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2008 West Vacation - Southern Utah and Colorado, Part 3


My 2008 West Vacation. 16 days, 4596.3 miles.
Day 7, Kodachrome Basin State Park to Bryce Canyon National Park

Day 7. End of day miles: 2072. Hotel: Ruby's Inn, Utah.

Scenic Route 12, Part 3 - September 18

We leave Escalante early, still on Rt. 12. Still have amazing views, but there's a flat bottom as the road turns West. Eventually, the farmland / grazing land gives way to stepping down the staircase once again.

Scenic Route 12 - Escalante to Cannonville
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Kodachrome Basin State Park - September 18

At Cannonville (once called Gun Shot by the residents who claimed it was too small to qualify as a cannon) we turn left onto Cottonwood Road toward Kodachrome Basin State Park. The red sandstone spires against the forever blue sky prompted the National Geographic Society (with Kodak's blessing) to name this park after the slide film in 1949. Kodachrome today is no longer produced, and can command big bucks by enthusiasts. At least it will until the last lab in the country stops developing the film...

This was one of the parks that were deleted from my 1997 trip, again due to bad information. Besides, we rushed through Route-12 so fast we wouldn't have had time to stop, not to mention it was an overcast day. But not today.

Not only is it a state park, but there is lodging here as well. I suppose you could even use this place as a base camp when visiting Bryce Canyon. I'll bet it's pretty quiet here at night.

Anyway, they have some very cool natural rock formations, and was a very well maintained park. We walked a few trails, admired Mother Nature's sense of humor, then took off for Bryce.

Kodachrome Basin State Park
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Just another postcard picture opportunity in Utah...

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 1 - September 18

We turned into the Mossy Cave entrance of Bryce, someplace I'd never been before. We didn't actually take the time to walk the entire trail, since I wanted to get into the park, and Jo wanted to go horseback riding. But there are some cool hoodoos here.

Truth in advertising says the entry sign below doesn't exist at the Mossy Cave Entrance. It's the main entrance sign...

Bryce Canyon National Park, Mossy Cave Trail Entrance
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Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 1

Stopped at the Rubys Inn Best Western. Jo's going horseback riding, I'm going into Bryce. Not knowing how it all works, we stop in first at the Old Bryce Town Shops, and darned if there isn't a Trabant there. That's two that I know of in the United States, and the other is on federal land. (Pictures at the end of the page...) But her horse riding guys aren't there.

We then went across the street to the main hotel lobby, and Jo found her horse riding outfit, I found they didn't have a room ready yet. We did have time for lunch, and ate at the Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room, the main in-house restaurant. I had the buffet, Jo the grilled chicken salad. Mediocre food, but hardy and lots of it. We will meet up again after her horseback ride, and go tour the gift shops.

Jo leaves via van, and I head into the park, where it proceeds to rain, then hail, then rain, then stop. I wonder if Jo is getting this. (Nope.)

Plan is to go all the way out to Rainbow Point, and make my way back, but that plan is ruined when I get to some proscribed fires at Agua Canyon. After taking a few pictures, I realize I should stick to my original plan and drive out to Rainbow, and then every viewpoint on the way back, something we really didn't have the time to do in 1997. The smoke around Agua is terrible, makes Bryce hazy. Busses full of geriatrics are a several viewpoints, many Europeans and Asians. I may fit into two of those categories, but I'm not in a bus...

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 1
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Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 2

Now Bryce Canyon is a canyon, but Bryce Canyon National Park is a series of amphitheaters from a ridge looking East. The most gorgeous viewpoints are probably the first 5 or 6 in the park, mostly due to the lower elevation closer to the sandstone that creates the uniquely shaped hoodoos.

But there is a Bryce Canyon overlook, and it's one of the most scenic in the park. However, there's a rise of about 50 feet you have to walk from the parking lot to the viewpoint, reminding me that 8300 feet above sea level is way more than I'm used to. I am shamed by the octogenarians who don't seem to have the same problem I do. Heh.

Still, this is better than getting your ass beat up on a horse. :-)

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 2
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Red Canyon, Scenic Route 12, UT - September 18

Jo's ass, on the other hand, is getting beat up by a horse.

They went riding through Red Canyon, a place we'll pass by when we leave Bryce...

Jo goes horseback riding
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Ruby's Inn, Bryce Canyon, UT - September 18

Jo should be getting back to the hotel soon, so I bypass the last 4 major viewpoints, and get back to Ruby's Inn to check in. The people in check-in are a little curt, room's in the back, and have a nice day. (Though I did find other employees very warm and friendly.) I drive to the back, and find a parking space right next to the door I have to use, and the room is only 20 feet from there.

It's a nice room, with Jacuzzi and widescreen TV. Rough life. It's in the pool atrium, and you can walk indoor corridors all the way to the lobby and gift/grocery shop. Cell service pretty much sucks here, so trying to find Jo is a hassle, but it allows me to canvas both of the souvenir stores and the grocery store.

We finally find each other, and pick up a few cold beverages and a 12-pack of Coke Zero (for Jo) before heading back to the room. Once there, I back-up all the picture data.

We decide to grab a pizza at The Canyon Diner for dinner, and it's...only okay, if that.

Talking to the employees, we find the entire area is owned by the same people, the Syretts. The hotel, the diner, the two gas stations, the stores across the street, the new hotel being built across the street... I'd wouldn't be surprised if the street was owned by the Syretts. But let's be fair, Ruby Syrett had permission to set up a lodge at the rim 5 years before the Feds grabbed it as their own and created Bryce Canyon National Monument. He just had to move to his ranch, where the current Ruby's Inn is today. (I do wonder if the Syretts "Ranch" has anything to do with the lack of hotel and restaurant competition outside the park.)

Shower was good, room was excellent. 10/10. But remember, I had one of the new, upscale rooms. There are still some definitely unmodern rooms here.

Ruby's Inn, UT
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End 2008 Southwest Vacation - Part 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

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