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Travels with Grama

Route 66 &
Tombstone - 2008

Road Trip -2008

We'd gone as far south this trip as we could go and normally it would be slightly depressing to turn north to head for home. This year felt completely different because we knew we still had new roads to explore ahead of us. The internet is a wonderful tool. I had simply typed the words "switchback roads in America" and found a multitude of unique highways to investigate. Two roads in particular fell into both our travel plans and the unexplored category.

The first was the southern portion of Hwy 191. Eastern Arizona is reputed to have one of the curviest stretches of pavement in the continental US. This would be the section of Hwy 191 which lies between Clifton and Alpine, Arizona. We had travelled the northern portion of Hwy 191 several times and were completely unaware of what we were missing. Fortunately for us, Hwy 191 begins at the Mexican border just southeast of Tombstone, zigzaging it's way north, ultimately leading us to our favourite red rock locations and the second, comparatively shorter road called the Burr Trail, from Bullfrog to Boulder, Utah.

Both of these roads took us through unbelievably beautiful countryside from the flatlands to tops of mountains and down again - so many times, we lost count of the mountain ranges we crossed over. Before we'd gotten home, we were again saying.....we have to do this run again !!!

2006 Route 66 & Tombstone Photo Album

Page 1 - Calgary to Mexican Border

Highway 191 Arizona - The Coronado Trail

From the Mexican border in Douglas, AZ, we drove north on Hwy 191 where it joins Interstate 10 and followed I10 east past Wilcox where Hwy 191 turns north again. At Safford we connected with Interstate 70 and followed I70 to just east of San Juan where the two split and Hwy 191 becomes the Coronado Trail. Although I love the desert, this portion of the trip felt long, as the scenery doesn't change much. Once on the Coronado Trail, the elevation began to fluctuate and we finally started to close the gap to the distant mountain ranges.

The Coronado Trail

The Coronado Trail got its name from the explorations of the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, who came searching for the non-existent Seven Cities of Gold. But for today's drivers, the riches of Coronado Trail are evident and enjoyable. Steep and winding, with frightening drop-offs, it has an eerie absence of human habitation.

The original designation of this highway was U.S. 666 and the 123-mile stretch of scenic blacktop was once called the Devil's Highway. The demonic route number is gone, changed to the more benign U.S. 191, but the challenging curves and mountain vistas remain to make this one of the best driving experiences in America.

The Coronado Trail passes through the White Mountains, with about 6,000 feet of elevation change. The scenery ranges from the red-rock country north of Clifton to a magnificent pine forest, most of it in the Apache National Forest.

There are more than 500 separate curves between Morenci and Springerville which is one reason why the Coronado Trail is reputed to be the least-traveled federal highway in the nation. According to the state Highway Department, cars on this road are spaced an average of 19 minutes apart. And that's including rush hour. Plus, it's about 100 miles between gas stations.

Wildlife sightings are common, especially around dusk, so caution is a must.

Clifton, Arizona

Clifton and it's neighbor Morenci are mining towns. Copper mining is a depressed industry, so these towns appear to be slowly dying. But there is history here. Geronimo, the famous Apache war chief was born near here.

Several pieces of history are on display for travellers to investigate. This locomotive from the Coronado Railroad is open to the public and well as other pieces of equipment.

Clifton's first jail was carved out of the mountainside.! The jail has two cells, one with a window, and one without. To enter the cells you first must descend a flight of stairs, which takes you underground. Then you go into the mountain, into a central room, where the doors to both cells are located.

The story also says that the stonemason who built the jail, Margarito Verala, went out celebrating after getting his cheque when the job was done, got drunk, shot up the dance hall, and wound up being the first guest at the new jail.

The situation of the town was such that it was subject to dangerous floods which time and time again took lives and destroyed property. The greatest flood occurred on December 4, 1906, when it rained continuously for thirty hours. Although most of the citizens took refuge on higher ground, eighteen people were killed by this flood. No serious flood has occurred since 1916.

The historical main town street appears to have been desolate for years, ever since the Phelps Dodge Mining Company moved the main road. Almost everything is boarded up and deserted. The outer town of Clifton is populated, although dwindling due to slow-down in mine operations again.

Whole towns like Strargo, Metcalf, and Newtown have fallen victim to the mining operations and ended up inside the great pit and many residents feel that it is just a matter of time before Clifton follows the same fate.

Morenci, Arizona
Morenci Slideshow

At one point, the mine and the town itself, was owned by the Phelps Dodge Company. It was the largest operating open-pit copper mine in the country. May still be, but it's current ownership - according to the "Keep Out" signs posted along the fences is now Freeport - McMoran.

The colossal destruction of land as far as the eye could see was both impressive and devastating at the same time. Whole towns have been wiped off the face of the earth because they had the misfortune to build on land the company wanted. It simply repossessed the properties and people were often forced to just abandon their homes and leave town. The immense loss of wildlife and natural habitat is unfathomable. And the pit just keeps on growing.

Along the road there is a cemetery. We almost missed it as it is on the side of a mountain and blends right into it. The cemetery is almost hidden by overgrown vegetation and brush.

Apache National Forest

As we approached a meadow we noticed herd of Elk in a frantic run. Before Doreen could stop the car and I could get my camera focused on them, it became apparent why they were running. A bear was chasing them.

Although the Elk were obviously in a panic, it really didn't appear that the bear was doing anything more than "having fun" or perhaps he knew he'd never be able to catch them.

You have to know the smell of the outhouse is pretty bad when Doreen opted to take to the bush at sundown and take her chances with the mosquitoes rather than use the facilities.  Gotcha!!!

Eagar, Arizona

Madonna of the Trail

This 10 foot high, 5 ton statue, cast by St Louis sculptor August Leimbach is on of 12 identical monuments to the bold spirit of the pioneers, erected in 1928-29 along the national old trails road from Maryland to California.







A tribute to the pioneers of Arizona and the Southwest, who trod this ground and braved the dangers of the Apaches and other warrior tribes.

Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest was set aside as a national monument in 1906 to preserve and protect the petrified wood for its scientific value.

It is one of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood, multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic structures, archeological sites, and displays of over 200-million-year-old fossils.

The Petrified Forest was discovered thousands of years ago by American Indians and was inhabited by groups of them for varying lengths of time. More than 650 American Indian sites have been found in the park.

The park was a bit of a letdown after having just travelled free through the Apache National Forest. Being from Alberta and having our own "Badlands" and abundance of dinosaur history, this just didn't warrant the fee that was charged. However, we've seen it now and can chalk up another mission accomplished.

Interstate 40 to Bluff, Utah

Followed the highway up to I 40 and passed another short section of Route 66 we'd seen previously on another return trip.

We picked up highway 40, then west through the Hopi Indian Reservation to Tuba City.

At Kayenta, we visited the hospital on the chance that the nurse that took care of me in 2003 was there. No such luck and I was a bit disappointed. I had wanted to stop and say hello since that peculiar night.

Also, no luck on a hotel room in Kayenta so we headed north on highway 163 to Monument Valley. We phoned ahead for a reservation at Bluff and managed to get one of the cabins at the Desert Rose hotel - one of our favourite places to stay.

Bluff, Utah

Now all we had to do was simply relax and tour around the area. For many years we have been saying we wanted to come back to the Bluff area, and spend a few days just touring around. This was the year. Nights in Bluff are incredibly peaceful. We just sat outside taking in the "still of the night".

The next morning we decided to head to Monument Valley. At the junction of Hwy 163 and Hwy 261, I noticed the incredible "painted desert" formation on the south side of the road. I guess we'd always been looking north to the turn-off for Hwy 261 and hadn't paid much mind on other trips. Also, this was earlier in the morning and we were facing into it. With the sun rising behind us, everything took on a different colour and hue. Colours were softer and more mulberry and rust.

Monument Valley
Monument Valley Slideshow

There was a morning haze giving everything a shimmering gleam to it. As I was hanging out the sun roof snapping pictures at 60 miles an hour, Doreen at the wheel and Willie riding shotgun on the dash, we crossed the"most photographed road" in America

You don't realize how busy that highway is until you try snapping pictures of a barren road without oncoming cars. We were almost ready to put up a roadblock until finally there was a gap in the traffic.

Monument Valley - June 22nd

Although we have been to Monument Valley many times, we have never toured through the Navajo Nation's Monument Valley Park. This year - true to our "fill in the gaps" theme - we decided to take the time to tour through the park. There is a new hotel in the park, the View Hotel. We will have to keep this hotel in mind for another trip.

As soon as we entered, we knew we were in for a treat. The parking lot was humming with tour guides in vehicles that made us wonder what the heck we were heading into. It appeared that we needed some sort of all terrain vehicle or at least a beat up truck. However, brave as we are, we struck out - unguided in the Murano - and hit the first wild, bumpy, rutted, steep and (maybe we shouldn't be doing this) road. Of course, we loved every minute of it. It wasn't long before everything smoothed out and we toured on the park's 17 mile road for several hours. I think they leave that first section in horrific condition to persuade the tourists to use their guided tours. After snapping another couple hundred photos, it was time to go

We stopped at Goulding for supper and after a visit to John Wayne's cabin, we said good-bye to Monument Valley and headed down the road to Mexican Hat.

Doreen's Favorite Picture - Full Size
Karen's Favorite Picture - Full Size

My new camera made all the difference in the quality of the pictures we took. It's a great camera and all we did was point and click. The pictures turned out so great we can only imagine what I could do with the camera if I had some lessons for it. Or, maybe, less knowledge is better - just let the camera do the work!!

Both our favorite pictures capture the feeling of the area. In Doreen's favorite, you feel the coolness under the trees with the monuments baking in the heat beyond. In mine, the background almost doesn't look real - more like a painting or mural of the monuments as a backdrop behind the wagon, as the heat rises off the valley floor.

Mexican Hat

Mexican Hat is actually a tiny town on the San Juan River just outside the northern boundary of the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley on highway 163. The name "Mexican Hat" comes from a curiously sombrero-shaped, 60-foot wide by 12-foot thick, rock outcropping on the northeast edge of town.

We have passed this rock many times. This year, we visited. We took a bouncy dirt road leading to the rock. Although there are two paths to climb the rock, we opted for viewing from the bottom. Just a short walk from the base of the rock, there is a terrific view of the winding San Juan River.

Goosenecks State Park

We have passed the turnoff for Gooseneck State Park many times over the years while going to or from Moki Dugway and Valley of the Gods. We have always been curious about the Park and this year we travelled the short four miles to it from highway 261.

Goosenecks State Park overlooks a deep meander of the San Juan River. Millions of years ago, the Monument Upwarp forced the river to carve incised meanders over 1,000 feet deep as the surrounding landscape slowly rose in elevation.

Eroded by water, wind, frost, and gravity, this is a classic location for observing incised meanders. The river meanders back and forth, flowing for more than five miles while progressing only one linear mile toward the Colorado River and Lake Powell.

Today, we seemed to save the best for last. The anticipation grew. It was now finally time to head back to our favourite road - highway 261 and the Moki Dugway.

Highway 261 Utah

The Trail, in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, circles through the ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) Country. It includes Hovenweep National Monument, Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum, Butler Wash and Mule Canyon Indian ruins, Natural Bridges National Monument, Grand Gulch Primitive Area, Valley of the Gods, Gooseneck State Park, Monument Valley, Historic Bluff, Three Kiva Pueblo and Four Corners Monument.

Moki Dugway is part of the 116 miles federally designated National Scenic Byway known as "The Trail of the Ancients". Arriving back on highway 261 is a good feeling for us. As much as it never seems to change - it really never stays the same. I often notice when some rocks have moved or a part of the road is changed - sometimes made wider and sometimes missing a shoulder.

This year we noticed a wreck over the cliff and we are absolutely sure we'd never seen it before. Whether it was a film prop or an actual accident, it reminds us that although the road is stimulating, exciting and fun to drive - it can also be very dangerous.

Highway 261 makes you feel like you are on top of the world - and you are!! We never tire of it.

Because it was early evening there was very little traffic on the road. We could stop and view from just about anywhere. After driving up and down a couple of times the sun was starting to set and it was time to call it a day. We planned to visit highway 261 again before we left the area.

Painted Desert

As we headed back to Bluff we noticed that the painted desert looked completely different now as the setting sun shone directly on the hills. Burgundy was gone and brilliant oranges were dominant.

Canyonlands - June 23, 2008

Church Rock

We headed out the next morning to the Canyonlands area. Of course we had to stop so I could get a picture of Church Rock. I don't know why this rock fascinates me. I just want to know what is in that hole.

Doreen found some information about Church Rock. "The opening to Church Rock is approximately 16 ft. high and 24 ft. across. It was cut by Marie Ogden's religious cult to make a church. They had plans to hollow out the entire center. These plans were never finished." Who knows? This may or may not be true, but the story of Marie Ogden is certainly very interesting.

Wilson Arch
Hole in the Rock

After visiting Wilson Arch and grabbed some ice cream at the site, Hole in the Rock, we headed into Canyonlands. In 2005 we took a quick run into Canyonlands bit were on our way home so didn't do it justice. This was the year to finally tour in earnest.

Needles Overlook
Needles Overlook Slideshow
Needles Overlook

The half hour drive into the Needles Overlook was really worth it. There wasn't a soul around and we had the entire cliff top to ourselves. We weren't really sure how the Needles were formed, but just being at the top of the overlook took your breath away.

I know it definitely did for Doreen. Her fear of heights just about did her in as she rounded a corner of the path and was suddenly facing "nothing but a path and fenced railing to keep her from stepping off the edge of the cliff. Being the nasty person that I am - I stood waiting with camera ready to capture the moment....instead of warning her.

Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument

We left the overlook with the intention of taking the lower road onto the Needles floor. We stopped at Newspaper Rock, and headed up the road to Needles but it was too late in the day. We turned back toward highway 191 and stopped at Newspaper Rock again for some photos.

Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is located 25 miles north and west of Monticello in eastern Utah. The Monument features a flat rock with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. The petroglyphs were carved by Native Americans during both the prehistoric and historic periods. Dating the rock carvings is difficult. The reason for the large concentration of the petroglyphs is unclear, making the rock somewhat of a mystery.

Manti-La Sal National Forest

I found a forestry road for us to take back to Monticello It was getting late in the day and we were heading deeper into the forest. I had visions of getting lost, spending the night in the bush, and meeting face to face with Bigfoot himself. We have never seen so many deer anywhere we have travelled. There were thousands of them and not just in the trees. They were grazing at the side of the road and seemed oblivious to us. Once again I had my head out the sunroof taking picture after picture. Soon it became too dark for the camera to catch them without a flash.

Verdure Ghost Town

It was nearly dark by the time we reached highway 191. We spotted an historical marker for the ghost town of Verdure. We never noticed this before and stopped to read it. Verdure, originally named South Montezuma and settled in March, 1887, is the oldest Mormon settlement in the Blue Mountain Region. Settlers set up camp at Verdure to prepare for a permanent settlement at Monticello.

Valley of the Gods
Valley of the Gods Slideshow

In the morning of June 24th we left Bluff and travelled a couple of miles west to the SE entrance of Valley of the Gods. The last time the Murano had travelled this road was in August the year before, just after a rainstorm and a couple of the runoff areas had been washed out and muddy. This year, the sun was shining, no other tourists invaded our space and for an hour and a half, the Valley was ours. We took a multitude of photos before finally leaving at the NW exit and onto Hwy 261 at the base of the butte.

Highway 261 Nightmare - June 24
Highway 261 Nightmare Slideshow

At the bottom of the Moki Dugway on Hwy261 there is a turnaround where those less adventurous can about-face, instead of climbing the butte. A fully hay-loaded tractor trailer with a secondary pup full of sheep was pulling back onto the road from the turnout so we pulled off to give him room to pass - assuming he had changed his mind or taken a wrong road. Signs posted at the top and bottom clearly state it is illegal for him to use this road.

Half way up the butte - we came upon two cars of women and kids, one of which was attempting to back down the treacherous gravel road. She was clearly frightened and a glance to the right gave us the explanation as to why she would back up at this point. Rounding the narrow bend on the next curve - heading in our direction was another fully loaded tractor trailer. We were stunned as there was no doubt the clearly marked road restriction signs posted were intended for this type of vehicle. We suddenly realized that the first truck we'd seen at the bottom had not been turning around but had also just come down the hill.

The truck passed our 3 cars, precariously pulled off to the side and I yelled at the two men "Are you crazy" and they laughed as the drove by leaving a cloud of dust. Out came the camera and his license plate was recorded. Maybe the Utah Dept of Transport won't think it's so funny.

Lake Powell Ferry

Following our little adventure on the butte, we continued north on Hwy 261 to the junction of Hwy 95 and a short jaunt into Natural Bridges National Monument. We found out from the gatekeeper that the ferry over Lake Powell closed earlier than expected and we would have to hustle to make it that day. So off we went, skipping the Natural Bridges for another time.

We followed Hwy 276 to Hall's Crossing and pretty much drove right onto the ferry with a scant few seconds to spare. The captain of the ferryboat recognized our license plate and came over to chat, as it turned out his mother was raised in Cardston, Alberta, a small town just south of Calgary.

Lake Powell Slideshow

We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing boat ride, soaking up the sun and snapping pictures of the sparkling water and surrounding landscapes. When we reached the other side at Bullfrog, we had to make a decision - follow Hwy 276 up to 95 again into Hanksville or take the mountain pass up the Burr Trail over to Boulder. We were told the Burr Trail might be difficult because it had snowed the day before. That was good enough for us. Undeterred, we hit the Burr Trail.

Burr Trail - Utah

The Burr Trail is a backcountry route connecting Bullfrog and Boulder. It passes through the painted rock country of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument land.

The route is named after John Atlantic Burr born in 1846. He and his family lived in Salt Lake City, then later moved south and established the town of Burrville, Utah in 1876. John Burr soon developed a trail to move cattle back and forth between winter and summer ranges and to market. This cattle trail through the rough, nearly impassable country around the Waterpocket Fold, Burr Canyon, and Muley Twist Canyon came to be known as the Burr Trail.

Torrey, Utah

Torrey, with a population of under 200, is eight miles from Capitol Reel National Park. The town was established in the 1880s by Mormon settlers, and was initially known as Youngtown, after John Willard Young. It is generally held to be named after Jay L. Torrey from Pittsfield, Illinois, who, upon the advent of the Spanish-American War, achieved national attention by proposing the creation of what became three volunteer cavalry regiments, made up of cowboys and stockmen.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of one square kilometer (0.4 square mile), none of which is covered with water.

Torrey Log School and Church

On September 18th, 1898, the meeting house for the Torrey saints was started. This one room log structure was constructed on the Torrey LDS lot, with the local settlers furnishing labor, cash, or materials.

A school was also opened in this building on December 19th, 1898.It was used for meetings and voting until the 1970’s.

In 1991, the old log building was moved. Local farmers, loggers, and contractors donated the labor and equipment. During the summer of 1994, with a grant from the Utah State Historical Society, the building was moved again to its final resting place.

We stayed at the Chuck Wagon motel again but sadly not in one of the cabins. Nevertheless, the peaceful surrounding were the same and the weather was perfect.

We drove around the town, taking in the feel of the history behind it. Many original buildings are still being used. Our tour of Torrey in the morning completed the "gap" to be filled.

I found a house for sale and for some reason, fell in love with it. It was just an old house, nothing special but I'm sure if I"d had the funds, the sale would have been sealed before we left Torrey.

Maybe some day we will be rich enough to satisfy our silly whims.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, called "wayne wonderland" in the 1920s, comprises 378 square miles of colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths. About 75 miles of the long up-thrust called the Waterpocket Fold, extending like a rugged spine from Thousand Lake Plateau southward to Lake Powell, is preserved within the park boundary.

Capitol Reef is the name of an especially rugged and spectacular part of the Waterpocket Fold near the Fremont River. In the early 1880s, settlers moved into Capitol Reef country. Tiny communities sprung up along the life-sustaining Fremont River. Junction (later renamed Fruita), Caineville and Aldridge were created. Fruita prospered. Caineville barely survived. Aldridge died.


We took the short side trip to Fruita before heading to the Grande Staircase - Esclalante. For some reason Doreen remembered the school house on the main highway, but I didn't remember travelling down this road till we actually passed a couple of the sights. This time we did a full tour of the area and discovered Fruita is really well maintained and quite scenic - an unlikely lush oasis in the middle of the hot desert sun.

Fruita, located at the confluence of Fremont River and Sulphur Creek, was established in 1880 by Mormons under the name "Junction". In 1900 Fruita was named The Eden of Wayne County for its large orchards. It became know as Fruita in 1902 or 1904.

Of all the places in Utah for Mormons to create a community, Fruita might be one of the most difficult. Fronted by tens of thousands of square miles of desert, along a wild river prone to serious flooding, and in an area so remote that paved roads did not arrive until the 1960s, it is perhaps of little wonder Fruita, for most of its life, was home to no more than eight to 10 families. Today few buildings remain, except for the restored schoolhouse and the Gifford house and barn. The one-room schoolhouse was built and opened in 1896. It was also used for balls and religious services. It was renovated in 1966 by the National Park Service.

Fruita today is the heart and administrative center of Capitol Reef National Park.

Fruita School
Gifford Barn

The orchards remain, now under the ownership of the National Park Service, and have about 2,500 trees. The orchards are preserved by the NPS as a "historic landscape" and a small crew takes care of them, pruning, irrigating, replanting, and spraying.

I wanted to pick some fruit - as it was allowed - but Doreen said "NO - NO WAY". Her memories of the hot, itchy, grueling, back breaking, bug bitten job of picking in the orchards in Penticton as a kid flooded back, but she certainly would have waited in the comfort on the air conditioned car while I did the picking. Not likely - no fruit today...

Gooseneck Point

Gooseneck Point is in Capitol Reef National Park about a mile down the road just west of the visitor center. It's amazing that we can take in these sites and be virtually the only people there.

All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12

Grand Staircase Escalante

We backtracked to Torrey and headed west on Highway 12 toward Bolder. We were on this road in 2005 and wanted to drive it again.

This 1.9 million acre geologic wonder consists of three major sections; Escalante Canyons, Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Grand Staircase. It is a geological formation of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles, and canyons.

Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument was designated in September of 1996 by President Clinton. This high, rugged, remote region was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped.


Specifically though, what we wanted to see was the Hogsback a short strip of about two blocks, that is a real heart stopper. The information sign reads "Take a Deep Breath. As you drive over the narrow ridge of the Hogsback, it is easy to imagine that you are walking on a circus high wire". Exactly!!

In preparation for this two block drive, I was hanging out the sunroof camera in hand. Try as we might, it's just not easy to get the feel of the road on camera. Coming up to it you wonder what all the hype is about. Then suddenly, you are maneuvering twists and turns on this narrow highway with relatively no shoulder - and the edges on both sides go straight down!It really does feel like you are on the high wire. And we love it! Sometimes I think Doreen gets more kick out of my panic exclamations than of the actual road.

Boyton Overlook

Doreen kept insisting we had stopped at this lookout on the last trip thru, but for the life of me - it just didn't register. It wasn't until we actually pulled in and got out, that a vague memory was finally triggered. I really must have been half asleep in 2005 because we even had pictures of this place already posted. I think I had what's typically called a "brain-fart".

Of course, we had to document this moment in time when she was actually right and Willie, the mascot, was her only witness. He sat in silence overlooking the valley below as the camera snapped.

Highway 153 Utah

We left highway 12 and headed west on the Old Escalante Road (NF-17) over the mountain through the Dixie National Forest to Widtsoe. Widtsoe is a ghost town in located in Johns Valley northeast of Bryce Canyon and along the Sevier River at the mouth of Sweetwater Creek. The town existed about 1908–1936.

Then we headed north on highway 22 (Johns Valley Road) to Antimony (sounds like matrimony). Antimony is a town in Garfield County, Utah, United States. The population was 122 at the 2000 census, a small increase over the 1990 population of 83. From there we drove west on highway 62 to highway 89 and north to Junction. Along the way we came across a ghost town.

At Junction we stopped at the gas station and asked the locals about the mountain pass to Beaver. They advised that it had snowed the night before but it should be clear and with a four wheel drive we would have no problem. Good enough for us!. We connected with highway 153 and headed out through Fishlake National Forest to Beaver. It wasn't long before we hit the winding, uphill gravel stretch. Our day was complete.

After the long climb uphill, the roads level out at Gun Site Flat where the deer were again in abundance. They couldn't have cared less that we were there.

Just after the summit (10,000 feet), we came across Puffer Lake a tranquil oasis at the top of the mountain.

We arrived at Beaver early evening and stayed at the Butch Cassidy Best Western. We toured around the town and got our bearings for next morning.

Beaver to Idaho


In the morning we crossed under I-15 on our way towards Ely on highway 21. Shortly after Milford we came across a historical marker for Old Frisco Mining Town.  We drove where we were allowed but the warning signs stopped us from investigating closer.

We noticed an old homestead along the road and stopped to take some pictures.  There was an open tap with water pumping out into some kind of ditch - possibly irrigation.  To see all the water pumping in this totally barren, dry abandoned area was perplexing. We can only guess that it was pulling water from an underground river.

We connected with hwy 6/50 into Ely and north on highway 93 to Jackpot, Nevada.  We stayed at Cactus Petes (our usual favorite haunt).

After a swim and supper we relaxed in our room and I dyed Doreen's hair on the patio.  She didn't want to finish her holidays with grey hair. Not that anyone would notice since she always wore it up under her hat.

Salmon River Scenic Byway

Galena Summit

We were on the homeward stretch now, heading north on highway 75 over the Galena Summit. We stopped at the Overlook for the pause that refreshes. Galena Summit marks the divide between the Big Wood River and Salmon River drainage areas and gives a breathtaking view of the valley and Sawtooth range.

Salmon River

We then continued north on the Salmon River Scenic Byway to the Montana border at the Lost Trail Pass. Lewis and Clark were forced to come this way in 1805 when their native guide lost the trail. The route follows the Salmon River, dubbed "the River of No Return" through the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

This area was incredibly beautiful. The spring runoff was forcing the water over the rapids at a thundering speed. It was a spectacular sight. We came across several brave rafters - not something I would want to do.

We were able to take our time travelling and stopped to read several historical markers and investigate some of the small towns and ghost villages scattered along the route.

We stopped at the Salmon-Challis National Forest sign at the Lost Trail Pass to capture some pictures. The last time we were through this area, we encountered a blizzard.

We finally bunked down in Missoula for the night as we wanted to go through Glacier National Park and see the Logan Pass on our final leg home.

Idaho to Home

Logan Pass - Glacier National Park

We planned our route and timing so that we could end up in Glacier National Park and finally make it over the Logan Pass. After all the years we tried, we fully expected to be able to see it this year as we were now into the end of June. Much to our disappointment, the pass was once again closed.

We got right to the gates only to be greeted by a line up of cars and closed sign. With much disappointment we turned around and headed home.

We left highway 2 and turned north on to hwy 49 to connect to hwy 89 at Kiowa travelling along Lower St. Mary Lake.

We crossed into Canada at Port of Piegan/Carway. We were pushing now to get home to go to a friend's birthday party. Since we didn't use up our day in Glacier National Park we were on time for good food, good friends and good to be home.

Page 1 - Calgary to Mexican Border
2009 Eastern Road Trip