How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip

Everyone loves a Road Trip. There is something special about having the wind in your hair, radio on, singing along, leaving all your troubles behind. But if a trip is not well planned it could fall flat. So here are a few Rules simple principles to help you have a great trip.

Near Monument ValleyRule 1 – Pick a good travel companion.

Whatever happens on the road – good or bad – it’s great to have someone to share it with. Ideally someone who doesn’t annoy the crap out of you. Continue reading

Skiing near SLC : Alta, Beta, Cookie!

So… here we are – my third skiing blog. Following my Austrian skiing and French skiing attempts, I confirm that I have not improved. I’m still terrible and my bottom still has a fatal attraction to the ground.

We started the day gently with a walk in the snow (no skis involved) to take in the beautiful scenery of Alta, Utah. The crisp air, sunny blue skies and beautiful mountains conspired to create a very pleasant stroll indeed. Just when I thought this might be for me after all, I saw an infant ski class follow each other off a cliff one by one like lemmings (they were unhurt and delighted, I should add. I was not.)

Alta ski resort, near SLCWe hadn’t packed full ski gear for this trip obviously, so it was just a matter of wearing normal trousers and a waterproof coat and hoping you didn’t fall over.  Continue reading

Challenging the Land Speed Record, Bonneville Salt Flats

We couldn’t visit Salt Lake City without visiting the nearby Salt Flats.  Mainly because we didn’t go to Bolivia on our South America trip, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to a salt flat otherwise. And it was only an inch away on the map. Unfortunately I had failed to spot the scale of the map, so I did not realise that 1 inch on the map was frickin’ ages in real life! One straight road and 2 hours later we were glad we had cruise control on our car. I’ve never had cruise control before, but it’s like putting a brick on the accelerator. (I would imagine…!)

After a false-start where we thought we were there but in fact I was hallucinating and seeing sand not salt (who can tell the difference?!), we arrived at Bonneville Salt Flats.

Bonneville Salt FlatThis is where the land speed records were set in the 1930s by Malcolm Campbell in Bluebird, and subsequently by others. I suspect that they weren’t actually attempting to break any records; they were just supremely bored on the mammoth drive from SLC, so put their foot down. Continue reading

Salt Lake City: Don’t Poo in the Pool!

When you say Salt Lake City, you think Mormon. So how can I start with anything else? Salt Lake City is the centre of the Mormon Church (the Church of Latterday Saints) and the city centre really revolves around this. We found Temple square interesting and went to a Tabernacle organ recital which was beautiful.

Mormon Temple, SLCWe saw the Jesus statue and looked around the exterior of the main church there. It was all interesting to look around, and there’s no mistaking where you are. Continue reading

Bryce Canyon : Snow and Red Rock

The night before “Bryce Canyon Day” I heard horror stories of lorries not being able to make it up the hills on the “Interstates” (ie. roads) due to snow. I was really worried that we wouldn’t make it to Bryce Canyon, just like we didn’t make it to the Grand Canyon.  So the next morning we set out tentatively, unsure if we’d get there or not but determined to have a good go anyway!

After a couple of hours of beautiful countryside and weather forecasts confirming that The Snow Is Coming, we made it to Bryce Canyon. On approach to the National Park, we stopped briefly to gawp at the red rock sculptures next to the road, called Red Canyon. The road (route 12, north east of Bryce Canyon) goes through some tunnels carved out of the red rock, so we had a really special journey, admiring the red rock landscape in the snow.

Red CanyonAlthough we reached Bryce safely, I was still stressing in case we couldn’t leave before the snow came and we got stuck there! We decided to see Bryce as quickly as we could, so we parked and rushed to the rim of the canyon, more concerned with timings and snow than why we were there. We were not prepared for the sight before us. I literally gasped. Continue reading

Arches National Park : How to fight a Mountain Lion?

After stopping in Moab, we were glad to explore the town. It was a cute town with some interesting small local shops and lots of hotels. You may have noticed from previous blogs that we had had a lot of Subways so we were keen to get away from chains. We went off the main street and found a nice independent Thai restaurant. It was a nice meal except for my red peppers – I tasted that they were off but for some reason I didn’t complain (Why??!). I was to regret this the next day when my boyfriend and I got food poisoning – within minutes of each other – in the middle of a national park. Now the thing about National Parks is that there aren’t many toilets, being in the middle of nowhere and all.

View over Arches National ParkWithout making this one of “those” blog posts, I will say that I was very glad of the toilet facilities in the park, even though I had written them off as gross when we first arrived.  Let’s just say the rare lichen that they told us not to walk on would have been more than walked on, were it not for the well-placed toilet facilities. Continue reading

Road Trippin’… Middle of Nowhere, Utah

After marveling at Monument Valley we drove North, heads whipping back and forth like spectators at a tennis match, admiring the scenery, left, right and centre.  One of the more immense views was over the Valley of the Gods; another incredible landscape!

Valley of the GodsAs we drove on, the sheer vastness of the place became apparent. As far as the eye could see in all directions was just plains. I felt like I was in the Lion King and someone was going to pop up and start singing “Uh Wimba Way, Uh Wimba Way etc”. Continue reading

Monument Valley : Are we there yet?!

Before we went on this trip, my BF’s boss was asking me about our plans. “Will you see Monument Valley at dawn?” he asked. “Oh yes” I said confidently “we surely will!”.  Did we? Hell no! Reality intervened – we struggle to get up for check-out, let alone dawn. Humph. However we did get there, which is the main thing, right?!

On the road going into Monument Valley we passed a few large natural sculptures of red rock. We kept stopping the car for photos; the conversation reflecting our natural intelligence…

“So is this Monument Valley or just some rocks?”

” I dunno. We better take a photo just in case”.

Red rock sculpturesWe needn’t have worried – we knew Monument Valley when we saw it. Continue reading