A 10 day roadie around some of America's amazing national parks
06.09.2013 - 16.10.2013 22 °C
We left the bright lights of Las Vegas behind for the wilderness. It seems that somehow we had all signed up to spend 10 days in this...
From here on in it will be lovingly referred to as Alley Cat
I don't know which of us went into this "10 day total immersion Landy styles" trip with the most trepidation. I am not a patient person at the best of times and thinking about it, I have not spent this amount of consecutive time with my Mum since I started kindy 27 years ago. As you can imagine - there was a lot to catchup on. Soph on the other hand is super patient and understanding so I thought that she would perhaps cope the best out of all of us.
As it turns out, all of us have come out the other side relatively intact. Would we do it again? I will answer in a few months when the details become hazier. I joke, it was an amazing time and a great opportunity to see some amazing parts of USA together at our own pace.
Our first stop on the roadie was Zion national park. About 3 hours NE of Vegas, it was a relatively smooth ride to the first camp ground. Some members of the party not too happy about the lack of shower facilities available, but we buckled down and prepared our first campsite meal and had our first sleep in the little tent on top of Alley Cat. Mum and Cj slept down below in quarters that can only be described as plush.
The following day was spent exploring Zion and doing a few walks. I will leave you some pictures to try to do justice to what is an amazing area of the world.
Courtney at one with the rocks
Landy girls on pride rock
The best view in Zion National Park
There are 10 of these failed jump shots. This one looks like we are trying to do the haka
Which lead to just two of us. Thats better
Next stop on the trail was Bryce Canyon National Park. This canyon is famous for the hoodoos which we have so many photos of and are super impressive, but upon arrival we were met with this...
Not ideal hoodoo-photographing conditions
That didn't stop us trying
So we could not see a thing. We were really hoping for a miracle the next day and boy were we rewarded. The orange rock formations need to be seen to be believed (how many more cliches can I throw in here?...mind-blowing, one-in-a-million, a sight for sore eyes, a picture paints a thousand words and so on and so forth.)
These funny formations are named hoodoo's, so named after "Legend People" who were turned to stone by Coyote
The Geologists' explanation is far less interesting; erosion
Mum and Courtney at Bryce National Park
It's a natural arch!
We walked down in amongst them which was a great new perspective
Heading out after a very early start and a pathetic sunrise which does not even make the cut for blog photos, we went to Kodachrome Basin state park with rock formations called pipes. This was a lovely spot for a picnic even though we had been warned about rattle snakes and scorpions.
We did not see these deadly animals but we ran into another animal which was less scary but still made Soph run in the opposite direction.
The drive from Bryce through Capitol Reef up UT12 (name of the road) is touted to be one of the best in the USA. It did not disappoint. It was an absolutely stunning and scenic drive even if the weather was bad.
One of two flash floods we came across which stopped traffic for a wee while
Just like Charlie and the chocolate factory
The following day was a really really long drive with a fabulous reward at the end - Monument Valley. You may recognise these scenes from old westerns or forest gump. We had alot of fun re-enacting the scenes.
Courtney just loves the serenity
Mexican hat (apparently)
We did not take this photo
Fabulous evening for a drive
This area is home to many native american communities
The final leg of our National Park days was the Grand Canyon as seen from the South Rim. We thought this was going to be the most impressive part of the trip but given all we had been treated to in the days leading up to the mighty GC - the other parks certainly gave it a good run for it's money. While still amazing and vast and deep (and grand), the other parks were certainly on par on the spectacular-scale. I guess the moral of the story is - go see 'em all!
Canyons make me excited
Condor doing it's thing
Elk doing their thing
The Grand Canyon has a way of making you feel small
This pseudo-happiness hides a crippling fear of heights
Everybody enjoys the view
Mum missed the memo on the 'jump' part of 'jump-shot'
We had to drop CJ off at LAX so dropped into Santa Monica Beach for a final picnic out of the back of Alley Cat before sending her off on her way. Unfortunately we seem to have misplaced our photos somewhere so we have no evidence - but it did happen (see video).
The final three days of the camping experience was spent driving up the pacific coast highway (PCH) and searching for places to sleep. No longer were we in the wilderness - RV and camping parks abound. We were to be found on night #1 skulking around very full campgrounds to try and find one more spot. It didn't work however and we ended up roadside which then resulted in a rude awakening at 0200 hours from the sheriff who was threatening a $200 fine. So off we drove to try and find a more secluded roadside spot. The remaining nights we managed to find nice camping grounds which made for a much nicer, more relaxed kip.
The PCH was quite impressive and there was some amazing coastline along the way including world famous Big Sur. We even timed it right and went to an Avocado and Margherita festival. Score!
A furloughed US government worker?
The Pacific Coast!
Avocado's and Margaritas are worth celebrating in Morro Bay
'Dusting-on' instead of off
We are super happy to have seen all these amazing sights and it does make me think that if there were only one country I could visit in the world aside from NZ, it may have to be USA. Although, the parks are all closed right now due to the US government closing down "non-essential services", we are very lucky to have got in when we did. Phew!
Next stop for us was San Fran to watch NZ win the America's cup. (Now you know how far behind we are... whoops)
For those keen on the video portrayal of our travels - here is the roadtrip moving picture: