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By: Hayne Palmour

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Thursday, 29-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Trip is over

I got a late start from Las Vegas on Wednesday, but made the drive home in
time to walk out from my apartment in Leucadia, California to catch the
sunset over the Pacific and get my feet wet. The water is warm.

Thatâ??s the end of my cross-country trip. What have I learned? The rest of
the United States has much cheaper gas than Southern California, about fifty
cents to a dollar cheaper. Also, ninety percent of the radio stations across
the country is Country.

Seriously, from the lush green landscape and warm balmy air of the southeast
to the incredible reds and yellows of Southern Utah, it's a beautiful and
interesting drive. Plus I really enjoyed hanging out with my family and
friends in North Carolina where I could just be plain lazy for a couple of
weeks. It was needed.

Now I'm going to take a short vacation from my vacation.

Thanks for watching,


Wednesday, 28-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

View all 26 photos...
Here are some photos from my last day in Colorado. From my very cool camp
spot early Sunday morning to driving up to and hiking around Cottonwood
Pass, which is over 12,000 feet. The shot where Iâ??m lying down on the meadow
on the mountain peak, I had actually just bashed my leg into the sharp edge
of a rock while trying take the self portrait. (Notice the bloody spot on my
right leg)

What an amazing day.

By the way, Iâ??m in the Capital Reef National Park campground in Utah on a
Monday evening. This campground is nice. It has grass, trees, and deer that
wander around the camp eating the grass as if they were some kind of yard

The day started off with the sunrise lighting up the giant rock wall next to
my camp a bright golden yellow. My camp, just outside of Moab, was on one
side of the Colorado River and the rock wall was on the other. Unfortunately
storm clouds covered up the sun and ended the light show a few minutes

I quickly packed up and raced to Arches National Park, which is a few miles
away. I paid my ten dollars to enter the park and got to the giant arches
before 7:30. There were only a couple of other cars in the lot and Iâ??m
thinking I almost have the place to my self.

Thatâ??s when a large tour bus pulled up. The door opened and out poured an
endless stream of Japanese tourist of every age. Some of them couldnâ??t wait
to start taking pictures before they got out the door and blocked the way
for the other anxious members of the group. The chatter was fast paced and
excited as they aimed their small silver digital cameras in every direction.
The group started up the trial to the giant arches a couple of hundred yards
away. I decided to follow.

The clatter of Japanese voices suddenly was amplified and seemed to come
from every direction when the echo effect took over when we got with in
range of the incredible rock structures. The women of the group began to
pose in front of the scenery so that their partner or significant other
could photograph them. One young Japanese woman, dressed in an all pink
sweat suit, smiled as she thrust one fist in the air and struck a
cheerleader like stance as her boyfriend snapped a picture. Then they all
piled back in the bus and left as quickly as they arrived. Silence once
again. Well, until throngs of more tourist began to arrive.

Later in the day, while driving north on Highway 95, I saw a sign saying
â??Indian Ruinsâ??. I had to go check it out. The parking lot was empty and
there was hardly anybody on the road. It felt like there was no one within a
hundred miles of me. I hiked the mile long trail and came to this incredible
canyon. Cliff dwellings, built by the Anasazi Indians 700 years ago, were
nestled in caves halfway down the canyon walls. I could see a series of warn
indentions in the smooth vertical sandstone sides of the canyon. It had to
have been the original footholds that the Indians used to get down to their
dwellings. I thought that if it worked for them, it would work for me too.
There was absolutely no one there, which made it kind of spooky,

I made it down and explored the crumbling structures, including three kivas,
Donâ??t worry, I didnâ??t touch or walk on any of the structures. I found warn
grooves on the cave walls. Perhaps sharpening something such as sticks is
how the grooves were made. Below was this beautiful tree and grass covered
canyon floor where they supposedly grew their corn, beans, and squash. It
was an amazing experience to be alone in this precarious place where an
ancient civilization once lived. Thanks to those well-placed Indian
footholds, I was able to get out of there.

There were several thunderstorms in the area today and what this caused was
flash flooding in the streams and washes. I had never seen this happen. But
now I know it can happen with a vengeance. I saw the first wash raging with
a thick flow of mud and debris late in the afternoon as I still drove north
on 95. I pulled over to get some photos. The mud was overflowing the banks
taking out bushes and going around trees. As I got near, I could feel the
ground shake when I heard the deep clunk of boulders rolling under the
torrent. It was a bit unnerving and I kept looking up stream to make sure I
wasnâ??t going to be taken by a sudden increase in the flow.

I drove on some more and saw more evidence of the flashfloods around the
area. At one point there was strip of mud across the road and standing water
and mud on the sides. The mud had flowed over the road just a little while
earlier. The road was at least three to four feet above ground level. Thatâ??s
how much the water rose and subsided in a short amount of time. It looked
like it wasnâ??t an established wash. The terrain was no different than
anywhere else. Scary.

Driving on further, I saw an amazing site. A large waterfall of pure Utah
red mud. Of course I slammed on the brakes to get a shot of this. I crawled
all around the waterfall, or mudfall I should say, trying to get a good
photo. Instead of leaving a wet spot, the drops that landed on me or my
camera left a bright red spot of mud.

Yep, it was an amazing day.

Itâ??s Wednesday and Iâ??m in Las Vegas. I was going to take some pics here last
night, but I was so exhausted from a hike I did in Zion National Park
yesterday, I just didnâ??t have the energy. I am supposed to be on vacation,

After spending several days in the solitude and beauty of Colorado and
southern Utah, Las Vegas seems completely insane. I wandered the strip a
little bit last night. I was so tired that I felt like I was in a dream as I
walked with thousands of people on the strip and in the casinos. This place
is packed. My senses were on overload from all the lights, sounds, and
strange looking people. With my exhausted face, shaggy hair, and bloodshot
eyes, I fit right in. I was in such a dream like state that the tone from
the slot machines, which you hear in all casinos, was pleasing to me. Iâ??m
sure the casinos know that tone is supposed to do just that. I guess it puts
people in a gambling state of mind.

Before I got to Las Vegas, I was in Zion National Park. I was going to Bryce
Canyon first. But the twenty dollar entrance fee, the huge amount of people
going in, and having to deal with shuttles, made me decide to move on. I did
the crowded national park scene at Arches. Besides, I saw so much while
driving Highway 95 the day before, that I felt satisfied.
I arrive at the gates of Zion and what do they want? Twenty dollars. The
ranger tells me you have to get on shuttle buses to see the main sights.
Ahhhhh! I would have bagged it, but I needed to get to the other side of the
park to continue my drive to Las Vegas. So I reluctantly paid.

Even though I had been there twice before years ago, driving down into the
park was very impressive. The sting of handing over the twenty bucks was
easing at every turn.

I finally couldnâ??t take it any more and pulled over. I could see a narrow
canyon and a red sandstone mountain peak at this spot and no one was in the
area. First I hiked into the narrow canyon and photographed this shaft of
light and the reflection on the ceiling above. Less than two minutes later,
the sun had moved and the light was completely gone. You got to work fast in
those situations. After seeing the flash flooding the day before, I kept
eyeing escape routes in case a heard a loud rumble coming down the canyon.

Then I started the seemingly effortless climb to the top of the red
sandstone mountain. It started off easy, but quickly became a very
technical and extremely intense climbing experience. There were a few
moments where if my handhold and foothold broke loose, I was going to fall
to my death. It was one of those situations where you very carefully think
out your every move. I believe it took me nearly a couple of hours to get to
the top. Once up there, I took a self portrait to document that I had made
it. You can see how high and steep it was by the cars in the lower right of
the photo. Getting down was even more fun.

I got my twenty dollars worth of Zion National Park and received a lesson on
the dangers of charging a steep rock mountain.

Today I make the final push down I-15, which will take me home!

Sunday, 25-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

View all 6 photos...

Well its day two here in Colorado and I could make it twenty more with no
problem. It is now night. The fire is crackling and Iâ??ve already devoured my
steak. The mountain peaks, which look like a row of giant pyramids, are
silhouetted against millions of stars. Iâ??m working away on my laptop while
sitting at the camp picnic table. My fingers are cold and my beer is colder.
No one with in a hundred yards from me and Iâ??m loving everything about my
situation here.

Today (Saturday), after driving past dozens and dozens of trout fishermen
wading out into the rivers, I couldnâ??t stand it anymore. I had to stop at a
tackle shop and purchase a fishing license. Afterwards, I immediately pull
over at a section of the river that looked like it might be harboring some
large trout. I quickly rigged up and made my way for the rivers edge. I
thought I was fishing but I soon realized that what I was really doing was
decorating the trees with my trout lures as ornaments. I did finally get my
act together and started making some decent cast, but no strikes.

Afterwards I drove up to another section of the river and saw fishermen all
congregated in the one area of the river. Some of them on the edge, others
on rocks, and a few were wading out in the middle. It reminded me of that
place in Alaska where the grizzly bears all stand on and around this
waterfall waiting to snatch a salmon with their mouth. Then I saw why. I
looked off the bridge and saw these huge trout just standing still in the
shallow water. The one I photographed had to have been more than twenty

There were several signs nearby stating that it the area is catch and
release only.
No keepers.

Its Sunday, Iâ??m in the town of Leadville and enjoying its cell phone
service. I have more stories and photos from today, but have the time to
work on them now. Only sending yesterdayâ??s stuff. Will try somewhere up the

Scratch that. Iâ??m having to send somewhere outside of Aspen.
I think its Utah tonight.

Saturday, 24-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

View all 14 photos...
I'm in Colorado. Spent a night in Santa Fe, NM and saw the most brilliant
rainbow ever. It died 15 seconds before I could get to the camera. You still
see the remnants over the old church. I drove straight up into Colorado
yesterday. Fantastic Drive! Very Beautiful here. Camped on a river last
night. The bones? I have no idea. I expect it was deer carcass picked clean
by a mountain lion. Now in Gunnison, which has cell service. I'm taking
advantage of that. Heading north back into the high country.

Thursday, 22-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

View all 5 photos...
Iâ??m sitting on a picnic table at a rest stop somewhere in Oklahoma.

Stopped to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial today. You canâ??t help but
be affected by visiting this place. Especially if you go through the museum
next to the memorial. It does a good job of showing you what it was like at
the moment of the explosion and then -dealing with the aftermath.

On to Texas.

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