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Trip to the Canyons - Las Vegas to Home

After two whole weeks apart, we finally met in Vegas. I checked into the hotel, got cleaned up, rushed to the airport and found Diane in the luggage area. She didn't recognize me immediately! I was wearing my rafting baseball cap, dark glasses and a new beard.

We had checked into L'Hotel Paris - very nice. That evening we dined on Hors D'Oeuvres and fine wine - splendid. Breakfast the next morning was a let-down.
After booking, I was offered the option of a $50 upgrade to get a view of the Eiffel Tower from our window. Guess what we got without upgrading!

The next morning we left for Zion Campground where I had left the trailer

We got up early to explore the trail to the Emerald Pools. These are three pools half way up the side of the canyon with waterfalls linking them

Next day was the trip to Bryce Canyon. We went throuh the tunnel to get out of the park, past checkerboard butte and up the Red Canyon

Bryce is Diane's favorite canyon, and the prettiest of all. We were unable to get a reservation in the Park - it is very popular - so we had two nights at Ruby's which is a major complex of shopping, motels,e tc at the bottom of the road leading upto the Park. It was a very nice campground and we got a piney site at the edge of the campground.

The following day was a hike down into the canyon.
This is the Navajo Loop..

..down to Wall Street..

..waaayyy down..

..We made it

At the bottom we had lunch..

..and began the trek around the loop past bizarre shapes viewed from the base..

..and even Queen Victoria (on the left) holding court over the Queen's Garden..

..through some of the formations back to the top

Next day was a longish travel day through the Escalante country - the layers of sediment tipped on their sides.
The town of Escalante is another Hippie town. Cute but maybe not too stable financially

The views were spectacular from the road on top of the canyons..

..and the road itself was interesting!

We topped the Continental Divide..

..And almost made 10,000 feet.

Coming off the mountain we spotted an interesting shop and went in to admire the wooden Indian flutes

We continued on past Fruita and Navajo Butte (see the trip from Moab to Las Vegas) to Lake Powell

And crossed the bridge at Hite that, only a few days ago - seemed like years - had been my first view of civilization after four days of rafting

The day ended at Natural Bridges camp site

The next morning we took the loop road round the park to look at the bridges

Sipapu Bridge is on the left

On the hike down we spotted an old Indian house


..was next..

..Followed by Owachomo..

Which has a very thin top

The weathering of the rocks was very interesting at some places
We were now faced with an interesting dilemma. In the mountainous country we were doing around 8mpg pulling the trailer which gave us a range of around 175 miles. We had already done 125 miles since the last fillup and the next small town - Mexican Hat was 41 miles away and may or may not have a gas station. We pressed on and kept our fingers crossed.

The first obstacle on the way to Mexican Hat was the Moki Dugway

This drops abruptly from the mesa top to the plains below

This is done by lots of hairpin bends and very steep grades

The road is mainly gravel, presumably for traftion in winter

At the bottom of the Dugway the hillsides had very pretty patterns. The shale had been deposited in different colors, the strata tipped on end and then gullies worn into it Finally we got to Mexican Hat named after a stone formation and got a fill-up of gas.

Next came Monument Valley

There was a thunderstorm

We had time for one photo from the standard viewpoint..

..before the storm closed in

The dirt roads were flooded.

After Monument Valley, Utah and a little shopping to stock up on food we headed for Colorado via Arizona and New Mexico . We were again heading through very desolate country and we realised that we were dangerously low on gas again.
We visited
Four Corners -
No gas
Finally we got to Ute Mountain Resort - a casion that I knew had gas. It was already dark so we decided to get a hotel room. The restaurant was as badly run as any establishment I have ever visited. So bad that we actaully enjoyed ourselves laughing at it.

Next stop was Mesa Verde..

..with fabulous views

We set up camp..

..among the wild life

Mesa Verde is probably the most complete and the biggest Pueblo Indian Ruin. This is called the Cliff House and only guided tours are permitted
Our group waited patiently

The guide was very well informed
and the trip was well worth the waits

Getting back out of
the canyon was interesting

We could only imagine how the Indians managed it - Here is one more of the several hundred dwellings in the region

We had planned to spend another night at Mesa Verde, but the Camp Host had told us that we were in a tent-only section of the campground. Of course, the occupancy rate was only about 10% but as he said "rules are rules!". So we moved on.
The next night was at Chimney Rock, another Indian reservation campground.

With a beautiful

And complete with a hawk's nest. We watched the hawk as it circled and dipped down to skim the lake, presumably looking for fish

On our way to Santa Fe we stopped at the Echo Amphitheater which has fascinating echoing capabilities not only of us at the focal point but also of the road noise a half-mile away, depending on where we stood. Note also the staining from a little stream that trickles down, clinging to the wall until it reaches an overhanging ledge and then falls into space.

That night we made it to Hyde Memorial State Park in the mountains above Santa Fe and found a delightful campsite

The previous occupants
of the campsite..

..Had left a bag
of cracked corn..

..which attracted all
sorts of friends

The next day we spent in Santa Fe
shopping, of course, and then tried
to find some New Mexico
Enchiladas for lunch. Could not find them downtown!

.Luckily, one of the restaurants had a second store out in the industrial area

It was a major find

We left in mid-afternoon to go to another State Park near Roswell. We got just past Vaughan, which is a hole-in-the-wall type of place and suddenly realised that Roswell was the next habitated place and was 95 miles away. We calculated that we had about 93 miles of gas left in the tank and, despite the mountains of Frijoles we had eaten at lunch, we might not make it. So we turned around. Vaughan was only about ten miles back. There was an open gas station so we thankfully pulled in only to discover that their pumps were in the throes of a breakdown. We got one gallon out of them in five minutes. With great trepidation we looked for another station and luckily found one.
The sunset we saw on the way and the herds of Pronghorns made it worth the worries.
We checked on the "miles to empty" as we got toward Roswell and discovered that we would have made it with two miles to spare. That night it was late so we opted for La Quinta and Applebee's rather than the State Park

The next day we felt we were almost home

We stopped in Pecos and found a wonderful museum - probably the most complete small-town museum I have ever seen. With lots of Wild West Frontier life as you would expect

We stopped off in Fort Stockton and watched the oil-field workers for a while..

..before turning in

The drive home from Fort Stockton was quite relaxing -
we knew we would be sleeping in our own bed that night.. we relaxed for a while
and had lunch in Ozona
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