The Utah Trip

In my last post I wrote that we are planning three trips this summer in order to see as much of the West as possible. The possibility of moving to South America by the end of this year or early next year has created a sense of urgency to see as much of North America as possible.

Our trip to Utah will be in the southern part of the state because that’s where most of the National Parks are. So far our itinerary includes the Natural Bridges, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Cedar Breaks National Monuments. The National Parks include Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Other points of interest will include the slot canyons, Paria Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs in both Utah and Arizona.

We are planning this trip in June because it is the driest time of year which is important when you are in a slot canyon. These slots rapidly fill up with water when it rains and you don’t want to be in one when it happens. Sadly there are people who haven’t heeded this precaution and have paid the ultimate price for the oversight. I don’t want to become a statistic and neither does Raeski.

We plan on hiking at every destination. There will be none of just driving through and saying we saw that. Experience has taught us that sometimes the best “wows” are found away from the road. All it takes to see a wow is a willingness to walk or hike a little bit. Our easiest hikes will be at the beginning of our trip as we acclimate to the higher altitudes. By the time we get to Cedar Breaks we should be ready for 10,000 foot elevation. We both have been at 14,000 feet, and yes, Wooly lugged his camera gear in his backpack at that elevation.

It’s a full itinerary with a lot to see but with a month to do it we should be able to see a lot. Our next step is to discover what each destination has to offer and how long it will take to see it. Raeski and I like to “wing it” so I checked the cost of RV rentals which would give us the ability to linger. However the cost is quite a bit more than a hotel room. Further analysis is needed but I think in the end we are going sacrifice flexibility for the lower costs of hotel rooms. And no, we don’t care for tent camping. It’s an age thing…

We’re open to suggestions so if anyone has recommendations of things to see at any of our destinations we would like to hear them.

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Change is in the Air

Yes, it’s been a while. Okay, a long while. There have been many changes to sort through since our last posting. Raeski and Wooly both have had employment changes. Raeski starting working again and Wooly stopped. Raeski’s was by choice, Wooly’s wasn’t. After some introspection we decided that all the changes are for the good. We are now anticipating moving our retirement plans up with a few modifications.

The first change is one of occupation. While our goal has always been to travel and live in different parts of the world after retirement, neither of us anticipated it starting this early. One of our changes will be to move to Chile hopefully as early as next year. The plan is to teach English as a second language wherever we land. Wooly is currently getting certified to teach ESL to help make this happen. Raeski, the accomplished teacher that she is, already has ESL certification along with the teaching degree.

By now you’re probably asking yourself why do I care about that? This is a travel blog! Okay, you’re right. But circling back around to traveling; this is a key development because it changes all of our plans. So for the rest of this year our travels will be confined to North America. We are going to cram in as much to see as we can.

Because we are moving to South America the plan this year is to see as much of North America as we can. So far we have three major trips planned. In June we are going to visit the National Parks in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. In July we’re planning a major trip that starts in Arizona and goes as far north as Jasper Park in Canada. In August we are going to drive the Pacific coast from Southern California all the way to Seattle.

My employment situation (or lack of…) changes we will change how we travel this year. Before it was always catch a flight and go. Rent a car when you get there and stay in some nice hotels. And a lot of times frequent flyer and stayer points paid for everything. Now it’s drive to your destination and stay in cheap hotels and limit how much we eat out. Both Raeski and I aren’t wild about camping so hotels and motels are probably the ticket for us. Staying at the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louis in Canada is probably out of the question now. *** sigh ***

So there are many stories to come. And yes, you may have a chance to participate in our planning. As I write about any particular place we are going and haven’t included a highlight you think we should see please send us a note with your suggestions.  Cheers, W.