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BEST EVER - PART II
Written By: o.c.fotoguy
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BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II
BEST EVER - PART II

    This is the second part of the summary of my Adventure XVII, which describes my meanderings and happenings through the warm parts of our country, when it’s cold here in Ocean City.  The months I spent in south Florida and then coming back home through our southern states were described here last week.  In the beginning of March, I checked the long range weather forecasts for Texas, southern Arizona, Las Vegas, and southern Utah, where lots of my time-tested places are to see where Mother Nature would allow me to go there.  Her weather is the ultimate decision maker and delivers the warmth that makes my travels happy.
    The first night out of Florida I wanted to find a place where Andrew Zimmern in his Bizarre Foods show was; didn’t find it, but found another place, Doc’s Seafood Shack, in Orange Beach, Ala., where I feasted on the best seafood platter of my trip starting with a bowl of shrimp gumbo, then a dozen steamed oysters before a plate brimming with grilled big fresh shrimp and fish.  This town is near the top of my Finds List for this trip.  There are more seafood restaurants there than any place else I go including DelMarva.
    The forecast had shown “monsoons” in Texas, so I blitz drove thru it to avoid them and spent a month north and west of there in the southwest.  The town of Arivaca, Ariz., south of Tucson was the first stop of my time-tested places.  The Cienega Nature Trail, which is part of Buenos Aires National Monument, always promises a unique sighting.  This year I saw Pyrrhuloxia and enjoyed ACBs @ HH with hippies that escaped to the area in the 1970s and never left at La Gitana Cantina.  Then to Cibola NWR, an oasis in the desert, where there are few people and lots of wildlife south of Blythe, Calif.  This year there were hordes of 10-20 lb. Carp, that had outgrown the depth of the receding wet lands lake and were flopping around on the sand bars.
    Next, the Mojave Desert’s National Monument Kelso Dunes, the biggest pile of sand I have ever seen, south of the tip of Nevada. It’s always impressive with dummies climbing it in the sand in the oppressive heat!  Then just north is Las Vegas, the place to be for the St. Patrick’s Day Party (I was amongst it) under the Fremont Experience (light show) downtown.  The 6-7 block expanse of Fremont Street is bricked in and has no vehicular traffic, just tons of people, a band every block or so, Casinos (the Fremont has the best buffet), and you can take your own ACBs anytime!
    Then I checked the weather forecast and saw that my NoWherePlaces in southern Utah would have moderately warm weather, at least in the day time, so I went there, but decided to go only where I could drive on paved roads.  I may be done with long washboard-like roads, where there is no maintenance, which eliminated ToroWeap, the best view of the Grand Canyon, the slot canyons south of Escalante, and Bull Frog on Lake Powell.  I revisited the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon N.P. (National Park) at 8-9,000 feet, where I can hardly breathe, near the town of Panguitch.
    Capitol Reef N.P. was next after driving through hundreds of miles of Bureau of Land Management space on Utah hiway 12, the amazingly scenic Escalante Staircase National Monument, and huge Dixie National Forest.  The panoramic vistas there stretch 180 degrees from horizon to horizon and take several stitched together photographs to depict.  Capitol Reef’s camp ground is right amongst preserved and maintained Mormon Settler’s orchards and has several incredibly picturesque trails, starting near where I park my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck, which was the star of my Adventure, again).  The museum sells pies overflowing with the orchard’s fruit, an absolutely Must Eat!
    I took a break for a couple days in Page, Ariz., making notes of places (Glen Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Mexican Hat, & Monument Valley, etc.) to stop next time I’m there (hopefully it’ll be warm enough next year) on the way, for tamales at Fiesta Mexicana Restaurant, where I’ve eaten other years, and more texmex food, NCAA BasketBall March Madness on TV, and visited stunning Horseshoe Bend, just a mile or so from megmart.
    At about the 120-day point in my travels something clicks in my head; I know it’s time to head east and I did.  Most days coming back I drove 4 or 5 hours or less, very little of which was on interstates, didn’t use US 10 or 95 at all - it was slipping back into OC with pleasure.  My route use to be US 40> 81>50, that went through lots of cold places in latter March or April.  I use a southerly rural route now from somewhere in Texas to the North Carolina coast, across the Bay Bridge Tunnel, making lots of overnight stops.  That works much better, plus deciding to go to my NoWhereLands places in southern Utah made this a much more pleasurable experience and ended on a high note.  The cold US 40 route caused marathon driving days, a low note ending, not the way to do it!
    Now, after driving 9,681 miles I’m back after 131 days, trying to adjust to being in one place.  The Le’id Backness will continue, the doing next to nothing for a long time will be modified a little to getting some things done on my ToDo list.  I’m ready for ½$ dinners, steamed crabs, and the beach & boardwalk.  We already are having summer crowds (I’ve already seen bikinis!).  A big tourist year is coming.  Remember as DJ Batman says, “Pace Yourself” and the Green Parrot of Key West says “moderation……….”  On the DownSide and Loving It!!!
 
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
more photos @ picasaweb.google.com/o.c.fotoguy2009
& facebook.com/OCfotoguy
PHOTOSAsYouWantThem.biz
articles @ Coconuttimes.com
 
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