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The Last of the West

After six months and more than eight thousand miles I’ve come full circle back to Texas in time for my daughter’s spring break. It’s been about two months since I met her in San Diego during her winter break, and I’m enjoying every moment I can with her before continuing my journey eastward. Yesterday she helped me hang a map I picked up for the outside of my RV. While I stood there pondering how much of this country I’ve already seen, she was clearly more transfixed on the one state I missed out west… Nevada. Interestingly, I was not too far from Nevada while in Yosemite in December, but the best route for getting there was closed for the winter, and I was heading south to San Diego as opposed to east. In addition, I’m more interested in really SEEING these states than just being able to claim I’d been there on my journey. I’m planning on circling back for more of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana after my summer shoot in Colorado, so maybe then.

After my amazing two day journey through eastern Utah, and two days in Sedona which were completely focused on settling back into my RV and getting caught up on some work projects, I headed north with the intention of spending two nights in Page AZ and two nights between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Unfortunately I had my first breakdown 20 miles south of Page. Engine coolant drained from the reservoir and sprayed  all the way down the side of my RV and car as well. While waiting for the tow vehicle (which I was told would be at least an hour) I unhooked the car and drove to town for more coolant. Fortunately I managed to limp to the RV park I had reserved, because there were no mechanics available to help me until Monday. I wasn’t really wanting to see “The Beast” hooked up to a tow truck either, not to mention the fact that I would have had to get a motel room for the weekend. It was a worrisome weekend because it looked like the fluid was actually leaking from the engine. Monday afternoon my worries were put to rest when it was discovered there was simply a break in the hose. Better a $250 fix than having to have the engine pulled. Sadly, that extra day in Page put me too far behind schedule to get over to Bryce and Zion. I pacified myself with the thought that I’d seen enough “rocks” for awhile and would probably appreciate the two places far more on a return trip and during a different season.

Several friends suggested taking a boat tour on Lake Powell while in Page, and I was terribly disappointed to find that they were all shut down for the season. No boats available to rent either. Considering it was spring break for many students this was somewhat surprising, and I found myself wishing I had the new kayak I’d just ordered, but alas… that was being shipped ahead of me to Dallas. The one thing I did get to do in Page was something I’ve been hoping to do for a very long time, a tour of Antelope Canyon. This stunning canyon can only be accessed by guided tour now, and there were too many people for my taste, but well worth seeing. Fascinating place!!

While in Page I also took Jazzy and Sadie on a hike to the overlook at Horseshoe Bend. The view, especially if you get near the edge, will take your breath away. Needless to say I had a tight hold on their leashes and in fact, asked someone else to hold them while I slid close to the edge to get this first shot! As you can see, it’s a long straight drop to the water below.

We also climbed to the top of the hill behind our campground, just to see what was on the other side. Well, that and the exercise.

From Page we had just over a thousand miles to drive to get back to Dallas. That’s three fairly long days for someone traveling solo in a big RV. I made my first stop in Aztec NM and took time to visit Aztec Ruins National Monument, a group of well preserved Pueblo structures which date back to the 11th to 13th centuries. Interestingly, they are not Aztec as once thought, but ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazi. The structure is a series of over 500 rooms all built around the reconstructed Great Kiva. Very impressive place and amazingly well preserved. I’m always fascinated by ancient architecture… built to withstand time without today’s tools and technology.

And a few more rocks before I reached the flat land of west Texas. 🙂 

I’ll be sitting tight here in the Dallas area for another week or more working on some projects and spending time with friends and hoping for a bit more time with my girl. When I hit the road again I’ll be heading east toward Florida via the gulf coast with my new Hobie kayak added to the works!

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