Tuesday, May 29, 2007

27 May - The Road Trip is Over

All good things must come to an end.

That's the famous quote that I am now questioning. Why? Because.....Dang it. I surely didn't
want it to end. This was the longest trip I've taken yet with the trailer and now I'm thinkin' that I could do this full time maybe. Well, maybe not full time as in the rest of my life, but for sure I could do this for extended periods of time.

Whatever, I've got 794 days until retirement and until then it's just pleasant thoughts and practice. I
have vowed to "practice" every chance I get. I'm gonna keep doing this until I get it right!

As I menti
oned this was the longest trip with Bivouac yet and on this day I was anxious to start for home. Not because I wanted to be home but it was a lot of miles on a major holiday weekend and I had to drag Bivouac over a couple of pretty steep hills. The circle typically stretched things as far as possible on this last day leaving sometime in early afternoon. I guess I'll need to beg forgiveness for being a bit ornery about heading for home the next time we get together. (Too Tall, K, Guitar, PicE.....Hear that? I'm gonna claim one jerk credit according to the bylaws I just made up.)

Before leaving Moab we stopped by the city park to check out the Arts Festival. The ladies of the group have made a tradition of all buying something every year to commemorate the trip. Imagine that...a tradition of buying something...Nope. I'm not goin' there...

Even if the ride is taking us away from this magical spot and returning us to the real world of work and everyday hum drum life....It's still one whale of a pretty drive. In about 7 hours we went from the desert southwest, through the incredible Glenwood
Canyon and over the continental divide and down into the high plains of Eastern Colorado. It was a beautiful day and surprisingly, the traffic was very light. Bivouac followed us without a hitch....no that's not right. Without the hitch Bivouac could not follow at all. Anyhow no problems and The Bride drove for a couple of hours allowing me to get in some more practice on my napping technique. Here's some photos of the ride back.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 28, 2007

26 May - Road Trip Day 5

Day five of our road trip and The Bride and I were going to explore some areas of Arches National Park that we had not seen before. On schedule this day was a hike to Landscape Arch and Delicate Arch and what ever else we could cram into the day. Since this was Saturday of Memorial Day weekend our plans were somewhat ambitious.

The rest of the group was out for another full day of four wheeling and they were going to do the "Trilogy", three of the most famous of all the Moab trails. I had done this ride with the group several years ago so I didn't feel like I was missing something other than the fellowship.

We started out at about 7:30 am and the weather forecast was for temperature in the upper 80's to low 90's. By the time we got on the trail is was already starting to feel warm. The hike in wasn't real strenuous but we took our time and looked at everything along the way. The cactus were just beginning to bloom and we saw several colors. Hard as we looked we did not see the most prized of all cactus flowers, a claret cup.
Landscape Arch was just amazing. A portion of Landscape Arch broke off in 1991 and the arch today appears to defy gravity. Even if it were possible I don't believe I would try to walk across it in it's current condition. The Bride commented that Landscape Arch looked to be more delicate than Delicate Arch!

We also hiked on an adjacent trail and were able to see both Wall Arch and Navajo Arch. At Navajo Arch there was a magnificent panorama view of the LaSalle mountain range just outside the park.

At about 10:30 we began to walk out and met with a steady stream of people walking in. When we got to the parking lot, what had been virtually empty when we came in, was now overflowing and people in their cars were following people coming off the trail to get their parking spot.

I made an executive decision that we wouldn't do any more in the park that day and we headed back to the KOA for a leisurely lunch. After lunch The Bride went into Moab to do some shopping and I brushed up on my technique of napping.

In the evening all of the group some thirty strong got together at a room at one of the local motels for a pot luck dinner and slide show of the weeks activities. A great time was had by all.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Moab on the Rocks! It's Here!

This is it! After months of anticipation the day is finally here for our “Moab on the Rocks” expedition in the slick rock country around Moab. Most of the participants were already here and had spent the last day or two on the trails around Moab. Hopefully they had worked all the kinks out of the equipment and had honed their backcountry skills to the point of making this a “walk in the park” for the bride and I . I was thinking that regardless of how good, how prepared you are there is always something these trails throw at you to make it a memorable experience. I was not to be disappointed.

I was disappointed to find out that our wagon master, Captain America, had not yet reached Moab and would not be with us on this excursion. Unfortunately the business of feeding family interfered with more temporal pleasures and he was not to arrive until Saturday. Could his wagon train succeed without his leadership? This would really put the pressure on the other founders.

Thirteen vehicles and about thirty people total were going to participate on this ride. We decided to do a trail I had never experienced before so I was double pumped. It’s always great to see new stuff.

As we started out it looked like having that many vehicles was really going to be difficult to control and getting everyone through in the allotted time was going to be a challenge. We had the whole gamut of experience levels and it took us about 45 minutes to get the first half mile into the trail. Fortunately after the first two obstacles everyone seemed to hit stride and the “wagon train” gelled.

“Spotman” Dave, who is one of the original founders, was doing a yeoman’s job of his usual duties of spotting for everyone and helping in the wagon master duties. “Spotman” a
lso drives a classic Jeep. No sissy automatic transmission or electronic lockers for him! He does it the old fashioned way!

Things progressed nicely until mid-day when one vehicle had an axle problem. If you have read this blog before you should remember that one of the reasons I “ride” and don’t have my own vehicle is precisely for this reason. I’m not mechanically inclined and if I had any kind of mechanical problem that required anything other than flipping a switch or turning a knob I would be totally up the proverbial creek.

Fortunately the problem was not what the gear heads considered a real bad problem and while the rest of us had lunch they performed enough mechanical magic to get the stricken vehicle back on the trail.

Just incredible, incredible scenery, lots of fun and fellowship. We finished the trail at about 3pm. That evening the bride and I hosted the rest of the circle in a very informal chow down at the trailer. What a day…and best of all there is even more to come tomorrow!

Thanks for visiting.

P.S. Click on any of the photos for a larger v

24 May - Road Trip Day 3

Today was to be the longest day of the trip outside of that miserable day of Sunday when will have to return to the ho hum life of normal working stiffs. We had about 250 miles to drive and needed to be in Moab in time for a “full circle” dinner at the condo that Too Tall and Guitar had rented for the week.

The day dawned in fine style with the sun rising over S
plit Mountain across the Green River from our camp site. I arose at about 5:30 am….just because.

A cup of joe, a breakfast burrito and a little oatmeal and I was set for the morning. The bride was up by 6:30 and we were on the road again by 8:30. I’m really starting to wonder about the bride, she is being a trooper on this trip and seems to enjoy it as much as I do. Have I finally broken her bonds to the Ritz Carlton/champagne brunch persona?………….Nah. Just lucky this trip I suspect.

It was a very interesting ride down highway 191 from Vernal to Moab. Vernal is a very inte
resting town that merits another trip for exploration but this day we didn't have the time. Some rolling country side with green grass and trees everywhere. Some mountains and coal mines and some typical Utah butte and sandstone formations. This is the west! Life is good!

We arrived in Moab at about 4:30 got Bivouac set up and we got cleaned up and proceeded to dinner with the circle. Too Tall and Guitar had rented a very nice condo on a golf course on the south side of Moab. We six had rented a similar condo in years past and always enjoyed the location.

Dinner consisted of tri-tips, spinach casserole an
d some type of sweet potato casserole that should have been labeled as explosive material for the amount of whiskey “seasoning”. Very good stuff! As usual, great food, great conversation and great friends. A short walk after dinner and we were all ready to call it a day and get ready for Friday’s four wheel trip.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, May 25, 2007

23 May - Road Trip Day 2

It must be the country air, or the fact that the bride was in bed shortly after it got dark at about 8:30 pm. She was actually up and ready at about 7:30 this morning. I awoke at my usual very early hour and was making coffee by 6. After eating a quick breakfast we were “on the road again”.

Today’s journey took us on some little traveled highways and to add to the mix it’s mid week. There was hardly any traffic at all on the roads. My kind of road trip!

About 60 miles up the road we passed thru Rangley. A true “rural” town. The only sign of homogenized America, aside from the gas stations was a Subway sandwich shop. We stopped for gas there and consulted with the map and literature I had about Pintado Canyon. We decided to try to see 3 marked sites that contained Archaic Indian petroglyphs. While these are marked they are not very well known which is exactly the kind I like to seek out!

Driving down Hwy 39 we missed the first two because they weren’t marked very well and decided to go to the furthest down the highway, see those and work our way back. The 3rd was actually the best one with several sites connected by a marked trail. The day was gorgeous. Clear, 60 degree, slight breeze, Colorado gorgeous. The site had a great little parking lot that made it easy to pull into with Bivouac. Some pictures here will tell the story better than words can.

After about an hour of exploration we made lunch in the trailer and headed for Dinosaur, Colorado. Dinosaur, Colorado. What can I say. I’m thinking it’s The Little Town That Couldn’t. I’m thinking some speculators and real estate types tried to build the place up in the 60’s when Dinosaur National Monument was formed. There were lot’s of,,,well,,,lots. I mean lots as in a square of land. These lots looked like they were set up as mobile home lots or camping grounds. Concrete pads, electric hookup boxes, all overgrown and in a state of decay. Now there wasn’t just one of these. I counted four quickly and we didn’t look all that hard. Much to my happy surprise the town was also filled with old trailers. Old trailers as in “canned hams” that are the prize for those who seek old trailers. I am one of “those”. Here’s some pics.

From Dinosaur it was a short drive to the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument where we intended to camp for the night. We were planning on really roughing it here because they had no electric or water hookups at this campground. I was going to have to play pioneer camper and break out the generator so we could use the microwave! The campground was very nice in spite of the fact that we didn’t get electricity or water.

We spent the last part of the afternoon on a self guided tour of the area which included more Indian rock art and seeing deer, wild turkey, birds, lizards and knock-out scenery. Barbeque ribs, potatoes, peas and pearl onions for dinner and I am going to be G O N E as in destroyed, wiped out, fast asleep until the golden hours of tomorrow morning when we head for Moab. Tomorrow is the longest day of driving with 230 miles to go so come back and see how we did.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Road Trip - May 22

The magical day finally arrived. Travel day! Since the bride and I planned an early departure (In the bride’s logic this means before 10 am, VERY early is before 9 am, God-Awful early is before 8 am and we don‘t even talk about time before 8 am.) I told The Emmer I would drive her to work at 6 am.

This morning when we got to the car, The Emmer said the weather report was calling for snow in the mountains! Snow today and tomorrow and then it will turn hot. Great, I get to pull Bivouac through the snow and when I get there I’ll get roasted! I’ll take the roasted part, just don’t want to pull Bivouac thru snow if I don’t have to.

It seemed like the key was to make it through Vail Pass on I-70 as quick as we could, before the roads had a chance to get bad. As it turned out is wasn’t too bad. We actually left by about 8:30 am and didn’t hit snow until Eisenhower Tunnel. From there to just past Vail it snowed off and on but the temperature stayed right around freezing so the residual warmth of the ground kept the roads from freezing.

Once we were beyond the danger area we stopped in the Target store in Glenwood Springs to get all the things we remembered we left at home and to get a Starbucks. Yes sir. We believe in primitive camping and getting back to nature on these trips! We also gassed up there…ouch. This is beginning to hurt. $67 for a tank of gas….as in ONE tank…as in $3.56/gallon….as in cry when you remember pooling pennies with the guys to buy gas at $0.25 a gallon…as in 25 cents.

Springs was in the midst of a huge forest fire two years ago. You can see on the hillsides around the town just how close the fire got. The stark contrast of the burned trees, the red rock and the new green spring growth is pretty dramatic. In this other picture you can see the snow line from today’s weather that was at about 10,000 feet.

We arrived at Day One destination, Rifle Falls State Park, by about 1 pm. The reason I chose this spot for the first night is that I had never been here before and it is consistently listed as one of the most scenic spots in Colorado. It is a beautiful spot and being a Tuesday the park was not over-run with campers. Here are some pictures of the falls.

Dinner this night consisted of home made spinach manicotti. As I said, we prefer roughin
g it. No frozen manicotti for us… We also enjoyed watching the hummingbirds at the feeder right outside of the window. We saw two different species. The Broad Tailed Hummingbird and the Black Chinned Hummingbird both semi-coexisting at the same feeder.

Tomorrow we plan to go north and west through Rangley, Colorado and stop at Dinosaur National Park, on the Utah side. For those who have been reading this blog for a while…the trailer jack works just fine. It went up at the appropriate time.

anks for visiting.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm Not Makin' This Stuff Up

Are you concerned about the social life of your pooch? Naw, I don't mean just meetin' and greetin' fellow canines on the walk. I mean long term. Who is he/she going to plan the future with?...grow old with?...

If you're an owner of an even number (as in two, four, etc) of canines, are you going to let them live in sin for the rest of their lives or are you going to do the socially responsible thing and see to it that they have a "sanctioned" relationship?

Has Colorado finally out-weirded California?

You be the judge... Bow Wow Vows

Interesting to note that only spayed/neutered and leashed participants are allowed!

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I am who I am only because of the mothers in my life.................

Thank you ladies.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's A Plan - The Trip To Moab

Short and sweet, here's the plan starting on Tuesday, week, for the trip to Moab.

Day #1

Leave as early as I can get The Bride up, dressed, coiffed, makeup-ed and otherwise travel ready.

Leave Denver metro area with "Bivouac
" in tow and drive to Rifle, CO.

Turn north to Rifle Falls State Park and pitch camp.


Day #2

Awake to the sounds of birds chirping and the gurgling of a mountain stream.

Eat a leisurely breakfast, commune with nature, listen to the James Taylor song "Secret O Life" ("The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time").

Hook up "Bivouac", proceed north through Rangely and view Indian petroglyphs in Pintado Canyon

Continue north and west through Dinosaur, CO to campground on west side of Dinosaur National


Day #3

Wake to the sounds of birds chirping and the gentle wind blowing through the Cottonwood trees.

Eat a leisurely breakfast, take deep breaths of country air, sing out loud the James Taylor song "Secret O Life".

Listen but don't hear cars, kids screaming, planes and other city sounds.

Tell myself, I'm a luck guy.

Hook up "Bivouac" and proceed to Vernal, Utah stopping to see "Big John" the Muffler Man and "Dinah" the pink dinosaur of Roadside America fame.

Continue south through Duchsene and Green River to campground in Moab!

Partake of fellowship with other Moab on the Rocks participants and....


Thanks for visiting and stay tuned..... This is just the plan to get there. Much more to be done there!


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