I had only intended to attend one workshop. I was late in signing up for a Santa Fe Workshops class and was put on a wait list. Meanwhile, Utah Adventures contacted me about a new workshop they were trying out a couple of weeks after the Santa Fe class, so I accepted. While in Tucson I got a call from Santa Fe Workshops to say that they had an opening and I took it.
I took 2 days to drive out to Santa Fe. I stayed in Holbrook at the WigWam motel on Route 66. This was the second time I stayed there. I drove to Albuquerque along that portion of Route 66 as well.
I settled into the hotel on Sunday night and Monday morning jumped into the class at Santa Fe Workshops. I hadn’t paid attention to the weather until I arrived. I left San Diego in the 70’s to arrive in mid to high 90’s. I had known about these workshops for many years and they had been on my bucket list to attend. It was well worth it and I will be coming back.
Before leaving San Diego I decided to stay in Albuquerque for the week in between the two workshops. I looked at coming home for a week and then going out again, but decided I could save a little driving by going to Salt Lake City direct from New Mexico. I telecommute for work anyway, so I just decided to work from my hotel instead of home. This was over the 4th of July so I worked 4 days.
Staying in Albuquerque allowed me to do more exploring and take my time getting over to Utah. One of the things it allowed me to do was see Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. A coworker had recommended this. There are 4 different locations and one is in Denver where the coworker lives. Turns out I’ve been driving by the one in Las Vegas and didn’t know what it was. I may have to check it out on my next visit to Las Vegas in November.
Other places I visited in the area included:
- White Sands
- Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
- Chaco Canyon
- Los Alamos
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Old Town Albuquerque
- Duke City BBQ – I ate here many times during the week
From Albuquerque, I headed to Page, Arizona. I stayed 2 nights here. I started my day with a quick walk down to the Glen Canyon Dam overlook. After breakfast I joined Antelope Slot Canyon Tours to visit the Upper Antelope Canyon tour. I took the 10:30 tour. We boarded a nice enclosed 4×4 mini-bus. I was glad to have chosen this tour group as others were using pickup trucks with bench seats that were open air. It was a very bump drive to the canyon as we drove through the sand in the dry wash.
The 10:30 was almost full with the prime tours being at 12 and 2. This is a very organized operation as multiple tour companies use this site and are coordinate. We have a group of 14. Each group stayed within a single chamber of the canyon and we progressed by following the group ahead of us. I got some good photos on this tour but it was hard to move around and avoid pictures of people. I aksed the guide about the other tours and which might be less crowded. His recommendation was to take the 4:30 tour.
The 4:30 tour was a completely different experience. We were the last van going out from this company and we maybe had 10 people in the van. As we got to the canyon there was only one group ahead of us. The guide knew I had been on the previous tour and let me wander a bit from the group. The other difference was beign the last group, we didn’t have to walk up and over the hill like the mourning tour. Instead we got to turn around and head back out the way we came. That gave me two opportunities to shoot from different approaches.
Evidently there have been changes going on with the tours. We were not allowed to throw up dust to generate the sunbeams that you see in photographs all over the place. Also they no longer allow tripods or monopods in the canyon. My guide indicated that I should try Canyon X next time as it isn’t as crowded.
I took Hwy 89 out of Page and up to Spanish Fork where I joined I-15 to complete the drive to Salt Lake City. The workshop in Salt Lake City took me to:
- Antelope Island State Park
- Stansbury Island – home of the pink salt ponds and Morton Salt company
- Little Sahara sand dunes
- City Park
- Little Deer Creek Falls
This whole area has been experiencing sever heat. Utah was probably the most pleasant temperature wise although still hot. When I returned home, I came through Las Vegas with a temperature of 122 degrees. I’m pretty sure that was the hottest I’ve ever been.