Time for another road trip, I acquired some more hardware to assist me on my grand 2010 Southwest vacation. I would only do a shorter drive, sparing the planet and to support the environment.
Leaving home Tuesday, I was of the mind to enjoy greatly. Reserving my rooms and campsite, with one night's luxury stay, I was to allow for a change of plan and camping.
Zooming south on Interstate 5, I was to stop at Lost Hills, CA, to find my car wouldn't start. I had to phone for roadside assistance, and found that I had a weak battery. Able to get to Bakersfield, I got a new battery, and lost only some 4 hours in the process. Initially, I was to take two days to get to Las Vegas, NV, but as I woke up at a good hour, decided, at the last minute, to make it there in one day.
Good on time, I arrived late to get an economy room. Getting up early Wednesday, I was to spend the early morning shooting magic hour, with the lights and neon. Only workmen and runners were about this early, and I liked using my cameras for this. Back to my motel, I slept a bit, then headed for Fremont Street. Taking more photos, I spent an hour, then motored over to go to the top of the Stratosphere Tower for hazy views.
Going then to my luxury, environmentally friendlier, hotel, I was able to check in ahead of the stated time, and enjoyed my high rise room view. Taking the monorail to the City Center, then walking about, I shot many more photos, and then rode and walked back over to the Bellagio Conservatory. This was fun! I stayed up in my room shooting the evening magic hour, and then it was to dining. Most all restaurants were full or busy, or too expensive for me.
After shooting morning magic hour from my room, I had my most expensive meal ever, for breakfast, then checked out and headed north on Interstate 15. This was to be one of my most disappointing experiences with free Wi-Fi. Many places advertised it, but few delivered very well. Connections were near worthless at some spots.
Passing through St. George, then Hurricane, Utah, it was along UT 59, then AZ 389. Due to the concerns about Arizona law, I spent my money only on Reservation land or National Park. Coming to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I took pictures of the fall colors. This was getting good! I checked into the campground, and got my site.
Hiking on the Transept Trail, I began to shutter the views. Watching the sun breaks from Bright Angel Point, I hiked back to camp, and settled in for the night.
Up early again, Friday, I motored to Bright Angel Point for the sunrise. Then, it was a fine breakfast in the Lodge. I hiked partway down the Kaibab Trail, and then over to the Cape Royal Road. I made a stop at Point Imperial, then gained some more views at more points. The clouds had come in by the time I reached Cape Royal, and lightning struck the far canyon. I took my photos, and then left for points north, back in Utah.
Seeing a marvelous sunset from Kanab, UT, I found my way to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, where, thanks to helpful rangers, I was able to get a campspot. I captured the sunrise, then motored over to Utah 9. The roads are under construction, and there was a delay in going through the long tunnel. Entering Zion National Park, I quickly drove to the main parking lot, and took the free shuttle to the Grotto Trailhead. I started my hike to the top of Angels Landing (5,990') for my second time. Warm in the late morning, I was glad to have two liters of water. Carrying my light pack, I saw that I wouldn't summit in about an hour like last time! Perhaps 200 hikers were doing this point, today.
Using the chained route, I arrived to the top by midday, with so many people about. I didn't remember it as so steep, and mentioned to some hiker that I'd think about re-rating this scramble to class 3. They were doing some work on the route, and it is easy to see how hikers get killed, falling a thousand feet.
Snapping my summit photos, I soon left. I kept courteous with so many hikers, and then was back to the easy trail. Resting at the mouth of the narrow canyon where a good wind poured through, I soon came back to the bus stop and debarked at both the Court of the Patriarchs and the Museum.
Driving then UT 9 westbound and coming back to Hurricane, UT, a good wind and rain occurred as I dined, and then it was to St. George, where I again was lucky to get an economy rate on a motel room, Saturday night. Unable to get a good connection, I woke up early again. It was to Snow Canyon State Park, where I viewed the sunrise, then hiked to the West Canyon Overlook, and the Petrified Dunes.
Taking Old Highway 91 back to Interstate 15, I was soon passing through Las Vegas, NV, again. I used my park pass to enter Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I toured the visitor center, then took the scenic loop road. It began to rain, so I motored to the vista point along the main highway and shot panoramas of the clouds and sun, then a rainbow.
To Interstate 15, the sun did set, and I had to get to Ridgecrest, CA. I got my room, and slept well enough.
Up at about 4:30 a.m., Monday, for my last day out, I took U.S. 395 north, and came to my Mt. Whitney viewpoint along CA 136 for the sunrise. The peak stayed hidden behind clouds, so I gave up, and went into Lone Pine, CA, for food. Motoring back to the under-construction Interagency Visitor Center for photos, I soon motored over to Manzanar National Historic Site, where they had done more work.
Clouds lay to the north along U.S. 395. I soon was in the rain, and declined to stop at any viewpoints. More clouds at best offered any photo ops, then I was to Reno, NV, where I had a good burger. Picking up some clothes at my favorite outdoor shop, I soon was passing under more dark clouds on Interstate 80. Viewing the pink sky coming into town, I unloaded my things and was to my computer.
My photos mostly all downloaded fine, and I unpacked and got to my work. I marveled at how well it all went.
Hiking then roughly 16 miles with 4,000 feet of gain, I drove a bit over 2,000 miles. Capturing maybe 3,700 images and movie clips, this used almost 19 GB of memory. I spent some $400 cash, and charged up about $300 for lodging and camping. It was some $60 more for new clothes, and I got only a small cut on my hike to the top of my only peak of sorts. Using about 49 gallons of gas, I had paid $147 while on the road, with still a quarter tank at the trip's end.
Intending now to walk and conserve, I will save my car, and hope to team up for some peaks with someone. When the holidays come, I may be up for even another road trip, or just be commuting to the nearby mountains or coast for more hiking.
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