The Trip 2011

 
   

Home

Long Beach, California

 

 

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific (Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus)

 

 

Here I have posted some photos from the 8 states I visited during my 14 days long road trip in Western USA in 2011. From chilly Long Beach and Los Angeles (yes, it was pretty cold in California!), through Mojave desert, Death Valley National Park, via Nevada and Las Vegas and into southern parts of Utah. The beehive or mormon state has all kinds of nature, from the deserts in the southern range, the prairie-like panhandle in the central parts, to the rugged high snow-covered mountain areas all over the state, in addition to the colorful canyons and cliffs of the numerous national parks in the southern region.

Since I only had a limited time to spend in the national parks, the stopovers in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Arches National Park became brief. Zion NP was very crowded when I visited, so to get away from the masses, it would have been necessary to hike. But the colored cliffs and the rest of the nature in the park was very nice. Bryce Canyon NP was less crowded and quite chilly, and dominated by the impresssive amphitheather with hundreds of hoodoos. Bryce Canyon NP also had a richer wildlife, with mule deers, pronghorns and many different bird species. Capitol Reef NP is named for a particularly colorful section of the Waterpocket fold, creating a slickrock wilderness of domes, cliffs, and a maze of twisting canyons. In Arches NP I only spent half a day. Since it turned out to be impossible to find an available motel or hotel room in the city of Moab, I had to drive north to Green River for acommodation after spending the sunset hours in the colorful park.

Instead of driving to Salt Lake City, I choosed a more easternly route, mainly to visit one of the best birding spots in Utah according to many web sites, namely the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in the north-eastern region. Unfortunately, most of the roads in the refuge were temporarily closed due to flooding. Still, this region along to the Green River was obvious a good birding spot. From there I drove north to the desolate Wyoming, with sparsely populated, endless open plains before entering the impressive Shoshone National Forest, the first national forest established in the USA, and then, after a night in Jackson Hole, into the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

For me, the highlight of the trip was of course Yellowstone, with its rich wildlife. After three amazing and freezingly cold days in Yellowstone, I continued north to Montana and Interstate 90. The last days saw a lot of driving, with only brief stops in Montana, Idaho and Washington states before delivering the car in Seattle.

[ Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, Sonoran Desert (2001) ]

 

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), San Diego

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), San Diego

 

Wednesday May 18, 2011.

End of conference. Picked up the rental car, a black Chevy Impala with a 3.5 L engine and automatic transmission. Driving out of Los Angeles around 12.00 PM toward Death Valley. Ended up in Baker, south of Death Valley, after a brief stopover in Mojave Desert. Wills Fargo Motel $65.

 

 

 

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris), Mojave desert

 

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), Mojave desert, California

 

Flowering Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii), Mojave desert

Desert landscape with Joshua Tree and Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera)

 

Baker, California

Motel, Baker, California

 

 

Death Valley National Park

Thursday May 19, 2011

Drove north to the Death Valley National Park. Spended the day in the park. In the afternoon I was driving east toward Nevada, through Las Vegas, and ended up in the town of Mesquite. Overnight at Valley Inn Motel.

 

Next service far away

 

California roadside

Salt pan

 

Selfie in Death Valley - 2011

Badwater Basin, 85.5 meters below sea level

 

Death Valley

Driving through Las Vegas

 

 

Motel in Mesquite, north of Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Friday May 20, 2011

Drove from Mesquite via Arizona and up into Utah. A brief stop at a very crowded Zion National Park. Some rain. Lot's of spring flowering wildflowers. Drove further north to Bryce Canyon National Park. Magnificent amphitheather! Saw mule deer and pronghorn, Fishers' jay. Overnight at Flute Motel, Torrey $50.

 

Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata), Southern Utah

 

Yucca flowers with Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata)

Redneck US of A

 

Southern Utah landscape

La Verkin, Utah

 

Silver Bear rock shop, Springdale, Utah

Outside Zion National Park (Route 9), Utah

 

North Fork Virgin River, Utah

Welcome to Zion National Park, Utah

 

Creek in Zion National Park, Utah

Hailstorm

 

Red-tailed Hawk - western type (Buteo jamaicensis)

Sevier River along Hwy 89 in Utah. Creek valley with Sagebrush

 

Riverside Restaurant along Hwy 89, Utah

Sevier River along highway 89 in Utah

 

Roadside red rocks in Utah

Utah literature, found in all motel rooms ("I myself stick to The Book of Morons...it has served me well")

 

 

Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana), Bryce Canyon National Park

 

Saturday May 21, 2011

A lot of red cliffs in southern Utah! Visited Capitol Reef National Park. Very nice. Sunny, but cold. Pleasant creek stroll, 3 km. After lunch, a long drive through the prairie via Green River and then south to Arches National Park. Walked to Delicate Arch. Afterwards it was impossible to find accomodation in Moab. Everything fully booked, So had to drive north after dark to Green River for accommodation. Ramanda Inn, $103.

 

Lush river valley, Southern Utah

 

Sunset over barren land in Southern Utah

Utah rocks

 

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Outback lunch in Capitol Reef National Park

 

Capitol Reef National Park

Western Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus tigris), Capitol Reef National Park

 

River in Utah

Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), Capitol Reef National Park

 

Highway 24, toward Interstae 70 and the city of Green River

Arches National Park entrance

 

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

 

Hiking toward the Delicate Arch

Arches National Park

 

Moab, Utah

Food and gas supply. Shady Acres Gas and Groceries, Green River, Utah

 

 

Genius on the road. Helmet for sale!

 

Sunday May 22, 2011

Slow morning in Green River. Shopping in Price. Chose to skip Salt Lake City, and rather take a more easternly route via Quarry National Wildlife Refuge. Illegal (and stupid) driving on the riverbank, as the Green River was flooding. Scary! Kernal-dinosaur museum closed. Crossed several pass later in the day, of which two were more than 9,000 feet high. Up to Interstate 90, and Rock Springs. Budget Host Inn, $43.15.

 

Oil exploration, Utah

 

Lagoon street, Roosevelt, Northern Utah

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

 

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

White-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys leucurus), Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Northern Utah

 

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), shot through the windshield in Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. An introduced species in the USA. This one belongs to the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant group

Green River, Northern Utah

 

White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), northern Utah

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Northern Utah. Notice the black tip of the tail, and the large ears

 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), near Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Northern Utah

California Quail (Callipepla californica), Northern Utah

 

 

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), Northern Utah

 

Snow fence, Northern Utah

 

Vernal, Utah

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Northern Utah

 

 

Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Quite massive, length 145 km, surface 171 square km

 

Cattle ranch, Wyoming. This state holds some of the largest cattle ranches in the country

 

Monday May 23, 2011

Up early, 06.30. Again breakfast in the car, banana and apples, supported by a sweet Starbuck donut and coffee. Was driving north through Wyoming and to Jackson Hole. Bald eagle, pronghorns, uinta ground squirrel. Bighorn sheep in Shoshone National Forest. Grand Teton National Park, $25 for the entry to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, lasting for 7 days. Lot's of snow in the Northern parts. Bison, moose, elk, kingfisher, swan. Bad weather. Overnight at Antler Inn, Jackson Hole, $85.

 

Wyoming landscape

 

Pronghorn along Highway 191, Wyoming

Pinedale along Highway 191, Wyoming

 

Antler Motel, Jackson, Wyoming

Lunch in The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson

 

Jackson, Wyoming

River north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

 

Horse ranch outside Jackson Hole

 

Tuesday May 24, 2011

Late start from Jackson Hole. Drove into Yellowstone National Park. Still lot's of snow in the southern parts of the park. 2 meter snow around the South Entrance (Moran). Stopped at Old Faithful, and observed the famous geysir erupt. Continued to Hayden Valley. Cold, and snowing lightly the whole day. Observed my first wild grizzly bear! And 2 coyotes. Elk, bison, ducks. To the city of West Yellowstone in the evening. Had to buy a sweater, as I was not prepared for the cold weather. Buffalo meatloaf for dinner. City Center Motel, West Yellowstone, $77.

 

Into Yellowstone National Park

 

Still lots of snow in southern parts of Yellowstone in late May

In Yellowstone National Park

 

Hot springs, Yellowstone National Park

A Bison at Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

 

Yellowstone River

Look, there's a grizzly bear! Roadside chaos, Yellowstone

 

And here is what everyone was looking at, a mama grizzly bear with her cub in the snow

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, in late May

 

Elk shedding his winter fur, Yellowstone

Wednesday May 25, 2011

Started 07.30. Spent the whole day in Yellowstone National Park. Clouded but no rain. Made the roundtrip to see the geysirs first, including the beautiful Midway Geysir. Then north to Mammoth, and then to Tower Falls, and Lamar Valley. Some sun after lunch, and the temperature increased to 56-58°F in the afternoon. Black bears around Tower Falls. 5 more grizzly’s. Bighorn sheep, coyote, blue grouse. Drove to Cooke City before dark, Montana, at 20.30. Alpine Motel, $65.

 

Alpine Motel, Cooke City

 

 

 

Sleeping Bison

 

Prospector Restaurant, Cooke City, Montana, East of Yellowstone

 

 

Pub in Cooke City, Montana

 

Thursday May 26, 2011

Woke up and it was snowing, and freezing cold. A bit depressive. But partly sunny later in the day .in Lamar Valley Saw my first wild wolf, but only through a telescope with the help from some veteran wildlife observers. Saw 4 new grizzly’s in Lamar Valley. Off towards the Hayden Valley again. Observed a grizzly quite close up on the road from Mammoth to the road leading to Canyon and Hayden Valley. Grizzly bear with two cubs near Yellowstone Lake. Wolf crossing the road in Hayden Valley, still snowing. Back to Lamar, but then it started snowing really heavy, and I decided to leave Yellowstone. Drive north to Livingstone, Montana. Budget Inn, $53.50.

 

Mule Deer, Montana

 

Livingstone, Monatna

Motel in Livingstone, Montana

 

Westward on Interstate 90 in Montana

Clark Fork River, Montana

 

Idaho countryside

A Boeing Max decommissioned?

 

Old cars

Another winner. This fellow looked a bit like Jack Nicholson

 

Spokane, Washington

Ritzville, Washington

 

 

Top Hat Motel, Ritzville

 

Friday May 27, 2011

Driving day. Westward through Montana, and a stop at the Clark Fork River. Idaho, the next state, was very scenic, with lots of forest, valleys and lakes. Very crowded on the interstate through Spokane, Washington State. Overnight at Top Hat Motel in Ritzville, $43.

 

Columbia River, Washington

 

Pothole Reservoir, Washington

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), Pothole Reservoir

 

Veiny Dock (Rumex venosus), Pothole Reservoir

Washington

 

 

Old-town district, Ellensburg Pearl Street, Washington

 

Saturday May 28, 2100

Visited Pothole Reservoir. Western grebe. A brief stop in the Cascades mountains. North Bend Motel, $66. Tasty dinner at Boxter's.

 

Into the Cascade Mountains, Washington

 

 

A fern in the Cascade Mountains, maybe Western Swordfern (Polystichum munitum)

A small detour in the Cascades

 

Winter roads, Cascades

Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum), Cascades

 

Western Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus), Cascades

Twede's Cafe featured in Twin Peaks, North Bend, Washington

 

Twede's Cafe with the cherry pie, North Bend

North Bend, where they filmed Twin Peaks

 

 

North Bend Motel, North Bend

 

Sunday May 29, 2100

Into Seattle. Starbuck coffee, of course! Pike Seafood Market. Up to the “Norwegian” area for a quick sight-seeing. Drove south in vain in search for state parks. Shopping Wallmart. Motel 6, $69.

 

Coffee-bar visit, a "must" in Seattle

 

 

Pike Place Market, Seattle

 

Seattle

 

Seattle

Seafood at Pike Place Market, Seattle

 

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Monday May 30, 2011

Drove to Seattle International Airport and delivered the car. Flying home, via Portland, Amsterdam and Bergen.