Trip South

Nov 10, 2017

San Francisco, CA

Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39

Sea lions relaxing on purpose-built docks, for the benefit of tourists, beside Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Nov 11, 2017

Highway 1 South of San Francisco, CA

Surf’s Up

As soon as you see the oceans going south along Highway 1 from San Francisco, surf and surfers abound.

Nov 13, 2017

Palm Springs, CA

Pictures on Highway 111, the “main” street through Palm Springs and connecting the 9 cities that make up the Greater Palm Springs area.

Also pictures of the swimming pool at the Days Inn on 1983 North Palm Canyon Road.

Nov 14, 2017

Palm Springs, CA

Bike Ride

We rented electric bikes today and went for a 2 hour cruise. We saw many different aspects of Palm Springs; suburbs, wealthy areas, poor areas, golf courses, desert, empty waterways used when flash floods overwhelm the drains. You get to see many more details on a bike and we are starting to understand the appeal of this area and why so many people vacation here. We plan to return next year, but will fly instead of driving.We observed that all of the lawns are bright green; interesting since we are in a desert.

There are about 124 golf courses in the area.

The Greater Palm Springs area consists of 9 interconnected towns/cities, running along a narrow Highway 111 corridor; Desert Palm Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella. Highway 111 is lined with restaurants, shopping (a lot of arts and home decor stores), care dealers (large, large, large car lots and inventories) with very few malls. There is one outlet mall about 20 km before entering the Greater Palm Springs area.

We are staying in Palm Springs. Last night we drove from Palm Springs to Palm Desert. Scroll down a bit on this Web page to see a map of Greater Palm Springs:

The weather is so good; 29 degrees and sunny. Interestingly, you do not sweat because we are in very dry desert air. Also, I noticed that even if there are thin wispy clouds and the sun gets behind them, you cool off quite a bit. The sun goes behind the “mountains” at 3:30 and it really cools down then. Do not need air conditioning in the room, even during the day. We have a nice ground floor patio and keep the door open when we are there.

Nov 15, 2017

Palm Springs, CA

Sunset Sequence

At 3:25, the sun sets behind the mountains. It cools off very rapidly when this happens.

Nov 16, 2017

Travel Day. Palm Springs, CA to Flagstaff, AZ

Driving from Palm Springs,CA to Flagstaff, AZ. Mostly empty desert, scrub land, very dry, very few signs of civilization.

Nov 17, 2017

Travel Day. Flagstaff, AZ to Page, AZ

We drove 200 Km from Flagstaff, Arizona to Page, Arizona today. Page is at the top middle and Flagstaff is ​near the bottom left middle on this Google Map.

Leaving Flagstaff, the landscape is very dry and desolate with almost no sign of humans. Lots of tumbleweed and sagebrush. It was quite windy so we did see lots of tumbleweeds “tumblin’ along”, Amazing that the plants are spaced very regularly, not quite as neat as planted grape vines, but very geometric, especially when viewed at great distances. I think this is because the desert is so dry that each plant needs a fair amount of space, so competition for water keeps the spacing even.

The highway follows the gap (valley) between huge mesas/buttes (isolated flat-topped hills with steep sides). The valley is extremely wide, formed by the force of water over millions of years.

We drove into The Vermilion Cliffs, a remote and unspoiled, 294,000-acre monument of towering cliffs and deep canyons.

Vermilion Cliffs Photos

We stopped at the Navajo Bridge, spanning the Colorado River. Quite a view along and down from the bridge. The Colorado River cuts a very deep canyon on the landscape; the most famous section is the Grand Canyon.

Navajo Bridge Photos

There are 2 bridges; one for vehicles and one for tourists.

Page is near the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, creating Lake Powell. This Dam is as large and spectacular as the Hoover Dam, also on the Colorado River.

Glen Canyon Dam Photos

Usually driving from point A to point B is just that – a drive. Today’s drive was an awesome experience because of the varied scenery.

Driving along Photos

Nov 18, 2017

Lower Antelope Canyon. Lake Powell

Lower Antelope Canyon

There are 183 pictures; much easier for me to upload every photo that I take instead of editing and looking for the “best of”. Thus you may see some photos that are very similar as I was looking for good angles and colours.

Touring Lower Antelope Canyon is only allowed with guides. You enter Lower Antelope Canyon by climbing down 5 flights of stairs (man-made of course); it takes one hour to walk through the canyon floor;  slightly rising (helped by stairs) until you exit into a non-descript hole in the landscape. Touring Lower Antelope Canyon is a must do.

A picture is worth a thousand words (many thousand words in this case). These photos are unbelievable. Enjoy!
Click here to see the Lower Antelope Canyon photo album, in a new Window.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell has over 2,000 miles of shoreline which is more than the combined states on the Pacific Coast. It is 400 feet deep, 186 miles long and has a water storage capacity of 27,000,000 acre feet of water.

Over 3,000,000 people visit Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation area every year. The average length of stay of 4.5 days is the longest stay of any federal park.
Click here to see the Lake Powell photo album, in a new Window.

Nov 19, 2017

Travel Day. Page, AZ to Chambers, AZ

Similar to the drive from Flagstaff to Chambers, AZ; very diverse landscape, mesas, buttes, canyons, deserts, wide open space, few villages, people, residences.

Click here to see the route on a map.

Click here to see the photo album of the drive from Page, AZ to Chambers, AZ, in a new Window.

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park

The Painted Desert encompasses over 93,500 acres and stretches over 160 miles. The Painted Desert derives its name for the multitude of colors ranging from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant colors of red, orange and pink. It is a long expanse of badland hills and buttes and although barren and austere, it is a beautiful landscape of a rainbow of colors.

The Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 230 square miles (600 square kilometers), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands.

The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Period, about 225 million years ago.

We toured these two parks quite late in the afternoon, so there are lots of shadows.
Click here to see the Painted Desert and Petfrified Forest National Park photo albums, in a new Window.

Nov 20, 2017

Travel Day. Chambers, AZ to Albuquerque, NM

Click here to see the route on a map.

Old Town Albuquerque

Albuquerque has an interesting old town section.
Click here to see the photo album of Old Town Albuquerque, in a new window.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Navajo Museum.
Click here to see the photo album of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, in a new Window.

Nov 21, 2017

Travel Day. Albuquerque, NM to Santa Fe, NM

Short drive today, only 1 hour. Here is the route.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Albuquerque. NM

The museum covered several topics:

  • Nano technology,Generating electricity
  • The Manhattan project
  • The Cold War
  • The 3 major nuclear reactor accidents

Click here to see the photo album of Old Town Albuquerque, in a new window.

Santa Fe Plaza

A very old section of Santa Fe, including the oldest house in America built in 1646.

Click here to see the photo album of Santa Fe Plaza, in a new window.

Nov 22, 2017

Santa Fe

Sunny and 15 degrees during the day, cool (-2 degrees) at night.

Toured the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, excellent. Photos here.

Had lunch at Mexican restaurant on 2nd floor overlooking The Plaza, good.

Toured the San Miguel Mission; the church was built in 1610. Photos here.

Toured the New History Museum, typical museum.

Drove through the Canyon Road and The Railyard Arts Districts. Photos here.

Santa Fe is full of “arts” stores supporting a large community of artists.

Nov 23, 2017

Travel Day. Santa Fe, NM to Taos, NM

Short 1 hour 30 minutes. Met the Rio Grande river and drove along its banks for a while. At lower elevations, the river was quite narrow. As we gained elevation, we crested and came upon a large flat plateau with mountains in the far distance.  That is when you see the power of the Rio Grande; it cuts a very deep canyon, 800 feet in some places, through the plateau.

Went to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, walked across and marveled at the depth of the canyon. Photos of bridge area.

Drove to the John Dunn Bridge, the original bridge that crosses the Rio Grande. Not as grand as the Rio Grande Gorge bridge because the John Dunn Bridge crosses almost at water level. The drive down to the John Dunn Bridge was awesome with the steep canyon walls very close to a rough gravel road with no guard rails. Photos of John Dunn Bridge.

Visited the Earthship Biotecture Project; buildings built with recycled materials, glass bottles, jars, old tires. Solar and wind generators, indoor green houses, water capture. Photos of Earthship Biotecture.

Drove to the junction of the Rio Grande and Red Rivers. The high viewpoint afforded views of the deep canyons cut by both rivers. We got there very late afternoon so there are some shadows and washouts in the photos. Photos of Rio Grand Red River Junction.

Has some BBQ brisket from Jethro’s Genuine Texas BBQ truck; very tasty, very deep smoky flavour, served with BBQ sauce that tasted like Squamish Tantalus Bike shop sauce but even better.

Nov 24, 2017

Travel Day. Taho NM to Cortez CO

Here is the route.

Another interesting drive through varied and changing landscapes. Leaving Taos the terrain is a flat, desert plateau with small mountains in the distance.

The landscape changes to sage covering the ground as far as the eye can see. The sage is denser than it was in on the drive from Page, AZ to Albuquerque NM and Taos NM.

Entering Colorado into mountain terrain with trees and mountain passes.

Along the drive were mostly impoverished areas and and very small towns. Then we noticed a few larger, expensive looking homes in the countryside; we were approaching and drove through Pagosa Springs, CO. What a contrast to the other small towns, Pagosa is posh, modern and looked very expensive. Reason: home of the deepest hot springs in the world.

Passing through Durango, CO we needed a break from the car so stopped in the parking lot of the Durango Mall. Walked into the Mall;  Christmas music was playing and there was a Santa and Mrs. Claus setup where families can get Christmas photos taken with the kids and the Claus`s. We had heard that Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving (November 25, 2017 this year) and that is indeed what happens.

The weather is perfect – total blue skies and 16-19 degrees.

Out hotel room has a cathode ray TV; a throw-back from the 1970s.

Nov 25, 2017

Travel Day.  Cortez, CO to Salt Lake City, UT

Here is the route.

Long drive, 6 hours 30 minutes. We did not stop to take pictures because the drive was long enough already.

We travelled through very diverse terrain; flat lifeless desert, Mesas, Buttes, smallish mountains.

A highlight was driving through the Utah Canyonlands; large Mesas/Buttes with so many diverse colours such as pale yellow, pink, salmon, rust, red, arches made of rock and holes in rocks.

We drove beside Wilson Arch. We saw a rock climber rappelling down this rock structure. Here are some photos of rock climbers climbing and rappelling on the Wilson Arch.

Photo of Wilson Arch (from TripAdvisor) ; you can see the scale from the size of the people in the photo.

We drove right beside Hole In The Rock, a 5,000 square foot house carved into the rock. Web page here.

Not much civilization, few houses, few small towns until we approached Moab, UT where there were lots of people and cars. Moab is in the Utah Canyonlands area and the Colorado River and offers river rafting, white water rafting, mountain biking, dirt biking, road bikes and ATV trails. We noticed a paved bike trail with lots of road bikers on it from mid-town to the top of Arches National Park, about 8 km.

Just search for Moab, UT images to see photos of the area.

We did a short section of Interstate 70, the speed limit is 130 km per hour (80 miles per hour); the terrain is flat, the lanes are wide and the curves are gentle.

An hour from Salt Lake City is the city of Provo. We thought we would pass through and zip into Salt Lake City but the drive from Provo to Salt Lake City was one hour of crowded 12 lane traffic going at 120km. The area between these two cities was heavily populated.

Nov 26, 2017

Salt Lake City

Attended a free concert at the Mormon Tabernacle, with the 350 member Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the 150 member Tabernacle orchestras, plus a magnificent pipe organ. The “Mormon” church’s proper name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints”. Mormon was the name of one of their prophets from the year 400 AD.

The Tabernacle was built 150 years ago and the acoustics are near-perfect.

The concert (“Music and The Spoken Word”) has been broadcast live every Sunday at 9:30 am Mountain Time for the past 89 years.

The concert was very moving – not religious but very spiritual.

After the concert we had a guided tour of The Church’s Conference Centre. They built this in 1996 because the Tabernacle only seats about 2,600 people and the concerts are so popular that many people cannot attend. The Church built a concert hall in the new Conference Centre; this concert hall has 3 levels and seats 21,000; very impressive, there are no posts and pillars so there are no obstructions for the spectators.

Here are photos of the Tabernacle Concert and the Conference Center.

Nov 27, 210

Travel Day. Salt Lake City UT to Boise ID

Route here.

Leaving Salt Lake City during rush hour was similar to entering Salt Lake City during rush hour. Quite busy, 5 lanes each way, 70 mph (110 Kmph).

It took an hour to get away from the congestion.

Leaving Salt Lake City the temperature was 19 degrees, within 1.5 hours it dropped to 1 degree.).

As we approached Idaho, the winds picked up and we encountered howling headwinds, to the point that we could not maintain the speed limit (80mph or 120+ kmph).

We went through a bit of elevation, it started to rain heavily and then turned to snow, non-accumulating.

Strong winds all the way to Boise ID.

We almost ran out of gas because of the heavy head winds. At the start of our day, the car registered enough more km left in the gas tank than the distance to Boise ID, so I was not concerned. During the drive I noticed that the difference grew larger, that is, the km to go was becoming less than the distance to Boise ID. I looked at the km left in the gas tank (55 km) and the distance to Boise ID (120 km); that is when I started to worry, We are in the middle of nowhere and the nearest gas station at that time was about 50 km away. Hmmm; fortunately we came across a small town with a gas station so we made it to Boise ID.

Nov 28,2017

Travel Day. Boise ID to Yakima WA

Route here.

We have left the sun and heat. We encountered rain and low overcast clouds during the drive; to get us used to Vancouver weather I suppose.

A 6 hour drive which seemed quite tedious and longer than the time. We have had longer driving days but they seemed to pass more quickly because the terrain was varied and interesting. Today’s drive was a bit boring in terms of visuals.

Travel Tips

The Days Inn at 1938 North Canyon Road in Palm Springs is a great place to stay. This was reinforced when we spoke to a couple at the pool who live in Chicago and Las Vegas. They come to this Days Inn every November and said it is the best place to stay in Palm Springs; I guess they have stayed at many other places in Palm Springs to make such a decision.

November is good time to travel south; not busy and cost effective. We stayed at a Days Inn in Flagstaff, AZ for $41 per night. There were hotels available in Flagstaff for $29 per night.

Page, AZ is an excellent hub for day trips. In Page there are many brand-new hotels catering to the popularity of this location. Costs are reasonable in November; $55 per night at a brand-new Super 8 – clean, spacious rooms. Note that AT&T does not cover Page and vicinity; seems that Verizon is the provider. So if your roaming plan uses AT&T you will be without cell phone coverage in this area. Our Cellphone coverage resumed when we got to Interstate 40.