Saturday, September 29, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 6 The Needle in the Canyonlands National Park

     Our trip for the day was straight to the southeast part of Canyonlands National Park which is called Needles. It was less popular than the norther part (the Island in the Sky) of Canyonlands according to my husband research. It was an unknown new park to me. 
Park Introduction:
"The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district's extensive trail system provides many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads lead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park. "
"On US Highway 191, drive 40 miles (60 km) south of Moab or 14 miles (22 km) north of Monticello, then take Utah Highway 211 roughly 35 miles (56 km) west. Highway 211 ends in the Needles, and is the only paved road leading in and out of the district." 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 5 II-Mesa Verde National Park

"Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders, on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip. The tour begins at Cliff Palace Overlook, an 8-mile (13km), 20-minute drive from the Visitor Center."
It was a quick lunch for both of us. We
arrived at the entrance of the cliff. We
saw a small gate on this stair. These
archaeological sites were well protected
by the park service.    

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 5 I- Mesa Verde National Park, Co

     This was the fifth day that we traveled on the road. I didn't miss home at all. Actually, I was very excited and expected to see more new things and places. Staring from this day to the rest of our trip, we were going to visit national parks. Our journey for the day was to visit Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. 
     According to my husband's research and plan, there was not a lot of things to see in the park. Also, it was not too far away from our hotel. Since we had more time for the day, we would take our time to drive to the park. (My thought: it should have more things to do in the park because it is in the scale of the national parks. Well, we would see and play it by ear.)

Our driving distance

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Super Typhoon Jelawat Watching

     Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau expects to announce sea warning between Wednesday night (26) to Thursday morning(27). Typhoon Jelawa path will be close to Taiwan on the 28th and 29th. 

Below two images were taken from

American Southwest Trip: Day 4 II- Historical Silverto, Co

     After we left Durango, we entered San Joan National Forest on Highway 550 to Silverton. It was a winding but enjoyable road. The highway from Silverton to Ouray is also called the Million Dollar Highway which was also interesting to me. My husband said "no time" to me  when I asked to drive to Ouray.  
Our first rest stop was at the Coal Bank Pass Summit
which elevation is 10,640 feet (3,243 m.) We saw
motorcyclists on the highway. They definitely had 

a lot of fun poseing for their pictures.

American SouthwestTrip: Day 4 I-Historic Durango, Co

     It used to be painful to wake up in the early morning. But my traveling seemed to change my sleeping pattern. I automatically got up at 6 am and waited to see the sunrise. Maybe it was the sign of getting old. Probably my husband was the most happiest man to see the change in me. Ya, I should pat myself on the back and say, "good job or good girl." Also my sore and aching muscles were fine after soaking in the pool and hot tub. Although the breakfast in the hotel couldn't compete with Taiwan buffet style, it was still descent than other hotels in the States.   
Our travel plan was to visit Durango and Silverton in
Colorado. It was about a 51 mile drive to Durango on
a mountain road. We didn't stay in Durango because
of the high hotel rates.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 3 Four Corner and Farmington NW

     The first night I tried to take night sky photos alone in the parking lot. I failed because I was afraid of any human surprise while I was taking photos. Maybe I watched too many horrible movies that depicted some psychics appeared and kidnapped women who were alone. I knew ten minutes exposure was not long enough. I didn't have a great return for the ten minutes shooting. I was very upset. So I discussed with my husband the night before for waking up early to take sunrise photos at Horseshoe Bend. 
     I had no problem to drag my husband to go with me in the early morning. He likes the freshness of the early morning air and weather. He was surprised that I did get up right away without asking ten more minutes in bed. 
Comparing to the prior day, only my husband and
I were there. We enjoyed the tranquil morning.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 2 Horseshoe Bend-Page

Travel Tips: 
  1. I brought along my ipad and signed up for the AT&T data plan. Th cost for 250 MG was US$15 per month. It allowed me to check the map or estimate the arriving time when driving on the road. (Any tablet which has 3 or 4 G can perform this function too.) 
  2. Also I used free GasBuddy app to check and compare gasoline price in different cities that we would drive through or stay for a night. It was handy for saving money on gasoline. Only problem was some update were old in some cities. 
  3. Good paper maps covering the entire trip are necessary.    

     After one night of good rest, my prince became a frog which is always a pain in my butt in the early morning. I was required to wake up early and my ten more minutes rule was not in his dictionary when traveling in the States. I could understand his reasoning that the distance to the next destination requires a lot driving time when traveling in the States with a lot of stops for me.
It wasn't far to drive 149 mi from Flagstaff to Page
directly. But when we planed to visit some scenic
spots along the way, it took us more time to drive to 

our destination. Also I constantly asked my husband 
to stop when his driving speed was up to 65 mil per 
hour for taking pictures. I knew I suddenly became his 
pain in his butt. I appreciated what he had done for me.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day1 Flagstaff Area Arizona

     The hot and humid weather in Taiwan has driven some people who are use to a dry summer weather to fly out of Taiwan. My husband and I are two of those people. Each summer we come back to Las Vegas and travel in the States. 
     After all medical issues were solved. We just wanted to escape our Las Vegas life. Our original idea was to drive up to the northwest coast to Canada to see the massive and colorful fall foliage. The massive and vivid leaves are not commonlyseen in the subtropical environment of Taiwan.
     Sometimes, things do not always go as planed. We didn't have enough time to go up to the coast as one of my husband's friend might visit him in Las Vegas. So, my final notice to my husband was that I wanted to visit Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and the Arch National Park. Well, he did all the research and came out with this 9-day-trip plan.
My husband used Google Earth to do our trip planing.
He calculated 9 days to finish this circle tour crossing
4 states. It sounded very good to me. My job was to
find and book a reasonable rental car and hotels.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Songboling- Unpopular Place with Fulfilled of Agricultural Spirits

     Songboling does not sounds like a famous or familiar place, right?   Most foreign tourists don't know this place, even people who live in Taiwan have never heard about it either. Only people who are tea lovers or Taoism know this place. It is located on the south end of Bagua Mountain Range Plateau with an elevation of 430 meter.
      It was an early settlement for Han immigrants from Mainland China during the Qing Dynasty around 1657. In the early time, these settlers endured a tough life style and dealt with diseases
and illness. They found their consolidation from religion aspects. 
They built the temple which hosted the same deity as their hometown and wished blessings from their deity. Over time it became one of the most important Taoist temples in Taiwan. Starting from the Lunar New Year to Lunar March, it is packed with its pagans and religious ceremonies. 
The Shotien Temple has been rebuilt due to an arson fire after
the 921 earthquake. It mainly hosts Xuan Tien Shandi.
Photo was taken by Jeff Ou who is the local resident.