Janice's Travel Blog for the North American Circle Tour
Nelson, BC to Kingman, AZ

Nelson, BC to LaGrande, Oregon

LaGrande, OR to Ogden, Utah

Photos/Videos

Tuesday, January 30, 2007:  Leaving Nelson was difficult, as it always is.  We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  We were up early and dropped Somer at the Garveys’, giving us a chance to say goodbye to them too.  Nicole headed out cross-country skiing.  The roads were still difficult from all the snow.  At the Border we spent nearly 30 minutes with a very pleasant young woman who was thorough but most friendly.  Fortunately this time we had no items confiscated.  By the time we got to Spokane the roads were clear.  They stayed good until we had passed Pendleton, Oregon.  The pass between there and LaGrande, OR was really socked in with fog and we crawled through it in company with a lot of transports.  We were happy to come out of it and find a motel in downtown LaGrande.  Dinner at sports bar next door and an early night.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007:  Woke up to a clear day and continued along Interstate 84 with the sun rising ahead of us.  Some beautiful mountains and scenery with layers of wispy clouds.  Quick circuit of the historic section of Baker City, which figured large in the days of the Oregon Trail.  We had some credits at Borders [ book store ] that expire today so we looked up the address of the store in Boise, ID  Thanks to good ol’ GPS we were able to easily find it, so took a minor shopping expedition there – a real treat after going through many areas where we couldn’t find anywhere to buy books!  Since we crossed into Mountain Time, it was noon by the time we finished, so were tailgated our lunch right there in the Borders parking lot – Nicole’s wonderful home-baked bread!  From Boise it was more or less a straight run to Ogden, Utah area.  The changing landscape of mountains and fields was beautiful to watch.  We decided to stay at a Comfort Inn in Layton, but after nearly an hour looking for it, we gave up, entered the address of another hotel in the GPS and make our way there with difficulty.  No Vacancy!  Trying to follow the clerk’s directions from there to the elusive Comfort Inn, we came in sight of it and then suddenly we were back on the Interstate.  Yikes!  Luckily after the next exit we could see a La Quinta and were able to find its entrance AND they had a room available.  It’s nice and comfortable and there’s a good restaurant next door where we had a nice dinner.  Now for a bit of reading to sleep.

 

 

Layers of Wispy Clouds on the Morning Mountains

Ogden, UT to Cedar City, UT

Cedar City, UT to Zion National Park, UT

Photos/Videos

Thursday, February 1, 2007:  [ First: Happy Birthday to Logan Dodsworth, who is 4 years old today. Hi 5, Logan! ]  We found it much easier to navigate once we found a Salt Lake City map.  It’s still a convoluted city with numbered streets working out from Temple Square [ headquarter for the Mormon Church, worldwide ],  It’s possible to be at the corner of N 300 W and W 300 N – I think.  Anyway, we parked about 3 or 4 blocks from Temple Square, and walked there on falling snow.  We were warmly greeted by two lovely young women – missionaries from Australia and Paraguay  - who gave us a tour .  As non-Mormons, we couldn’t enter the temple, but there are virtual tours. [ as well as tours of supporting buildings ]  It’s just amazing! We chatted with several people – they are, for the most part, volunteers or missionaries. All very interesting and friendly.  After Temple Square, we crossed the street to the Conference Centre, an awesome building with an auditorium that seats 21,000 people and has no pillars or other obstacles, so all seats have clear view. [ we were treated like VIPs with a private tour guide, much like our 2 little missionaries in the Square ] The other spaces and the exterior are also wonderful.  The snow continued to fall as we walked uphill several blocks to the state capitol environs.  Then back to the Temple area where we found a mall with a food court and a Macy’s.  After lunch we headed back to the car, successfully navigated our way back onto Interstate 15 and headed south.  We were concerned about the roads, since we had seen two cars skid into each other at a stoplight; however, Larry managed the difficult, snowy conditions for the first few hours after entering the highway.  It had cleared well before we reached Cedar City and found a hotel. Now for Thursday night TV. [ the country-side was rolling, barren hills, plains with mountains on each side and a few snowy passes – some spectacular vistas.  All through our trip through Utah we listened to a 5-DVD narrative about fanatically religiously inspired murders by 2 brothers of another brother’s family.  The narrative of the murders was interposed with a very complete history of the Mormon Church, from its birth in New York State in the early 19th century to present day.  It was chilling and interesting at the same time and offered a fascinating juxtaposition with our tour of Temple Square.]

Friday, February 02, 2007:  On the way south from Cedar City we saw many rifts and the land became increasingly broken.  The road into Zion National Park is far tamer than we’ve experienced at places like Yellowstone and Yosemite, but the scenery is spectacular.  Once inside the park gates, we stopped at the visitors’ centre for maps and advice.  We walked one of the trails that led uphill from there and enjoyed more terrific views.  We walked one more short trail before arriving at the Lodge.  There we checked in, selecting a cabin with a fireplace.  We decided this was a golden opportunity to do some organizing, so made several trips to the car to bring stuff inside.  We made lunch and enjoyed it in the cabin, then headed to the far end of the canyon to a trail we’d been advised was best in the early afternoon.  There are no huge crowds here, but the weather is just about perfect for walking or hiking, so there were people every where we went.  I wore my new winter hiking boots for the first time and have declared them a success.  We went to the end of the Temple of Sinawara trail and were astonished by the towering red and white cliffs.  The trail was paved the whole way and most slopes were very gentle.  Easy route to wonderful views.  We then worked our way back to the Lodge, walking parts of two or three other trails.  This park is a really unique place in our experience and, although we didn’t see any wildlife except squirrels, well worth the visit  After dinner we walked across the road to a very dark parking lot to view the stars and the moonlight on the cliffs. Priceless!

 

L & J posing in the Mormon Celestial Room

 

Mormon Church

 

Mormon Auditorium1

 

Mormon Auditorium2

 

Mormon Auditorium3

 

Utah State Capitol

 

 

 

Jan’s Zion Canyon Photos: Pic1,  Pic2,  Pic3, Pic4, Pic5,  Pic6,  Pic7,  Pic8

 

 

Larry’s Zion Canyon Photos: Pic1,  Pic2, A better Pic2 (by Wes),  Pic3, Pic4,  Pic5,    Pic6,  Pic7, Pic8,  Pic9,  Pic10 , Pic11

 

Zion NP to Las Vegas and Kingman, Arizona

Photos/Videos

 

Saturday, February 03, 2007: Awesome to wake up surrounded by Zion’s 2000 foot cliffs!  They’re lovely in the early morning sun.  We enjoyed a lavish breakfast at the Lodge and then a beautiful drive out to the highway.  We were “bound for Vegas baby”!  We were able to find easy, free parking at the Fashion Show Mall, so used that as our base for the day.  We wandered through a few casinos, had lunch at the vast buffet at Treasure Island and explored the canals of Venice thoroughly.  What a busy happenin’ place it is!  And what a variety of people – ordinary middle class middle agers in running shoes and comfort-fit jeans, all the way to a bride in a billowing train with 2 pink-haired attendants.

After leaving Las Vegas, we crossed the Hoover Dam and stopped for a couple of photos looking down on it.  Quite an impressive piece of engineering - holding back Lake Mead.  The next section of driving continued the very “crumply” landscape we’d seen before Vegas.  It’s almost as if someone has randomly bulldozed and shoveled soft piles of debris hither and thither.  Every once in a while there is a small rift or jaggy hill, and everywhere there are sage brush, mesquite, and sometimes tumbleweed.  Little huddles of trailers here and there on the desert.  We’ve stopped for the night at Kingman, AZ, right on the fabled Route 66.

 

 

Janice at our Zion cabin

 

Looking back at the Hoover Dam

 

 

Jan at Lake Mead side of Hoover Dam