Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oct 9, 2009
Well, tomorrow never came until today…
We are back home. It is hard to close my eyes and not see the vistas and visions of the “so many places we visited”. Four “Type A” personality, diabetic, retiree, Air Force and Army Vets made it 12 days and did not kill each other. In fact, we had a Great Time!
The 5,975 mile trip included:
1. The Badlands National Park
2. Mt. Rushmore National Monument
3. Custer State Park
4. Yellowstone National Park (East Side, Fire in the center which was closed and West Side)
5. Jackson Hole WY, (which should be a Park…)
6. The Grand Tetons National Park
7. Zion National Park
8. Glen Canyon National Park
9. Grand Canyon (North Rim) National Park… This is the place Wayne said he saw a sign reading, FILL DIRT WANTED! We did laugh a lot!
10. Bryce Canyon National Park with its Hoodoos
11. Bridges National Park
12. Red Canyon and Dixie National Forest
13. Canyonland National Park was as the Grand Canyon… Terrible erosion area. It was as wild as the Grand Canyon, only more strange! Another WOW!
14. Arches National Park

The Arches National Park allowed some captivating images the evening we arrived. We entered and were blown away with some of the sights. We found we turn 365 degrees and see wonder with each view. The rocks and arches are enough, but there are many other things to see too. Wolfe Ranch reminded us just how hard this country must have been for people to scratch out an existence. We stayed overnight in order to return to Arches again the next morning to see the locations in the morning sun. WOW, it was amazing! I took off on a trail to see some of the Arches. I was following behind Russ and Wayne trying to catch them. All was going well until I found a fork in the trail. As Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” So I did… You guessed it, I took the left which was a 7 mile trail and they of course to the trail to the right, which was only a half mile. About an hour (or maybe a little more) later as I was returning to the truck parking area still greeting everyone I met on the trail, I met Frank Thomas from Pasadena, CA. As I started to greet him, he beat me to the draw with, “You are Russ Johnson from Atlanta and your buddies are waiting for you at the truck”, I was shocked, but thanked him after our laugh and caught up with my disgruntled companions.
OK, they were worried when they did not know where I was. I will admit, it was not the first time we had gotten separated. It had happened in the Grand Canyon and at Zion too. We got over it, but they did shortened my leash. I had to tell them when I was going to the trash can or to the potty… I had to carry my cell phone too.
We came home via I-70 from the Arches National Park which brought us over the Rocky Mountains through snow and ice in the passes around Vail, Breckenridge and on through Denver. I slept listening to my i-pod in my own world while the other three spent some very tense moments with the snow and ice passing through the high elevations and sub-freezing temps. We know it would have been another beautiful area to see had it not been dark… Wayne called to find us a place to stay in a classy lodging where we enjoyed crackers and water for a really fine supper before bed. The owner was kind enough to turn on the lights and the heat before we arrived. What it lacked if class was made up for by a great breakfast the next morning at the CafĂ©. We enjoyed the balance in beautiful clear weather and uneventful moments until we arrived home. We dropped Bob first. He was glad to be home. I was next. We arrived and both Russ and Wayne assisted me in getting my gear from the truck to the house. Time, about 12:30 AM. And all three of us were out of the truck. We have no idea how, but the door shut and the lock clicked. The keys, in the truck of course. Near 6,000 miles and I think about 14 states, we were locked out of the truck… Thanks to AAA, Russ and Wayne were on their way and we ended our official Wild West Tour.
We were again made aware God’s incredible handiwork with each visit to the National Parks. We look forward to hearing how South Africa will be for Russ and Wayne as Russ and Eagles Cry take a group for a photo safari leaving November 1, 2009.
We hope you have enjoyed our blog.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hello to all!
We were not able to get on line last night as we were in a no signal area. Saturday we did the North Rim of the Grand Canyon we went to Jacob Lake and to Vermillion Cliffs and across the Colorado River to Page, AZ came down through Kaibito and on to Kayenta where we had a real tuff time finding a place to stay. We came back to Anasiza Inn, owned and operated by Navjo Indians. This is one of the nicest places, but no internet, thus not blog.
We got an early start this morning heading through Mexican Hat for Natural Bridges and on to Moab, UT. This afternoon we went to Arches National Park. We will go back to Arches again in the morning because of the beauty! Russ said we need to get a dictionary as we have run out of adjectives like WOW, beautiful, unbelievable, stunning, awesome, totally awesome, and breathtaking and well you can tell, we have run out…
I am taking a beating from all three for introducing “Hello, my name is Russ Johnson, I am from Atlanta” to everyone I meet. Now all three of my fellow travelers are also introducing themselves as, “Hello I am Russ Johnson from Atlanta” to people they meet. They think they are so funny! I don’t see the humor…
We can’t wait to get home to show off the images we have captured. I called our pastor Terry Fleming last week to share with him how beautiful the Tetons were with the falling snow. That was before seeing some of the other sights. Zion was great until we found Canyonland and the Arches. We have enjoyed eating at small local places to get a taste of the area in the locations we have visited. We would strongly suggest to anyone to make this trip as a part of their “Bucket List” if not before! WOW!I am attaching a few more images tonight that again will not even begin to represent the trip! More tomorrow.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We spent a short but restful night. We set out this morning early at Zion National Park (I think this is national park is too well a well kept secret…)
Zion is below Bryce Canyon in Utah. We were able to take the tour bus to all the locations… Tomorrow we will be at the Grand Canyon (North Rim) and who knows for how long we will stay!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hello to all from Zion National Park, Utha!
We pulled out from Logan, Utah this morning heading southbound through Salt Lake City under a clear sky and on to Penquach, Utah (I know I misspelled that location, but it means “Big Fish” in Indian) and visited Red Valley where the Hoodos are rocks standing hundreds of feet from the base of the canyon, It was unbelievable in beauty! We drove through the park and took more than a bunch of photos. There were two ravens sitting on one of the elevation signs, we were looking for a cup to drop change in for their show… They just sat there and let us run around close enough to touch them and take pictures. They were a scream to watch! The elevation here rose to more than 9,000+ feet. I can’t wait to tell my grandsons that today we spit more than near two miles! We found a super friendly place to stop for lunch where we spoke with many of the locals. They told us about the Red Canyon location that we passed through to get to Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon National Park is a breathtaking place to go through with tunnels carved through the mountains. They have windows carved through the walls of the tunnels. We wondered how they had any idea of where to cut curves to the left or right while carving through the mountains… We figured they would cut windows and stick their heads out to see where they were and carve some more. The switchbacks and roads were beyond belief. You could look below to see the roads winding below us to reach the base of the canyon. The beauty was beyond any words other than WOW! We arrived early enough to catch the late afternoon and evening sun in the canyon and on the areas that will take your breath away. We stopped early this evening to stay the night in Springdale, Utah where Bryce is located. We will go through the canyon in the morning via their tour bus system to catch the sunrise and see sights that you can’t see from your automobile. It is all part of the $25.00 per car pass price. We purchased lifetime senior passes for all the National Park system for $10.00 each while we were at Rushmore. We have saved about $200.00 already as we can visit any National Park for no additional charge… What a deal!
We enjoyed Tia food for supper and are turning in earlier tonight. We will continue on to Page, AZ tomorrow to the Grand Canyon and on from there. We have clicked about 3,500+ miles so far since last Friday.
More tomorrow! We will post more images tomorrow. We are tired tonight.

The threat of heavy snow in Yellowstone had us move out of the area and head south. Weather was calling for from 6 inches to 2 feet in the area. The snow was coming down as we pulled out from breakfast. When we came out from the restaurant the accumulation had begun. We headed west through Montana and south through Idaho to enter The Grand Tetons from Jackson Hole. We were delighted with the Grand Tetons! The views were amazing with the heavy cloud cover as the snows were still falling in the higher elevations. We are up this Thursday morning and ready to head further south for Zion and more new things to see. We will have new photos later this evening. Have a great day! The Wild West Bunch! (Note: The quality of the images are not always of the top nature as not all four of us are professional photographers like Russ and Bob... Rusty and Wayne are trying...)