Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Idaho Falls to Marble Canyon!

Tuesday morning and we were up and on the road again by 6:00 am.  Of course, it was still dark but we have been through this area before and the road is smooth, straight and no hills.  It starts to get daylight about 7:00.  We are anxious to get down to Marble Canyon and from there it will only be about a 5 hour drive at our speeds.  Quicker if you drive faster. Jim likes to watch the scenery too so drives around 50 to 55 mph. or 85 klm.  We usually like to start with our coffee and drive for awhile and then stop for breakfast some where.  Today it was a rest area. The drive was long, the scenery for the first part of the day, wide open spaces, low traffic and not much of significance.  Driving through Salt Lake City was easy as it was around 11:00 am so no heavy traffic.
Rest stop at Malad Summit
Wide open country side, cattle country
High rises in Salt Lake City
Not far south of Salt Lake City we took Hwy 28 on the left to Hwy 89.  This road goes past Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon to Page, Arizona or the North Rim of the Grande Canyon and Marble Canyon.  It is quite a bit more interesting than the freeway.  Our second time through here.  Good road but is a two lane most of the way.  There is a section that you take Hwy 70 which is 4 lane.  After that 2 lane until you get to Flagstaff, Arizona.  The road winds bit and some 40 mph corners but very easy going.  Interesting sights!
We debated stopping at Bryce Canyon but decided that it was too late in the day to take a side trip and wanted to be in Marble Canyon before night fall.
Loved the name and look of this café in small town we drove through
Some amazing colorful landscape
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Cliffs that are similar to those in Bryce Canyon
This part of the drive on Hwy 89 is very lovely and lots to see, quite a few campgrounds if one wanted to stay and tour the area for a few days.  Just at the south end of Kanab, we took Hwy 89A which takes you to the entrance to the North Rim of the Grande Canyon.  The road is a 2 lane with no shoulder but you see every kind of vehicle on the road, even as large as a car carrier.  Starts out desert and as you climb it goes through red sand dunes(you can take a side trip to actually see the dunes) into forest and at the top where the Jacob Creek Campground is situated the altitude is around 8000 feet.  The road winds around up the inclines and around the trees.  Quite pretty!
Scenic stop on the way up
Winding through the forest
As we drove past the entrance to the Grande Canyon Park we noticed that the gates were closed, due to the recent shut down in the America government.  Too Bad!  The tourists are the ones that will have to deal with this.  Bad move on the part of the government.

Now as you start the decline it goes from winding forest roads to winding desert declines. Some 30 mph curves and switchbacks. The views are stunning and am glad we did the drive but probably won't do it again.
View from scenic rest area on way down.
Called the Vermillion Cliffs
Cliff Dweller ruins.
Once we were down on the flat desert again we came upon the Cliff Dweller ruins.  By now the sun was beginning to set so the light reflecting from the canyon walls was fabulous.
Continued on out journey to Marble Canyon and when we arrived there, saw some TV station vans and State wardens.  Pulled into the parking lot by the motel, noticed a large group of people with canoes, kayaks, etc.  Parked, Jim went and talked to some of the group to find out what was going on.  They were all ready to go on a trip down the river in the Grande Canyon and had been stopped by the Wardens.  GRANDE CANYON IS CLOSED! 
We settled in for the night, Jim got our gas fire pit out and some of the young fellows joined us for a short evening visit.

A beer and conversation by the fire!
The end of a long day of travel, good roads, low traffic and mostly low stress!  It's been a great day!  Thanks for stopping by!!!!

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