Bruce & Betsy Blais
Richardson, Texas USA

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Here is a brief description their vacation trip through the Southwestern states in July, 1999 with Michael and Sara. This vacation trip was planned as a final family vacation before Michael graduated high-school. Sara was also there along with Betsy and Bruce. If you would like a full-resolution of any of these photographs, please let me know and I will send them on.

The trip started in Dallas, following I-30 and I-20 to Abilene where they had lunch. From there,  it was on to Pecos then up US-285 to Whites City and Carlsbad Caverns.

Carlsbad Caverns

That night they went to the Bat Cave to watch the Mexican Free-tail Bats exit the cave by the tens of thousands for their nightly hunting flight.

The photo above shows Michael, Sara and Betsy at the entrance to the Bat Cave prior to the program and night flight.

The next day, they took the self-guided tour of the caverns.

Sara and Betsy posing for a photo along the way.

There were all kinds of mineral formations. Below is one of the more interesting.

They finished up the tour the afternoon of the second day and headed north to Roswell for their next stop.

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Roswell, Las Cruces & Mesilla

In Roswell, they visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center. If you are ever in that part of the country, it is certainly worth visiting. There was lots of fascination information on UFOs and some pretty quirky people, cars and other stuff around the museum.

From Roswell, it was on to Ruidoso, White Sands, the atom bomb test site at Alamogordo, Las Cruces and Mesilla.

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Lake Powell

From Las Cruces, it was on to Phoenix, up through Sedona and Flagstaff, by Meteor Crater and on into Page, Arizona. Below is a photo of Sara, Bruce and Michael at the Glen Canyon Dam, with Lake Powell in the background.

Below is a shot looking up-river towards the dam.

From Page and Lake Powell, it was on to the Grand Canyon.

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Grand Canyon

The trip from Glen Canyon came around through Marble Canyon to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Below is a shot of Betsy and Bruce at the Visitor's Center at the North Rim.

No visit is complete without making a panorama of the canyon.

Below is Betsy by a tree with more of the canyon in the background.

Bruce and Betsy on one of the observation walkways.

A shot of the Colorado River at Marble Canyon.

From the Grand Canyon, it was up the road to Bryce Canyon.

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Bryce Canyon

After "doing" the Grand Canyon, they headed north to Bryce Canyon. Below is a photo of Betsy at the entrance to the canyon.

Further in, the scenery got much more interesting. Below is Betsy and Bruce with hoodoos in the background. Hoodoos are sandstone formations carved by the swirling winds.

More hoodoos further in. If you look carefully, you can see Michael on the path down into the canyon.

And here is what it looks like from down in the canyon looking up to the observation point.

Further down the valley, the formations mixed with trees.

Hoodoos come in a variety of colors. Here is a mix of white and red.

A few more formations along the way.

Here is a close-up of the central spire shown above.

From Bryce, they drove on over to Moab and Arches National Park.

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Arches NP, Moab

The Tree Arch at Devil's Garden.

A group shot of Michael, Bruce and Sara at the beginning of their hike through the park.

Bruce and Betsy near the beginning of their hike through the park.

Can't remember the name of this arch.

Below is landscape arch.

Another shot through the Tree Arch.

After Arches NP in Moab, it was south to Monument Valley.

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Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau near the Utah-Arizona border characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor. Below is one of the mesas you see as you begin the drive through the valley.

Below is a photo of the Mittens and Merrick Butte (right) from the visitor center. They are called Mittens because they have opposing spires suggesting a left and right hand.

The next one is Elephant Butte.

Betsy, Sara and Michael on the valley floor.

Michael, Sara and Bruce on the valley floor.

Below is Betsy and Bruce near the North Window.

Below is West Mitten on the right and a number of other Buttes in the distance.

This was an awesome experience, but it was time to move on.

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Four Corners

From Monument Valley, it was east to Four Corners where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet.

Like any good tourist, Bruce had to have his photo made while he was in four states all at the same time.

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Canyon De Chelly

The next stop was Canyon De Chelly, one of the longest continuously inhabited areas in North America. Below is Bruce and Betsy at a kiosk in front of the ancient "White House" ruins in the background.

From that point, they boarded the "tour truck" for the ride up the canyon.

Along the way, they saw more of the civilizations that lived there.

Here is a photo of Michael, Betsy and Sara at another set of ruins.

From Canyon Del Chelly, it was onto Santa Fe.

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Santa Fe

Below is a shot of Michael, Bruce and Sara during their walk around the historic downtown district.

From Santa Fe, it was time to head back to Dallas.

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Along the way they stopped in Amarillo for lunch before driving their last leg home.

Overall, the trip took two weeks and covered 3,000 miles. They stayed one night at every stop except Las Cruces where they had to take an extra night while the car was repaired.

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Version 0.2, May 11, 2014