[http://www.duke.edu/~egw4/]

Adventures in the Southwest: 6/4/2011 - 6/14/2011

After two years of 80-hour weeks in PE, and then my first year of law school, I deemed it necessary to take a vacation. Cheap, proximate and defensible (vis-a-vis my need to get to the east coast to work for the summer) was a trip through the SW national parks on my way from Stanford to DC.

Over the course of nine days I hit Joshua Tree NP, Grand Canyon NP (both rims), Glen Canyon NP, Zion NP, Bryce NP, Escalante/Grand Staircase NM, Capitol Reef NP and Arches NP. I met an amazing array of people from no less than 20 states. Both the scenery and the people were fantastic. I then floored it from Denver to DC, making it in under 36 hours (and being relatively unimpressed with what's in between).

I also used the trip as an opportunity to experiment with Hugin, an open-source panorama stitching program that I've been messing with over the past few months. The results were spectacular. Below are panoramas and highlights from the trip, which I post primarily for the benefit of my east coast brethren who have yet to experience the West:

The Final Specs:

Seven national parks, one national monument and five major cities in 4006.6 mi on 152 gallons of gas (26.4 mpg) for $1287 in expenses and $98 in damage to my car. Zero tickets or felony convictions, despite driving 120-130 mph in sections of AZ and UT.

The Route:   [Full Google Map]


View Road Trip Route (6/4-6/14) in a larger map

The Vehicle: 2007 BMW 328i (RWD, 3.0L naturally aspirated straight-six)



The Equipment: iPhone 4 + Nikon Coolpix S80 (two relatively crappy cameras)



Joshua Tree National Park

Rock Formations in the Northwest: (roll the mouse over the gigapan window if image fails to appear)

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Grand Canyon National Park

View from Cape Royal (North Rim):

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Glen Canyon National Park

View from the Navajo Bridge:

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Zion National Park

View from Angel's Landing:

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunrise Point (down the trail):

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Escalante/Grand Staircase National Monument (+ Drive to Arches and Capitol Reef)

Best. Road. Ever:

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images



Arches National Park (+ Drive to Arches)

Delicate Arch:

Additional Panoramas:

Gallery of Random Non-Panoramic Images