Saturday, November 29, 2014

Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon

Outside Arches Ntl Park on the way to Canyon Reef
Driving toward Capitol Reef was more unbelievable scenery as seen in the photo above. We drove for miles and miles through landscape that changed every few miles. 

Boondocking . . .
Our boondocking site outside Canyon Reef
Sunset at our boondocking site
Sunrise from our little piece of heaven

It was late in the day when we arrived and  the campground at this canyon was full, but the ranger told us of a nice free spot located just up the road. We pulled off the road at mile 73 on  Hwy 24  and spent the night among the beautiful red rocks with a fabulous sunset and sunrise. Although Guy spent the whole night trying to keep us warm with running the generator for our little portable heater. We were afraid to use the propane since we didn't know what was wrong with it and have not found anywhere to have it looked at as yet. Although the temps had to get down to freezing as folks had ice on their windshields this morning I think I would have been fine under our warm cover. 

We didn't back track the few miles to Capitol Reef and instead opted to head on down the road to see Bryce Canyon National Park.

Moo-ving on down the road . . .
Cows in Dixie Ntl Forest crossing the road

Aspens and Cows in Dixie Ntl Forest

From Dixie Ntl Forest into Escalante

Escalante Creek Trail

As we rode thru the Dixie Forest area we had sightings of cows everywhere on the road and in the forests. When you see signs that say "open range" I guess they mean cows crossing the roads and no fences. We had to drive really slow around this area as the cows would just pop up out of nowhere and cross in front of you. The scenery kept changing from forests to towering red and white monoliths. Each turn bringing something new to our eyes. So many of the photos I'm showing are from our moving RV. There were many places that you could not pull off the road or we would come upon a photo op out of the blue. I kept my little camera at my side and stayed busy snapping photos as Guy drove. Riding along the top ridges with steep cliff dropoffs that would scare the most seasoned traveler.

Bryce Canyon ahead . . .
We are getting close to Bryce Canyon

We have arrived

Upon entering Bryce Canyon we spied a few deer on the side of the road and stopped at Sunset Point which was really crowded with numerous buses and cars. We had a little trouble finding a spot to pull into. A grand sight was to be had once we parked and walked up to the rim of the canyon. A ranger was giving a very interesting lecture on the geology of the canyon and we stopped to listen for a few minutes. We later stopped at Inspiration Point which was also a nice overlook as well.
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon Ntl Park

Ranger giving geological presentation
Me and Bryce

Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon
Driving thru a Tunnel outside of Bryce Canyon

A perfectly round mesa outside of  Page, AZ

Arizona Bound . . .
We chose to bypass Zion to get into Page AZ hoping to find someone to look at our propane tank. Not knowing the Page area I had hoped to find another boondocking site, but we ended up at Page Lake Powell Campground. It wasn't on the water, but it was clean with great laundry facilities which we needed. The spots were rather short where they placed us and Guy was tired and backed into another rig who drove behind us as we were attempting to get parked in our spot. I can blame us for being tired, but I also think the other fellow played a part in it as well. Normally if we see someone trying to maneuver into their site we hold back and respectfully let them continue. Luckily, Guy with his expert knowledge of handling furniture repairs, was able to buff out the damage to the other rig owners satisfaction so we didn't have to use our insurance. Our bike rack was not hurt and his rig only had a superficial scratch to it. Sorry no photos from this incident.

At least we managed to get some laundry done here and met some very congenial folks - a couple from SC and another couple of German's from Chicago. The Chicago couple had just returned from a week long trip on a large houseboat down Lake Powell. They were so excited as they told us all about their trip. Sounds like a great trip, but I'm sure that was not cheap. They shared the boat with 3 other couples. Would be the only way to go!

San Francisco Peaks

Great Propane Business outside of Flagstaff, AZ
Moving on down the road toward Flagstaff to find a propane business to fix our tank we passed San Francisco Peaks and came upon Graves Propane just outside Flagstaff. I highly recommend this place. They give service extraordinaire and had us going in no time at all. Seems the last person to fill our tank stripped the gasket out. Had we known this before, we could have fixed it, but we are still  new at traveling in an RV. We now have a new problem - someone along the way took two lug nuts off our back tires, one from each side. Guess they didn't want us losing our tires. And we are finding out that lug nuts for our RV are hard to find. Can't get them at Camping World or any of the Trucking places. We will see where this adventure takes us.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Arches National Park

A Most Spectular Day Begins . . .

Moab was our destination after going thru Colorado and we spent the night at a City Market in Moab. A nice quiet place to get a few winks before heading into Arches National Park. The climb up into Arches was steep and we saw so many RVer's like ours. Almost everyone was in an RV of some sort. We passed one long line of about 30 rental units. As we later realized, the Utah park areas are without many hotels so the only way to get around here is by camping.

Entering Arches National Park . . .
How do I pick out just a few photos for this blog? I took so many along the way. One of the first Arches Ntl Park photos was from the entrance overlooking Moab below. This was another scarey rise up and around the narrow curvy road leading to the amazing rock formations ahead. The second photo was on the opposite side of the road where Guy looked up and saw this rock formation teetering above his head.
View over Moab, Utah

Opposite side of road with teetering rocks overhead
And Once Here . . .
We saw the Three Gossips, and huge monoliths towering over pools of water from early morning rains. We saw the Ancient Sand Dunes, The Balanced Rock and much more. Each and every turn in the road had us both oohing and aahing.

Three Gossips

Towering Giant over early morning rain puddle
Ancient Sand Dunes

Balanced Rock

Our drive would not be complete without showing some of the arches that the park is famous for . . .



And the Rocks

And our landscape changes again as we leave Moab and the Park and drive deeper into Utah. Till next time . . .

Friday, November 14, 2014

Over the Silverton Mountains

Stunning Colorado . . .
Oh my, what a trip . . . Over mountains and streams, through snow and colorful yellow Aspens, around bends and down into dark valleys we drove through the day stopping to catch glimpses of unimaginable beauty. So many photos taken that I can't decide what to add to this blog.
Starting up thru the mountains

Me on the side of the road acting like a photographer
We started our drive with just a bit of color showing but as we progressed we saw more bright hues as well as snow. Guy loves to take pics of me and of course I hate it so he wouldn't be happy if I didn't include some of his photos as well as mine.

One of the tunnels we went thru

Another tunnel

A very steep dropoff
Some very hairy driving along Hwy 550 with very steep dropoffs and tight curves made for a few rattled nerves at the end of the day. But it was an exhilarating experience. And of course one of the most beautiful sights was the overlook at Silverton below.

Overlooking Silverton

We met some nice folks along the trek, each one oohing and aahing over the scenery. As beautiful as NC is, I think Colorado has it beat. After leaving Silverton we went thru Ouray, an old town with steaming hot springs.
Ouray, Colorado

Road to Moab . . .
Then we had to make it over the next mountain range into Utah. Now that was an experience in itself. The road started out as a nice 2-lane road but as we went further up the mountain it turned into a very narrow 1.5 lane road of very loose paved gravel with warning signs for motorcycles. The pictures below do not do that trek justice as I was too scared and holding on for dear life up that mountain to try taking pics. So sorry, I'll just leave this to your imagination.

The mtns yet to cross from Ouray to Moab

Scene below the last mountain to cross and some of the mountain road we navigated.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ghost Ranch, NM

Ghost Ranch - summer home of Georgia O'Keefe . . .

On our way North out of Santa Fe traveling toward Durango we stopped at Ghost Ranch where O'Keefe painted during the summer. I could see where she obtained her inspiration. A beautiful place to paint for sure. A very busy place where you can take numerous workshops throughout the summer.
Georgia's studio setup

One of my photos showing something similar to the above photo where she would have been painting from

I fell in love with the landscape here. All the colors of the rainbow can be found here in the area. This place is now a research center. There are two museums of Anthropology and Paleontology here as well as spiritual getaways, horseback riding, camping and you can walk thru Georgia's trails where she painted. Workshops throughout the day and a restaurant with great meals complete the trip. But most of all . . . the landscape!

Guy standing outside some of the buildings
An amazing landscape which O'Keefe probably painted
And to prove we were here - our little Lexi sitting outside an old homestead
One of the many buildings

Storms A Brewing . . . 
As we were leaving Ghost Ranch a storm was brewing and we were caught in a hale storm on our way to Pagosa Springs. Nowhere to pull over for cover in an RV, so we had no trudge on thru it. Luckily, no damage incurred.
Black and white shows the drama of the storm as it was approaching
On into Durango for the night . . . 
We passed through many different changes in scenery along the route till we came to Durango and spent the night at a KOA.
Our KOA campground outside of Durango

View of mountains from our KOA campground

Our campground was high atop a ridge with beautiful scenery of the Silverton mountains in the distance. Our first cool night where we had to actually use heat. I highly recommend this place. It's clean and run by some really nice people.