Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arizona - Day 1

Well, here we are...three days on the road travelling in a steady southward direction. When we arrived here in Surprise yesterday afternoon it was 110F (43-45C), bright and sunny. The water in the pool was too warm for a refreshing swim so we waited until after dark when it cooled down a bit and then spent an hour or so in our little bit of heaven on earth.

It's not often we travel down here by car - it's a long drive - but the scenery is absolutely stunning. From Montana down we're in the mountains - all types of mountains - from the craggy high stone ones we're used to in Alberta, to the lower, red-striped ones of the US south. If we had stopped to take pictures of everything I wanted to, it would have taken us a week to drive down here.

We drove 5 hours the first day - from our home in Edmonton to our retirement home in Lethbridge.

Day 2 was our hard day - 12 full hours - but we always want to put the dreaded Salt Lake Valley behind us before we stop for the night - that's the very worse part of the drive - the freeway through the valley has very dense traffic and always construction in parts - very stressful driving.

The drive through Idaho was lovely though. I think if I was a student I'd like to go to the Idaho State University in Pocatello - such a beautiful little city in a magnificent setting. So we bombed through the Salt Lake Valley and spent the night in a motel in Nephi, UT. Yesterday was just an 8 hr. drive through southern Utah and Arizona.

It's amazing how the geography of Arizona changes mile by mile. We entered AZ through Page and the Powell River Dam in the north

- all high desert with miles of red rock - flat as a board until...the HILL. What a scary drive. You descend from the high desert to the valley floor in about ten minutes on a very well maintained highway etched into the side of the red cliffs. There's a couple of scenic stops halfway down. We pulled over at one of them where we took a few pictures.

Then we drove through the Navajo Nation over by Tuba City and then started climbing a mountain again. In a matter of an hour or so we were at an altitude of 7000 ft, in pine woods and cooler temperatures - just like home. Then on through Flagstaff and down the mountain again until at 3000 ft it was low enough and hot enough for the saguaro cactus to grow.

And then down, down, down until we were in the Valley of the Sun, and Surprise. It's good to be here and with air conditioning in the house, cars, stores, banks, etc. we should be able to tolerate the excessive heat quite well. After's a dry heat...:)


Lucy said...

And I like your blog, too. I know exactly where you were in those northern Arizona photos. Isn't it incredible? Annnnd.....know the feeling going through the Salt Lake area. I go up there often and I don't think I've ever hit the freeway when there isn't construction on it. Grrrrrr. Other than that, I love Salt Lake. It's my wish to finally move there but it's probably not going to happen. I'm keeping your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great picture of Dad. How long are you in Az for this time? - Mary

Emily said...

glad you guys made it safe, hope you have a nice stay

Mickey said...

Wow what a trip! Glad you stopped for some pics!
I've only seen it all from the air and some of that was pretty outstanding! Beautiful country!

Wendy said...

Like Lucy(?), I love Salt Lake, and always feel like I'm home when I arrive there. I don't even mind the freeways - too much. I guess it's a matter of perspective - I have happy memories of going to school there, and now that I have 8 grandchildren living just north and south of the valley, I love going as often as possible.