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Old 06-13-2012, 08:46 PM   #71
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May, 30 (Day 33)


Date (day): May, 30 (Day 33)
Source: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Destination: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Travel Miles: 80
Resources: Bryce Canyon Maps


Deviation from plan: My wife decided that she wanted to experience one last mule ride before our trip was over. She learned of the Bryce Canyon mule rides during her conversations on her last solo mule ride with a NRGC mule wrangler. Based on the sales pitch, my guess was that the mule wrangler was also a part-time telemarketer when he was not steering mules. In any case, sometime during the past few days my wife managed to successfully register for a Bryce Canyon mule ride - and today was the day. As such, my daughter and I dropped my wife off early in the morning at the designated mule round-up location. With my wife safely delivered, my daughter and I retreated back to the hotel to get in on the complimentary continental breakfast. After our fill of one of everything we then jumped back in the van and headed back into the park to explore as many overlooks as we could find. We were able to slowly work our way out to Rainbow Point and back (17 miles each way) just in time to pick-up my wife from the conclusion of her half day mule tour. Similar to last time, my wife was all smiles and said that her mule ride was absolutely incredible and she was very glad that she had done it. Just in case anyone else is thinking that this amounts to an endorsement of any kind, please also be aware of a few little known facts that I learned about her experience. First, the mule my wife was assigned to preferred to walk as close to the edge of the trail as possible (the drop-off side of the trail). My wife was so nervous that she gripped the mule with her legs until her lower extremities went numb. Secondly, the mule that my wife’s mule was following had apparently consumed lots of bad grass. The forward mule seems to have been named trail-ripper for reasons other than speed. Third... was the fact that sweaty pack mules smell like sweaty pack mules and that you will smell like a sweaty pack mule once you dismount. This may be no big deal if you burn your clothes right away but if you plan to take these same clothes home with you and home is still four days, 1200 miles, away - and your mode of transportation is uni-cabin enclosed van… then you might want to plan accordingly. In all seriousness, my wife really did have a great time and this experience was probably one of her most memorable parts of our trip. Regardless, I will stick with hiking instead.


Moment(s): My favorite immersion moment today was the first time I experienced the geology and the color inside Bryce Canyon National Park. Some of the most spectacular natural formations I have had the pleasure to visit. Up to this point on our trip... we had been visiting diverse and amazing landscapes on a daily basis. The formations in Bryce may not have been as large as some of the others that we had seen (Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, or the Grand Canyon for example) but the color of the landscape coupled with the vegetation (trees) is just out of this world. Tourists hoards or not, this is one of those places that (at least in my book) is on the must visit and then must explore by foot - bucket list.


Takeaway(s): If you share half of your double scoop ice cream cone with your two year old daughter and then your wife also shares half of her double scoop ice cream cone as well, then don’t be too surprised when your kid suddenly becomes someone you don’t recognize and you are fearful of. High doses of sugar regulated by high doses of dairy fat can lead to a sustained, non-negotiable, toddler freak-out that can only be safely exhausted via a 100 acre quarantine zone and the better half of a day. Just saying.


Sportsmobile Note(s): Everything that was working up to this point, just kept working.





























My wife's assigned mule, pulling to the left















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Old 06-13-2012, 11:19 PM   #72
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May, 31 (Day 34)


Date (day): May, 31 (Day 34)
Source: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Destination: Ogen, UT
Travel Miles: 310
Resources: The Museum of Ancient Life; Hill Aerospace Museum


Deviation from plan: We had seen the Museum of Ancient Life from the freeway as we were passing through Lehi, UT at the start of this trip. We made note of it. After a little research along the way we decided that we needed to try and hit this museum the way home. One of the selling points for me was that “The Museum of Ancient Life has the distinction of being the world's largest display of mounted dinosaurs.” Fast forward to today (on our way back home). We left Bryce Canyon City around 7:00am and arrived in Lehi around 11:00am. The museum did not disappoint. While, our two year old may not have been able to fully appreciate the size and scope of the claws and teeth Mother Nature endowed these creatures with... these tools of destruction were not lost on me. Wow, what it would have been like to see one of these predators in action (strictly from an observer’s point of view).


About five miles south of our evening destination in Ogden, UT we came across the Hill Aerospace Museum. What initially drew us in was the fact that there were a number of fighter jets training in the skies above. By the time we found our way into the museum parking lot and got out... all of the overhead thunder, speed, and noise had ceased. We walked around the outdoor display for an hour or so looking at dozen plus planes and helicopters they had on display. This was the first experience for our daughter to actually see ‘airplanes’ up close. These aircraft in the outside display had been decommissioned and were in pretty rough shape. The B1-B for example was little more than billion dollar home for wayward pigeons. My real goal was to show our daughter the size and scale of ‘real’ aircraft. While we did not see any aircraft fly during the time that we were visiting this museum... we did attend a military airshow later in the summer where our daughter was able to experience the show-off side of what some of these aircraft were capable of.

My images from JBLM Air Show we attended later in July:


Moment(s): Woke up early in the morning and looked out the window to see a rather racy looking dodge viper parked next to us. A short while later when we were packing the van to leave I was able to meet the owner of the car. He said that his original 97 heavily modified viper had burned to the ground in a fire. He showed me several pictures of his fully engulfed car via his cell phone. With the insurance money, he and his wife had found this decked out green and black viper for sale in California. They had just flown out (from Michigan?) to California to take delivery of this car and were driving it back east to their home. At well over 600HP available, my guess was that it was going to be a very quick trip.




Takeaway(s): Like many, I fell in love with dinosaurs when I was a kid. And yep, I still think that dinosaurs are still pretty darn amazing (especially, up close). Same goes for fast cars and fighter aircraft.


This has been yet one more amazing day in a long list of amazing days on this trip. What an incredible opportunity and what a joy to spend it together as a family. I know our daughter wont remember much of this when she gets older... but I will cherish this experience for the remainder of my days.


Sportsmobile Note(s): Starts up, points us toward home, and keeps gobbling up the miles needed to get us there.



Museum of Ancient Life; Lehi, UT













































Also stopped off at the Hill Aerospace Museum too...








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Old 06-13-2012, 11:53 PM   #73
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June, 01 (Day 35)


Date (day): June, 01 (Day 35)
Source: Ogden, UT
Destination: Boise, ID
Travel Miles: 310


Deviation from plan: None. We are now in the final stages of this trip where we are just putting down highway miles in order to narrow the distance between wherever we are now... and home.


Swimming in the Oxford Suites indoor swimming pool.



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Old 06-13-2012, 11:55 PM   #74
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June, 02 (Day 36)


Date (day): June, 02 (Day 36)
Source: Boise, ID
Destination: Hoodriver, OR
Travel Miles: 375


The Dalles Dam; Oregon/Washington border; Columbia River; near Hood River, Oregon


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Old 06-13-2012, 11:58 PM   #75
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June, 03 (Day 37)


Date (day): June, 03 (Day 37)
Source: Hoodriver, OR
Destination: North Bend, WA (home... green, wet, cool, home...)
Travel Miles: 275


Deviation from plan: On this last leg of our journey, I had intended that we travel up past Mt. St. Helens via a forest service road (NF-25) located within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. What I failed to take into account was that NF-25 could be closed because of snow. Well sure enough - it was closed. This closure forced us to backtrack a ways and then make a long and undesirable navigation correction that utilized the main south/north interstate between Portland and Seattle (I-5) to get us back home. It was a white-knuckle ride all the way - but we made it!!!


Gifford Pinchot National Forest









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Old 06-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #76
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Great trip, great pics!!!!!!

Saw your van at the North Rim parking lot, it stands out a bit!
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:37 PM   #77
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Great trip report....

Your pictures are amazing...

I love the way your van looks...

Two things...

One: 50 psi is not really enough for a 9,000 plus pound van. The stock recommend pressures are 60 front and 80 rear with load rated E tires. I think you must have E rated tire but you might try upping the pressures to see how it drives. You might get slightly better mileage as well.

Two: That brake problem is almost always caused by the caliper slides being set up. What happens is the inner pad does all of the work because the caliper cannot slide left and right to make even pressure on both sides of the rotor. After a while the pad just falls apart from the heat and then the rotor really begins to wear out fast. I have seen them so bad (on the front and rear axles) that in time the piston finally grabs on to the fins of the rotor and pops out. Then you loose one half of the braking system due to fluid loss.

Again thanks for the great report...Great more places we want to go...

Regards...
...Jamie
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:14 AM   #78
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

I believe the Toyos have a max pressure of 60# in E range, if indeed those are Toyos.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:35 AM   #79
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

WOW. Amazing trip report and pics. So jealous... Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:29 AM   #80
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Superb trip report. My wife and I are just starting to plan a9 month road trip across/around the USA. We are shipping our Land Rover Defender 130 over and this trip report has given us a real taste of what to expect. Thank you.
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