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Yosemite National Park October 13, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 3:46 pm

Sunday isn’t the best day to explore Yosemite, but we tried to make the best of it. Again we wanted to see as much as possible in one day, so an early start. First half of the day we went to the valley. Starting at the Bridal Veil Falls, we were immediately greeted by hordes of tourists. Yosemite is kind of popular πŸ˜‰

After the falls we drove around the valley stopping here and there for some nice views and photo opps. We had to search a bit for Yosemite Lodge where we wanted to have lunch, filled up on energy and headed out to the next two famous views of Yosemite, Valley View and Tunnel View.

I planned to see sunset at Glacier Point where you get an amazing view of Half Dome. Hoping for an interesting sky we went up the long drive to the top. Again it was pretty crowded, lots of people had the same idea as us. We took a lot of photos and even without an interesting sky it was a great experience. Also we took photos of other people asking us to help them out πŸ˜‰

Driving back down in a train of cars we even saw some deer waving us goodbye. Just in time at the hotel to grab a bite to eat we went to sleep for the next part of the road trip.

Monday we first went to Mariposa Grove as we wanted to see the Sequoia Trees. After almost 2 hours driving we were greeted with a road closed sign πŸ™ Bummed out we almost went away but found a spot just outside the park and wanted to take the shuttle. Luck was with us as they opened the road after we parked. So we could drive up to the grove and walked around for an hour. The Sequoias are really impressive, hard to capture in a picture, but glad we got to see it.

The afternoon was travel time again, we headed for a 4 hour drive to San Francisco. The trip wasn’t really interesting till the last couple of miles taking the Bay Bridge into the city… The next couple of days will be special…

 
 

Bodie Ghost town and Tioga Pass

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 7:57 am

We got up early in the morning for the long drive to El Portal on the other side of Yosemite. Had our breakfast in the room and enjoyed the squirrels playing around from our balcony. First stop was at Mono Lake where we stopped at Old Marina for some photos, lots of flies and a beautiful lake. Must be really nice at sunset or sunrise. Next stop was Bodie Ghost Town, a old gold mining town that has been in arrested decay from the second World War. The town once had around 10.000 people living there.

Now it’s a State Park with lots of tourists but we were able to get some nice pictures without the people in it. A awesome place for photography, unfortunately we didn’t have the time to see and shoot all, we still had the Tioga Pass ahead of us. So after 1.5 hours we left for the mountains. Drove up Tioga Road and drove through the snowy peaks with beautiful lakes and a great twisting mountain road. Couple of stops to shoot some pictures. At one of the stops we got a first glimse of Half Dome, one of the famous rock mountains of Yosemite.

The Tioga Pass was a nice way to introduce us to Yosemite, and exiting the park on the west side we entered El Portal where our home for two nights, Cedar Lodge, lies next to Merced river.
We checked into a nice hotel room with a big hot tub in the room.

Tired and hungry we had a burger at the restaurant and were greeted by a snake below the stairs to our room, freaky πŸ˜‰ And we chatted a bit with some lovely people from Scotland who recognized us from our stay at Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley, funny πŸ™‚

Now it’s time to dive into our bath tub…

 
 

Austria Hof, what?? October 12, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 7:58 am

Leaving Death Valley after a sunrise in the Mesquite Sand Dunes. They look so small from the road, but climbing in the sand takes quite some effort πŸ˜‰

Had breakfast at Stovepipe Wells, filled up the Dodge and headed towards the other end of Death Valley. A couple of photo stops and a nice walk to a vista point with a beautiful view of one of the valleys of death. Then the landscape began to change again, first some Joshua Trees, a couple of low flying jet fighters and then in the far distance snow tops in the mountains.

Via Lone Pine, where we saw cowboys take the McDonalds drive thru, we took the long road towards Mammoth Lakes, sure must be pretty here during the winter, now it’s more or less a desolated winter sport town. But it’s nice for a break, and you can still see some snow up in the mountains from here.

Hoping no bears will destroy our car we checked in and had a nice meal at Wiskey Creek after which we called it a night.

 
 

Death Valley

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 4:38 am

A bigger contrast isn’t possible, from the lights and crowds in Vegas we went to Death Valley where we spend a night at Stovepipe Wells. First stop in Death Valley was Dantes Peak to get a beautiful view of the enormous valley below. Looking down at Badwater Basin with it’s white salty ground was mesmerizing.

Next stop was Zabriskies Point where the mountains formed in beautiful rounded shapes and a nice pallet of colors. We got our park ticket at the visitor center in the middle of an oase of green and went to our lovely home at Stovepipe Wells.

For the sunset I wanted to be at Badwater Basin to shoot the salty dessert. Took a short walk at Devils Golf Course and then walked onto Badwater Basin to seek a nice and pure spot to do some photography. We didn’t get the nice sky we were hoping for, but it was really great being there with maybe 2 other people in the far distance. Again amazed by the contrast with just a day before in Las Vegas.

After it got dark we headed to Furnace Creek for dinner because the kitchen at Stovepipe Wells burned out. Furnace Creek si like a real holiday resort in Death Valley where you have no clue about the desolate landscape your in just a minute ago.

Filled with a nice Filet Mignon I tried to get a shot of the Milky Way from the darkness and went to sleep. I really love Death Valley and again you need more time to see it all.

 
 

Las Vegas, only the stuff that we can tell October 9, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 1:13 am

From all the beautiful nature of the past week we headed to Sin City, driving through the desert we did a last nature shot at The Valley of Fire. A beautiful landscape in red rocks with nice formations and a lot of touring cars with Frenchmen πŸ˜‰

Eagerly watching the horizon we finally caught the first sight at the skyline of Vegas. What a strange sight to see a big city after all this time in the South West.

We arrived early in the afternoon and first drove up and down the strip to get a feel of the city. Even during the day this town is bizarre to say the least. Off course we did our touristy shot at the welcome to Vegas sign πŸ™‚

Then it was time to get our first In-n-out burger with a view at the New York skyline in the back πŸ˜‰ And I have to say those burgers are the best fast food burgers money can buy. The time came to find ourselves a place to put our bags and hit the town. We drove to Flamingo where we would stay for two nights. From the parking garage we walked through the hotel/mall/casino and were amazed about all the people and glitter and glamour Vegas has to offer. We got a nice simple room at the 12th story with a view of the pool area, no strip view unfortunately. But at least we had an hotel in the center of the famous strip.

That night we walked around, soaking in the atmosphere and Danielle enjoyed shopping the enormous malls inside the different hotels. Who says you loose money gambling, we went broke shopping. And I only lost a couple of dollars gambling πŸ˜‰

The next day we did some more exploring of some of the hotels within walking distance and off course more shopping. Can’t tell everything we did because it had to stay in Vegas, but we did go up Stratosphere tower for dinner which didn’t work out as planned as Danielle didn’t enjoy the enormous height and view from up there so down we went again. After popping our ears in the elevator we took the taxi back and had a great steak at Planet Hollywoods Strip Joint.

Finally we took out the cameras and went for a walk again, this time taking photos of all the lights and some of the shows at the hotels. Had some drinks before my feet told me to call it a night.

Las Vegas is awesome, and really, again, words cant describe this place. We need to come back here to see more of it…

 
 

Zion October 8, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 6:17 pm

After our visit of Bryce canyon we went to Zion National Park, we had to take a detour through Kanab as I left my video head for the tripod with Terry. He was nice enough to call all hotels at Bryce and found us. We travelled via route 9 which took us through part of Zion so we got a nice view of the park. We stayed at the comfort inn in Hurricane a couple of miles from the park. Dinner was really good at Baristas with a high energy owner. He couldn’t decide what to put on the menu so he wrote everything he could imagine down on the wall and explained about his gourmet healthy food. And it sure was a nice meal, tasty but a lot of americans camplain about his prices.

After dinner I drove up the Kolob Terrace road to catch the sunset, but was just a bit too late to get a nice sunset. Did shoot a little bit of time lapse though.

Next morning we put on our hiking gear to explore Zion, but after a half hour shuttle ride to the River Walk to the narrows we were greeted with heavy rain and thunder which stopped Danielle. We decided to wait for a bit but the weather wasn’t gonna change, so no hiking. We have to come back again to see this park from up close.

We had a nice lunch in Springdale and I took Danielle to see Kolob Terrace, this road was good to drive and we twisted up the mountains with some great views and photo opportunities. We needed to jump out of the car in the rain shoot, and get back in to dry up again.

After a long drive we retired to our hotel room, a bit bummed because of the bad weather.

 
 

Bryce Canyon October 4, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 4:53 am

Friday we arrived at Bryce Canyon Resort just shy of the entrance of the park. The next morning I woke up really early to check out Bryce Canyon at sunrise. Around 5.30 I was the second photographer at the Amphitheatre… but shortly after photographers poored into Bryce Point hoping for a nice sunrise. Unfortunately the clouds weren’t really helping, so it wasn’t the perfect sunrise. But Bryce sure is a pretty place.

After waiting for an hour or so I went back to see if DaniΓ«lle was awake already and get some breakfast at the resorts restaurant. Filled with pancakes and french toast we headed to see the park. The weather was changing a lot, rain, sun, thunder which made for an interesting trip and some nice photos including a small rainbow πŸ™‚ We saw al the different view points and took a short walk down in the amphitheatre.

We also spotted a lot of deer, and DaniΓ«lle got excited so we drove around trying to find more of these tame animals, and shot them, with the camera off course πŸ˜‰

Tired of the long day we had a simple dinner at the restaurant at Bryce Canyon Resort and went to bed. The next day was a travel day, we left Bryce behind and after a short detour via Kanab headed to Zion National Park. I left my video head in Terry Aldermans car who was friendly enough to call all hotels in Bryce to find us, awesome…

We took the scenic 9 route to Zion which is again a beautiful place, unfortunately not staying in the park but several miles down the road in Hurricane at the Comfort Inn. Well at least there is WiFi in the room. We had a great dinner (and a show πŸ˜‰ ) at Barista’s after which I was just too late for shooting the sunset, but I tried to get a few pics while DaniΓ«lle did the laundry πŸ™‚ How lucky am I. Now it’s time to call it a day and get ready for a day exploring Zion.

 
 

White Pocket tour October 3, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 4:04 am

Friday was the day we planned a photo tour with local photographer Terry Aldman from Kanab. He knows al the best places in the south west and we opted for the popular White Pocket tour, and we sure are happy we did.

I found out about Terry through the Allesamerika.nl forums, and contacted him to see if we could go on a photo tour with him. The day started pretty early around sunrise we checked out of our hotel in Page for a 1.5 hour drive to the meeting point. We drove through a nice part of the south west getting there, and stopped at Marble Canyon for a look at the blue/green Colorado river that carved it’s way through the ground and created a beautiful tight canyon.

At the meeting point Terry arrived a couple of minutes after us in his red Jeep Cherokee, we loaded our camera gear and braced ourselves for a intense ride through the rough terrain. The drive up to White Pocket took us 1.45 hours of bumping around… Not good for the body but the reward was amazing, White Pocket really takes your breath away. You can’t stop shooting, and every step you take you see more pictures…

Around 1.30 we were tired and burned by the sun and headed back for another long off road drive. From there we had a 2.5 hour drive to Bryce Canyon Resort just a few miles before the Bryce Canyon park entrance. A quick stop in Kanab to get some food, the pizza took ages to make. After the last part of the travels we drove up the Scenic Byway (12) which was beautiful (again) and checked into our rustic home for the next two nights.

 
 

Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend October 2, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 6:05 am

After a good night in Page we were ready for a big day, finally we got to see Upper Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend. I was looking forward to this for a long time and kind of anxious because of all the stories about a crowded slot canyon.

I booked a Photo Tour with Chief Tsosie for Antelope, we arrived at 10am and after getting the reservation sorted we got to see an Indian hoop dance, strange to see an native performance done at a gas station with cars as a backdrop. Then we got assigned to a guide and we went of in a big Suburban for a bumpy ride with 6 fellow photographers. Blaine our guide made a sport out of it to get to the canyon fastest. Arriving there we soon discovered that indeed the slot canyon is full of people. Scared about not getting any good shots, Blaine took us into the far end of the canyon and did his best to scare away the regular tourists. We had plenty of time working back to front and back again to take photos. And the highlight was that we got the shaft, the shaft of light that is, lucky for us we took the spot with our group and I was in front and got some nice shots.

After returning to Page we went out to see Horse Shoe Bend, just 5 minutes from our hotel. The 1 mile hike was pretty hard for us untrained hikers, but the view was well worth it. Danielle didn’t really like it that I wanted to get the entire bend so I had to lie down at the edge to get the shot. But hey, I survived, and if you see the boats in the Colorado you really get the feel of how deep the drop is.

Danielle called it a day and I drove around a bit and took some shots at Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell before heading home. Had some nicely burned ribs at the hotel and turned in because the next day will be a tough one …

 
 

Monument Valley September 30, 2010

Categorie: Sloeries — DucSloerie @ 4:46 pm

The next morning it was up early for me as I wanted to see the sunrise at Yaki Point, the shuttle was hard to find in the darkness, but when I got there the serene nature was well worth it. Just a couple of people arrived later on and I had a nice spot for myself.

Then we had breakfast at El Tovar, great food and a view of the canyon as well. Filled with food we checked out and onto the next stop… Monument Valley
We left Grand Canyon, but first we took a helicopter ride to get another perspective of the canyon, and wow, words can’t really describe how it is to see the Grand Canyon from above, I hope the photos and video help to do so…

After that we took the scenic route along the South Rim of Grand Canyon and stopped a couple of times for our last dose of the canyon, then the long road to Monument Valley. The scenery changed before our eyes and Danielle couldn’t stop filming πŸ˜‰ Driving up to Monument Valley the view is so nice we couldn’t believe our eyes when we checked into our room at The View Hotel, you are really inside Monument Valley with an awesome view of the most famous mittens.

Luck had it we arrived just in time for the sunset so cameras ready and shoot away. Then dinner at the restaurant and some night shooting of the stars. The next day we wanted to do the 17 mile dirt road trip through the valley, and what a dirt road it is, still have sand up my…
After driving a bit we got to talk to a local who proposed to go with us in our car and show us some ‘secret’ spots, couldn’t say no that πŸ™‚ So Curliss took us for a ride up the restricted area of the valley where we learned about the valley and got to see some great photo opportunities. This was awesome…

After the dust settled and we had a refreshing drink we punched in our next destination, Page. Driving for a couple of hours we can’t stop to be amazed by how big this country is, miles and miles of just raw nature. We arrived in Page late in the afternoon, did some quick shopping and checked in at the Courtyard Marriott, a really nice hotel with high speed internet, woohoo πŸ™‚