As you already know, the Stu monsters were asked to participate in my cousin's wedding. So, it was off to Eureka Springs.
I had no idea what this town would be like... I knew it was in the Ozarks. I knew it was going to be chilly. That was all.
We landed in Rogers, then drove about 40 minutes to Eureka Springs. Apparently, this town is bustling and busy in the summer... and dead in the winter. No kidding, half of the town is closed for December. I can't blame them. This is what we woke up to on Reagan's birthday:
A few months ago, my cousin Alex called and asked if my kids would be in his wedding. We were thrilled. The monsters LOVE Alex and Brooke. The wedding was scheduled a few days after Christmas... in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Do you know where that is? I didn't.
Eureka Springs is in northwest Arkansas. In the Ozarks. The only thing I know about that area is all I "learned" from watching Jason Bateman's show on Netflix.
We worked it out to fly with my Dad. Mom drove her car (and most of the luggage) to Tennessee. The plan had been for her to drive from TN to AR. But we will get to that later.
After Bryce Canyon, we drove down to Zion. Bryce Canyon is around 8000 feet above sea level, and Zion Lodge is at about 4300 feet.
The drive down was awesome. It takes about 45 minutes from the entrance gate to the Lodge. The entrance to the Park is sitting around 7000 feet. And the peaks in this Park jut up to 12000 feet. It is simply incredible.
We drove through a tunnel, then back and forth, back and forth on switchbacks in order to drop our altitude to the canyon floor. The tunnel was built so long ago, prior to large cars and buses. They only allow one direction of traffic in at a time. If we had driven in the right lane, like normal, we would have ripped the entire top off the bus. Our bus drove down the middle of the road.
It was a nice change - staying on the canyon floor as opposed to the rims. Up to this point in our trip, we had been standing at the edge of the canyons looking down. Now we had to look up.
We drove straight from Denny's Wigwam to Bryce Canyon Lodge. It's at about 8,000 ft above sea level. The sun was shining. The wind was blowing. Humidity does not exist. It is stunningly beautiful. I was in absolute heaven.
Ok, so our time lapse video doesn't get us all the way up to the canyon. But it's still pretty cool.
The first order of business was to eat lunch. We ate in the Lodge - it is the only dining option at the Canyon. I ordered the fish tacos - made with fresh Alaskan cod. They were different, different flavors than the tropical ones I am used to in Florida. But they were quite good. My nephew said the fish and chips were amazing.
This morning we said goodbye to Lake Powell. It was a wonderful place, and I hope to visit it again.
1. Plan for the Airport
The only thing we had scheduled (as a group) at Lake Powell was a boat ride into Antelope Canyon.
The boat ride is offered through the Resort. Our Caravan tour scheduled the ride. I believe we were on the first ride of the day. It embarks a few times a day. I saw at least 3 more groups of people waiting for the boat throughout the day.
What can I say? -- I love being near water. Must be the Florida girl in me.
Anyway, after we left Monument Valley, we headed straight to the Lake Powell Resort.
Lake Powell is an incredible place. It's simply enormous. Seriously. I think it stretches for 192 miles. That's a big lake. It winds in and out of different canyon walls, so it's not in a "lake shape" like Lake Okeechobee.
The Lake was created when the Glen Canyon dam was built. The dam stopped up the Colorado River and created what we know today as Lake Powell. Not only is this lake large in length, it's deep. just off the marina at the resort the depth drops to 300 feet. In front of the dam, the depth is deepest at 500 and change.
The Three Sisters
John Ford's Lookout - This is where he would come, on his horse, and visualize his next film.
Look closely. Do you see him?
We had to join in on the picture fun...
The next two might be my favorite photos from the entire trip.
If you're planning a visit - do not underestimate the sand. You will get covered.
Thanks for following along today.
Now that we are back in the bus, we are going to relax and watch a John Wayne classic filmed in Monument Valley on our way to Lake Powell.
We left the Thunderbird Lodge around 8am. It was time for our next adventure, and a very long day.
Our bus took us out through Navajo country toward Monument Valley. But first we made a few interesting stops.
The first rest stop was the Cameron Trading Post. As Greg, our tour guide told us, "it is the Walmart of trading posts." It's quite large, and you can find a vast assortment of stuff there.
We love to travel. Although our roaming souls often come back to the same places.