SW Whirlwind Tour - getting there

by David Robertson May. 08, 2021 105 views
Wupatki National Monument, Arizona

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona

My parents live in a town called Green Valley in Arizona, about 40 miles from the Mexican border. I have wanted to see them, but my dad has a medical condition that makes him vulnerable, and obviously with covid it was not the time for them or us to fly, or them to be having guests.

Now that we are all Moderna'd up, we can finally see each other. Shelly and I have been together for over a year and a half and she has wanted to meet them. So we had our second shot on a Friday afternoon and hit the road. We figured they were fully vaccinated and we should be at 80% plus by the time we got there so we took the old Xterra with 230000 miles (370000 km) on it, headed out from Walla Walla, Washington and crossed the hinterland.

There is a lot of hinterland. Its about 1300 miles (2100 km) through some of America's starkest desert landscapes including southern Idaho, Utah, and Arizona north to south including the Navajo Reservation. The focus was to see them and not what was in between due to time constraints, but we managed to fit in some vacation too. Here are a few images from the trip.

Boise Idaho

Boise Idaho

Boise is one of my favorite downtowns, outside of downtown I could take it or leave it, but it is clean, creative..lots of good food and drink and a good place to land the four hours after our second moderna shots. We felt good, woke up feeling good, and then on the drive to Utah Shelly got hit with strong side effects and we pretty much just hunkered down in Salt Lake City the next night. After a good nights sleep we recovered and back on the road.

When you drive south you start to see slight hints of red in the surrounding geology and get excited about the impending sights ahead. We finally got down in between Bryce and Zion National Parks which we sailed between because it was a whirlwind tour, but did stop to hike this cave called the Belly of the Dragon which Shelly found on a hiking app while I increased my carbon footprint at 85 mph (137 kmh) through the Southern Utah desert red rock.

After you go through the tunnel we had somebody tell us there was nothing on the other side and it just dead ends. We went anyway and found this cool collection of cairns.

After our hike it was on to Lake Powell Resort and our stay for the night. We had a lakeside room and it was hot ( in a perfect way) and we were ready to land. We hit the bar which had a pool overlooking the lake, laid on the beach, and had great food and a few beers.

In the morning we watched the sunrise and hit the road. Had the chile relleno breakfast at Page, Arizona (our Page ritual) and started our crossing of the Navajo Reservation headed for Green Valley. It was interesting at the restaurant, some of the Navajo folks were a little frosty which I know why but wish it wasn't the case, and then the Navajo women that we met at a roadside stand were very friendly, but it was a business. I prefer to hope it was genuine. We enjoyed interacting with them and Shelly got a bracelet while I marveled at the head of the Grand Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument off in the distance.

Morning at Lake Powell

Morning at Lake Powell

It was a long day and we headed up to Flagstaff at 7000 ft (2100 m) and then back down into the desert, across the ugliness of Phoenix, through Tucson and Finally to Green Valley, Arizona. Two and a half days to get there, but we enjoyed the trip. I will share some of the things we discovered in Southern Arizona when I post next. This was our landing that afternoon. My parents super cool little home in Green Valley which I was seeing for the first time. Lots of mature Saguaro, and hot. It was time to forget our long northern winter.

My parents casita :)

My parents casita :)

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