Monday, June 23, 2014

The Traveller Returns

After 16 days and 5,000 miles The Man and I are back in Santa Cruz. We visited family in Rochester, Minnesota (Hi Jeanne! Hi Kate! Hi Charlie!) and in Chicago (Hi Mick! Hi Isabella!), we visited a couple of beautiful national parks and monuments and we came too close for comfort to a tornado in Salina, Kansas.

Cheyenne, Wyoming
It was a great trip, though we both think we're getting a little old for those long-driving days.
My grandmother's house in Lewiston, Minnesota
I took an entirely me-made travel wardrobe, which I won't bore you with. You saw everything already during Me Made May. I can report that I had all the outfits I needed, and more. Also that skirts and tee-shirts are a great option for a summer road trip.

Besides the good times with family, the highlights were visits to Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois and Zion National Park in Utah.

Cahokia was the largest city in North America in pre-Columbian times. It was larger than London was in AD 1250, covering 6 square miles with a population up to 20,000.

Birdman, found on a sandstone tablet at Cahokia

What's left today are mounds of earth that were built up one basket at a time. They were used as platforms for houses and ceremonial buildings.

Monk's Mound, 100 feet tall and covering 14 acres. That's a lot of baskets of earth.

It's a world heritage site and is so worth a visit if you're anywhere in the area. It's just 15 minutes from St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis from the top of Monk's Mound
Zion National Park is about half an hour from St. George, Utah.

Lower Emerald Pool - you can walk under the waterfall and get as wet as you want to
Zion has a lot of the canyon drama of some of the bigger parks in the area, but it's small enough to explore in a day or two, and it's got some green, which is like a refreshing miracle in the middle of the desert.

Looking down the canyon on the Riverside Hike
The Riverside Hike leads to The Narrows, which most everyone has seen pictures of. The canyon walls keep moving together as you walk up the Virgin River until you end up walking in the water, reaching out to touch both walls at once.

 Dramatic and very beautiful. And, I was happy to see, full of happy travellers speaking many different languages.

We spent our last night in Las Vegas. I'm a sucker for the lights.

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