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The Road Leading Home

October 31, 2011

Wow!  I don’t even know where to begin.  Our country is amazingly beautiful and deserves to be seen. I mean really looked at, enjoyed, hiked, and just taken in.  At some point, everyone should drive across the country.

We left San Diego taking roads we always take and it didn’t quite sink in that this was really goodbye. We left on a Friday afternoon and got caught up in the typical Friday night Vegas traffic.

Poor planning on our part, but oh well, we were beginning this wonderful adventure!  We stopped the first night near Hoover Dam and got up bright and early the next morning to take the Dam tour.

It was incredible and fascinating to learn how this massive structure was built and how it affects farming, communities, and energy.

From man-made accomplishments  to natures’ masterpiece, we left for Zion National Park Saturday morning.

Pictures don’t do any of the parks justice and Zion is no exception. The views were breathtaking and the word that comes to mind to describe this place is majestic. It is truly and absolutely MAJESTIC.

We set out on the Hidden Valley trail and learned that if we continued on past the end of the trail, there would be an arch.  Well we walked, and we climbed and we scrambled over big rocks.

It felt like natures obstacle course. We finally got to the end; I don’t think we could have gone any further and still we saw no arch. We even ran into others looking for the arch, but I think we all missed something so we turned around  to head back.  Oh well. We had big time fun back in the canyon!

The next morning, we left for Bryce Canyon National Park.

We’ve heard mixed reviews about this park and considered taking a detour to check out Monument Valley.

I must say, I’m so glad we came here. It was breathtaking. I mean I couldn’t believe this place, every view had something different to offer.

We did the Queens Garden Trail combined with the Navajo Trail and the Peekaboo Trail.   The first two were incredibly impressive, awe-inspiring!  Peekaboo was more like surprise, here’s another hill to climb and completely kicked my booty! I was worn out and we still had a final climb ahead of us.

I will say, the trail leading to the top was like something out of a story book. Of course, why would you expect anything less.   We proceeded straight to the lodge’s diner for a much-needed dinner!

Monday, morning, we are up and running.  Okay, so not exactly…we forgot to set the alarm and woke up later than we thought. Not to worry, the FREE pancake breakfast offered to us by our hotel was willing to make it to go!  It was like music to our ears.  Okay, so pancakes and coffee on the road and we are on the road again.

We took a bit of a detour and drove through Capital Reef National Park.  The entire drive was incredible, breathtaking, beautiful… The list goes on and I’m running out of descriptive words to express the pure amazement I found while turning each bend.

You have to drive this part of the country, no excuses.  Once we arrived in Arches, we grabbed some lunch and hit the trails once more.

We were a little worn out from the previous days hiking and thought we’d take it easy.

Four different trails and five miles later, we had seen numerous arches, including the infamous Delicate Arch. (From the overlook trail, though we must go back and hike the actual trail to the arch.)

From there, we went straight to town to grab so grub and found the perfect place for dinner, The Peace Tree.

All I could think while hiking was that we, as human race are so minor compared to these monuments of nature. How dare we take this for granted, we must truly appreciated this land and what it provides for us, for we are only here for a short period of time.  Wow, God surely can dream a bigger dream for is than we can dream for ourselves!    Our country is amazing!

When I woke up Tuesday morning, it took me a moment to remember where we were and what day it was. I’m enjoying this road trip 100%, but it will be nice to get where we are going. We grabbed breakfast at an eclectic little Cafe, aptly named Eclecticafe, in downtown Moab.

Then back on the road. Again.  After passing into Colorado, we began to see more and more trees covering the rocky mountains.

The Colorado river running by our side and the air rich with fresh pine. My heart was happy.

We stopped for lunch in Vail and wish we had more time to take a ride down the mountain on a bike.

I’ve never seen Vail, or any other ski town during summer and never thought I would make a trip to do so. After seeing how absolutely beautiful and serene the town is, I know we will be coming back for some summer fun in the mountains.

Along the drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and in between the small mining towns, homes were nestled into the mountains.  The mountains grew bigger and we could see snow capping several of the tall peaks.

Once we checked into our hotel and dropped our bags (and Lola), we hit the trails.

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, we hiked up to Alberta Falls and then around Bear Lake.

The waterfall was beautiful and the trail leading up to it reminded me of home.

It felt good to be back on this kind of trail.  I could feel it in my heart and it was so very happy.

I can’t wait to get back!  Later that night, we had a great dinner at Lake Mary’s Lodge, out on the patio overlooking the mountains and listening to a guitar player strumming Rocky Mountain High. It was pretty perfect. The lodge was cool too and next time we come back, this is where we hope to stay.

The next morning, we slept in. We booked and extra day in RMNP and we needed it!  We had breakfast at The Stanley Hotel and took our time.

We picked up some ready-made sandwiches and packed our bags before hitting the Twin Sister Trailhead.  This 8 mile hike was listed as strenuous but has wonderful overlooks including the Continental Divide and views of the entire park.  No problem, right? I don’t know if it was the altitude or my legs being worn out from hiking five days in a row, bit this gradual climb kicked my booty! Big time!

I was dragging and ready to turn around at mile 2, but call it determined or stubborn, I was getting to the top of this mountain.

Finally, we made it to the boulder fields and I could see the top, an end in sight. It was beautiful and the views were great, the Mosquitos, not so much.

We took a few pictures and had to head back down the mountain, eating lunch as we went. The way down was so much easier and we practically ran down the mountain. As we got closer to the end, we started to hear the sky rumble with afternoon thunderstorms. The wind picked up and the claps of thunder became more frequent and by the end, we were actually running to our car. We did make it and a lake at the bottom of the hill looked beautiful with the storm brewing.

The rain held out for us and we made it back to the hotel just in time to clean up and relax a little before heading back out for dinner. We found a great local spot called The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern that was just what we were looking for.

A beer at the bar while we waited for a table and listened to some music before enjoying a relaxing dinner. It was a great day and we crashed hard when we got back!

The next morning we got to check out another cool town…Boulder-for breakfast.

The Cup was just the type of place we were looking for in this awesome town.  It reminds me a bit of the town we are moving to and only makes me that much more excited to get there.

How fun is this downtown mall!?

Time to get serious.  It’s just the two of us in the car for 1600 more miles.  Boulder to Charlottesville.  Nothing but cornfields, silos and farmland.  And it’s beautiful!

For our last dinner on the road, we stopped off in Lexington, Kentucky.  Nothing like girls in sundresses and guys in khaki’s and croakies to know you’re back in the South!

We spent the night in Huntington, West Virginia, leaving about 5-6 hours of driving time for our final day.  Boy, I won’t miss riding in the car!

Soon enough, we were in Virginia! Finally!

As soon as we made it to our new house, we popped open a bottle of Champagne to celebrate!

A new journey awaits and we are thrilled to begin this new chapter!

A quick lunch at a nearby spot overlooking Jefferson Vineyards!

This has been an absolute amazing trip.  We’re so thankful we’ve been able to experience our country this way and to really get to SEE it, hike it and breath it. 

It’s good to be home!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle Yother-Johnson permalink
    November 1, 2011 7:27 PM

    Nathan and I took a road trip that took us on a pretty similar path to yours. We loved it and can’t wait to do it again! Congratulations on your new home!!

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