Years ago my Handsome Chauffeur and I dreamed of what it was like living outside of the Midwest. You see both of us were raised about 50 miles north of Chicago. We met when my family moved into his neighborhood. Let’s say it was NOT love at first sight. In fact,truth be told, we dislike each other IMMENSELY! Fast forward a year and a half and we decided that MAAAAYBEE… we would drop our gauntlet and start a “friendship”.
Fast forward 41 YEARS, 3 careers, 2 children, a daughter-in-love and a PERFECT ( if I do say so myself) grandson
We had a plan to start by exploring the Northwest. We have encountered some of the most beautiful sights ever! It just seems to keep getting better. Each trip on our journey and place that we have called home be it for a month or 2 days has been worth it! Sure, we have hit some proverbial bumps in our road but onward we press to attain our goal.
Our plan included seeing some of the National Parks that we had only heard of and or have seen in books or on TV. We wanted to experience them live and in person. We had full knowledge that we would not be able to see ALL of them in one fell swoop so we strategically planned our trip to hit the top few on our list. Again, being efficient is in my Handsome Chauffer’s blood 😉
After seeing a few and paying the entrance fees we decided to purchase an America the Beautiful annual pass for a flat fee. It was the best money ever spent. A God wink regarding our pass is that it is a picture of Pictured Rocks in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan which is a place we have been already and my parents live in the U.P. Pretty cool Eh?!
We have made great use of the pass on this journey. In the past 7 days we have been to 4 parks in the span of 985 miles. This doesn’t even count driving through the parks! Our heads are spinning from all the beauty we have taken in. I have so many pictures to try to preserve our memories, yet when I look at the pictures they pale in comparison to seeing them in person!
Our first stop after leaving the Bay Area was Yosemite. Par for the course we took the scenic route again. Another winding road climbing up a mountain with no guard rails. The Circus Train chugging up the steep incline while I hung on white knuckled eyes clenched praying we would make it without falling over the edge. Again , my calm cool chauffeur at the helm made it look like no big deal!
Once inside the park we took in the majesty. The spectacular granite cliffs glistened with the sunlight. We can see evidence that there were areas that were most likely waterfalls, but because of the time of year we visited and the drought the water was not flowing. I can only imagine what it must be like when the thaw occurs.
What goes up the mountain must go down. Nothing I hate worse than driving up a mountain is going DOWN a mountain on the scenic road! When I see yellow caution signs with the grade percentage listed I about crawl out of my skin! On scenic byways they are usually missing truck ( or Mobile Condo) run away ramps. I have no idea why the ramps give me a sense of security, but they do! So here we go down from 10,000 feet ….HOLD ON NELLY!Once safely down we proceed to cross Nevada.
Thank you Lord for flat land! We could see for miles and miles. Only the occasional car passing us. It was a wide open range
Every so often we would come across a lone cow who would look up at us in what looked to be astonishment and probably saying to itself “what the heck are you and WHY are you out here?” We thought the same thing after traveling hundreds of miles in the hot lifeless desert! 😃
Finally we came upon civilization and more importantly FUEL! Hello Tonopah, NV so glad to see you! After fueling up and looking at our map we decided that we probably should call it a day, spend the night here and get a fresh start in the morning.
We picked up a little guide book about traveling through Nevada deserts at the office of the RV park that said “in July 1986, Life magazine described the highway as the “Lonelist Road in America”! An AAA counselor said “There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they’re confident in their survival skills”! A little late for us TEE HEE. Glad we made it!
On this leg of our journey we had not made ANY reservations. We are truly WINGING it. True to form God puts people in our midst that give us recommendations for where we should stay. Our neighbors for the night Scott and Vicki suggested that we stay in the little town of Hatch, NV. It is located between Bryce Canyon and Zion Nat’l Park.
Up early in the morning heading across Nevada on the
We skirted the back side of Nellis AFB and Area 51. We did indeed see low flying aircraft. Thankfully it was the good guys in the USAF although my Handsome Chauffer was hoping to see ET! We did not see an ET, BUT shortly after we left that highway all of a sudden our camera that shows the back of our circus train quit AND the fasten seat belt alarm started flashing and alarming EVEN THOUGH WE HAD OUR BELTS ON!!! WHOA!! The camera came on before the seat belt alarm quit! All went back to normal and has NOT happened since! I don’t believe in ETs, but I really have to say that was CrAzY!
Not much to see in Nevada. We were so happy to see
We called ahead to the 2 RV campgrounds that were in Hatch to be sure there was a place for us. Thankfully both had openings for our circus. The lady on the other end of the phone asked where we we coming from and gave us 2 routes. One OVER the mountain and the other was interstate, but would require a bit of back tracking. Guess which one the Captain of Efficiency selected?! Yep, over the mountain we headed! Immediately my mouth was void of ALL moisture and was directed to my arm pits and palms! I kid you not, it was not a “little” dampness ….water was pouring off my palms and my shirt was soaked! I have no idea why going over mountains freaks me out so. I love rollercoasters..I even LOVED sky diving
Chugging along the Mobile Condo started to give my Handsome Chauffer indications that she was having trouble making the grade up. The Check Engine SOON light came on. I am little to NO help in this situation. I curl up as best as I can in the fetal position while wearing my seat belt. Praying incessantly! Now the water has left my palms and pits and begins to POUR out of my eyeballs! My Hero makes some adjustments to the shifting thingy and all is good! Whew! All is well that ends well. Home sweet home Hatch, NV!
We met our new neighbors Ronna and John. They also came over the mountain. They had stopped along the route to capture the beauty of the valley. We decided to go back in the morning sans the circus train to see what we missed while trying to get our home down the mountain. WOW! The Dixie Forest below us.
Off to Zion National Park. We were greeted by Checker Board mountain
Massive mountains that appears to be painted
Tunnels through the mountain
Flash flooding is a problem here. All the water running off all the mountains can make a lovely day into a mightmare. With our eye on the sky which was beginning to look ominous, we finished up our tour and headed back to our Mobile Condo. Not before we stopped to enjoy an authentic German meal and reminiscing about our journey 13 years ago criss crossing Germany. Yummy!
Packed up early heading east to Moab,UT and Arches National Park. Another God wink… Our new friends Ronna and John are heading that way too! Bonus …unbeknownst to us we had reservations at the same RV park! YAY.. we didn’t have to say goodbye, just see you SOON!
What a welcome sight this sign was to me!
Arches National Park is another treasure! Next time we come through I would like to spend more time exploring. This time of year is sweltering HOT! The fall would be perfect. We made the best of our time there. I was clicking away taking so many pictures trying my best to capture the majesty. I came close, but there again it’s a sight to behold live and in person!
There is so much more of America the Beautiful to see. For now I am looking forward to crossing one more mountain pass and the prairie that is so familiar to us. In no time we will be taking in more beautiful sights ….the smiles of our family members and friends. I am officially clicking my Ruby Red Slippers. There is no place like home.