Westward Wander - 8 Day Solo Expedition from Mississippi to the Mountains


Bryce is awesome. I will let the pictures tell the story.

The Amphitheater is the main event and spectacular



I got the feeling of dread knowing I had to wake up the next day, put on a tie and go to work......

I enjoyed the beautiful, yet rushed drive from Bryce Canyon and out via Cedar City.

I went to visit my old Pirate4x4 friend Lance Clifford and his wife Renee at their house in Hurricane for a bit and then turned back north to Toquerville to spend the evening with Brian and Heather Swearengen of IH8MUD.com

Woody has a seriously cool pad on the edge of a cliff with a superb shop. We stayed up late wrenching on rock buggies and then I enjoyed my first real shower since thursday.




I have to be at work in Vegas at noon. It's 5 am Pacific. I'm not giving up yet......

I hit the Virgin River Canyon at sunrise. It was really nice. The last of the cool temperatures I will feel until Thursday night.

I turned east as soon as I could and meandered my way toward Valley of Fire State Park.

Valley of Fire is an amazing spot and one of my favorite Vegas area day trips. I wandered around here for a couple of hours watching the temperatures begin to spike. By the time I turned south along Lake Mead to Vegas it was approaching 100 degrees.

Knowing I would be eating stereo food for the next 2.5 days in the Venitian I grabbed some superb fast food and made my way to the hotel

2470 miles to go 1700 miles. 1700 miles is the straight line from Canton MS to Vegas. I wandered an extra 770 miles and an extra 48 hours.

It was good. Real good.



Wiffleball Batter
Great writeup and great photos. Looks like it was an awesome trip.
I'll have to find out more about that Navajo trail. We'll be camping at Kodachrome Basin State Park in October and that looks like it might make a good day trip.


Great writeup and great photos. Looks like it was an awesome trip.
I'll have to find out more about that Navajo trail. We'll be camping at Kodachrome Basin State Park in October and that looks like it might make a good day trip.
Check out the Great Western Road doing research.


I survived Vegas. Meeting went good and ran right to 5 pm, I was walking toward my 4Runner at 5:01. Once I navigated out of Vegas, I set my sites back on Flagstaff to escape the heat and get one more night in my RTT before I beelined it home.

GPS had the trip at 1700 miles and 26 hours. If I got in 4-5 tonight I would make it home mid-day on Saturday if I drove hard......

Or I could make it home Saturday evening if I took in a few sites along the way :D

I toured Hoover Dam in 2000 before the security clamped down. I really had no idea it was like Checkpoint Charlie or I would have waved as I passed, but I decided to "pop in" and shoot a couple pics

My first clue should have been the sign that said security checkpoint, 1 mile but I pressed on.

I pulled up and the guy looked at my Rooftop tent and directed me over to the inspection area for a search. I tried to say never mind but the supervisor made me go to the side. In the 115* Vegas sun they asked me to unzip the tent and deploy it to ensure it was not a bomb. I said, seriously, never mind, that's a *****. I am in my work clothes and they insist. I grab my ladder and go to work. 5 minutes and a heatstroke later they were satisfied I was not a USAF Veteran ISIS member and they let me go. Wasted :30 of daylight I wanted at Flagstaff......

I was well into Arizona as the sun was setting over the mountains in Kingman.



I had spied some good roadside campsites on my way through the precious weekend and I grabbed one about 10 pm and settled in with a bourbon to watch the stars.

It looked great the next morning but I didn't stick around long to enjoy it.

So, back to the road and back to the slow way. No reason to skip out on America west of Albuquerque. I can haul *** past that.

Route 66 awesome

I'm a sucker for National Parks and I had been forced to drive by Petrified Forest so many times I can't remember so I cut south and entered the park from the south end.

The Big Teepees

Newspaper Rock

A 1938 Studebaker marks where Route 66 crossed the park in the old days

The painted desert is magnificent. I want to catch a sunset here one day



I got almost to Albuquerque when I remembered a text I had gotten from a friend about a really cool old section of Route 66 called La Bajada Hill. I plotted it out and figured it would only cost me a couple more hours and that I could still make it to Amarillo by sunset.

I turned up toward Santa Fe and hit the trail once again

The trail was nice and I, again was the only human around. About 15 miles of dirt and you find the end of the plateau and the escarpment that troubled Route 66 travelers for decades

Unfortunately this thing is locked up tight. No driving it anymore but I broke out the GoPro Karma and flew it.

You Tube Link (I can't figure out the tags to embed it so here is the link)



I exited through Tucumcari on Route 66 and really took in some great old sites while I was looking for a BBQ place I saw on Yelp only to discover they close early so I peeled out for Amarillo

I made it to Amarillo at 9:30 central time and caught Rudy's BBQ still open. This is one of my favorite places so I was stoked.

The temperatures were going to get in the mid 50's that night so I was going to head down to Palo Dura Canyon and grab one more night in the tent. When I got out of Rudy's at 10 my motivation waned and the sky looked spooky so I grabbed a hotel and boom. Just like that I went from adventurer to traveler and I was still 12 long hours from home.

I grabbed about 5 hours of sleep and hit the road early and decided to go through Dallas instead of Little Rock. This route is a bit shorter but usually Dallas delays offset the distance. I got about 20 miles out and the rain was terrible. I pulled up the weather and saw this route was going to bring the suck all day but if I went back up to I-40 I would sail clear all the way home.

I hammered down only stopping for gas and made it home about 6 pm.

This route was about 600 miles less than my outbound leg but I had only added about 200 miles by wandering.

Total for the trip was 4313.1 miles in 8 days. 3 National Parks, 6 National Monuments, 8 states and a lot of the 4 B's....Beer, Brisket, Burritos and Bourbon

I would leave again tomorrow.

goin camping

Holy smokes. Those pictures are magnificent!!

Thank you very much for posting those pics and report. The beauty must have been stunning in person.

BTW, The four B's is the perfect camping/road diet and has kept me full and happy for decades. Are we brothers from other mothers?