On The Road Again......

On the road again.......

Actually, we've been on the road again for 6 weeks. I've been meaning to post for weeks, but just haven't been able to get around to it. After returning to the US from Europe mid-January, we spent a few days in the Bay Area preparing ourselves and the RV for the next phase of our journey. Also, the children got to spend a few days with their cousins in Campbell.

Originally, we intended to treat ourselves to some time on the beach in California after some pretty cold, wet and windy (but fun) weeks in Europe. However, when we sat down and worked out a rough schedule to arrive in Alaska by the beginning of June then we realized we would have to skip southern California for now. {I'm making it sound like we know where we're going and actually have a plan - we don't}. So, we left California headed straight to Arizona, followed by Utah and now, Idaho. During the journey we've sampled about half a dozen desert regions, learned a little about several Native American tribes, peered into scores of canyons and photographed a thousand mesas.

The route from Campbell, CA, to Phoenix, AZ, took us through the Mohave Desert, along a section of old Route 66, across the Colorado river and into the Sonoran Desert. We arrived in Phoenix one week before the Super Bowl, and must have been the only family in America who didn't know that the Super Bowl was being held in Phoenix this year. I'm not really sure why we stayed in Phoenix for a week or so, but I did get to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home, Taliesin West (note the Welsh connection). Also, the weather was hot, so that made up for the fact we skipped Southern California. After Phoenix we began our journey northward and our first stop was a small place called Camp Verde, near the popular tourist city of Sedona which is nestled between many red rock formations. Next stop - the Grand Canyon. Nina and I visited the Grand Canyon before we had children and we were excited to have the opportunity to view this natural wonder with our children. They were, well, underwhelmed - at least they were on the first day. Fortunately, with a little persistence and some help from Ranger Ron, we managed to spark a little interest from the children. Oh well, maybe geology just isn't their thing.

After leaving the Grand Canyon National Park our drive took us along the edge of the Painted Desert and through the Navajo Nation lands (the largest reservation in the USA) in Northern Arizona and into Southern Utah, crossing the state line in Monument Valley (another desert region). Monument Valley Navajo Nation Tribal Park, straddles the Arizona-Utah Stateline and contains some of the most photographed and recognizable red sandstone mesas, buttes and spires. This area has provided the setting for many a Western movie, including half a dozen starring John Wayne.

Northeastern Arizona and Southeastern Utah form part of the Four Corners region (together with Northwestern New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado). The area is a "must visit" region for anyone interested in geology and/or the history and culture of North American tribes or nations. The whole area is beautiful and fascinating. Personally, I could spend years here soaking up the scenery and learning about the history and culture of the multitude of tribes that live here and those that have lived here in the past. Unfortunately, this time around we could only sample a very small part of what the region has to offer.

This was our second visit to Utah on the Rad Road Trip and this time we traversed the state travelling from south to north, rather than east to west. Heading north from Monument Valley, our next stop was Moab, a small town between two adjacent national parks - Arches and Canyonlands. Moab is a popular destination for many outdoor activities including mountain biking, hiking, climbing and driving off-road vehicles. We stayed in Moab for over a week and did some great hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing. Arches and Canyonlands are two beautiful, interesting and very different National Parks. Also, near Moab is the stunning Dead Horse Point State Park. Just about the only thing that disappointed me about Moab was the Moab Brewery - neither the food nor the beer were any good - and I tried a lot of their beers. Next stops, still in Utah, were Provo and Salt Lake City. The only reason we stopped in those places was to get the RV serviced and get some minor things fixed.

So, onward and upward (at least northward) and into Idaho. It's very cold!

Just about everywhere we've visited on our road trip in 2015 has been unseasonably warm and/or dry. That's one of the reasons we're heading north so early in the year. We thought it would be especially cool to visit the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in the winter. Unfortunately, our luck may be beginning to run out! We'll see.