In late November 2022, we embarked on a three-week road trip to the Southwest, which I’m finally getting around to writing up a blog post about (this post is written by Jennifer). We took my electric car… the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the US right now is having some problems (a lot of charging stations are in poor repair), but we did manage to charge up the car when we needed to (not necessarily as quickly as we would have liked, and we did choose some driving routes based on the availability of working chargers). We drove a total of 4100 miles through seven states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, back to Utah, back to Idaho, Montana, and back through Idaho to Washington). We spent about $150 on electric vehicle charging, and figured that if we had instead driven an efficient gas car, we would have spent roughly $240 more than that on gas. Of course, we also spent time charging, but much of that was at our lodging on this trip, while we were sleeping.
The main reason for the trip was to visit with friends and family members. Our first stop was in Bend, Oregon, where we spent Thanksgiving and a couple more days eating, playing board games, and hiking with my sister Alice and her partner Paul. Then the two of us headed down to Salt Lake City, Utah, where we picked up Zach’s mom Virginia at the airport. After a few days of traveling and sight-seeing with Virginia, we arrived in Sedona, Arizona, where we hooked up with our friends Gwen and John for some hiking and board game playing for a week or so (the other friends we were supposed to meet in Sedona came down with COVID-19 a few days before we arrived, so we didn’t get to hang out with them, which was sad!). Then the three of us headed north, and spent several more days sight-seeing before we had to get back to Salt Lake City to drop off Virginia for her flight home and continue on to our house.
We visited a LOT of beautiful and interesting places, including US national parks and national monuments (Cedar Breaks, Zion, Montezuma Castle/Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot, Walnut Canyon, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches), a Navajo National Park (Monument Valley), state parks (Cathedral Gorge and Valley of Fire in Nevada, and Red Rock in Arizona), and national forests and national recreation areas (around Bend, Oregon; near Zion in Utah; Hoover Dam on the Nevada/Arizona border; around Sedona, Arizona; Sand Island Petroglyph Panel near Bluff, Utah; Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite near Moab, Utah). Because it was winter, there were fewer people at the national parks than you’d see at other times of the year, so that was a bonus!
The weather was mostly pretty good for hiking and sight-seeing, though sometimes cold, but we had plenty of warm clothes with us. I think we only got rained or snowed on once or twice on days when we were sightseeing and hiking. We had snow and slippery driving conditions in a few places, but the worst day (just after picking up Virginia in Salt Lake City) we were able to stop and get a motel instead of continuing to drive, so that was fine (we didn’t have to be in a hurry to get anywhere).
Here are some photos from the trip (you’ll notice a lot of red sandstone, in many cases with a beautiful dusting of snow!), and there’s a map of our route at the bottom of the page.