Jun 3, 2013

Scenic Routes- US Route 89A and a stalker!

I have gone on road-trips to Arizona, not much, a little in the northern parts. My journey so far has been part of I-40, on highways 64, 89 and that US-Route-89A from Bitter Springs to Kanab, UT also known as Fredonia-Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Route. It passes the Marble Canyon National Monument, crosses Navajo Bridge, passes Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge, intersects Grand Canyon North Rim Route 67 and it is scenic!

US Scenic Route 89A

When I was driving from Page to Bryce Canyon and I thought of taking the Scenic Route 89A rather than the usual and shorter Route-89. Though all through Arizona is scenic I wanted to go on this designated route! It was one of the scenic drives I will remember for lifetime! Very different and yet an amazing landscape, wide open desert floor, flat earth all around, then there are high standing cliffs, that vermillion color, bluest skies and oven like heat! This post is going to be a serious story of how I was stalked by a withered truck all along that lonely route than some pleasant scenic experience!

US Scenic Route 89A Navajo Bridge Marble Canyon National Monument
Marble Canyon NM- Colorado River from Navajo Bridge
Initially, I was the happiest person ... I crossed the Navajo Bridge over the mighty Colorado River at Marble Canyon National Monument. Soon after on my right side I could see was a long stretch of Vermillion Cliffs for miles. I wished I could go on the other-side to The Waves, a natural World Heritage Site. I didn't have a permit! I stopped at few places to take pictures but, getting out of the car was like jumping into a furnace! Hot hot red hot! The sun wasn't in my favor and so pictures have a lot of dark shadows. But, I love that blue sky and use of a circular polarizer makes it bluuuue!

As I drove around 9-miles in that lonely desert what I call "eternity of nothing", alongside the vermillion cliffs I could not see any other vehicle in the vicinity. My only car on the long straight highway and then I happened to see some strange  rocks and some remnants of brick structures sticking to them. Exploring a bit in the area I saw an old house built mostly of rocks. Looked like some ancient remains. 

US Scenic Route 89A Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge
Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge
But, later I came to know that these were remains of Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge built in 1920s. These weren't any ancient tribe. During great depression a couple, Blanche and Bill Russell, came here. Their car broke down right at this spot. The lady liked the desert  and opened a restaurant here! Interesting history and much info is available on net. Now, I saw a Navajo tribe selling jewelry here. I wondered who he was selling them to. I wandered around for some time and when I saw a an annoyed rattler from under a rock, I left the place. 

Back on the road I drove miles and miles. All around me was flat bed of desert and weird looking boulders. Now the wall of Vermillion Cliffs was a bit jagged. There were no other cars around and so I really didn't bother to look at the side or rear mirrors. And then I suddenly saw a truck behind me! There were no intersections or anything, from nowhere that truck appeared- I wondered!  Then thought may be I didn't pay much attention! It was tailgating me, almost hitting my car from behind! The truck was very old with rusted metal, withered paint, broken headlights and dark interiors. 

US Scenic Route 89A Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge
Old Cliff Dwellers Lodge
I was already little over the speed and I didn't want to speed up! It was a moment of worry and I didn't know what to do. It was a single lane road and no turn-outs nearby. I always remember horror stories when I am scared, to scare myself even more. I thought it may be some local and pushed away all the bad thoughts! Since it was a single lane route I thought poor guy didn't have anywhere else to go! I drove around thirty more miles where the landscape changed from flat red hot desert to kind of dry brown grassy with black volcanic rocks, the road going uphill. The truck was still racing behind me! I saw couple of cars at a viewpoint and I was so happy to see them. I stopped and the truck stopped too! I watched if anyone got off, nobody. The windows were closed and I couldn't see the driver. 

US Scenic Route 89A
US Route 89A in the middle of nowhere!
I saw the two passengers cars leaving in the opposite direction. I started too! I was shocked to see the truck following me again! Panick-stricken me drove slowly thinking that the truck may pass, nope! It was an uphill winding road and the truck was right behind. I thought if I drove faster, much over the speed limit some cop would catch me and then I could tell the cop about the truck! But, I didn't drive fast. No cops and no ranger officers were seen when I desperately needed them. I reached Jacob Lake and stopped at that fairly crowded Jacob Lake Inn where all the Grand Canyon- North Rim visitors fill the gas. I too filled gas and had my lunch taking my own time. 

US Route 89 Mud mounds
US Route 89 towards Page
I was so scared that I didn't want to get out of the place. Later I made up my mind and thought it would be better to reach the Bryce Canyon Campground before dark. For some time I didn't see the truck but, I might have gone 4-miles or so, saw it parked at a turnout. It followed me again! Now I was petrified and I drove fast! Later I saw Highway Petrol and I stopped to explain the situation, by then the truck was gone. I drove another hundred miles to the campground. I pitched the tent but, but slept inside the car on the driver's seat. All the bad thoughts kept bothering me. I think early morning I dozed off! I didn't see that truck again!

Little Colorado
Little Colorado- Dry riverbed seen from US Route-64
When I felt too hot and suffocating inside the car I woke up. While having coffee I started rethinking about the incident the day before ... what were my mistakes before I started my trip? Did I unknowingly annoy the person in the truck? what could have I done to be safe?

- I drove alone on a lonely desert road with nobody knowing where I was.
- I filled the gas in a lonely gas station where someone could have seen me all alone.
- I didn't look for help, neither at the viewpoint nor at the Jacob Lake Inn.
- I could have stayed for a night at Jacob Lake Inn which I didn't!

Well, I didn't offend anyone and I do not use offensive language too. I was lucky enough my car didn't give up on me in that desert. Nature is beautiful, nature is dangerous too! So are humans- good and bad. Whether it is a trip deep into the great Sahara Desert, or a short ride in deserts of Arizona or Utah ... you got to be prepared for the worst! Deserts have extreme weather conditions and lonely places are haven for obscene minds. Be safe!

Do you have suggestions on what to do in such situations?

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National Parks of USA.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday and Nature Notes.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

45 comments:

  1. Beautiful landscape scenes... each of them are entirely different...

    thanks for sharing

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    1. Yeah, Thanks Krishna. Nature's creations are always unique!

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  2. Road trips and train journeys are always an integral part of every travel. Love them. Nice landscapes to keep the journey exciting!

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. Yes! Road trips are very exciting! If the landscape around is beautiful it is heaven!

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  3. Great landscapes!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  4. What a terrifying experience. I'm not sure you could have done anything that would have altered the truck driver's intentions. Fortunately you arrived safe at your destination. Take care with your travels.

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  5. I've driven that route and enjoyed it very much

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    1. Yes! That route is special, no doubt about it!

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  6. Beautiful images but what a scary experience!

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  7. gorgeous landscapes. i wouldn't go see it without someone, just because i love to share the experience.

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    1. Thanks PC! I too love to share the experience, but sometimes while waiting for someone to come along we may not have the experience itself!

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  8. There is so much of the West I have yet to see! Your photos are beautiful! The stalker situation sounded so scary --I'm not sure how you could avoid that when you drive alone on isolated roads. Food for thought.

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    1. Thanks Pat! Yes, South-west is amazing!

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  9. That was terrifying Kusum....I have always thought you are brave to travel alone and I hope this is the only bad experience you ever have. It makes me especially sad that it happened in one of my favorite areas of the country. The desert is dangerous though, just from the unforgiving climate. But you were safe after all and you learned some things not to do again. And the pictures are wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Sallie! Yeah, this land beautiful and I will definitely go there again with better preparations!

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  10. Wonderful landscapes! Sorry about your scare, I never travel alone.

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  11. Beautiful scenic shots, it brings back memories of my trip there. You are brave to travel alone. I think the best thing to do if you think someone is following you is to stay around a crowd of people or look for the police and do not stop anywhere where you are alone. I am glad nothing happened but it is enough to make you more aware next time.

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    1. Thanks Eileen! Yes, it makes me really alert and aware next time!

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  12. wow such a beautiful canyon and you're so brave. i don't think i've the courage to travel alone to such places.

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    1. You know? I didn't know that place could be so lonely, after all it is a scenic highway!

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  13. That is scary. You must let others know where you are when u travel alone. Somebody would have suggested to stay in the inn to you.
    Great pics!

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    1. Yes, I could have looked for help at that Jacob Lake Inn. I thought the truck was gone! Thank you Indrani.

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  14. Great photos of amazing landscapes.

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  15. What a frightening experience!

    Your shots are wonderful though.

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    1. Yep, a bit frightening :) Thanks you Lady Fi.

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  16. Excitingly beautiful landscapes. Here in Australia when one drives into the desert country, especially in the hot season, one is expected to give an ETA (estimated time of arrival). One is expected to ring back within an hour of the time. When flying a private aircraft one lodges it with the control tower of the airport where one leaves. Sometimes on arrival it is not easy to find a tee phone.
    When travelling in lonely outback areas we are required to carry enough petrol to get back and at least enough food and water for a week. We have always done so.
    With running into unsavoury characters, 'in God we trust' since in Australia carrying of weapons is against the law. Even if you have a gun license, you can only take the gun to a specific place for hunting for vermin and have to have the land holder
    s written permission and are not allowed to carry the weapon and ammo in the same car. Criminals of course, do not play by the rules.

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    1. Thanks Arija for all the info. I carry a small knife, but I don't think I have the courage to use it on any living thing! But, yes I always reach out for God to save me in such situations!

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  17. Oh! I was around there a few years ago. Such a great spot on the planet.

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  18. Truly amazing landscape. So very different from our scenery in the UK

    Mollyxxx

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  19. Lovely scenery but I'm sure that truck marred the experience. Always let someone know where you are going!!

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    1. Yes, letting someone know is the right and must do thing! Thanks Betty!

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  20. Wonderful shot of landscapes, really, you have a greet experience of landscapes because post is written very well and informative.

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  21. Amazing landscape.
    But sheeks! your story was so scary. I'm also glad your car didn't let you down and that you were ok.

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    1. Yeah, amazing indeed! But, sad I didn't enjoy it fully! I am glad I am safe to tell the story :)

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  22. Oh my gosh..I know you do a lot of traveling alone and I admire that, but this is so scary. I am so happy that is was only scary and nothing happened to you... what a shame as the area is beautiful...Michelle

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    1. Thanks Michelle! Yeah, I was scared particularly of that weird appearance of that truck. I wish more people take that route!

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  23. That sounds really scarry Kusum. Glad that you were safe! I haven't had any stalkers so far, thankfully!

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    1. Yep, very scary! No one should go through that experience!

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