We all woke early and a bit cold. The temperature in the desert really does drop at night. By 9.15 we had left our RV park and were heading north-east on Highway 15. The landscape was dramatic and alien to these natives of a green and pleasant land. Vegas itself is very flat but in the distance on every side that I could see, there are mountains. The setting is very beautiful. The city. Well, not so much. But we left it behind quickly and crossed scrubland bordered by layered hills of dark terracotta.
We stopped for coffee in Mesquite. More casinos and malls. And stunning cliffs behind. Honestly, America, do you have to just plonk generic dull unattractive architecture everywhere no matter how lovely the surroundings are?
I wonder what people do for a living in these places. Is it all tourism and service industries or do people make things?
Now it was my turn to drive. After all the dread, it was all right. The RV was easy to steer, the roads are huge and once you've got over the enormous juggernauts bearing down on you at 65-70 mph, it's a breeze! (Okay, I'll admit my knuckles may be a little white in this picture.)
We drove through a pass or canyon briefly in Arizona, before crossing into Utah. The landscape had become more and more extraordinary. As if someone had scraped all the topsoil off and left behind bare rocks, unfinished, craggy, many coloured.
In St George (retirement town, golf courses) we had lunch at the Bear Paw Cafe (first obligatory photograph of John Wayne of the trip). Turns out we had a late lunch because of the time difference - Utah is on Mountain Time. The locals were friendly enough if a lot more taciturn than Californians.
After St George came yet more crazy landscape. It just doesn't look like somewhere people would choose to live. Visit? Yes. Absolutely. But live? And in awfully boring looking 70s villas. Picture a standard 4 bedroom detached house with garage atop a bizarre rock formation of salmon pink. The architecture does not do justice to the territory.
Though naturally I liked this 1860s building in St George.
But it is rather like living in an enormous disused quarry.
We arrived in Zion shortly before 5pm. We are now parked and hooked up (technical term there meaning we have plugged into their electricity supply) in the Watchman Campground, surrounded by high striped cliffs and near the Virgin River. This was the drive in towards the South Entrance.
The forecast for tomorrow is rain.