Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Road Trip to Utah

This past weekend,

my sis-in law, her husband, buymebarbies, and yours truly

went on whirlwind drive from southern California to St. George, Utah and back. We went with my wife's sister and her husband. Our ultimate goal was to visit the father of my bro-in-law (where the above pic was taken) and then make a quick daytrip to Zion National Park. The best part of the drive, was that I didn't (drive, that is). That makes me happy because it frees me up to take pics without always pulling over.  The four of us have a good time when we're together and this time was no exception.

The trip involved about 900 miles of driving. Of that 900, about 700 was desert, or high desert. In the Mojave desert in California, we saw

abandoned cars
abandoned cars, trailers, and mobile homes

When you pass through the desert town of Baker (one of the hottest places on earth) you always see

the worlds tallest thermometer

and you always stop at
Alien Jerky
It's so good that even aliens stop there.

(this car is always in the lot)

We ran into a group of about 20 "outlaw bikers." Except they really weren't. They are policemen who look like outlaw bikers. They are a large southwest biker club, they all ride Harley's, and they are all armed. It's an odd site to see. They call themselves the "Choir Boys." Many times they have trouble with local law enforcement because the three tiered colors they wear brands them as an outlaw gang. Only this gang is armed. They really aren't outlaws though, they are honest and devoted policemen. The outlaw motorcycle clubs don't like them because they're cops. Poor guys, they don't get any love.

"Choir Boy"
(note the PD patches on the right)

There are no Las Vegas photos on this trip, because we didn't stop there. First time ever! So to keep the continuity going, I'm gonna insert one from an earlier trip.

Taylor falling down the hall at the Mirage (remember?)

We bypassed the strip and saw some


and some
interesting billboards.

At a gas station I possibly ran into one of Dr. Reefer's patients;

this guy. (check the nails).

Or maybe he'd had enough "reefer" and graduated to stronger drugs like his


He was obviously down on his luck, maybe he lost his
desert oasis two-story,

or his

 beautiful A-frame home.

After we left the deserts of California and Nevada, we entered the
Arizona desert!

After we drove through the Arizona "strip" we entered the (yep, you guessed it) Utah desert.  The desert in Utah was different. It was either
red sandstone

black lava.

We then entered a beautiful high desert area around St. George, Utah. We saw beautiful
sandstone formations like this and

beautiful desert homes.

We then arrived at our bro-in-law's Dad's house. We ate, drank several cocktails, and sat around a

7 foot tall Mexican chimenea.

The next morning I watched their cat drink out of a huge Koi pond. His name is

The next day we drove to Zion National Park. On the way there we saw
mountains made totally of stone and

mountains made of eroded stone.

We finally approached the
entrance to Zion.

The good pics are next, but I'm just too tired and this post is getting much too long. I'll pick it up from here tomorrow...


  1. Fabulous pictures. I love the way you've set up the post. I feel like I'm taking the trip myself.

    Alien Fresh Jerky? Is the taste out of this world? Hahahaha... I'll leave now.

  2. wow! lots of pictures! they're all great, but my favorite is the first one.

    it's not even 8 am and i've already listened to a baby SCREAMING at THEEE top of his lungs for nearly 2 hours... i've been MANpooped on, peed on, soaked my jeans, had a crying daughter who just wasn't on her A game this morning.... AND i moved the 7000 lb tv out of the truck and into the garage.... BY MYSELF!!!!!!!

    needless to say, i have a face full of dried tears myself.... i'm grumpy. i'm tired. and i'm starbucks-less....

    the pictures were much needed.


  3. These pictures all look so familiar. I've made this trip many many times, and often going from Salt Lake to St. George. Which I'll be doing next month!!

  4. I just made the drive from So. Cal back home to Salt Lake on Sunday. We stopped in Baker as well and I got a kick out of the Alien Fresh Jerky store, although we didn't go in. My husband enjoyed the Dr. Reefer billboard as well and made sure to point it out to me each time we drove through Vegas. So, looking through your pics was like revisiting my own vacation.

  5. What a fantastic log of your trip! My husband and I plan to do lots of road trips as soon as my youngest goes off to college next year. I have never done the drive you chronicled and I think I am going to copy it. The scenery was amazing and I know my husband would love all the red rock and lava rock formations. We live in such a beautiful country and every time I have travelled out of the country I am reminded of the place where I live and how lucky I am that it is rich with such amazing and diverse landscapes.

    You are a gifted photographer!!! I really enjoy your perspective!!


  6. TS - Thanks Tim! Everybody else takes pics of the "normal" stuff and I like the oddball.

    Ashley - Thanks. I was hoping that the darn thing would become untied and fly out of your truck. Sorry that you're having a tough day.

    Karen - From my end, it's hours and hours of desert! But I always manage to find things to take snaps of. St. George is pretty nice.

    Reading Rachel - I just read your post. Glad I could be of service. Wow, socal to SLC is a long haul with kids in the car!

    Dr.Soosie - Thanks! There's lots of things to see in the desert. It's a hard place and it seems to draw unusual people. A lot who are "off the grid" in a social sense.

  7. What a great road trip! I feel like I tagged along :-)
    I do love desert landscapes...look forward to the pics of Zion.

  8. TS - oops! I'm not sure if the jerky is "out of this world," but the cost sure is...

  9. I agree with TS - photos are so fantastic that I felt like I was hitching a ride with you guys!

  10. I lived in Utah and I've never visited Zion or Bryce or Arches or Moab. My son is in college @ the U (Univ of Utah) and loves it. He's a great outdoor person: snowboarder, hiker, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. It's a great place for him. We lived in the high desert when we were first married. My husband worked on the Green River project, Strawberry Dam, etc. St. George is gorgeous. Sounds like a fast trip.

  11. Nat - It was short but fun.

    Kitty - Thanks! In the two days I think I took about 200 pics.

    California Girl - I've been to those places but need to go back. Utah is a great place for an outdoors type, that's for sure. It was a very fast trip, but it was lot's of fun.

  12. Cool - looks fun! Kids and I talked about how neat it might be to drive the 66. Don't know if that would actually be wise for us - but it's a thought! Since we'd probably hurt each other or look like the poor guy in that one pic by the time it was over - I think we will just travel vicariously through your great pics! Glad you guys had a safe trip and good visit!

  13. What wonderful photographs, it sounds like a really spectacular and fascinating journey. My favourite one is the World's Tallest Thermometer, what a novel idea :D

  14. Andrea - Thanks! We talked about doing a route 66 road trip this weekend. Then I got the theme song stuck in my head. Did you ever see the TV show, "Route 66?" A long road trip is always a challange with chillins in the car, that's for sure! Happy to be of service...

    Sam - Thanks! They have the thermometer because it really is one of the hottest places on earth during the summer. It's in a perfect spot because there's nothing on the road for a long ways either way from there. You almmost have to stop to stretch your legs, if nothing else.

  15. Love how you capture these slices of life so well. The abandoned car and trailers are my faves.

  16. Thanks for the tour. Can't wait to see more!

  17. I love Rusty! Such a cutie! Also love weird roadside attractions. I want to take a trip like that!

  18. I LOVE these,...I wanna go see the deserts and mountains out west SOOOOOO bad...I have to make plans to do so. I will be anxious to see your photos and hear your recommendations of where to go....

  19. Copyboy - Must be nice! Something don't work, you just throw it out in yard and let it rust away.

    Nancy - There will be more in the morning.

    Joan - I'll post some actual Zion pics tomorrow morning. We didn't get to go to most places because snow had closed the roads in the park. I still got some good ones though. Easy to recommend some spots in the west for you.

  20. These pics are great! They make you feel like you are along on the road trip...I would have liked to run into the "outlaw" bikers...even if they just looked the part!

  21. I love the way you formatted this picture story. More, more!

  22. What a fantastic tour of the desert and I didn't even have to leave
    my comfy space with the AC.
    Great photos .. you captured the
    part of Lost Wages that most people
    never see... I admit I usually see just the roulette wheel at Caesar's.

  23. Very nice ride Pat,

    I sure enjoyed the pictures and the story that took us along for the ride, like some of the others have said I sure would like to copy the trip.

    The Outlaw Bikers were actually refreshing to see, the description you gave told a lot about them and what they stand for, learn something new every day Thanks for sharing

  24. This was so cool...I feel like I just took a vacation and never left my chair...very efficient! Actually looks like a great time.

  25. I commented but it seems to have vanished...

    Copyboy - yup! Something breaks, you just throw it out in the yard to rust away.

    Nancy - Thanks! More pics tomorrow. Not so funny though.

    Ally - us too! He was a character! His buddies are a 100 pound Lab and 2 doxens. They have a couple of acres to run around on.

    Joan - Thanks! There's a lot to see out here on the left coast!

    Christie - thanks! I was so surprised when I googled them.

    Jimmy - Thanks! It was nice having you come along! I agree about the bikers. A happy surprise.

  26. Those pics are so awesome, Pat. I love the desert. Too bad when I lived in the Antelope Valley I was not into photography like I am now...there are so many great photo ops in Agua Dulce, Tehachapi, Acton.
    One of these days when I retire, you, me, and Jimmy need to get together and hit the road!

  27. Those are such great pics, Pat. I love the desert. Too bad that when I lived in the Antelope Valley I was not so much into photography, there are so many good photo ops in Agua Dulce, Acton, Techachapi...
    One of the these days, you, me, and Jimmy need to hit the road together.

  28. THAT was friggin' awesome, thanks for taking us along with you !!!

  29. Holy cow. Utah and back in one weekend? Cheers to you all! Thanks for the pictures. I can't pick a favorite, because I love the desert so much. Looking forward to the next installment.

  30. Joe - Thanks Joe! You are right, lots of good photo ops out that way. I'm game for a road trip...

    Vickie - Thank you my dear! Just relax and enjoy the scenery! lol

    Megan - Thanks!It was a haul, but not as bad as it sounds. Besides my brother-in-law did a fine job of driving, the four of us have a lot of fun when we're together, so the time passed quickly.

  31. St. George - My neck of the woods! Well, kinda. I live in Salt Lake, but we spend a lot of time in St. George. Great pictures, they give the beauty of the place justice.

  32. Lovely photos.

    Oh, and thanks for the nudge.

    I'm not dead.

    I'm going to catch up on reading/writing in this world o' blog this weekend.


  33. Dr. Reefer. LOL I so gotta make that call!

  34. I love it when there are so many pictures. Great shots. I truly enjoyed them.

  35. Love your narrative! and the photos, of course!

  36. I'm being encouraged to get back to my personal blog, in which I also do series of pictures. I've been doing more of the "one per day" type blogs recently. So, I enjoyed this. Nice scenery and interesting stuff - and, oh, those abandoned cars! I can think of an incredible highway in Colorado, and what do you see at some of the most scenic parts? Abandoned cars! They were everywhere. There should be a way to get rid of them that doesn't put a huge burden on the low-income folks that own them.

  37. Cheeseboy - Thanks! It was nice to see the green of the place after driving through 3 states worth of desert all day.

    Tocalabocina- thanks! I'm glad you didn't mind the nudge. You are very funny and write very well.

    Jerry - "dr. reefer." That's pretty blatant...I wonder if he has an office in OC.

    Mr. Stupid - thanks! it was fun.

    Brenda - thanks! I really like when folks do narratives, but for some reason, I don't do it much myself.

    Tapirgirl - I don't see how you keep up with everything you do.
    I also don't understand about the cars. I guess there is W.T. everwhere!

  38. Hi Pat. I really enjoyed this trip with you. Awesome pictures! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine and leaving a comment.

  39. You are great with that camera! It doesn't hurt that the drive to Utah has such beautiful landscapes (and crazy characters)!

  40. ABAO - The desert is a hard place to live and it seems to draw unusual characters. I love it. Wouldn't want to live there, but I like visiting...

    Ginny - Right back at ya! Thanks...


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