Travel Report/Photo Post: Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Bryce…

Bryce National Park
Clouds loom over Bryce while sunshine spils in from the west as a little tree stands sentinel over the canyon.

In June of 2018 Diane and I set off on a west coast to east coast cross country round trip. We couldn’t stay in some places as long as we would have liked because we had a wedding to attend on the east coast. On the return leg of the trip we also felt a little rushed because there were some things I wanted to attend to within a certain time frame out west. All told that trip was 7 months long. I know it may be hard to imagine that someone could feel hurried taking 7 months to get across the country and back, but hey, there’s a lot to see and do in this country–it could easily take 7 years to make the trip if you ask me.

Grand Canyon, Sunset
The scope and scale of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking. While it is some 270 miles long, visitation is concentrated along the south rim where the Visitor Center is located, just north of the town of Tusayan. This photo was shot there, close to Mather Point.

At the beginning of last month we set out on another trip. Before we did we decided we would spend more time camping and less time driving than our previous trip. So far its been that way. On our first day of travel we drove from the San Francisco bay area into the Sierra Nevada mountains where camped for something like 11 nights at Alpine Meadows campground in Truckee, CA.

"A Matter of Life and Death", dying log and blooming flowers
Dead and decaying matter nourish the soil in which the fresh new life of spring and summer teems in the forest at Cedar Breaks.

Originally we had hoped to travel south from Truckee along US 395 boondocking for a couple or three weeks in the shadow of the eastern slope of the Sierra. The view of the mountains to the west is pretty spectacular along 395. It’s best where the mountains are highest–the Sierra Nevada peaks get higher the further south you travel until they reach Mount Whitney which at 14,505′ is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48, then they rather abruptly fall away.

Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe
This view of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe was taken a few steps from the roadway a little North of Inspiration Point where there are some roadside Turnouts.

We had to skip our boondocking plans along 395 because they weather was too hot. Originally we had planned to hit the road a couple months earlier in which case the weather would have been just fine but life got in the way and we were delayed. A little factoid of interest, BTW, is that while Mt. Whitney at 14,505′ is the highest place in the lower 48, Badwater in nearby Death Valley is the lowest at 282′ below sea level and it’s possible to drive from Badwater to Whitney Portal in the same day. Whitney Portal is not the top of the mountain but rather where you can begin the climb to the summit some 6,000′ above.

Wild Columbine
It seemed there were a bazillion wild columbine in bloom on our hike along the Alpine Pond Trail in Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Although we skipped our boondocking plans we spent one night in the Crowley Lake area and 3 more in Lone Pine in order to visit Manzanar, the WWII Japanese internment camp and Mobius Arch along Movie Road in the Alabama Hills.

Mt. Whitney Over the Alabama Hills
Mt. Whitney (background just left of center) rises over the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA. While snow was still present on the mountains in July the temps in the desert below were in the neighborhood of 100º.

From there we hightailed it to Ten-X campground in the forest just outside Tusayan, AZ by Grand Canyon National park where we parked ourselves for 12 days. Another nice, long stay… long for us, anyway.

A Field of Flowers at Cedar Breaks
We caught the peak of the wildflower bloom in early August at Cedar Breaks. It was delayed somewhat in 2019 due to heavier than normal winter snows.

Our next destination, Bryce National Park in Utah. We had hoped to visit the other amazing National Parks in southern Utah–Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef–but again, due to our late start it’s too hot to visit any but Bryce which is cooler due to its elevation.

Diane chats with Patti Lewis
When passing through the Kanab area Diane spied an artist painting a mural on the wall of a building. We pulled over and enjoyed a nice chat with Patti Lewis who’s painted a number of murals and tromp l’oiels in town–a delightful serendipitous encounter.

Along the way we passed through the Kanab area, Utah, where we had a serendipitous encounter with artist Patti Lewis  who was painting a mural on the side of a building in town where she as adorned a number of others in similar fashion. 

Rhyolitic Tuff Rock formation, Cedar Breaks National Monument
A rhyolitic tuff, a rock formation created by volcanic action seems perfectly framed and accented by the clouds overhead. Cedar Breaks National Monument.

As I write we are happily boondocked in a terrific location in the Dixie National Forest. Our nearest neighbors are at least a few hundred feet away. We’re in a ponderosa pine forest. It’s quiet, and lovely, and free. We’re about 20 minutes from Bryce. Yesterday we made a day trip to Cedar Breaks National Monument where we went on a short hike and reveled in the beauty of the wildflower bloom there which is at its peak. We expect to spend about 14 days camped here, another nice long stay, before heading north to the mountains in Idaho, but we’ll see.

8 thoughts on “Travel Report/Photo Post: Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Bryce…”

  1. Great posting, Russ. Good to see you haven’t lost your photographic artistry. Camping without electric hookups and air conditioning is no fun in high heat. Safe travels to you and Diane.

    1. We have two generators, so we have the ability to run the air-conditioning when we have no hookups, but we’re learning of the limitations. First, we really don’t feel the need to run the A/C until it’s in the mid 80’s, at least where it isn’t humid and since the upper temp limit in which the generators should be run is 104º this makes for a rather narrow temperature band in which the generator-A/C combination is useful. Then, setting up and refueling the generators is a pain, especially in the heat, so unless we’re planning on staying in one location for a couple or three days minimum I’m reluctant to dig them out.

Leave a Reply to Russ On The Road Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s