Day 30: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Start: Flagstaff, AZ
End: Springdale, UT
Miles Driven: 263
Total Miles: 4,550
Today was an absolutely incredible day. We have seen so many amazing sights thus far, but today’s roads and vistas just blew us away.
There are so many beautiful places in this country, and I really consider Tom and I lucky to be able to see so many of these gems in this trip. We’re now a month into the journey, and we are neither tired of being on the road nor particularly in a hurry to return home. Yes, packing and unpacking is a pain. But the daily discovery of the wonders in our country…this is the trip we always dreamed of.
Anyway…on with today.
We started out going up Route 89 from Flagstaff. As we motored along, we started to see some incredible vistas. Little did we know that these views were just the beginning of a spectacular day.
Route 89 – One of today’s open roads
A little while in to the trip, we saw a sign for Tuba City. We decided to make an impromptu stop there, and we were glad we did. While the vistas from Route 89 were great, Route 160 to Tuba City went through the heart of the Painted Desert. Rich red mesas and rock formations surrounded us. And a few miles down 160, we saw a sign for Dinosaur Tracks. Again, we decided to make a detour. And once again, we weren’t sorry.
We pulled up to some impromptu roadside stands and parked. We were immediately greeted by a young man, Dale, who began talking about the area and the incredible fossils there. We saw our first fossilized footprints in a matter of moments. Dale told us about the history of the area, showed us different areas of interest and different fossils and wowed us with the sights. The ‘guides’ work only for tips, so we gave him some cash and thanked him for his great tour. It turns out that this area could be one of the largest dinosaur track sites in the country. Judging by the hand-painted sign and the humble stands, it’s a pretty well-kept secret. Again, the road less travelled…
A few feet away from the parking area, you see your first tracks
Tom compares prints
Fossilized partial dinosaur skeleton
Tom vs baby T-Rex. T-Rex would squish Tom in one step!
Our guide Dale
Back on the road, we wound through some incredible country. High mesas, red canyons, massive rock formations, open prairie…we saw it all. Then, we reached the Glen Canyon area and the bridge over the Colorado River. Again, another unplanned stop…and another spectacular view.
View from the bridge across the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon area (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Back on the road, more wonderful views…more jaw-dropping moments like this:
Scenic View (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
We then made it to Utah! Of course, the first town across the border was Kanab. And as you may know, one of my favorite animal sanctuaries is in Kanab. Thus, our next unplanned stop occurred at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Utah State Border
If you’ve ever watched the National Geographic Channel’s show “Dogtown,” then you’ve seen Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. They rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out animals from cats and dogs to horses, pigs, goats, rabbits and birds that may have been otherwise euthanized. Aside from their notoriety from the TV show, Best Friends is also known as the rescue organization that took in the Michael Vick pit bulls. Unfortunately, we were too late for a tour. But we did get to see the incredible canyon that is home for these animals and we got to chat with the people working at the sanctuary. And of course, Jasmine and Juliet were MORE than welcome in the visitor’s center and gift shop!
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
We soon said goodbye to Route 89 and hello to Route 9 to Zion.
Welcome to Zion National Park
Getting to our hotel in Springdale meant driving through Zion National Park. And all I could say when I saw the landscape was WOW!
And of course, as we were driving with our jaws on our laps, we were brought back down to earth by a local resident. He made us chuckle as he stopped traffic so he could go eat the flowers on the OTHER side of the road.
Mmmm…those flowers look goooood!
We used Tom’s National Park Senior Pass again (FREE ENTRY FOR LIFE!) and reached our hotel. It’s by far the nicest La Quinta I’ve seen. And what a spectacular view from our balcony:
View from our balcony
We walked to dinner–we’re close to everything. Tom had to try the Polygamy Porter (Why Have Just One?).
Polygamy Porter – Why have just one?
It has been a long day of driving and “Holy Cow” moments. Tomorrow is promising to be even more inspirational! Of course, all this activity has just exhausted the girls. Juliet is particularly tired due to her digging through the doggie bag in the back seat and ALMOST breaking into the kibble bag. This little girl is going to be trouble…
ZZZZ–All tuckered out from being bad!