" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Sassy Gabe Sassy Gabe[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1899" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Precarious Precarious[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1898" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Evening Primrose Evening Primrose[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1911" align="aligncenter" width="200"]My love My love[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1897" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Larkspur Larkspur[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1912" align="aligncenter" width="200"]My 3 guys My 3 guys[/caption]


Arches Double-Arches




[caption id="attachment_1893" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Broken Arch Broken Arch[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1891" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Broken Arch Broken Arch[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1896" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Karen, Ben and Boys at Broken Arch Karen, Ben and Boys at Broken Arch[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1904" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Exploring Exploring[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1913" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Precious Gabe Precious Gabe[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1914" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Prince's Plume Prince's Plume[/caption]


Double Arches

Double Arches

[caption id="attachment_1894" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Contemplating Contemplating[/caption]


We weren't disappointed!

Funny story: We did fine navigating the roads with our trailer in tow. Until we got to the end. Ben pulled into a parking lot and and then realized that a sanitation truck was backed up to the bathrooms and was blocking our path. Since backing up in a straight line is difficult we thought we'd wait. Except it was impossible. Within a few seconds a rancid stench filled the interior of the vehicle. It was horrible. I was retching and gagging and had to jump out and run down the sidewalk so I could catch my breath. It. Was. Horrible. Truly, honestly the worst thing I have ever smelled in my life. Everyone, except poor Ben, quickly joined me. When it was apparent the truck was in no hurry, Ben had to back up. Thankfully Tim was able to direct him and he made it out just fine, but it was a slow process. Other vehicles kept trying to pull in behind us and Tim would have to let them know what was going on so they could back up and get out of Ben's way.

Since we needed to make Salt Lake City before crashing for the night, we had to cut it a bit short. I would have loved to walked some of the trails to more arches, but I'm grateful we got to see as much as we did.

I was a bit intrigued to see Salt Lake City. I'd heard the temple was beautiful all lit up at night and I couldn't wait to see the great Salt Lake. Unfortunately, they were both disappointments.

As we were getting into the city, the traffic suddenly became horrible. There was an accident, and then beyond that, highway construction. They were actually shutting down the highway! Not only that, but they didn't have any detour signs out which made it really frustrating and confusing. It was getting later and later and we were all tired. Everyone graciously agreed to drive by the temple, but there was no way to get out and really take good photos. Everything was closed down and there was (surprise!) more construction going on. Also, the red lights are insanely long!! Tim was able to get a few pictures. Oh well.

Day 4: UT and NV

Another disappointment in UT. The map I'd printed out on the Salt Lake's website made it look very simple to find our exit. Well, it wasn't. We ended up driving past it. By the time we realized that, nope the exit is long past gone, we were all aggravated and weren't about to turn around.

We pulled over to go to the bathroom, took a few sad pictured of the tail end of the Salt Lake and then hopped back on the road. A few minutes later a truck pulled up next to us and started pointed wildly to the trailer. Ben pulled over immediately and sure enough, someone had left the door to the trailer unlocked! Thank goodness for guardian angels in pick-up trucks!

[caption id="attachment_1905" align="aligncenter" width="240"]Tree of Utah Tree of Utah[/caption]



The Bonneville Salt Flats were a really nice surprise and made up for our earlier disappointment!

[caption id="attachment_1906" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Salt Refinery Salt Refinery[/caption]

I didn't know anything about the salt flats, but they have restrooms and parking so we took that as a sign that it was okay to get out and walk around. So we did.

[caption id="attachment_1907" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Bonneville Salt Flats Bonneville Salt Flats[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1909" align="aligncenter" width="300"]We did some running, too! We did some running, too![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1910" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Salt Flats up close Salt Flats up close[/caption]



The rest of our time in Utah was pretty uneventful and before we knew it we were in Nevada.

We took a bathroom and gas break and then hopped onto highway 93.

[caption id="attachment_1915" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Lonely road Lonely road[/caption]

93 is a looooong stretch of nothing. There was an interesting Pony Express memorial. And sagebrush. And tumbleweeds.

Oh, a word from the wise: tumbleweeds are not as fluffy as they look. Don't try to pick one up. Ouch.

Bathrooms are in very short supply along this road. We may or may not have had to use the side of the road.

At one point, our Navigator had a little power surge or glitch or something. Ben pulled off the road, turned the vehicle off and then back on and it was fine. I was nervous, though, that we'd completely break down out there. Did I mention the lack of cell phone coverage? Yikes. Luckily, we were fine and it was a one-time thing.

[caption id="attachment_1916" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Windblown Gabe Windblown Gabe[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1917" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Windmill Windmill[/caption]


Once, we stopped for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs, and Karen and I were rock hunting, when all of a sudden something ran by my legs in the sage brush. Tim caught a glimpse of it and said it was a big jackrabbit. Anything is better than a snake!

We saw a lot of boarded up rest stops and motels. There were a few cute little towns. Really not much going on out there.

Shortly after dinner we hit California. We'd been driving in the desert  for so long. Out of nowhere we were suddenly in a pine forest. It was breathtaking. Signs for Yosemite started popping up and we were on 120 and cutting through the park.

[caption id="attachment_1918" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Inyo National Forest Inyo National Forest[/caption]

It was about 9pm when we reached Evergreen Lodge where a two-bedroom cabin was waiting for us. We dropped off all of our stuff, stashed the trailer, and then headed to the Lodge restaurant for a late dinner. The food was wonderful. Just so good. We ate up and then headed to bed. We'd already seen and done so many great things, but I had a feeling the best was yet to come.







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