Ariel at Zion National Park

Enjoying the view at Zion National Park, Utah

After spending two months in Colorado, with the original plan being to move to Boulder somewhere, I found a sense of completion arising, a sense of being done with this stage in my life and almost starting to grow bored with Colorado. What now? I’m on the other side of the country and I have no idea what to do next… It turns out that life continues to give us what we need when we need it, in some of the coolest ways! A 2 day journey of ~1,300 miles was ready to unfold… πŸ™‚


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A message comes in on twitter. A lady I’d never met contacts me after seeing one of my spiritual videos on youtube. Turns out she’s a TV show creator and is putting together this awesome TV that is essentially a conglomeration of my biggest passions, and she wants me to be the host of the show! We talk on the phone for a few hours and it becomes very clear that this is next step I’ve been waiting for! Time to close down my P.O. Box in Boulder, say goodbye to the friends I’d made in Colorado, and go down to Colorado Springs to visit Buddy and pick up my boxes my computer that I’d dropped off at his house on a previous trip down. (Since I originally thought I’d be moving to Colorado, I brought silverware, placemats, clothing, a desktop computer with monitors and cables, and other household items. Living on the road, you don’t need any of that.) Now there was one last thing I wanted to do before leaving which was to attend the snow travel day. That was something I was incredibly excited to do and I wasn’t about to pass that up!

Saying Goodbye to Boulder

Once that wonderful experience unfolded, I drove to Boulder to say my final goodbyes to this wonderful outdoorsy town that I’d grown to love.

Pearl Street in the spring

Pearl Street in the spring

It’s amazing how much you stop and take time to appreciate your life when you realize it’s about to end. Imagine suddenly discovering you will never again be returning to your home. Will you stop and notice all the things you’ve taken for granted? Will you take time to say thank you to the place you loved and say goodbye to those wonderful places that you could “visit anytime?” Walking down Pearl Street as winter turned to spring, the flowers were in full bloom and more and more people lined the Pearl Street Mall, locals, tourists, and street performers. It was nice to just really go through the town and say thank you. Thank you for being such a wonderful home for me the past two months. Thank you for being such an amazing part of my life. Thank you for being a home for so many wonderful spiritual people. Thank you for welcoming into your heart with open arms. You are wonderful… There’s many wonderful street performers that you can sit down and enjoy there as well… πŸ™‚ For example, here’s a guy playing a halo drum.

and here’s a guy I met named Gaffer who plays the harp.

While in Boulder, my favorite place to sleep was actually the parking lot of 24 hour fitness.

Parking at 24hr Fitness

Parking at 24hr Fitness

At first I was all gung ho about finding a place to throw up a tent, but it turns out that camping is illegal anywhere in Boulder County. Basically it’s an awesome place and they don’t want homeless people coming in to live there. (heh…) Sleeping in your car, it turns out, is a pretty good strategy! It’s free, protected from the weather, you can go all over the place, and it’s always readily available! You just have to learn where to park. The main things to look for are is parking prohibited at night, are there security cameras around, are there people around throughout so you hide in plain sight rather than stick out like a sore thumb, are there street lights that shine in your eyes, is there a road nearby with cars that loudly drive by, are you close to people so you can get help if you need it (I had to jump start my car one morning and was glad I was in civilization at the time), is there security patrolling about, do you have anything in front of you like a plant to block street lights or street cars like in the photo above, does your seat roll lean back far enough to where you are below the windows, do you have tinted windows or are your windows clear like mine, do you have a blindfold to block out the streetlights at night or sun in the morning if you wanna sleep past sunrise, are there people who will walk past your car in the morning when they go to walk their dog, and so on. You learn quite a bit when it comes to picking good locations to sleep overnight. You also consider things like the weather and overnight temperatures. You see, it determines whether or not you want to open your windows: Yes if you want fresh air, you’ll be warm enough, there’s no strong winds, it’s relatively quiet, and it’s not gonna rain at night. No if it’s going to rain or snow overnight which is often a plus for being concealed, especially snow, if you want your breath to fog up the windows at night which can also help you lay low, if you want it to be quieter in your car, and so on. 24 hour fitness (parked above) was one of my favorite locations. There were always people going in and out of the mall so it wasn’t too suspicious and it right across the street from a grocery store which supplied food, free internet, and water fountains to fill up my water bottles. It’s always nice to have a bottle of water by your side when sleeping in a tent or car at night. πŸ™‚ Anyways, once I had said my goodbyes to Boulder, it was time to hit the road and start heading west again!

California and Colorado side-by-side in the National Geographic Atlas

California and Colorado amusingly side-by-side in my atlas

Driving Across Colorado

Every area of the world has its own unique cool attributes. One thing I like about Colorado is that they have chain stations on the highways. It’s actually a law there that you have chains for your tires during the winter and they have places to pull out and put chains on your tires when conditions require it. (I had to use my chains twice while I was there.)

Chain station on the highway in Colorado

Chain station on the highway in Colorado

It’s such an amazing feeling to just cruise. Colorado has some really spectacular drives and the views are quite gorgeous as you drive across 70 going west through the mountains from Denver.

Driving through the mountains in Colorado

Driving through the mountains in Colorado

Sometimes you see things that really stand out at you, like this ski resort that I passed along the way. The runs on the left side of the image are similar to what you see in avalanche paths, but the fact that there’s a resort at the base of the mountains and a lift that runs up the snow gives it away that this is a resort, not avalanche aftermath.

Colorado ski resorts

Colorado ski resorts

You can contrast the ski runs above to the avalanche paths below. When avalanches run down a certain slope, they wipe out any existing trees and as well as younger growing trees. The danger zone for avalanches is on slopes between 35 to 45 degrees. Do the white runs down the slopes of the mountains look like they fit these numbers? πŸ™‚

Avalanche runs driving through Colorado

Avalanche runs driving through Colorado

Sometimes when you drive, you get to appreciate the little things, like the fun patterns that you find in your car’s odometer. πŸ™‚

Odometer at 142434

Odometer at 142434

Note my speed as well, less than 65 mph. I used to speed quite a bit, especially growing up in Atlanta where doing 10-15 over on the highways is the norm, and I’ve had my share of warnings and fortunately only a few tickets, but one thing I noticed on this trip is that my driving has become much more conservative. I’m not sure if it’s the traffic cameras in Phoenix and Boulder, the no need to rush when you literally have nowhere you need to be, no schedule, and no deadlines, if it’s the relaxation that comes with enjoying the drive and not worrying about if a cop is waiting for you over the next hill or what, but my driving has definitely slowed down. I’m much more cautious now and am usually the one getting passed instead of the one passing others. This trip has changed me in many ways… Sometimes you get a little tired and feel like pulling out into a rest stop and taking a quick nap. Colorado definitely has its views to offer everywhere you look!

Naptime view!

Naptime view!


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Almost Running Out of Gas in Utah

Back in Boulder I’d filled up a full tank of gas for about $2.69/gal and started heading west. When I got to Grand Junction on the west side of Colorado I was at about half a tank of gas, maybe a little less, and figured I’d fill up somewhere as I got closer to empty. No big deal as gas stations are everywhere. Well it turns out that as you drive across Utah and you pass through the area that runs by Arches National Park and Canyonlands Β National Park, you hit a stretch where you see a sign that says “No Services Next 100 miles.” I hit this sign at about a quarter of a tank of gas. Oh boy… turn back and backtrack to go get some gas or go for it? I checked in with my intuition and it told me to go ahead, so I went on. Now I know my 4 cylinder ’97 Camry does about 26-32 mpg on the highway, 24-26 in the mountains and 30+ when you’re cruising through relatively flat terrain. (It’s helpful to calculate your mpg’s every time you fill up!) Doing some quick math, I found that I’d have just enough gas to make it through. Nevertheless, the mind kicks in and starts going into “what if you don’t and run out of gas” and whatnot. Typical worst-case scenario stuff. My intuition kept confirming for me that everything was okay, and it was nice to know that this was still a major highway (although granted not that heavily traveled), and I could go hitch a ride and get some gas if I needed to. My GPS was also telling me that about 2/3 of the way across, there was a gas station I could hit if I turned off the highway and went up a country road. Well as I got approached the turnout, doing my best to stay relaxed and not go into fear, I opted to take the detour. Why? Well the empty light was already lighting up on my dash, especially when I went uphill. πŸ™‚ By this point I had been doing everything possible to minimize gas usage including turning off the AC, putting the car in cruise control, turning off cruise control and letting the car slow down instead of rev on the uphills, letting it pick up speed on the downhills, keeping the windows closed for maximum aerodynamics, and so on. Turns out it all worked and I made it to the gas station! To top it all off, I pulled in without the empty gas light on my dash glowing. Yippee!!

Ran out of gas shirt in Emery, UT

Ran out of gas shirt in Emery, UT

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to make it this little town, breathe a huge sigh of relief, and fill up my tank. The price of gas was up around $3.30 or so, but I was more than willing to pay. What a relief! I came into the store just laughing and smiling, and the lady behind the register started laughing as well. “You know exactly why I’m so happy.” “Yep,” she replied. πŸ™‚ They have t-shirts in the gas station commemoratING all the people who run out of gas along this stretch. It must be protected land or something where they don’t allow any buildings or commercialization at all. I think this little town in the middle of nowhere’s main revenue was tow trucks and gas. haha… With a full tank of gas and a big weight lifted off my shoulders, it was time to hit the road again and find a place to spend the night. Bryce Canyon was my destination as camping out there overnight would allow me to easily get up in the morning pre-sunrise and shoot the park at one of its most beautiful times. Let’s go!

Cruising through the landscape of Utah

Cruising through the landscape of Utah

One thing that makes my heart sing and my whole being rest in the silence of joy is watching the changing landscape as I cruise through the country. Everywhere you go there’s something new, something different, something amazing, something special. Here in the desert in Utah the mountains changed to a more sandy type, red and yellow, rather than the classic rocky mountains you’ll see back in Colorado.

Beautiful sand dunes in Utah

Beautiful sand dunes in Utah

Here we get a closer look at the way the sand and dirt forms these undulating dunes along the side of the road. It’s so satisfying to cruise down the highway and watch this neverending panorama continue to unfold before your eyes. What an amazing gift… You also get to watch the sun all day and notice how the scenery changes throughout the day depending upon the lighting. When you head west, the sun is behind you in the morning, casting this wonderful glow upon the scenery in front of you. In the middle of the day you have overhead lighting that lights up everything in every direction. At the end of the day the sun sets before you, and you get to drive into the sunset, continuing to head towards the beckoning horizon… πŸ™‚

Driving into the mountainous Utah sunset

Driving into the mountainous Utah sunset

Bryce Canyon

About an hour after sunset, I finally arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park. There’s some hotels and restaurants that you find as you approach, but not all that much. Thank goodness too because the lack of urban sprawl really allowed for the stars to shine… After pulling into the visitor’s center and getting a feel for the map and the various possible locations to shoot sunrise from, I headed into one of the park’s campgrounds to get some sleep. I always make a point to check the weather before going to bed nowadays, especially now that I do a lot of camping, and because it was so beautiful outside and the weather forecast didn’t call for rain, I decided to forego the tent and sleep under the stars. Simply stake down a tarp (I use the footprint for my tent), throw down a sleeping pad, and lay your sleeping bag on top of that and you’re all set! (I also keep a few things handy like my iPhone to check weather and the time and so on, a water bottle, car keys, a headlamp, and a camp pillow.. a nice luxury item I picked up at the REI scratch & dent sale back in Boulder.) Anyways, you just sit back and get to enjoy the magic of the stars as they shine through the blackness of the night. Oh what a treat… Waking up well before sunrise, I break camp and head over to Sunrise Point to go get a good spot and set up. With a name like Sunrise Point, it had to be THE place to shoot sunrise, especially if your time is limited, you know? I arrived and set up next to another photographer who had arrived slightly before me and we got to talking. He’d been there for a while now and had a chance to shoot from most all of the overlooks and noted that this was one of the least spectacular points. hmmm, oh well.

Sunrise Point prior to sunrise

Sunrise Point prior to sunrise

The recommended time to shoot is apparently a little bit after sunrise. You’ll see why shortly… As we waited for the sun to rise, I chit chatted with some of the other photographers/travelers/people there and shared stories. Where are you from? How long have you been on the road? Do you shoot professionally? What all have you seen? Where are you going next? etc…

Slap on a telephoto and you can get sweet close-up shots. I love how you can see the way the snow runs down the contours and crevices between the hoodoos…

Bryce Canyon hoodoos prior to sunrise

Bryce Canyon hoodoos prior to sunrise

The light though made for some pretty flat images, low contrast without much pop. So I decided to look around and see what else I could shoot in the meantime… or perhaps in the kindtime. πŸ™‚

Belt of Venus prior to sunrise

Belt of Venus prior to sunrise

The sun was going to come up from our left. To the right shortly before sunrise was the belt of venus, that purple’ish band you see in the sky on the opposite side of the side of the sky as the sun right before sunrise and after sunset. It basically has to do with the earth itself casting a shadow in the sky. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunrise Point at sunrise

Sunrise Point at sunrise

So here’s Sunrise Point at sunrise. The colors are pretty intense, but to be honest I’m not that impressed. I can’t get a composition that I’m very happy with and the contrast is a bit too intense for my liking. After watching the sunlight slowly make its way down into the canyon, I decide to leave this overlook and go walk down into the canyon a bit, seeing what I find.

It turns out that farther down there’s plenty of places to go run and romp around, as well as shoot some self-portraits!

Ariel at Sunrise Point

Ariel at Sunrise Point

This one was basically just crouching down and clicking the camera a few times with the remote control in my hand that’s just out of the frame. I also found another view and had another photographer click the shutter for me and then I did the same for her in return.

Chillin' at Bryce

Chillin' at Bryce

Running down the trail was loads of fun. Trying to run back up, especially since Bryce is at elevation (this shot is at 8,000 feet), the running definitely gets tough and so eventually I had to slow down and walk back up. πŸ™‚ Definitely gave me a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery a bit more.

Feeling pretty much finished with this location, I opted to hop in the car and go to another overlook. One of the great things about Bryce Canyon NP is that it’s a SMALL park compared to many others. It’s literally just this area of hoodoos with various overlooks around the rim and some trails that snake their way down through the hoodoos in the canyon. That’s pretty much the main event. Fortunately this makes it easy to drive from one location to the other, especially when you want to catch a certain type of lighting.

Here’s another one of the overlooks called Bryce Point. The overlook definitely has a much larger concentration of hoodoos, but the contrasty light is just plain nasty.

Bryce Point at sunrise

Bryce Point at sunrise

After snapping a few shots, I hop back in the car and continue on to the next point, hoping things change a bit.

The next spot to check out is Inspiration Point. I grab my gear and start walking towards the overlook to snap some shots. As I look over the edge along the way, I am treated to this light:

Reflecting sunlight glow at Inspiration Point

Reflecting sunlight glow at Inspiration Point

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Isn’t that a huge difference from the light we had just a few minutes ago? When the sun gets high enough, it starts bouncing back towards the hoodoos, creating this gorgeously soft glow. You gotta love it… πŸ˜‰

In the search for yet another killer facebook picture, this place provided the perfect opportunity.

Admiring Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon

Admiring Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon

Getting this shot took a little trial and error. I wound up having to jack the tripod all the way up and point the camera down, kneel down on my knees in front of the camera, and fire the camera with the remote release hanging down from the camera. With a bunch of attempts at getting my body and head pointed the way I liked, I was satisfied. Ahhh, what a beautiful place to admire… πŸ™‚

There’s also hiking trails that run down in the park and I talked to the rangers about the best ones to do. Many people have recommended hiking Bryce and shooting from down in the hoodoos and so I went to go explore my options.

Hiking trails down in Bryce Canyon

Hiking trails down in Bryce Canyon

Strangely, my intuition said to pass on hiking and keep going. My intuition often tells me something that is at odds with what my mind tells me, but after a lot of trial and error I’ve found my mind rarely knows how to get me to where I want. If it gets me something, it’s sheer dumb luck if anything. When I follow my intuition, it always always leads me somewhere amazing. It has never lead me astray. Ever. The main thing simply becomes a willingness to let go of what the mind thinks it wants to do and follow the intuition instead. Since the intuition said to head out and not hike for now, that’s exactly what I did.

Back into the car I hopped and it was off to Zion!

Zion National Park

Now with Zion, I’ll be honest that I had pretty low expectations. I knew there were some wonderful views you could hike to, but that was quite a few miles each way and I didn’t want to devote so much time to a longish hike when I wanted to get to California by the end of the day, so I decided to just drive through the park as a scenic route and see what it was like.

It turned out Zion was AMAZING!!! Way more spectacular than I expected, very much to my surprise. In fact, I’d even say it was more captivating than Bryce.. and Zion had never been on my list ‘o places to see before I die! Funny how life works…

Entering Zion NP

Entering Zion NP

Zion is primarily a scenic drive-through. There is a scenic road you can drive that runs east-west across the park, and another scenic road that runs north up through the park that juts off from the east-west road. I drove in from the east and headed west through the park and WOW…

Bryce is a little park that is mostly a bunch of lookouts you drive up to with not so special views along the way. It also has plenty of opportunities to hike, I’ll give it that. Zion is all about spectacular views everywhere you go. And it’s much bigger than Bryce NP.

Right away I started meeting people…

First there was this girl who was bicycle touring through the western United States… California, Utah, Arizona… we both entered the park around the same time and stopped to take pictures in the same area. We wound up traveling for a little while, essentially leap frogging our way together. As she put it, we were a 2 headed, 4 legged, 6 wheeled team. πŸ™‚ We’d stop over to see something, then I’d drive out and she’d catch up on her bike. Sometimes she’d leave before me and I’d pass her along the way.

Bicycle touring through Zion

Bicycle touring through Zion

There were also these two dudes on motorcycles. They were shooting pictures of each other and I came by and offered to shoot a picture of the both of them together, but they politely declined since they had already set the camera up on a little tabletop tripod. I was shooting my own shots, basically setting the 10-second timer, mentally counting down in my head, and trying to time my leap through the air when the shutter went click. One of the motorcycle dudes offered to help by clicking the camera for me. Ahh, it helps to have friends. πŸ™‚

Jumping through Zion

Jumping through Zion

The camera was set to single-shot since I was shooting landscapes, but then the idea came to mind to switch to sports mode at 8 fps and motordrive through the leap. This would make it much easier for us to get a frame at the right moment. Here’s an animation I put together (in slow mo) of the Harley guy machine gunning the camera as I ran by:

Jumping through Zion (animated)

Jumping through Zion (animated)

This was a really beautiful location to drive through and so I made a point to get a shot of my car parked at one of the pull-outs next to a scenic location.

Driving through Zion

Driving through Zion

There’s this tunnel you gotta take at one point and you have to wait a little while to go through. The reason is that it’s only wide enough for one lane of traffic and so they have to alternate the flow of cars manually. You drive up and wait in line and sit there waiting for vehicles to start popping out of the hole. Then they let in a series of vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, and RV’s) from this side and flow them through ’till they get to the other side. Well near the area where you wait is, conveniently enough, a hiking trail. Since we’d have to be sitting around doing nothing for a few minutes, I figured I pull over to go hike the trail. It was only 1 mile round trip so it wouldn’t take too long and the people I’d talked to coming back said it was definitely worth it.

Let’s take a hike!

Hiking to Canyon Overlook

Hiking to Canyon Overlook

With camera and tripod in hand, I made the trek up to the end of the trail, to a site called Canyon Overlook. Ahhh what a place… πŸ™‚

Enjoying the view at Canyon Overlook

Enjoying the view at Canyon Overlook

Now getting up to take this shot requires leaping and bounding up on top of some boulders, as well as carefully setting the tripod down behind you so that it stays stable and doesn’t go skydiving. πŸ˜‰ Is it worth the risk? Most def.

After enjoying the view at the overlook and eager to head back and keep going, I started hiking back. In my haste I wound up losing the trail once or twice and had to ask some fellow hikers where the trail actually was. Although it was well marked closer to the trailhead, near the overlook it’s… somewhere. Anyways, I wound up finding the trail again and jogging back. Along the way, I spotted this one view that was perfect for shooting yet another self-portait.

Walking through Zion

Walking through Zion

This is pretty much the shot I wanted to get, though it took a few tries to get just right. I basically had to set up the camera, set the 10 second timer, run up the trail a bit, and then turn back towards the camera and start walking, mentally keeping track of where the timer was so I could be in the right place at the right time.

Now things don’t always work out on the first try and at times something doesn’t go the way you’ve planned. Over time I’ve slowly learned not to trash the shot if you get something you don’t think you want. For example, while trying to get this shot, the people I’d asked for directions earlier started walking into the shot. Still counting down from 10, it was clear that there was no way I could avoid having them in my shot and so instead of getting annoyed that they ruined my shot, I embraced the fact that they were with me and turned back to include them in my shot. Right before the camera clicked, I turned around to face them and went, “My friends!” We all laughed. πŸ™‚

My friends hiking back from Canyon Overlook

My friends hiking back from Canyon Overlook with me

Towards the end of the drive, there was another scenic road you could take which headed north. I considered taking it and asked my intuition which didn’t suggest driving it, but since this park was so beautiful, I figured it was worth exploring. Well it turns out that, as always, the intuition knew something that my mind didn’t. The road that heads north isΒ accessibleΒ by tour bus only, and I wasn’t about to go wait for a bus and go at their pace (which would probably take a while) when I was on the move and wanted to get to California by the end of the day.

Intuition, you were right! In fact, I have yet to find a single time when you have been wrong. Ever… and when I listen to you, you guide me to amazing places… Just gotta learn to relax the mind which thinks it knows better and wants to get its way like a stubborn child and allow myself to follow the subtle feeling guidance that comes from within.

Anyways, in that area there is a wonderful bridge…

Bridge near Canyon Junction

Bridge near Canyon Junction

If you look closely you can see people standing on the bridge taking pictures over the side. Ah, there must be a view! Time to park the car and go see how things look!

View from bridge from one direction

View from bridge from one direction

View from bridge from the other direction

View from bridge from the other direction

Pretty amazing, isn’t it…? This is the sort of stuff that you see all along the drive. Really a spectacular place. I was really glad to have visited it. Zion, you ROCK!!

Cacti, Llamas, and Sweet Tourist Traps

After wrapping up at Zion, I exited the park and continued on my way. LA here we come!

Now one thing you sometimes find on the road is tourist traps, and you know what? I’m a sucker for the ones that include really funny roadside eye-catching objects like this T-rex we found back in Arizona, the place where I had an ostrich bite my camera. πŸ˜€

This one had all sorts of cool things including an old school western fort, teepees, and these cartoon-like mock western buildings.

Western buildings

Western buildings

This place deserved some time to go walk around and explore and so I put on my Vibram Fivefingers KSO’s (available at REI and Amazon). They breathe better than the socks and trailrunners I wore back in Zion plus they let you feel all sorts of cool textures wherever you walk. Quite frankly, they’re just a lot of fun to wear!

Vibram Fivefingers KSO's in red pebbly desert terrain

Vibram Fivefingers KSO's in red pebbly desert terrain

While walking around this place, I noticed a llama in the pen. Not only was he all attentive and alert, but his body remained still as his head rotated around like a lighthouse as I walked around, his eyes locked on me as I walked. Recognizing this, I went back to my car and swapped my wide angle out for a telephoto and got a few snaps of him. πŸ™‚

Staring contest with a llama in the desert

Hi Llama!!

Now going inside this place here (they want you to buy stuff which is the whole point of all the stuff they have around on display), they had some really cool stuff! Earlier on before I got here, I saw some signs for people selling cactus jelly. Cactus jelly.. I wonder what that’s like…

Well it turns out this place had a whole smorgasboard of cool stuff, cactus-based products included!

Prickly pear lollipops

Prickly pear lollipops

Prickly pear is the common name of the fruit that cacti produce. I asked the lady about it and she said that at a certain time of the year when the fruit is blossoming, they pick them and collect the juices which they then pack and save to put in a whole variety of different products.

Prickly pear candy and jelly

Prickly pear candy and jelly

Now this place had a LOT of cool stuff! For example, they sold a whole bunch of chocolates (this is just some of their collection) that was crafted after animal poop.

Chocolate poop candy

Chocolate poop candy

Everywhere you go, you find something unique and memorable… πŸ™‚

Ass kickin' cornbread! Kick yo ass hot!

Ass kickin' cornbread! Kick yo ass hot!

One thing that really caught my eye was the cactus coconut flavored ice cream. I was really eager to try something with cactus in it and although I’m not usually a fan of coconut, I tried a sample and it was delicious!! They also made homemade waffle cones which were SO GOOD! I ordered a cone of cactus coconut ice cream and started to enjoy that when the other flavor I was considering, huckleberry, started jumping out at me. Huckleberry.. I’ve never had huckleberry. Trying that flavor, it was tasty as well, so I got a scoop of it as well. Yum!!

Cactus coconut and huckleberry ice cream!!

Cactus coconut and huckleberry ice cream!!

Lunch in Las Vegas and Arriving in Los Angeles

From Utah where we visited Bryce and Zion as well as the cactus ice cream trading post, we cut down through the northwest corner of Arizona for just a few minutes.

Driving through Arizona

Driving through Arizona

Continuing on, we quickly get into the desert of Nevada. Eventually you start getting into the weird flourishing oasis of overdoneness that is Las Vegas. On facebook and twitter I’d asked for people’s favorite locations to eat in Vegas and one friend suggested the Nascar Cafe in The Sahara and to get the B-3 Burrito. Unbeknownst to me, that’s a 2-foot 6-pound burrito!! lol… It’s $20, but if you can eat the whole thing within the timeframe they give you (around an hour and a half) you get it free! That thing was a monster… I just got a burger instead. πŸ™‚ Definitely much easier to eat and go!

I also discovered that a Tuesday afternoon isn’t exactly prime time for gambling and packed casinos. :p

Walking around The Sahara casino

Walking around The Sahara casino

Anyways, after a bite to eat in Vegas and stopping to fill up my gas tank, I started heading west yet again.

Once I saw a sign that actually had Los Angeles on it, I knew I was hitting the homestretch. No more stops. Let’s book it and get into town!

Road to LA

Road to LA

Now once you start leaving Vegas and start heading across Southern California, you start going through some mountains in eastern CA and gradually descending in elevation back to sea level at the coast.

Cruisin’ cruisin’ cruisin’! Remember the odometer reading 142434 earlier towards the start of this post?

1000 miles later

Odometer, 1000 miles later

As you start descending into the Los Angeles area, you actually see the air turn BROWN! SMOG!! It’s very noticeable from a distance, especially after you’ve gotten used to spending time in cleaner locations.

Driving into the sunset towards Los Angeles

Driving into the sunset towards Los Angeles

Already LA is starting to feel like a different place than the rest of the world.

Finally in the evening, I arrived at the hostel I was going to stay at, the Backpackers Paradise Hostel. Upon checking in and getting settled in, it was such a treat to hear so many languages being spoken by travelers from around the world… french, german, dutch, swedish, chinese, various flavors of english like british and aussie, and a few languages I didn’t even recognize… πŸ™‚

Backpackers Adventurer Hostel in LA

Backpackers Adventurer Hostel in LA

and finally after a nice stretch of driving, it was time to get some sleep. I head into the dorm room full of bunk beds and as I climb into bed, I notice this sign…

Dorm Rules: No Wanking... It has to be specified?

Dorm Rules: No Wanking... It has to be specified?

Seeing this, I laugh and shake my head. Ah LA… what a place…

Who knows what life will be like here… Let’s find out!

4 Comments

  1. Sarah
    on August 2nd, 2010
    1

    Coyote pooooooooooop!!!hahahahhahahaaha and A ha

    This perhaps was your coolest trip…on second thoughts lets look at some more:-))
    wow you are larger than life!

  2. Jojo B
    on March 11th, 2016
    2

    Wow an adventure!
    I enjoyed reading your story and made me want to head to the West.

    Thanks for sharing and it was well put together.

  3. Tom Callahan
    on February 20th, 2017
    3

    Driving from LA- Boulder. Can you email your route. I can take 3-4 days. Wife and dog with me

  4. Ariel
    on February 22nd, 2017
    4

    Well the drive was many years ago, but I just took the shortest route, passing through Las Vegas. Have a great trip! πŸ™‚

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