Saturday, May 31, 2008


Providence is the only word I think can describe today's occurance. We've had a hard time finding space because Moab and Arches National Park are so crowded right now, so we decided on a new spot, which we found out was also full. We were fairly depressed and descided to punt and take the easy road to Canyonlands National Park to see a sunset and hopefully find a campground no one else wanted. We walked into the visitor's center for the park and discovered that there were permits available for campsites on the White Rim Road. This is probably the premier backcountry four-wheel drive trip in the area and one of the best in the world. Circumstances seemed to be orchestrated so that we would land in exactly the right place at the right time.

So plans changed and we've made some last minute preparations in town. Tonight we move to our forward staging area, and tomorrow morning we descend into the canyon of the Colorado River to traverse the lower rim right through the middle of the canyon to the confluence with the Green River where we will turn north and upstream. The road traverses the last area in the United States to be mapped. It was simply a blank spot until the 1870's when John Wesley Powell ran the Colorado for the first time. So that's our trip. We will be out of contact until the fourth, but then we should have some great pictures and stories to share.


Just as a reminder, I do read over all these and put my two cents in. Jason just has a way with words....

I'm Greg Lewis and I approve this message....(dunno why, just had to do it again)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Made it to Moab

Sorry it's been a little while, but we've been fairly busy. In New Mexico, we stopped to see El Malpais National Monument. The park is an old volcanic area with lots of lava flows, but the most unique features are the caves. When lava flows, sometimes it cools on the outside but forms an underground river. This leaves behind lava tubes -- our caves. We explored one and saw the entrances of several others. When we entered the cave, a blast of cold air shocked us. It was close to 90 degrees outside, but it must have been below 50 in the cave. Why the caves remain this cold year round is a mystery to me. We camped near Grants that night.

The next day we continued on our road to Moab passing throuh Gallup, NM and turning north to Shiprock. Here we entered the beginnings of red rock country, getting a taste of what's ahead. The other notable stop was Four Corners. For a mere $3 per person you can pay the Navajo to let you stand on the border of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. It's a bit of a tourist trap, but after you've done it, you can say that you've been in four places at once.

We drove hard to Moab and secured a campsite next to the Colorado River for the night. Campsites are very competitive here, but we did pretty well. Thanks for sticking with us. Theres much more to come.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cattle, Camels, and Coyotes

We're now on I-40 west of Albuquerque. The land has finally begun to look like the real West, but I'm jumping ahead of myself.

Yesterday we had lunch with more friends in Dallas and then headed out for Amarillo. It was certainly a late start, but it was a good drive. On our way, we saw something truly shocking. Greg suddenly yelled, "Camels!!!" I told him he was crazy, but sure enough there was a herd of camels next to the road minding their own business. I wonder if they know they're in Texas rather than the Sahara. I guess you never know what you'll see on the road. We also hit a milestone, our 1000th mile. That makes one of probably eleven. We'll see.

We made Amarillo at dinner time and went straight to the Big Texan. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the Big Texan is probably the world's most famous pit stop. Their claim to fame is the free 72 oz. steak, if you can eat it in an hour that is. A sign in the restaurant reads, "The Free 72 oz. Steak. Many have tried. Many have failed." The sign is true to its word. We saw one guy try his best and fail miserably on the pedestal in the middle of the dining room. They display you, the steak, and the time remaining for everyone to see and either encourage or heckle. The steak is even bigger than I imagined. It's the full size of a platter and an inch and a half thick. All in all it's a unique experience.

We encountered a bit of a problem in Amarillo. We couldn't find a campground that would accept tents. You'd think that a tent was a menace to society the way some people looked at us, so we settled for a motel.

We woke up to see fog out the window. Amarillo is on the high plains, but blowing mist and fog were certainly not what we expected. The fog lasted all the way to Albuquerque, where New Mexico finally starts to look like New Mexico. We caught our first glimpse of mountains and several bluffs. This feels like the beginning of the Southwest we all know and love.

It's time to get off the highway to go explore, so Hasta Luego!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Dallas

Sunday we made it to Dallas as planned. The driving went surprisingly well. Greg took over in Anniston, AL and continued until the Louisiana state line. He was an absolute machine. I took over from there to the outskirts of Dallas, and we started looking for a place to stay. The 800 miles seemed like a good day, not excessive, but significant. I think driving this distance at a stretch will really help our sense of scale.

Yesterday, we visited with old friends here in Dallas. My buddy here is studying to be an Eqyptologist and can already read hieroglyphics and hieratic, which is about the coolest thing imaginable, so we talked about dead languages and Greek gramatical structure (I feel I have to clarify, Jason wrote that), while eating Memorial Day barbeque (Now that was more my speed--Greg).

Today the plan is to have lunch with another set of friends and then hit the road again. I think the goal will be Amarillo, but we'll see how far we get. Dinner at the legendary Big Texan is certainly an incentive. I suppose we'll just have to keep moving and find out where the road leads us.


My name is Greg Lewis and I approve this message.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On the Road

We're now officially on the road and have begun our trip. Today the plan is to drive from Atlanta to Dallas. It's a good start for the first day, and it gets us West fast.

This week has been busy. We've been saying goodbye to family and frieds since about Tuesday, and Thursday Greg graduated from high school. Congratulatons! We packed the truck Friday and Saturday and discovered that we could fill it all the way up. After a steak dinner and a good night's sleep we said our final goodbyes and started driving at about 6:30.

There are many days and many updates to come, so I invite you come back often to see what the Lewis boys are up to.