Friday, October 10th
On the road about 7am, actually 8 as we lost an hour late yesterday when we crossed the time zone back into Pacific Time. Our journey on the two lane highway continued taking us along the southern boarder of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Marble Canyon. We crossed the Navajo Bridge and stopped for a great view of the Colorado River snaking it's way far below in the base of the canyon.
Soon we were at Jacob's Lake and heading down the 44 mile road south into the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We'd seen some of the damage from the forest fire in 2007 along the road before making our turn south; then we really began to see the damage. At one point we drove at least five miles with nothing but burnt out forest on both sides of the road. So sad but understand that fire is part of the regenerative system of the forest. Just before entering a pristine meadow I saw a group of six deers scampering into the forest; it appeared that they'd just crossed the road in front of us minutes before! Glad we didn't see them on the road as I'm not sure we could have stopped in time; deers and cows are a hazard when traveling in this part of the country. Inside of the park we again saw where fingers of fire had come into the park but not nearly as much as outside. As we drove along the golden aspen were mingled in with the green pines; hard to resist photo moments.
Soon we'd arrived at the North Rim. Beautiful area that neither of us had seen before. Cold and windy with a haze that prevented the deep colors from photographing as well as I'd liked; but can't have everything.
Back down the road to Jacob's Lake and then on to Zion National Park. We decided not to go to Bryce Canyon on this trip as it would have required a good deal of back tracking again. We saw cars stopping along the road and finally realized that those were not cows they were photographing but a huge herd of Buffalo.
Arrived at Zion about 2pm and again used our "Senior Pass" for a free entry into the park. It's now $25.00 for a car to enter so we've saved lots of money on this trip with our $10.00 lifetime pass. Jim had been to Zion when he was eighteen and delighted in seeing it again and also showing it to me. He remembered the tunnels with windows as he'd never seen anything like that before when he was young.
Stopped at the Visitor Center at the west end of the Park; while there I suggested we might just drive on past St. George, Utah and head for home. We'd been considering Las Vegas as an overnight also but agreed that it was a good thought to drive on as the dust storms were kicking up and the radio said that they would be worst tomorrow. Arrived at Interstate 15 and put the peddle to the metal and hang the gas milage goals. The traffic was heavy heading into Las Vegas after we passed the sin city of the west; it's a three day weekend and they're headed for fun. Heading west was a breeze after two days of two lane highways!
We decided to head for our vacation home in Big Bear City; we took the back road up the mountain from the desert and arrived about 9pm. Long day but nice to be "almost" home for the night. We woke to a light snow on the ground so we'll cut the grass and turn off the sprinkler system before beginning the final two hour drive to Yorba Linda. It's been a fun trip and I hope that you've enjoyed traveling with us on our Southwest Adventure. Here is a selection of 36 from the 200+ photos that I took yesterday.