Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crazy Road Trip Summer 2011: Day 7

Waking up on day seven was painful. After driving back to our hotel, grabbing some fast food, and looking at all of our pictures the night before, we didn't get to sleep until around two in the morning. We woke up at six and went to breakfast at around seven. After making ourselves even more tired with a huge breakfast, we set out on the road toward Zion. We had planned to take the beautiful Tioga Pass in Yosemite and head by Mono Lake, but the pass was still closed from the high snowfall. Instead we took the long drive through the farmland and desert interior of southern California. We drove through Fresno, Bakersfield, Barstow, and next to the Mojave National Preserve. Fresno still felt like green California, but once we reached Bakersfield, we started to notice the change in climate. Barstow marked the beginning of Hell. From that point on it looked like we were basically in Death Valley (which we were right next to). It was extremely hot and windy and the air conditioning kept blowing luke warm air. On top of it, Bill and I were just trying to stay awake. Once we drove past the Mojave National Preserve, we finally hit Las Vegas.

This is a turn off on highway 15 next to the Mojave National Preserve. I didn't take any pictures on this part of the drive, but I remember seeing this!

We drove through Las Vegas for the second time on our trip and drove on the other side of the Yucca Flat nuclear testing site (the home of Area 51). It's really pretty large if you look at it on a map, which is a little scary. Look at how much of Nevada it takes up! It is 200 square miles in size! I talked to a guy when we were at Yosemite who said he had been to Area 51 when he served in the military. They transported the men there in vehicles without windows, kept them completely quarantined in the facility, and even assigned them to a specific toilet to keep security as tight as possible. Pretty amazing!

After driving past Yucca Flat, we drove through a small corner of Arizona and then into Utah. 

 A cool canyon that we drove through right after the corner of Arizona.

 The rocks had been through many geological processes and been pushed up through plate tectonics.

 After driving through a narrow slot canyon, the rocks opened up into the beautiful Virgin River Gorge.

Joshua Trees 

The first city we reached in Utah was St. George. It's a beautiful city that seems to have been carved right into the side of the red rock. After driving through a couple of small towns, we hit Springdale. Springdale is a small community outside of Zion that reminds me very much of Sedona. The entire town seems to revolve around Zion and the surrounding Red Rock. It has many artists and photographers along with outdoorsy people and nature lovers. It is also home to many bed and breakfasts. We stayed at one called the Harvest House

Bill and I had never stayed at a bed and breakfast, so this was a new adventure. We were greeted by the owner, Tom, who showed us our room. At this particular bed and breakfast, each bedroom had its own bathroom and a couple, including ours, had balconies looking out on the surrounding red rocks. Our particular room was called The Watchman and looked out onto a rock formation called The Watchman. 

 The Harvest House always has the "sorry" sign up because Tom doesn't take walk-ins.

The view from one side of the Harvest House.

After checking in we went to a Mexican fusion restaurant called the Whiptail Grill on Tom's recommendation. It's this unique restaurant that has been made out of an old gas station. It doesn't look like much, but it's amazing! 

The Whiptail Grill (taken the next morning while they were closed)

 The view from one direction...

 and the other.

 My chicken enchilada mmmmmmmmmmmmm.!!

 Bill's ribs which were awesome!!

Chocolate peanut butter habanero creme brulee. Need I say more?

After all that amazing food we were ready to pass out! We headed back to our bed and breakfast and went to bed. Check out tomorrow's blog to hear about our day in Zion!

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