Solo Road Trip: Part V – Zion National Park

In case you missed previous posts:

I wanted to do Bryce and Zion all in one post, however Zion was by far my favorite place I visited so I knew this post would get long. You’ll also notice the featured image for this post is also the featured image for the site, that’s how much I loved Zion.

Day 5 continued:

The drive between Zion and Bryce was breath taking. (I fear I’m running out of adjectives, I’m going to have to break out the thesaurus shortly). After nearly another hour and a half on the road I arrived at Zion.The park was pretty busy and it took a while to get to the visitor center and parking area as there’s a tunnel with only one lane open, which meant long wait times and backed up lines getting into the park. Zion is set up a little differently from the other parks. At Zion you have to park at the visitor center, the only vehicles allowed to enter the park are the shuttle. There are 9 shuttle stops starting at the Visitor Center and working your way to the back of the canyon. Here’s the map:

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part V – Zion National Park”

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Solo Road Trip: Part IV – Bryce National Park

In case you missed previous posts:

Before I begin…

If you’re ever planning on taking a road or camping trip where you’ll be sleeping in a tent or vehicle that isn’t conditioned and the weather could get below 50, do yourself a favor and buy an arctic sleeping bag.

The last post ended with my arrival in Cedar City, Utah to spend the night. Much like most of the other nights, I spent this night sleeping in my Jeep. However, unlike other nights, the low this night was 19 degrees. 19 degrees. I wouldn’t suggest anyone try this unless properly equipped, which I was not. I woke up shivering around 6 am and I couldn’t start the Jeep fast enough.  My thinking was that the mattress below me would insulate me from the cold below and my blankets would from above and my body heat would keep my Jeep at least a little warm. I was a little too optimistic for my own good. You live and learn though.

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part IV – Bryce National Park”

Solo Road Trip: Part III – Moab, Utah Cont.

In case you missed previous posts:

Moab, Utah is the Mecca for Jeep owners. There are trails that vary from only needing 4WD to trails that require a lift/large tires, lockers, winch, and experience driving off road. Most trails are rated between 1 and 8. 1 being easiest where 4WD is not needed all the time and 8 being the most difficult where they advise that vehicle damage is likely regardless of having all required equipment. Jeep rental companies there won’t even let you take their vehicles on anything more than a 4.

Day 4:

I woke up feeling rested after finally spending a night in a real bed. First item on the list today was to do a little off-roading. My Jeep was pretty stock so I knew I wasn’t going to take on anything too difficult, but I wanted to at least attempt a 3 or 4 rated trail. I found a trail called “Gemini Bridges Trail” just north of town that led to a local landmark and then it went on Dead Horse State Park, which was one of the places I wanted to go anyway. The trail was rated as moderate, so about a 4 on the scale of 8. It was a little over 35 miles long. The road started out extremely rough and was up a steep grade. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part III – Moab, Utah Cont.”

Solo Road Trip: Part II – Moab, Utah

In case you missed the previous post: Solo Road Trip: Part I – Introduction and Colorado

People constantly ask, “How did you drive that much alone? Didn’t you get bored?” The answer is, “Yes and no”. Driving from southern Illinois to Colorado Springs will make your eyes bleed. There’s absolutely nothing outside of St. Louis and Kansas City. However, the drive from Colorado Springs to Utah was absolutely stunning. Here’s a snapshot of some of the scenery as you drive on I-70 along the Colorado River in western Colorado near Glenwood Canyon.

capture

Sure you need to make sure you keep your eyes on the road, but there’s plenty to take in while you’re driving and rocking out to some music. For me it was mostly 90’s and 2000’s rock and today’s county. Anyway.

Day 3:

As I was coming into Moab, Utah I drove past their local municipal airport where they had advertisements for skydiving. Skydiving was not part of my original plan, although I knew that I always had wanted to go. I spent the next few miles pondering the idea. Less than 10 minutes later I’m on the phone with one of the skydiving companies checking to see if they had any openings in the next hour, luckily for me, they did. After watching several safety videos and signing several waivers saying I’m assuming all risk, I was putting on my harness. The guy I was jumping with was a pretty typical extreme sports type. He had long hair, his name was Bodee, and, well, you get the picture. The guys that were there and how they acted (immaturely) did not exactly inspire confidence, but I wasn’t nervous yet. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part II – Moab, Utah”

Solo Road Trip: Part I – Introduction and Colorado

I had always wanted to road trip out west. As early as high school I had planned road trips, the original taking I-70 West to San Francisco, then Route 1 down the California coast to LA then Route 66 back to St. Louis before returning home. Even had the stops I wanted to make and sights I wanted to see, but it never happened. I couldn’t find people to go with and at that age I wasn’t ready to go it alone.

Originally I was going to go over the summer with someone I was dating, but we had difficulty finding time that worked with her busy schedule. Late summer we decided to split up, but I decided I wasn’t going to let that keep me from taking the trip I had been dreaming about. On October 15th, 2016 I left Centralia, IL for Colorado Springs in my Jeep. Thirteen hours and nearly 900 miles later I arrived in Colorado Springs. I was exhausted but wanted to experiment with taking some night photos at Garden of the Gods before heading to bed. I had purchased my first DSLR camera in the weeks leading up to this trip as I knew I wanted to come away with the trip with some amazing photos, if nothing else. My mistake was that I didn’t practice taking night photos before hand, so the photos that night didn’t turn out so well. (I may give some tips on landscape and night photography in a later post). After an hour two wandering around in the dark taking photos I retired for the night. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part I – Introduction and Colorado”