The only plans we made prior to this trip, which we started in the previous post, was to see the Grand Canyon. Check, The South Rim was beautiful and the North Rim was spectacular! As we ventured on we decided Zion National Park was within reach, so, why not? I'm sure I've mentioned that Darin is likely to see something and stop on a dime to check it out. Well, he did just that and as usual, we were not disappointed. We pulled down this steep little path and came across part of the Virgin River. We splashed around in that for a while and made a mental note to come back one day to camp. Fun fact to always remember, if you go down a steep path, be certain you can go back up. The first shot at it was a no go, so we put the juggernaut of a van into 4 wheel drive and creeped right up, no problem. Honestly I did get a little nervous but the van handled it like a champ.
Zion was pretty close by now and the landscape was changing. The farther we got away from the Grand Canyon, the more delicate it seemed, more artistic in a way.
This is a beautiful park, we got there at a fairly busy time so we really didn't want to stay long. This was September 2019, the scenery was just breath taking and we were greeted by this Bighorn Sheep not long after entering the park.
Apparently they are known for their incredible climbing skills and like to hang out around this type of terrain.
We drove the main road through taking in all the beauty, got a tad bit nervous going through the tunnel due to its shape but the height was just fine for the van. Once through, we stopped and shopped around for the obligatory sticker and drove right back through to where we entered and decided to move on to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Did I mention that at no point had we made reservations for a spot to camp for this trip? Details right? Well, so far all was good in that department. Both the South Rim and North Rim campgrounds that we stayed in were posted as FULL/No Vacancy. However, if you ask nicely, sometimes you get what you want. We scored a spot in each and on the way to Bryce we were laughing that there was no way our luck would hold and we'd be hunting a spot off the beaten path somewhere.
As we got closer to Bryce the landscape once again began to change from delicate artistry to a more dramatic yet fragile scene. First things first, is the a campsite available? We drove in like we owned the place! Just kidding, we politely approached the camp host to ask for a spot and she winced as if in pain. So Darin went to work and did what he does best. Long story short - we got a spot. Well, the not-so long story is she couldn't promise the spot wasn't taken but we could have it, provided someone else didn't show up to claim it by dinner-time. We offered to bring her a six-pack of her choice, she of course declined. We took a little hike then went into the town just outside the park and had some pretty awful food. Check out this scenery, the crazy tree roots and our site for the night.
The next day we hiked around a bit more and took in the views, again the crowds were growing so it was time for us to get going. Here are some more shots of the beautiful Bryce Canyon.
As we left Bryce Canyon we were presented with choices, remember, there were no plans other than seeing the Grand Canyon. From Zion we took Hwy 89 to Route 12 and turned right to get to Bryce. From Bryce we approached Route 12, left would be back to Hwy 89, right would be toward that awful restaurant so we drove straight across onto Route 63/22. We drove for miles without seeing another vehicle. This is a good thing for us, the land was beautiful, lots of farms or ranches and wide open spaces with mountains all around. We crossed into Piute County and ended up back on Hwy 89. We gassed up and went into a country store to ask about the area and a nice crusty old guy told us about this road that is usually closed leading up to a ski resort and over the mountain. If you have a truck or all-terrain vehicle, you must take this road. Route 153 doesn't look like much on the map, especially since it is marked closed... It is still one of our favorite drives.
I just couldn't weed out any of those pictures.
After passing by Eagle Point Ski Resort we quickly came to I-15 and turned south. About this point in time I knew we were heading home, bummer. You may or may not know this but I-15 goes straight through Las Vegas. I began biting my tongue and starting thinking of all the casinos I could go to if I were traveling alone. Darin isn't a fan. As luck would have it, we did not drive straight through on I-15, we exited in Las Vegas! How excited was I? We drove straight through Las Vegas, oh boy. All of a sudden Darin pulls over at "The Railroad Crossing Casino', no need to check it out, not a must-see moment. We found another casino a little ways down the road and I went inside for a little more gambling, we stayed the night in the parking lot. Now, the real reason we were even over here is to take a hike to a secret spot, some hot springs near the river at mile marker 4 on the Arizona side. As luck would have it, it is now commercialized and shut down.
Since we passed Hoover Dam, I had never been, never thought to go, if I were in this area, I was in Vegas. Now this is a must see. This Dam is impressive, it was pretty hot but it was worth it.
Anyone that knows me, knows I do NOT like the heat, after Hoover Dam we went to Kingman Arizona, Bullhead City and Laughlin Nevada. Now there we actually did do some casinos, I won $1200! On to Lake Havasu and the London Bridge, the heat was to much so we decided to get back too the coast as soon as we could.
Time to plan another trip, San Francisco will be involved and the doorbell saga will be addressed again. In the meantime, we have more things to do in the van, Here is a sneak peak. Please become a member and subscribe at the bottom of the home page to find out where we go next.