Southwest Roadtrip, Days 3-4

Day 3 we drove from Glenwood Springs, CO to Maob, UT. We arrived at Arches National Park, just outside of Moab, in the early afternoon. We stopped for lunch in the park (we brought a cooler with fruit, cheese, beverages, etc in it, and some crackers and things for lunches, and only had to buy lunch 3 times in the 10-day trip) and then we drove to a few of the scenic points, and finally hiked up to the Delicate Arch. That hike was longer and more difficult than we expected (but really not THAT diffricult—we’re not experienced hikers), but it was worth it. The Delicate Arch (the one on the Utah license plate and all the travel brochures) is quite impressive. But holy cow, was it windy up there! I stood up to take a picture and literally almost got blown over. My husband had to crouch and hold hold onto my legs/knees to help me stand up! And the little plateau/viewpoint was only probably 10 feet wide (much longer), so if you fell over you stood a real chance of tumbling down the back of the cliff, or knocking someone else off of it. Eppe! I actually wasn’t really scared, but later my spouse told me he was actual afraid for his life. It was kind of cute. 🙂 Usually I am afraid of heights, so I don’t know what was up with me.

Lunch at Arches National Park

Delicate Arch

After our hike up and back down, we were hot and tired, so we just went and found a hotel, had dinner (somewhere not super interesting), and walked around the town a little bit. Then we stopped for ice cream, and I tried horchata ice cream—it was very yummy! We were both tired, though, so we went back to our hotel and hit the sack pretty early.

Horchata ice cream, mmm!

The next morning, we got up early (we were still on Central time zone time) and hit the road. We drove through southern Utah and the Navajo nation, which was simultaneously beautiful, depressing, boring, and intriguing. The red rock scenery was really striking, but after a few hours of driving though it, miles and miles between exits, we got tired and a bit bored. The Utah part of the rez didn’t seem to be terribly populous, either. We did see some roadside stands where Indians were selling jewelry and other crafts, but most of the stands seemed to be unoccupied, and there just weren’t a lot of people out and about.

We stopped right on the AZ border at Goulding’s Trading Post, a well-known but probably not the most authentic trading post. We saw goats, horses and cows just wandering free-range, and even a couple of coyotes! I bought a kachina doll (Roasted Corn Kachina). I have been interested in kachinas since I was very young, and I was excited to be able to buy one. It was a small one and Navajo-made, so not terribly expensive. The Hopi and Zuni tribes, make the only “authentic” kachinas, which are carved all out of the root of a certain kind of tree and painted to represent the embodiment of their gods. Navajos make the kachinas basically as a source of income, and they are made from pre-assembled parts decorated with paint, feather, leather, etc instead of hand-carved from wood. But actually I like the Navajo-made ones better—I like the leather and feathers and things. Plus there’s no way I could afford an “authentic” kachina!

After that, we continued on our way to Williams, AZ. Once we crossed the border into the Arizona side of the Navajo nation, it seemed a lot more lively. We drove through several small town areas, and saw a ton of Indians out hitchhiking. We stopped for gas in a bigger town, and at the station an older Navajo man approached me and asked me for $2. He said he was hitchhiking and wanted to get something to eat at the McDonald’s across the street. J I probably got conned, but it was $2, so I gave it to him. He seemed nice. I wish I’d have asked him where he was going.

We stopped for lunch at Cameron, near the East entrance to the Grand Canyon, then drove the last couple of hours through Flagstaff and into Williams, where we had booked a B&B for two nights. We got in before check-in time, so we went into town and looked around a bit before checking in. Williams is an interesting little place. It’s an odd mixture of Western/cowboy kitsch and Historic Route 66 memorabilia. I bought another, bigger Navajo kachina (Hoop Dance Kachina) at a shop in town. After checking in and meeting the owners of the Grand Canyon B&B, we rested for awhile and then went back into town for dinner at Cruiser’s Café, and then returned to our room. We were tired! We watched some TV and read for awhile, but were probably asleep before 10!

Advertisements

Summer Travel Plans!

I’ve been blogging about serious stuff lately, so I thought I’d mix it up with some travel fun! I’ve got two big trips planned, one with my spouse and one for work, so I’m pretty excited.

Grand Canyon Road Trip
The first trip will be from June 10-20 with my husband. We’re taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon! I’m really hoping my brother and sister-in-law can drive out from Las Vegas to meet as at the Canyon; it’d be great to see them. But we’ll see. Either way, it will be an awesome trip! I’m really looking forward to doing some sight-seeing in the desert.

We are doing something very un-J-like (especially for two Js!): we are not booking hotels for every night ahead of time. We wanted to leave a little flexibility so that if we see something interesting and want to stop, we can do that without worrying that we won’t make it to our pre-booked hotel as planned. We are only pre-booking our hotel at the Canyon (in Williams, AZ, most likely) and the one night we plan to spend in Santa Fe. We are also spending a couple of nights with my spouse’s family: On the way there, we are spending one night with his cousins in Grand Island, NE, and on the way back, a night with his cousins in Denver. Other than those nights, we will just drive until we decide to stop for the night and sleep wherever we happen to find a motel. I’m a little worried about getting a skeevy motel that has bedbugs, but other than that I think it’ll be good. It’s nice to be a little spontaneous every once in awhile.

Our route to the Canyon:

Our route back from the Canyon:

Aside from visiting the Canyon, we plan to go to Lowell Observatory for some stargazing one night. It’s open to the public every evening! I’m really excited about that, and also to visit Santa Fe. I’ve never been there but have always wanted to go.  And between Albuquerque and Santa Fe there is the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, which we’ll be driving practically right by, so I think we’ll plan a stop there. Sounds really cool! The one thing I wish we could do that I don’t think we’ll get to is go to a powwow or something on one of the reservations down there, but I looked and I don’t think there are any happening when we will be passing through.

<!--nextpage-->

Australia
My second trip of the summer is to Australia for work. I advise students who want to attend Australian universities for a semester or year, but I’ve never been to Australia, so this trip will be very good. The main universities we work with are James Cook University in Cairns and Townsville, University of Wollongong, and University of Melbourne, so those are the schools I will be visiting.

First, however, I get to attend the Australia introduction (orientation/fun) run by our partner, AustraLearn. This takes place in Cairns and includes lots of fun and educational things as well as the general orientation program. The fun things include seeing an aboriginal performance, holding a koala and feeding kangaroos, snorkeling at the Great Barrier reef, and participating in a volunteer project. Sweet! After that, I fly to Townsville, visit the university there, then fly to Sydney. From there I take the train to visit U of Wollongong, return to Sydney, then fly to Melbourne to visit the U of Melbourne.

I have an extra day at the end to explore Melbourne on my own. I’m a bit torn about that, because if I skip the free day, I can get back in time for practice on Sunday with my Fest group (I’ll already be missing two weeks of practice!) but then again, how often will I go to Australia? Probably not much, so maybe I should just miss practice and take the extra day.