Category Archives: Travel

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
~Confucius

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Three

Day Three – April 8th, 2009

Four Corners USA

I drove from Albequerque to Four Corner USA. It was fun to stand in four states at the same time. However, I learned later that perhaps this monument may not be technically where the four states meet. It doesn’t matter for this trip anyway.

Four Corners USA

Four Corners USA

Four Corners - Four States

Four Corners – Four States

It was VERY windy here…

Four Corners - Standing in Four States

Four Corners – Standing in Four States

Monument Valley Park

I drove from Four Corners towards Monument Valley Park. I saw breathtaking views and I seemed to be the only vehicle for miles! I can’t wait to get back here with a pro camera to take some awesome photos. Throughout this journey a song started playing in my head with wordless vocals sung by a Native American. It was my soundtrack for the trip.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

This is my favorite photo from the trip and I see a priest providing overwatch of a castle. I found out only recently upon searching that this formation has the name “Stagecoach”. You can view it on Google Maps.

Monument Valley - Stagecoach

Monument Valley – Stagecoach

There were many other formations like this one but I didn’t get very good photos of them. Next time.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Fans of the Half Life video game franchise may recognize Black Mesa which is the location where the game takes place in a secret military base. I’m guessing this is where they got the idea from. I was surprised to see actual signs with this labeling.

Black Mesa Station

Black Mesa Station

Black Mesa Complex - Half Life

Black Mesa Complex – Half Life

Not pictured is my detour through The Valley of the Gods. As I was driving along the road I saw the sign and thought, “Why not?” I stopped at the entrance and let another vehicle pass – tourists in a rental who appeared to be just fine racing along and chuckling as their vehicle bounced. However, I wanted to be careful with my vehicle. This was the most frightening part of the trip as the temperature was soaring and my vehicle was borderline overheating. The path is a 17-mile dirt road that is VERY rocky and I had to go VERY slow so as not to damage my vehicle suspension. My Jeep is supposedly “trail rated” but seriously, was not able to handle this. I tried to enjoy the scenery but it was quite treacherous. I was praying the entire time that I would make it through okay.

Near the 5-mile mark a women in a small white four-door vehicle stopped and asked me for the nearest gas station as her tire was going flat. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about the area, and was wholly unprepared. Cell phone service is not available and my phone at the time had no service. However, I think the navigation system in my vehicle was working and so I could follow the trail. She went onward and I felt bad that I could not help her. I now have a portable tire inflator that I keep in my vehicle. She was near the exit and there was about 3 hours of light left in the day so I have hope she was okay.

It took me perhaps 1.5 hours to get through this trail moving at a snails pace. I was so happy to make it through. Next time I may rent a rugged vehicle or something.

Next up… Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Four

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Two

Day Two – April 7th, 2009

I stayed at a very rundown motel in Carlsbad. Next time, I would plan to stay in El Paso or Albequerque, then drive over. I didn’t even shower as it was quiet rundown. No worries.

I drove down to the Carslbad Caverns National Park.

Carlsbad Cavern Entrance

Carlsbad Cavern Entrance

Carlsbad Cavern Descent

Carlsbad Cavern Descent

This was the most amazing place I’ve ever been to. It was very quiet inside and felt like a church cathedral. I plan to go back again.

Carlsbad Cavern Stalagmites

Carlsbad Cavern Stalagmites

These photos really don’t do it justice. There is a very large main interior cavern with a HUGE boulder balancing on the ground. Apparently it fell from the ceiling thousands of years ago.

Carlsbad Cavern Interior

Carlsbad Cavern Interior

After the caverns I drove through Albequerque and to the UFO Museum in Roswell. It was a fun place to walk around for a short while. I wish I had planned more time for this trip so I could get a better feel for the towns and places I drove through.

UFO Museum Exterior

UFO Museum Exterior

UFO Museum Interior

UFO Museum Interior

Next up… Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Three

Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day One

Plan

In April of 2009 I devised a plan to travel from Austin, TX and drive through the desert southwest and on back home. I was about to transition to a new job and I thought it’s now or never to see the Grand Canyon and many other places. Other the course of a couple weeks I built an itinerary and made reservations at various motels along the way. It was a very exciting experience and I saw things I was never aware of that existed.

The trip lasted five days from April 6-10, 2009. I drove my Jeep Grand Cherokee and thankfully it didn’t break down at any point, although I had horrendous mechanical issues since that time that were very pricey, resulting in my plan to never buy a Jeep again. Anyway, I finally got around to writing a blog post about the experience 8 years later. I pulled all of the photos into Lightroom, did some editing, and picked the best ones for this blog. All photos were taken with a Canon Powershot SD870 IS. It was a decent camera to take photos with at the time. However, it is not a “pro” camera and had trouble with indoor shots. I plan to take this trip again in the future and capture some really nice photos.

Here is the general route I took (just a quick scribble)…

Southwest Adventure Route Map

Southwest Adventure Route Map

Day One – April 6, 2009

I fueled up my vehicle and headed out towards I-10 with my first destination being Caverns of Sonora. This was a perfect pit stop along the way. I highly recommend going here if you can. They provide a nice guided tour.

Sonora Caverns Entrance

Sonora Caverns Entrance

Sonora Caverns Interior

Sonora Caverns Interior

Sonora Caverns Interior

Sonora Caverns Interior – Looks like taffy

Next up… Southwestern Adventure 2009 – Day Two