Southern Utah Tour 2014

Photo courtesy Pat Burbank.

By Keith Smith

Reprinted from the Fall 2014 issue of our newsletter, The Milepost. Photos provided by Keith Smith, Pat Burbank, and O Moore.

The Utah tour was terrific! Bobs Travis and Moore planned and executed this tour to
perfection! That is, if you don’t count the fact that the first tour day was rained out! Even then, with great planning, they had the foresight to have this day’s activity slipped one day and we went to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park on Day-Two and had a great time cavorting in ATV’s around and over the pink sand dunes. The rain held down any sandy dust and added to the pleasure.

From the dunes, we drove up over 10,000 feet to Cedar Breaks where we were surprised to find evidence of ancient volcanic action as well as the erosive effects of wind and water in the ‘Breaks,” themselves.

On Day-Three, we drove to Zion Park for a lecture and shuttle bus ride to see features of the park. On Day-Four, we moved to a motel in Torrey and enjoyed Bryce National Park en route.

On Day-Five, we drove to Moab with a visit to Capitol Reef National Park en route.

The next day, we visited Arches National Park, the home of many different shaped mesas, rocks and arches—many of the latter well off the beaten track and difficult to see.

Day-Seven was a free day, but in the evening, our Tour Coordinators had scheduled
a cowboy meal cooked in a Dutch Oven (Good!), plus a night–time boat ride down the canyon of the Colorado River.

Day-Eight we visited Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky District. This ‘Island’ was the top of a mesa at about 5,000-feet above sea level surrounded by canyons cut from the rocks by wind and water.

On Day-Nine, we moved to Blanding and on the way visited The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This portion of the park had both arches and mesas, but was noted for the numerous spires that looked like a large ancient city, as seen in the photo at the top of the next column. The figure atop the arch in the second photograph has not been identified. If it is one of our members let us know.

Day-Ten was another moving day, we drove to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,
but the big event of this day, however, was the drive off the mesa down a winding gravel road with many switchbacks and a wonderful view of the valley floor below. (see Page 1). However, before undertaking this unique experience in our Model A’s, we enjoy the wonders of Utah’s first National Monument, Natural Bridges. Bridges are
different from the arches, which have been carved out of the mesas by wind and rain. Bridges, on the other hand are actually bridges across waterways. Ancient rivers winding their way down valleys sought shortcuts in their crooked paths and, in time, gradually wore away their banks cutting holes in narrow necks of land that separated the stream from its downstream waterway. This land was stone and since the top layers were not cut, they formed natural bridges. Old photos taken prior to these lands being designated a ‘monument’ show they can carry the weight of numerous autos.

We spent the night at the  Monument Valley View Hotel whose room balconies overlooked the vast expanse of the valley. The sunset we viewed in the evening was only exceeded in beauty by the sunrise we experienced the following morning.

After breakfast, some of us took the opportunity to rid in the specially constructed trucks outfitted with canopy cover over the seats, which offered two-and -one-half–hour rides into the “Outback” of Monument Valley much further into the Navajo Reservation. It was time and money well spent as the views here were decidedly more
unique than those of the open valley.

We left the reservation and drove to Page, Arizona for our final night of the tour. We stayed at the marina at Glen Canyon Dam and attended our farewell banquet aboard the Canyon Princess. Our Tour Directors did not disappoint us. The boat had very comfortable accommodations for the dinner and the food and wines were very tasty. After we had had our fill, the wind-down festivities began with songs and laughter; lots of photo opportunities and to have final conversations with our friends.

We didn’t linger long after that, making our way to the marina gift shop before seeking our rooms as we were to be up early this next morning and leave for home. Those that had trailered their cars, would have to return to St. George to retrieve
their trailers and tow vehicles.

All agreed that it was a well organized tour. We had a few ‘roadside seminars’ with such topics as blown head gaskets, re-timing sessions and the like and one catastrophic engine failure that resulted in a car being trailered back to St. George where Bob Travis suffered a transmission problem with his modern tow vehicle! “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to!”