I insist we have no official schedule for the Big Trips, but if there was, sometime-in-2021 would have been the season. But used cars are hard to find for cheap at the moment and I wasn’t in the right place to swing a two-week outage this fall anyway. But we wanted to put an adventure together regardless, so we have what Evan has lovingly dubbed a “backtrack.” Of all the ideas we debated on where to go, we decided a “Best of the Southwest Offroadtrip.”
Has this band really been together long enough to cut our first Greatest Hits album?
But how could we not? That trip made me fall in love with the high deserts of the southwest. And thanks to a couple climbing trips, I’ve made several solo trips back to Death Valley since. It really would be fun to go back as a team.
Also, George has started saying worrying things like “Titus Canyon is on the Renegade’s Bucket List.” It’s a 2016, it’s not only the newest of the bunch, it’s brand new. And then there’s the matter of Nutter Twists Road (real name), that obstacle I really thought we were going to die on that probably isn’t as big a deal now that I know how to drive.
We also didn’t get nearly as much time as I wish we’d had in the Grand Canyon area during that trip. And on the way back from Covid Climbsgiving, I drove straight across the top of Arizona and made some notes on places to check out, too.
So we’ve got a little over a week. How much can we do? We’ve got pins on a few fantastic places:
- Petrified Forest National Park (maybe, it is on the way, ish)
- Death Valley National Park
- Valley of Fire [Nevada] State Park
- Gold Butte National Monument
- Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
- Grand Canyon NP North Rim
- Vermilion Cliffs – Paria Canyon National Monument
- Monument Valley
With evenings in Flagstaff, the Casino-Hotel-Denny’s at Beatty, Furnace Creek (Death Valley), the CasaBlanca at Mesquite, the covered wagons at Bar 10 Ranch, Page, and Taos.
For part of the voyage, we have a special guest! Our UTulsa friend Andrew will be joining. In a very new, very interesting, very electrified vehicle. The Rivian R1T, an all-electric 4×4 pickup, which I am incredibly excited to see in person. I passed one on the highway back in Colorado but that was definitely pre-production. Andrew works in cybersecurity there — and thanks to his referral, I nearly did, too! Although they and I both ended up going in different directions, I really enjoyed every conversation along the way and met some awesome people. So I’m pumped for them that they launched the R1T and for Andrew that he scored one so soon — the 19th produced for public sale.
And he’s bringing it with us.