Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 3: Las Vegas, NV to Springdale, UT

We woke up early in Las Vegas and it was already hot.  We had toyed with heading off to a buffet breakfast somewhere but decided to skip that and head off for higher elevation.

We hadn't actually checked the weather and were under the illusion that it might be cooler in the mountains.

So, that's what we did.  We had breakfast and packed everything up, hitched the car back up, and headed out of town.

It sounds simple, doesn't it?  But, we definitely had one of those mornings.  If something could be spilled, it spilled.  As we were heading out of LV, the door to the fridge flew open and sprayed salsa and water everywhere.  Thankfully, the beer bottles and milk didn't spill, too.  Or eggs.  That would have been much worse.  Anyway, we were glad to be on the road, heading for Zion with a freshly mopped floor.
Utah, State #3
Utah, State #3

The drive to Zion isn't long but it's a pretty steady climb.  It gets increasingly beautiful as you drive up Highway 15 and when you hit St. George, you really begin to understand why people settled here.  The red desert with the green river valleys are so gorgeous.

In Hurricane, Utah, we turned off 15 onto SR-9 and headed up towards Zion.  The little towns there are so charming.  You follow the Virgin river so there is plenty of green to ease your eyes.  Rockville is my favorite town.  I could easily picture living there . . . with air conditioning!  The idea that it would be cooler in the higher elevations was a myth.  It was between 95 and 100F in and around Zion!

We settled in at our campsite.  We had one night at a private campground outside the park because when we made our reservations, we couldn't get all three nights in the park itself.  No worries.  We're flexible!

We napped and settled in.  Meaning, Greg, the driver, napped while I settled in.  Our technology kind of let us down this time.  I could not get the WIFI booster to sign on to the network here in the campground.  Thankfully, the signal from the campground was strong enough that we didn't need it.

Once Greg was refreshed, we had lunch and headed off on a drive.  There is a little ghost town near here that's in pretty good repair so we headed over there.

Bridge to Grafton, UT
Historic, one-lane bridge in Rockville, UT

Grafton, UT -- house
House at Grafton ghost town

Grafton, Utah -- barn
Barn at Grafton ghost town

Grafton, UT
Another house at Grafton

Grafton was founded as a farming community in the 1800's.  Between flooding and problems with Indians, they eventually moved on as a community although one family stayed there until 1945.  The buildings were subject to weather and vandalism but a major restoration project was taken on in 2000 and they are in remarkably good repair now.  We walked around and soaked up the history there.  A visit to their cemetery was particularly chilling.  The year 1866 was a really tough one for the community.  They lost a large number of people to illness (diphtheria), indian attack, a tragic accident, and one mysterious "unknown."

After Grafton, we didn't feel done with our drive so we took a 4-wheel drive road through the Smithsonian Buttes.  Gorgeous countryside and a fun road.

Smithsonian Butte Road
Smithsonian Butte -- gorgeous little 4x4 road

Smithsonian Butte Road
It got pretty steep and pretty rutty.  Greg has happy -- time for 4-Low

Alter of Sacrifice, Zion National Park
Looking over at the Alter of Sacrifice in Zion

red dirt road!
Heading down a red-dirt road

Once we hit real roads again, we hit a grocery store and headed back to make dinner.  Only we passed a roadside BBQ stand.  Well, dads like bbq so we had to stop and check it out.  Sonny Boy's in Hurricane makes some GOOD bbq.  We had ribs and pulled pork.  Oh my goodness!

Rocks near Hurricane, UT
Utah is really a beautiful state

We played a rip-roaring hand of cribbage with the kids -- boys against girls and the boys decimated the girls.  We were very nearly double-skunked!  Gage has a stuffed skunk that he brought out and rubbed all over me in a truly obnoxious victory dance.  Sigh. Greg and I played another hand after the kids quit and I managed to beat him this time.  Might be the 3rd time in our entire relationship that I beat him at Cribbage.  So, a little gloating is allowed.

Zion is a magical place.  We've got some good hikes planned for the next couple of days.  Stay tuned!


  1. Wonderful Lisa. I'm making notes for our 2013 trip to the South West. Zion is definitely on the list.

    1. Great, Gwendolen. You'll love it. Combine it with a visit to Bryce and you've really got something. We've done three big trips to the Southwest now and love it so much. Other great places to make sure you visit . . . well, there's too many but you could easily miss Acoma, Sky City. It's truly an amazing place to visit. The oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. Really something else!