Saturday, October 23, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 18

“Wherever I lay my hat (that's my home)” wrote (and sang) Marvin Gaye in 1962. Time for the Two Old Buzzards and their Fannie to get back to Morgan Hill.

Started the day at a Mexican Restaurant that is inside Barstow Quality Inn: Egg Tacos for Buzzard #2 and Granola Enchiladas for Buzzard #1. Just joshing - John and eggs, bacon & OJ. Linda had fruit bowl, yogert, granola and carrot juice. John drove to breakfast in Linda's pink hat. Fannie took the first lap driving as we started home to Morgan Hill. Did we mention that she's an excellent driver? Wilma's GPS showed 352 miles and 5 hours and 16 minutes to go. We left at approximately 8:36.

Linda took over driving as we went through the Mojave Desert with 262 miles to go at 9:55. We went past Tehachapi (Land of 4 Seasons) where we got some Starbucks and took a potty break. Soon we were in the land of grapes, orchards and cotton. The grapes were covered with wide strips of white plastic. A sign informed us that it was Sun World and that the grapes were for Safeway.

John took the wheel with 175 miles to go. Linda drove again with 106 miles to go. Outside Gustine we stopped at a fruit stand to get some trail mix. Found some tequila almonds for Cuz Jerry. John then drove the last 47 miles. As we passed by San Luis Reservoir I was reminded of the first time we all saw this part of California on our way to our new Morgan Hill home in April 1979. It's always good to get home.

We hope you enjoyed “traveling” along with us to Utah and Arizona and back home again. Don't forget to get in your entry for our Mileage Madness game. The deadline is October 31st. And, a prize is involved and an announcement of your name and your astute guess.

Who knows how long until we are road trippin' again but if you have any suggestions for us on how to improve our posts or our photos, please feel free to let the old buzzards know.

A likely candidate for our next major road trip is to New Orleans, Louisiana and the south Louisiana bayou country.

No photos from this heavy travel day.

Today's Teabag Philosophy is from Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger: “Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.” (Pancho Villa, last words 1877 – 1923)

Happy trails!

John's NOT randomly selected Pot-Shot prettly well sums up travel.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 17

We left Williams, The Gateway to The Grand Canyon, at 9:36 in 43 degree temperature (after breakfasting at Pine Country Restaurant) headed for Barstow, CA. We switched off drivers every 60 miles which made the 317 miles go faster. Yes, Fannie Mae is an excellent driver. If you have forgotten, refer to the photo gallery on Day One.

Stopped at Starbucks in Kingman, AZ so Buzzard #2 could get a mocha. Apparently Kingman is also very proud of being on Old Route 66. Their motto is Kingman: Heart of Route 66. John recalled that we had been to this very same Starbucks on our previous Arizona Road Trip. Just out of Kingman we passed by Holy Moses Wash (a dry creek bed under a bridge). Also went through Lake Havisu, the new home of the Old London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. But we didn't stop to see it or sing the song (until now).

Arrived in Barstow at Quality Inn around 2:30 and had to wait about an hour because of their computer system problems. Then when we got to our room they had just started to clean it. We had leftovers from last night's dinner for our lunch.

Barstow, California was founded in 1888 when the Santa Fe Railroad arrived. Located on the Mojave River, the area had already become a thriving mining center when silver was discovered six miles north in the Calico Mountains in 1882.

Named for the president of the Santa Fe Railroad, William Barstow Strong, Barstow thrived along with the nearby successful mining towns of Daggett and Calico. However, as the silver began to play out in the nearby mines, Daggett and Calico began to die, but Barstow grew as it became a busy rail center. At the turn of the century, rail travel was considered glamorous and in 1911 the Fred Harvey Company opened up the Casa Del Desierto where gourmet cuisine was served on fine china to the many travelers along the rails.

Comfortable, luxurious rooms rested the weary rail travelers as the Harvey Girls served food and provided information. The Harvey House had a reputation for friendliness and hospitality and became the focus not only for travelers but for locals. Barstow's Harvey House was equipped with a full ballroom and was the site for many of the town's dances and social events. At one time, Barstow's main street was right in front of the train station and the Harvey Hotel. However, in the 1920's the Santa Fe Railroad literally bought the whole street and moved it to where it is today. The grand opening for the "new" Main Street was July 4, 1925. Today the town's motto is Barstow Crossroads of Opportunity.

When we left our lodging to pick up our pizza from Route 66 Pizza Palace we noticed people lined up on both sides of the street like they were waiting for a parade to start. All the traffic lights were blinking red and there were more and more police and military vehicles manned with uniformed service people in place. Soon we discovered that they WERE waiting for a parade to start – a military parade – and we were headed towards where the parade was lining up to start and the road back to our motel would soon be blocked. A nice policeman told us to get our pizza and then get on the interstate to get back to our motel. We did that (Linda had to get out and move a barricade at one point). And when we got back to within a block of our motel it was blocked off. But we found a way through a fast food parking lot to get there. Whew! The pizza was still warm and was most delicious.

This was strictly a day of travel over old territory. No photo gallery

Today's Good Earth teabag philosophy is in honor of our military men and women: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882)

John did grab a random Pot-Shot for today.

Utah Road Trip - Day 16

The Two Old Buzzards breakfasted on some yummy road kill at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, Arizona. Well, not really road kill - just trying to keep you interested. Our server gave us directions to the road to the Grand Canyon South Rim - just head north for about 54 miles. Linda asked her how often she goes to the Grand Canyon and she proudly said "The Grand Canyon is my back yard!" What a great line! She has lived in the area all her life and often worked at the Grand Canyon while in high school.

Williams is a nice place. It calls itself The Gateway to The Grand Canyon. We stayed near the Historic Old Downtow. There are buildings there dating back to the late 1800s. The town also takes pride in being located on Old Route 66. Many businesses sell memorabilia and have Route 66 in their names.

We left Williams for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at 9:35 am in 43 degree cloudy weather. Soon we were into some rain which meant the possibility of some great cloud shots. We had virtually NO clouds in Utah so we are enjoying having clouds in our photos in Arizona.

One of our first stops at the Canyon was the Tusayan Ruin. It is one of more than 4000 archaeological sites recorded within Grand Canyon National Park. Tree ring dates indicate that people began construction of the Tusayan Pueblo around A.D. 1185. You can see where the actual rooms and storage rooms and religious ceremony round structures (kivas) were. There were probably 16 to 20 people living in the community.

We stopped at many vistas along the desert route and the photo opportunities just seemed to get better and better, especially as the sun came out. The Two Old Buzzards haven't yet gotten tired of looking at rocks and canyons. There were some nice views of the Colorado River (the river responsible for carving out the canyon a few million years ago...and it's still carving!).

At one of the vista points Linda spotted a structure that looked like a stone tower in the distance. Sure enough, it was something we got to that could be explored inside and out at the next vista point. We hope you will enjoy the photos of the tower and the photos taken from the tower.

There were 3 or 4 levels to the tower and Linda was able to huff and puff her way to the top. It was built in the 1920s and finished in 1930 something. A famous lady (Mary Colter) designed it to fit in with the Grand Canyon and she did a terrific job. It is now undergoing a renovation but that did not detract from the thrill of seeing it inside and out today. There is also an outside observation deck on one of the levels where Linda was photographed in the grotto.

On our way out of the park we noticed about 10 cars parked on both sides of the road. We slowed down and saw that there was a herd of elk about 50 feet from the road. Monkey see, monkey do. We also stopped to take photos.

We left the park around 3:00 so we drove through the Grand Canyon Golden Arches for a late lunch. John had a Grand View Quarter Pounder with Cheese, a Navaho Point Chocolate Malt & some Grandview Point View Fries and Linda had a Moran Point Yogert with Real Fruit & a Senior Dekaf Coffee.

MILEAGE MADNESS BULLETIN: we have our first entry in the Mileage Madness Contest: Rusty Jones of Lubbock, Texas has submitted his entry. So far, RUSTY is our winner. You too (or instead, rather) could be a winner of a very nice prize. You have until October 31st to submit your entry...

Dinner again at the PCR (Pine Country Restaurant). Linda had their fresh veggie sandwich: La Bacca bread with a layer of basil pesto, packed with zucchini, carrots, green leaf lettuce, avocado, celery & tomato with a fruit bowl & dill pickle slices on the side. Delicious! John had BFD (Breakfast for Dinner) – the meat lover's omelet – bacon, sausage & ham with Cheddar cheese, potatoes & toast. Then we shared a piece of coconut cream pie.

They left the light on for us at Motel 6 so it was back to our home away from home to bed. We have 2 long days of driving ahead before getting back to good ole Morgan Hill on Sunday.

Today's photo gallery is rather extensive (over 100 photos). You can view the gallery by clicking here.

Teabag philosophy today is from Good Earth cherry tea: “Why should I buy expensive art when I can make my own?” (Piero Milani 1964 - )

Yes, today's Pot-Shot was randomly chosen, though it is one that John could have selected!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 15

After a sumptuous breakfast at Jacob Lake Inn we left Jacob Lake, AZ at 9:15a.m. with the temp at 42 degrees. We were driving through the Kaibab National Forest so the scenery was again spectacular. We got into some rain for a while but the road was good and the traffic was light.

We got to Williams, AZ this afternoon and went to lunch at the Pine Country Restaurant. It was so good that we are going back there for dinner. Our quarters at Motel 6 are quite sumptuous, as long as you don't want a microwave or fridge or coffeepot. Linda found available hot water in the lobby when she fetched ice so everything is hunkee doree. And we do have internet access which means we can catch up on getting a few days of our blog posted.

While John worked on photos, Linda and Fannie explored some shops across the street. The most interesting was a combination Ammo and Avon Shop. Must be a husband and wife venture. Actually the mix of shops there is quite interesting: The Outdoor Store, Williams Chiropractic Center& Clinical Nutrition, Bankers Real Estate, FIREARMS GIFTS & AVON and House of Mercy Healing Center. What else could anyone need? John and Fannie had time for a short nap.

We went back to the Pine Country Restaurant for dinner. John had spaghetti and Linda had a veggie omelet. This restaurant makes about 20 different kinds of pies. We chose to share a piece of blueberry, apple, peach pie. Yummers!

Not too many fancy photos is todays gallery, but a couple of cute one. You cen see them by clicking here.

Today's Tea Bag Philosophy is from Chai Yogi tea: Faith moves mountains; otherwise even stones are heavy.

John's randomly selectged Pot-Shot for today is:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 14

If it's Wednesday it must be Grand Canyon Day. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only 45 miles from where the two old buzzards are staying at Jacob Lake. So after a wonderful breakfast at the lodge restaurant we headed out. We were going through beautiful meadows with lots of pine trees and aspens beyond the meadows. The aspens are a gorgeous shade of yellow at this time of year. When we were about halfway there it started raining but we were not deterred. Moisture can make for some interesting clouds. Another bonus was that we got a free car wash. Our Wilma was still coated in Utah red dust and now it is gone. Right after we passed through the gate and headed for the visitor center the rain geared up and it even hailed for a while. We even got to hear some thunder and see some lightening. When we got to the visitor center it was just sprinkling again. We did the stamp and pin thing and then headed out to see the North Rim.

Only 15 percent of the people who go to the Grand Canyon visit the North Rim. With a combination of that fact and the rain and it being late in the season there was very little traffic on the roads or the trails. We saw some amazing sights and maybe the photo gallery will give you a tiny taste of what's at North Rim. It is only 10 miles as te raven flies from the South Rim but it offers a very different experience. Solitude, awe-inspiring views, a slower pace and the feeling of going back in time are only a few of the many reasons for visiting the North Rim.

Linda visited Walhalla Glades Pueblo where people lived 900 years ago. It was a summer home to families for over 100 years. It was a favorable place for ancestral people to farm, mostly corn, beans and squash. Look for photos in the gallery for today.

We returned to Jacob lake in time to rest up for dinner at the lodge restaurant. John had Cranberry Cream Cheese Chicken which was a grilled chicken breast with grilled marinated onions, cream cheese and homemade citrus dressing. Linda had today's special which was Grilled chicken breast on a bed of lettuce, spinach, fruit and vegetables, sprinkled with almonds and with orange basil dressing.

We sat at the counter instead of the dining room and it was fun to people watch. Hunting season began this week so there are lots of guys in camouflage. In fact, we had 2 hunters on our right and 1 on our left at the counter. It is amazing to see them up close (yes, they were visible – their camo wasn't that good). They have camouflage hats, shirts, suspenders and pants on. And they are often 4 different camo designs so they are real fashion plates.

Today's photo gallery has 90 images, 62 of which are HDR images. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Tea bag philosophy for today: from Celestial Seasonings Blueberry - “Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little” (Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington) Yeah, like a countess would know about having little.

John's Pot-Shot for the day was, once again, chosen at random. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 13

Breakfast at the Olde Bridge Grill (it is right under one side of a bridge). Such an interesting place - lots of history all over the walls. Linda felt compelled to photo some of it for the 2 Old Buzzards' Road Blog. Meanwhile, John was wishing he could slide under the table (no by getting drunk. Just to hide). Our beverage server had a flower over one ear, a turquoise necklace and a flashlight shirt - a very cute and personable Native American gentleman. Despite the fact that he had to use a cane, he managed to very efficiently take care of coffee, tea and juice for all 7 or 8 tables of people. John had eggs, bacon & OJ. Linda had coffee, cranberry juice, Raw Bits Twang Twang and a grapefruit.

We rolled out of Mexican Hat, Utah on US 163 at 9:23 with pleasant 54 degree temperature. There were some cute puffy clouds which looked like they could add interest to our photo adventures. We soon arrived at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Long before we got to the official entrance we could see the large geologic feature (aka rock) that is often seen in depictions of Utah. We pulled off the road and got photos of it before going through the entrance booth. At the booth we paid our $5 per person fee (your National Park Senior Pass doesn't not apply here) and were given a map which showed the features of the park. There was a large paved parking lot, signs for guided tours, a hiking trail, a lodge, an unimproved dirt road and a visitor center. We went a few miles on the 17 mile "unimproved" dirt road that must have been a dry lake bed (lots of rocks of all sizes) before deciding to turn around. Wilma (our Honda Odyssey) is a real trooper but is not a 4-wheel drive vehicle and it would have been a terrible place to get stranded. Moreover, the people who had opted for bouncing in the seats strapped to pickups (enjoy your tour?) didn't look like they were having too much fun for the extra money they paid for a guided tour. So, our recommendation would be to drive to about 1/4 mile from the entrance, take some photos of the signature feature and make a u-turn - unless you have a red Hummer you are just itching to test drive... Besides, there are tons of features (rocks formations) outside Monument Valley Park all along the highway. And, as previously mentioned, there is Valley of the Gods in Mexican Hat which is absolutely free and has a much, much better road.

We proceeded south and were soon in Arizona on our way to Jacob Lake. It's good to have maps with you and not rely completely on GPS devices. Wilma tried to send us on a 24 mile Bureau of Indian Affairs dirt road (BIA 201) as a part of our route. She did this once before in Navajo Land on our Arizona road trip. No thank you Wilma. It took quite a while for her to stop suggesting that we "Make a u-turn if possible". The road we chose to stay on (Utah 98) was very scenic and there was hardly any traffic. Once we got to lots of pine trees the temperature dropped and we were soon at our cute little log cabin at Jacob Lake, Arizona. Don't be alarmed that John refers to it as Jacob Lake, UT in the photo gallery for today. He has been duly scolded and promises to do better on his geography. Our cabin is very rustic but very nice. No internet, microwave, refrigerator, air conditioner, phone or coffee maker. But that's OK. We like it fine. There are two nice-sized rooms. And Fannie Mae loves exploring the great outdoors. It's nice to be away from cactus, stickers and ant beds for a while and just walk on some nice pine needles. She really has had to be kept on a short leash (literally) for her walks in many of the places we've been to in Utah.

John got a Grand Bull to go from our lodging's restaurant. It was a burger on homemade toasted white bread with mushrooms, Ortega chilies and melted cheese. Linda had her leftover Navajo taco and her BBQd chicken from the Cottonwood Steakhouse.

The almost full moon looked so pretty shining through the pine trees. Linda got a nice shot of it near a clearing.

An added bonus to an October Road Trip with no radio or TV or mail delivery or land line or front door to knock on is NO POLITICAL MESSAGES! So when we get home we can just mark our absentee ballots and be done. Aren't you just a little envious of our POLITICIAN-FREE BUBBLE?

Today's photo gallery has about 52 HDR images of Monument Valley and environs. It can be viewed by clicking here.

This brings us to Linda's Tea Bag Philosophy for today: Another one from Good Earth Tea – not one of her favorite brands, but they do have interesting tea bag tags. “ Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.” (Charles De Gaulle (1890 - 1970)

BONUS QUIZ: What is a flashlight shirt?

John offers this Pot-Shot for today. It was selected at random.....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 12

For the first time in several days we stayed last night in a place that included breakfast. However, when we tried to breakfast at 7am it was packed with a tour group from France (or maybe French Canada). We went and packed up the van and then checked back again. They were mostly gone but so were all the breakfast goodies. Oh, well. Pickins are slim in Blanding so we headed out and John had a granola bar. Linda was all set with her Raw Bits Twang Twang.

We left Blanding, Utah headed for Mexican Hat, Utah with a stop on the way at Natural Bridges. The temperature was 53 degrees on a cloudy day. We checked in with Cousin Jerry, our house sitter in Morgan Hill, who reported that it is also 53 degrees and cloudy there. He just spent the last 4 days volunteering at Cor de Valle at Fry's Inaugural PGA Tournament. They had weather from 104 degrees to rainy and cold during the tournament, which seems to have been a hole in one. Jerry was a last-minute sub for a volunteer who sprained her ankle Wednesday night.

The scenery at Natural Bridges was really worth seeing. A few of the bridges required a little walk to get to but the paths are very nice and are well maintained. At one view point there was a chance to see some ancient Native American ruins on the side of a cliff.

We saw a group of deer crossing the road in the park. They pauses to munch some grass and Linda got out and took a few shots (on her camera) before they departed. It is open range country so we also saw some cows near the edge of the road.

To get from Blanding to Mexican Hat, you get to go down the Okie Dug way located on Utah Route 261 just north of Mexican Hat, UT. It was constructed in 1958 by Texas Zinc, a mining company, to transport uranium ore from the "Happy Jack" mine in Fry Canyon, UT. to the processing mill in Mexican Hat. The three miles of unpaved, but well graded, switchbacks descend 1100 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa. The State of Utah recommends that only vehicles less than 28 feet in length and 10,000 pounds in weight attempt to negotiate this steep (10% grade), narrow and winding road.

The term "amok" is derived from the Spanish word moqui, which was a general term used by the 18th century Spanish explorers and settlers in this region to describe the Pueblo Indians they encountered and the vanished culture which had left behind the numerous ruins they discovered during their travels.

The panoramas coming down the Okie Dug way are very impressive, especially when there are nice clouds. You can also see the Valley of the gods from the top of Cedar Mesa.

After checking in at the Hat Rock Inn in Mexican Hat we went to search for some lunch. Linda had a Navaho taco and John had chicken-fried steak.

Following lunch, we unpacked. John & Fannie rested in the room and Linda took a walk down to the river behind our motel. She took some photos of it and of a native American hogan that has been constructed on the motel property. She also saw several lizards that posed for her. They are so well camouflaged. It looks as if they are dusted with the red dirt from around here but I think it is part of their skin's coloring.

In the late afternoon we drove to the Valley of the Gods to catch some formations in the "golden hour". Still more Utah rocks. Still different than any place else we have been to. We stayed for the sunset which was very beautiful. John got a good shot with a tall oblisque and the waxing moon.

We ate dinner at Cottonwood Steakhouse in Bluff, Utah. Our son Jay found it last year on the way back from a wedding in Colorado and highly recommended that we try it. John got the Duke (a John Wayne tribute steak) and Linda got BBQ'd chicken. Linda also got some Polygamy Port. Both meals were excellent and we felt lucky to get to eat there. They are closing next week for the off season.

Today's photo gallery includes 89 photos, most of which are HDR images. They include shots along the road, at Natural Bridges National Park, coming down the Moki Dugway, Valley of the Gods and the Cottonwood Steak House. Whew! You can view the gallery by clicking here.

Today's Teabag Philosophy is from Good Earth Chai: “Old age is always 15 years older than I am.” (Bernard Baruch 1870 - 1965)

John proffers his randomly selected Pot-Shot.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 11

Today started as a green tea day for Linda. A cup of green tea with honey and then she had a bath with Big Oak green tea soap and shampoo. And she is wearing green. How very coordinated!
We lounged around, had breakfast at Smitty's, restocked our cooler at City Market and pulled out of Moab at 10:08 in 60 degree temperature, headed for Blanding, Utah. Along the way we saw Wilson Arch on highway 191 and 3 very colorful mountains in the Manti-La Sal National Forest that were at 10 and 11 thousand feet elevation. We passed Devil's Canyon (also in that same forest) and soon were at the very small town of Blanding, Utah. We checked in to the Gateway Inn around 12:30 and went back around the corner to a shop whose signs said they had ice cream, bakery items, pretzels and homemade cinnamon rolls. They only had cinnamon rolls so John got one for his lunch and Linda had the rest of her veggie pizza from night before last.

John and Fannie Mae napped this afternoon and Linda read some more of her "Pie" mystery book. Then it was time for a romp in the park down the way. Fannie got some well-needed exercise chasing her monkey on a string. She seems to be getting faster and stronger every day.

We had dinner at the Homestead Steak House. Linda had soup and salad bar and John had a chicken fried steak. Linda heard the waitress back in the kitchen asking who made the biscuits. About 5 minutes later she brought us a little basket with 2 biscuits and some jam. They were not good biscuits but we both had too much food on our plates and did not care. It did seem funny that there was a table tent announcing that it is National Biscuit Month. To enter the contest you can go to

Only 12 photos in today's gallery, but they take you from Moab, UT to Blanding, UT. You can see them by clicking here.

Today's teabag wisdom is from Celestial Seasonings Honey Lemon Ginsing Green Tea: "With her enduring strength and unrivaled perserverance, the horse demonstrates to us that even the heaviest of burdens can be carried with grace."

John's Pot-Shot once again selected from Ashleigh Brilliant's collection of 10,000.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 10

We didn't walk quite fast enough when we were headed to Smitty's Golden Stake for breakfast. Two French people got in front of us. Then when the greeter came to seat them and asked how many, they had about 20 people in their party who all proceeded to parade past us. Oh well, eventually we were seated and the service ended up being just fine despite how busy the place had suddenly become. Linda had an excellent cantaloupe and a large tomato juice with Tabasco sauce. John had his usual Saturday breakfast: eggs & bacon.

We went to Canyonlands National Park today, specific the Island in the Sky District. Island in the Sky is a high mesa, between the Green River and the Colorado River. It is in the northern end of Canyonlands. Early cowboys called it an island because it has vertical sandstone walls on all four sides, and is separated from the rest of the world by a narrow neck of land, just wide enough for a road. The road connects the island with the Big Flat country to the north. From the river canyons, more than 2000 feet below, the top of the mesa appears to be touching the clouds, hence the name, Island in the Sky. At the southern tip of the island is Grandview Point, one of the most impressive overlooks in all of Canyonlands. It is hard to capture the vastness of the views in this part of the country but we are giving it our best "shot". Luckily we have not run out of film yet. Ha!

On our drive in, the two old buzzards suddenly came upon a coyote who had planned on running off two ravens working on a recent road kill. Our car scared both the ravens and the coyote. Lucky for that roadkill, huh? We also saw assorted lizards and red ants in the park today.

At one of the vistas there is still evidence of uranium mining that went on for a while during the recent past. There were also backcountry roads (only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles, foot or mountain bikes) that could be seen from vista points. The info for one road that was also shown on the vista point info board said "Allow 2 days to go on this road". Actually it would take months (or even years) to really explore Canyonlands (or any of the other parks we've been to on this road trip) in very much detail. One of our photo club cohorts spent 3 months in this area and when he heard our itinery he said that we would only be scratching the surface. Now that we've been to several parks we can fully understand what he meant. But there have been many nice surfaces to scratch, indeed!

Linda took a hike to see Mesa Arch. The trail out to the arch was marked with cairns (little rock piles). Look for some of them in the photo gallery. It was a really nice arch and Linda was able to see it more closely than any of the arches at The Arches National Park. That will be one of her special memories. And she hopes some of her photos turn out. One fellow there was getting too close to a drop off in his attempt to get a good photo and he was ignoring his wife's pleas to step away from the edge. Finally she said, "OK, if you are going to keep standing there would you throw me the keys now before you fall off?" At least she had a sense of humor (and reality).

Canyonlands was the setting for Thelma and Louise and their famous drive into oblivion (despite the fact that most people think that it was the Grand Canyon). It was also the real life setting for where Butch Cassidy and lots of other outlaws hung out. Officials weren't too crazy about coming to find them in such a complex and unfamiliar territory.

We returned from Island in the Sky in time to have a nice rest in our room at Big Horn Lodge during the afternoon. John and Fannie took a nap and Linda spent some time with Kindle. She is reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie for a book group discussion.

We had dinner at Smitty's Golden Spike again. It was our 3rd meal there so we must be regulars now. The greeter was busy and handed us menues and told us to seat ourselves in the back (where we had sat the other 2 times). John had a mini chef salad and a stuffed potato. Linda had a dead horse and turkey & rice soup. Dead Horse is a Moab Brewery amber ale named after the scenic overlook near Arches National Park. Look for the label in today's photo gallery. Their motto is "You can't beat a Dead Horse".

Not a huge photo gallery today, but we hope you'll enjoy them. View the gallery by clicking here.

Today's tea bag philosophy is from Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Zinger: "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

John's Pot-Shot has, once again, been selected at random.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 09

Whee! Another beautiful day in Moab, Utah. We got up pretty bright early and had breakfast at the Golden Stake Restaurant. We must be near where they pounded in that golden stake in 18 and somptysumthing.

Our destination today was Arches National Park. Did the regular routine: visitors bureau for passport stamp, pin for Linda's purple jacket, watch the film about the park, get a map/info and take off for all the scenic ports o' call.

Arches National Park is a vibrant, living museum where works of art are displayed, preserved and protected. Ideally only nature will continue its work on the park features through water and erosion. When you look closely at the towers of rock in the park you can see beautiful tapestries that adorn these walls. The thread that holds much of the park's tapestry together is iron. The red thread visible in the rock layers is due to rusting or oxidizing of iron. Whitish to yellowish-tan threads are the result of an accumulation of organic acids dissolving the iron and bleaching the rock. There are also ribbons of turquoise-colored threads running through many parts of the park. This unique blue-green layer was created when volcanic ash settled into a large alkaline lake - an environment with little oxygen. Linda tried to take some photos that would show this beautiful teal color.

We took lots of photos, mostly from close to the road. So, since we didn't go on the hiking trails, we didn't see all of the arches. But we saw some and saw lots of interesting configurations of rock. And they were different than in any of the other 3 National Parks in Utah that we have been to on this Road Trip.

We spent the morning at Arches then came back to our lodging for lunch. Next it was time for some housekeeping duties. Linda went to a laundromat and John worked on processing some photos.

In the late afternoon we went back to Arches Park to get some photos at the golden hour, just before sunset.

Then it was pizza time. John fetched pizza from Paradox Pizza and we had a relaxing dinner in our room.

So, it is off to bed for the two old buzzards and Fannie Mae. Tomorrow we explore yet another national park, the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.

Loads of HDR photos in today's gallery. In fact, 46 of the 53 photos are HDR. It takes a lot long to process these, but the results are really worth it. Click here to view them.

Today's tea bag philosophy is from a Yogi tea bag" "Mental happiness is total relaxation."

John's Pot-Shot, while randomly selected, was quite fitting to our receent views of the splendor of nature.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 08

Another beautiful day to be alive! We ate breakfast at the Red Cliff Restaurant. An item called Pancake Sandwich caught John's old printer eye. It was described as two pancakes, two eggs and TOW pieces of bacon. John got eggs, OJ & Texas bacon. Linda got a fruit bowl and tomato juice.

We left the Best Western Capitol Reef in Torrey, Utah at approximately 8:58am in 51 degree cool headed for Capitol Reef National Park, the world's largest monocline. It was only about 7 miles from our motel to the visitor center. We got our Park Passport Book stamped and saw a very informative movie there.

Our feeling about coming to Capitol Reef National Park was the same: What interesting things there are here to see and aren't we lucky that it is not crowded? It is a nearly 100-mile-long warp in the earth's crust - a classic monocline with one very steep side in an area of otherwise nearly horizontal rock layers. It formed between 50 and 70 million years when a major geologic shift in western North America reactivated an ancient buried fault. See? California isn't the only place that has tremendous earthquakes!

Most of the erosion that carved today's landscape occured within the last 20 million years, but it seems like only yesterday. Ha!

Starting around 70 AD (give or take a day or two) people lived in this area for about 600 years, farming, hunting game and gathering wild foods. They left petroglyphs (carvings in rock) throughout the park. Linda photographed some that are in today's gallery.

The next human habitation after 1300 seems to have begun in 1880. Morman settlers established a community near the site of the present visitor center and campground. They planted crops and orchards and grazed cattle. These pioneers lived here for about 100 years. The last residents left in 1969 and Congress designated Capitol Reef a national park in 1971.

Speaking of those early settlers, we enjoyed visiting The Gifford Homestead museum and gift shop. That was our lunch: a shared 2-person peach pie and some cheese herb bread. Both were yummy! The lady in charge of the Gifford house is a desendant of families who had property in the area. Her grandfather bought up a lot of land from the original settlers and she knew all the families who lived in the area. The museum part had some interesting displays. She showed us a corn planter that was entirely built by hand. Each farmer had to be their own blacksmith or be good friends with a neighbor skilled in blacksmithery.

From the Gifford Homestead we proceeded to the rest of the scenic drive and even took a sidetrip down a rough road that sometimes gets dangerous in a hurry during flash floods. The variety of scenery was spectacular. The definition of tenacity has to be the trees that seem to be growing right out of the rocks and cliffs.

We arrived in Moab (Boam spelled backwards) at about 3:30 this afternoon to the Big Horn Lodge where we will be staying for 3 (yeah, count them 3) whole nights. That will be our longest stay anywhere while on this road trip. We will be taking day trips during the time we are here. There are so many places around Moab to explore.

Tonight we had dinner in our room. John fetched Burger King for him and Linda had her doggy bag from The restaurant at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon (broiled trout, rice, carrots and broccoline).

We hope you are enjoying the photos we are taking. In some ways, it makes it more fun to take them when we know that our "victims" are going to be seeing them soon. And Linda thinks we may end up with a few framers to put on our walls to remind us of all the fun we are having.

Soon John will give you more details on the Mileage Madness contest that our blog readers are all eligible to enter.

Sixty-two images in today's photo gallery. Most are HDR images. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Today's teabag wisdom is another one from Good Earth tea: "Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life." (Immanuel Kant 1724-1804)

John's potshots, again selected at random is.....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 07

Wisely we decided to forego being at Bryce Canyon in time to take photos at dawn. Instead, we had a leisurely breakfast at Clark's and then went to Bryce to see Natural Bridge. When you get there the view is really breathtaking. It is one of the most photographed icons of the park. Be sure to see it in our photo gallery. Zion and Bryce seem really close together to have such different formations distinguishing each of them. And apparently it was a lot of the same forces influencing the shapes that happened in each one. Today at Bryce we got to see a herd of mule deer. On our way to Natural Bridge we had seen a car pulled off and a fellow out in the brush close to some kind of animal. When we returned lots of cars were pulled off and there were 40 or 50 deer in view. We couldn't find a good place to pull off among the many cars that were gathered so we decided to be content with the mule deer on the Bryce Canyon video from the visitor center. Back to Natural Bridges: When we got there the information told us that it is actually an arch not a bridge. Eventually the top part may break through so it was a special treat to get to see it while it is still an arch aka bridge.

Linda saw three signs she liked today. The first was on a rack of signs for sale at the restaurant. It said "Normal around here is just a setting on the dryer". When we stopped along the road at a general store they had a sign that said "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, we don't care who you are or who you think you are or who your daddy is". And on the fishing worm fridge the sign said "These worms are guaranteed to catch a fish or die trying".

After leaving Bryce Canyon we headed toward the Best Western Capitol Reef in Torrey, Utah. On the way there was NO traffic, beautiful scenery and good roads. We passed through several valleys where the land is being farmed and ranched. There was a Black Canyon, a Red Canyon and Otter Stream and Otter Lake. It was mostly what is called open range territory. The cattle can just graze right up to the edge of the road (and cross it if they choose!).

Tonight we ate at the hotel restaurant (the Red Cliff Restaurant) and both had the salad bar and a bowl of soup (beef noodle for Linda and clam chowder for John). Then we drove a few miles away to take some photos during what is called the golden hour (when the sky has those pretty pinks and blues and a glow). It was listed as being from 6:15 to 7:17. We decided it should be called the golden 62 minutes.

Today's photo gallery can be viewed by clicking here.

Teabag Philosophy for today from a Good Earth cup o' Chai: "The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes." (Frank Lloyd Wright 1869 - 1959)

John's Pot-Shot again chosen at random by the computer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 06

Bryce Canyon most all day today. After eating our complimentary breakfast at Clark's Restaurant (two pancakes and beverage, or take 30% off of a "real" breaakfast!) we headed for the visitor center at Bryce Canyon National Park. We got our passport book stamped (which gives us a few points in National Park Heaven).

Linda got a Bryce pin for her purple jacket and we watched a film about the geology and history of Bryce. 200 million years ago the earth's crust was crinkling throughout Nevada, into southern Canada. Many of the really beautiful geologic features in the U.S. are related to these events which formed the Colorado Plateau. Forces of nature such as water, earthquakes and volcanoes have made changes during those 200 million years. Bryce is known for its spectacular hoodoos, fiery colors and some of the starriest night skies in the country.

Ebenezer and Mary Bryce lived in the area (now the town of Tropic where our motel is) from 1875-1880 and aided in the settlement of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona. The land behind their property started being called Bryce's Canyon. When asked about it Ebenezer said "It's a hell of a place to lose a cow!". It became a national park in 1928.

A greeting at the visitor center said "The magic awaits, the meanings abound, the memories endure". We visited 6 different areas today getting up above 8,900 feet in elevation. After the 4th one Linda started feeling a little icky but tried to use positive thinking and didn't tell John. By the 6th one she was positive that she was experiencing altitude sickness. By that time it was midday so John, Linda and Fannie returned to the lower elevation of their lodging in Tropic (around 6,000 feet).

After lunch and a short nap Linda felt better so we returned to the park and had dinner at Bryce Canyon Lodge. Our cordial and accomplished waitress was also a Linda. John's Linda had blue corn dredged ruby trout. John had an end cut of prime rib and both had cups of lobster & shrimp chowder. Linda was intrigued by the list of Utah beers such as Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale, Squatter's Organic Amber and Zion Canyon Jamaican Lager. She finally chose Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen. Here's the description on the label: "The seductive fusion of crisp apricot and tantilizing wheat produces an astonishing explosion of enticing flavors. This tart little number is possibly the sexiest beer we have ever made." And Linda did find that it went swimmingly with her trout! Who knew apricots could inspire sexy beer?

John and Linda finished their dinner in time to arrive at Sunset Point during the "golden hour" during sunset. John set up a tiny tripod on top of a square rock along the path and got some nice shots. Linda ventured up the path for a different view.

Today's photo gallery has 56 photos (mostly of Bryce Canyon). Thirty-six of the photos are HDR images. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Linda's Teabag Philosophy for today: From Good Earth green tea "The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it." (Plutarch 46 AD - 120 AD)

John's Pot-Shot was again randomly selected by computer. But, they are all good ones!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 05

Today started early (even before the crack of dawn), We got up at 5:30 so that Fannie could be fed and exercised in time for us to catch a shuttle into Zion National Park. Nature Valley granola bars were our breakfast. We took a chance and left Fannie Mae in our room. We haven't done this before. After all, this is a fifteen week old puppy. What if she started barking and bothered other guests?

We were picked up by the free Springdale town shuttle around 7:30. It stops right in front of our hotel. It drops you off at the entrance to the park visitor center where you pay your entry fee (Unless you have coughed up $10 for a lifetime Golden Pass). When we got into the park we rode the park shuttle bus that gave us a very nice tour. Automobiles are not allowed on the scenic route until after November 1 (off season). Ranger Ken Hulick (or someone who sounded just like him) talked to us via a recording on the shuttle and explained some of what we were seeing. There are 8 stops along the way and a shuttle every 7 to 10 minutes. So you can get off at whichever stops you want to and then hop on another shuttle all the way up and back down the tour trail. We timed it so we could get back in time for check out at 11 and hoping that Fannie Mae hadn't gotten us evicted. In the photo gallery you will see some of the many photos we took. It was a breezy day. Linda was all bundled up but John was in his shorts as usual. He did ask Linda to stand close by where he was sitting at one of the shuttles stops and block off the wind. Then he opined that he wished she were wider. So I guess it's a go on the double scoops of ice cream from now on. And her new theme song will be "Stand by Your Man and Block off All the Breeze You Can with Your Can". The meter seems a little off but she will work on that too.

The shuttles were started in 2000 because of the massive popularity of Zion and thus the horrendous traffic and harm to the ecosystem than was happening. Every day there were 3000 visitors trying for the 400 parking spaces. Plants and animals of the park have benefitted from having less auto emmisions. The shuttles run on propane.

When we got back to the Driftwood we were relieved to see the "Do Not Disturb" sign still hanging on our door. Fannie Mae was snoozing in her crate and was glad to see us. We checked out and stopped for brunch at The Pioneer Restaurant in downtown Springdale. One of the shuttle drivers clued us in that it is where the locals eat (good food and reasonable prices). She steered us right. Thanks Thelma! They have a nice breakfast buffet.

To get out of town and head toward Tropic, UT (Bryce Canyon) we needed to go back into the park and through the 1.1 mile long tunnel again. Another shttle driver had assured us that our route would take 2 hours that way and 4 hours by the freeway. She lives 100 miles away from Zion and has driven it many times. John said "Wow, you drive that everyday?" So she proceeded to tell us about her work life. She works four 10 hour shifts a week so on those 4 days she stays in her Blazer. She can shower and use a refrigerator at work and seems very happy with her life in the park. Part of the fun of road tripping is meeting so many colorful characters.

After getting out of the tunnel we were still in Zion National Park for a while and what a treat! There were completely different configurations and colors of rocks and plenty of places to pull over for photos.

We were out of the park by 12:15 and the interesting scenery continued. John spotted a wooden windmill up ahead on the right and Linda noticed as they approached that the herd of cattle near it were actually buffalo. That made John feel bad about having that Wild Game Meatloaf for dinner the night before. We then passed lots of valleys with horses and more horses and lots of places for people to stay (many of them offering horseback riding).

After Utah 89 we took highway 12 going toward Tropic. We spotted an unusual looking rounded white rock formation and as we got closer found that it was a rock shop that also sold soft ice cream. We both got chocolate and vanilla swirl cones. While we enjoyed the ice cream John heard the history of Kinko's from a guy who was hanging out there and Linda broused through some of the rocks and bought a chunk of green glass for the garden. John refers to it as her newest "weaapon".

We arrived in Tropic a few minutes before our room was ready so we took a drive around Tropic. That didn't take long. When we got back our very nice room at America's Best Value Inn was ready. We will be here for two nights so we can explore Bryce Canyon.

We ate at Clark's restaurant next to our lodging. John had a chef's salad and Linda had salmon with mango salsa. Both were excellent. It was a family restaurant with lots of old timey photos on the walls. And a scarey Halloween guy at the door with a tray of Bit-O-Honeys.

Today's photo gallery has 63 photos, 22 of which are High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. Most of the 63 photos were taken in Zion National Park. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Today's Teabag Philosophy is from Linda's cup of Yogi blueberry tea: May this day bring you peace, tranquility and harmony.

Once again, John's Pot Shot was selected randomly and is.....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 04

An easy date to remember 10-10-10. There must have been lots of weddings today. And what a special birthdate for those making their official arrival into the world on this date.

After breakfasting at the Quality Inn (John had eggs & gravy & OJ, Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang & carrot juice) the two old buzzards & Fannie Mae left Cedar City at 8:26am with an outside air temperature of 47 degrees. Soon Wilma arrived in the snow at Cedar Breaks National Monument. This was Fannie's first snow experience and she seemed to like it a lot, scampering around like a snow bunny. Ceder Breaks is a 2-mile natural ampitheater. Its exquisitely carved pinnacles, spires and colummns change color with the sun, making the scenery come alive. Sadly, two of the three view points were closed.

We next headed to Springdale which is a short stone's throw from Zion National Park, arriving around noon. We went by our lodging but they said check in wasn't until 3:00. The clerk told us we could go play in the park. John said "Oh, there's a park?" She meant Zion Park, but John thought she meant a city park. So we drove into Zion and participated in a big traffic jam since there was no parking to be found at the visitor center and no "real" spaces inside the park. Until November 1, one cannot drive along the scenic route. One must take a shuttle. Tomorrow we will ride the shuttle in... sans pooch. We still saw some very amazing configurations today, despite the traffic and we went through a long tunnel (built in the 1920s) twice.

Then we did find a little park on main street where we made some ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch. And then Fannie got to play with her monkey on a string.

After checking in to the most expensive of our stays on the trip we drove back into the park to try to get some good sunset photos. John got some nice ones. Linda enjoyed taking photos of all the photographers lined up across the bridge. One really serious photographer had on a shirt that said CONFIDENCE: THE FEELING YOU HAVE BEFORE YOU COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION.

On the way back to our fancy digs we stopped for dinner at The Spotted Dog Cafe. John had an exotic meatloaf (buffalo, elk, bacon and beef). Linda had a bowl of zuchinni bisque. Both had beet salads with citrus vinagarette dressing, walnuts & blue cheese.

Back at the Driftwood there was live music at the Parallel Restaurant which is associated with the Driftwood Lodge. Since the musician was performing on the lawn, her music was easily enjoyed from our back patio.

News from home: John's Cuz Jerry (a retired policeman from Texas) is enjoying his stay in Morgan Hill while house sitting for us. He reports that he went to Rosy's at the Beach today for some award-winning salmon tacos. We may have a house guest for a while after our return. It sounds like Morgan Hill is growing on him...

We promised more photos and here they are. Sixty-eight pictures in today's gallery which you can view by clicking here.

Tea Bag Trivia: Today's tea bag wisdom comes from one of Linda's favorite brands - Celestial Seasonings. They have charming designs and sayings on the outsides of their boxes. "The day shall not be up so soon as I, to try the fair adventure of tomorrow." (William Shakespeare)

John's Pot-Shot for the day was randomly selected.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 03

Last night John asked the clerk at the Ramada about a Mexican place he had heard of from another lady standing a long line to register. The clerk tried to convince him that the Ramada restaurant would be much better, especiallly since it was Prime Rib night. But, get there before 7pm or they will be sold out. However, the other lady in line assured him that the Mexican place was very good. Linda had already nixed the smokey Ramada restaurant. Indeed, the Mexican place, El Marques, was popular and thus seemed extra slow in bringing our orders to the table. Finally, our waitress appeared again and asked if there was anything else we would like before we got our check. "Our dinners, please" Linda said hungrily. It seemed ironic and extra funny that John and Linda had just seen the same situation on a TV show called "Undercover Boss". When we did get our dinners they were good.

Just a few more words about the Casino where we stayed in Tonopah. As we were waiting for the elevator in the smoke-infused lobby we saw a sign just to the left of the elevator door. "Oh, we must remember to take a photo of that before we leave" one of us said. Of course, we were both so anxious to get out of there this morning that we both forgot but it was something to the effect of "Bad Service, Crummy Food, Come Back and See Us Soon" We thought that pretty well summed it up. Actually, as you can see from the photo gallery, there were some cute decorations with the silver mining theme. And it is a quaint historic town. We just don't care to stay in a smokey place up 3 flights of stairs with a pet. And Fannie Mae was really confused by the carpet and the distance to a potty break. Linda was on early call this a.m. so she put Fannie on her leash and headed out the door. Fannie made it about 6 feet and decided that the exotic plant design of the carpet qualified as outside (Linda came back and Nature's Miracled it later). Then they went outside for the 2nd part of Fannie's potty break.

In the department of things that wouldn't have happened at home: John had a startling saline surprise when he took his pills this morning. Linda had saved the salty water from her Neti Pot in case she decided to gargle before departure. And the inconsiderate Ramada had provided no HIS and HERS water glasses.

We feasted at the Golden Arches for breakfast on our way out of town. Linda told John that she had heard a rumor that seniors could get coffee at a special price. "OK, you order some for yourself then" he said, sounding very doubtful. So Linda dutifully ordered a yogert and fruit parfait, an OJ and a senior coffee. The trainee had no problem with punching in any of that so John rattled off his order followed by "And one of those senior coffees". When we got the print out it showed that 2 count them TWO Senior Coffees totaled $1.00. What a deal. And it does not show up on the menu. But apparently lots of seniors know about it. There were 2 other couples in there who also got Senior Coffees. And other people (who obviously were seniors) who either didn't know about it or were above asking for Senior Coffee. While at the Golden Arches Linda also got the scoop on the homecoming game for THS Tonopah High) which had been the previous evening. The stadium was right across from the Ramada and you could hear some of the plays being announced from outside the casino. Linda asked a young girl with a Tonopah sweatshirt on who won the game last night. She proudly reported "The Muckers!" (Tohopah Muckers). Luckily the sweatshirt also had the word Muckers on it so Linda knew what she meant. She wanted to ask "What kind of mascot is a Mucker?" but decided that they probably have enough problems with that name as a mascot without having strangers ask about it.

We pulled out of Tonopah at 8:24 a.m. with a temperature of 49 degrees. We were soon in the midst of open range for cattle, lots of scrub and very scenic mountains in the distance. Soon more Joshua trees appeared. These seemed much younger and further apart than the ones we saw yesterday.

There were so many different formations of rocks and mountains all the way to today's destination: Cedar City, Utah. It really makes you wish to have a geologist in the car with you. Where's a Peter Anderson when you need one? It's been a long time since Linda took geology at Texas Tech in the '60s. For example, boom, here were all these rounded rocks that were piled up into hills. What made them so rounded and how did they get plastered together into those shapes?

Soon John noticed there were lots and lots of Cedars. Hmmmm, we were on the way to Cedar City, so that made a lot of sense. And, many are large enough to hide behind (man or woman) and relieve yourself alongside the highway. After that we came to the Utah state line and left Nevada 319 and were on Utah 56. As we approached Cedar City there continued to be lots of cedar trees and more and more colorful rocks. We checked into a Quality Inn and were soon faced with a flood from the refrigerator that the previous guest had unplugged and thus defrosted. The front desk was happy to help out so we were able to use the refrigerator to refreeze our water bottles for the cooler.

We found a park to give Fannie some excercise since she had mostly been cooped up for our second day of being in Wilma for a long time. She appreciated the chance to stretch her legs and run around like a wild puppy for a while. She loves to chase her monkey on a string and it really wears her out.

We ate dinner at an IHOP a few blocks from our motel. There was a whole busload of kids returning home to Nevo (wherever that is) from the Utah Shakespeare Festival. They were obviously having a good time and were also very well behaved. Linda noticed that they had names embroidered at the bottom of their jackets on the back - names like David, Lisa, Thomas, etc. Then along came one whose jacket said Broccoli. There's got to be a story there somewhere.

Just a few pictures today and you can view them by clicking here. Just wait, future days promise a wealth of imaages.

Linda's Teabag Tidbit for Today: The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook. (William James 1842-1910) on a Good Earth green tea tea bag.

John's Pot-Shot for today was not random.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 02

We left Bakersfield at 8:45 am and 59 degrees after a good night's rest. A very nice feature to our room was that we got to park about 10 feet from the door, making hauling Fannie and all our stuff in and out very convenient. We had a complimentary breakfast at the attached restaurant (eggs & bacon & OJ for John, oatmeal for Linda). As we drove out of Bakersfield we saw their motto: Bakersfield - where life is beautiful. So, as it turned out, Mother Nature played a trick on us. The passes are open after all and we could have left today instead of yesterday. But that's OK. Outside Bakersfield we passed a lot of citrus trees, probably lemons. but they looked more like citrus bushes - really thick rounded foliage going all the way to the ground.

After traveling on 178 for a while we came to Kern Canyon and a beautiful waterfall. It is a hydroelectric project of PG&E. There is also an extensive recreation area. Thus the sign near the waterfall that warns people to be careful. It says 251 lives lost since 1968. Then along the highway after that there were extensive signs warning people to wear life jackets. The Kern Canyon gorges were gorgeous. There were lots of cattle in the area and John found some cattle chutes to shoot (sorry for all the redundancy - how would you say it?). We also saw horses and llamas.

Between Onyx and Walker Pass we came across lots of Joshua trees. We pulled off to take some photos and found an abandoned school bus out in the desert among the joshua trees.

Got gas outside Pearsonville at $3.29 a gallon. Saw it later for less but better safe than sorry. The towns in that desert are sparse and not all even have gas stations. On highway 395 there suddenly appeared a large mass of black rocks. We soon figured out that it must be a lava flow. We stopped to investigate. It was very porous and lightweight - some grayish black and others reddish. Linda snagged a small sample of each to put in her rock garden.

For miles and miles we saw signs touting Gus' really good beef jerky. So when we arrived, outside Olancho, we couldn't resist stopping at the quirky place. It was plastered with hundreds, maybe thousands, of stickers of all shapes and descriptions. And the jerky WAS really good. So we got some. Gus also had honey and nuts. Soon after we headed up the road there was another cattle chute.
Outside Big Pine we came to a 3rd rest stop that was open. Maybe things in California are looking up. That's more rest stops than we ever found open in California on our last road trip.

We stopped at the Inyo National Forest Visitors center for a rest. We took Fannie Mae inside with us. One of the lady rangers just fell in love with her. She had lost her dog in June and was really taken with FM. Even gave her a doggie cookie.

Finally stopped for lunch in Bishop, CA around 2pm. We drove through McDonald's and then found a pleasant park around the corner. There were ducks and people and dogs to watch, but no dogs allowed in the park.

We soon drove past the border into Nevada at approximately 3:02p.m. and then arrived in Tonopah at 4:30p.m. Checking into our pet friendly room at the Ramada Inn Tonopah Station was a disappointment. It is part of a casino and there is no access to the rooms except through the lobby/casino and up the elevator to the 2nd floor. And then there are 3 short flights of stairs (five per flight) at random places on the way to our room. Not too handy for taking Fannie out for her potty breaks. Or for lugging our computers, camera gear, our clothes and the puppy supplies. Oh, well, such is life. Full of surprises. Our room didn't smell smokey, but the entire rest of the place did. We opted to not eat at the hotel as the restaurant also smells of smoke. We will tell you about our dinner in Tonopah with the next post. All in all, it's been a good day. The weather, scenery, roads and traffic were more than we could have hoped for.

Linda's teabag philosophy for today: The bird doesn't sing because it can. It sings because it has a song. (from the tag on a cup of Yogi chai tea).

For today's photo gallery, click here.

Here is John's Pot-Shot for the day, selected at random from 10,000 of them

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Utah Road Trip - Day 01

It was actually a pretty relaxing morning even though we had to finish packing and loading. Our plan was to leave by 11:00a.m. and we actually pulled out of the driveway at 10:49a.m. It was a cool 61 degrees when we left. John's cousin Jerry wasn't coming to house sit until the afternoon (thinking we'd be leaving on Friday, not Thursday). So we didn't get to say "goodbye".

Some previous Road Tripper said The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Our trip will prove to be over 1000 miles so our first step was into our favorite (and only) ride - our Honda Odyssey - hereafter to be known as Wilma (she talks to us in a very Wilma-like voice). We took the official odometer reading for the Mileage Madness Contest and we were off like a herd of turtles.

As you can see from photo below, Fannie Mae decided to drive the first hairy leg of the trip. She did so with dogged determination. She is an excellent driver.

After dropping of some books in Woodland Estates, we headed for Gilroy and Pacheco Pass. We stopped in Gilroy and picked up a couple of sandwiches at Arby's. John got the Beef and Cheddar which turned out to be too messy to try to drive and eat at the same time...did we mention too dangerous as well? So we pulled over under some shade and ate our lunch. Linda had a turkey ruben and her peach hot tea from home.

When we completed negotiating Pacheco Pass we headed south on I-5. We found an open Rest Area (there aren't many in California) and stopped for a "rest" at somewhere near 12:26p.m. It was worth it for all three of us and Fannie got to get out of her crate and exercise a bit.

Somewhere near the Buttonwillow cutoff, we stopped for a beverage. John had been dozing (while Linda drove, and did we mention she, too, is an excellent driver?) and needed a cup of coffee.

Highway 5 has a reputation for being borrrrrrrrringggggg! The most interesting things, at times, seem to be the signs. Linda saw one that said Choose Life. OK. Sounds like a good idea, considering the alternative. There are lots of yellow "Congress Created Dust Bowl" signs.

Did we mention that a great advantage to an October road trip with no TV and radio is that we miss of all those political commercials, phone calls and the junk mail involved? So all we have to do after we get back is fill in our absentee ballots.

It was so nice to finally get to the Hwy 158 cutoff and be rid of I-5. It is such a boring road to drive. The last 22 miles of mostly 2-lane road into Bakersfield was much more fun and interesting than the 140 or so miles of interstate.

We arrived just after 3:00p.m. and our room was ready for us. We're way in the back (must be special for pet people). However, we don't seem to be able to access the Wi-Fi. We've tried with two laptops and John's cell phone. No luck, even though one of their access points has loads of signal strength. John even called the Best Western Speed Link support guys. They had the front desk person reset the access point, but still no Wi-Fi. We stopped by the lobby on our way to dinner and John can access the Wi-Fi on his cell phone from drive in front of the lobby. So, we'll get everything ready to post and upload it from the lobby tomorrow morning. I guess we should file a report with

We had been talking about finding a Mexican food place for dinner. But, as we turned into the motel parking lot, John noticed an IHOP. We don't get to one of those very often (nearest one to Morgan Hill is on 1st Street in San Jose) and we like them. So, we'll probably go there. We sometimes enjoy BFD (Breakfast for Dinner). John had an omlette with bacon, sausage, ham, shredded beef, cheese, onions and pepers....along with three pancakes. Linda had a senior special of grilled talapia, broccoli and red potatoes. Both meals were very good.

On our last Road Trip we both listed some things we were thankful for at the end of each post. For this one, Linda (the tea sipper) is going to share some teabag philosophy from the little tags on her teabags. She often finds them fascinating. Did we mention that Linda is easily amused? Oh, pooh! Linda can't find her teabag philosophy for today so you will just have to survive without it for another day. But the peach tea was yummy!

John, on the other hand, is going to share a brilliant thought from our friend Ashleigh Brilliant. He will post them at the end of the day's blog.

Only about 18 photos today and you can access the gallery by clicking here.