Wednesday, May 26, 2010

End of vacation…

Well, our little vacation is ending. We have spent the last 6 1/2 weeks primarily in New Mexico, although we have been in 5 states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado & Utah.

We have done 9 geo-caches and seen 3 caves, 3 state parks/zoos/gardens, 7 festivals/markets/special city areas, 2 casinos, 1 rally, 8 museums, 4 National Monuments/Recreation Areas, and 6 National Parks. Whew!

Time to go to work. So, this morning we hooked up the toad and hit the road. We stopped in Montrose, CO for fuel and groceries and arrived at the Ouray KOA at about 3:00 p.m.

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Total miles on the rig since leaving Magic Valley? 2,041.

We got settled in our spot and had a chance to visit with several of the other workamping couples. All seem really nice!

But, of course, our first priority is to see the family that is the reason we are here – Kari & grandson Jacob (son Eric is working and who-knows-where!). Jacob didn’t remember us from January when they visited but he finally warmed up to us again. What a sweetie!

Tomorrow we’ll finish getting settled in.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Casing out Canyonlands

We spent all day today at Canyonlands National Park. This is a park we’ve never been to before. It was established in 1964 and much of it is still inaccessible without 4-wheel drive or hiking. And, some of it is just flat inaccessible! The Green and Colorado Rivers come together here and their deep canyons have created three different, separate sections within Canyonlands: The Maze, The Needles and Island in the Sky.

Our choice to visit was Island in the Sky as it is the most accessible. We started out by going to the end of the road: Grand View Point Overlook. It’s hard to describe the sheer size of this place and even photographs can’t really justify it either.

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I believe this next few pictures were from White Rim Overlook. This little hike gave us the heebie-jeebies walking along these edges. There were just too many of them that were ledges sticking out over these 1,000 – 2,000 foot drop-offs. And, the fact that much of the rock at the top of these mesas was called “Navajo Sandstone” didn’t help. This whole area was created by river erosion and breaking rocks – soft rock! Yikes!

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The next little hike was nearer our comfort level. We hiked a couple miles round-trip to see Upheaval Dome, which some scientists believe was caused by a meteorite.


This view of a couple of notches off to the northwest was kind of neat.


And, on the way back we discovered “Lora’s Little Arch”!


And, Claret Cups Hedgehog Cactus…


Porcupine Prickly Pear Cactus (I believe), and…


possibly Palmer Lupine.


Next, was a short hike to see Mesa Arch.

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And, finally we stopped at the Shafer Canyon Overlook.


There are lots of little lizards here.


This is a partial view of Shafer Trail, which long ago was used to move cattle between the canyon bottoms and the mesa tops. Now it’s a 4-wheel drive trail – but not for us! By the way, sometimes some of the cattle fell to their deaths…


This might be hard to see but the next two pictures show (in the center) a trail we followed out on this little mesa to read a couple of interpretive signs about the Shafer Trail.

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Look where they put the sign! Right on the edge of at least a 1,000 foot cliff! OK, we’re spooked enough for one day – time to go home.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Moving up to Moab

Time to head a little farther north. Although waking up to this:

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really made us question the wisdom of heading north

After getting everything ready to roll this morning, we stopped to exchange “business” cards with Roland & Suzanne. We would enjoy seeing them again someday.

On our way through Cortez, we stopped at Safeway for coffee and a couple donuts. Then we hopped on Hwy. 491 which angles northwest to Utah. We crossed the Utah border at 12:30 p.m. and then turned north on Hwy. 191 at Monticello UT. The closer we got to Moab, the more interesting the rocks got. The first picture below is of Church Rock between Monticello and La Sal Jct.

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We pulled into an RV park just south of Moab at around 2:30. Got everything hooked up and then drove north of town a few miles to spend a few hours at Arches National Park.

We were last at Arches 2 1/2 years ago with Eric & Kari on our way to Michigan to buy the motor home. It’s still a beautiful place! Today, we tried to stop and hike at places we didn’t see that time: Balanced Rock, both Delicate Arch Viewpoints (last time we hiked up to Delicate Arch) and Panorama Point. The next two are a couple of views of Balanced Rock.

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I think these were taken from Panorama Point. It was interesting to compare the rocks in Arches to the La Sal Mountains behind – like two different worlds.

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Next we went to check out the Delicate Arch Viewpoints. Look! Flowers along the trail!

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At the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint, we hiked farther up the rock and enjoyed some time just relaxing.

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Hmmm….missed this one on the way up.


From the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint:

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Time to call it a day and head home. We visited for a few minutes with a fellow “Country Coacher”, ate left-overs and settled in for the evening. Here’s the view from our door. Not bad, huh?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Doin’ Durango

One of the places we wanted to see while in the 4 Corners area was, of course, the 4 Corners Monument. Guess what? Closed till the end of June. Guess we’ll have to come back some day so we can do that touristy thing of putting one foot and one hand each in four different states at the same time. That’s not a picture I had planned to put on the blog!

So, our alternate plan was to go see Durango. It was a little breezy out again today – but not near as dusty and hazy as yesterday.

Our first stop was – you guessed it! – the Visitor Center. Yup. Closed. But they did have a few brochures outside, so we checked ‘em out and started at the Colorado Division of Wildlife Fish Hatchery. They had a nice little museum including a video about the hatchery. Then we wandered outside and checked out the three kinds of fish they raise here for stocking purposes: brook, rainbow and brown trout.


On our way back to the car, we walked over to the Animas River’s edge to watch the kayakers & rafters. Sure looked like fun…

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Then we drove a few more blocks to the downtown area. We’ve seen some pretty depressed downtown areas in New Mexico so it was fun to spend an hour or two in one that appears to be doing great. There were hardly any empty store fronts.


We thought the upstairs condos in this building might be cool to live in if we ever settle down again. Well, maybe not. Besides the price, the one or two for sale were in the 2,000 square foot range. Too big for us!


And, lots of neat, historic buildings including this hotel.

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Gorgeous wood above the entry to the lobby.

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Nice mural down a couple more blocks.


We even saw some deer when we were nearly home! This herd of about 18 was busy munching on the new green grass. Nice ending to a nice day!