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Salt Lake City to Tucson and back

 
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NVSteve
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 1983
Location: Salt Lake City

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Salt Lake City to Tucson and back Reply with quote

I had to change my DV plans this year & ended up going to Tucson since my parents bought their new permanent home there (they had a winter home there which they will sell, along with their old permanent home back in Nevada).

Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument: Toadstools






Spent the first night in Page, AZ. Still quite the dump. Here's a shot of Glen Canyon Dam just outside of town:



The next day, we hit up Grand Canyon first (haven't been there for about 20 years):







Drove a bit farther down the road and took the loop that takes in Wupatki & Sunset Crater National Monuments:









Even though it was only going to be about 22F that night, we had planned on camping at Sunset Crater. Well, the campground wasn't open yet, so we drove into Flagstaff and found a cheap motel instead. While checking in, they asked what make & model of vehicle I had. I told them the Pathfinder & the manager piped in with "oh, is that the new one?" I just about shit myself on the spot, but found out he was talking about the R51-just an out of touch Nissan fan. After clarifying that, I told him "no real man would be asking about the new upcoming Pathfinder."

Next morning, we headed down whichever highway it is that goes to Sedona (not the freeway). The drive goes through the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the world. Lots of snow still, so I was really kicking myself for not bringing along my backcountry skis. Stopped at Slide Rock State Park for a while, which must be swarming with people in the summer.



We spent a few hours in Sedona, both walking around & taking a few paved drives to see a bit of the area. No offense to those who like the area, but I found it rather bland & just a huge tourist trap. I stopped by the info center & the guy just about bit my head off when I told him I had a Pathfinder & wanted to see if there were any short 4x4 trails we could hit. He said Nissan isn't a Jeep & that an Xterra rolled just yesterday, and on & on & on. A bit strange, but whatever. I figure he probably tries to steer people to all the pink Jeep tours, of which there are a gazillion to choose from there.

Very artsy place. I drove by the high school and it is simply amazing, and that is putting it mildly. Here are two of the better sculptures I liked:





The new parental abode is 2 miles from the entrance to Saguaro National Park East in Tucson, so we naturally had a visit there.





Then a few hours at the Pima Air & Space Museum with my Dad. The place is absolutely gigantic.





We also hit up the Arizona-Sedona Desert Museum on the other side of town. Pretty interesting & worth a visit:













The backyard of their new place is 90% cactus. Probably about 14 different types. They also have a bobcat that likes to sleep back there in the morning, drink from the little pool of water from the drip system, then wanders back through in the evening. Neat looking guy, although I never had my camera in hand.







Pathfinder taking a nap on their driveway:



After a couple of days there, we headed back along the eastern part of AZ (anything to avoid Phoenix & the lame ass drive between Phoenix & Tucson). We ended up driving almost exclusively on Indian reservation roads, all of which have a 55mph speed limit. That alone was like a time warp back to the early 80's, but not in a good way. Ended up at the campground at Canyon de Chelly for the night. I noticed a few hundred semis, film trucks & lots of movie making equipment clustered across from the campground. I knew it had to be on the scale of a Hollywood production, but didn't find out until I got back that it was for the upcoming Lone Ranger movie. Canyon de Chelly was very pretty at sunset.





We left the following morning and made it to Monument Valley fairly early in the day. Still one of my favorite places to visit because the scenery is so spectacular.













The highway that we took just north of Monument Valley, which ends up pretty much in the lap of Natural Bridges National Monument, is my favorite drive in Utah. Especially if you drive it with someone who has never been on it. It goes right up to the base of a tall cliff, then turns into a dirt road that winds back and forth straight up the cliff face. Coming from the Utah side, as I first did way back when I was about 17, is quite a shock. Nice fairly straight highway & all of a sudden, BAM!, a bunch of warning signs & a huge cliff. I should have stopped at some point to get a photo, but didn't see any good places to really capture the whole thing.

Before the cliff walk, there is another little Utah gem known as Goosenecks State Park. Not much to it aside from free camping, a toilet & a fantastic view. If you've seen pictures of the ever so common Horseshoe Bend (scenic vista above the Colorado River), Goosenecks kicks ass & takes names over it. Not one bend, but 3 in a row along the San Juan River:



The best part is that nobody's ever heard of it, which is fine by me. That cliff road might have something to do with it as well, seeing as vehicles larger than a car are forbidden.

We originally wanted to spend another night somewhere, but decided to just gun it for Salt Lake instead. Next time I go down, I think I'll hook over into the very western part of New Mexico since there are a number of cool places on that route.
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volvite
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Joined: 16 Feb 2011
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Location: Hill AFB, Utah West Point UT

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve,

Nice pictures. Looks like you had a good car trip. Got to love when people ask about the Pathfinder. Always a good feeling when you can promote your own vehicle.
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nutbar78



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
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Location: Long Island, NY

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.
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rragpaoa



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 302
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, as always, your pictures always transports me as if I am there.
Amazing. Please keep up the great travel pics and stories.
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FLiPMaRC



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
Posts: 460
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Beautiful!
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AZ_Path



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 415
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pics as always Steve. Do you edit them afterward? The colors are so brilliant.

It's too bad you didn't get some helpful info while in Sedona. It really is a beautiful place and there are many 4x4 trails you could have gone on. Problem is, as you experienced, the "Info centers" are really places that try to sell you tours, hotels, etc. so they're grumpy with people who have their own 4x4's. Once you get out of the tourist area, there are some great trails that have fantastic views.

A place we like to take visitors is Devil's bridge. 4x4 isn't required, you just need clearance to get you to the trail head. From there, it's about a 1 mile hike to the natural bridge that you can walk across.



Nice views along the hike.




Twice now we've seen climbers while on this trail.




For more 4x4 worthy trails, two popular choices are Soldier's Pass and Broken Arrow.
http://youtu.be/KrIuryre0fM (anyone know how to embed on this forum?)
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AZ_Path



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and what was so amazing about the Sedona high school? Never been there?
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NVSteve
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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Location: Salt Lake City

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AZ_Path wrote:
Great pics as always Steve. Do you edit them afterward? The colors are so brilliant.


Yes, I shoot everything in RAW. I've done so since my first digital because I can correct/edit photos without destroying them, unlike if I only shoot jpg. Plus, I've been shooting Oly DSLRs for years & they just don't have the dynamic range like the aps-c or full frame DSLRs, so RAW really comes in handy. I just picked up a new Olympus & it seems to be right on par with the Sony Nex-5n that I sold a few weeks ago, so hopefully I'll have less editing to do. I don't modify colors very much, although I had to a lot with the Sony. I simply try to take pictures in the morning, afternoon & absolutely the opposite direction of where the sun happens to be.

Quote:
It's too bad you didn't get some helpful info while in Sedona. It really is a beautiful place and there are many 4x4 trails you could have gone on. Problem is, as you experienced, the "Info centers" are really places that try to sell you tours, hotels, etc. so they're grumpy with people who have their own 4x4's. Once you get out of the tourist area, there are some great trails that have fantastic views.


Thanks for the tips on where to go. I didn't research any of the trails before I left & assumed, wrongly, that I could gather that info while there. Since I'm bound to be making that drive fairly often now, I'll certainly give the area another go.

Quote:
For more 4x4 worthy trails, two popular choices are Soldier's Pass and Broken Arrow.
http://youtu.be/KrIuryre0fM (anyone know how to embed on this forum?)


I've tried before, but was never able to get it to embed either.
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NVSteve
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AZ_Path wrote:
Oh, and what was so amazing about the Sedona high school? Never been there?


It's just really nice to run across a community that actually puts money into education. It's really rare for me to run across a school and be impressed by it, although I have seen some nice ones in more exclusive communities.
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