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Old 04-19-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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SW Loop - April 2010

Yay, I'm back! Great trip. So, for what it's worth...

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Departed Palmer Lake 31 March for Vegas and then to Indio for a high school mini-reunion (go figure). Just west of Green River on I-70 I had had enough of the Interstate, so a turn to the south of middle Utah was executed. What can one say about Capitol Reef? And when you get to Torrey and turn south, the climb up the side of Boulder Mountain is always beautiful--I always stop mid-way and take a look out SE over Capitol Reef and Escalante. It's a short trip from red rocks and sand to snow.

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Now, if any of you haven't driven through Boulder into Escalante, it's worth the trip, even if you are a bit afraid of heights. You cruise out of town unsuspecting of what is about to happen to the highway. It looks normal and then all of a sudden you are on a narrow spine of rock, with 1,000' foot drops on both sides.

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But you eventually get to the bottom and proceed on to Bryce and Zion.

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One word of caution about Zion. If you're over 94" wide, you can only go through during daylight hours--the road closes to you at 7 PM. And it costs you an extra $15. This was a surprise, since I'd done it many time before, but I forgot that I had added an awning, which puts a 70s Airstream just over the limit.

Zep
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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On to Indio

Naturally, I had to make a quick stop at the old homestead in Veyo, where volcanoes and red rocks were in the back yard.

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Went through Vegas without one photo--who wants to see gawdy lights and hotties, anyway? But the rocks in the Mojave Preserve are worth looking at! I'd already done the Kelso Dunes, so took a bye this time.

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One thing that stunned me outside Indio were the wind machines, more, I think, than up on the Tahachapi Ridge.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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RV in San Diego

If you're military, you can dry camp at the Navy RV park on the Strand in San Diego, about $12 a night. One of these days they'll get their hookups reinstalled, but don't hold your breath. If you're not military, I recommend the Santa Fe RV park, right on I-5 just north of Balboa. With no discount they are light others in the area, $50-ish, but with some memberships you can get as low as $29 a night there.

After a couple days on the beach, it was time to visit with UWE. It's always a pleasure to visit with him--you can't help but pick up many good tips on renovations.

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If you're in his area, there is a California park nearby for boondockers, or the military RV park on the Seal Beach Navy Weapons Facility. This is a first class park, with free washers and dryers, even though it looks a little sparse. No screaming kids, barking dogs, or loud music. Yay!

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One cannot avoid Venice Beach when one is in the area, can one?

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Staying at Dockweiler is convenient, locationwise, but truly a pain from a rules standpoint and often from a noise standpoint--beach party time all the time.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:27 PM   #4
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Towards Tucson

Heading towards Tucson the route went right past ELFIREBOB's place in Pine Valley, so I did a quick stop to say hi.

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It was a quick stop because I needed to get to the Imperial Dunes to overnight and be ready for sunrise photos. There is a rest stop right in the middle of the dunes on I-8, just 1/2 mile west of the exit that gets you into the only fee/camping area along the interstate. This rest stop is unusual in that it is in the center of the highway and allows you to reaccess the interstate in either direction. Anyway, I made it. The good news was that even though it was only Monday monring, most of the OHV tracks were already erased.

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Here's the campsite (not the rest area, this is a fee area) and the big turn around at the end of the campsite access road.

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Then on towards Tucson, with a short stop in the saguaro cactus.

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One more stop on the way was at Picacho Peak--I wanted to take a look at one of the popular 4CU rally locations.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:38 PM   #5
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Streamers...

After visiting non-Airstream friends (can you imagine?), I hoofed it up to Phoenix to deliver some parts to Richard (AZFLYCASTER). He and Jan were hooked and ready to head out to Roosevelt Lake for a rally. I almost missed them! The night before Brad (FLYFSHR) offered me courtesy parking and I was glad to get it, and to have a chance to spend some time with him.

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After Phoenix it's just a lot of red rock and anasazi ruins...

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And some interesting chimneys--there is a string of five big ones all in a line running NE of Kayenta.

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Who can pass up a few photos every time you get near Monument Valley? Even across the top of the same rock that Ansel Adams used to frame a few of his photos...

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If you head north, you'll go through Mexican Hat. Take the "hard right turn" warning signs seriously. You enter town via a steep downhill run, then cross a bridge that ends in a vertical wall of rock. If your speed is up, SPLAT!

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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Boondocking

North of the Navajo Nation, it's almost all boondocking BLM land. The area around the Comb Ridge is wonderful--sorry we're not doing the rally up at Mulley Overlook this year. A really easy boondock is Butler Wash Road--just go through the gate about 100 yards and there is a dead end right turn that's almost level.

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The town of Bluff has at least 4 RV parks and a very interesting motel (Recapture Lodge) that hosts lectures on the local area. I also like the Cow Canyon restaurant, which has a library of books on the geology and anthropology of the area.

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Hovenweep is a bit out of the way, but worth the side trip . Why haven't I done this before?

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On the way to Taos, don't miss the earth ship colony out to the NW.

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Heading home, it made a lot of sense to go through Angle Fire and see if I couldn't meet Lynn Eubanks face to face. Their first day of no snow on the ground was the morning I knocked on his door (18 April)!

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Done! Yay! Back to Colorado.

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3,873 miles! Next trip is the restoration rally in Albuquerque.

Zep
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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Great travelogue, Zep - I feel as if I've been someplace, now.

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Old 04-19-2010, 02:48 PM   #8
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Zep; thanks for the photos and log. I'm glad you had a great time. You did mention Vegas, "who wants to see all the glaring lights and hotties." The lights don't do anything for me, but I like to look at the hotties.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:50 PM   #9
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What a great trip! Jan and I are glad that we did not leave early and miss you last week. Thanks for the parts as well.

Bluff is a really neat little town. We stayed at the Cadillac Ranch RV Pearl when we went through last year and had dinner at the steak house just down the road. Lynn recommends the Twin Rocks (?) for the Navajo Taco which we will have to try next time.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:27 PM   #10
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..awful of you to make me want to live "out west" you scoundrel!...seriously, cool travelogue, and great photos (we expect nothing less)...and I get to see what all these hotshot renovators actually look like!.....now I can start bugging you for that latch again.... ;-)
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:06 PM   #11
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Great trip, Zep!!! We were at Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, and Lee's Ferry last week for a 4-day escape. A few of our many pics can be found on my Blog. I agree about the Route 12 drive in Southern Utah, it can be quite scary for this guy who's very afraid of heights.

As retired Navy, I appreciate the info on the Navy campgrounds in San Diego and Seal Beach. I'll have to check them out.

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Old 04-19-2010, 05:25 PM   #12
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Absolutely neat looking trip! Wish we could have joined you!

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Old 04-19-2010, 11:25 PM   #13
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And a picture of the guy behind the camera...
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:28 PM   #14
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OK, with out the camera...
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