Tag Archives: roadtrip

Toot that Flute & no fallen Arches

Having spent the morning trying to drive out of the beautiful clutches of the Dixieland National Forest (well there is nearly 200 million acres of it) we were to pass near to the Grande Escalante National Monument on Scenic Highway 12.

The beauty of road tripping I have found is the freedom to roam about until something catches your curiosity forcing you to stop & investigate. Midmorning brew ups generally occurred a random beauty spot that caught our eye & wending our way across to The Arches National Park was no exception.

As the miles rolled by & we spied all manner of unusual geological scenery that is difficult to describe or capture we were totally unprepared for the unique shopping opportunity that was to befall us.

Nevada may officially have what’s known as ‘the loneliest road’ but Utah could certainly claim a number of equally lonely stretches where there was a distinct absence of any kind of settlements.

Flute Shop

So when a small wooden shack appeared on the horizon it stood out & drew us to a halt when we were close enough to read the sign heralding a Flute Shop. 

my flute

Once inside we marvelled at the array of hand made North American flutes for sale. The gentleman who carved some of them provided us with information & tempted me to purchase one.

Determined as we were to get our moneys worth of the pass we had purchased we arrived at Williams Bottom campground that sported the oddest rest room we had yet encountered.

During supper preparations I kept out of the way by practicing my flute only to find it had begun to lure the curious to us ascertain what we were up to. 

The spot minus my playing was a quiet place & only about 10 minutes away from the park entrance which was great as we embarked on the scenic drive almost as soon as the gates opened the following morning. True to form we aimed to do the scenic drive by heading to the farthest point & wending our way back. We stopped for some fuel & a minor panic when a warning light appeared on the dash but a nice guy with a pressure gauge was able to allay our fears as we headed back to complete the loop.

Whilst America is geared up for RV life the volume of traffic that builds up means that making early starts pays dividends in ensuring you get to park where you want & we certainly took full advantage of this.

The Arches was another place where the photographs don’t really do justice to the view & think we both felt that we were lucky to be able to explore on foot some of the incredible landscape. The weather beaten rock formations were fascinating & up close it was possible to see where nature was sculpting the landscape & thankfully no arches fell during our visit!

When we felt completely ‘arched out’ we pointed the van towards the Great Sand Dunes keeping our fingers crossed we could find a place to stay for the night.

Hang on to your Hodo’s

Leaving the hustle and bustle of las Vegas in out wake we headed for the hills to a camp site that was geographically close to the entrance to Zion & Bryce Canyon.

Unlucky for us we couldn’t find a space to park the rv to enable us to enter the Zion to get on the shuttle bus so we pointed Martha towards the Kolob Canyons visitor centre instead. Here we picked up the annual park pass (a definite recommend if you plan to visit many parks as proved good value for money) & drove up the hill to the viewing point. It was great to get out and follow the little trail to see the terrain which was quite majestic. Little did we know that this view was the first of what would be a number of amazing vistas that we were able to feast our eyes on.

With a growing taste for a ‘camp on the wilder side’ we found ourselves trundling slowly for fear of cracked windscreens or paint chips down what became known as ‘the road of doom’ to a fantastic campsite only about 30mins drive from the entrance to Bryce Canyon.

By the crack of dawn the following day we set off to the visitor centre where Rangers had hardly opened up shop to find where we could abandon Martha, grab a shuttle & go Hodo spotting. Checking maps while listening to the bus driver giving tips on routes before we alighted to walk around. The day showed all the potential for being quite hot so we made sure we were lathered in suncream with a sufficient amount of water before heading down the trail. It had become apparent to us that we had a natural instinct to walk trails the ‘wrong way around’ so this was no different & worked in our favour as we met less people & seemed to have less of a climb out.

The hodo’s are quite magnificent & photos hardly seem to do them justice & it was easy to see why the early Native Americans thought of them as people turned into stone. Wandering around in amongst the giant rock formations was quite eerie yet beautiful. At the risk of being controversial I would say that I found the area more spectacular than the Grand Canyon but that’s just my opinion.

Whilst being an ‘early bird’ paid dividends in terms of parking it meant that we were a bit peckish after completing the trail so we nipped back to Martha for a snack before heading off along the scenic drive.

Next day we arose to start a long days drive to Moab & the Arches National Park. Cutting across country is fun & leads to all manner of unusual places that just force you to stop for a while.