Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Behold the Beauty

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Page (Arizona) to Salina (Utah)

“Once more I am roaring drunk with the lust of life and adventure, and unbearable beauty … Adventure seems to beset me on all quarters without my even searching for it … Though not all my days are as wild as this, each one holds its surprises, and I have seen almost more beauty than I can bear.”

The above quote is by Everett Ruess, an early explorer of the Grand Canyon area. And I echo his words - having just driven a little more than 200 miles from Page to Salina on scenic route 89. Amazing landscapes, intriguing and colorful mountains and mesas, trees dressed in their autumn colors and a clear blue sky provided oohs and aahs along the way.

Another quote I found - but forgot to get the author and the exact wording - was written while exploring the Grand Canyon/Page area. The gist of his comment was that 'this is worthless land and it won't ever amount to much.'

Just a couple miles out of Page I could see the Glen Canyon Bridge and Dam. Both are amazing feats of engineering. The bridge is 700 feet above the river, 1,028 feet long, and has a vertical rise of arch of 165 feet. It was built between 1957 and 1959. Before the bridge was completed, the road from one side of the canyon to the other was 250 miles, even though the visual distance separating them was only about 1,000 feet.

Once I crossed the bridge, I stopped at the visitor’s center and enjoyed the displays that includes construction pictures and quotes from early explorers. The dam, authorized and started in 1957, was completed in 1964. It is the second largest concrete dam and besides regulating Colorado River flow, it generates hydroelectric power. The lake it forms is Lake Powell and it is 186 miles long. (see photo above)

One I pass Kanab, Highway 89 is flanked by Navajo Nation lands, Vermillion Cliffs, Coral-Pink Sand Dunes, Zion and Bryce National Parks, and Dixie and Fishlake National Forests. It parallels the Sevier River that has created a fertile valley for farms and ranches.

At many places, the highway was right next to the river. I stopped and took a picture (see above).

At one of many tiny towns that are sandwiched between the mountains and mesas on both sides of the highway, a sign encouraged me to “see real fossil dinosaur eggs!” Sorry, not this time. The towns also had various Rock Shops – one was even constructed to look like a huge rock. A woodworker’s sign advertised “caskets, cedar chests and gun cabinets.” At one small town, a bunch of cars were lined up and had prices painted on the windshields – a normal used car lot? Nope. They were really old cars, the prices were barely visible and weeds had grown up. There’s an interesting story there!

Today’s drive ended at Salina, Utah. Before settling in at the Butch Cassidy RV Park, I drove through the small town to scope out a place for tomorrow’s breakfast – Mom’s Café. Once I was parked and set up, I explored the RV park and discovered quite an extensive aviary. The turkeys and chickens have the run of the park; the pheasants, dove and some birds I couldn’t identify are in elaborate cages. (see photo)

Oh, my gosh! I am so glad to be making this trip! What will tomorrow bring?