Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hanging out in Moab



We arrived in Moab on Monday, got set up and took off for Canyonlands Needles Overlook.  This is just a road that goes out to the edge of the canyon and you can see the “needles” from there.  It was a hazy day so they didn’t show up very well in the pictures.



It’s a LONG way down but there’s fence


The Needles in the background


Yesterday we took off for Canyonlands Island in the Sky.  We’ve been here before but it was before I had my book so we had to go again for that.  This place looks very similar to the Grand Canyon even with the Colorado River snaking through it.  The Green River also flows through it.




From there we headed for Arches National Park.  This was our third time visiting this park but there were a few hikes that we really wanted to do.  One was the short hike uphill to see Delicate Arch.  This is the most famous of all the arches in the park.  It’s even on the Utah license plate.


Delicate Arch


The next hike we wanted to do was to Landscape Arch.  The trail used to go all the way under the arch but since part of it collapsed in 1991 they closed that part.


You could also see Double O Arch from the trail


The rest of the visit we just drove around looking at all the other arches

Skyline Arch


The  Windows


Double Arch


This is Balanced Rock.  Eventually erosion will make it fall


This is called The Three Gossips


We headed home and turned on the news.  The report was not good.  High winds had already shut down I-80 in Reno and I-70 (which is where we were headed) was probably going to be shut down as well.  There was also snow predicted in the mountains that we had to cross over to get to Salt Lake City.  We went to the office and explained the situation so we were able to keep our spot for another day.  The wind has been relentless ALL day today but is supposed to die down after midnight.  We’re hoping to make Salt Lake City tomorrow but we’ll have to see how the weather is.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving Right Along

The last blog had us dodging a tornado in Texas.  We really LOVED Palo Duro Canyon but I guess springtime in Texas is NOT the place to be so we reluctantly left.  It’s a good thing we did too because after crossing into New Mexico we saw on the weather channel there was a tornado warning AGAIN where we had been.


We stayed overnight in Santa Rosa and moved on in the morning.  We had been warned to not stay in Gallup but it was our best choice on our route and we were going to stay in a Passport America park (a discount RV park club)  so we figured it would be okay and it was.  We stayed the night and then headed for Cortez, Colorado.  We had stayed in Cortez last year and there was a lot that we wanted to see.


One of the things we had wanted to see was Four Corners.  This is a monument where four states border each other.  It’s the only place in the U.S. where they do.  We were told in the RV Park office that it was closed for renovations but we figured we would still be able to see the monument from the road.  Not true.  This is what we saw.  Oh well, some other time.




Yesterday we had A LOT to see.  Since I got my National Parks Passport we’ve been trying to go to as many parks as we can.  This area has so many parks and monuments so that’s why we wanted to spend a few days here.

The first place we wanted to visit was Yucca House National Monument.  Yucca House is one of the largest archeological sites in southwest Colorado, and acted as an important community center for the Ancestral Pueblo people from A.D. 1150-1300. The long-term preservation of Yucca House ensures that archeologists will be able to continue studying Ancestral Pueblo society and what caused them to migrate from this region in the late 1200s.

We had been up and down the highway looking for it and never did see any directions.  When we got back to the campground I Googled it and this is what I found:

Take Hwy. 160 West through Cortez, to Hwy. 491 South. Continue driving south approximately 8 miles from the intersection of Hwy. 160 and Hwy. 491 and take a right on MC County Road B, which is a dirt road one mile south of MC Road C. Drive 0.8 miles, crossing a paved road and take the next dirt road on the right before the farmhouse on the left. Follow this road north and west for 1.4 miles, head towards the white ranch house with the red roof on the west horizon. Please be courteous toward the private landowners and close all gates behind you as you enter to prevent livestock from escaping. Once at the ranch house, Yucca House National Monument is on the left side of the driveway.

This was quite a challenge but we did indeed find it.  There was no place to get a stamp for my book and it was basically just part of a brick wall.  Oh well, on to the next one.




From there we headed to Hovenweep National Monument.  We really weren’t sure what to expect after seeing Yucca House.  At least there were directions all over the place for it.  AND a sign, a REAL sign!


This is another archaeological site with actual ruins.  Six prehistoric, Pueblo-era villages spread over twenty-miles of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border.  It was way too cold to hike the trails so I just got my stamp and we headed for Canyonlands National Park.  Canyonlands is divided into three sections, The Maze, The Needles, and Island in The Sky.  Last year when we were in this area we visited Island in The Sky so this year we chose to go to The Needles.  On the way there we found yet another monument!  Again, no stamp but that’s okay.  I think I’ll just print some of my pictures and glue them in my book.  LOL


Soon we arrived at Canyonlands but it was a LONG drive to the visitor center and we were afraid we weren’t going to make it before they closed.  At the gate we found out we still had plenty of time.  Whew.  It would have been a shame to drive all that way to find it closed.

The drive was absolutely amazing.


This is called Wooden Shoe Arch.  LOL, wonder why…


This one looks like it’s about to go over


This is called Newspaper Rock.  All the daily news, I guess


The Needles


We got home late last night after a 300 mile round trip of visiting monuments and National parks.  I got some stamps I needed but we decided we needed to stay another night so that we could go to Mesa Verde National Park today.  This park has LOTS of  cliff dwellings and it shouldn’t be such a long day since we’re only doing one park.

We were going to have breakfast and then go to the park but decided to go out for breakfast instead.  Since it wasn’t going to be a long day we headed out at 10:30 and were on the road to the park by 11:30 with only 10 miles to go to the entrance.


Mesa Verde  looks into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.  600 of the over 4700 archeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park are cliff dwellings.

There was still snow on the ground!!


Our first look at some of the cliff dwellings.


Some people had paid to be able to actually walk around the ruins and this picture puts their size into prospection.



Today was a beautiful day so we took one of the trails to an overlook.  It was only a little over a mile so it was an easy one


This was the view from the overlook


Before heading home we stopped and got a bite to eat.  Somebody at our campground told us to try the Navajo taco.  Really it’s a piece of fry bread with chili, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and salsa on top.  We asked for the onions and salsa on the side since we were splitting it.  LOL, no onions for me!  It was really tasty too.


We headed home to our campground and found this little guy out front.


Tomorrow we’re moving on to Moab, Utah.  We’re planning on visiting Arches National Park again along with Canyonlands Island in The Sky again.  LOL, more stamps for my book.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heading North

We spent a few weeks in San Antonio visiting with John & Erica and taking care of some doctor’s visits.  Rod did a sleep study to take care of his apnea but after calling the doctor every single day for a week and not getting anywhere we decided to leave.  He called every day to try and get the results to see if he had to go  back to be fitted for a CPAP machine.  The office never called back so he would call again the next day.  He finally told them we were leaving and they could send their report and we’d take care of it when we get to Salt Lake City.  What a joke.


A few weeks ago we went to the Poteet Strawberry Festival.  I know I said I’d never go to another festival but, come on, it’s STRAWBERRIES!!!  I LOVE strawberries!  Erica had to work but knowing how much she loves them too we decided to wait until she got off and then meet her and John there since it was south of San Antonio and  a lot closer to their house.  It seemed like we were ALL starving when we got there so the first thing we had to do was find some food!

Rod was very happy with his smoked turkey leg “binky”


John got Beef on a Stick (I had it too and it was YUMMY)


After everybody was finished with “dinner” we decided we needed to get strawberry something, anything!  Erica settled on a strawberry margarita


And then a strawberry ice cream cone


John, Rod and I HAD to get some strawberry shortcake




It was a great night and I’m glad we went.  The next time we go I think we’ll forgo the $10 entry fee and just go to all the vendors who were selling stuff outside the gates.  There was way more food choices there and that’s really the only reason we went.  LOL.


We left San Antonio on a rainy Saturday morning.  We were hoping the rain would hold off until later in the afternoon but we woke up to the pitter patter on the roof.  Oh well.  Some people don’t like to travel on the weekends but we kinda like it.  Traffic is a lot lighter and the road construction sites are shut down.


When we finally got out of the rain we got to see all the wildflowers growing on the side of the highway.  Texas is the only state that we’ve traveled through where the wildflowers are so abundant.  They are so pretty.  I wanted some of the bluebonnets (Texas state flower) but was told it’s illegal to pick them so I’ll just have to admire them in pictures.




We ended up in Abilene for the night.  Nothing exciting there and we moved on in the morning.

Next stop was Lubbock.  Again, nothing exciting and we moved on again in the morning.   LOL

We weren’t sure where we were going after leaving Lubbock but my friend Dortha asked if we’d ever been to Palo Duro Canyon.  We had never been there before and she told us it was called the Grand Canyon of Texas.  Hmmm, sounded interesting so we decided that’s where we were going.  I called to see if we needed a reservation and was told there were plenty of sites available.  Mark had warned us that we wanted a site in the upper loop because there are a few roads that you have to cross in the lower loops that have water over them.  Well, we know that it’s been raining in the area for awhile so we found a spot in the upper one.


We absolutely LOVE this place.  This is definitely a place that we will return to.  The road getting in is quite steep (hello, it’s a canyon!) but we made it just fine.  See the white dots in the middle on the left?  That’s our RV park.


The canyon is gorgeous!




Some of the roads had water over them but it wasn’t too bad.  I’m glad we didn’t bring the RV down to this part though


Lots of wild turkeys around



I just LOVE our site here


Since we had driven through the entire park yesterday and it was still too cold to do any hiking we decided to go into Amarillo for lunch/dinner.  We’ve driven through Amarillo many, many times and never have stopped at The Big Texan.  It’s a steak house that’s  famous for it’s FREE 72 ounce steak!!  Now, it’s only free if you can eat it all plus all the sides which include a salad, a baked potato, 3 fried shrimp, and a roll.  AND you have to do it in one hour.  We weren’t going to try for the free steak but we’re always up for a good smaller steak.




So that catches you up on where we are and where we’ve been.  We plan on leaving here tomorrow for who knows where.  LOL, we might even stay for another day.  As I’m writing this there was a tornado that touched down just west of Amarillo and another one just west of Canyon.  We are to the southeast of Amarillo and directly east of Canyon.  Hmmmm, could be an interesting night.  Stay tuned to Facebook and I’ll update there if I can.