Finally got some rolls of film developed from hikes this winter and a trip to Zion National Park. What a crazy amazing trip that was. My travel companion and I started east from Portland, headed for the Painted Hills, Oregon. We arrived there at night, so we slept in the car at the top of the drive around. My cars name is Ismerelda, she’s a 1972, 510 Datsun wagon. Two people just barely fit on the mattress pad in the back if you put both seats forward and pile a bunch of stuff under your pillows. This is great if you’re on the road and need a free place to stay anywhere you decide to stop driving, but it’s a little crammed for most people.
We woke up early in the morning to views of the Painted Hills peaking through the curtains of the wagon. It was chilly and overcast but we made breakfast on the hood of Ismerelda and hung out for a few hours, exploring the area. I’ll admit I took A LOT of photos with my iphone and saved film for the really special shots. Maybe eventually I’ll get around to posting some of those…
After the Painted Hills we headed down to the Alvord Desert and Alvord Hotsprings. Again, arriving at night we couldn’t see much of anything, but managed to find the hot springs and a camping ground to park at. We went for a soak that night, but the wind was blowing such cold air that the water didn’t feel very warm…
Early in the morning, I woke up to photograph the Steens Mountains, dappled with snow. Of course the goal of the day was to get down on the cracked earth flat of the Alvord Desert. It didn’t appear to go on forever, as I imagined, but once we got down there and started driving I realized how expansive it is. Speeding a pulling insane turn on the desert floor was stupid-fun.
The next stretch of driving was quite a long haul. We drove down through Nevada, stopping in a town called Winemucca to eat and play a slot machine. Those nuts still smok inside- everywhere! Did we sleep in Provo, Utah the next night? Provo, where we got egged and woken up by a cop knocking on the car window in the middle of the night. Where we woke up in the morning with 6 inches of snow everywhere and drove out in a blizzard only to arrive at Zion that evening with the sun beating down at 65 F. A blissful nap in the back of the car without socks or blankets ensued. Zion = Heaven, no joke.
I think we both could have stayed in Zion for weeks. There are so many trails and hikes to do. We did Angel’s Landing our first full day there. Jesus, that’s a crazy hike up and up and up cliffs and precipices. The next day we headed to Bryce Canyon, thinking we would hang out there for a day. But, as we drove and climbed in altitude it started snowing again and we both became sad that we left Zion, so we went back the same day! Bryce Canyon is neat, but we were happy to stop for a while walk around a few different spots and then get back to the warm sun of Zion.
When it was time to head home we were ready, but also sad to leave Zion Again. We drove home the same way we came down. Getting a bit road weary and exhausted we found a truck stop in Battle Mountain Nevada to sleep for our last night on the road. In the morning we woke up and Ismerelda was very sick. She just wouldn’t go, and I knew it was probably the alternator. I checked the fuses and couldn’t find any blown. Somehow I managed to drive her to a Napa Autoparts store where I spent the next two days on a tarp under her belly, removing her heart and putting a new one in.
I had to send my friend home on the greyhound home while I waited a night for a new alternator to arrive. Once I got the thing in it still didn’t hold a charge, so I messed with the wiring and fuses (again) and somehow magically got her running and drove the ten hours home just watching the clouds rolling over the desert- without music. I know a little about working on cars, but my dad helped with phone instruction.. my dad is awesome. He’s the reason I got a car, so I’m very thankful to him because I never would have been able to make a trip like this without him and Ismerelda.