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Old 05-01-2016, 11:22 AM   #435
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We are enjoying the trip and the narrative.

SuEllyn and Brian
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:36 PM   #436
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Nice photo of the bike trail. We spotted some nice campsites along that road on the banks of the river.
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:40 PM   #437
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We went to Arches NP today, but first came the traffic jam. In midtown Moab traffic came to a stop, then bumper to bumper. That went on for miles to where the road narrowed to one lane and then to where a cop was putting a guy through the DUI test—walk a straight line. This was about 1 pm and that guy looked like he had been drinking all morning. After reflecting how much his life is messed up for a while, we drove on.

Not a pleasant start to the afternoon. Arches is 5 miles north of downtown Moab. Once you pass the entrance and visitor center, you climb almost 1,000 feet along a red rock wall and find yourself among enormous red rock formations, towers, hoodoos and weird shapes plus a few arches. Some parts of the landscape looked tortured. In between groups of things to see are miles of desert. Arches is not just arches and the massive rock formations are common in other parts of southeast Utah, especially at Canyonlands NP.

We can't remember the first time we went to Arches together. Was it '87? '90? That time we explored the 4wd drive road plus hiked to many arches, but not all. We came back in 2000 and saw a few of the same arches and some different. Today, sort of like that. With a threat of thunderstorms, we wore our magic raincoats and they worked. Only a few drops.

We hiked to the Windows—two arches plus a little one—close together and to Landscape Arch—the longest somewhere, the US, planet, universe. It is hard to believe it can stay up. A large piece crashed to ground in 1991 and they no longer allow people on top. When we were there before, there were people on top. Three miles of pretty easy hiking, but I did realize that it was a lot easier 25+ years ago.

We reminisced about our wedding 28 years ago and how we came to this part of Utah for our honeymoon with backpacks, drove into the Maze District of Canyonlands on many miles of 4wd trails and backpacked down a 600' canyon into the Maze. There is a famous Anasazi rock art panel there called the Harvest Scene. I remember just resting against some cottonwood trees down the wash in front of the Harvest Scene and eating veggie paté on crackers and contemplating the "ghost" figures. An occasional hiker would pass by, usually from Germany, during the 2 or 3 days we spent in the Maze, but mostly we were alone to contemplate. Not your usual honeymoon.

I don't think I could do that anymore, but glad I hiked into the Maze 3 times long ago. A remote, even mystical place rarely visited. The network of canyons is very confusing and it is easy to get lost there. One trip I took a bunch of guys with me and had to herd them to keep them from disappearing up some canyon and never coming back. That was a challenge. While I am fascinated by the desert and especially, remote parts of it, I wouldn't want to live there—but I do, though just 11 miles from downtown Grand Junction. That helps because the desert is a bit too stark for someone raised in the lush verdancy of the northeast. Even New York City is lush compared to the southwest sagebrush desert.

Photos:

1. Red rocks somewhere near the entrance after we climbed up to about 5,000'.

2. A group of hoodoos crammed together.

3. Some of the massive rocks a couple of miles from the entrance with a reflection in the middle from the windshield.

4. Tortured rocks.

Gene
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:55 PM   #438
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More photos:

1. Balanced Rock. Anywhere that is somewhere in the southwest has a balanced rock. I wonder if they'll all fall down at the same time?

2. Finally, an arch. I can't remember the name, but it is near the Windows.

3. Looking through North Window Arch (the photo of the Arch didn't come out well, but how often does anyone get in an arch and take a photo of the view?).

4. Landscape Arch. It kind of blends in and from a distance doesn't look all that long, but once you are close, you realize how long it is. A big piece on the right side fell in 1991 and they closed off access under it and on top of it.

It started raining about an hour ago, like a thunderstorm rain without thunder or lightning.

Gene
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Old 05-01-2016, 08:06 PM   #439
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Things got strange, my laptop locked and now I have to remember what these are photos of.

1. A small arch near Landscape Arch.

2. The right side of Landscape Arch—the piece that fell off in 1991 was to the right of the really thin part.

3. A tortured rock on the way out.

4. These large red rock formations are in various parts of the southern Utah and lots in Canyonlands.

Gene
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:15 PM   #440
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We have been there a number of times, but still love to see it. Thanks for the pictures, Gene.

Brian
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:43 PM   #441
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Just dropping in to let you know that we're enjoying the images and narrative.
Thanks from Canada

Cheers
Doug


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Old 05-01-2016, 11:16 PM   #442
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Hi, Gene; We obviously have been there, but enjoy going there again with you. Love the pictures and descriptions.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:38 PM   #443
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After three times together and one more for Barb, Arches NP is still is a cool place. And we're glad it was relatively cool because when it is hot, it is not so cool to visit.

Canyonlands is much farther from Moab and the best places are the 4wd parts of that Park. Maybe we'll go there again someday, but we'd have to think about taking the trailer and Barb following in the FJ cruiser for backcountry exploration. When we explored Canyonlands 25+ years ago, few permits were required, but I think they are now, so that makes it hard to be spontaneous. For me, Canyonlands is a far better experience, but you have to be prepared and can't drive a full sized pickup or SUV into the 4wd areas. The Needles District is the easiest to see, but getting over Elephant Hill is a challenge—you need a narrow vehicle with a small angle of departure or you would be dragging the tail on the many benches you have to climb to get to the top of that Hill. A long vehicle is very hard to use to get down the other side of Elephant hill because of severe switchbacks and the place where you have to back up for a while because you can't make the turn with any vehicle.

The Maze District is the most remote. Usually people go from Green River and have to go down Flint Trail, bumpy, narrow and sometimes in really bad shape after rains. Then there's three miles of slick rock to maneuver. Only then do you get to there places where there are trails into the Maze. Further on is the Doll House where you see some really cool shaped red rocks and a view down to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. We never hiked down to there. There is a trail from the south which avoid the Flint Trail, but it is very, very long.

Island in the Sky is the third District of the Park. There's a 4wd trail around the edge which has some great views, but it is dry and dusty for camping. I prefer the other two Districts.

As we stay here our days change as we sleep late, eat breakfast late and get out of the trailer in the early afternoon. We plan to go to the local museum as it is free day and then have a very late lunch in town. It will be difficult to get up early on Wednesday when we leave.

Gene
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:32 PM   #444
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We visited the local museum yesterday. Typical for a small town museum, it had displays about uranium mining, pioneers, Indians before whites came here and geology. Some exhibits had mistakes in the descriptions as is often found in such museums. Sometimes we see something that is really interesting, but Barb had an allergy problem soon after we entered. The cottonwood trees are pollinating, but we saw no tree inside. As soon as she left, she felt better. The museum is free on Monday and I liked that.

We ate lunch out—at 3:30 in the afternoon. They overheated my meal in the microwave, making it super hot and burned the cheese on top. It is hard to just look at your food when you're hungry. Eventually I got a piece and put it on my fork resting it on top (where all the heat goes). Then I blew on it, finally risking my mouth. Then I drowned it with water and it was still too hot! Then we heard the waiter warn others that their plates were very, very hot. Not just the plate, guys.

A quick survey of some shoppees, fortunately quick, and we returned to our outpost and watched a DVD. Another day if low accomplishment.

Today we go to another free museum at a posh resort up Utah 128, go to the Castle Valley and drive a loop road skirting the Las Sal Mountains. We actually got up early, around 9, ate out for breakfast where the huevos rancheros were an alien version not too close to New Mexico standards. Provisions at the City Market were obtained and I got a new comb.

The other day, after a nap, I was combing my hair and as I ended at the back of my head, I felt the comb fall out (or pulled out?) of my hand. Barb was watching and said the comb just disappeared from my hand. We tore the bed apart, looked over and under, in shoes, in my clothes, everywhere. No comb. Is there a black hole at the back of my head? If so, how long do I have? Demons? Some Airstream malfunction? How have I survived for two days without my own comb?

Gene
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:00 PM   #445
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Shave your noggin...the comb will show up....

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Old 05-03-2016, 01:30 PM   #446
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Shave your noggin...the comb will show up....

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Gene,

Maybe it went down the back of your pants and lodged between your cheeks. Have you checked there? If you find it wash it before use.

Ken
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Old 05-03-2016, 04:39 PM   #447
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Gene,

Maybe it went down the back of your pants and lodged between your cheeks. Have you checked there? If you find it wash it before use.

Ken
I had considered an unwanted colonoscopy, bit don't think that would be possible to not notice. Hasn't showed up so far, but I have new comb. I tried combing my hair sitting in the same spot on the bed and see if the newest one disappeared. It didn't. Mystery still unsolved.

Gene
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Old 05-03-2016, 06:46 PM   #448
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This morning we went to the Eclectic Cafe—they don't spell it that way, but I can spell it this way, so I did. You walk up to a line in front of a counter and woman takes your order. I ordered huevos rancheros and tea. She slammed down the cup spilling hot water all over. Not a good start. I will not order huevos rancheros in Utah again. There was a lot of food and Barb liked her breakfast. A quick trip to the supermarket, back to trailer to pack up for today's expedition. In years past that would mean some challenging 4wd road in the wilderness or backpacking up a trail and tenting. Nowadays it means taking a ride.

We went back up Utah 128 and stopped at the Red Cliff Lodge for the free museum. It has some local artifacts plus a lot of movie posters and photographs, mostly from films made around Moab. John Ford made quite a few here switching from Monument Valley in the 1950's. Too much to read, but interesting to see all that movie memorabilia. It is next to the registration building and down in the basement; ask at the desk to find it.

Next to the Loop—a road through Castle Valley and then up to the subalpine part of Manti-La Sal NF. There is a town of Castle Valley and a ranch too. The road, once we got several miles in, became poorly maintained, in places turning to dirt and gravel. Other places had been newly paved. Still drivable and some good views of various valleys while at today's snowline in places. The road loops around Moab and eventually rejoins 191 south of Moab.

I got in a nap while the Indiana election commentators droned on and Barb did some shopping. Tomorrow we go home. This KOA has a rule against backflushing your back tank even though they have a back flow preventer on their water line. I'll figure out something even if means running water at the toilet for a while until it is full.

Photos:

1. Another balanced rock seen as we left Arches.

2. Traffic in downtown Moab. There's always lots of it and a surprising amount of 18 wheelers come through here.

3. An older brick building in downtown Moab. Mostly what you see in Moab is tourist buildings and none match the other. Strip development is rampant here and the result is ugly. But there are a few blocks of older buildings, about all that was here when we first came in the late '80's. Did not get a photo of the Uranium Building though. It is a strange modernistic structure from the 1960's.

4. On the road through the Castle Valley.
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