Utah: Moab… Arches and Canyonlands Nat. Parks et al

September 16, 2010

Up and ready to hit the road by 9AM. Today we’ll follow I 70 across the Utah border to Utah 128 which is part of the Dinosaur Diamond scenic Byway. The whole byway is over 400 miles long. Three- fourths of the route is in Utah and one -fourth is in Colorado. The section we drove was between I 70 and Utah 191 just outside Moab. The route followed the Colorado River for a long way through the river canyon. There are numerous boondocking campgrounds at the river’s edge. The whole trip took about 3 hours because we stopped often to take photos. When we got to Moab, we realized we didn’t have an exact address for the Archview RV Park. We turned left and later found we should have gone to the right. Finally we arrived and settled in at site 39. This seems to be one of the best sites with a large shade tree. Lots of room at the site. No more sardine feeling. We’d only had a light breakfast and were starving. So we went to the Hacienda restaurant our lady in Fruita had recommended.

Our splurge for the trip had been to arrange for a private photo tour and lesson in Moab.  We met Dan Norris at 4:30P and headed to Arches National Park. He gave us a general tour of the park and which landmarks are best photographed at sunrise or sunset. Then we took a short walk through some very soft sand to Sand Dune Arch. This is where he recently photographed a wedding. As soon as you walk into the area, you feel as if you’re in a natural cathedral. The arch looks like 2 dolphins kissing. He said that the best light is at mid-day but we took some pics and hope for the best. next we went to an arch called Skyline Arch. There is a great dead tree in front of it that gave an artsy feel. I hope we captured it well. Steve loves dead trees and was in seventh heaven. Lastly, Dan took us to a point where we could shoot Balanced Rock at sunset. this rock changed to a brilliant red as the fading light hit it. The rock on top is 57 feet high and the whole landmark including the pedestal is 128 feet high. I hope we did some good pics.

We turned in early after planning which landmarks to see tomorrow.

September 17, 2010

We slept in a bit this morning, and had a nice breakfast of waffles and fresh fruit.  A good way to start the day.  We were out and about by around 9:30 or so, but had a few chores to attend to.  For one, one of our chains on the tow hitch was dragging on the road, and some of the links had almost worn through.  We stopped at a Home Depot a few days ago to buy some new chain, but I haven’t been able to repolace the links yet…  I need a set of bolt cutters to cut the old chain.  So, we stopped at a hardware store in Moab to buy one.  I brought along a toolbox full of everything I thought we might need, but bolt cutters wasn’t on the list.  And then, I wanted to talk to someone about our anti-sway bar.  I don’t believe it was working properly, and this may have been part of the problem a few days ago when we had the “adrenaline moment”.  I had an idea that I may have been tightening it down too tight, and wore it down.  We stopped at an RV supply and repair shop in town, and the feller I spoke with agreed.  I bought a new bar, and won’t tighten it quite so tight in the future.

We had left Opal in the trailer…  she told us she’d rather spend the day sleeping that riding around with us today…  and then headed back into Arches NP.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center on the way in, and bought a couple more lapel-pins for our collection…  one for Arches Park and one for the Colorado River. While there, we signed up for a ranger-led hike on Monday morning, through an area called the Fiery Furnace, which looks to be a terrific hike.  Then, we headed on out to drive through the park, with our ultimate destination being the end of the road, where there is a trail, about a mile long, to the Landscape Arch, which is the longest natural arch in North America, and second in the world only to one in China.  We never got that far.

Our first stop was at an area called Park Avenue. There is a pull-off there with an overlook of the area.  The rock formations almost look like city skyscrapers, and one even looks similar to the Empire State Building.  Instead of just looking out from the overlook, we opted to take a walk down into the valley, and wander about.  The NP trails don’t allow pets, and since Opal wanted to be left alone today, we were able to do that.

It was spectacular.

We’re guessing we walked down about a half-mile or thereabouts, and took lots of photos.  Several of the rocks seemed to resemble other things, and it was kind of fun looking at them, as you might look at different shapes in the clouds in the sky and see different animals or whatever.  Also, the sheer rock cliffs had natural markings on them from cracks and different types of rock that almost looked like the Indian petroglyphs we’ve seen in other places.  I took some photos of some of them as well.

And…  I’ve decided that after we’re back home, I want to do a collection of photos called “Deadwood”.  There are so many trees around, I’m not sure exactly what type, but they must be in the cedar family, and a lot of them have a lot of dead wood in them and are very pretty, especially with the beautiful background of the surrounding landscape.  And, as Chari has mentioned, I’m a little bit hooked on taking photos of dead trees.  So…  I’m having fun with that.

Once back on the road, we made a few stops at some other overlooks, and then went up to a spot where there are several arches…  two called the North and South Windows, one called Turret Arch, which kind of resembles an anti-aircraft gun turret with the gun sticking up toward the sky, and across the way, a spot called Double Arch, which is really several arches in one spot, but from one particular angle, you can look through two separate arches at once.  We again did a short hike through the area, and enjoyed overhearing a family who was also there.  They were a husband and wife, with their daughter and I think the husband’s mother, who was at least in her late seventies, maybe early eighties.  I was surprised that the grandmother was hiking around in the 95 degree heat, and at one point, they had stopped to sit on a rock and rest.  When the husband got up to move on, the wife said, “Why don’t you stay for a bit and let your mother rest?”  To which the old lady replied, “Let’s get up and find some shade to sit in!”  Then she scrambled up the rock like a mountain goat!

After that, Chari suggested that instead of continuing on, we go back to camp and pick up Opal, and take another ride where we could get out and walk her for a bit.  We did, and Opal pretended that she had really missed us…  squealing and such like she does, when we knew all along that what she was doing when we were gone was sleeping on the bed!

We headed out to an area called the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve.  We never found it.  Instead, first we found an area called Moonflower Canyon, where there were some tent-camping sites, and we walked through the area for a couple or three hundred yards…  very pretty.  Nearby there was a spot with some Indian petroglyphs on the rockface, and some old logs jammed into a crack in the stone that served as a ladder to climb up the cliff.  Then we moved on along the road, and found an area where there is both primitive tent camping and also some RV camping with full hook-ups.  It just might be a spot st stay in at some future date.  The road led us to Kane Creek, which runs into the Colorado River.  Eventually, the road turned to dirt, and we followed it for several miles…  I don’t know the actual name, but we were calling it Kane Creek Canyon.  The canyon was several hundred feet high, with the creek, which was mostly dried but with a few stagnant pools here and there, running through.  We stopped at a few points to get out of the car and take some pictures, and let Opal out of the car.

It’s good to have places every once in a while that we don’t have to worry about Opal, and let her run around without the leash.  Chari and I were scrambling around on the rocks looking for photo-ops, and Opal started digging in the dirt like she was after something.  Then we realized she was digging into the dirt to fix herself a nice cool bed to lie down in and take a nap!

We’re not sure just how far this road goes, but after a while we turned back to come back to camp and fix some supper.  We put some chicken thighs on the grill, and along with some left-over raviolis and  a nice salad, had a delicious supper.

Right now, we’re relaxing with a glass and writing out the day’s events.

That’s it for now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It’s just 8:00 PM right now, Chari is washing supper dishes, Opal is lying down on our bed, and I just poured a second beer while getting ready to write today’s events.  We’re two and a half weeks into this trip, with seven and a half to go, but I really do believe that today will go down as one of the highlights of the entire vacation.

We were going to get up early, and go over to Dead Horse State Park.  We haven’t been there, but had heard that it’s quite the place to get some wonderful sunrise views.  I was awake at around 5:45, and at 6:00 I tried to wake Chari, and she said, “It’s too early!”  She had woken up earlier with sinuses and had trouble getting back to sleep, so we stayed in bed for a while longer and missed the sunrise.  I got up and went over to take my shower while Chari made the coffee. and took Opal for her walk.  Then while she was over taking her shower, I fried up some bacon and we had bacon egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast.  It was around 9:00 when we got in the car.  We decided to skip Dead Horse, and went right on over to Canyonlands National Park, about a 20 or 25 mile drive.  On the way, on Rt. 313, which is called Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Drive, we passed two buttes called the Monitor and the Merimac.  Without using too much imagination, the resemblance was actually quite remarkable.  The ride over was nice, and pretty soon we entered the park, and made our obligatory stop at the Visitor’s Center just passed the gate.

We may have mentioned this before, but we have a National Parks Passport, and every location run by the National Park Service, be it a Park, a National Monument, a National Historical Site, a National Military Park, a National Battlefield, or whatever, provides a date stamp for the passport.  It’s a fun way of keeping a record of where we’ve been.  And every Visitor’s Center has a gift shop, and we’ve been buying lapel or hat pins from every location as well.  They are very inexpensive souvenirs, usually a buck or two, and we put them on display on a travel vest hanging in the trailer.

We got our passport stamped and bought our hat pin, and started talking to a ranger about some of the roads in the park.  There is a dirt road, recommended for four-wheel drive vehicles going down into Shafer Canyon, called Shafer Trail Road, which leads into White Rim Road.  She told us it was a rough road, and we’d probably be doing good to maintain five miles per hour.  It drops 1400 feet into the canyon, and continues on to various locations, but we thought we’d take it as far as Mussleman’s Arch, which should take us about an hour, and then turn around and come back up.

Where we turned off the main park road onto Shafer Canyon Road, it was a dirt road, reasonably level, a little rough in places, and in some places covered in three or four inches of sand, which made for poor traction.  There were wonderful views of the canyon below us, and we made quite a few stops to get out and take some photos.

Then, the road became steeper, with switchbacks like I’ve never seen.  On one side of the road was a drop of a thousand feet or more, and on the other side of the road, which was the cliff face, in places there was a gully three feet deep.  The road allowed travel in both directions, but in places, was only wide enough for one car to pass at a time.  The surface was loose gravel or sand.

We were in our glory!

Eventually, the excitement began to change to concern, and the concern began to change to outright fear.  One of the switchbacks was so tight that I had to stop halfway through it, back up, and make like a “K” turn to navigate through.  This on a road covered with loose gravel, with a 1000 foot drop on one side, and Chari just told me to mention that there were no guard rails.  Guard rails?  We don’t need no stinking guard rails! (I was on the cliff side going down and couldn’t see much on Steve’s side. Coming up… well I realized why he was getting nervous. I think this was my boot camp training for riding the mules at Grand Canyon!… Chari) We eventually got to a spot where I thought it might be safe to turn the car around, and mentioned to Chari that I was getting concerned, and thought that discretion being the better part of valor, maybe we ought to go back.  “Whatever you think, dear.” (I know that Steve doesn’t scare easily and that I probably should have said, “You’re damn right and do it now”, but I played it cool… Chari) We had made it down probably a little less than half way, and turned around without any problem, and stopped again to take a few pictures.  We marked the altitude on the GPS at that point, and read it again when we got to the top, and saw that we had descended just about 600 feet.  It was four miles from where we had turned around to the top.

This drive was probably as exciting as any I can remember.  We stopped when we thought the excitement might be a little too much.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!

(Chari says “… and a Jeep!”

When we got back up to the top, we turned left onto the main park road, and continued on to see the sights.  The views were wonderful, and at one point, I asked Chari if she had only one day in this area, and could only do Arches or Canyonlands, which would she do?  “Right now, I think Canyonlands”.  “Me too!”

We saw lots of beautiful views of Green River Canyon, Buck Canyon, Candlestick Tower, and more than I can remember right now.  We stopped and fixed our sandwiches for lunch at Upheaval Dome Picnic Area, then continued on to Grand View Point, which is the end of the road.  Grand View was named appropriately… the view of canyons within canyons was absolutely spectacular.

We turned around at that point, and decided that tomorrow we would see the other side of the park.  The road systems from one end don’t connect to the other, and it will be roughly two hours to drive over there.

On the way back, we thought it was early enough to take a scenic drive before heading back to the RV park.  Chari had her nose in the book of maps, and said “This road looks interesting” so I turned.  For the first couple of miles, it was a dirt road over the top of the plateau, and the land was flat with a few scenic buttes and such.  Then we noticed that over to our left, we were riding parallel to a canyon, and eventually the road brought us a little closer.  The terrain changed from mostly flat to hilly with washes and gullies and rocks and a lot of texture to the land.  We came to one spot where there was a huge outcropping of flat bedrock right on the surface, and turned off the road onto it for about 100 feet or so, then got out.  We let Opal out without her leash, and she was quite appreciative!  It was an absolutely beautiful spot.  At some point, we’ll get some photos published into this blog, but sorry, not just yet.

Then we continued on down to where the road began going down into the canyon.  With the memories of this morning still fresh in our minds, we stopped the car and got out to walk a bit along the rim.  We let Opal out again without the leash.  Again, this was a wonderful spot.  I walked over close to the edge, much to Chari’s chagrin,  and leaned over to see a pick-up truck all smashed up down about 150 or 200 feet.  I hope no one was in it when it went over!

We put the cameras away and headed back.

When we got back to the trailer, Chari took care of recording our expenses and such for the last few days, while I started frying up some spuds for supper.  We had hamburger steaks with fried potatoes and corn.

A perfect ending to a terrific day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What on earth do the weathermen in Utah do in September besides go golfing?  Every day the weather is exactly the same.  You wake up in the morning to temps in the low to mid 50s, shortly after the sun rises it reaches the 70s, by mid-day it’s high 80s or low 90s.  The sky is blue from sun-up to sun-down, and occasionally you just may see a wisp of a cloud float by.  The air is dry, with the humidity probably at 50% or less.

Boring…!!!

Today was no different.

Canyonlands National Park is divided into two sections, three actually…  I’ll mention that in a minute, and the road systems in the two sections do not connect.  It would be kind of tough to build a road through, when the center of the park between them is in the canyons.  The third section I alluded to is totally separated from the rest of the park, and has no road systems through it at all…  it’s all back country, and you need a special permit to go in.  But the main part of the park has two districts, Island in the Sky, which is where we were yesterday, and the other end is called Needles.

We were up early, had a cup-a-joe, and had our second cup in the car on the way over to the Needles, which is about an hour and a half drive to get there.

We followed US191 until we picked up State Road 211, which led us past Newspaper Rock before bringing us to the park.  211 is a designated scenic by-way (Chari has a list of over a hundred scenic by-ways, and won’t be happy until we’ve driven them all!) called the Indian Creek Canyon Scenic By-Way. (I’d like to suggest a website if you are driving a scenic route. www.milebymile.com . This will give you information about the route so you know what to look for along the way. It may work for any road, I’ve just used it for scenic drives….CM)

It was indeed a very scenic route, through high desert country, and then changing to areas with lots of buttes and some box canyons.  We stopped at one box canyon for a little off-leash time with Opal, and she was very happy about it.  The area was covered with a red dusty dirt, and she got on her back and took a dust bath until she had no color except red.  And she had a big smile on her face when she came over to us and shook it all over us!

A little later, we came to Newspaper Rock, which is a flat area on a cliff-face where for over 2000 years, native people have been carving images in to the stone.  No one knows if they were sacred symbols, messages to friends, or just plain old graffiti, and again, no one really knows just how old the drawings are.  Some are easy to read, such as one which is obviously a man on horseback with a bow shooting at an elk (it looks like the arrow hit the elk in the ass…  not much of a hunter!)  and some just look like some kind of symbols.  Very interesting to see.

As we were driving toward the park, off to our left was a mountain, and up close to the top, we could see that there were aspens up there turning yellow for the autumn.  We thought that if we had time after the park, we’d see about taking a drive in that direction.

We got to the park, and again made our obligatory stop at the Visitor’s Center, then headed out to see the sights.  We were going to take a dirt road through the back-country to see the Colorado River Overlook, but pets aren’t allowed, even in your car, in the back country, so we limited ourselves to driving the main roads.  The scenery was spectacular.  The area gets its name from a large area of rock formations that look like straight pointy needles sticking up toward the sky, but there were lots of other things to see as well.  There’s all kinds of different canyons and rock formations.

We had some fun trying to give names to certain formations, besides the ones that already had names… both in the park and outside it as well.  On the way in to the park, there was a section about a mile or so long called “The Fleet Is In”, where there was row after row of formations that looked like huge battleships.  Later, on the way home, I saw one that looked like a huge snowman…  Chari didn’t see the snowman at all… she said it looked like a Chinaman.  Another I thought looked kind of like a crocodile, except Chari said “no, it looks like a platypus!” There was an area in the park that Chari called “The Bakery” because there were several rocks in a row that looked like muffins.  And another I called the “Mushroom Garden”.   Anyway, there were lots that had names, but most didn’t, and we could use our imagination.

We had lunch at a picnic area, and shortly after, having driven pretty much all of the main roads, headed on out.  There were a couple of roads we figured we’d try to drive on the way home.  One was a dirt road into Lavender Canyon, but we found out that in August, there had been a terrific rainstorm that washed out a lot of the road.  Shortly after, a ranger tried to drive it to see if it was passable, and her car got stuck in quicksand.  It’s still not open, so we bypassed that one.

The other we wanted to try was a road heading up into the mountains where we had seen the autumn colors, called Hart’s Draw Road.  This was a paved road, and led us up over 2500 feet (according to our GPS) into the high country.  The terrain changed from high desert to beautiful trees…  lots of scrub-oaks and eventually lots of aspens.  We stopped at another spot called Foy Lake, which was one of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen…  probably two or three acres, at one end there were several people fishing, and at the other there were some ducks swimming around and the edge was lined with cat-tails, which were turning yellow.  The surrounding mountains were various shades of green with some reds mixed in and quite a bit of golden aspens.  A beautiful early autumn scene!  The dusty dirt here was black, and Opal, again on an off-leash holiday, decided to change her color again by rolling around in it and having a grand old time!

After Foy Lake, we took a dirt road off-shoot that led to a Manti-La Sal National Forest camping area.  These were boondock campsites, no services, except for a community outhouse, but they were beautiful.  Some were surrounded by aspens, and some by oaks.  We let Opal out for a third romp, while Chari and I each played around with our cameras trying to get some good photos of the aspens.  Hopefully, we succeeded.

Now it was pushing 4:30 or so, and we had a ways to drive to get back to camp, so we put the cameras away and headed home.  We had figured it would be a long day, so had planned on a quick and easy supper.  We had picked up a package of heat-and-serve cilantro/lime chicken and another of heat-and-serve black beans.  For a pre-cooked packaged meal, it was pretty good.  Chari took care of getting some laundry done while I got that ready, and afterwards cleaned up.  Now we’re finishing up the blog, the laundry is all put away, and it’s time for a glass of Port with some Godiva chocolates.

Camping is tough.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Well!  The weatherman had something to do today!  We were up at 6:00AM, and the sky was about 50% covered with clouds!  Still a lot of bright sunshine, and I believe it actually got quite a bit hotter today than it had been…  to the high 90s.  Having some clouds in the sky actually made for better photos than just pure blue.

The first day we were here and went to the Arches Visitor Center, we saw a sign-up sheet for a ranger led hike to the Fiery Furnace.  Sound scary?  The area does have a nasty sounding name, but it isn’t due to any especially high temperatures or anything like that.  It gets its name from the spires and towers that reach skyward and apparently look like flames when hit just right by a rising or setting sun.  The area is quite fragile in terms of life forms, and is very easy to get lost in, so it’s closed to general hikers.  You can get a special permit to enter the area on your own, or the other way is to go in a group led by a ranger.  They had a hike that afternoon (I think this was last Friday) but we decided to go on their next morning hike, which would be today.

So, we were up early, had our showers, took Opal out for her morning walk (we wanted to make sure she did her business and got some exercise because we’d be leaving her in the trailer for most of the day), had ourselves a nice breakfast of chorizo, egg, and cheese burritos, and headed over to the park.

The group was supposed to be about 25 people, but a few didn’t show, and I think we went with 21.  The ranger was a lady named Marie, and her field of expertise is botany. She’s been a ranger with the Park Service for all of three weeks, and it occurred  to Chari and me that we’ve been on vacation for as long as she’s been a ranger!

The hike was fantastic.  I’ve hiked in the Adirondack Mountains in New York to Sequoia and Yosemite National parks in California, and too many places in between to mention, or even remember, but today’s hike would have to rank among the top five I’ve ever been on.  It wasn’t super long, about two miles round-trip, and about three hours in duration.  But it was beautiful.

The area is full of huge rocks, towers, and slot canyons…  it wasn’t a walk on a normal trail.  It was a maze, and if I was in there alone, I’m sure I’d be hopelessly lost in five minutes.  It can be dangerous.  Just last week, a hiker on one of the tours left the group to take some photos, and wandered into an area frequented by pygmy rattlesnakes.  He was bit and almost died before they could get him airlifted out and to a hospital.  When Marie told us that, you could tell that not too many in our group would be going off on their own.

We were told to walk single-file, and in some places, there wasn’t an option to anything else…  several times we were going through slot canyons where we had one foot on one sheer wall and the other on the opposite side.  Sometimes the path was over  rocks where we had to scramble.  Sometimes it was on a narrow ledge not more than eight or ten inches wide.  In the beginning, Chari was having a hard time keeping up, with her short legs, so at the first break, I asked Marie if she could ease up just a bit.  She said that the lady directly behind her was a fast walker, and she was inadvertently setting the pace according to her.  She suggested that we stay behind her, and she would set the pace according to us.  I think a lot of other people in the group breathed a sigh of relief.

There were a lot of places that Chari had some difficulty getting through…  I think that if she had known just how difficult it was, she may have hesitated about going.  But with a little help (sometimes I’d get behind her and push her butt up an incline, sometimes on a downhill scramble I’d go down first to be able to give her a hand) she did just fine.  We’re both glad that for a month or so before getting started on this trip we were going out every night for some bike riding…  it helped.

As I said, Marie’s field is botany, and she was able to point out a lot of different plants growing in the area.  She also pointed out some pools of water in some potholes, that can hold a lifeform (I forget what it’s called) that is roughly two millimeters long, and that can survive in temperature ranges from almost absolute zero to 350 degrees F.  It can withstand 1000 times more radiation than any other known lifeform, and it has been sent into space, subjected to weeks of the vacuum of space, brought back to earth, and found to suffer no ill effects.  A pretty rugged little bugger!

It’s a shame that right now we’re not putting any photos into this blog, because it was just too beautiful for words to possibly express.  We took lots of shots, but haven’t had time to look at any of them yet.

Three hours later, we were back at the car, and not a moment too soon for Chari.  We had planned on taking another short hike after, to Landscape Arch, but decided that would have to wait until the next time we’re here.

We went back to camp, and while Chari was going to rest, I’d take the car into town (Moab) to do some grocery shopping and get the oil changed in the car.  But as soon as I left, things got a little exciting here, and she didn’t get much rest.  I’ll let her take over from here to tell that story.

I’m going to back up a bit and add my version of the hike. The group was from all over the US including people from Connecticut, Delaware, NC (Brevard), SC (Greenville), Illinois, Texas and Seattle, Washington There was even a couple from Scotland. About 50% were in the 55-65 age range. It  was breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, most of the time I was looking down. He says there were some rocks. There was nothing but huge boulders and sandstone known as slickrock. You were often at 30-45 degrees up or down. One time I had to get up a boulder and the first step brought my left foot up to my armpit! I was supposed to pull myself up with my fingertips in what they called “handholds” and put my right foot where? This was followed by traversing a slot canyon on my ass with my feet on one side and my gluteus on the other. Oh yes and those skinny ledges where you moved one hand then one foot pushing against the rock. The Ranger kept saying “stay low”. If you didn’t, you’d be doing a splits mid canyon style. I certainly was struggling along. We learned many interesting things such as there is a special sugar compound that the Fairy shrimp and the critter Steve mentioned that replaces water in the eggs and during dry periods the eggs can live without water for 50 years or more. This compound has been studied and it is now being used to increase the viability time of human organs for transplant.  I thought I’d be tied in knots by tonight. So far, I’m a tad sore and grunt when I climb in or out of the trailer. I survived! There is a short video of some of these areas on the National Parks website if you’d like to judge for yourself which version is closer to the truth. http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/fieryfurnacevideo.htm

As Steve said, we came back to the trailer. He left to have the oil changed in the car now that we’ve hit 3700 miles. Right after he left, the wind picked up and gusts were whipping the awning about and rocking the trailer. I knew I needed to get the awning rolled up before the wind ripped it. First I needed to take down the Coleman lantern. Too far over my head even with a stool. Then I tried the hanging lights under the awning. Same thing so I stood on a stool, then on the picnic table, then said some cuss words and went to get the ladder! More cuss words as Steve had it bungied so tight I had to struggle to get it untied. All the while the awning is jerking around. Finally got the ladder loose and the lights down. I rummaged in the storage compartment for the tool you need to control the awning as it rolls up. Now I’m up on the ladder trying to remember how this comes down. Just then my Knight in Shining Armor (aka a new RV neighbor) came over and offered to help. With the two of us, we had things down and safely secured in less than 3 minutes. RV folks are the greatest when you need help! Steve went over to thank them tonight and found out they are from Indiana and on the end of a 10 week trip too. They passed along some information on scenic drives on or near Utah 12. I’m sure we’ll make good use of that info!

We had an early supper tonight, pork and sauerkraut in the slow-cooker, and then decided to take a little ride.  I had forgotten to gas up the car when I was in town, and we’ll be heading off in the opposite direction tomorrow morning…  I have no idea where the next town will be and wanted to start off the trip with a full tank.  So, we went into town, and on the way back went off on a dirt road for a mile or two, then got out to walk for a bit and give Opal some off-leash time, which she thoroughly enjoyed while we enjoyed the sunset.  Then we came back to camp, washed the dinner dishes, and sat outside with a dish of ice cream.

We could get used to this!

Tomorrow morning, we’ll be up early again, and we’re off to Bryce!  More adventures lie ahead!!!

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About vagabondpress

Recently retired and "hitting the road". Hobbies include travel, nature photography, kayaking, hiking, good food and good friends.
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