Saturday, April 30, 2016

Utah, Glendale - Saturday, April 29, 2016 - Bauers Canyon Ranch RV Park

We’ve decided to stay here in Glendale for another week, we’ll be leaving next Friday.  Since we had one nice day to visit Zion National Park we’ve seen nothing but rain, cold with strong chance of rain or snow.

As I said in my last post we got here about a week ahead of decent weather.  We knew going north was going to be out of the question so we looked at moving east.  But since the bad weather was moving east that didn’t make too much sense.  We decided to stay here and wait on better weather to catch up with us.  About 3 days next week look like they will be decent to get to Zion again and then over to Bryce Canyon. 

We did get out one morning and make a run into the next small town.  They have a small mom and pop grocery that carries some decent produce.  Getting produce is our only problem right now.  With the diet we are on we go through a lot of it.  When we started this we decided that fresh vegetables were going to be a free food – didn’t count for calories or sodium.  When we buy produce I wash it as soon as we get home so it is ready to consume for a quick snack.  Cauliflower is our number one pick.  Right now I am at .4 of a pound from hitting the 40 pounds gone mark.  Greg has hit a plateau at 37 pounds gone, but he is sticking with the plan.

We need to find a way to exercise when we are forced to stay inside.  We have a small weight set with us – need to drag it out and make use of it.  We’ve hesitated to get Greg into too much strength training until we see the pacemaker doctor to make sure it is healed as it should be, don’t want to take a chance on pulling any wires loose.

I have made use of this time inside to experiment with some more low calorie/low sodium recipes.  I’ve added shrimp scampi, shrimp stuffed mushrooms, Mexican shredded beef, Spinach Dip and Pizza to our go to recipes.  The pizza was the hardest because my hand mixer doesn’t do dough well so there was a lot of kneading involved (exercise!!).  I found a no sodium pizza crust recipe to go along with the homemade sausage and pizza sauce recipes I have had for a while (I have used them to make pizza in portabella mushroom caps).  I thought the crust would be like cardboard but it was amazingly good.  It freezes well also. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Utah, Glendale - Sunday, April 24, 2016 - Zion National Park

I took this shot during one of only two stops we made as we drove through part of Zion National Park today.  We pulled over to the side of the road to put sunglasses on after going through the tunnel.  Our plan today was to just drive through to the visitor center, get some information we could look over to plan another day later in the week for some more sightseeing.  The park was really busy today.  It was the last day of the “get into the National Parks free week”, it was a nice day and it was Sunday.  Most everything shuts down around here on Sunday including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and gift shops.  I personally think that is as it should be but it happens so seldom we were a little surprised.  In fact, I took the grocery list thinking we could pick up a few things since we were headed to Kanab, the closest “big” town after we went through Zion.

This is the Checkerboard Mesa.  The first of many beautiful views.  I took this while we were off the bike.  As it happened this pull off point was the only one that had a space where we could park, everything else including the visitor’s center was full.  The rest of the pictures posted were taken from the back of the motorcycle.  I didn’t do any cropping or editing of the pictures, I wanted to remember the splendor of all of this just as I saw it.

This is my normal view as we go down the road.  I have to work to keep him out of the pictures.

I don’t have any idea what any of these mountains are called, I just call them beautiful.  The road we are on is called the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.  It runs about 24 miles from US89 to the visitor center.

There are two tunnels on this road.  This is the small one, if you are in a large vehicle you don’t need an escort through this one.

This is the long tunnel – 1.1 miles long, about a mile longer than I liked.  If you are going to take your motor coach or other large vehicle through here you will need to pay a $15 fee for an escort through.  They shut down the traffic from the other side so you can ride the middle line.  I have no idea why you would even want to consider taking you motor coach through here but a few did.  I know ours isn’t going through there.

More scenery shots:

I think I took at least six pictures of this mountain.  There was a series of several hairpin turns and I think every time we came back around I liked the view so much I took another picture.

This is what happens when you have to wait for a large vehicle to come through the tunnel.  We are heading out of the park now.

One last scenery shot.  I ended up taking 195 pictures today, it was hard picking out my favorites.

From the park we headed south another 17 miles to Kanab.  The wind was beginning to pick up a little.  It was cool, low 60s when we started out this morning.  The ride would be really nice if the wind would slow down a little.

As I said earlier most of the restaurants in town were closed.  We knew there was a local Mexican restaurant that advertised it was closed on Saturday so we went looking for it.  Escobar’s was a delight.  They have outside and inside seating.  When they brought our food Greg asked if I had brought the camera.  I said, “No, I’m not documenting that we are getting ready to eat all of this”.  It was delicious!!  That’s the first time we have gone off the plan since we left Mesa, supper will be meager tonight.

Before we left Kanab we stopped at the Little Hollywood Museum and Trading Post to play tourist for a while and to walk around after eating lunch.

They had some buildings, sets and props from movies and television series that were shot locally in the Kanab Canyon.  Kanab Canyon was a popular movie ranch, the location for One Little Indian (James Garner/Jodie Foster Disney comedy), The Outlaw Josie Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976) and the Lone Ranger series among others.  We’ve been to other western movie set sites that are bigger and more interesting but it was a nice stop.

This was the Outlaw Josie Wales movie homestead and barn.  The land where it originally sat was sold and the buildings were going to be destroyed.  The owners here got permission to move them to their current location.

This set was first used for the movie One Little Indian.  It was built in Kanab Canyon along with a barn that is still used by Best Friends Animal Society at its original location.  Best Friends is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the world.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Utah, Glendale - Friday, April 22, 2016 - Bauer's Canyon Ranch RV Park

I wonder if I call the number on the sign I can tell them that their sign placement could have been better?

We are leaving the area of white mountains.

Getting into red mountains.

We took US 89 from Wahweap Campground all the way to Bauer’s Canyon.  The road was good and the weather is sunny and warm.

Scenery on the way here was gorgeous.

I need to find out what theses bushes are, they are everywhere.

The road did have a few steep grades and lots of curves.

Bauer’s Canyon Ranch RV Park is a lot different than Wahweap, no scenic walks going to happen here.  It’s a nice country campground with level pull through sites, full hook ups with 50 amp service that is strong and the TV was able to lock onto all three satellites.  It’s within easy riding distance from several things we want to see so it will work out well.  Phone service is a little spotty here but the wifi for the campground seems to be working pretty good.

I just won’t be posting any pictures of beautiful scenery I can see from the recliner.

This is the view from behind the park.

We walked through the town of Glendale on Main Street this afternoon.  They have a post office – that’s it, the walk didn’t take long.  The wind is gusting pretty strong this afternoon and will probably be the same tomorrow.  We are planning to get out on the bike on Sunday.

There are signs of spring popping up all over.

Today’s wildlife picture.

Right now it looks like our plans to go on north to Yellowstone from here might have to be put on hold until another trip through.  There is supposed to be a mix of snow and rain falling here Friday when we get ready to leave and further north they are supposed to be getting more snow and temperatures into the low 20’s at night.  We are considering moving east and going through Colorado to end up in Kansas with David and the kids for a while.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Arizona, Page - Thursday, April 21, 2016 - Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

What an exciting day!!!  We left at 8:30 this morning to get into Page to meet our Navajo tour guide for a tour of the Antelope slot canyon.  From downtown Page it was a 20 minute ride to the canyon site.  About half of that trip was on hard packed sand that was like a washboard (really bumpy for you younger folks).

I got a couple of shots of the scenery on the way out, but most of the time I was hanging onto the rail.

This is the entrance to the canyon.  It was discovered in 1930 by a 13 year old girl who lost her flock of sheep and followed their hoof prints into the canyon.  This is called a “slot” canyon.  The wind and water has eroded a narrow slot in the sandstone with beautiful results.  This tour was $40 per person and well worth the price.  I am so happy we took this tour.  If you decide to take this tour you might want to consider bringing a scarf or handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose, it gets pretty dusty in some spots from the fine sand that is covering the floor.  If it is a windy day our tour guide said sand can fall down from above.

The colors of the sandstone are amazing.  I was wishing that I knew more about my camera settings to adjust it to lower light, I had to put it on automatic focus (idiot setting).  The pictures I took at the beginning of the tour where there is more light are pretty good.  

This area is subject to flash flooding during the June to September timeframe.  Our guide said that about every other year the floods come through.  This branch was brought in by floodwaters and lodged in the walls at some point.

It’s kind of hard to see because I was photographing against the light coming in from above but there is a cedar tree lodged about 30 feet overhead that was also brought in by flood waters.  The closest cedar trees grow 10-15 miles away.  That gives some idea of the strength and depth of the flood waters.  At this point my claustrophobia is starting to try to take over and I’m wondering how much notice we might get in order to evacuate if a flood happens.  Then I remember the weather is beautiful, no need to worry – and repeat again.

A little past midway we learned why the tour guide had everyone with big backpacks lock them in the truck and not bring them with them.  The canyon really narrows and at times our tour group going in was passing another one going out.

This is the far end of the Upper Antelope Canyon.  This tour is a ¼ mile walk each way but it is on mostly level ground with a slight elevation.  The biggest obstacle is watching you don’t bump your head on the rocks that stick out when the canyon narrows.  There is another tour that goes to Lower Antelope Canyon which involves going up and down ladders attached to steep sandstone inclines – that isn’t on the bucket list.

Wildlife shot of the day.  Several of these little lizards met us at the exit.

This is the flood zone just outside the exit.  This is where water sweeps down and enters the canyon.  That might be kind of neat to see as long as you were sitting up on a really high rock.

We stopped for lunch at Big John’s Texas Bar-B-Q in Page.  Lunch was really good just not very photogenic.

After lunch we headed south of town to the Horseshoe Bend scenic overlook.  I was paying so much attention to Rule #1 about no railing and a 1,000 foot drop that I didn’t pay enough attention to Rule #3, watch your step.  About halfway up the first ¼ mile hill climb I took a tumble and skinned my knee – no big deal just made me feel clumsy.

Most of the walk is sand.

Then it gets a little rougher.  It was in between the sand and this that I fell.  Some sand was covering some rough area I didn’t see, one foot twisted a bit and down I went.

The walk to the overlook is supposed to be an easy 1.5 miles round trip.  They forgot to mention that most of it was walking up a very steep sand dune.  We both agreed that last year we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it.  We definitely got some cardio exercise in today but we made it and don’t feel too bad after the fact.  This is the short walk up.

Spotted a plant I hadn’t seen before.  Need to get a reference book so I can find out what these new plants are.  Greg calls them weeds, I’m sure that isn’t right.

That hole in the ground is where we are going.  See how tiny the people are?  This is going to be the long walk up when we are returning to the parking lot.

This view is what we came for – amazing.  The river is down considerably and running slow right now, but still very beautiful.  At this point the Colorado River makes a 270 degree turn.

Some plants will grow anywhere!  All of this rock is Navajo sandstone.  This is part of the largest sandstone layer in the United States.  It is composed of sand dunes from theJurassic Age and stretches from Northern Arizona to Wyoming.

We had to take a short break as we were walking back up so I turned around to take some pictures.  The darker rocks in the middle look totally out of place.  We speculated that they might be fossilized dinosaur poop – that’s probably not right either.

We will be leaving Wahweap Campground tomorrow morning to travel a couple of hours to Bauer’s Canyon Ranch in Glendale, Utah where we will be for a week while we tour Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks.