Zion to Bryce: Glorious Detour

Day 32: Friday, May 31, 2013
Start: Springdale, UT
End: Bryce Canyon City, UT
Miles Driven Today: 187
Total Miles: 4,737

Today was a driving day, moving from Zion to Bryce Canyon. Leaving Zion and going to Bryce was as breathtaking as the trip in. Given that we drove in around 4pm and left around 11am…the landscape was vastly different. The light made the area look so very different; or perhaps we were less in shock as we drove through the incredible vistas. I do think I took more pictures of Zion today than I did yesterday!

Highway 9 Out of Zion

Highway 9 Out of Zion

Majestic views on Highway 9 in Zion

Majestic views on Highway 9 in Zion

Checkerboard Mesa - Zion

Checkerboard Mesa – Zion

Striations on the sandstone in Zion

Striations on the sandstone in Zion

The trip was only about 2 hours long primarily up Highway 89. We needed a few groceries and personal items, so we decided to drive down 89 to Kanab (the largest town around) and pick up the needed items. While it was about a 35-mile detour, we were in no hurry today and the drive was beautiful.

After we left Kanab, we motored up Highway 89. We passed a few small towns that consisted of trading posts and rock shops or a few small houses and businesses. Many of the road-side businesses were shut down…a sign that ‘recovery’ is relative.

Highway 89 skirts the Dixie National Forest, and since we couldn’t check in to our next hotel until late, we decided to detour through the Forest. We took Highway 14 to 148 and then through 143, making a loop through both the Dixie National Forest and the Cedar Breaks National Monument. It was a great detour. We climbed to over 9,000 feet and saw the temperature drop from about 70 degrees to the low 50’s. At the peak, we encountered some serious remaining snow banks! What? We passed Navajo Lake and Panguitch Lake, saw an Elk ranch (with a paddock of Elk).

Cedar Breaks Vista

Cedar Breaks Vista

View from Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway

View from Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway

Panoramic view from Cedar Breaks

Panoramic view from Cedar Breaks


Snow on the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway (approx 9000 feet, 52 degrees F)

Today's open road

Today’s open road – Route 48 to Panguitch

As we were on the way down the mountain, we saw what we thought was Bryce; it was, in fact, Red Canyon. We later drove through Red Canyon on our way to Bryce.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

Red Canyon, Utah Arch

New meaning of drive-through at Red Canyon

Today’s drive was beautiful, memorable and vastly diverse. We went from high desert to dense forest and back to sandstone and rock. It was a great discovery drive and a beautiful day.

Of course, the dogs thought that the best part was attacking Tom after we got to the hotel.

When Dachshunds attack

When Dachshunds attack

Tomorrow, we’ll explore Bryce Canyon. We’re thrilled to see yet another natural wonder. Grand Canyon, Zion and now Bryce. What a trip!!!

Route 66: Joplin, MO to Tulsa, OK

Day 13: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Start: Joplin, MO
End: Tulsa, OK
Miles Driven Today: 166 (including 33 miles in Tulsa)
Total Miles: 2,284

Today was a three-state day. Given that we were only in Missouri for about five minutes after we left the hotel and that Route 66 only traverses 15 miles within Kansas, it wasn’t a great feat. But hey, three states are three states! We started off with our first state-line crossing into Galena, Kansas. We had planned to stop at the “4 Women on The Route” restored O-Tex gas station, but it was closed. Sunday (and Mother’s Day) means empty streets and closed shops and restaurants in these parts!

Welcome to Kansas

Welcome to Kansas

We drove down the road towards Baxter Springs and encountered the Rainbow Curve Bridge. This is the last of three “Marsh Arch” bridges (named for the designer) that were on Route 66 in Kansas.

Rainbow Curve Bridge

Rainbow Curve Bridge near Baxter Springs

Rainbow Curve Bridge Sign

Rainbow Curve Bridge

We really liked the road stamps all across the short stint of Route 66 in Kansas. We saw these everywhere across the 15-ish miles of road across the state.

Route 66 Kansas

Marking the way across Route 66 Kansas

After a few minutes, whoooooosh…we were in Oklahoma!

Into Oklahoma

After a blink of an eye, we were in Oklahoma

We drove through Quawpaw, Commerce, Miami and Narcissa, OK before we made our first stop at the Afton Station and Route 66 Packard Museum in Afton, Oklahoma. Laurel Kane (owner) and Ron (a volunteer) greeted us warmly as we walked into the museum and gift shop. Laurel has acquired and restored quite an impressive collection of Packards (and one odd vehicle). My very favorite was the 1917 Packard Twin Six–what I call the “Original RV.” I also loved the simple but graceful hood ornaments. Laurel had around twenty cars in her collection–all in mint condition! We were encouraged to spend time looking at both garages to view these vintage treasures!

After some time, we went back to chat with Laurel and Ron. She took our picture with the girls, talked about Jay Leno’s interest in her vehicles (she emailed him and invited him to visit when he was touring the area; he received the email too late and called her personally to chat with her about the cars!). It was a worthwhile stop and an incredible collection!

1953 Packard

Afton Station – Route 66 Packards – 1953 Packard

1950 Studebaker

1950 Studebaker – Tom said that his family had one of these when he was growing up!

Hood Ornament

Love the hood ornaments!


What’s a Maserati doing here?

1917 Packard Twin Six

1917 Packard Twin Six – The first off the line, according to Laurel! This is the true original RV!

Off we went down the open road, once again enjoying a beautiful day.

Fine day

A fine day

Open Road

Another day across open road. I could get real used to this!

We decided to take a side trip off Route 66 near the town of Foyil to visit the Totm Pole Park, home of the World’s LARGEST Totem Pole. Built by Ed Galloway between 1937 and 1948, Galloway built this and a number of other concrete totems in this little park. The park also houses the 11-sided Fiddle House that once housed over 400 hand-carved violins. A collection of about 100 of them still resides in the museum/gift shop.

Tallest Totem Pole

World’s Largest Totem Pole – Ed Galloway built the totem pole over 11 years (1937-1948). Over 90 feet tall!

Another Ed Galloway Totem

Another Ed Galloway Totem

After we got back on Route 66, we had to stop and visit the Blue Whale. A remnant of an old amusement park, this whale now resides at a pond and is open to the public. When we visited, a couple of families with kids were fishing off the tail of the whale. There were squeals of excitement as one of the little girls caught a fish! Whee! Okay, it was kitschy, but cute.

The Blue Whale Catoosa OK

The Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK

The Blue Whale

Isn’t he cute?

The Catoosa Blue Whale

Tom in the belly of the whale! EEK!

We made it to Tulsa today, We settled into our dog-friendly room at a La Quinta, and then drove around town. We saw Oral Roberts University, more churches than we could count, and had dinner at the traditional Tulsa Vietnamese Pho house. But seriously, we did have dinner at Pho Da Cao (FABULOUS) and then followed that up with frozen custard at Freckles.

Tomorrow, we plan on reaching Oklahoma City and Amarillo, TX the following day. That is, unless we see something/someplace that pushes us in a different direction or makes us want to stay in a different place! That’s how we roll!

One Day, Four States

Day 5
Start: Duncannon, PA
End: Burlington, KY
Miles Driven: 504

West Virginia

Welcome to West Virginia


Welcome to Ohio


Welcome to Kentucky

Today was a travel day. Eleven hours, 504 miles and one emergency pit stop later, we arrived in Kentucky. We left Duncannon around 8 a.m. and hopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Even though it was a fast-moving Interstate, it snaked through some lovely country. Rolling hills, farmland, barns painted with tobacco ads…we saw another bit of Americana.

To get to our destination, we crossed three state lines, making the day a four-state extravaganza! West Virginia was just a blur–we were barely there for fifteen minutes before we catapulted into Ohio. But hey, we got a picture of the Welcome sign. It counts!

We were about half-way across Ohio, and I was getting a bit weary of large semis and road construction. I suggested that we get off the Interstate and venture on some back roads. We got off at Route 79 and made a stop at Buckeye Lake. Juliet especially enjoyed the stop as she rolled around in goose poop! It was another beautiful day, and we sat in the sun for a few minutes and watched families picnic and a fisherman catch a sizable fish. Then it was off to Route 22 West.

Buckeye Lake

Buckeye Lake, OH.

Aside: We have been noticing that this driving tour is turning out to be a water tour as well. South of Pittsburg, we crossed the Monongahela River. We also crossed the Ohio River (WV border), the Licking River, and the Scioto River (OH). On our way to Duncannon, we were around the Chesapeake Basin, and we criss-crossed the Susquehanna river many times. We went over the East Branch of the Delaware River around the Pepacton Reservoir. We’ll cross the Mississippi, and maybe even the Rio Grande.

We drove through Lancaster, Circleville, and on to Wilmington. We were going to take Route 22 all the way to highway 275 near the Ohio/Kentucky border, but Jasmine’s tender stomach required an emergency pit stop, lots of wipes and a very large trash bag. 😦 So we made our way back to the Interstate and motored on to Kentucky.

We arrived at our destination around 7 p.m. and were immediately greeted by Minda and Pete, their kids Sam and Grace, and their dog Sparky. You’ll have to wait for the next post to find out what happened next!

Welcome to Margaretville

Welcome to Margaretville

A place after my own heart

Day 1

Start: Amherst, NH
End: Painted Post, NY
Miles Driven: 404.5

We made it to Corning, NY today after a long day of lovely roads and a serendipitous detour. We started the morning at home, and drove West across Route 101 in New Hampshire and continued West into Vermont on Route 9. Even though it was a grey day, the drive was lovely. Barely any cars were on the road, and we chose a lovely two-lane highway rather than the interstate. We even got to pass a lovely store that proclaimed that they sold “Garage Sale Quality Merchandise.” No, we didn’t stop. Maybe on the way back.

We passed through Brattleboro, Wilmington and Bennington, Vermont, and then crossed into New York and onto Route 7. When we got to Albany, however, we had to get on I-87. We were going to go the 87-90-88 (hut hut hike!) route, but became a bit confused at the tolls and missed the entrance to 90. So there we were on the (ick) New York Throughway. The next exit was over six miles away. As I was looking at our alternatives, I saw a big patch of green on the map…the Catskills! So, instead of looping back to get onto I-88, we decided to meander across Route 28 through the Catskills. What a great detour!


Wonderful roads and byways through the Catskills

Even though the day was gloomy and the trees were just starting to blossom, we were in awe. What an absolutely beautiful region. I was thinking how lucky we were to have missed our turn-off and to have taken this detour. And of course, driving through Margaretville…it was definitely meant to be!

We detoured off our detour and went down Route 30, which followed the edges of Pepacton Reservoir. This huge reservoir was made by creating a dam at the East Branch of the Delaware River. All along the reservoir’s edges, there were signs marking the towns that USED to be there. According to the NY State website:

The Pepacton watershed’s drainage basin is 371 square miles, and includes parts of 13 towns in three counties: Andes, Bovina, Colchester, Delhi, Hamden, Middletown, Roxbury and Stamford in Delaware County; Denning, Hardenburgh and Shandaken in Ulster; and Halcott and Lexington in Greene.

This windy, picturesque drive was definitely worth the extra hour or two that we spent on the road. After leaving the Catskills, we also got to drive Route 17 (a highway, but so pretty) before reaching Binghamton and the busier stretch of the road.

We’re now relaxing at the hotel and getting excited about the Corning Museum in the morning. It was a great start to our road trip–a plan, an oops and an aaaaaah…