Sunday, April 22, 2018

Southern Utah is Amazing !

After leaving Vegas, we traveled north to the town of Kanab, Utah where we've meant to visit the last three times we've "done" Utah. Finally, we're going to get there to see the surrounding sites and vistas...and what sites they are !

Let's start with Zion National Park. The main draw for the park is the west and valley floor area but the east entrance road is spectacular as well so that's what we wanted to see this time.

Imagine how many years it took for water, wind, snow and ice to carve out these formations !!?? 
This is called Checkerboard Mesa. You can see why, with the vertical and horizontal cracks.



Here's me and Katie to show perspective of how grand these formations are.

I've got Katie in her front pouch as I climbed up a ways. Look at the many, many layers of sediment that's been deposited over the centuries.

I think these are Manzanita flowers.....pretty...like little bells.

The east entrance road is lined with these checkerboard rocks for miles.

Around every turn and straightaway there's a photo to be taken. We were going about 15 miles per hour !
Then we went through the mile long tunnel to enter the Zion valley floor.

This is a view out the tunnel window as we drove through.
Add caption



This is the Grand Arch where rocks have eroded and fell down to make this eye-catching shape. People stop on the turn out to take pictures....like us !

All that dirt below is erosion from these cliffs.

Just another spectacular view.

Steve posing with Katie in her carrier we bought so we can take her into visitor's center, Lowes, etc. She loves it.
One of the places we investigated near Kanab was the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It looks like just a bunch of sand that happens to be "pink" but it was really terrific !


Footprints from people playing in the sand

From a distance to show scale
Sand from the dunes: grains of quartz with a hematite coating providing the orange color.

Round beetle from ground level.
Katie's feet got soooo pink from playing in the sand. We washed her that night.



This Off Road Vehicle tried to get up this sand dune but never made it

The dunes are 3730 acres large (13.6 km2)....that's about 7 miles long and a half mile wide. The pink comes from Navajo Sandstone.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle...only found in this place in the world....we got to see one !
One day, we drove to the Toadstool area where we hiked about a mile up a stream bed to find these unusual rock formations created by erosion. The hike was a bit more than "easy" as the maps claimed.

This is the first one we came to. Look at the size of it. There are dozens around this area.



Some of these are quite large.

The two layers of sand are near the bottom are like they have been painted on. Plus, check out the layer on top that never eroded completely. It's like someone placed a rock on top

One layer eroded as well as the sedimentary layer on top.
Lastly, we went about 45 miles east of our RV spot to drive to Pariah Canyon (pah-ree-ah) down a dirt road for about 4.5 miles to see these Morrison Formation colored hillsides. We were fortunate in that, with our car, you usually can only go about a mile but the road was smooth the day we went and so we did not need at 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.






These layers go back millions of years !


A short movie to show partial extent of the colorful layers.

https://youtu.be/VxH9YVZIJUs




...and we found the world's smallest RV....it's soooo tiny.


Cannot forget to put our Katie in the blog.....every morning, she jumps on my lap, or Kim's, to get her morning "scritching".

You can tell she loves it.

That's it for now.....see you in our next entry....and thanks for following !


steve/kim/katie

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Las Vegas Part 2

Let's see...where did we leave off? Oh yes....

Next blog will have: Tour the inside of the Venitian and Bellagio. See the outside gardens at Mandalay Bay. Take a photo in front of the Las Vegas Welcome sign.

We'll start with the Vegas sign. The line was about 50 people long when we first showed up so we put it off a few days, then came over in the morning and there were still about 15 people already lined up so we stood off to the side, pulled out my selfie stick and took our photo.....finally! after all these years.

The ground is really not that slanted.
The inside of the Venetian casino/hotel is unlike any other. Classy, fragrant with the most beautiful painting on the ceilings ! The entrance is gorgeous !

Ceiling paintings at the entrance from the street.
Outside with the campanile tower

Entrance with the outside gondolas. 

Ceiling paintings

Ceiling paintings

Ceiling paintings

Entrance from down the hall

Ceiling paintings above the entrance

Ceiling paintings

Extra check in desk

Upstairs hallway 

You can see the people in line to register...and this was a Tuesday. The doorman said 1600 people were checking that day.


This nice man played for us while we danced next to him in the lobby. People stopped and took our picture while dancing. 
Look at these goofy tourists !


The Bellagio is one fantastic casino/hotel as well. The lobby is so colorful and the conservatory has a theme that changes periodically.

Close up of the lobby ceiling

Lobby ceiling....all glass.

Lobby check-in area. Look at the flowers behind.
Tulips





At the entrance to Mandalay Bay, there are some beautiful gardens and waterfalls which hardly anyone notices because they usually arrive via car or taxi and not see it at all but it's one of our favorites. It's based on a Thailand theme.







Mandalay Bay Hotel



....and a few extra photos from the strip....

Taken from one of the over-street walkways

Paris Hotel

Just a cool shot

From the top of the Eiffel Tower

And we all know what this is. The legs extend right into the casino...you can  see them inside.

Okay, that's all for Vegas. I'm way behind as we've already been to Zion NP, Kanab, and Lake Powell. I'll get caught up eventually.

Thanks for following !

steve/kim/katie