On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
We’re trying a new feature here, so let’s see how it goes for the next week or so before it’s fully automated.
This post is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.
So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are.
Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!
Should you have any pictures (tasteful, relevant, etc….) you can email them to [email protected] or just use this nifty link to start an email: Start an Email to send a Picture to Post on Balloon Juice
More Poco Pix – after the fold!
These might be interesting to some. Monday at the Grand Canyon as a winter storm blew in. The first three were taken less than 30 minutes apart. The first being at the Desert View (Watch Tower) entrance, the second one about 1/2 way between that entrance and Mather Point overlook. The third one was at Mather Point….very unhappy tourists. We barely made it back out the Desert View entrance…the park closed that road 5 cars behind us around 3:30 pm.
Poco (and Quinerly)
Poco? Tell your partner she sucks.
That weather reminds me of how the wife described going to the Grand Canyon with her ex and her then baby daughter.
@OzarkHillbilly: Oh, thought using the dog would be a new angle; did you?
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Yep. She asked for it. I live to serve.
We had the same experience at Pikes Peak. Started up just as the snow was coming in. Got stopped half way up & barely wade it back down. It was snowing so hard I could hardly see to drive
@Schlemazel: I sent Alain a pic that’ll warm ya right up. Maybe I should dig out those pics from Tahiti.
Glen Canyon, Lees Ferry, Paria Beach, the Navajo Bridge,
Vermillion Cliffs (condors!), Echo Cliffs are a must if ever in this area. Glad I took the advice of that park ranger in Sedona and added a night here at the Marble Canyon Lodge. Poco and I sat right by the CO River (Paria Beach)yesterday and only saw one fisherman during the entire hour plus. Technically, this area is where the formation of the Grand Canyon begins. It will be a zoo in a few weeks. But for a day plus we had the run of it….plus an offseason $45 a night rate at the funky (in a nice way) doggie friendly Marble Canyon Lodge. Nice restaurant and trading post on premises with a bar. If you have an interest in the area, Google Lees Ferry…great history….also check out the fascinating info on the Navajo (expansion) Bridge and how it was built. On to Kanab for a week. If anyone is from that area (or from Page), I would love for you to pipe up. Taking a cue from dexwood, who a met a week back, I’ll buy you a beer if you want to connect in person. Maybe we can plot on how we can piss off Ozarkhillbilly some more.
I loved the snow that day (Monday). It was my third day there and had hoped for a museum/buildings/fancy lunch with martini day. The snow kept the crowds down. I was very disillusioned Friday with the rude crowds…selfie sticks and the dogs in purses (the latter totally freaked out Poco). Well, Monday, I got as far as another visit to Mary Colter’s Watch Tower, the museum in Bright Angel Lodge…and thankfully the lunch with that martini in El Tovar…that’s when the word came down that the rangers might close the road out that Desert View entrance/road to Cameron. If I hadn’t made it out, the other route would have added another 100 miles to an already 40 plus mile trip.
Poco sez, “Not sure how my mom asked for anything. She works hard to give me a good life and great vacations every year. She’s a nerd at heart..you should see all the research she starts on in July…books on areas! and her budgeting. We talk to strangers and have the best time…plus…I always get leftovers after her meals. Your dogs should be so lucky out there in east bumfuck.”
@Quinerly: Correction: Maybe we can plot on how we can piss on Ozarkhillbilly some more.
She said I was getting stale, Poco, that I needed to mix things up. You better watch out for the day she decides you are getting a little stale.
Poco sez, “That too. I have had a lot of practice on these red rocks. I love raising my leg high. I’m really good at #2, too.” ?
@Quinerly: You’re a better person than me, my method of planning for a trip is to pick a place and way to get there, pack with hours to spare, and just head out. I might remember a map if I’m driving. I only care about getting lost if I’m on a tight schedule, otherwise I enjoy the serendipity of being open to whatever happens.
I seldom travel through deserts though, so my haphazard approach would have to change a bit there.
My friends think I’m a bit nutty with all the research…but I like to know about the areas, the history..and to a certain degree carry on a conversation with the locals and not insult anyone or their culture (I have done a lot of prowling around on NM pueblos..made many friends that I keep in contact with throughout the year). My first trip to Taos in 2011 was very disorganized…knew nothing except that I wanted to see the pueblo and find the old “New Buffalo Commune”…the one from “Easy Rider.” Accomplished both tasks but felt like I wasted a lot of time lost (and hungry)…and wasted a lot of $. The severe prep evolved from that experience…plus having a 70lb, special needs dog requires a plan where we can and cannot go. And my Poco is the second of these problematic ex street dogs. He came on board in 2015. Had to put Leo down in Santa Fe the first week of that 2014 trip. These journeys haven’t all been prickly pear cheesecake with exotic coulis and martinis. Rough patches…very rough patches. A lot of self discovery too.
@satby: I used to call that “follow the front wheels.” It led to some interesting side trips and occasional nights sleeping in the car in a truck stop.
That’s a great way to travel. “Caution to the wind”.?
@Quinerly: Planning first is a good idea too. If I’d looked at a travel guide last summer before our trip to Maine and Nova Scotia and picked different places to stay it would have spared us a lot of wasted driving on sightseeing days.
@Quinerly: Two years ago when I joined my wife for her 10 week lap of the US I looked at a map and noticed we were only 30 miles from Carlsbad Caverns. Left turn!!!
Loved the story from a previous thread about your wife’s 10 week trip (Airstream?). Would she do it again?
An adventure isn’t adventurous if you already know everything. I always go back roads with plenty of time to stop and see what I never expected.
Latest side trip: The past few years we’ve passed by the Mighty Eighth Museum on the way to and from FL but didn’t have time to stop until now. I’ve been an aviation nut all my life, particularly WWII aircraft. I took my kids to the Wings of Freedom airshow several times.
There were a lot of good exhibits on the 8th, which went from nothing to a force that could fly 2,000 bomber raids in 2 years (we used to be able to get stuff done!). The main aircraft exhibit was a B-17 that’s being restored by a staff of volunteers.
One of my wife’s uncles was a B-17 pilot in the 457th Bomb Group. He didn’t come back. On April 5, 1945, the #2 engine caught fire on takeoff. He couldn’t get into the air and crashed at the end of the runway with a full load of bombs and fuel. The explosion left a crater eight feet deep.
As it turns out the 457th’s last mission was April 20. He was about two weeks away from coming home.
Oh, it’s always an adventure…the people you meet along the way…and THEIR STORIES. I was briefly on the interstate outside of Flagstaff coming back from Jerome. First time I had been on the interstate since Albuquerque to Grants. Seemed weird. We all plot our own courses that work for us. If I didn’t have the dog or had a human companion, I’m sure my prep and course would be different. Also, as much as I hate to say it…it’s different for a woman traveling alone. It just is.
@frosty: I had 5 uncles (and my old man) directly involved in that little fiasco, most of whom saw more than their share of action. The only one that didn’t come back was Joe whose C-47 crashed in Alaska, after the war.
@Quinerly: Yes, she’d do it again if we want to take a trip longer than I can get off work. OTOH I might just decide to retire ahead of schedule.
We’re not in an Airstream- too heavy and expensive. She did the trip in a Starcraft AR-1. We went to the Hershey RV show that fall and she had a checklist of everything she wished the Starcraft had. I had the calcs for the dry weight we could pull with a Ford Edge. We’re in a Whitewater Retro 181B now which works really well for two people, at least until we decide to do a 6 month trip across Canada etc etc.
I’m sure it is for you. I’ve always been a little jealous of people who meet people so easily, it’s just not me. Most times I just want to be left alone.
@OzarkHillbilly: I’ve always been the type to drive all day to get where we’re going. My wife doesn’t want to go more than 250 miles. Sucks if you’re short on vacation time but it a) lets you set up camp in daylight and b) gives you time to stop if you see something interesting. I’m coming around to the idea.
That’s the big thing for me on these yearly extended trips. Love talking to strangers. Spent an hour with an elderly Navajo man at an old fashioned gas station in Ganado, AZ the other day…we chatted so long we sat down on the bench in front of the store and his friends came looking for him and joined us. It all started with my Liberal bumper stickers and the big one in the middle that says “NOT A REPUBLICAN.” He loved them. Loathes Trump, adored Hillary.❤?? Curious if I make such fast friends in Utah, when I’m “off the reservation”
Quinerly, just love seeing Poco! Both yesterday and today’s pics. Went to the Grand Canyon a few years ago and a miserable summer storm blew in. The whole day was rainy and cold. But it was still magnificent. Beautiful sunset when the clouds finally cleared.
Love reading about your trip. So envious!
Thanks for the kind words. Have a great day.
@Quinerly: Amazing how quickly the weather changes. You have the luck of Poco in getting out in time.
Am living for these travel accounts. Disgusted with politics and not following it. (The media cool kids telling us T looked presidential. That’s called pissing in their own soup.) So it’s good to have the travels and pets and pop culture to keep up with.
I want to learn to car camp this year. Maybe we can do a car camping 101 thread sometime for the city newbies.
@Elizabelle: FYWP disappeared my reply. Anywho, that sounds like an interesting topic. I did car camping decades ago in Scouts and more recently with my sons as Cubs. The gear is much much better but there are so many options!!!
I will be sleeping with Poco in the two bedroom (Ford) Escape in a little over a week if my plans hold. Details to follow. When we are freezing to death and too cold to walk to the bathrooms, we’ll see if Ozark thinks we suck then. I will be eating dehydrated beef stroganoff….not prickly pear cheesecake with exotic coulis.
I saw a condor flying overhead at Bright Angel Lodge. A ranger told me that they nest in a cave at the top of a pillar nearby. A naturist climbed there after nesting season one year and found 10,000 year old condor bones as well as the modern nest.
Looked for condors all day yesterday at Vermillion Cliffs and around Lees Ferry. Fingers crossed on this AZ 89 A drive to Kanab. An we’re OFF! Poco sends giant tail wags with his fluffy tail. Thanks for all your interest.
Alain the site fixer
@Elizabelle: That’s a great idea. Perhaps when quinnerly is back she’ll write something up as a starting post….
@Quinerly: Have started paying more attention to Ford Escapes when I see them. Look like they could be comfortable, for a few nights, anyway.
March is in like a lamb in central Virginia.
Hah, been there done that! If you pass through Flagstaff, there’s a nice dog park. Mine are the dog on the right, person on the left :-) (well, used to be my dog. Katie passed a couple years ago…these photos are form 2001)
Matthew L. Smith
Yes you’re a little crazy, but your trip planning is unparalleled. Glad you and Poco are having such a good trip. The boys and I are heading back east toward home tomorrow. See you when you get back.