Southwest Roadtrip, Dec 2013

In late December Machelle and I took off on a road trip through the southwest. We planned to sleep at the Grand Canyon Christmas eve, but we were too tired from our trip to Canada and stopped in Las Vegas instead. I had thought it would be decorated for Christmas, but it looked just the same as always, and it could have been any time of year. After a disappointing walk through the neon lit streets we went to bed.

On Christmas we drove across the Colorado river to Arizona and eventually to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We took a walk along the rim in the dusk then settled in to our campsite. Sleeping in the car was extremely cozy and we woke up ready to take some pictures. We drove west along the rim, stopping at the overlooks until we reached the end of the road at Hermit’s rest. We then headed back to Grand Canyon Village for lunch. The afternoon we drove toward the east rim stopping at all the overlooks then found a good vantage for Sunset. Sunset over we saddled up and headed to Page, Arizona.

The plan for the next day was Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley. We decided to go to Lower Antelope Canyon because we could to a self guided photographers tour there. We didn’t regret it. After an awesome 2 hours of photography we loaded the car and headed for Monument Valley. We arrived in good time to drive around the valley for sunset, then we decided to head on up to Moab. On the drive Machelle researched places to stay and found a great place on the Colorado river called the Red Cliffs lodge. The price for rooms in the off season was great and the location couldn’t be beat.

We woke had some breakfast, then headed in to Arches for the day. We drove around arches, did a few hikes and took lots of pictures. There is so much to do in all of these national parks, and we were just scratching the surface with our 1 day per park thing, but we are planning to head back to see more in each of them. After sunset we headed back to the lodge for one more night.

The next day we packed up and headed in to Moab for breakfast. After filling the tank we drove to Canyonlands to explore and camp for the night. Canyonlands is huge, and you can only see a small part of it from the northeast entrance, but it was exciting to see for the first time. We stopped and did short hikes in a few places and got to the campground before sunset, then headed out for some sunset pictures. During this entire trip we basically didn’t see and clouds, and this night was no different, so sunrises and sunsets were about as boring as they could be but we made do with what we had.

After a nice campfire and dinner we snuggled in to the car to sleep. The plan was to rise early to go to Mesa Arch for sunrise. Since it was so cold and we were alone in the campground we thought we might have the arch to ourselves for dawn. We were sadly mistaken. Getting to the parking lot we found it half full already. The arch had a crowd of photographers parked in all the best spaces, so I found the best angles I could and waited for the sunrise.

After taking our pictures we rolled out of the park and headed for Bryce and Kanab. Bryce is far more interesting to me with snow then it is in the summer, so it was nice to get there and wander for a while. After a bit of a walk we headed to Kanab. The plan was to get to the ranger station the next morning to try to get in to “the wave” the next day, but we got word that we would probably waste the whole morning trying to get a pass, and then not make it after all so we decided to head to Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park and Zion before we headed up to Cedar City to meet up with Rich and Judy Carlson. It was a nice relaxed day and a pleasant dinner.

We decided to head home the next day so we could unpack the car, only to pack up again the next day to drive up to Northern Cal to pick up our dog then head over the Sierra and back down the east side to Mammoth to try to get in a little skiing.

it was a long 3000 odd miles of driving, but we had a great time.

the roadtrip

remember to click through above to the gallery at This is just a small selection of the pictures from the trip.

Mesa Arch at sunrise

Coral Pink Sand Dunes patterns in the sand

Bryce in the snow

Some grand vistas

Snow crystals

Monumental sunset

Canyonlands sunset

Some antelope canyon color


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