Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bound for Albuquerque

Anne and I headed in different directions on Apr. 21. She was heading west then north planning to arrive in Portland, OR in early May. I headed East and then south to catch a plane from Albuquerque on Apr. 25.

The first leg of my journey took me on US89 in Utah through Escalante, past the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, through Page AZ, then on US98 to Rte 160 W. I left 160 at 564 and took a detour out to the Navaho National Monument. It offers a free campground with beautiful views. I would like to come back here for the ranger tour one day.

The second leg was on US160 through Kayenta, past Shiprock and through Farmington to Bloomfield. I stopped around 2:30 to do laundry so I could start to pack. Late afternoon found me back at Angel Peak for the night.

The last leg was down 550 to Bernalillo, NM and the south on 25 to Albuquerque and west on 40 to the Enchanted Trails RV Park.  It is a place I like to stay overnight when I have an early flight out of Albuquerque. It harkens back to the days when Rte 66 was a popular route and they have a number of refurbished trailers that people can rent as “cabins” if they don’t bring their home with them. (The best part is it is close to the airport and I get a 50% discount. (Yeah Passport America)

This was a layover for me. I got a new battery setup for my trailer. Now I will be able to store some of the electricity that my solar panel produces each day. I took Scruffy for his first “Spa” session. (In other words, he is having a bath, hair trim and having his nails done.)  The things a poor dog has to go through when heading to civilization.

Since we have a 5:55 am flight (what was I thinking), we went to the airport a day early to pay the pet fee and get boarding passes for Scruffy. Flying American for one leg and US Air for two even though I am booked on American means stopping at each airline to verify that he is registered and the seats I have booked will fit his carrier bag underneath. I was lucky enough to get great people to work with and one women (AA) told me that she will be working when I come in – she will look for me at 4:30am and call me up so I don’t have to wait. Then I will get to sign some paperwork for the dog and check my bag.

I also checked out a parking lot and verified that I can leave truck and trailer there. $5.50/ day for both. Seems like a good deal. I have used them before for just my truck and know that their service to and from airport is excellent.

I am looking forward to spending a few days with Deb and Rich in CT and then a week with my Dad in Florida. I hope Scruffy enjoys this time too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand Escalante Day 2

This was our second day in Grand Escalante. We chose to visit Catstair Canyon and Paria  Townsite. Both were great choices.

Catstair Canyon is known for its pictographs. We found these after a short hike.
 A Utah Education site noted:  “The canyon was named because only a cat could work its way through this section (before the canyon was blasted out to make way for the highway)’

We decided to continue our hike to the end of this box canyon. I was quite taken with the variety of textures found in the canyon.

We visited Paria Townsite because a fellow hike at the toadstools recommended it.  The road in is a dirt road and it becomes quite steep and narrow about 3 miles from the end. Since it was overcast we stopped to ogle the scenery at a site formerly used for films.  and then headed back out. (Kanab is know as “little hollywood” because of all the films that were made here.)

The signs at the start of the road had warned it would be impassable when wet. My truck is a 2 WD and so I am cautious about the chances I take.

Grand Staircase Escalante

Sunday, we set off for Grand Escalante. After stopping at a BLM office, we headed out with directions. Our first stop was “the toadstools”.  If was a fun hike with interesting formations and the bonus of wild flowers. 

Next we set off for Wirepass, a really fine slot canyon. The drive to the trailhead was about 9 miles of dirt road.  The canyon hike was spectacular. 


On the drive back out we were treated to colorful walls reminiscent of “artists palette” in Death Valley.

Scruffy is a quick learner and today he learned to fetch and bring the ball back to me. Earlier this week I would throw the ball and he would run to it and wait for me to catch up. Today he spontaneously started to bring it back and drop it near me.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


We arrived in Kanab on Tues. and after stopping for groceries found another free camping site at the trailhead to Peekaboo canyon. A wide dirt parking lot with a nice enough view, and no level spots. The next day we went to town to enter the lottery for a permit to hike “the Wave”.

Ten spots are given out each day. There were 118 other people in the drawing that morning and we did not win. So off we went for a breakfast at a restaurant which had a coat rack with  holsters and guns hanging below each hook. I staged a photo with my jacket and put it on Facebook. Much to my surprise – people actually believed that it was my gun. (guess I should have posted on Apr. 1).

That afternoon, we visited the “Best Friend Animal Sanctuary and took a tour. It is an amazing place: 3700 acres, ~ 1500 animals. The have horse, pigs, bunnies, dogs, cats, and wild animals needing care. Fortunately, they are able to adopt out many of their animals. They work hard to rehabilitate them physically and also behaviorally, so that they make good pets. The ones that cannot be adopted remain with them for life.

We decided to go to town and run errands on Thursday. Just like a sticks and brick home, my little casita needs little tune-ups and parts. We enjoyed our town day and Scruffy is enjoying what I am learning from the book I bought, “Good Habits for Great Dogs”.  This week we are learning the game “Find-it”.

Each night in Kanab was a chilly one – can you say 20 degrees. We would check the weather guess each morning and reassure ourselves it was going to warm up soon. One morning, after another no heat night, I found my solar panels iced over and was not able to start the furnace in the morning as the battery lost its charge from so much cold.  We had a dusting of snow and as I was trying to clear my panels visions of a campground, electricity and hot showers danced through my head. (If the weather report hadn’t called  for another cloudy day and cold night we might have made it to sunny Saturday. But luckily when I shared my vision with Anne – she too thought it sounded like a fine idea.

And it Was. Scruffy was treated to a cute dog park and made some friends there to run with. (He loves dogs and their people). We were warm, charged all our devices, had hot showers and rented the movie “The Theory of Everything” from Redbox. All in all, a spectacular city day. And we happily went back to our sunny campsite on Saturday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lee's Ferry

We spent 5 nights at Lees Ferry. A BLM campground in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. It was a sunny spot on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River. This is where most of the rafting trips through the grand canyon begin. It is where Betty, Lydia, Nancy and I boarded a commercial raft for our 7 day adventure. Memories and sadness arose as I sat by the river that first night waiting for a raft to go by.

It is also where I saw a chuckwalla and a million … cactus in bloom. (OK not a million) Both of which filled me with joy.

One morning as we set out to see the Navaho Bridge, we took a wrong turn and happened upon an area labeled cliff dwellers on the map. It turns out that in years past many people had taken refuge from storms here. One such women decided she loved the place and came back to buy some land and build among the rocks.

We did find the Navaho bridge. Lees ferry had been an actual ferry crossing point and the bridge was built to handle cars when they arrived on the scene. Later (1990’s) a new bridge was built to handle more modern cars. We were able to spy two condors  from the bridge. I could not get a photo so you’ll have to make do with this picture of the Colorado river from the bridge.

We also spent two days hiking the Cathedral Wash. The first day we took it north towards the Vermillion rocks.

The second day we had an adventurous day trying to follow the wash South to the Colorado River. We got close but not all the way. This wash contained a number of pools that we had to cross. We waded the first. Then I was able to climb around the second on the rocks, while Anne awaited my report. When I got to the third pool, I used my hiking pole to test its depth and we decided not to get in something that was opaque and more than 2 feet deep at the edge. On my return, as I attempted to bypass the second pool, I found much to my dismay, that about half way back I could not get a good handhold and slipped down into the pool. Luckily, I landed on my feet and was not injured, just wet up to my butt.  It was a sunny day, so it was – mmm, “refreshing”.

 This is the view of Vermillion Cliffs a little farther up the road from the Cliff Dweller.