SUN CHASERS: MEANDERING WITH MANITOBAN'S PART 1

It's been something like a week and a half and what a whirlwind week and a half it's been.  I'll quickly trace our journey since St. George, UT for you so you have an idea of where we've been.  St. George, UT -> Mesquite, NV -> Las Vegas, NV -> Goldfield, NV -> Joshua Tree, CA -> Santa Barbara, CA.  It hasn't all happened in quite so few days, but it's been a long journey nonetheless.  I'm going to write this blog in two parts since the number of photos I want to share would require an essay.  I've been unable to catch enough time to edit photos or do any writing while we've been desperately attempting to make it to the coast to escape the cold and wet weather while actually seeing cool stuff.

  Thus far, travel with our friends, Cory & Jasmine Schulz, has been a blast.  Jasmine is one of Alison's best friends (second to yours truly) from way back in the day who happens to have a toyota-loving husband, so needless to say we all get along pretty well.  The Schulz's are an easy-going duo that enjoy the out of doors allllmost as much as the Jackson's (I say that because Cory hasn't quite learned how to frolic in the wind with glee when he's surrounded by mountains or engulfed in intense wind. I on the other hand have exhibited this skill a number of times in our travels together thus far.).  

 Our first night together was pretty epic.  The first campfire since the beginning of the trip, stars were out and the company was top notch!

Our first night together was pretty epic.  The first campfire since the beginning of the trip, stars were out and the company was top notch!

 Not a bad camp spot, eh?  This will definitely be returned to.

Not a bad camp spot, eh?  This will definitely be returned to.

 Besties.

Besties.

 Cory's self-built kitchen setup in his 4runner.

Cory's self-built kitchen setup in his 4runner.

We met up in St. George, Utah after a number of other planned meeting points fell through due to weather.  St. George was the best place to meet at the time with temperatures in the 10's and no rain.  Our first day was spent in St. George so that the chilly Manitoban's could warm their bones a little and get some rest after a number of grueling travel days.  

Alison and I went on our respective rides and then we all met back up at our camp spot and proceeded to do some exploration of Snow Canyon.  Snow Canyon "exploration" quickly became "escape" Snow Canyon as dark fell while we were still trying to follow a path of partial footprints in the dried out creek bed.  We consider ourselves decently learned outdoors people but were slapped upside the head by mother nature and forced to realize that we can still be pretty stupid. In hindsight, maybe beginning a hike into a canyon at 4:30pm (sundown is just before 6pm) with no more than cellphone lights, the shirts on our backs and a water bottle between the four of us isn't such a good idea.

 I wasn't told Cory was so tall, I also wasn't told that he's capable of jumping over mountains...

I wasn't told Cory was so tall, I also wasn't told that he's capable of jumping over mountains...

 Alison is tired of living in the boler, she's thus transitioned to this rock home.  Far sturdier.

Alison is tired of living in the boler, she's thus transitioned to this rock home.  Far sturdier.

 Jasmine contemplates moving in with Alison.

Jasmine contemplates moving in with Alison.

 The happy couple in their new home.

The happy couple in their new home.

 Snow Canyon has some pretty incredible sights, you should go there...

Snow Canyon has some pretty incredible sights, you should go there...

 Our first glimpse of the canyon we had to retreat from.

Our first glimpse of the canyon we had to retreat from.

 Laundromat chill sessions, complete with home decor magazines.

Laundromat chill sessions, complete with home decor magazines.

The next day we traveled in the rain just down the road to Mesquite, NV where we had a laundromat session and ate delicious Mexican food.  That night we returned to a previous campsite along a cliff's edge.  Waking up to a cold but rain free morning we thought maybe things were looking up and we'd have dry roads to Vegas.  Wrong.  As soon as we started our drive South it started to dump on us and continued to do so until we reached Las Vegas, NV.  

 The Manitoban's taking in the view on a chilly and slightly damp morning.

The Manitoban's taking in the view on a chilly and slightly damp morning.

We drove through the city towards Red Rock Canyon to check out the park.  After lunch and a walk through the visitor center to warm up we hopped in the trucks and drove towards the canyon.  If you thought that rain in Las Vegas is weird...it then began to snow in the canyon.  Cory kept on saying we should hit the strip, see if we could win big...the basis being that it's gotta be lucky to have this much rain in an essentially rain-less city.

 Red Rock Canyon, we saw a lot of red and white that day...kind of fitting I suppose, THE CANADIAN'S HAVE LANDED!

Red Rock Canyon, we saw a lot of red and white that day...kind of fitting I suppose, THE CANADIAN'S HAVE LANDED!

 It starts to snow a little as we drive the scenic parkway...

It starts to snow a little as we drive the scenic parkway...

 ...the BOOM, SNOWMAGEDDON!

...the BOOM, SNOWMAGEDDON!

Later that night we ignored a few "no vehicles past this point" signs and drove up into a small valley to settle down for a VERY windy night.

 Camping on the Vegas strip...sorta.

Camping on the Vegas strip...sorta.

Having been soaked the day previous, then tosseled around all night be the wind it was a quick and easy decision to head North in search of hot springs.  The day was sunny and warm, an open road lay before us, and only adventure was left to be found.

 A quick scramble up the side of our canyon sleeping spot revealed a rather pleasing view of Red Rock Canyon (in the distance)

A quick scramble up the side of our canyon sleeping spot revealed a rather pleasing view of Red Rock Canyon (in the distance)

 Going into the canyon resulted in an interesting retreat when we reached a dead end after a tight, windy section.  I backed the trailer out...oh yes, like a boss.  If you think I can't offroad with Casper in tow, you're mistaken.

Going into the canyon resulted in an interesting retreat when we reached a dead end after a tight, windy section.  I backed the trailer out...oh yes, like a boss.  If you think I can't offroad with Casper in tow, you're mistaken.

 Headed North...

Headed North...

 Good-bye snowy mountains...

Good-bye snowy mountains...