Thursday, October 8, 2020

Road Trip 2 October to 5 October 2020

A trip up to see the kids turned into a 4 day road trip covering just about 2000 miles.

We arrived in Orem Utah on Friday evening. After checking into our hotel, we went to see Shad and Liz and have dinner at their apartment.

Saturday morning Cheryl and I went to a Black Bear Dinner for breakfast. Utah was a little weird with the COVID stuff. They did have indoor dinning, unlike California which is outdoor dining only at the time. Restaurants had it posted that to enter you must wear a mask. But only about half the people would wear them at all. After breakfast we waited until Jordy was off work to go up to see Jordy, Robby, Susi (cat) and Padfoot (dog).

Padfoot is still very skittish around everyone. Won't let anyone touch him other than Jordy, but he also wanted to be right where everyone was, just don't look at him lol. Susi on the other hand was completely fine with everyone petting and pampering her.

After a quick visit at their apartment all four of us went for a drive up to Antelope Island. Antelope island is very dry this time of year. There was a ton of haze, partly from smoke from the western states and the normal haze that Salt Lake area seems to have most of the time. We were able to see multiple buffalo in multiple locations this time. As well as a couple of coyotes and some deer.

We dropped Jordy and Robby off at there apartment and went back to Orem to our hotel to relax a little bit before dinner that night. We waited for Liz to get off work at 8pm before heading down to Strap Tank in Springville. Strap Tank Brewery is a micro-brewery named after the 1907 Strap Tank Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. Shad, Liz, Jordy and Robby joined Cheryl and I for dinner and drinks. It was a great time and great to see the kids and to see that they are all doing well.

Sunday morning Cheryl was able to get hold of her son Justin in Wellington UT and confirm that he was off work that morning. So we checked out of the hotel and headed down to Spanish Fork and over the mountain to Wellington where we picked up Justin to have an early lunch back in Price UT. The place we usually would go to in Price was no longer in business and the new place that reopened in the location was closed due to COVID. So we decided to try another place next door that was open and new, The Tangerine Eatery. The sandwiches were great. And we were able to have a good visit with Justin.

After dropping Justin off back at home, Cheryl and I headed for Goblin Valley. We had visited the park back in May 2014 and decided we wanted to go back and see it again since we were so close. We hiked further in this time even though it was hotter this time than it was in May of 2014. Still a very cool location to explore. From Goblin Valley we kept heading south to Hanksville, where we had a choice. Left would take us to Page AZ and Lake Powell or turn right heading toward Capitol Reef Park and down to Escalante. I opted for right since, when we did part of this road trip in 2014 we went left. So right would take us on a route we hadn't done before. This turned out to be a really fun and scenic drive through and above canyons. There were some great fall colors at the top. The Aspen trees were mostly yellow with a mix of burgundy. At one of the turnouts we stopped at we talked to a couple of guys and a woman on motorcycles. When they pulled up they were going on about how scary something was on the road they had just come up. Apparently they had almost hit a few cattle as they were coming up the winding road from Hell's Backbone. We also had a few encounters with cattle in the road, but I always expect that kind of thing when driving back roads in open-range areas.

Once reaching Escalante, we topped of the car with fuel and mapped a route to Bryce Canyon area. By the time we reached Bryce Canyon entrance it was pitch black out because the moon hadn't come up yet. I decided to map a route out to the US-15 to get out of the winding mountain roads at night. Didn't really feel like meeting a deer in the dark if I didn't have to. The route we end up on took us up to a little town called Panguitch, where we decided to call it a day and get a room for the night instead of trying to press on and make it home Sunday as planned (we would've been closer to 2 am Monday morning at that point).

The next morning, after having breakfast at the only diner that was open on a Monday morning in Panguitch, I plotted a course toward Navajo Bridge. This was the location we were headed to in 2014 when we couldn't get through due to the road being closed just outside Page AZ, but that also lead us to stumble upon Horse Shoe Bend for some great photos that year. So we drove the long trek out to Navajo Bridge and Marble Canyon. The route I chose also took us by the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which I didn't actually realize we would be that close to. Since that was another reason I had originally planned to go across the Navajo Bridge from Page we decided after seeing the bridge to go back and out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We took the 50 mile one way drive out to the Rim. The first 25 miles or so of this drive had also been devastated by fire in the past couple of year. But the Aspen trees are starting to grow back in abundant numbers in the burned areas. And we hit them at just about the right time. Full yellow fall colors with some orange and burgundy thrown in. We reached the North Rim, hiked out to the main point out of the parking lot and shot a few photos. It was still pretty hazy here, but clearer than Antelope Island had been.

From the North Rim it was the long trek back to St George UT and then the very long grueling drive home. Arriving back home Monday night around 10:50pm.