U.S. North to South: Driving through Utah National Parks

Chevrolet Viking 6.0 Ferron UT1960 Chevrolet Viking 6.0 in Ferron UT 

After Grand Teton National Park, we continue our North to South exploration of the United States in a Ram 2500 tradesman diesel baptised Bob. Today, we cross the state of Utah entirely to arrive at Kanab at the border with Arizona. On the way, we will admire such wonders as Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante via the sublime Highway 12 Scenic Byway and Bryce Canyon National Park. Check out all U.S. North to South photo reports here: we started all the way in Barrow, the northernmost settlement in the U.S.!

Capitol Reef NP Pic1Capitol Reef National Park, UT Jackson Kanab mapJackson Hole WY to Kanab UT itinerary – click on the map to enlarge.Bob Hwy 12 Scenic Byway UTBob on the Highway 12 Scenic By-Way UT

The first part of this journey takes up to Green River, Ashley National Forest, Flaming Gorge and Red Canyon to stop overnight in Vernal UT. Next, we cross verdant plains towered by yellow rock formation where lie sleepy quaint towns: Helper and its hanging rock, Price, Orangeville, Ferron and Lyman. They are relics of bygone, less stressful times where automotive treasures await to be discovered, such as the superb 1960 Chevrolet Viking 6.0 medium-duty pickup pictured at the start of this article. It was just one of many olden workhorses abandoned in the nook and crannies of leftover fields.

Bob Hwy 12 UTGrand Staircase-Escalante UTCapitol Reef NP Pic2Capitol Reef National Park, UTBob Helper UTBob in Helper UT. Notice the hanging rock at the center.

At Torrey, we enter the bright-red cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park with herds of bisons lazily grazing at their foot. It is the start of hours of non-stop awe-inspiring landscapes, best viewed through the oft-ignored Highway 12 Scenic By-Way that takes Bob and I through various mountain passes across the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We manage to reach Bryce Canyon National Park just as the sunset sets the pinkish yellow cliffs ablaze in another magical moment. We also cross the 3.000 miles mark since Seattle in Bryce Canyon (4.828 km). My only regret for Utah on this trip is to not have had the time to veer a little more eastward to the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Perhaps another time…

Ford F-250 Lyman UTFord F-250 near Lyman UT
Bob Orangeville UTBob in Orangeville UTBob Hwy12 UT Pic2Bob on Highway 12 UT

As far as the vehicles we met along the way, as it was the case in our last update in Wyoming, this part of the United States is the kingdom of pickup trucks with all generations of three decades worth of best-sellers still well represented on the road. In some towns there were already handfuls of new generation Ford F-150 which at the time I visited (October 2015) was a feat in itself. In our Exclusive 2015 State by State sales charts we find that the 2015 best-seller in Utah is the Ram Pickup – once again I’m keeping Bob at home especially given the fact the 2500 variant is the most common here – followed at a distance by the Chevrolet Silverado then the Ford F-150. This is validated by my real-life observations. The Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Outback and Toyota Camry are the most popular cars, something I couldn’t verify as they undoubtedly are more successful in the state capital Salt Lake City which I did not visit.

Our next stop is the majestic Grand Canyon – so be sure to check again tomorrow!

Ram Pickup UTBob’s brothers are very successful in Utah: the Ram Pickup was #1 here in 2015.

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