October 15, 2017

Manhattan fish chowder

I prefer New England clam chowder, but Dave likes the not-as-good version, Manhattan clam chowder. I found this recipe for Manhattan fish chowder in the cookbook Fresh Flavor Fast from Everyday Food. I left out the bacon but made the rest as the recipe said.

I thought it tasted okay. It was like Manhattan clam chowder but with chunks of fish. It did have two cups of clam juice in it. Dave didn't like it at all. I guess I won't be making this again.

October 13, 2017

Doctor Who: Doctor Who and the Silurians

Wait. "Doctor Who and the Silurians." What?! As any good Who nerd will tell you, his name isn't Doctor Who. They don't do story titles like this. They won't do a title like this again. What happened here? I don't know. Weird. So the story starts with two people in a cave being attacked by a dinosaur-looking creature. Then it cuts to the Doctor working on Bessie. Hooray! Bessie is the 3rd Doctor's car. The Brigadier asks the Doctor and Liz Shaw to come help him with an investigation into an atomic research center built into caves. They're having unexplained power drains on their reactor, and UNIT has been brought in to figure out what's going on.

So the Doctor drives them there in Bessie. It turns out that if one of these power losses happens at the wrong time, the reactor would turn into a giant nuclear bomb. Oops. There's plenty of fishy stuff going on. The Doctor says everything leads back to the caves and goes exploring.

Mini-Godzilla starts to go after him, but then there's a musical sound and it leaves. I forgot how funny the 3rd Doctor can be. Liz Shaw and the Brigadier are worried about him and are gathering a search party to go into the caves. The Doctor walks into the room and says, "Well, this all looks very exciting. May I come, too?"

He tells them about the dinosaur creature. They all go into the caves, but the Doctor isn't happy that this is turning into a military operation. One of the soldiers gets attacked by the dino and shoots something else...there's a trail of blood. They analyze it and it's reptilian.

The Doctor says that the soldier was irresponsible; he was being attacked but that's not who he shot. The Doctor points out that each time there was an attack, the dino was called off. He thinks there are two types of creatures living in the caves- large ferocious ones and smaller, intelligent ones that may not be hostile. Oh, and here's the head scientist sneaking off to talk to those intelligent creatures.

Meanwhile, that injured creature is roaming around causing havoc. The Doctor and Liz snoop around the head scientist's office and find a globe of the Earth as it was 200 million years ago before the land masses drifted apart and notes on the Silurian era. Hm. I think it's interesting that we don't see any Silurians until the last seconds of episode three. We see their claws or their outline blurry in the distance, but we don't get a good look.

the Doctor and a Silurian

It's quintessential Doctor that when he meets the Silurian, he extends his hand in friendship. He wants to know what they want and how he can help. The Silurian hears a plane fly overhead and runs out the door, while the Doctor yells after him that the humans will destroy them if they don't say what they want. The Brigadier and the Doctor fight about the Brig's plan to invade the caves and the Doctor goes exploring again, this time with Liz. The Silurians are draining power to revive their species from hibernation.

The same arguments going on above ground are happening below. The Silurians fight about either studying humans or killing them all. Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to make peace with the Silurians.

They say Earth is their planet. They dismiss humans as apes. A small planet was approaching and they calculated that it would draw off the atmosphere, destroying all life. So they built the base underground to wait it out. The Doctor says their catastrophe never happened- the planet became the Moon. (Scientists don't think that's how we got the Moon anymore, but I guess that was the prevailing theory at the time.) The Silurian says that their hibernation circuit was faulty and didn't wake them up until a new power source appeared- the nuclear reactor. Anyway, the Doctor thinks there's room for both civilizations on Earth. Otherwise there will be a terrible war.

The Silurian leader agrees to try for peace. We know that's not going to happen, right? We know human nature only too well. There's already a hysterical person topside calling for the extermination of the Silurians, and there are Silurians who want to kill the humans.

This story has a pretty sobering end. The bad Silurians are tricked into hibernating again. The Doctor thinks he and Liz Shaw are going to come back the next day to start reviving them one by one, to reason with them. As they're leaving in Bessie, they see explosions in the distance. The government has ordered the Brigadier to destroy the Silurians. The Doctor comments that it's murder. They've wiped out a race of intelligent beings. They drive away in silence.


Doctor: Third
Companions: Liz Shaw
Episode: #52, "Doctor Who and the Silurians," seven parts
Adversary: the Silurians
Classic Lines: the Doctor: "It was certainly some kind of dinosaur. It was certainly nothing that I've ever seen before."; security chief: "In museums, you mean?"; the Doctor: "No, I do not mean in museums! Well, on second thought, perhaps, perhaps I do." *sly look at the Brigadier*
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This story is the first time we see Bessie, the 3rd Doctor's car.
Next Up: "The Ambassadors of Death"

October 6, 2017


We went to Gettysburg last weekend. It was pretty neat, although it started out meh.

We drove around following the auto tour route on the park map. At first it was pretty much the same. Open fields. Woods. Cannons. There are monuments from each state and also monuments to different military divisions and various people dispersed throughout the park. When we got to the second half of the auto tour, I was more familiar with the sites so it was more engaging. For instance, here's a statue of General Webb looking over Little Round Top.

General Alexander Webb

I like how they placed it so that he's looking down from the top of the hill. Here he is from the front.

We also saw Civil War reenactors at Little Round Top. I thought we would see more than we did. They were pretty cool, and Dave had his picture taken with a Union aide-de-camp. As we were driving around, I saw small monuments for all the other states but not for Pennsylvania. I kept saying "Where's Pennsylvania?!!" Oh, here is Pennsylvania.

Our state had the grand daddy of all monuments!

Cool. Toward the end of the day was saw where Pickett's Charge occurred.

Here is where the tide turned for the Union. From those trees, a line a mile across of 12,000 men approached the Union lines behind this stone wall. A fraction of them made it to the wall, and soon after the Confederates were retreating from Gettysburg. Here more than anywhere else, it was hard not to stand there and try to imagine what it must have been like that day. How horrible it must have been. Loud noises from cannons, gunfire, and the Rebel Yell. Smoke. Friends and enemies dying all around. War is a terrible thing.

We ended our day at the cemetery, where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. Alas, I forgot my phone in the car, so I don't have any photos to share. It ended up being a nice day and worth a trip if you live nearby.

September 29, 2017

Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space

It's time for the 3rd Doctor! When a new Doctor starts, it usually takes them a story or two to get their characterization down, but Jon Pertwee pretty much has his right away. The TARDIS materializes in the middle of the woods, and the Doctor exits and collapses. It just so happens that at the same time, the Brigadier (hooray!) is interviewing a scientist, Liz Shaw, to join UNIT (huzzah!). She is skeptical. The Brigadier gets a phone call and thinks the Doctor is in town.

Who is this person?
The Brigadier is disappointed. He says it's not the Doctor. The Doctor wakes up for a few minutes, recognizes the Brigadier, looks at his new face, and passes out again. Baddies try to kidnap the Doctor but are thwarted. And now the Brig believes he's the Doctor, although he's still unconscious.

the Brigadier and Liz Shaw
Liz has been testing mysterious objects that have been landing nearby. She says they aren't meteorites. Liz is generally pretty straight-laced, but so far she has been downright unlikeable. Snotty, rude, snarky in a bad way. I hope that changes by the end of the episode. Also, UNIT HQ looks different! Well, different than what I'm used to. They must change the look at some point during the 3rd Doctor's era. Anyway, the Doctor steals clothes and a car and heads to UNIT HQ.

the Brigadier and the Doctor

Now that the Doctor has arrived, Liz is acting nicer but still doesn't believe he's not human or that he travels in the TARDIS. She steals the TARDIS key from the Brigadier and gives it to the Doctor, who discovers that the TARDIS doesn't work and the Time Lords really have trapped him there.


Meanwhile, these creepy plastic things are roaming around the countryside, taking those not-meteorites and killing people. There's some fishy business going on at the plastic factory.

an Auton
This story is kind of light on plot. It introduces us to the new Doctor and his new companion and reintroduces UNIT. The Doctor uses the alias John Smith again. That's about it. I don't find the Nestene Consciousness or the Autons particularly compelling villains, but they will show up again in the future.


Doctor: Third
Companions: Liz Shaw
Episode: #51, "Spearhead from Space," four parts
Adversary: the Nestene Consciousness/Nestenes and the Autons
Classic Lines: the Doctor, to the Brigadier: "What do you think of my new face, by the way? I wasn't too sure about it myself to begin with, but it sort of grows on you." 
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This is the first time we hear that the Doctor has two hearts.
Next Up: "Doctor Who and the Silurians"

September 26, 2017

Doctor Who: The War Games

This is it. Here we are, at the final story of the 2nd Doctor era. It's a good one, but it's ten parts. That's a long time to tell a story. I didn't watch it all in one sitting. It starts with the TARDIS arriving in what appears to be No Man's Land in World War I.

Just because there's a war on doesn't mean you can't have some tea.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are picked up by the British and separated from the TARDIS. They're to be sent to the general for questioning. But if this is WWI, why is the general communicating with a mystery someone via video chat? And why can't the British remember how long they've been there or where things are? Then a Redcoat shows up! Hm...

Lady Jennifer, the Doctor, and Lieutenant Carstairs

Two of the Brits, Lady Jennifer and Lieutenant Carstairs, start to figure out that something is wrong and help the TARDIS crew escape. They travel through some mist, and on the other side there's no sign of the war. There are, however, Roman warriors. They head back to the WWI headquarters to the general's office and break into his safe. The Doctor finds what he's looking for- a map of all the war time zones.

They decide to make for the blank space in the middle of the map and get ambushed in the American Civil War zone. Keep in mind, they're driving around in a WWI ambulance. They run out of gas and continue on foot. Carstairs gets captured, and the Doctor and Zoe jump into a traveling box that is bigger on the inside. That sounds familiar. It disappears, and Jamie and Lady Jennifer are left in the Civil War zone. The Doctor and Zoe watch as the box delivers soldiers to each zone and returns to its home base.

The War Chief just looks evil.

We also learn from evil-looking dude at the main headquarters that 5% of the fighters are resistant to the mental programming and are forming resistance groups. The Doctor and Zoe wander around headquarters, noting that it's like a university. They also put on these glasses...

Meanwhile, Jamie and Lady Jennifer keep getting captured and escaping, finally falling in with the resistance. At HQ, the Doctor, Zoe, and Carstairs discuss organizing the resistance. The Security Chief and the head scientist talk about how the War Chief isn't one of their people. The WC came to them and gave them the secret of time travel, and they found out from Zoe that the Doctor has the secret of time travel. The Security Chief says that only the War Chief's people have the secret of time travel. Interesting...Jamie and his resistance friends arrive at HQ, only to be ambushed.

Oh noooooooo!

And now we have reached the halfway point in the story. That's right! Five episodes down, five episodes to go. The Doctor rescues everyone and sends Zoe with the resistance fighters to organize the resistance across all the war zones.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Carstairs follow later. There are more hints about the Doctor having a connection to the War Chief. The Doctor knows how to operate the time machines. He says that they're impregnable from the outside, to which Jamie adds, "Just like the TARDIS!" Now the War Lord arrives, and he is PISSED.

the War Lord

Things aren't going well with their war games, but the baddies do recapture the Doctor. When the Doctor is questioned, the Security Chief mentions the Time Lords! That's the first mention of the Doctor's people in Doctor Who. The War Chief interrupts and then he and the Doctor have a great conversation.

the War Chief and the Doctor

The War Chief says that although the Doctor changed his appearance, he knows who the Doctor is and that he stole the TARDIS. The Doctor responds that he had every right to leave. When the War Chief says that they are two of a kind, the Doctor replies, "We most certainly are not!" The War Chief reveals that the War Lord is staging the war games as a prelude to conquering the galaxy. The War Lord interrupts the conversation, and the War Chief tells him that the Doctor is a fugitive from the Time Lords and dare not contact them. Meanwhile, Jamie, Zoe, and Carstairs are bringing the resistance groups together to fight back.

Lady Jennifer was jettisoned earlier in the story and hasn't been seen since. The Doctor brings the resistance leaders to the main headquarters, they take over, and the fighting is stopped. However, it turns out that the War Chief's time machines are defective and only two are functional now. The Doctor has to call the Time Lords to help take everyone back to their own times. The War Chief begs him not to and says the Doctor knows what will happen- that they will show no mercy.

Recognize that box?

The Doctor contacts the Time Lords to ask for help. He uses a special box, a method that shows up in the new series episode The Doctor's Wife. He tells Jamie and Zoe to stay because he has to flee, but they insist on going with him. At this point in the episode I'm starting to get sad because I know what's going to happen. They run to the TARDIS, ending up in slow motion because the Time Lords have put up a force field. They manage to get inside and dematerialize.

They have a conversation about the Time Lords and the Doctor's relationship with them:

JAMIE: Why did you run away from them in the first place?
THE DOCTOR: What? Well, I was bored.
ZOE: What do you mean, you were bored?
THE DOCTOR: Well, the Time Lords are an immensely civilised race. We can control our own environment, we can live forever, barring accidents, and we have the secret of space time travel.
JAMIE: Well, what's so wrong in all that?
THE DOCTOR: Well we hardly ever use our great powers. We consent simply to observe and to gather knowledge.
ZOE: And that wasn't enough for you?
THE DOCTOR: No, of course not. With a whole galaxy to explore? Millions of planets, eons of time, countless civilizations to meet?
JAMIE: Well, why do they object to you doing all that?
THE DOCTOR: Well, it is a fact, Jamie, that I, I do tend to get involved with things.
JAMIE: Aye, you can say that again. Whenever there's any trouble, he's in it right up to his neck.
ZOE: But you've helped people, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: Yes, yes, but that's no excuse in their eyes.

He says they're going to run away, but the TARDIS starts to materialize. The Doctor keeps trying to escape, but in the end, the Time Lords bring them to Gallifrey. Not that it's called Gallifrey yet. The Doctor just calls it his home planet. Jamie still wants to fight, but the Doctor acts defeated.

Time Lords!

The Time Lords return everyone to their own times and put the War Lord on trial. Then it's the Doctor's turn.

The Doctor defends his interference. He uses a thought channel to show them the evil he has been fighting: the Quarks, the Yeti, the Ice Warriors, the Cybermen, and the Daleks. While he awaits the verdict, he says goodbye to Jamie and Zoe after one last attempt at escape.

The Time Lords tell the Doctor that they'll be returned to a point just before they left with him, and they'll remember their first adventure with him but nothing more. This utterly breaks my heart. The Time Lords rob Jamie and Zoe of their friendship with the Doctor and each other, they rob them of the growth they've experienced as people since they've met him, and they rob them of a significant chunk of their lives. I think this hurts more because Jamie and Zoe are two of my favorites. I'm really going to miss them. I'm not going to lie- there were tears. The Doctor is so sad when he says, "They won't remember me, will they?" It's not really a question. He knows the answer.

The Time Lords show the Doctor that Zoe and Jamie are safely back in their old lives and then get to business. They agree there is evil and that the Doctor has a part to play in fighting it. They also noticed his fondness for the planet Earth. He is to be exiled to 20th century Earth for as long as the Time Lords "deem proper," and how to work the TARDIS will be erased from his mind for the period of his exile. They will change his appearance as part of the sentence, and he'll be able to choose. That doesn't go well when he doesn't like any of the choices! So they decide for him. 


And there it ends. We don't see the 3rd Doctor until the next story. The War Games is a great story, but don't watch it all at once. It's just too long for that. It's significant in the history of Doctor Who in that we meet the Time Lords for the first time and learn something of the Doctor's people. And it's the end of an era. We say goodbye to the 2nd Doctor and to black and white. The next story is in color.


Doctor: Second
Companions: Jamie, Zoe
Episode: #50, "The War Games," ten parts
Adversary: the War Lord and his people
Classic Lines: the Doctor, to the Time Lords, about his actions of interference: "...I'm proud of them! While you have been content to merely observe the evil in the galaxy, I have been fighting against it."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This is the first appearance of the Time Lords.
Next Up: "Spearhead from Space"

September 8, 2017

Doctor Who: The Space Pirates

This story is six parts, and all but one of the episodes is missing. Fortunately, this is the last story with missing episodes. It does make it hard to follow, though. I watched a reconstruction with photos and audio.

One of the people from Earth Space Corps has an American accent. It's the kind of American accent that tells you he ISN'T American. It's almost distracting. I'm not sure why they made that decision. Anyway, there are space pirates, the crew is separated from the TARDIS, and intrigue is all around.

Next time: the last story of the Troughton era.


Doctor: Second
Companions: Jamie, Zoe
Episode: #49, "The Space Pirates," six parts
Adversary: space pirates
Classic Lines: Jamie, to Zoe, about the Doctor: "He's got his mysterious face on."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This is the last Doctor Who story to be missing any episodes.
Next Up: "The War Games"

September 4, 2017

Premise Maid ice cream

When you investigate the best ice cream in the Lehigh Valley, Premise Maid often comes up. Dave and I headed out there today to try some.

First we walked through the chocolate shop. They were playing classic Disney music, and it felt like a slice of Disney World. There were Disney figurines along with all the chocolate. There was even a display of how they make the molded chocolate. It was neat. Then it was time for the ice cream.

The creamery is separate from the chocolate shop. It was packed, which is always a good sign. I wanted to try about twenty of the flavors, but I had decided I would only get two. Then Dave said he was getting three scoops. Well...

...then I was going to get three scoops, too. Pumpkin pie, sea salt caramel with chocolate pieces, and chocolate covered oreo. It was A-MA-ZING. I'm kind of glad it's a far drive so I won't be tempted to go all the time.

Oh nooooooooo

Dave says we should go once a summer. Sounds like a good plan to me. 

August 27, 2017

Milk chocolate tart with pretzel crust

I had never made a tart before and was intrigued by this recipe. A giant chocolate covered pretzel? That was the idea anyway.

After it had set in the fridge for a bit, it was so pretty!

But I needed to transport it to South Jersey, and the plastic wrap and cooler didn't help it stay pretty. It also made it a little more wobbly than it had been after it sat in my fridge overnight.

This tart is a cool idea, but it's not very good. It's just not chocolatey enough. The milk chocolate is a mistake. It's already not as intense as a darker chocolate, and then you add heavy cream to make the filling and it dilutes it further. However, I'm not dissuaded from making tarts. More tarts in the future!

August 23, 2017

Utah rocks

Two thousand miles. Eleven days. Three states. Six national parks. Three state parks. One national monument. One tribal park. In keeping with my habit of blogging about our trips long after they happen, it's time to blog about our April trip to Utah. (This post is filled with photos, but if you want to see even more, you can find them in the Utah gallery at jlphotographs.com.)

Slot canyon!

Utah? Yes. Utah rocks. If I told people that my trip to Utah rivaled my trip to Hawaii, they'd think I was crazy. But Utah is filled with natural wonders, otherworldly places, and beauty that needs to be experienced. Before we left I picked up the National Parks Annual Pass, which can save you a lot of money. (It'll come in handy again for our upcoming trip...) Another good thing to know is to stay in the parks if you can. You'll avoid lines at the entrances, and you can look out your room or cabin's window and see amazing things! Most of where we went in Utah qualifies as desert so make sure you bring water when you're hiking.

The plan was to hit the Grand Circle and other places along the way in Utah, then travel down to the Grand Canyon in Arizona before heading home. We flew into Las Vegas (hence the three states), and drove to Zion National Park. We drove through the strip on the way. That was my first (and admittedly probably last) time in Vegas, but it was interesting to see in person. I also planned to eat as much Mexican/Tex-Mex food as possible during the trip. YUM.

Mission accomplished

I can't just say Zion was beautiful because everywhere was beautiful. Zion's beauty is hard to capture in a photo. With this park, you're in the canyon instead of looking down into it from the rim. I wanted to hike the Narrows, wading in the river through the narrow part of the canyon, but it was off limits. The river was too dangerous for hiking while we were there. We hiked all over Zion, though. There was lots of hiking on this trip.

the Watchman and the Virgin River in Zion

As we were driving from Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park, a bighorn sheep ran out in front of the car. It was pretty cool to see it so close. I can say that because we didn't hit it. There are many spots to pull over on the roads to check out the scenery, especially along Scenic Byway 12, and Dave wanted to pull over at the next one. What did we see? A sign saying that you might spot bighorn sheep on the road from Zion to Bryce.

Bryce Canyon was like nothing I've ever seen. It's filled with incredible formations called hoodoos.

Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon

The viewpoints are very accessible from the parking lots, but we did hike down into the canyon. I'm so glad we did.

hiking in Bryce
However, remember that if you hike down into the canyon, you have to hike back up.

Bryce hoodoos up close

I should mention that I was determined to see the Milky Way while we were out there but kept being foiled by clouds. We did get to see it a little bit one night in Bryce but not the galactic core. Next up was Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. GSNM is huge. It's the size of Delaware. I didn't get to see nearly enough of it. Just driving through it is awe-inspiring. We stopped at Kodachrome Basin State Park on our way to Escalante.

Dave on the trail at Kodachrome

We hiked a loop trail and got back on the road. In GSNM outside of Escalante, we drove twelve miles down a washboarded dirt road to Devils Garden.

Devils Garden

Worth the drive! It was a secluded area of large, interesting formations. Then it was on to Capitol Reef National Park.

Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is dominated by the Waterpocket Fold. It's described as a giant wrinkle 100 miles long. Also, petroglyphs!

Capitol Reef petroglyphs

I'm a fan of petroglyphs. Several of the parks we visited had petroglyphs. Next up was Goblin Valley State Park.

Goblin Valley

You walk down among them in a large valley. I think they look more like mushrooms.

Goblins or mushrooms?

Almost right next to Goblin Valley, in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, is Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Little Wild Horse Canyon
I love slot canyons! I wish we could've hiked more of them.

me and Dave

It's vitally important if you're going to hike slots that you check the weather first. These canyons were formed by flash flooding that still happens today if it rains nearby. People die so don't mess around.

Dave takes a lot of photos of me taking photos

Next we went to the town of Moab, which would be our base for the last part of our stay until we headed down to Arizona. Driving through Utah, I got to thinking that every part that we had seen was beautiful in a different way. We drove through Dixie National Forest and the aspens were gorgeous. We also saw a lot of cows on and next to the roads. There are a lot of open ranges in Utah so the cows just wander around. Be careful of the cows!

Hi cow!

The first thing we saw near Moab was dinosaur tracks. Dave wasn't impressed, but I thought it was neat.

Dinos were here.

Then we made our first trip to Arches National Park. We ended up going to Arches several times over the next few days. Arches was our favorite park of the trip.

Double Arch

The next day we got up early to drive to Dead Horse Point State Park so I could take sunrise photos. The overcast clouds sort of ruined the sunrise, but you can see it's still pretty looking into Canyonlands from the state park.

Dead Horse Point State Park

Canyonlands National Park has three sections. We drove down to see the Needles first. It's not the most visited section, but it was cool to see. We returned to Arches afterward.

me and Dave in Arches

We saw Delicate Arch from one of the far viewpoints.

Delicate Arch from Upper Viewpoint

This is the iconic arch of the park. It's on Utah's license plate. If you want to see it up close, you're going to hike three miles round trip. Not bad, you say. It's all uphill for the first half and there's no shade. All of the National Park Service brochures and the website warn about how strenuous this hike is. So we debated whether we were going to do it the next day.

the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands

The next morning we went to the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands. It's vast. It's almost incomprehensible. The weather wasn't great again, but I did manage to get a bit of sunlight glow on the underside of Mesa Arch.

Mesa Arch

Then it was back to Arches!

not just arches in Arches

Were we going to do that hike up to Delicate Arch? We were! Wow. Delicate Arch was without a doubt the highlight of the trip. The hike wasn't that bad at all. The Watchman Trail in Zion and getting out of Bryce Canyon were both more strenuous. When you near the end, you're on a narrow ledge of rock, with a wall of rock next to you and a steep drop off to the left. The wall of rock ends, and there is Delicate Arch. Glorious! It blew me away.

Delicate Arch

It's magnificent. It's not small, either. It's sixty-four feet tall. We were there about an hour before sunset, and the sun on the arch was breathtaking. I don't know what to say other than don't miss this. Take your time, bring plenty of water, and get ready to be amazed.

me and Dave at Delicate Arch

The next day we got up and drove to Arizona. In the snow. Did I mention that some places were quite high in altitude and it was colder than you'd expect? We had seen snow in Bryce Canyon and other places, and now it snowed heavily while we were driving. The weather at Monument Valley was stormy, so we looked for a minute and continued on our way.

Monument Valley

As we headed to our final stop, I wondered what Dave would think of the Grand Canyon. I'm one of the few people who isn't nuts about the Grand Canyon. It's big. It's pretty. All the viewpoints pretty much look the same. What would Dave think? Yep, he thought that, too. The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley were our least favorite parts of the trip.

the Grand Canyon

We walked all over and saw different viewpoints and also had some yummy ice cream.  

That's a sliver of the Grand Canyon behind us.

I got so many stamps in my National Parks Passport on this trip! That was exciting.

So many passport stamps!

Final thoughts?

me and Dave in the Fiery Furnace section of Arches
I could have spent a month in Utah and not seen everything I wanted to see. I knew I would like it. I never expected to love it.
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