Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Germany in 2016 | Belgium | Tasmania 2017 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 | Australia Flying Safari 2017 | Philippines 2018 | Spain in 2018 | Alaska in 2019 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: February 2021 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 June 2019 May 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 June 2018 May 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2020/10/30 Road trip to Dallas via Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas National Parks plus Oklahoma City
π 2020-10-30 01:01 in Trips
Arturo had planned a south trip to escape boredom at home, and nicely invited us to join him. We ended up settling on going to Oklahoma before turning around, and Jennifer and I would go to Dallas to see her parents, while Arturo would return via the south route and we'd use a similar route 5-6 days later after our Dallas visit.

Jennifer thought about using a campervan, which technically seat and sleeps 3, but realistically it's not super comfortable with 3 people in the front, and the 3rd person supposed to sleep on the top would have been a tight fit with the luggage we put there. Luckily Arturo was happy to sleep in his tent, so we used the top for storage (which we ended up needing):

color and decals are not pretty, but oh well
color and decals are not pretty, but oh well

plus side was a fridge, microwave and reasonable kitchen storage (the expresso machine was ours :) )
plus side was a fridge, microwave and reasonable kitchen storage (the expresso machine was ours :) )


luggage on top, and the 2 benches transformed into a space big enough to sleep 2
luggage on top, and the 2 benches transformed into a space big enough to sleep 2

don't let the smiles fool you, the middle seat isn't that great
don't let the smiles fool you, the middle seat isn't that great

The electrical system was interesting, it had a big solar panel that would sustain the fridge forever, but the 120V system only worked if you were plugged in 120V power. As a result, no microwave or expresso unless you were at an RV camp site. I however fixed that with some hacking, you can read more about our Kuga Campervan, here

and we were ready for the trip...

Day 00: 8H drive to Kelso Dunes

The trip started with a long drive to Kelso Dunes. We left around 09:00 and stopped at Harris Ranch for some reasonable beef (fine to stop, but not special enough to go there just for that). We ordered takeout and found outside tables:



During the drive, we noticed that Mohave spaceport had lots of planes parked, probably a good amount of 737 Max that have been grounded:


lots of trains on the way
lots of trains on the way

And finally we made it to Kelso Dunes just around sunset:





Jennifer made dinner for us, which we enjoyed in the van (dispersed camping)
Jennifer made dinner for us, which we enjoyed in the van (dispersed camping)

Interestingly, there was a small burning man gathering there:




Day 01: Kelso Dunes to Sedona

We got up with sunrise, and went to climb the dunes:


we wondered what would fit in there
we wondered what would fit in there







going down was faster :)
going down was faster :)

We then drove towards Sedona. We did the Thumb Butte Trail in Prescott. Nothing to write home about, but a nice stop. We did a sunset hike:







Day 02: Sedona: Montezuma Castle, Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, Red Rocks, Sedona Airport Viewpoints, Secret Mountain Brins Mesa Hike, Upper Downtown Sedona

Sedona had lots to do and see, but outside of what was closed due to covid, we got to see the highlights. We started with Montezuma Castle which opened at 08:00. Natives (before the American Indians) lived there with ladders between the levels, and the current thinking is that they were wiped out by the apache american indians (although it could also have been the spanish):



lovely woodpecker
lovely woodpecker


multiple birds enjoying the berries in the trees
multiple birds enjoying the berries in the trees

Then, we went to the Red Rocks visitor center:






Nearby, the chapel of the holy cross in the rocks, is definitely unique:





Great views from there:







After that, we went to the Buddhist Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park:





The Airport Lookout had great views:





Arturo then found a hike at Secret mountain Brins Mesa:





lovely colored clouds
lovely colored clouds

We then had a bit of time in Upper Downtown Sedona and went back to the airport viewpoint for sunset:







And that was it for our day in Sedona.

Day 03: Arizona Meteor Crater Natural Landmark & Petrified Forest NP

Day #3 was a long drive to Albuquerque, so we broke it down by stopping by Meteor Crater Natural Landmark which is the best preserved crater in the US.






early scientists dug tunnels to try and find the burried meteorite, but in fact it was pulverized by the impact
early scientists dug tunnels to try and find the burried meteorite, but in fact it was pulverized by the impact


Next was Petrified Forest NP which was quite impressive:







lovely colorful lizard
lovely colorful lizard











The area also had beautiful hills and colors:




Soo nice...
Soo nice...







They even had petroglyphs:



After a few more viewpoints, we left the park a bit early to get to ABQ. Great park, we could have spent more time there:


Day 04-05: Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park

After AZ, we drove through New Mexico quickly (which didn't want tourists because of covid), we reached Texas where we spent 2 half days in Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park:


Cadillac Ranch on the side of route 66 was a fun stop:





Welcome to texas:


Then we finally arrived at Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the local little grand canyon:





We had a bit less than 2H for a hike on lighthouse trail, so we went for it:







we then free climbed the adjacent peak:
we then free climbed the adjacent peak:

it was not a tall climb, but it was technical
it was not a tall climb, but it was technical

picture from the very top
picture from the very top

coming down wasn't that easy either
coming down wasn't that easy either

we then raced daylight back to the car
we then raced daylight back to the car




We then slept in our campervan and went for another hike the next morning (which in hindsight, was redundant with the one from the previous day):





the rocks had salt in them
the rocks had salt in them


beach box, end of the 4.2 mile hike
beach box, end of the 4.2 mile hike





With the sun coming out, snakes started getting out. First a small one that went away and let us pass. Later a rattlesnake that got pissed off and didn't leave the trail. We had to find a complicated path around it as it was guarding a bridge that crossed a small ravine:




After getting back to the parking lot, it was time to drive to Oklahoma City with a few stops along route 66:





my cross is bigger than yours!
my cross is bigger than yours!

another route 66 stop:





Day 06-07: Oklahoma City

The last stop of trip was Oklahoma City, which had some nice museums, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to recount the federal building bombing that happened in 1995 and honor the dead. This is what we did on the first day:







We then had a quick drive through town to the National Cowboy Western Museum:




The National Cowboy Western Museum was quite good (see page):


Next was the OKC science museum which was better than expected (see page):


By 17:00, the day was over (all museums closed), so we drove by the infantry museum just next door and saw a few things through the fence:




And we arrived just in time at the Centennial Land Run Monument at sunset. Awesome!










The next morning we went to the Museum of Osteology (see post):


After that, it was time to drive to Texas and end our trip in Dallas. We then parted ways with Arturo who continued the trip back home, while we went to see Jennifer's parents:


The trip continued 6 days later, back to california through southern states, read up here

2020/10/02 Hiking Thunder Mountain at Kirkwood
π 2020-10-02 01:01 in Hiking, Snow, Trips
To finish our trip through Utah and Nevada, we drove through Kirkwood to see it during the summer:

never seen the area outside of the snow season, pretty trees
never seen the area outside of the snow season, pretty trees


I've only ever seen caples lake when it was frozen
I've only ever seen caples lake when it was frozen

Then, we went to check out kirkwood. This must have been the lowest snow coverage day I've seen at kirkwood :)



the wall
the wall


first chair!
first chair!

which button do I push? :)
which button do I push? :)

it was fun to see the magic carpets. They can be raised as the snow level goes higher
it was fun to see the magic carpets. They can be raised as the snow level goes higher

the 'temporary' lodges
the 'temporary' lodges

still stocked
still stocked

After going around KW a bit, we went around Carson Spur:

avanlache prevention gates and avalanche triggering devices when the road needs to be cleaned
avanlache prevention gates and avalanche triggering devices when the road needs to be cleaned

After parking the car, we hiked up from Carson Spur to Thunder Mountain, and back down to Silver Lake/Kit Carson. It was a pretty easy hike up to Thunder Mountain with great views of kirkwood, Caples Lake, top of Cornice lift, and Silver Lake.

nice to see the avalanche gates from so close
nice to see the avalanche gates from so close


these trigger the slides for avalanche safety on Carson Spur
these trigger the slides for avalanche safety on Carson Spur



the smaller kirkwood lake
the smaller kirkwood lake

multiple big volcanic rocks
multiple big volcanic rocks






damn, I never hiked that far with my snowboard :)
damn, I never hiked that far with my snowboard :)

same here, that's a pretty far hike from sentinal bowl
same here, that's a pretty far hike from sentinal bowl


getting closer to sentinel bowl/cornice lift
getting closer to sentinel bowl/cornice lift




we made it to the top of thunder mountain, honestly it was an easy hike
we made it to the top of thunder mountain, honestly it was an easy hike

nice view of silver lake
nice view of silver lake


We split off with Arturo, he went back to the car, and we continued the other way towards cornice and silver lake:


looks a bit rocky, probably not a big deal that I forgot to bring my snowboard
looks a bit rocky, probably not a big deal that I forgot to bring my snowboard

a sign frozen in time, left as is on the wretched day of March 14th when they closed
a sign frozen in time, left as is on the wretched day of March 14th when they closed


path to sentinel bowl
path to sentinel bowl

woohoo, I'm a lift operator now :)
woohoo, I'm a lift operator now :)

never went down this way, but it was the way back to our path
never went down this way, but it was the way back to our path




kit carson
kit carson

silver lake
silver lake

From there, Arturo met us on the road, and we drove home to end our 11 day trip.


More pages: February 2021 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 June 2019 May 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 June 2018 May 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997

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