Sunday, November 22, 2020

Whistle of the wind

August 2, 1972

7:21 AM
Woke up. Had to listen to the radio to find out time. Watch stopped. Checking map. Found out I missed the Great Salt Lake. Did see large body of water (noticed reflections of lights) last night but didn’t think about what it was. The weather is cool. Mountains in distance. I need shower and clean clothes. Took picture of where I slept; ate rest of the beans then on my way. Lightning in distance.

8:00 AM
On the road again. Still lightning. Turned on heater in car to take off chill. It smelled like hell. Didn’t understand it but turned it off. Raining now. Lightning a regular “light show.” Long flashing forks. Now raining like hell. Hard to see the road, but blue sky in distance.

8:20 AM
Stopped raining. Mountains are sunlit: beautiful!

8:40 AM
Passed a Black Angus Ranch. Wheat fields now with mountains on either side. Note: Dudes in Utah still have those rifle racks in their pick-ups. Doesn’t help my paranoia any. Forgot to mention: I look like a bum.

Oh! Gene Merollis commercial (great, great guy, etc.) out here are for “Gordon Wilson.” Wow!

Fence posts around here look like home-made from bent trees. So different from, say, Wyoming. Back to huge wheat fields and grazing lands.

9:00 AM
Stopped for a picture of the land (just had to!) Had to switch roads – missed by turn, but then corrected and back on the way. On hwy 28 – few horses, range and wheat fields. Trying to think of word for countryside. Serene would be best, I think. Listening to KRUX (Salt Lake City). Now all range with small pines and sage-brush. 74 degrees.

9:40 AM
Gannison City. Another typical Western town. Back on the road – more farms. Some of the hills are just giant sand piles. It looks like very little vegetation on them. Getting so good at driving with my left foot on the gas may take it up for good. (The only way to avoid severe leg cramps is to alternate.)

9:55 AM
Salina, Utah. Mountains in distance have red tops. Mountains here are beautiful; not the majestic high mountains like the Tetons, but they vary in color from white to deep red, with steep cliffs on some and others just seemingly immense sand piles. (Note: while they are lovely, they wreck radio reception.)

10:15 AM
Made it to Richfield. Sign says, “Free swimming”, and it would be a chance to get clean again. Stopped for gas. Oh, forget swimming. I have to get moving.

10:45 AM
Completely surrounded by mountains. Running parallel to the (typist note: name illegible) River. Pretty, but not the clear blue like the rivers in Yellowstone. Ten minutes later, saw the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Pretty yellow and reds, but looks more like ice cream.

Passed entrance to Puitte State Park.

Now have seen third letter on a mountain-side. Can’t figure out what they are for, but have seen huge white letters E, M and P so far. Weird.

11:30 AM
Passed the home of Butch Cassidy. Little log cabin. KSUB out of Cedar City (not rock). Mountains still varied and interesting.

11:50 AM
Have been back into range country with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Now in Panguitch. Large amount of smoke to the right of town; but no sirens or commotion. May just be burning off fields. Passed Bryce Canyon National Park.

12:15 PM
83 degrees. Passed more cattle. Pines getting taller. I’m laughing about an obscene song I just made up. Mountains and hill sides are still red and pink.

12:30 PM
Stopped at rest area for lunch and rest room. Couldn’t stop to write about it, but just went thru hill. Roadway was cut out and steep sides had signs warning of falling rocks. Ate some chicken salad sandwich (1st “spreadables” that wasn’t bad) and a Pepsi.

12:55 PM
Heading out again. At rest area I met a little old man who told me his brother was responsible for this whole stretch of road. I agree that that was wonderful, and we parted as friends.

Beautiful cliffs and rocks shot through with red colors. Just rounded a circle and bam! Tall mountains with flat tops and red rock cliffs. Fantastic wind-carved cliffs. 100 miles to the Grand Canyon. Pink rocks, pink cliffs and even pink sand on the ground.

1:20 PM
Stopped for picture of sand and mountains (had to, had to!) Hope color comes out. Picked up small rock. Went by the Monqui Cave. Again, everything in the car is hotter than hell. Saw Kanab Canyon. Again, words fail. Water in Kanab Creek looks pink from sand.

1:45 PM
Stopped for gas. Attendant said left front tire out of line and was tearing up tire. Said I couldn’t make it home, so why not like them fix it? Thanked him politely and headed out. 92 degrees and hot!

1:50 PM
Arizona! The Grand Canyon State! Still red sand, mountains in distance. So hot in car, I can’t catch my breath.

2:15 PM
Kaibab National Forest. (More rocks than trees and trees all scrub pines and very short.) Keep going up. Hard on car. Very few clouds in sky. Just blue everywhere and hot!

2:25 PM
Trees getting taller. Most are about the size of mom’s but have more scotch-like pine needles. Smokie the bear signs are everywhere.

Now the trees are more like you would expect in a forest. No visible underbrush, so forest looks like park with short grass. Birch trees are now mixed with pines, and I’m passing thru a clearing. Sign says all campsites filled by early afternoon. Hope not before I get there. Car is backfiring on hills; I am backfiring from bean breakfast.

Now passing thru another valley; this is mostly grass, no sagebrush. Listening to KPEG radio and am 23 miles from North River.

3:10 PM
Now signs say campgrounds past this point are filled at 10 am. Will need some luck, I guess. Cattle grazing here and there throughout the forest. Now leaving the National Forest, and entering Grand Canyon National Park. Campgrounds are all filled.

4:00 PM
Stopped at Point Imperial. I must confess I was annoyed till now. Not only are all the campgrounds filled and I’ll have to drive back 50 miles, but until now, all I’ve seen were the trees. And, while trees can be lovely, I was looking for a “Grand Canyon.” Well. Now I found it… Again, words are useless. Took three pictures at Point Imperial. Wish kids could see this (along with Yellowstone). Maybe someday. (Well, it took me twenty-three years before I could.) Wind is not really strong, but you can hear it in the pines. Smells great.

Oh, forgot to mention – an artist was sitting on the ground painting the scene I just took pictures of. Painting looking pretty good. (Oil paints) Coasted to bottom from the top of Point Imperial (2.8 miles) could have gone farther, but came to a stop sign and that was that. Only sound was whistle of the wind. Peaceful.

4:40 PM
Stopped at unnamed “Scenic View” for one picture.

4:50 PM
Stopped at Indian Ruins and overlook. Took picture of the Canyon and one of the Ruins (see pamphlet) Pueblo Indians lived in these houses over 800 years ago.

5:10 PM
At Cape Royal. Whew! If you think bridges are bad you should try the last half mile of this road. Damn scared! Very informative walkside boards pointed out varieties of plants, trees and animals here. Got 2 pictures of canyon and one of “Angel’s Window”, a rock formation. Note: if they show in picture, check out the people on top the rock. I was out there look for a good shot. Now planning my way home. No “Trip-Tik” for that. Good luck! (Good grief!)

5:55 PM
Headed down the winding road. I worked out a plan to get to Phoenix.

5:40 PM
Leaving Grand Canyon National Park. Note: Lost another hour when I entered Arizona. Guess I’m on Pacific time, but I don’t really know. Backtracking now thru the Kaibab Nat. Forest.

6:10 PM
Stopped for gas and post cards. (43¢ for regular, Donna!)

6:45 PM
Had to stop for deer on the road. Grabbed camera, but she was gone. There are little birds here and there along the road & they just will not move! I’ve gone around some, and seen some dead too. Reminds me of Duke. Sign says 7 miles of mountain curves and grades.

7:10 PM
Again, beautiful scenery in mountains. Can’t help myself, got to stop for picture… Yah, you guessed it, took two. Sun going down behind mountains, but all the cliffs are still lit and are bright red and pinks. Unbelievable.

Trucking along Hwy 89 at 65 mph. Ears still haven’t popped from coming down out of the mountains, so everything seems like it’s really quiet. Wind noise is soft. Windows still down as it’s quite warm yet. Chasing two chicks in a Cortina just for grins.

Red mountains on either side were homes of the cliff dwellers, sign says.

7:45 PM
Stopped just before entering the Navajo Indian Reservation. (Another bridge, damnit!) Took picture of Colorado River, which caused the Grand Canyon. Note: Supposedly, at no point in the Grand Canyon Park can you see the river (weird). Oh, girls turned off to get gas in case you were interested.

Anyway, Amy, going into Indian Territory.

Night. Still miles and miles of towering red cliffs. Can almost imagine Indians living up there. Still hotter than hell. I think I’m in part of the Painted Desert.

Listening to KOMA, Oklahoma! Only thing I could find. They say it’s ten o’clock. Here it’s eight.

9:05 PM
Stopped at state inspection center. (What for? I’ll found out.) Inspected for fruits, citrus fruits or live plants. Passed. Moving on.

11:30 PM
Here at Flagstaff, Arizona. Stopped at one motel: full. Stopped at Burger Chef to eat late supper. Again, have missed all the scenery in the dark. Saw just 1st part of Indian Reservation, for example.

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