Timing is everything. We had scheduled our US roadtrip with our gallivanting traveler friends for October, the start of ‘Fall’ – otherwise know as the best time to see famous National parks. We had booked a car, mapped a route and we were so excited to hit the road.
As our luck would have it, the US Government shutdown began one day before we set out for our two and half week roadtrip, which meant that the National parks we had wanted to visit were closed. We had to rethink our route and research what we could see in the state parks. We hoped to bide our time and see if, by chance, the government shut down ended so we could see impressive places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Zion National park.
We met in Las Vegas and picked up a trusty full-size Chevvy Impala car that was full to bursting point once we were all in. We made our way through the Nevada desert to the state of Utah. Our first few nights we spent in Springdale, a very rustic town at the entrance to Zion National Park. Even though the park was closed to tourists, the highway running through the park remained open so we were able to see some spectacularly red rocks and sheer cliff faces.
While we drove through the dry and dusty landscape, we thought about how strange and surreal the landscape might have been to the pioneers of America’s West. There were many times we looked out the window onto flat and desolate plains and felt lucky that we had a car and air conditioning but also the luxury of a GPS showing us the quickest way to civilisation.
We also visited some of Utah’s most stunning state parks, the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and Red Rock Canyon. With all that driving we were bound to get hungry along the road so luckily we had great drivers who were not adverse to a coffee break and a slice of blueberry pie (or two)!
Our route took us North to a town called Provo, a few hours from Salt Lake City. We happened to be there on a Saturday night and we asked around to find the town’s hot spot. The local pub was the place to be that night with lots of dancing involved! We had read about a lovely walking trail to Stewart Falls, very close to Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort. We spent a few hours walking and admiring the change in climate – we had been in 30 degree weather in Springdale and it had dropped to about 14 degrees in Provo!