Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Southern Utah Trip Part I

So as I mentioned yesterday, we decided to turn a drive to Southern Utah (a mere 700 miles away) into a weekend trip. Okay, we probably wouldn't have done that just for us, but Josh's brother (who lives on the East coast) was going to be there and it was a great chance to get to see him and his family without shelling out $2,000 in plane tickets.

So Josh worked a half day on Thursday, and we hit the road after lunch. The first day was pretty boring, just a 7 hour drive into Salt Lake City. We've been asked if there's still snow up here. Well, here ya go, April in Western Montana:
Where we live isn't like this (thankfully!). We're in a valley between two mountains, so there isn't any snow on the ground immediately around us, but as soon as you move up in elevation at all, this is what you get. I should have taken pictures as we drove over the mountain pass, but I was trying to pretend I was on a sunny beach. The snow was piled higher than the car on both sides of the road. The interstate signs were completely covered. The shoulder was non-existent. Seeing as how I was struck with a suspected e. coli infection right as we crossed that same pass last December, I preferred to pretend I wasn't there (and trapped in the car, on the road, in a virtual tunnel of snow). Thankfully this was just all build up from earlier in the season though, the roads themselves were completely clear.

Later we passed what I guess must be some Budweiser grain storage. Talk about a big billboard!
The kids were really great. Sierra is almost always fabulous in the car. Sedona's a little more hit or miss, but that's been the case since she was a baby. She gets easier to deal with the older she gets. Secora looked like this for most of the drive (and woke up an awful lot that night to make up for it!)
This gas station seems to have become a regular stop for us along this route. It's clean and there's plenty of room to park for a while and eat lunch (even if you're in an RV or other large vehicle), but I think someone needs to brush up on their definition of "oasis"
Friday, we woke up and drove 4 more hours to Moab. Totally different town than it was back in December! I think whoever created this sign needs to rethink their marketing strategy. While it may be an accurate term, I don't really like to think of buying Chinese food by the scoop.
We went looking for dinner and decided to try out Milt's Stop and Eat. Great food and good prices. The only problem is that it's very popular and they throw your food on the grill after you order it, so during busy times you may find yourself waiting 45 minutes to get your order. Good eats all the same though.
We headed out to Arches National Park and ate our food at the visitor's center before heading up to do a few short hikes. First was balanced rock. Sierra managed to walk all around it, get back to the car and then point up and go, "Hey! Look at that rock balanced up there!"

I had a little challenge for myself this weekend. Now that I've learned what all the settings on my camera do, I decided to shoot pictures only almost only in "manual" mode so I was forced to figure out how to make all the settings mesh together. Great learning experience, but as you'll see, sometimes it worked out swimmingly and sometimes it was an epic fail. Oh well, gotta try to learn!
Balancing rocks on the trail under balanced rock

Next, we went on to the Windows area. We hiked up to the North Window and then over to the Turret Arch (by the way, this satisfied part of my 101 in 1001 goal # 56 to hike at least 3 trails longer than 1/2 mile with the kids).

I was trying to get the sun flare, but I didn't get the right settings
This is the North Window. BIG arch, itty bitty people!
Turret Arch. I had more trouble with the camera settings here because the sun was setting to the right of the arch.
Another attempt at getting the sun flare
Setting sun. I posted my picture of North Window lit up in the setting sun yesterday.

Once the sun was down, we headed to Moab Diner for a banana split to share then back to the hotel. Part 2 coming tomorrow!


Big Fat Gini said...

The Flying J seems to be a universally decent place to stop. I say that because every time we drive to Memphis, there's one about 13 miles outside of Texarkana that we always get gas. And Arkansas gas stations can be scary.

I love the picture of the tree. Sun flare or not. It's really, really cool!

Brandy said...

Great picture of the sunset! So pretty!

And I love how within the same post you have a picture of snow banks of the side of the road and pictures from the desert. LOL

Carolyn said...

Dude in shorts no less!

I love the pics even if they aren't exactly what you were trying to capture. They're still pretty!

The Hills said...

It was 80!! I even borrowed a skirt from my sister in law to wear. Had to shave my legs real quick with a freebie razor from the hotel, but it was worth it ;-)

Carolyn said...

Glad you got some sun!


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