Wednesday, January 30, 2019

our trip to the USA part 8

as we left Boulder Utah we backtracked on our night's drive in on highway 12 and reached Bryce Canyon. we had to stop even if just for a short look because back at the house at dinner they all said we must see it on our way back down.
the snow from the night had made the road a bit slippery but we made it to the visitors center. we took the road to Sunrise point but it was close so we went to Realization point instead...
HOLY MOLY!!! what is this place?! it is SOOOO beautiful!!

this is CRAZY!!!
 the wind was strong and it was freezing out there but the view... oh the view... we spent an hour or so wondering around till we had to move on...
we got back in the silver rocket and continued on our way...
there was about a 6 hour drive ahead of us and we started to roll...
the view from the road in Utah is something unbelievable. that state is pure view... unreal! 
this was one day of pure driving and only stopping at different view points along the road to take photos and just admire this vastness of the land with its breath talking views... 

we stopped on the road at the pink coral sand dunes to stretch our legs and continued on to Monument Valley.

we reached the valley as the sun was setting and the view was stunning! this place is so magical! what happened here?! how were these amazing rock formations became? 
all along this road trip we both had the feeling of geological time.. hundreds of millions of years this land is here... so much has happened here... so much time...

the day was long and the sun was setting. we had to stop for the night and we looked for a place to stop. 
this is funny.. one road, lots of cars, nowhere to stop and sleep! hahaha! what is happening?
finely we reached Bluff and drove passed a lodge that had a Vacant sign! u-turned the car and drove back. Ayelet went inside and got the only room that was available just because someone had just left the room because he was feeling ill and needed to go home... such luck! as the lady ran outside to post the NO VACANCY sign, 5 cars pulled up looking for a place to sleep... so so lucky...
the women at the front desk told us that if we wish to have a bite to eat, there is only one restaurant and it closes at 20:00 so we need to go there quickly since it will most likely be full today because of all the holiday traffic. and so we did.
there was a long waiting line at the restaurant as she had predicted and the girl at the counter told us it will be 25 minute wait, although the gay next to us said they have been waiting for 35 minutes and there are still 3 more before him...
it took and hour and a half but we got seated finally and had our dinner. 
we got back to the lodge to go to sleep and ready for tomorrow's drive to Boulder Colorado (a 9.5 hour drive).
took a shower and slept.
in the morning we had breakfast with Steve the dentist who told us amazing stories about his trip with the family and we told him stories about Israel...
the room at the lodge

having coffee

Steve the dentist

the Dodge at the Lodge
   we put the address of our friend at Boulder CO in the GPS and took off... a very long and fun drive!

but what was to come was not expected by anyone....

 actually, it was my fault for not noticing a passing sign on the highway that only days later as i looked at a video Ayelet was taking while me driving i noticed the sign on the road. it said: "traction law in effect at I-70 on Vail" 
but it would not have mattered since i did not know what traction law meant... we should have taken a different route to Boulder but i did not know what was going on up in the mountain so i could not have planed this better...

as we got up the mountain the weather became darker, rain started to fall and not soon after, snow! as we live in Israel, snow we never see... certainly not heavy snow!
we got excited and rejoiced in our new amazing adventure but our party was about to take a dive! 
having fun in the snow

unaware of what is to come.... hahahaha

the road became snowed, the silver rocket is a fun car on regular roads, but this was not it! this car had 370 horse power going only to the back wheels and those had sport tiers on them... 
the car started to slip... and the GPS started to say that the road ahead is closed due to sever snow storm and we had to get off the highway... 
for those of you not familiar with snow driving in a car that is not equipped to drive in snow, this is dangerous! you must not stop since you will not be able to start moving again, you must not turn sharply since you will find your self at the ditch in the side of the road, and since we got off the highway we now had stop lights! oh no... 
i managed to keep the car going straight but it took all my efforts to do so without skidding to all sides... and then the GPS said to go back on the highway. this was a mistake but there was nothing we could do at that point. the mountain was being hit with a massive snow storm...
i took the on ramp back on the highway, doing so very very carefully but this was hopeless...
as i did so the car just went sideways and got stuck in deep snow on the side of the on ramp, in a way that other cars can pass us but we are going nowhere :)
i told Ayelet: "that is it. we move no longer. time for a tow truck"
Ayelet did not accept my giving up (although this was not giving up, this was facing the situation) and so she had me try some maneuvers to get out and go (even though the road ahead of us was closed but we did not know that yet).
no luck. the car is stuck in deep snow :) she called 911 and had them send a tow truck our way so all we had to do is sit in the heat of the car and wait. but that is not what happened!
cars passed us and all of a sudden a car pulled in front of us and a girl and a guy got out and wanted to push our car back on the road. i told them that it will not work but they insisted.
we tried for 20 minutes by them digging under the wheels and placing rocks under them... no help. the car is stuck.
but, now more cars stopped to help them to push us back and i had them all in the back pushing as i tried to drive... no luck. the car is stuck.
i told them that i am so grateful for their amazing good will but it is all fine, there is a truck on the way and we will be getting out with the tow's help. they all cleared and moved on accept for the girl and guy who were stubborn... but to no avail.
all of a sudden a bus came and had to slow down so the two of them can get back in their car who was in front of ours but they did not do so in time and the bus had to stop just in front of our car. that was a mistake.
once the bus stopped, it can not go again and only slipped into ditch in front of us... oh boy.. this is bad... we now blocked the whole on ramp and now even the tow truck can not pull us forward because of the bus...
so, the sheriff arrived, we talked for a moment or two and i told him what has happened and that the tow truck is coming so we went down to stop traffic from going on the on ramp...
we sat there for a while in the car waiting for the truck and finely it came...

me and the sheriff

me having a blast through it all

mini Max stuck....

hooking up the car to the tow truck
the rescue operation was complicated because of the bus ahead of us blocking the road but the driver was smart... he went down the ramp, turned around and backed up in reverse... he hooked up the car and pulled it out of the ditch and on to his truck... we were out! ha! but now... where to go? how do we get off the mountain? people are waiting just an hour away for dinner... but it was not to be... all roads were closed and heavy snow fall was covering the mountain...
the kind driver took us to Avon, a small fancy ski resort town for the night and set the car down next to a hotel but told us to go in because many many people got stuck in the storm and we might not have a place to sleep... so Ayelet went in as i tried to park the car in the snow... i managed to drive straight into the parking lot and parked the car... after hours of turmoil, this day's drive was now over.

car on truck and we are on our way to Avon
i met Ayelet inside waiting in line and someone said that there is no more rooms available... we decided to split as she waited in that line, i went across the street to the fancy 5 star Sheraton hotel to look for a room. they had rooms! yeah! but its 260$ a night and we might need to spend a day or two till this snow clears! wow.... OK, that is cool, no drama :)
booked the room and went back to get Ayelet who just got to the desk to have the man at the counter say to the entire line behind her: "that is it. no more rooms guys!"
we walked slowly in the snow to the hotel on the other side of the street and got in our room :) wow! this is super fancy!!!!
went back down to look for a place to have dinner after this whole ordeal and found BOB'S PLACE and had our selves a nice dinner... we went back to the room and went to sleep hoping that in the morning, or at least at noon we can get back on the road..

at BOB'S
the fancy room

me in bed after a LONG CRAZY day...

 in the morning things looked better but still the roads were not open all the way down the mountain... and so we waited. at around noon we got our gear and headed to the car outside.

breaking the ice from the wheels

the road clearing up and us on our way to Boulder!

we drove off the mountain slowly in a huge traffic jam that was created by the thousands of cars that got stranded in the storm up with us... it took us about 5 hours non stop to reach Boulder, what should have taken an hour and a half.... 
but we did not care! we were driving again!
as we reached Boulder by 17:00 PM and where SOOOO happy and hungry since we did not even stop to eat on the road from the fear that we might not be able to get back on I-70 because the road was still frozen at times and we did not want to get stuck again...

finally, we got to Ami & Michal's house and many hugs were given and received! what a journey!!!!!
2500 miles (4000 km) in 6 days with the most amazing incredible events and people and sites and experiences...
holy moly man, that was one road trip!!!!! 
we spent another week in Boulder with our dear friends and traveled around to Estes park and more... 
so much has happened there in Boulder in that week's time, but if i continue to write it all here it will be another 4 posts at least and i am not sure if anyone out there (except for my mom) will ever read it...
how we met Dororn, how we met Paul and how we buried the dead cat we found, and many crazy stories that just kept on coming on this USA trip...
with Ami in Boulder on the way to the airport

Ayelet on the plane with her friend the unicorn

at the end of it all we parted with our friends and said goodbye to America... for me this was a very helpful adventure because it showed me how America has changed in the 20 years i have not been there and for Ayelet this has been even more beneficial since she knew nothing of this side of America, she has only been to NY or only at the east coast part... this side of the USA was totally new to her and it blew her mind!
outside the Israeli airport waiting for Tomer to pick us up and take us home...

thank you all for letting me share this all with you :) 

see you in future posts

our trip to the USA part 7

woke up in the morning at the inn and had ourselves some breakfast, got in the car and started our short journey to the Grand Canyon. it was about an hour drive and we arrived. keep in mind that i was there once already but Ayelet has never been and i was curious to see the expression on her face as she saw it... 
us waking up at the inn and ready to go
the road was beautiful and through a forest... its funny because its all very flat land that you go through and there is nothing preparing you for this amazing thing hiding in plain site just beyond the trees...

suddenly the traffic stops.
its and Elk! ha! 

 took some exited photos (we live in Israel, so no wondering animals on the roads) and continued to the visitors center just a few minutes away... what a rush! 
we parked mini Max (that was the name given to the silver rocket we got from Avis. named after Max, the Dodge Ram 3500 super duty i had as a farm manager back in Israel) and walked to the center to get some maps. here still there is no visibility of this amazing wonder lurking behind the trees..
we took the walking rout on the south bend so we can see the canyon on foot (the bus tour takes an hour and we just did not have the time... all so quick) 
as we were arriving on foot to the edge we could hear the crowd just ahead of us going WOOOOW!!!!
i told Ayelet, here it comes! and..... BAM!

the view was stunning!!! 
what a site!
although it was a cloudy day and very cold, it was SO beautiful!!! such grandeur! such beauty! oh my... this place is just unreal....

spreading the unity energy from the peace prayer wheel in my hand

 after spending about an hour and a half walking the trail and just being mind blown we realized that we need to keep moving if we were to get to our final destination at the end of the day... 
this is actually a funny story because our "end day destination" was not in our original plans when i was planning our rout. 
back in the Vajrakilaya retreat we met two couples Craig & Skye and Stephan & Judith who were all from a place called Boulder (but not the Boulder i was referring to in Colorado, but in Utah...)
this place, Boulder Utah was a nowhere land out of time and maps... if you try to look for it on the GPS it will find it, but no roads lead to it... so all you need to do is get on highway 12 and drive till you reach Boulder.
but i am getting a head of my self...
both couples back at the retreat made us promise that we will come and visit them on our road trip right on the 24th of November so we could all have a Thanksgiving Dinner together... we never had a dinner like that so we said yes! even though we did not think this through but that was fine. it all worked out well and dandy in the end.

back to the Grand Canyon.   
we said our goodbyes to the canyon with a feeling of gratitude for the most incredible experience and got back in the car. now we were heading to the Horseshoe Bend which is a place where the Colorado river makes a bend that looks like a horse shoe... it is right next to Page on highway 89. 
this was a two and a half hour drive, but as we got there we realized that there is no parking and we started to circle the parking lot to look for a spot. there were many cars and many people and there was not a lot of patience (which i must say was the first place in the US that i have noticed that)... 
time was moving forward and i started to get impatient, not because of the situation but rather from the fact that if we did not go soon, we wont get to Boulder in the day time and that would be a shame because the road was SOOOOO beautiful..
Ayelet went out of the car and started to look for a parking spot to save as i circled around with the car. 
all of a sudden, the car right next to me moved out of its parking spot and i jumped right in and parked. that was awesome!
i regrouped with Ayelet and we started the mile hike to the river bend.
we walked the trail and got to the bend and, 

  its hard to tell from the photos but this is SO high! and SO huge!!!
we tripped around for a half an hour trying to maintain our joyOmeter and started the mile walk back to the parking lot...
as we got back to the car we realized that the car line now waiting to get in from the road was a mile or two long! if we were to arrive half and hour later, we could not see this... 
so so lucky we were! ha!

we got back on the road on highway 89 and started our trip north to Boulder. 
this was a 4 and a half hour drive and i started to realize that no matter what we do, we will not make it there in time of daylight but i was cool with it because we won't be so late for dinner so not to have them all wait for us too long...
the road was one of the most amazingly beautiful roads we drove on... 

the sun was starting to set and we  were getting closer to Boulder, but, since these guys are waiting for us, our plan was that we will phone them from the road to let them know we got to Escalante and then they will know that we have about one more hour drive so they can leave home to meet us at the Boulder Inn where we will park our car and drive with Stephan to their home (since you need a 4X4 to reach it).
and so we did! 
it was dark when we got to Escalante and we know this was no where land since there were no lights any where in this vast dark space in front of us... 
we passed through this one horse town and continued to Boulder. later over dinner Skye would tell us that the highway we came in on, 12, was nominated among the 10 most beautiful highways on earth.. to bad it is dark now :(
all of a sudden a sign on the road, "Boulder city limits"...
this is funny says Ayelet, its pitch dark! no lights anywhere.... where is this Boulder?!
and then a light on the horizon, one on the right far corner of the  darkness... another one to the left somewhere...
i have to say that Boulder Utah has a population of 200 and it is spread over some seriously big ground so people live far from each other.
we drove and got to the Inn and waited for Stephan. 
this was a surreal scene.... middle of nowhere... took us HOURS of driving through nowhere... no cars on the road for hours... pitch black so you realize you are in the middle of nowhere.... and this Inn's sign says ,with big bold letters: 
what?! where did all these cars come from?! who are all these people that drove here?! what is happening?!
Stephan was a bit late (or us early) but arrived and we hugged and got in his car. actually we drove after him in our car for another mile or so down the road till he stopped and told us to leave the car here. 
we got in his car and drove off to their house. the road was and "off road" but i was thinking to myself "why did i leave the car there, it could drive here" and then the road disappeared and we just bolted with the car into the mountain. over rocks on a winding no road we drove till we sew his house up on the ledge to the left.
Ayelet is not a big off road driving fan and is the kind of person that if in a car, and she sees the hill ahead, she would get off the car and walk to meet you on top. as i said, not a fan of off road fan.
she told me as we got to the top and reached the house that the reason she did not get out is that it was dark and we could not see where we are, but on the way down she is walking this part of the drive... i told her that this is a great opportunity to try and get passed this fear but she was not to happy about that. at the end on the next day she was in the car on the way down. what a trooper! very brave!

we got into the house where Craig and Skye and Judith where all waiting with tremendous joy! (keep in mind that we have never seen these people till just a few days ago back at the retreat) we sat for an hour or so telling stories and then it was time for dinner. this was not the conventional Thanksgiving Dinner but rather much more interesting! we had so much fun! we were asked a gazillion questions about our home and where we come from, the experiment that we both grow up in called a Kibbutz, army, life in Israel, prayer wheel making and so many more.... the night was long and so interesting!
me blabbing about and moving my hands... hahaha

beautiful table!

our sleeping mats

from left to right: Skye, Judith, Craig, Ayelet me and Stephan behind me.. what a group!

 at one point we realized that if we were to speak more, this night will never end and so we said goodbye to Craig and Skye, hoping to see them sometime again in the future...

as we woke up to the first light, we started to realize where we are on this earth.... this is so remote, so isolated... on a side of a mountin, no road... this is so awesome! 
we had superb coffee with both Judith and Stephan and talked over pie for a while and then we had to go... managing only to spend very little time in one spot on this road trip...
outside was so beautiful now that the sun was up and we could see the vastness of this place! wow! 
the view from our bedroom window

the porch outside

having coffee and pie:)

Stephan showing us around

standing outside Stephan's studio

 we all got in the car and drove down the hill to meet with our car again. the ride was so beautiful and Stephan and Judith told us some history of Boulder Utah and how once there was an Israeli farmer who came there to teach them about permaculture farming and that we probably know him... i said that is highly unlikely since there are 8 million people living in Israel (only to realize as we got home and talking to friends that we DO know him! hahaha... how crazy is that?!)
we got to mini Max and parted with them both, not before leaving a prayer wheel as a gift to them both. they where so overwhelmed by this gesture that it was hard to leave it with them but we insisted and they accepted. what beautiful people... sadly we had to depart hearing the same words again: "you are leaving? you just got here!
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Stephan checking out the prayer wheel they got :)

 we got in the car and drove off...
it is going to be a long day of driving if we are to reach Monument Valley by sunset :)

more to come....