Monthly Archives: June 2016

ūüé∂ OH, CANADA ūüé∂, PART 2

June, 2016

I’d like to start with a little leftover business from Colorado, which has nothing to do with Canada, except that they both start with a “C”.

Just a quick shout out to our friends, Marsha and Lee, who we met in Port Aransas, Texas, and then visited at their home in Colorado.  We hope to meet up with them again real soon, perhaps this winter in Texas.?!


We are currently in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. ¬†This is a fairly large town, so most people on their way to Alaska stop here to pick up any provisions they think they may need for the trek north. ¬†I won’t bore you with the details, but we’ll do as many projects and chores as we can in the next day or two.

One very odd thing here, at least for us, is the many, many hours of daylight. We went out for dinner yesterday for Father’s Day, and returned home about 10:30 pm. ¬†The sun was so bright, we wore sunglasses, and had the car visors down. ¬†Even weirder, we’re trying to sleep with the sun pouring in through the cracks in the blinds, and the birds are chirping like crazy !!!! The bags under my eyes just keep getting bigger and bigger…


Some people say use cucumbers, others say try tea bags. ¬†I’m afraid the only thing that will work for me at this point is a full¬†hajib.


Beaver Lodge is 43 kilometers from Grand Prairie. ¬†Not a lodge at all, but a town. ¬†Lest you think they don’t have roadside oddities here in British Columbia, ¬†fear not. ¬†Let me introduce ¬†you to the town’s mascot, a beaver.


The Beaverlodge Beaver is an engineering marvel. It took 90 gallons of polyurethane to coat, approx. 13 gallons of paint, and 18 blocks of foam to make the sculpture. ¬†The measurements? ¬†The beaver weighs: 1,500 lbs, is 18′ long, 10′ wide, and 10′ tall. The log weighs 1,500 lbs., is 5′ tall, and 20′ long. ¬†I think he’s kind of gross – looks like a huge rat ! ¬†Well, they are rodents, along with¬†mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, guinea pigs, hamsters, and of course, rats!!!

We passed the gorgeous Muncho Lake.


At times, it felt as if we were in a plane, flying through clouds.


Back on Earth, we saw these two beauties on the side of the road, Stone Sheep.


and this sweet Teddy …


Our next stop was Dawson Creek. ¬†The TV show was Dawson‘s Creek, so no relationship. ¬†One cool thing is that it is Mile Marker 0 on the Alaska Highway.




We entered the Yukon Territory (YT) in Watson Lake.

Right down the street from our campground was the Sign Post Forest.


Sign Post Forest is a collection of signs, and is one of the most famous of the landmarks along the Alaska Highway.  Originally, there was a  simple sign post pointing out the distances to various points along the road but it was damaged by a bulldozer. In 1942, Private Carl K. Lindley,  was ordered to repair the sign, while serving light duty from an injury.  He repaired the post, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing towards his home town, Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles. The idea has been snowballing ever  since. Visitors may add their own signs to the 100,000 already present.


Do you remember the picture of the “blow-up doll/Burt Reynolds” policeman from Torrey, Utah?

Well, here’s one from Teslin, YT. ¬†The one in Torrey, Utah, ¬†made you slow down for sure – this one – not so much !!!



When we got To Whitehorse, YT, there were a number of things to see and do. ¬†Anxious to get to Alaska, we opted for two. ¬†During the day, we went to a LGBTQ pride parade, in support of liberty. ¬†This is a photo we love –


And of course, me with a true member of the RCMP or, as we know them, “the Mounties“.


That evening, we enjoyed a show called the Frantic Follies.  It was very old-fashioned, and a lot of fun.  The cast was small but talented, with singing, magic, jokes, and musical numbers.  The finale was the can-can.    The Frantic Follies have played 7 nights per week, for the last 47 years, and has been seen by 1,400,000 people.  They have to be pretty good Рright?


Leaving Whitehorse, we stopped to take a picture of another oddity:


According to the Explore North website, this is a challenger for the title of world’s largest weather vane. It’s¬†a retired Douglas DC-3, that sits atop a single, swiveling, pylon support. It is located ¬†beside the Whitehorse airport, and is used mainly by pilots to determine wind direction. This weather vane only requires a 5 km/hour wind to rotate. ¬†That’s pretty amazing. ¬†(Note: ¬†there may be another in Spain that claims to be larger, but I’m going with this challenger.)

Today we are in Dawson City, YT, not to be confused with Dawson Creek, AB. ¬†There is much to see and do here, but we’ve got to whittle it down a bit. ¬†We’re so ready to get to Alaska. ¬†Dawson City is an old mining town on the Yukon River. ¬†It still has dirt streets, and wooden sidewalks. ¬†A number of the buildings have been preserved. But not this one…






Diamond Tooth Gertie’s is a casino of sorts. ¬†They charge $12 per person to get in. ¬†The card is good for admittace forever. ¬†They have slots and a few table games. ¬†Of course, I had to throw a few dollars at the slots. ¬† Guess what? ¬†I won. ¬†Not much, but it covered the night and then some.¬†IMG_0602

Oh no! ¬†Can-can dancers – again! ¬†Those prospectors certainly loved their high-kicking ladies! I hope to never see another one. ¬†Sorry girls…


Before going home, we stopped at The Dome. ¬†You have to climb up a mountain road to the very top. ¬†When you arrive, you are rewarded with this view. ¬†It is quite lovely. ¬†But more importantly, it is 11pm. ¬†The sun is high in the sky. ¬†I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to this daylight at night thing.


Well, I saved the best for last. ¬†We heard about a¬†special libation at the Sourdough Saloon in the¬†Downtown Hotel. (in the Yukon context, a “sourdough” is one who has resided in the Territory long enough to¬†experience at least one freeze and thaw [four seasons]).

Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail has become a Dawson City tradition and is exactly what is sounds like: An actual human toe that has been dehydrated and preserved in salt is served in a drink.

¬†WARNING: DO¬†NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T LIKE GROSS!!! ¬†This is a photo of a human toe preserved in salt. ¬†At 9pm, the hotel “brings out” the toe. ¬†You buy a shot of your choice. ¬†For an extra $5, you pay a guy at the end of the bar, and he allows you to dunk the toe in your shot glass. ¬† Now, I’m really not too squeamish. ¬†I even ate the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. ¬†But this went a little too far, even for me. ¬†At about 3pm, ¬†I went in thinking I would do it . ¬†When I found out the “toe” didn’t come out until 9 ¬†I was actually relieved. – and we didn’t go back. ¬†That’s some tradition!


If you want to know more about the “toe” – read on. ¬†This information was taken word-for-word from the Atlas Obscura,¬†which I found on line.

“According to the story, Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe preserved in a jar of alcohol while cleaning a cabin in 1973. After discussing it with friends, Captain Dick preserved and started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar. Thus the Sourtoe Cocktail Club was formed.

The first toe is said to have belonged to a miner and rum runner named Louie Liken, who had his frostbitten appendage amputated in the 1920s. Liken preserved it in a jar of alcohol in his cabin, where Stevenson found it some 50 years later.

Unfortunately, the first toe lasted only seven more years after its discovery. According to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, “In July 1980, a miner named Garry Younger was trying for the Sourtoe record. On his thirteenth glass of Sourtoe champagne, his chair tipped over backwards, and he swallowed the toe. Sadly, Toe #1 was not recovered.”

Since then, seven more toes have been donated to the bar. Number two was given after an amputation due to an inoperable corn; number three was from a victim of frostbite (it was also swallowed accidentally); four was an anonymous toe (later stolen by a hunter); toes five and six were donated by a Yukon old-timer in return for free drinks for his nurses; toe seven was an amputation due to diabetes; and toe eight arrived in a jar of alcohol with the message, “Don’t wear open-toe sandals while mowing the lawn.”

Today you can still drink the Sourtoe Cocktail (which is still garnished a real toe) and join the club – complete with a certificate. The original rules were that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne, and that the toe must touch the drinker’s lips during the consumption of the alcohol before he or she could claim to be a true Sourtoer.

The rules have changed in the past 27 years. The Sourtoe can now be had with any drink, but one rule remains the same: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow‚ÄĒbut the lips have gotta touch the toe.”












ūüé∂ O, CANADA… ūüé∂ , PART 1

June, 2016

We left the USA, our comfort zone, and made our first stop in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. ¬†Many of you feel that Canada is just like the States. ¬†I can assure you – it is not. ¬†First off, our cell phones charge us roaming fees that are astronomical. ¬†So if you use your phone to make calls, or use it as a GPS device, as we do, well, be prepared to empty the bank account. ¬†That is unless you buy an international package from your current phone company, if they offer them, or purchase a phone in Canada. ¬†Currently, we are looking to purchase a “burner phone”. ¬†Whenever I watch TV with good guys and bad guys, the bad ones usually carry “burners”.


I think that means they’re disposable phones, with a certain amount of minutes. ¬†When those minutes are gone, you toss it and buy another.

Just checked out the burner. ¬†Forget that. ¬†You have to buy a phone,$80 at Walmart, and then buy a plan. That doesn’t sound like a “bad guy” phone to me. ¬†Oh well, guess we’ll just do without – I’m sure it’s gonna’ drive me crazy…

The next problem was the laundry. ¬†Naturally, a Canadian washer and dryer take Canadian money. ¬†Well, we don’t have any. ¬†So first up is finding a place that will change American money into Canadian money. ¬†An ATM should do the trick. ¬†That sounds pretty easy,but first a little research. ¬†Canadians have $1 and $2 coins. ¬†The ones are called “loonies”, presumably because they have a picture of a loon on one side.


The two dollar coins are called “toonies”.


Why? ¬†I don’t know – I guess it’s Canadian humor. ¬†But one does feel rather silly asking for loonies and toonies.- because that’s what the washer/dryer machines take. ¬†They also take quarters, but be prepared to hire a sherpa to carry the amount of quarters you’ll need in a Canadian laundry. ¬†The Loonie and Toonie have evolved. On April 10, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new generation of one-dollar and two-dollar circulation coins. Toonie” is a portmanteau word combining the number “two” with the name of the loonie, Canada’s one-dollar coin. It is occasionally spelled “twonie” or “twoonie”, but Canadian newspapers and the Royal Canadian Mint use the “toonie” spelling. ¬†So with loonies and toonies in hand, I can do my laundry.

We left Lethbridge, and headed for the Canadian Rockies. ¬†First up is Banff in Alberta. ¬†Banff National Park was the first of it’s kind in Canada. ¬†Needless to say, it is simply gorgeous. ¬†The mountains, snow and wildlife are wondrous. ¬†There are signs literally everywhere, warning people about the wolves. ¬†Apparently, they’ve been coming into campgrounds, and are quite bold. ¬†Here’s the advert –


And here’s what we accidentally stumbled upon –


Yep — a “four-pack”. ¬†But we weren’t in danger because we were in our car. You know how when you pass a meadow full of cows, you have the irresistible urge to “moo”. ¬†Well, for some strange reason, Tim and I felt compelled to roll the windows down and “howl”. You can see they weren’t phased, although one did turn around as if to say, “you’re kidding, right?” ¬† I guess that’s a good thing.

Also on the road we encountered this fella (or gal) ¬†–


Talk about bold – right on the roadside…

I want you to know I’m making progress where hiking is concerned. ¬†Check this out…


But I guess it’s not time to brag quite yet –


The views are so worth hiking for…

Here we are standing on the boardwalk in front of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where we had drinks and a meal (well, la-ti-da)…


You’re probably tired of pictures, but here’s just one more from Banff…

The view from our table at the Banff Springs Hotel …


Next up is Jasper National Park.  How can I put this place into words РOMG !!!!!


And of course, the wildlife. ¬†They do advise “Bear Spray”. ¬†Picture this…you’re walking along, looking at scenery, and this guy comes out of the woods. ¬†Somehow I’m sure that going for my spray can would offer little to calm my fears…glad we were in the car…


And lastly in Jasper, this is the Athabasca Glacier, off of the Icefields Parkway.


This is the steep ascending trail to the toe of the glacier…


And after trading my sneakers for my hiking boots – (drum roll please)…


And once again, I wouldn’t have made it without this guy…


We have to keep on “trucking”. ¬†Only¬†1,745.6 more miles to Fairbanks, Alaska.


June, 2016


It’s funny how things happen that are totally unexpected. ¬†For example, I was really looking forward to seeing Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah. ¬†Once we arrived, we quickly realized that ¬†although there are some very beautiful sights, some things ¬†left me less than awed. ¬†So first, the “just okay stuff. ¬†There is lots of highly visible industry in and around SLC. ¬†To my mind, it is a blemish on an otherwise pretty city. ¬†There seems to be no general planning. ¬†Many towns purposefully ¬†“hide” the not very attractive/industrial ¬†parts of their cities behind trees and natural rises, so that passersby/tourists ¬†come face-to-face with only the best of what the city has to offer. ¬†Furthermore, there seems to be very little community planning, no continuity in building or architectural style. ¬†I / we all know this is the “Beehive State”, and you are quite proud of your bee-like industriousness, but still… ¬†In addition, I was surprised that the lake was quite a distance away, 18 miles, and it smells a bit like sulphur.

Now, Inner city SLC is lovely, with  the glorious backdrop of  the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains.  The Mormon Tabernacle is a sight to behold both day and night, as is the capitol building.




The city proper is on a rise, so at night, you overlook the city  (and the industries) as a blanket of twinkling lights.


There has been a food renaissance, and the restaurant scene is wonderful and booming.  (See Utah in the Foods Section). Sat Lake City is


Speaking of the unexpected, Craters of the Moon National Monument is truly a wonder. ¬†Unfortunately, I read several reviews that said to skip this park because it’s a snoozefest, and to drive on by. ¬†Wow, were they ever wrong! ¬†President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed this a national monument , to preserve “a weird and scenic landscape, peculiar to itself”.

The craters are of volcanic origin. ¬†The volume of lava came from not one volcano, but ¬†from a series of deep fissures known as the “Great Riff”, that cross the Snake River Plain. ¬†The most recent eruption was just (?) 2000 years ago, and geologists believe ¬†future events are likely.

Entering the park, a lava field looked like a huge, just-plowed field,  of hundreds and hundreds of acres.


Such large clods, this field looked like it was plowed by a giant Р much, much larger than 7-foot Paul Bunyan, with his seven-foot stride.


My favorite sight was a “spatter volcano” that we hiked to. A spatter volcano is formed when globs of tacky lava weld together. ¬†When you look inside the opening, you can see a floor of ice at the bottom. ¬†Even though it was a 95 degree day, the cold of the walls keep the ice intact – amazing.


Another curiosity is something called a “cinder garden”. ¬†A cinder garden is a place where wildflowers grow, well, wildly, in seemingly desolate lava fields.



Here’s Tim returning from a ¬†hike from the side of cinder cone.


A cinder cone is the result of lava, with a high gas content,  erupting., Foamy cinders accumulate near the vent.  Ironically, this pure black hill is not a volcano, but  is lava spewed from a nearby cone.

This park is not to be missed!



The Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway in Idaho, is a rich tapestry  of scenic lands that encompass all that is truly Idaho.  Over the millennia, nature has defined the land, creating a unique ecosystem of wildlife and plants that are found only in southwestern Idaho.
This ¬†Byway spans more than fifty miles. To drive the road is to share the same visual experience as the early pioneers when they arrived to create a new life. ¬†All I can say is that it is visually stunning, and I won’t ever forget it.






Missoula, MT is a pretty cool place.  It has won many awards.

Missoula in top ten Best Places to Live, by Livability, October 2014
America’s Best Kept Surfing Secret, by Outdoor Magazine, October 2014
Missoula – one of 9 small beer cities who deserve national attention, by Thrillist, November 2014
Next Great Adventure Towns: Rockies,  National Geographic, July 2013
Top 10 Best College Towns 2013, by Livability, July 2013
The Best River Towns In America: Missoula Montana: The place where people who can choose to live anywhere call home, by Outside Magazine, October 2012
Missoula City Wins Bicycle Friendly Community Gold Status, by the League of American Bicyclists, May 2012.

That’s a pretty impressive list…Now add to that –


July, 2013, Big Dipper was voted the best ice cream in America.¬†Missoula‚Äôs own Big Dipper Ice Cream was featured on Good Morning America as #America‚Äôs Best Ice Cream Ever. ¬†We stood n this line. ¬†When we finally got to the front of the line and tasted it, it was pretty darn good. ¬†But did they try Bruster’s in Delaware on Rt. 55? ¬†How about Hoffman’s in Spring Lake, N.J.?



We drove through many Indian reservations, wildlife preservation areas, and The National Bison Range, where you can  witness large herds of our American Bison or Buffalo in their natural habitat.


This is truly ¬†‘big sky’ ¬†country. ¬† Add to that an abundance of sapphires, America’s most precious gem, and¬†it’s easy to see how Montana earned the nickname “The Treasure State”.

On the way to Glacier National Park, we stopped in Arlee, Montana to visit the Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.  This spiritual place has been built on  Indian land.  It is a place  of positive energy and contemplation.  It is also a place for studying the Buddhist tradition. This is the centerpiece of the garden.


There are 1,000 statues just like these – all are exactly alike.


Along the perimeter of the walking paths are the most beautiful flowers.


This is a stop worth making. It is free to the public. You may give a donation if you care to do so.



Glacier National Park, in Montana, was established as a park on May 11, 1910, by President William Taft.

It is a¬†park so naturally beautiful it is known as the ‚ÄúCrown Jewel of the Continent.‚ÄĚ


I think this picture of St. Mary Lake, taken on a cloudy day, ¬†will make you a believer…


The mountains and glaciers of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago. ¬† I find it very difficult to wrap my head around a number that large, do you? ¬†Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030¬†, if the current climate patterns persist. ¬†This would be not only ¬†heart-breaking, ¬†but far worse. The impact of glacier retreat on the park’s ecosystems is not fully known, but plant and animal species that are dependent on cold water could suffer due to a loss of habitat. Reduced seasonal melting of glacial ice may also affect stream flow during the dry summer and fall seasons, reducing water table levels and increasing the risk of forest fires. ¬†Devastating!

Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Large mammals such as the Grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, as well as rare or endangered species like the wolverines and Canadian lynxes, inhabit this park. ¬† In fact, a Grizzly bear ran right in front of our truck. I think we all may have this image of bears being lumbering creatures – well not this one. ¬†He was running when we first saw him, jumped a roadside barrier, crossed the road and jumped the barrier on the other side, all in a matter of mere seconds.¬† So glad he didn’t stop.


In addition to the animals mentioned, there are hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptile and amphibian species. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra.  Large forest fires are uncommon in the park. However, in 2003 over 13% of the park burned.  Even though that was 13 years ago, we still could witness the devastation.  Thankfully, we also saw tens of thousands of baby trees coming up to replace those that were burned.

There are many lakes, rivers, and waterfalls in Glacier – here are a few.





On our last night in our Missoula campground, they had entertainment, and an huckleberry ice cream social afterwards. ¬†The stars of the evening were LeGrande Harvey and Rod Brod, singing old country western songs, like “Cowboy Logic”. ¬†It was a great evening.


As we are leaving Montana and headed for Canada on our trek north, we stopped at a restaurant to have a slice of  treasured Montana Huckleberry Pie.  Yep, it was as good as it looks.


While eating, I looked out the window and guess what I saw??? ¬†Nope! ¬†Guess again…


The World’s Largest Purple Spoon !!! ¬†Oh my, these roadside oddities just keeps getting better.

We hope you’ll all be following along in Canada. ¬†The only part of of that country we’ve seen is Niagara Falls – and that was breathtaking. ¬†If the rest of Canada is that pretty, we’re all in for a ¬†pretty spectacular ride…



May, 2016

There is just too much fabulous scenery to put it ¬†all in one post. ¬†Plus, we have literally hundreds of pictures, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see them. ¬† South- central Utah has 5 National Parks, and we’re visiting all of them, one right after the other. ¬†So I’ve chosen photos that I think are representative of each park, and are pretty sweet. ¬†So here we go…


The name “Zion” brings to mind many images. To the earliest settlers of Springdale, Utah, it described a place with “beauty too stunning for mere mortals”.¬†To them, Zion was a divine destination and a refuge for people seeking a better life.
The park has some of the most scenic canyon views in the country. In just a 229 square mile radius there are enormous pine and juniper covered plateaus, narrow sandstone canyons, the winding Virgin River, and many seeps, springs, and waterfalls.
In 1909, President William Howard Taft, named the area a National Monument to protect the canyon, under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service changed the park’s name to Zion, the name used by the Mormons. ¬†Synonyms for Zion are Utopia, Heaven, and Paradise. ¬†I would say “right” to all three.



Below is “Checkerboard Mesa”. ¬†At first glance you think – just another big gray rock – right? ¬†But if you look closely, you can see the hundreds of squares. ¬†Can you imagine the number of years, and many forces of nature it took to create such a wonder? ¬†It’s staggering !


After a day of driving these canyons, and jumping out of the car at every overlook Р it was time for dinner, of course.  The Zion Canyon Brew Pub  was our destination. (see write-up in Food & Drinks)




Bryce Canyon is¬†a sprawling reserve. ¬†It’s gateway town is Bryce City, Utah. The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928, by President Warren G. Harding. ¬†It’s known for its crimson-colored hoodoos ( spire-shaped rock formations), windows, and fins (walls).






Above is a perfect “window” for your viewing pleasure.




The happy foursome in Bryce.



The main gateway town to this park is Torrey, Utah. ¬†It is a nice little town with several restaurants, and a few gift shops. ¬†The main street running through town is actually route 24, which goes from 65 mph down to 35 mph in the middle of town. ¬†Which leads me to my very favorite thing. ¬†Each time we passed a certain intersection, there was a sheriff’s car sitting in plain view ready to give out tickets to speeders. ¬†Or so we thought. ¬†Looking thru the window, he always seemed to be staring intently ahead, never even nodding to the people and cars that passed by. ¬†Hmmmm – something is not quite right here. ¬†Tim and I parked in a lot directly across from the “sheriff” to “investigate”. ¬†I got out the binoculars, and Tim took a close-up picture with his camera. ¬†Here he is –


A blow-up doll, posing as sheriff, who we decided looks like Burt Reynolds in “Smoky And The Bandit”.


It just doesn’t get any better. ¬†Sorry for giving your secret away Torrey…

Back To The Park –

Capitol Reef is an oasis of colorful sandstone cliffs, ¬†domes, and soaring monoliths. The park got its name in part from the great white rock formations which resemble the U.S. Capitol building, and from the sheer cliffs that presented a barrier to early travelers. Early inhabitants referred to the area as the ‚Äúland of the sleeping rainbow‚ÄĚ because of its beautiful contrasts: multi-colored sandstone surrounded by riverbanks and arid desert vegetation.¬†The area was designated as a national monument in 1937 and reclassified as a national park in 1971 by President Richard Nixon – not so long ago – right?

Prospectors visiting the area (many with nautical backgrounds) referred to the Waterpocket Fold as a reef, since it was a ¬†barrier to transportation. ¬†Although a highway now crosses the “reef,” travel is still challenging for those wishing to see the park’s more remote regions. ¬†This park’s Waterpocket Fold, is a warp in the earth’s crust that is 65 million years old. It is the largest exposed “monocline”, ( “a bend in rock strata that are otherwise uniformly ¬†horizontal” ),¬†in North America. ¬†It is about 100 miles long ¬†We found it to be a place of dramatic beauty.


Lots of color.


And Petroglyphs, proving the existence of long-ago inhabitants.




A quick-flowing  waterfall (looks like a seep to me).


And a little something I like to call Hershey Kiss Dome



On the way to Canyonlands, we stopped at the Mesa Farm Market.


This is a wonderful shop not to be missed.  They make fresh bread and cinnamon buns everyday.  You can purchase fresh organic salad greens grown on the farm.  There is a goat farm in the back, and they use the milk to make several kinds of cheese.  The chèvre was creamy and delish.  They make smoothies to order.  For the first time ever, I tried a fresh-pressed juice blend of beets, carrots, and apples.


It was sooo good, I can’t stop thinking about how I’m going to buy a juicer so I can make myself this incredible, healthy treat. ¬†If you’re in the area – you must stop by.



Moab, Utah, is the gateway town for this park, which presents a colorful landscape that has been eroded ¬†into countless canyons, mesas, and buttes by the Colorado River, the Green River, and their tributaries.¬†Legislation creating the park was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 12, 1964. ¬†Not so long ago folks…

It is divided into three distinct areas.  The Needles, The Maze, and Island in the Sky. Though these areas share a desert atmosphere, each retains its own character.   Some folks count the Colorado and Green Rivers as a fourth distinct area.

Needles and Maze are not accessible by car.  Only those with a 4-wheel drive vehicle can get to some areas.  Backpacking is necessary to access  the remotest areas.  We were able to explore Island in The Sky by car, with many overlooks, and some hiking.

Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of “environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views”. ¬†He was ¬†a frequent visitor, who described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth‚ÄĒthere is nothing else like it anywhere.” ¬†Check out the White Rim Road. ¬†This 100-mile road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive, high-clearance, vehicles, under favorable weather conditions, ¬†and is considered moderately difficult (gulp). ¬†We did not drive it, but only because we didn’t have the proper vehicle (right?), nor the nerves of steel. ¬†Notice there is no guard rail. ¬†Maybe someday…





It was time for dinner, and Pasta Jay’s looked like it would fit the bill. ¬†Tim ordered a Polygamy Porter. ¬†Check out these labels.




Enough said…



Moab, Utah is also the gateway town for Arches.  On April 12, 1929, Arches became a National Monument, designated by President Herbert Hoover.  On November 12, 1971, it was redesignated as  Arches National Park, I believe by the Nixon Administration.  Again, not so long ago.

It is a red rock landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. No one knows for sure how many arches are in the park, but over 2,000 have been recorded, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive walls, and giant balanced rocks.

This is the iconic Delicate Arch.  It is the symbol of Arches Park, and often of Utah.  Delicate Arch is a 65-foot-tall, 33- foot wide, freestanding natural arch. It is the most widely recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and on a postage stamp. The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through it.


After a moderate to strenuous hike (according to the park brochure), look who made it to the end of the trail.


Believe me, I wouldn’t have made it to the end without this guy.


Below is Balanced Rock. ¬†We chose to speed by this one…(yikes!)


Joyce and Sarah leave tomorrow morning, so it’s dinner together at our campsite.


¬†It will be sad to say goodby to family, and yet ¬†It has been a wonderful time sharing these parks with them. ¬†We had lots of laughs, good food, shared many beautiful sights, and ¬†made memories to last a lifetime. ¬†While they head home to the east coast, Tim and I start our trek north. ¬†I don’t know exactly how long it will take, but we will get there. ¬†Alaska – we’re coming for you…¬†

NOTE:  If you have an opportunity, please read about National Parks under the MUSINGS page.