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Our 2014 Western States National Parks Tour

Old 7/22/15, 03:32 PM
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Our 2014 Western States National Parks Tour

Some of the folks on this forum enjoyed my recent thread Another Great Road Trip Behind Us, so I decided to do another travelogue.
Last year we set out on May 29th on a tour of National Parks in western states and would cover 4,000 miles in 15 days through
Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and Montana. This is our route map.



We stopped in Walla Walla our first night and in Boise, ID on the 30th. Our hotel was near the Basque area of Boise and we walked to dinner
in a little Basque restaurant. We like a dry white wine and made a new friend in a Spanish wine called Verdejo.
The next day we continued to the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This is where the first transcontinental railroad was completed
with the driving of a golden spike. Two engines - The Jupiter and The 119 - met there. They have faithfully reproduced replicas of these beautiful
steam engines and do a reenactment that, frankly, drags on a bit.

The Jupiter -Note the round part on top of the engine aft of the bell. This is called a sand drum and if you look closely you can see a brass tube
that extends down the side of the engine to just forward of the front large red wheel. If the engine was having trouble getting traction
on an incline they would open a valve and let a bit of sand down the tube onto the track and that would help the wheel gain traction.



The 119



From time to time they had to clear sediment out of the steam tank and would do a blow down - let a big blast of steam out to blow out the sediment.



Next stop - Salt Lake City.

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Old 7/22/15, 04:51 PM
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Mel had never been to Salt Lake City before and was expecting to see young folks in pressed trousers and white shirts and ties
looking very wholesome. Instead we saw all sorts of weird hair colors, tattoos and numerous body piercings.
We also saw pairs of guys walking down the street holding hands. Turns out it was Gay Pride Week in Salt Lake City. Who'd a thunk it?

Neither of us care about other peoples' sexual preferences, but we have no sympathy for those who feel compelled to rub it in our faces.
I don't care if it's a guy grabbing a handful of his girlfriend's cheek or a guy grabbing a handful of his boyfriend's cheek.
I really don't wish to see it in public.

We continued south to Capital Reef National Park. We were getting into that part of Utah that is at fairly high elevation
and knew that we could get fried in a hurry with the top down. We spent part of the time top down and part of it top up for self-preservation.

The view as you enter Capital Reef.



A section of what is called a waterpocket fold.



Interesting colors and textures in the cliff face.



Hoodoos



We spent the night in a funky old motel in Boulder, UT. On arrival we walked across the highway to the Anasazi Museum.
The Anasazi were a very early native American people who had four major dwelling areas that were perfectly aligned on a particular longitude.
Nobody knows how they did that. We were able to walk to dinner again, but it was a hike along the highway.
The next day would take us to Bryce Canyon National Park.

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Old 7/22/15, 05:09 PM
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Bryce Canyon National Park has to be seen to be believed and is one of those places you could return to over and over again. The term breathtaking comes to mind.

A stitched together panorama in Bryce.



You can drive a good distance into the park and there are a number of places to pull off and park and gawk.

Ponderosa Canyon



Natural Bridge



Bryce Point



Inspiration Point



Leaving Bryce Canyon we continued to Springdale, UT and would spend the following day in Zion National Park.

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Old 7/22/15, 05:27 PM
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Unlike Bryce Canyon, you are not allowed to drive into Zion. You have to park at the Visitors' Center and take a shuttle.
It is quite convenient, as they run very frequently and make a number of stops. So it's a hop on hop off sort of thing.

We found Zion to be very impressive, but it doesn't have the incredible beauty of Bryce Canyon.
We were glad we visited but would not go back.

An interesting formation along a trail.



Big Bend



A stitched together panorama of The Patriarchs



We had now done Western Utah and had a couple of parks to see in Eastern Utah, so we drove down into Arizona
and back up through Monument Valley to Moab, UT. Some people think it is really cool.
We were there three days and didn't much care for it, but it was the place to be to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

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Old 7/22/15, 05:55 PM
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I like those pictures of Utah. I need to get out there to see some of those parks. Did you make it to Arches national park?
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Old 7/22/15, 06:07 PM
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We had an apartment with a kitchen in Moab so were able to prepare some of our meals.
But the main reasons for being there were visits to Arches and Canyonlands National Park and a float trip down the Colorado River.

Arches is another of those must see parks. The rock formations are very different from Bryce but are breathtaking in their own right.
There are some spectacular arches as you would expect, but there are also some awesome balanced rocks.

Park Avenue



The Three Gossips



Balanced Rock



Turret Arch



South Window



Skyline Arch



Next stop - Canyonlands.

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Old 7/22/15, 06:28 PM
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Canyonlands is unusual in that there are separate areas of the park with separate entrances. It is another one that is worth seeing but not one you would likely return.

A panorama of Canyonlands



Grand Viewpoint Overlook



Shafer Canyon Overlook



That was enough for this day, but the following day would be a different view from a boat floating down the Colorado.

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Old 7/22/15, 06:41 PM
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You really do see things from a different perspective from a boat.

A Window



We were told that this is the point where, in the move Thelma and Louise, a Thunderbird flies off the cliff and into the river.
The producers had to drain all the fluids out of the car and fish it back out of the river. The director was not happy with the first take
so they did it again, using a sort of catapult to toss a second Thunderbird into the drink.
My memory of the Thunderbird of that era is that it was a small loss.



This formation is called the Pitcher Handle



This formation reminded us of Masada in Israel



ET Phone Home



The float trip was fun and informative and it was cooler on the river. The next day we would be in Wyoming, but since I'm on for dinner tonight
(home made pappardelle with stewed pancetta) I'll have to finish this thread tomorrow.

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Old 7/23/15, 05:53 AM
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Another excellent thread. Certainly better than watching Shark Week and Sharknado 3 on the SciFi channel
Your photos brought back many memories of our two week trip to Utah many years ago. We would say Delicate Arch in the Arches National Park was our highlight, especially with the hike to get there.
Chomping at the bit here for our trip later on, unfortunately we just heard that 2000 acres of Glacier National Park is on fire. Hopefully not in the regular tourist areas.
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Old 7/23/15, 10:16 AM
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I read that the fire has doubled in size to 4,000 acres and the Going to the Sun Road is closed from St. Mary entrance to Big Bend.
Some areas have been evacuated. It's very dry and they are having high winds, so it doesn't look good.
I hope it is resolved quickly and your trip can go ahead.

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Old 7/23/15, 01:51 PM
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We overnighted in a little Wyoming town called Rock Springs and the following day went through Jackson (would like to return here)
and then into Grand Teton National Park. Wow!!!



This was our first time in that park and we will probably go back. The mountains knock your socks off
and the meadows are full of wild flowers at that time of year.



We took a side road in to see Jenny Lake and it was well worth it.



We continued through the park and on into Yellowstone. We had reservations at a place just out the east entrance to the park.
It was okay but next time we will probably stay in the park. You just have to make reservations WELL in advance.

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Old 7/23/15, 02:18 PM
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We spent the next day in Yellowstone trying to take in as much as possible. We went on a ranger led walk and saw upper and lower falls.





No visit to Yellowstone is complete without seeing Old Faithful.



On the way to the next sight we came to a dead stop on the road. We learned later that someone had been injured and the helicopter
that was sent to evacuate them landed in the only place possible - the middle of the road. Some 45 minutes later the traffic started moving again.
We pulled off to visit Midway Geyser Basin. Unbelievable!





You always see bison in Yellowstone and at this time of the year they were shedding winter coats and looking pretty mangy.



Even though it had been pretty warm we drove through a hail storm on the way back to our digs. Small stones so no damage.

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Old 7/23/15, 02:26 PM
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We had a few days left and were on the homeward bound leg of the trip. We had been told the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody was worthwhile and stopped there.

A friend from the Honda S2000 club knew about our trip and suggested I be sure to go over Beartooth Pass on the way up into Montana.
What a great drive! It's a two-lane road and the summit is near 11,000'. The road was bare and dry but there was snow twice the height of my Mustang
along side the road. Very twisty and the road is pretty narrow in places. I wondered if anybody had been dumb enough to take a large motor home there.



We ran into sideways rain on the way to Big Timber, MT and were glad to get to The Grand Hotel. Kind of a funky place but I recommend it.
We had one more stop in Coeur d'Alene and stayed at the Flamingo Motel. It's a '60s style place where you park right outside your door.
One more long drive and we were back home with some very pleasant memories.

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Old 7/23/15, 06:53 PM
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You're livin' the dream Tom. Those Yellowstone pics look very familiar we've been there 2x, and love it. No matter how long we stay it never feels like it was enough. 2008 was our last visit.

When we make it to Utah, I want to do some Jeeping, in Moab, and the Whiterim trail among some other places.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7/24/15, 03:13 AM
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Superb thread, thanks tukatz!
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Old 7/24/15, 07:03 AM
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Those photos are just outstanding. Love your Mustang in the snow at Beartooth. Thanks again. What a highway that is, on 'top of the world'.
I thought Jenny Lake looked familiar. Yours truly with wife back in 1996.

Our 2014 Western States National Parks Tour-jenny-lake.jpg
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Old 7/24/15, 08:28 AM
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I love road trips and doing these threads I get to relive them and share them with others. I'm glad you guys are enjoying them.
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Old 7/24/15, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tukatz View Post
I love road trips and doing these threads I get to relive them and share them with others. I'm glad you guys are enjoying them.

I agree...I used to take road trips just out of the blue. I still enjoy them but they don't happen as often as I'd like.
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Old 8/13/15, 06:22 AM
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How do I view your pictures? The only pictures I can get to load are the single one from NC07GTCS. All the other pictures come up as small boxes like this □ .

I, too, took a similar trip which was 6,495 miles in 2 weeks and hit up some of those same spots. I fell in love with southern Utah!

Thanks for any help.
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Old 8/13/15, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by The Beast View Post
How do I view your pictures? The only pictures I can get to load are the single one from NC07GTCS. All the other pictures come up as small boxes like this □ .

I, too, took a similar trip which was 6,495 miles in 2 weeks and hit up some of those same spots. I fell in love with southern Utah!

Thanks for any help.
Sorry about that. I rearranged our web site. I'll have to update all the links but in the meantime here is a link to the first web page on our site for that trip. There is more narrative and there are more photos on those pages. Use the thumbnails on the left side to go from page to page.

http://tukatz.com/html/travel/us_201...tern_utah.html
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