Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Driving from White Sands to Red Hills to White Mountains!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

OLA: Driving from White Sands to Red Hills to White Mountains!

the red hills at Glenwood Springs, view from our motel

After April Fools’ Day we left the comfort and excitement of Palm Springs, California to begin our trek to Pittsburg, Kansas for the wedding of Bill’s niece, Becky Pallucca. The first part of the road trip would take us to a short visit with Suzanne, Bill’s daughter, in Westminster, Colorado. As it turned out, I-10, I-15 and I-70, the three highways that give the fastest route from California to Nevada,  through Arizona, and then to Colorado are also unbelievably scenic. Literally we drove from white sands to red hills to white mountains.

windfarms off I-10 in southeast California
cause of the road delay on I-10
On I-10 we were first reminded of the wind farms of southeast California but soon a long queue of vehicles blocked the highway. We later found out that a delivery truck was burning just off the road ahead of us. After a delay of at most half an hour we spotted Joshua trees. After an hour from the turn onto I-15, there was this wide white splash that became bigger and bigger. It was Devil’s Playground just before the Mojave National Preserve. It was white desert.

the Devil's Playground off I-10 in southeast California
Mojave National Preerve off I-10 in southeast California
Soon the playground of the desert, the Gambling Capital of the World called Las Vegas, loomed larger and larger on the horizon. We will be back in the city for a month, first at the Las Vegas Casino and Hotel for a treat then at Thousand Trails’ Las Vegas Resort. Actually just after the border of California and right before the border of Arizona are some of Nevada’s mega casinos, too!  Then we had a short rendezvous with Arizona, touching the northwestern tip of the Grand Canyon.

las vegas on the horizon
red hills off I-70 in Utah
By the late afternoon we were in the beautiful state of Utah. The city of St. George, like Sedona, has red rocks surrounding it. We camped at the St. George RV Resort (KOA) for the night in the small town just past St. George named Hurricane. Early the next morning we stored M’A at their storage facility and headed out to Westminster with just our little ‘turn.

From snow-capped Cedar Breaks and its Brian Head Summit to the Big Rock Candy Mountain of the Fishlake National Forest I could not put down our Nikon.  Devils’ and Eagles’ Canyons led us to picturesque Book Cliffs and then to the Roan Cliffs. Small patches of green among white, light and dark greys, yellow, pink, red and brown rocks jut out of the rocky landscape right up to the edge of Utah and Colorado.

red hills off I-70 in Utah
Idaho Springs frozen waterfall
We stopped for the night in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The view from our motel room was of a red hill swathed with some of last winter’s snow.  Bill had a very relaxing time at the motel’s hot tub with this perfect view (I couldn’t!). Then we went shopping for shoes because I had left my only pair of closed shoes in Seattle.  The next morning, as we drove to Westminster, I thought we had gone from a summer desert to a winter playground!’  We even spotted a frozen waterfall! The mountains turned increasingly white as we rose to almost 12,000 ft. in elevation. But, of course, we dropped down to just above 5,000 when we got closer to Westminster. 
ski runs in Vail, Colorado
Colorado white mountains in spring!
The visit to the Harpers was quite memorable especially when Devin, just turned 14, won the championship at the Lewis Tennis School Spring Fling 2013 B14. That day was really a celebration; Suzanne even bought me chocolate therapy! The night before was hilarious with the rented Redbox movie, “Here’s the Boom’!  More about the Happy Harpers when we come back through Westminster after attending the wedding in Pittsburg, Kansas and returning to Hurricane, Utah for a week in the national parks with M’A ‘turn!
Devin with the runner-ups!