Sunday, July 3
We SAID we would leave at 6 this morning….quit laughing we hear you! But we actually checked out and was on the road by 7 am! (Yes, Mom….we can move early in the morning! )
Our first stop to Las Vegas tonight was a Taco Bell for breakfast. Met a crew of Baptist men from North Carolina that had been in Grand Junction hanging sheetrock as a mission project for a church there.
Taking so many pictures on the road today. Talked with Mom after we had lunch and she was warning us about storms that pop up so quickly. We were getting on the interstate at Salina and looked to our left after I hung up and saw this weather situation. I took a picture and almost sent it to Mom then, but waited until we had gone through and around the storm before I did. Note: You can’t just assume you can call your Mom on those long stretches of interstate….through a deserted area….duh. No cell service!
Today is Sunday. It is very strange to not be in church at this time of day. While I am driving, listening to The Message station on Sirius, I am totally surrounded by God’s beauty in all around me. The verse that talks about how “the rocks will cry out” crosses my mind …. I certainly heard them singing their praises on this drive!
As we moved west (and the rain lifted), I noticed that the trees were slowly being replaced by scrub brush and sand. Utah proved to be much more desert and rocks, which had their own beauty and grandness. There were long stretches of just nature, the only civilization being the road and other travelers. Fortunately, there were the occasional rest areas.
On these travel days, I have tried to find interesting places to explore along the route. It usually makes for a later arrival time, but allows us to maximize our western experience. Southern Utah boasts many beautiful National Parks, and we would be passing near what they call “The Big Five”. Realistically, we would be able to hit only one of these on this trip. Initially, I chose Zion National Park since it appeared to be closest to our route. While we were visiting my family in Tennessee, my sister, Alice mentioned the awesome experience she had at Bryce Canyon National Park. I looked into it–even though it was going to take us about 40 miles out of the way, Bryce Canyon’s main viewing areas were easily accessible by car–no need to wait on public shuttles.
Tim had done some research and decided we should go to Bryce Canyon.
Oh my goodness! Even though I took about 400 pictures here (don’t worry…..we won’t post them all here!), it will NEVER show the beauty and majesty of this area!
It was interesting watching and hearing people’s responses as they were enjoying the sights at the different viewing areas. One of my favorite was a Dad with his mom and totally embarrassed kids with his arms in the air singing the Rocky theme song at the end of their hike! He and his family had just completed one of the mile-long trails that took them down in the canyon among the “hoodoos” and back up to one of the observation points.
We had a sweet couple offer to take our picture at Sunrise Point in the Bryce Amphitheater. She reminded me of me taking about 4 pics from all different angles of the backdrop. I asked if I could take their pics and did the same with her camera. We all had a great laugh even though all I think we could understand of each other’s accents was a “thank you!”
After visiting Bryce for a couple hours, we are back on the road again. Now we are laughing and smiling when we are still seeing all this beauty around us (but it doesn’t quite compare to Bryce Canyon!). “Nah…just another mountain…” with a great big smile! (We still took pictures anyway!)
We found civilization and a Zaxby’s in southwest Utah and stopped for supper. Woohoo….now it’s my turn to drive in the dark.
Especially when my brain is saying, “You just saw that yellow sign with a truck sitting on a triangle. You are on a very high hill.” Not fun. After we cross into Nevada, we find civilization on steroids with so many lights and buildings screaming “Welcome to Nevada!!!” Tim’s turn to drive us into Vegas. Never happier to hand him the keys!
At some point, we crossed into the Pacific time zone and we have to be very conscious of when we text or call anyone!
We pull into the Wyndham Grand Desert in Vegas just off the Strip. This is our second trip here….our first was 11 years ago when we came with Phil and Jill after we were married. We get here to check in around 11:30pm. In our room and and asleep by 1:00a.m. Long day, but so many wonderful pictures and memories!