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2008 West Vacation - Southern Utah and Colorado, Part 4


My 2008 West Vacation. 16 days, 4596.3 miles.
Day 8, Bryce Canyon National Park to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Day 8. End of day miles: 2381.7. Hotel: Lake Powell Resort, Page, Arizona.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 2 - September 19

Went back into Bryce to finish the last four pullouts, Inspiration Point to Fairyland. The morning sun is out, and lights up Inspiration Point, a truly gorgeous sight. We move on to Sunset and Sunrise Points, where a squirrel poses for me. Finally we do Fairyland Canyon, where we never see the lightning, but a close thunderclap makes me wonder if I shouldn't be on a high ridge...

On the way out, we run into a Pronghorn grazing by the side of the road. It doesn't care. It looks at up at us, then just starts grazing again, giving us his best side, and showing why you don't wear white during hunting season...

We leave the park and get gas at Texaco, then early lunch again at Cowboy. Food is once again okay, nothing special, but there's nothing else around, either. We have no clue how long it'll be before we hit another place to eat...

Bryce Canyon National Park, Day 2
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Bryce Canyon
Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Scenic Route 12, Red Canyon / US-89 - September 19

After leaving Bryce, the plan was to go Westbound on Utah-12 to US-89, then turn South and follow US-89 all the way to Glen Canyon NRA. Of course the way the geography works around here, US-89 will take us South, then East, and even Northeast at times.

We stop at Red Canyon on Utah-12 to take some pictures, then continue to US-89.

US-89 is probably the most scenic road in America. It starts about 50 miles Northwest of Phoenix, Arizona, and continues all the way North to the Canadian Border. Along the way, it passes within 20 miles of Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Pipe Springs, Zion, Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, The Great Salt Lake, Golden Spike, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, and dozens of State Parks and National Forest Service areas.

The road rarely goes through a park, since many National Park Service Roads don't allow commercial trucks, but there are a number of alternate US-89's for commercial traffic when it does.

SR-12 / Red Canyon / US-89
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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, UT - September 19

We actually pass within 10-15 miles of Zion National Park, but that's not on the agenda this trip. Zion would take at least half a day, and that time was spent in Bryce Canyon. It was already over an hour past Noon, and we had reservations at Lake Powell that night.

Instead, we would make a short stop at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, yet another one of those Utah State Parks that were just bypassed in 1997. Only a couple miles past the road to Zion, we turn off of US-89 onto County Road 43. I do have to say, some (most?) of these Utah State Parks are really in the middle of nowhere.

This park's draw are the pink sand dunes that result from the erosion of Navajo Sandstone. Like all sand dunes, they're a result of a certain geology and wind patterns. It rains a few drops as we get to the park, but not enough to make it a bother.

We get to the park, pay the entrance fee (did I mention I should have gotten a Utah State Park pass?), and read the signs cautioning that people use recreation ATV's on the dunes, and one should use caution because visitors have been killed by ATV's coming over hills. Oh, that's nice...

The sand is pinkish-red and very fine. We decide to take a walk to the fences, beyond which, you're fair game for the guys on ATV's. It's downhill, and one step down on the sand, and you slide down another half-step. That only means one thing, on the way up, one step up will really only net you 1/2 step up. I'm right. The sand is so fine it doesn't compact at all. Of course it ended up in our shoes and through the weave of the sock.

We clean out our shoes and socks and feet the best we can when we get back to the car, and we now have pink socks and shoelaces. The shoelaces will stay pink until we get to Monument Valley, where they will turn orange and stay that way for months.

You know, maybe a real quick trip to Zion wouldn't have been a bad idea...

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
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US-89 - September 19

Further down the staircase, the familiar red rows of mesas appear, and it looks like we're near the Colorado River, Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.

We come over a ridge, and can see Lake Powell. Got here faster than I thought. See the sign to Wahweap, and turn in. Check in was reasonably fast. We're here for two days, our midway point of the trip.

US-89, Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP to Glen Canyon NRA
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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ - September 19

We get to Wahweap and the Lake Powell Resort and check-in. We're in room 102. It's a lake view (yes, you pay more for a lake view), but not the best. If you go, get a lake view, but get rooms in the 400-800 range, which faces the main part of the lake instead of the boat harbor and launch. The 100's are also farthest from the lobby, and couldn't get an internet connection. (They only had wireless in the lobby.)

We're also in Arizona, which means no daylight savings time, and suddenly we have an extra hour. I love time travel. We get to the Dam to find we're too late for a tour, but we can sign up for one the next morning. Good thing we're here two days. Last time we were here, we couldn't get a tour, and were only here overnight.

Take some pictures, then go onto bridge to take a few more. Ugh. We're high, and I don't mean the good kind. Who's idea was this? See, I got this irrational fear of heights, but we're fenced in like animals, and the bridge feels pretty sturdy until a semi comes by. Just look ahead, don't look down. Good thing I stopped at the bathroom at the Dam...

Back to the car in the Dam's parking lot, and cross the bridge to get dinner in Page. Jo wants pictures of the canyon side of the bridge. I tell her okay, but only if there's parking on the other side of the bridge. Crap. There's parking on the other side of the bridge, and find myself standing 700 feet above the river again. It's obvious as I walk down the narrow sidewalk, that I'd rather be hit by a truck too close to the edge of the road than walk at the edge near the fence. Nice pictures, no backbone.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Day 1
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Page, AZ - September 19

Go into Page, drive the entire main road to the high school, and settle on the Blue Corn Restaurant in the Quality Inn, which is supposed to serve traditional Navajo dishes. I have the Navajo taco, which I suspect isn't traditional, but is very good. Jo has the Pork Chop special, and isn't impressed, but I had a bite, and it was moist and pretty good.

Hung around the outside of the restaurant for the sunset, since it was going to happen in a few minutes, and we had an unfettered view over the river valley. It was mediocre, we haven't had a real spectacular one yet.

We drive back to the resort and stop at the lobby to find out how the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge works. We have reservations for tomorrow afternoon. We look through the resort store and buy a keychain, then look at the menu for the Rainbow Room, the table service restaurant at the resort. We're not impressed. We'll eat there if things go okay tomorrow.

After dark, we go for a walk to look at the stars, Jo buys a fruit smoothie at this counter service place that's closer to our room than the lobby. (Magically, some Knob Creek appeared in my coffee cup, which I deemed a better choice than a smoothie. Yes, I brought it from home. I think I'll add bourbon to the list of things to take on a Road Trip...) Nice stars, but still too much light. It's better if you go out into the parking lot, but the lights on the buildings are still too bright. We could drive to one of the pull-offs away from the resort, but that's probably not a really great idea with a alcoholic beverage in hand. (It was in a coffee cup. I could spill...)

The room is okay, the shower doesn't have any water flow, somewhat of a standard in sever water conservation areas. Rate the room/resort maybe 3 of 10 and the shower 2 of 10. The room was rated 3 of 10 for all the added "taxes and fees" that were added to the bill for just about everything, from room to boat tickets to food. But more on that later. Otherwise, it was a standard Interstate Hotel type room, at twice the price.

But do understand, it's all about location. :-)

Sunset from Page
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End 2008 Southwest Vacation - Part 4.

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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