Trip Start Jul 11, 2008
14Trip End Jul 27, 2008
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Yesterday it rained. Rather, it thunderstormed. Right after we ate at a strangely quiet sports bar-I guess it really is the middle of nowhere when the sports bars aren't crowded-got back to the RV park and hooked up our water and electricity, it very suddenly clouded up and let loose. It was very cool; we don't get much rain in the desert. Or lightning. We went to bed quite early (early for me-I guess it's normal for them) and got up at seven AM, which means it's six our time. We ate cereal, got ready, and hit the road.
We didn't have to drive far to reach Zion National Park. A little over twenty minutes. We parked the RV and took a shuttle around the scenic parts.
That was pretty cool-you couldn't just drive in to the best places; you had to take a shuttle and walk. First we did an hour hike, total, to a place called Emerald Pools. We had plenty of photo ops along the trail.
Greg investigates a hollow. You don't want to know what was inside, but you could ask Greg if you're curious.
Emerald Pools was a nifty place: three small ponds fed by small waterfalls cascading from sandstone rock formations. Some of the waterfalls sprinkled lightly over the path, which was red, and clay, and a bit slippery. At this point mom discovered her old, beaten white sneakers, which I was not allowed to photograph, had become stained by red mud. A sign said Emerald Pools was so named because of the coloration of the algae which grew. Later on, we learned that Emerald Pools was home to a creature Zion was famous for: some variety of snail that was only 1/16th of an inch large.
We toured some more of the park via shuttle. The names of things here were very Christian: a few cliffs were called the Patriarchs, which would be Isaac and Jacob, and a few others, but those two were the most prominent; Angel's Landing, a high-up cliff the more adventurous hikers could reach; The Great White Throne; the Pipe Organ; so on. They were mostly named by a Methodist priest and his child companion whom, together, had a penchant for naming cliffs when they passed through the region in the early part of the 20th century. Before we left we went to the gift shop. But we only bought candy. And Mom bought a geode.
Once on the road again, we passed through a series of old tunnels carved in the '20s which are too small to accommodate an RV in the general flow of traffic. Back then, they had no idea vehicles would get so large. If they saw 'The Beast'-as dad calls it-they would perhaps be appalled, and awed. In that order. To pass, we had to purchase a special pass and wait in a line of RVs. They closed the road for about fifteen minutes and let all the RVs through at once, driving in the center so as to not scrape against the side. The tunnel was quite long and at certain intervals had small windows carved into the rock. After that we, naturally, drove some more.
I take a well-deserved nap.
Tunnel out of the park.
We ate a lunch of leftovers and pepperoni sandwiches alongside a field of buffalo-or bison-I'm not sure which. We pushed on. We stopped at Bryce Canyon National Park, or close to it-and took a shuttle to a place called Bryce Point. The shuttle was free, and that was the operative word today. I was dubious, but Bryce Canyon turned out to be spectacular. It was a canyon, of course, filled with these sandstone obelisks called hoodoos, which are naturally-occurring phenomena caused by erosion and the like. Or so the information plaques said.
Bryce Canyon was named after a guy who lived there for about five years and then left. He had a (allegedly) famous quote about the place: "It's a helluva place to lose a cow." I don't really get it. I guess you had to have owned a cow to understand, maybe. We thought this might be the place where that one guy who had been pinned against a rock while hiking and had cut off his own arm to survive a few years ago to survive had been trapped, but we weren't sure. In any case, we (I, mostly) took some stellar photographs. As well as some not-so-good ones.
We stopped at KFC for dinner-it's not free, but it was cheaper than a sports bar-and more crowded besides. It was filling. We then discovered we had to drive for four more hours to reach our campground. We had spent too much time looking at beautiful national parks, and not enough driving. Along the way we drove through another patch of rain. From the distance we saw lightning but going through it the storm was silent. I suppose it's the norm, here.
Finally, we reached the RV park, which was very desolate, and not as nice as the last one. Here, you have to pay for internet-the cheapest is $7.00 for 24 hours worth, which I do believe is a ripoff. Seeing as my dinner only cost $5.00 and some cents ('change,' as Greg says, 'is useless'), it doesn't seem frugal to pay that much. So, this is a day late and a buck short, as it were. That's all for now. It's 9:30 PM (8:30 our time, but we must adapt! At least, that's what mom says)-that means bedtime. Somebody else will update tomorrow. That means Greg or dad, since mom and I have had our turns in the rotation.
Keeping on trucking,