3/3 Las Vegas, NV – Beaver, UT 439 miles
To see the entire road trip visit www.tanstaaflpress.com/tgrt/
After one final day of success at the poker tables (split top place at a small tournament to the tune of $837) I was finally on my way from SLC.
However, I brought along a passenger. Not a human one, or even a pet. One of my hosts was sick during my visit and it seems I’m perpetuating the verminous germs. It started out as just a scratchy throat and have continued along a mild cold – coughing, runny nose… you know the drill. Unfortunately, I have no time to be sick. I MUST be well by Friday morning for the show. I have no substitute to man the booth. If it hasn’t cleared, I’ll have to sit there with a mask on and scare everyone away.
So on Tues morning… in fact until about 4pm, I didn’t even really notice it. I drive through Nevada, catch a tiny corner of Arizona, and into Utah where I lose an hour to time change. As SLC is really only one day’s drive, and I have two, I pulled up my list of things I wanted to potentially see.
Low and behold… the NOT aptly named Snow Canyon State Park (eg no snow to be found here). Snow canyon is one of the more scenic rock gardens I’ve visited. Three different colors dominate… burnt orange, chalk white and basalt black. The white and the orange are actually quartzite sand that has been fused into rock by time and pressure. The black is basalt lava that came from nearby cinder cones. Water and wind over time have eroded all three to a miss mash of hills and canyons. While a short visit, this is a great place if you want to hike, literally littered with trails. My visit probably wasn’t worth the $10 I paid to enter but a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the desert scenery and what time can do to even stone.
Next I find Zion National Park on my list. I know nothing about it so I decide a visit is in order. This is about an hour off the freeway but, what the heck. I got plenty of time to get to SLC. Let me say that the rock formations and canyons in ZNP blow my previous visit into almost tiny little rubble. I took pictures of forming arches, massive canyon walls, weeping walls, and the bock canyon that ends in the Temple of Sinawava (I think I pronounced it wrong on my video). Wow! Doesn’t cover it all.
So on my drive up to Zion, I learn that Bryce Canyon (a bucket list item) is just a bit farther. I will say here that “just a bit” is a loose statement that I had in my addled head. By the time I’d seen Sinawava (on a rush tour, I admit), it was approaching 3pm (4pm local). I take the twisty windy way up to the 1.1 mile tunnel. The tunnel is VERY narrow and low overhead but my RAV4 and trailer threaded it like a needle. I wouldn’t have wanted to be much longer or wider, though. The tunnel leads me out of Zion Canyon toward my next goal. The road is narrow and windy. The scenery is stunning. The layers upon layers of rock amaze me.
Now I’m sure all of you folks have dragged out your atlas (or google maps) and are saying, “But Tom, Bryce Canyon National park is another 2+ hours away from Zion. That doesn’t get you there until dark. Can’t see much of anything in the dark.” This is too true.
However, after I realize my error, a thought comes to mind… Let’s find a place to park and sleep nearish to the park and then go in the morning. /fail. I look. I scour. I can’t find a free place to camp near enough to justify the backtrack. So, I press on, covering 439 miles today instead of 222 if I’d have just driven up I15.
By the time I’d found a truck stop, I was waning fast in the darkness. Flying J came to my rescue with a place to overnight, gas, and a Dennys (as I was in no fit shape to cook for myself).
Tomorrow: Road to SLC