Westward Ho!

Instead of camping our way to California this Fall we decided to make it a four day drive. We stayed in, gasp, hotels! This is really our first driving trip where we have used hotels since the pandemic. The verdict? Its nice to pull your accommodations with you!

Our first night was a very nice lodge in Spearfish Canyon South Dakota. Although the lodge was nice it was kind of a bummer because we had a nice hike planned, but I had injured my foot just a couple of days before we took off and I couldn’t walk more than a few yards without a lot of pain.

We did see some pretty cool sheep on the hillside!

We left at O-dark-thirty on day two of our adventure and had the pleasure of scraping ice off our windshield for the first time in a very long time! Today’s drive would take us across Wyoming to a lodge just outside of Dutch John Utah. The area is better known as Flaming Gorge. It was very pretty but our lodge was quite remote and felt even more so because we were clearly in the after season. Only one restaurant in the area was open.

Even thought it was isolated, we had a very pretty view out the picture window of our cabin. Here is a nice Sunset shot!

And to follow up, here is a sunrise photo from the same spot.

A long drive down I 15 brought us to Cedar City Utah for our third night. We headed up to Brian Head, a ski area and did a short little hike. My foot was feeling better by this time, but we still didn’t want to do too much. I love this shot of the show against the beautiful red rock! Our hotel was a Baymont tonight, and I’m not sure why, but the hotel had a some special “mini-rooms” even the door was about ¾ of a normal width. This was our room for the night. The saving grace for the hotel was that it was near a brewery and a really excellent pizza place! I had a chicken pizza with white sauce and pistachios! Truly amazing.

Our last day was the final push to Indio. But we made a quick stop at Kolob Canyon to take a short hike. Maybe some of the most spectacular views yet.

This was a great way to do the trip out this year. We averaged about 6-7 hours of driving a day with time at the end of each day for a short hike or some site seeing.

Superior Fall Colors

Timing the fall colors is a tough game to play. It’s hard to predict when they will peak because there are so many factors at play. Jane did all of the research and tried to make a reservation for next week, but could not find a good campsite. So we reserved for this whole week thinking we would use part of our reservation. Then I found out I had other commitments at the end of the week so we had to push our time further forward.

The results speak for themselves.

We arrived on a very gloomy and rainy Sunday afternoon. But discovered our campsite was just 100 hundred yards or less from the shore.

Bean and Bear

The next day was cool and clear so we did the 7.5 mile bean and bear hike near silver bay. The colors we almost there but not quite. Still it was a very beautiful hike, although Jane lost her Yellowstone hat from the vantage point where we took this photo.


A shorter hike on another clear day, but further north near Lutson had amazingly vibrant fall colors.

Temperance River

On our final morning we took the short hike to the Temperance River gorge. It had a beautiful waterfall, and we enjoyed watching an Arctic Loon try to fight its way upstream.

Devils Tower

The road home runs through Devils Tower National Monument. A monument who got its name from a misunderstanding between the Native Americans name “Bear Lodge” and the white people.

Nothing about this tower says evil/devil. But apparently after the army slaughtered all of the bison the area was a stinking pile of carcasses and the army colonel described it as Devil’s Tower. There is a movement to change it back, predictably opposed by Wyoming members of congress. You can read more about it on the park service website

As is our usual practice we spent the last night on the road at a KOA so we could have a nice easy way to clean out our tanks for the long trip home. This KOA shows a movie every night — Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You may remember that this monument featured in that movie.

This is a popular spot for climbers. Except for the month of June when it is not open for climbing out of respect to the Here are some climbers coming back down.

The title picture for this post was taken at 6 AM as we pulled out of the park to being our 13 hour journey back to Wisconsin. This was a fantastic trip, made even better by our traveling companions. Where will we be five years from now? Who knows, but it will be an adventure.