Kolob Rd, near Zion, Utah

Monday, August 18th, 2008

We have been here for a couple days and I still feel out of it! I did not know this till now… but I really miss the Escalante area, Grand Staircase, and even the town itself… good food or not! The crowds here are oppressing me, there are just so many people and vehicles and tourist traps. I feel not even able to think straight. We did one of my all time favorite road today from Virgin to Kolob Reservoir and that really saved the day, well kind off. Narrow road for 27 miles climbing to 8100 feet, with a reservoir as a prize at the end. Once there, trails filled with four wheelers disregarding any common sense toward others using the same path, barely avoiding rooster tails flying in every directions including ours. Maybe they have now gone home.


I have even thought about backtracking and spending the rest of our time back in Escalante before heading to Texas when the weather will cool off. But we can’t. It is that time to take care of some responsibilities in St George that so far, luckily, have been routines in the past. Eye exam and new eye glasses, dentist, medical Doctor for some yearly tests, all that, as I call it, "the good stuff". Being so close without visiting Michael and Sandra would also be out of the question. To make the matters even better I am dealing with a real slow Internet connection when it comes to photos, probably just about as fast as a dial up one. My air card is just so weak here and I am strongly thinking about getting a booster for future travels. We went to town to use a coffee shop’s WI FI and to my surprise my photo gallery was blocked. There is only one provider for the signal and they lock every sites that have photography on it! So that was out…

tunnel openings

the big arch  

Before heading out to Kolob Rd we took a ride back into the tunnel, a tunnel about a mile long with only a couple daylight openings visible from the road below. It is a narrow tunnel where traffic has to be stopped when a larger vehicle goes through, as they have to drive in the middle trying to avoid hitting the arched sides. Considering the amount of RV’s going through this Park, the wait is generally about 15 to 20 minutes, a good time to take a breather and if lucky enough to be one of the first in line, chat with the Ranger.

Zion c

I broke all the rules this morning, up bright and early, and after a brisk walk with Spirit, I left him behind (!!!) to take a quick tour of the scenic canyon on the free shuttle. No one was up at that time of the day as they start at 7:15am, and besides the inconvenience of not allowing dogs I have to say that it is quite an improvement versus riding there. Even the air felt cleaner, all was quiet and the drivers had some quite interesting tidbits about the canyon. It was quick, I don’t like to leave Spirit behind and I just got off at every stop only to catch the next shuttle a few minutes later.

Zion 1 

The canyons are deep, the cliffs are high, pictures where really hard to take with all the different levels of incoming lights. We were here off season last time and probably will do it again sometime when they allow vehicles in for the only reason of having Spirit ride with me and doing some of the short hikes, specially the one at the end of the road where one can even walk through the Virgin River knee deep, right in between the high walls on each side.

shuttle sign  

Everything is red, the roads have red asphalt, the buses and their trailers are partially painted the same color, all blends in nicely. It did not take too long, a couple hours and stopped by on the way back at Alain and Chris’s campsite, two World Travelers that we had finally hook up with the night before, after months and months of e mails and traveling in different directions. We had a great time chatting last night, they are both from the south of France where I was born with a real strong southern accent, an accent I had not heard in years!

GS 2

GS 1  

Alain and his wife Chris, seasoned riders having toured Africa already a couple times, have been in the Stated now for four months and headed to Mexico, South America and eventually the other side of the World. They have a great web site www.motards-nomades.com in French (sorry…) and we talked of course much about the experiences and how we differ and are alike all at the same time. The common passion of being on the road, of experiencing the different cultures either in one country or many. They have a lack of time as they have given themselves, well finances have really given them this time limit of two years. They would like to travel as we do, on a much slower pace as they realize that Around the World in two years is only going to allow them to skim the surface. We talked about the great difference between traveling as they do and living on the road as we do. They are young still… and they already have decided that their first day of retirement will be to turn on that ignition key forever. Good plans, wonderful couple and so nice to practice my maternal language mixed in with a few words of English. I am cooking them dinner tonight!

GS 3

GS 4  

My desire to ride the World once in a while also surfaces. I have had the chance to crisscross Europe many times having been raised in France, gone through the Middle East often and northern Africa. My grand parents lived in Cairo as at the time many exiled Armenians end up scattered all over the World. I visited them quite often. From day one when I saw this Pit Bull I named Spirit so battered in his dark corner, I also knew that many incoming years of my Life would be a compromise as far as travels go. I would not trade my own situation ever, the comfort we give each other will always be the focus of our Life together, now and here, never there and without each other.



What a face!!! I can’t wait to see him once we arrive in Texas… he will probably take over that land of ours. Getting back to Kolob road, we did stop a few times for pictures, many flowers, even sheep, a creek overflowing from the Reservoir which runs all the way into Zion, Zion Park which we actually crossed in and out a couple times both way.

Kolob Rd a



We might be able to come back this way when staying at our Friends house a bit north of St George, there were so many picture opportunities and the road itself is such a dream to ride. I would truly mark it on your map in case you come and visit this area and want to see another facet of Zion, a much quieter one and picturesque for that matter.



We had some heat storms the night before, one of those nights when I decided to play with the camera and maybe learn a bit better about night photography. The moon was I thought getting ready to come out from behind the mountain, I fell asleep obviously before it did! I was also hoping that the lightning a bit more on the right would at the same time throw some light on that same mountain, well, that did not happen either… so here are my night shots!


moon light  

So far so good… will be writing from a bit further next time when Michael shows me again, as the perfect guide that he is, the many sights only traveled by the locals of his area. Looking forward to those days.

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", organized also in "States", some even labeled "first year" and second year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. I still have 20 T shirts that need to be sold at cost, $20 including shipping… I do! Some day they will be "collector’s items". You don’t believe me? These are the sizes left.

With the "ADV" (Adventure Rider") logo:   2 XXL ~ 4 XL ~ 2 M 

Plain:  2 XXL ~ 3XL ~ 5L ~ 1 M ~ 1 S

Your participation toward the site is always welcomes and accepted through the "contribution" button above… 323 colorful Chapters with many destinations for $1 a month?… now more than ever. Help the site stay alive.

Be well, always. Ara & Spirit

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6 Responses to “Kolob Rd, near Zion, Utah”

  1. Jeff & Sandra Says:

    Been down the same trail over the winter earlier this year …. when vehicular traffic is allowed. No crowds, friendly people, and deer not 100 meters from where the buses are parked in your pix. Thank you so much for your insight(s) and give Spirit a nod for us, eh? Travel in peace. Long days and pleasant nights.

  2. Clayton Fees Says:

    Hello; When you build your home in Big Bend you might consider a straw built house. They are homes built out of straw bales. I am a retired farmer and help you with straw bales. e-mail me at claytonfees@netzero.com. Good luck and travels. Clayton

  3. Clayton Fees Says:

    I can help with your straw home,because I have followed starw construction for 15 yr

  4. James NomadRip Says:

    Ara, we love the shirts! Congratulations on the TX land. You’ll be fine, don’t worry! 🙂


  5. Pat Conner Says:

    Dear Ara & Spirit,
    I came across your journal a few months ago and I have enjoyed reading it so much! Your photography is spectacular. I look forward to seeing the photos in each of your posts and imagine I am there. I keep up with a few other travel journals but yours is my favorite.

    My husband and I live in Virginia and have a motorhome. We visited Zion & Kolob last September. It was one of our favorite stops while we were out west. It was not nearly as crowded when we were there, thankfully. We also especially loved Kolob. We drove up that very same road. I remember the pastures of sheep and the beautiful wildflowers. We also observed the tagged condors while we were up there. It was also much cooler in that higher elevation.

    I enjoy taking pictures too but I know nothing about photography! I just point and shoot and believe it or not some photos turn out pretty good.

    Good luck on your new adventure in Texas and don’t pay any attention to the negative comments. (they are probably just jealous!)

    Best wishes to you and Spirit. Maybe we will cross paths one day.


  6. Tim Spires Says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date. Hope you don’t mind but I’m using Spirit’s picture as my desktop background. It’s always brings a smile! Bless you two on your journey!

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