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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zion National Park

After visiting Bryce Canyon, Chuck and I headed to Zion National Park. We arrived at the park just as the sun was starting to set. Our planned timing worked very well for us.

When we were at Bryce Canyon, it was so beautiful that I told Chuck "Let's just stay here, we can skip Zion." I didn't think it could be as grand as what were had experienced at Bryce and the Grand Canyons. Chuck disagreed, he said we are this close, we must do Zion too.

I am so glad he wanted to come to Zion. It was just as wonderful as the two previous national parks. Each park has it's own unique beauty. They are all three a "must see."

One wonderful think about Zion is that it is much lower than the other two parks, so the leaves on the trees were still very colorful.

We rode through the park, found a place to stay and got up early the next morning to enjoy the sunrise.

There are huge rocks jutting up and they all seem to be made of a different stone. I'm not a geologist, but these parks could certainly inspire one to study it.

The rising sunlight on the side of the canyon walls made for sum nice designs.

Here we are just after coming through the tunnel. There is a long tunnel that is cut right through the rock. It is very, very long. I was glad to get through it.

Here are more beautiful trees with the canyon walls as a backdrop.

Probably my favorite picture of Zion. This scene can be seen while standing on the bridge.

After exploring Zion, we headed back to Las Vegas. We flew home with empty pockets and full hearts.

Our daughter, Kylie arrives this Monday and we will be celebrating Thanksmas this Thursday since Chuck and I will be in Cuenca for Christmas this year.

Enjoy your thankful Thanksgiving.

Nancy and Chuck

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bryce Canyon

After spending daybreak in the Grand Canyon we headed out for Bryce Canyon which is located in Utah. We took our time and enjoyed the back roads, arriving just in time for sunset at Bryce Canyon.

If you go to the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend that you also include Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in your trip. The Grand Canyon is very famous and it is very awesome, but the other two sights are each unique and just as awesome.

Here we are just a few miles away from Bryce Canyon. The setting sun provided a beautiful view shining on the red rocks.

I took this picture the next morning at sunrise. If you want to see more detail, you can click on the picture and it will enlarge.

Here is a picture of the setting moon (it was almost full) behind some rocks just outside of Bryce Canyon.

The canyon is beautiful all day, but the sunrise and sunset are a must see. Here is Chuck overlooking Bryce Canyon in the middle of the day.

As in the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion offer a bus shuttle service. But, they discontinue their bus service the first of November because the number of tourists decreases. Chuck and I found the parks to be pretty empty and we had no problem parking our car and seeing the sights. The weather was great.

And the sights were great!

Here is Chuck looking out at the wonderful sights just before leaving the canyon for Zion National Monument.

Next post will be of Zion National Monument.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grand Canyon

I have never been to the Grand Canyon in all my 62 years. I was anxious to see it before we leave for Ecuador. Chuck and I woke early and got on our way to the Grand Canyon so that we could be there for sunset. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for viewing the canyon I've heard.

We drove over Hoover Dam. Here is a picture of the dam from the Arizona side.

We got to the canyon in plenty of time to watch the sunset. We stayed in the park at the Bright Angel Lodge. You only had to walk out your door a few steps to see the canyon. We highly recommend this lodge.

Because the park is so popular, guests are encouraged to park their car and take a shuttle bus to the various sites for viewing the canyon. This is one of the shuttle buses.

They come every 15 minutes during the day. We were there during the low tourist season so we had no problem using the bus and found it very efficient.

Here I am sitting on the edge of the canyon waiting for the sun to set.

The wait was well worth it. The view was so spectacular that it took our breath away.

The next morning we got up early to see the sun rise. Again, it was spectacular.

Chuck rode a mule down the canyon. Not me, I enjoyed the vast beauty just fine from the safety of the top. I did get a few pictures of him to capture his adventure.

Here are a few of the mules waiting to be assigned to their passengers.

There goes Chuck heading down the canyon on his mule. The mule was named Too Tall. He was the tallest one of the bunch. (Chuck is in the red and black jacket.)

While he was gone for the day, I took the shuttle bus to various lookout points along the south rim of the canyon.

I was back to photograph the homecoming. Chuck had a wonderful time and is now an official "mule skinner."

That night we enjoyed another spectacular sunset.

The next morning we viewed other areas of the canyon before heading out to Bryce Canyon.

We took the back road to Bryce Canyon. The scenery was so wonderful.

Take a look at the size of these rocks that have tumbled down from the mountain.

What a vacation and we were only half done.

Next post - Bryce Canyon.

Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park or "America the Beautiful"

Last week, Chuck and I took a whirlwind tour to the American southwest. We flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, rented a car, spent a couple of days sightseeing and gambling and then we drove to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. From there we went to Bryce Canyon, Utah followed by Zion National Park, Utah.

We had planned to meet our friends, Vanessa and Ricardo there, but it did not work out for them to come this time. (Vanessa, I hope you enjoy the pictures and we will do this trip together one day.)

In this blog I will share with you about the Las Vegas portion of our trip. My brother, Norman and my Mom happened to be returning to Texas from California and planned to stop over in Las Vegas at the exact time we were there. It was so good to get to visit with them both.

My Mom found a slot machine that was very good to her. She enjoyed playing it while Norman played in Texas Hold 'em tournaments. Here is a picture of Norman, Mom and Chuck. Mom had just hit another jackpot and they are looking up to see how much she won. Chuck is preparing to get into the action by putting money in a machine just like theirs.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, the only generous machine was Mom's.

Norman did very well playing poker. He won in two tournaments. In the second tournament he finished in first place and won lots of money and this jacket.

Here is a picture of Chuck and me.

Following are a few pictures depicting some sights of Las Vegas.

Looking down the strip at night.

The Excalibur hotel and casino.

We spent a couple of nights at the Luxor and I took this great picture of the full moon rising over the hotel at night.

Here is the Sphinx that is located in front of the Luxor hotel.

We went downtown on Freemont street and found that there are still bargains to be had in Las Vegas.

We did enjoy ourselves, but the best was yet to come.

Next blog - The Grand Canyon