United States of America · 9 Days · 33 Moments · April 2018

Road trip through the south west USA

11 April 2018

Leaving Salt Lake City. Next stop Chicago
The great salt lake.

10 April 2018

Alcohol is restricted in Utah. But surprisingly it’s not hard to find. There are state owned liquor stores and the state grants licenses to specific venues. In some places they tradition of separating alcohol drinkers remains. Restaurants might opt to have screens to hide the alcohol drinking from those that opt not to. Water is served alongside alcohol esp of food is absent. There is a 4%abv limit on drafts being served. Apparently there are places that have traditional screens to hide the barman preparing alcoholic drinks but we did t see those. If fact despite what you may have thought. They make very good cocktails in Utah!
The story of the latter days saints. Joesph Smith was the founder of the Morman faith. In the early 1800s when Joesph was in his teens, he struggled with his Christian faith and had a series of visions. The visions suggested he would be told the fullness of the gospel in time. To cut a long story short Joesph had another vision where the angel Moroni told him there were to find some golden plates with religious scriptures written on them, conveniently they were buried not far from the Smith homestead. Joesph went in search of the plates and found them to be written in an ancient Egyptian text. Luckily for Joesph also with the plates was a special pair of glasses which enabled him to read the ancient text in English. 7 years later Joesph had his translations put into print- the book of Morman was born.
We were advised of a midday organ recital in the tabernacle building and made sure we were in the right place to get seats. The organ was fabulous. Apparently some of the pipes were original pipes transported by the pioneers that fled New York in the 1800s. At one point it actually sounded like wind chimes. I did t know organs had such versatility.
Salt Lake City and indeed Utah is famous for its population of mormans. The temple square area of the city provides 32 acres of Morman land and houses the headquarters of the religion. The temple itself was the first building the pioneers began to build under instruction of Brigham Young. It took 40 years to build. I’m not sure he saw the results!

9 April 2018

We also took a detour I found to see some dinosaur tracks. This involves an in signposted route across open rail way tracks and down an off road dirt lane (good job we have a 4x4!). It was a seemingly lan undiscovered place. The first discovery was in 2009. Some of the prints have been linked to dinosaurs where there is no fossil evidence of their existence.
After a lovely stay in Moab we began a long drive to Salt Lake City. On route we stopped the the arches national park. Here the sandstone was weathered in various locations to forms arches.

8 April 2018

After a reasonably long drive we arrived in Moab Utah. It’s a strange place. Once thriving with uranium and oil mining, when the industries collapsed hundreds left their homes and Moab in search of jobs. Since then Moab has become a tourist haven with national parks on its doorstep and the preserved footprints of dinosaurs close by.
We are staying just outside Moab. Moabs beds and bagels is down a track past lots of trailers
The tour of monument valley was a real highlight. The backdrop for lots of John Wayne films I think we might be having a duvet day to overcome jet lag with cowboy films in the background
Four corners monument where the four south west states meet.
Leaving monument valley. This is the backdrop to forrest gump! When he stops running and returns home to Alabama.
Today we leave monument valley. Ultimately for Moab Utah. On route we are diverting to visit the four corners monument. The point at which Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet. We are then planning to have lunch in Colorado! We stay one night in Moab before heading to Salt Lake City.

7 April 2018

Last night we had a storm. Each night it gets really windy and the clouds roll in. They deposit a small amount of rain over night and are gone by morning. We watch the storm clouds arrive and the sandstorm created by the winds from the balcony.
We went on a 4x4 tour though the valley this afternoon. It was really hot. Lots of fabulous sites though through John Wayne country.
This is a hogan. A traditional Navajo home. The round shape shows it’s the home of a female Navajo. All hogans have a central point in the roof where there is a hole. This is to connect the spirit of Mother Earth with the sky.
On the 4 mike trek through the desert! Took about 2 hours to complete the wildcat trail. The end was tough with the heat and a climb up the valley but got a real sense of achievement in the end.
Sunrise over the buttes this morning. We are going to hike around one this morning. They are called left mitten, right mitten and then the round one we will hike around named after a silver prospector that was killed at its foot. This afternoon we have a 4x4 tour through the valley. The views just don’t look real it’s like a painting.

6 April 2018

Food portions are huge. I ordered the smaller option for dinner but still managed less than half the serving! They boxed up the rest to take back to the room and given it has a fridge and a microwave that’s lunch sorted!
Spectacular views when we got to monument valley. Tomorrow we will explore the alley. I am looking forward to making use of the shop selling Navajo items esp as we were given $40 to spend
From antelope canyon we did another trek to see the vista at horseshoe bend. The point at which the Colorado river turns to flow towards what becomes the Grand Canyon.
Inside the canyon was spectacular. Each year flash flood waters carve out more twists and turns
In 2013 the flood waters filled and over flowed the canyon.
Today we visited antelope canyon Arizona. There were no bags allowed in the canyon which seemed odd but once we descended into the canyon we saw why. Narrow twists and turns carved out by water. Some parts were extremely narrow and shimmying along with a bag would have been impossible.

5 April 2018

Stopped in the red lobster just inside the Utah border for lunch.
Road trip time! Today will will drive approx 4 1/2 hrs to Page near lake Powell. This will mean crossing the state line from Nevada into Arizona and then into Utah.

4 April 2018

Complimentary chips for the roulette table. Turned into winnings
Daytime on the strip

3 April 2018

The strip by night
The volcanic eruption at the mirage casino
Living it up at the Venetian.

2 April 2018

All checked in to the venetian for the next few days.