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April, 2015 - Flat Stanley Enjoys a Road Trip


I started my visit with Mr. and Mrs. Konopacki in Mesa, Arizona but they were busy finishing up their work schedule so we didn’t do much there. They have to be in Washington State by May 1st so I went on a road trip with them. We had one month to get there and once we hit the road on March 31st we were very busy visiting family and touring interesting sights. 

Cactus in Mesa
Playing Horseshoes
Time to Hit the Road!!!



Our first stop was in Page, Arizona which is in northern Arizona. When we left Mesa the temperatures were in the 90’s but when we traveled north to Page it was a much more comfortable 70 degrees. 

Arizona is the 6th largest state in the United States. On the south it borders Mexico. The Grand Canyon is in the northwestern part of the state. At the northeastern corner is an area called “The Four Corners”. It is the only spot in the United States where you can stand in 4 states at the same time! Can you guess which states? Here’s a picture, can you see the four corners? 

We drove 288 miles from Mesa to Page. We stayed in Page for three days and did lots of exploring. We saw where the Colorado River enters the Grand Canyon. We also visited the Glen Canyon Dam which forms Lake Powell. Mr. Konopacki was very happy because there were some very beautiful spots to take photos. 

These two pictures were taken at Horseshoe Bend - boy was it windy up there! 

This picture was taken at the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River. The bridge on the right is a pedestrian bridge and the one on the left is for traffic. On one side is the Glen Canyon Dam and the other side is the start of the Grand Canyon. Mrs. Konopacki was very excited to wade in the Colorado River.


Once we left Page we drove north 155 miles to visit Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. It was amazing! There are all kinds of trails to hike and some people even climb the rocks which looked pretty scary to me. We hiked a trail which took us to the “Narrows” . If we were dressed properly we could have continued hiking right into the river which gets narrower and narrower with canyons above you - how cool is that?? You need to wear rubber boots and waterproof pants, maybe next time.
Most of the hiking in Zion is at the bottom of the canyon but there is another part of the park where you drive around the top and can look down. Good thing I’m not afraid of heights.
There are five National Parks in Utah - Arches, Bryce, Canyon Lands, Capitol Reef, and Zion. They are all in the southern part of Utah. Mr. and Mrs. Konopacki can’t wait to visit the others - maybe next year.

When we left Zion we continued driving north about 222 miles and spent a few days in the capital of Utah, Salt Lake City. Our campsite was right on the Great Salt Lake! Unfortunately it rained two of the three days we were there so we didn’t do much outside.
Here are some things I learned about the Great Salt Lake:
  •   It is 4 to 5 times saltier than the ocean.
  •   It is 75 miles long and is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River.
  •   It is a remnant of an ancient lake called Bonneville that once covered most of
  •   Western Utah.
  •   Brine shrimp in The Great Salt Lake cause a sulfur-like smell (I’m glad we weren’t
  •   there when it was hot out - STINKY!
The Great Salt Lake (on a sunny day)
Silly grown-ups
From Salt Lake City we drove straight west 180 miles to Wells, Nevada to visit Mr. Konopacki’s cousin. On the way there we saw the Bonneville Salt Flats, 40 miles of salt that you can drive on! Mr. and Mrs. Konopacki had so much fun playing that they forgot me in the car :(

In the summertime people come from all over to race their cars on the salt. The fastest anyone has gone is 622.407 miles per hour!!! The salt is so bright that it hurts your eyes.

Metropolis School (what's left of it)
Once we arrived in Wells, Nevada we spent an afternoon visiting the nearby ghost town of Metropolis. The town was founded in 1910 and had a population of 700. At first the town was fine because they had a few years of high rains but the town founders had not secured water rights and soon the population moved on. This is high dessert land and water is very important. By 1950 the town was totally abandoned and all that remains today is part of the school and the foundation of the hotel. 
Bruenau State Park Sand Dunes

From Wells, Nevada we drove northwest 184 miles to Boise, the capital of Idaho and the home of Mrs. Konopacki’s cousin. We spent a day with family and then an evening at Bruneau State Park. Mr. Konopacki took me to the top of a sand dune overlooking the Snake River. Hiking sand dunes is hard work

When we left Boise we drove straight west 250 miles into
Central Oregon where we spent three days. It was nice to be in Oregon, there are lots of trees and mountains and no more dessert.

We stayed in Bend, OR for two days and then headed west 194 miles to the Oregon Coast. We stayed at a state park and there was a very cool wooded path to the Pacific Ocean. Can you find Flat Stanley in the bottom picture?



Where's Flat Stanley?

The Oregon Coast has a lighthouse every 40 miles. We visited the Heceta Head lighthouse near Florence, Oregon. Each lighthouse has a different signal so that ships could tell how far down the coast they were. The Heceta Head Lighthouse light blinks a white light every 10 seconds. These lighthouses were important because the Pacific Coast gets lots of fog which makes it very difficult to see where you are.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
I’m ending my journey with the Konopacki’s at the same place the famous American explorers, Lewis and Clark ended theirs, Fort Clatsop by the bank of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. Mrs. Konopacki loves learning about Lewis and Clark and their Indian guide, Sacagawea and was so excited to be here. She is even sending some books back with me so I can share them with my friends at St. William. 

Fort Clatsop - Winter encampment of Lewis & Clark

Sacagawea, her baby “Pompy” and Flat Stanley
End of my journey

The Konopacki’s are working in Washington State starting May 1st and it’s time for me to head back to my friends at St. William School. I sure had fun with them on the road. We drove over 1400 miles from the dessert in Arizona to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon.

Goodbye Flat Stanley, come back anytime!