Utah to the Gulf Coast

UTAH TO THE GULF COAST

Michigan is now a fading memory as this trip comes to an end. We find ourselves back home in Gulf Shores after 62 days and 7900 miles on the road. It has been a great experience, exceeding expectation many times. Yes, we did everything on the spread sheet plus. Utah to Alabama was the last leg of this trip. It took us two weeks covering 9 states. The Alabama coast welcomed us back with plenty of sun and nice temps in the 80s.

Here is our map - Utah to Gulf Shores

Here is our map – Utah to Gulf Shores

NEVADA, LAKE MEAD, HOOVER DAM

After Utah then comes Nevada

After Utah then comes Nevada

After leaving Utah the next stop was two nights on Lake Mead. Reservations were at National campgrounds Echo Bay and then Boulder. It was extremely hot… peaking at 105 during the day. We heard it had cooled down from 115.

Spent two night on Lake Mead

Spent two night on Lake Mead

Lake Mead is beautiful however the tourist industry is suffering due to extreme and ongoing low water levels.

Hoover Dam from the Callaghan and Tillman Bridge

Hoover Dam from the Callaghan and Tillman Bridge

Hoover Dam is impressive

Hoover Dam is impressive

Hoover Dam - Note the Limestone bath tub ring

Hoover Dam – Note the Limestone bath tub ring

Hoover Dam from the Arizona side

Hoover Dam from the Arizona side

Hoover Dam is impressive and we did lots of the tourist things. This stop has been on my list since grade school. Glad that we finally made it.

ARIZONA AND THE GRAND CANYON – SOUTH RIM

Heading to the Grand Canyon

Heading to the Grand Canyon

For some reason in all our travels we never made the Grand Canyon. We stayed for three days and could have used one more. After seeing it in person sure we will go back, probably the North Rim.

Here we are at the Grand Canyon staying at Mather Campground

Here we are at the Grand Canyon staying at Mather Campground

South Rim trail heading west

South Rim trail heading west

South Rim Trail heading east - Cliff Roses in bloom

South Rim Trail heading east – Cliff Roses in bloom

Rim trails get dusty along the way - Easy 16 mile hike

Rim trails get dusty along the way – Easy 16 mile hike

Rim Trail Look Out - Awesome!

Rim Trail Look Out – Awesome!

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - East

South Rim Trail – East

South Rim Trail - East - Time out to enjoy the view

South Rim Trail – East – Time out to enjoy the view

South Rim Trail - East - Long way to the North Rim...

South Rim Trail – East – Long way to the North Rim…

South Rim Trail - East - Looks better in person!

South Rim Trail – East – Looks better in person!

Jan and I did the entire 13 mile South Rim trail. Enjoyed the time on trail and saw some fabulous scenery.

Bright Angel Trail - First Tunnel - Heading down

Bright Angel Trail – First Tunnel – Heading down

Bright Angel Trail - Second Tunnel

Bright Angel Trail – Second Tunnel

Bright Angel Trail is mule friendly

Bright Angel Trail is mule friendly

Yes the mule option is faster and easier

Yes the mule option is faster and easier

The last hike was down the Bright Angel Trail which goes to the base of the canyon. We only did the first third as the round trip takes two days.

Visitors next to our camp site - Bucks just hanging out - It is the season

Visitors next to our camp site – Bucks just hanging out – It is the season

Staying in the RV Park at Mather’s worked really nicely for us.

Desert View Drive heading east - Heading out

Desert View Drive heading east – Heading out

Desert View Drive overlook - Canyon gets narrower

Desert View Drive overlook – Canyon gets narrower

Desert View - Colorado River overlook

Desert View – Colorado River overlook

Desert View Tower and Museum

Desert View Tower and Museum

Heading east out of the park we took the Desert View Drive. It was a nice way to say good bye, there were many places to stop and enjoy the view. Last stop the Desert View Tower, really interesting.

Cameron - Indian Fried bread stop...Lunch was good!

Cameron – Indian Fried bread stop…Lunch was good!

A park employee told us about Cameron and a fun place to eat. Their specialty is fried bread. The menu included many native listings. Nice stop for good food in an eclectic Native American setting.

PETRIFIED NATIONAL PARK

Petrified Forest National Park - Holbrook Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park – Holbrook Arizona

This park was on the way to Colorado. One day at the park was enough to see everything.

Here is proof...We are still in the desert

Here is proof…We are still in the desert

Changing view on the 28 mile park road

Changing view on the 28 mile park road

Petrified Forest landscape

Petrified Forest landscape

Park Drive overlook

Park Drive overlook

Drive overlook - Very interesting formation

Drive overlook – Very interesting formation

Petrified wood was scattered

Petrified wood was scattered

Petrified wood

Petrified wood

Petrified Forest Newspaper rock Petrographs

Petrified Forest Newspaper rock Petrographs

The drive through the park is 28 miles. It takes some time to see everything. The landscape was very interesting and we learned a lot about Petrified wood.

Route 66 use to go through the park - Old Studebaker left behind...

Route 66 use to go through the park – Old Studebaker left behind…

Holbrook State Park Route 66 stop - old Buick

Holbrook State Park Route 66 stop – old Buick

Holbrook State Park - State Park Display

Holbrook State Park – State Park Display

Holbrook State Park...a bit on the tired side of the street - Old rusty Hudson

Holbrook State Park…a bit on the tired side of the street – Old rusty Hudson

Holbrook State Park - old Nash

Holbrook State Park – old Nash

A side benefit was learning more about Route 66 history. The highway use to go through the park before I40. Holbrook where we stayed was on old Route 66. It clearly played a large role during the heyday of the cross country highway. The City is working hard to keep the history of the classic highway alive.

MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK

Mesa Verde another Colorado adventure

Mesa Verde another Colorado adventure

Had read about this National Park but still was not sure what to expect. The park closes in October so our timing was off as many sites and tours had already closed.

Bike friendly trail to get to some sites..

Bike friendly trail to get to some sites..

Preserved dwelling - living space and storage

Preserved dwelling – living space and storage

Kivas - Community and family based depending on size...original family room

Kivas – Community and family based depending on size…original family room

Over 600 cliff dwellings

Over 600 cliff dwellings

Over 4,300 sites

Over 4,300 sites

Getting to this dwelling tested one's fear of heights

Getting to this dwelling tested one’s fear of heights

Upfront and personal for sure

Upfront and personal for sure

Got to experience a Kiva

Got to experience a Kiva

The Dwellings are all different

The Dwellings are all different

Dwellings are all different...

Dwellings are all different…

Trip down was a mile or two...getting closer

Trip down was a mile or two…getting closer

You wonder what life was like in this world

You wonder what life was like in this world

The park service has done a great job telling the story. A must do is the museum where we learned all about who lived there and why. We got to go into two open sites/houses and view many from a distance. There are over 4,300 sites with over 600 dwellings. Over 30,000 people lived here at one time. It is difficult to imagine life there in such a dry and harsh land.

Not many good sunsets...this one was at the RV park Mesa Verde - Sun going down behind the mountain

Not many good sunsets…this one was at the RV park Mesa Verde – Sun going down behind the mountain

Again staying in the National Park always seems to work well for us. The new RV was a good fit and added value to our travel experience.

NEW MEXICO AND SANTA FE

Next stop - New Mexico

Next stop – New Mexico

We had heard a lot of about Santa Fe so planned a two day stop over.

San Miguel Church - Recommended tour stop

San Miguel Church – Recommended tour stop

Oldest church in the USA - San Miguel Mission

Oldest church in the USA – San Miguel Mission

Loretti Chapel - Checking out the Tower legend

Loretti Chapel – Checking out the Tower legend

Loretti free standing staircase

Loretti free standing staircase

Loretti Chapel and staircase

Loretti Chapel and staircase

Love the Santa Fe architecture

Love the Santa Fe architecture

Lots of fun bronze statues

Lots of fun bronze statues

More Bronze

More Bronze

Kodak moment with the bronze

Kodak moment with the bronze

Kodak moment

Kodak moment

Market within the square

Market within the square

Lots of color even in the alleys

Lots of color even in the alleys

Fun looking cafe

Fun looking cafe

Lots of color even in the alleys

Lots of color even in the alleys

Railyard farm market

Railyard farm market

This guy does peppers...interesting dude

This guy does peppers…interesting dude

Love those red peppers

Love those red peppers

Great Native crafts...yes we took advantage of the opportunity

Great Native crafts…yes we took advantage of the opportunity

Ended the day with lunch and a beer at Blue Corn Brewery - Outstanding!

Ended the day with lunch and a beer at Blue Corn Brewery – Outstanding!

We loved touring the city. It was really interesting and lots of fun. Enjoy the pictures as they tell the story.

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK

Hot Springs, Arkansas...

Hot Springs, Arkansas…

Our travels over the years had taken us near Hot Springs many times. Finally this time we took time to stop. Our travel schedule had been fairly intensive so we took three days to relax and kick back. The national park campground was outstanding. We had a great site right on the river and near the extensive park trail system.

Buckstaff Bathhouse - The classic Spa

Buckstaff Bathhouse – The classic Spa

Quapaw Bath and Spa - Update to the 21st Century

Quapaw Bath and Spa – Update to the 21st Century

Superior Bathhouse and Brewery - Great place for lunch

Superior Bathhouse and Brewery – Great place for lunch

This is a state of the art fitness center circa 1910

This is a state of the art fitness center circa 1910

Hot Springs is an interesting city. It was easy to spend a day just wandering through the city. Bath House row was clearly a walk back in time. The National Park Service has done a great job preserving the Bath Houses. The tour of the Park’s facility is worthwhile and very well done. One morning I went back to try the Quapaw Bath and Spa. Great experience and was good for my ailing shoulder. After Hot Springs experience wished I was staying another day or two.

MISSISSIPPI AND VICKBURG

Moving on to Mississippi

Moving on to Mississippi

We are now east of the Mississippi

We are now east of the Mississippi

Here we are back on the east side of the Mississippi.

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg has been on the to do list for awhile.

Murals - Vicksburg Riverfront - Nice job

Murals – Vicksburg Riverfront – Nice job

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Mississippi leaves its mark

Mississippi leaves its mark

Great Vicksburg Museum on the waterfront

Great Vicksburg Museum on the waterfront

Vicksburg Civil War and Regional Museum

Vicksburg Civil War and Regional Museum

We toured the downtown which was interesting but clearly struggling. Walked along the river and did the two main museums which were good quality and recommend them if you get the chance. The Riverfront murals were well done and a fun experience.

The park has wonderful statues...

The park has wonderful statues…

Lots of battle fields to see

Lots of battle fields to see

Illinois Memorial

Illinois Memorial

Shirley House - Survived the Civil War Vicksburg Battle

Shirley House – Survived the Civil War Vicksburg Battle

There many states related memorials like this one

There many states related memorials like this one

Vicksburg Cemetery - Over 20,000 Confederate and Union soliders lost their lives here...

Vicksburg Cemetery – Over 20,000 Confederate and Union soliders lost their lives here…

The main event was Vicksburg National Military Park. The park has a 16 mile loop road and took us about half a day. Vicksburg was an important military objective both for the Confederate and the Union. Very informative, we learned a lot about that time period and what followed. Over 20,000 people died in this siege a very sobering take away.

Mississippi River Diversion - Yazoo River

Mississippi River Diversion – Yazoo River

USS Cairo Union Steel Clad Battle Ship - sunk 1862 raised 1964  - Plus informative museum

USS Cairo Union Steel Clad Battle Ship – sunk 1862 raised 1964 – Plus informative museum

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

The best thing we saw was the Union’s Cairo battle ship. A ship recovered from the Yazoo River after being under water for over 100 years. It is an iron clad ship which was new technology for the time period. The ship was sunk during the war and recovered in the sixties. There is a nice museum with a good video telling the Cairo story.

LOUISIANA AND THE ACADIANS

Louisiana and the Acadian Cultural Center - Next stop

Louisiana and the Acadian Cultural Center – Next stop

Moving south the next stop was Breaux Bridge, Louisiana targeted as home base for this stay. Nearby Lafayette has a large Acadian influence. During our time in the Canadian Maritimes, a few years back, we learned about the Acadians and how the Canadians deported them. Many of them ended up in Louisiana at New Orleans and Lafayette. In Lafayette we toured a culture center and re-creation village. This experience filled in some of the gaps we had between the US and the Canadian versions of the Acadians.

Beaux Bridge has a great very southern flavored downtown. There are several antique stores with very interesting proprietors. It is always fun for us Yankees to have the “real” South experience.

Vermilionville - Re-creation village

Vermilionville – Re-creation village

Acadian Dining Room was a nice experience

Acadian Dining Room was a nice experience

Fun to tour these old places, plus you learn a lot

Fun to tour these old places, plus you learn a lot

Acadian restoration with re-enactment

Acadian restoration with re-enactment

Acadian barn

Acadian barn

Vermilionville Estate Home

Vermilionville Estate Home

The re-creation village, Vermilionville, was fun. It took us a half day to tour the village and do lunch at their local menu based restaurant. The Acadian’s are the Cajuns and everything that goes with it. They are proud of their past and work had to keep their French culture alive.

HEADING EAST

Bay of St Louis, Mississippi - We like this area and will be back

Bay of St Louis, Mississippi – We like this area and will be back

St. Louis Bay - Good to be back on the coast!

St. Louis Bay – Good to be back on the coast!

Heading east we took the coastal route through Mississippi. The City of Bay St. Louis was a great find. We will be going back when we have more time. The St. Louis Bay and beaches are even nicer than Alabama. Had lunch on the beach and got to walk in the sand again with bare feet.

GULF SHORES

Back in Gulf Shores - Small Town, Big Beach

Back in Gulf Shores – Small Town, Big Beach

Back in Gulf Shores - It feels like home now

Back in Gulf Shores – It feels like home now

It is good to be back. The Townhouse looks great. The routine fell into place very quickly. The RV is tucked away until Spring unless we get the urge to go south this winter.

Gulf Shores sunrise

Gulf Shores sunrise

Gulf Shores - Light at the end of tunnel

Gulf Shores – Light at the end of tunnel

Love the sun rise walks along the beach.

The next trip is already in the planning process. Looks like it might be a spring trip starting in St. Augustine catching Savannah, Charleston, and Camp Hatteras, Williamsburg, (maybe Gettysburg), Downingtown, NYC, Kingston, Catskills and then back to Michigan.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

One thought on “Utah to the Gulf Coast

  1. Peggy

    What a thrill to see your great scenic photos, and especially the ones where I had visited in my travels. Fantastic! Thanks much for sharing. Welcome “home” at the Ridge.
    Peggy

    Reply

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