Day 29.

Take that National Park Service: Four national parks hit on our $80 annual pass … Advantage, us!

Weather's mild today, low 90s, helped by some cloud cover. I'm torn between enjoying the view and running blackjack hand scenarios in my head.

This is the view from the Zion Lodge, looking north, a nice grassy picnic ground in the middle. We're surrounded by canyons, each more impressive than the next. Cynthia is capturing lots of snaps, as she has throughout the trip. K. told me she also has taken 110 photos on her own camera, and, of course, P. has taken plenty of pictures of the family's butts.

We're going to take the park shuttle along the canyon to the road's end, and then take the Riverside Walk for a picnic and river dip.

To me, the most impressive aspect of this trip has been viewing first hand the various topographies in the western U.S. — the majestic trees lining the No Cal and Oregon coasts, the canyons and ridges of Yellowstone, the vastness of the Badlands, the emptiness of the plains, the water- and salt-carved formations at Arches N.P., and the giant canyons we've driven through in Utah. The small cities and communities along the way have made us wish that we could cut some of the neighborhoods and main streets and 'shop them into the beach climate we prefer. Because I don't know if we could paste ourselves into Omaha or Sioux City or Broken Arrow or Seattle.

We're 500 miles from home, about to run out of scenery as it's mostly desert from here.