NC to NC Phase Two – Cali to Utah

On Sunday night, I got in Funshine and drove away from California… twice. Because the first time I got up the hill but turned around and went back to Sean and Xavier. I didn’t want to leave. And I didn’t want to leave them. We went to dinner together about a half hour up the road, which gave me a bonus hour with my closest friends. Then I had to get in the car and go “for real this time”. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done… which speaks to the friendships we’ve made. The good news is that we already have a trip planned in February so we will see each other again soon! I then drove in the dark of night up and over to Las Vegas, NV. I arrived at my cousin Madison’s house minutes before midnight (I told you I didn’t want to leave, lol). After chatting with her for a few minutes and playing with her adorable kitten, I crashed for the night in a spare bedroom. If you haven’t read about phase one, the packing phase, this would be a great time to do that!

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Monday I got up early and hit the road. I drove straight to St. George, UT (with few miles in AZ on the way) and mailed myself two boxes of things that wouldn’t fit in the car later in the trip when I picked up a passenger. My plan for the day was to follow route 9 east through Zion National Park, then turn up on route 89, follow route 12 along the Dixie National Forest, and then finish on route 24 by Capitol Reef National Park. I had a hotel booked in Green River, UT right on I-70 E that night and I wanted to get there by nightfall, ideally. My first mistake of the trip was forgetting about crossing into Mountain Time, which caused me to lose an hour of sunlight. But I quickly overcame that and got into Zion National Park. The shuttles don’t run in November, but you can drive your personal cars up along the scenic route. I spent about an hour in the park both on the scenic route and on the 9 east through the tunnels.

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The next park of my trip led me into Dixie National Forest through the Red Canyon. I really enjoyed the first part of my drive along the scenic highway 12. This lead me into snow for the first time and under some interesting arches and causeways. I decided not to turn down in Bryce Canyon since it was quite a bit off the road, but I would love to come back when I had time to camp and hike and see tons of mountains. I paused for lunch somewhere along in here at a Subway, which was probably the only option I saw between St. George and Green River. I had also downloaded a license plate app for my iPhone and had done fairly well in the morning checking off new states. The afternoon I saw very few cars and even less out-of-state plates. As you can see below, the road was not straight. Ever. Even for a 100m. It made for stunning vistas and gorgeous turns as we followed the rocks through the canyons.

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Around 4pm, I finally got a bit of service on my phone so I could check how much time I had left. I knew my route, just not exactly how long it would take. Obviously, I was pausing for pictures along the way but I really didn’t get out too much and I didn’t turn into many of the parks and monuments that I could have. That being said, I was a little disheartened to see that I still had two and a half hours of driving to go. Woof. My goal had been the hotel by sunset, but I quickly realized my new goal should be getting out of the twists and turns by sunset. Turning onto highway 24 helped, as it was a bit straighter and lower in elevation. I’d been guzzling water all day, but still felt the effects of going up and over 8,000+ ft passes. I chased the sun through the last canyons of the Capitol Reef area and made it to the straights with the last light of day. I still had about 50 miles to go, but I covered it quickly and found my home for the night, Green River.

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I had researched cheaper options in town, knowing it would be quite small and I wouldn’t be there long. I rolled in right at 6:30pm and forced myself into the gym to stretch my tired body. I did my 90 Days of Action workout and then hit the elliptical for a pathetically slow workout. I was still at elevation for my sea-level body and I had been in the car for eleven hours. After the workout I walked to grab some quick dinner and then settled into my king-sized hotel bed for a few hours of job applications and housing searches. Two days and 804 miles down, many to go! You can see more pictures of my trip on Facebook, which I will continue to add to as the days go on.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: NC to NC Phase 3 – UT to CO | Rays of Funshine
  2. Trackback: NC to NC Phase Four – CO Thanksgiving! | Rays of Funshine
  3. Trackback: NC to NC Phase 5 – CO to VA | Rays of Funshine

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