Saturday, February 27, 2010

Still on the edge of the world

Tonight is our 9th night sitting on top this unbelievable chasm in the ground, but we will be leaving in the morning. We assume you have seen the two pictures that we posted earlier on our blog last week looking out our windows.

It's time to share a little of where we are and what we can see around us. This is our two rigs sitting on the edge looking west. You don't get the full effect in this photo but you do get some of the beauty of the area.

Going around and looking east you can see our rigs again at the top of the hill with a view all the way to the bottom and the San Juan river below. You will have to look closely to see us at the top of the 1000' drop.

When we first set up our rig at the top we realized that we where straddling this large crack so decided to move over about 5' just in case the rock decided to drop off.

If you look close in the previous photos you will notice how undercut the top layer of rocks is so that was another reason to move back a little.

Looking down on the Goosenecks from our campsite is quite a view. It takes the river about 7 miles to cover about 3 land miles in this area. You can see how far the river has traveled quite a ways in the 3 spots that you can see here.
This scene changes constantly all day long as the sun passes over the area. It's hard not to take a picture every hour.

Just another view on one of the sunny days we had here. We would have 2 days of sun and then 2 days of clouds and storms. Spent a lot of time traveling the area on nice days and just relaxing and making cards and jewelry on the cold, cloudy and wet days.

Alice decided on one of the better days it was a good time to pull up a chair, enjoy the view and a good book. We both continue to be amazed at what mother nature has carved out of desert and the beauty left behind.

We took a drive in the surrounding countryside and on the way back it started to snow. In the morning we were greeted by some very strange sights around us.

By 9:00 AM most of the snow has melted except for what was still clinging to the plants. The ground has turned to mud and we gain about an inch in height because of all the mud sticking to the bottom of our shoes as we walk around the area. What a mess but what can one do.

The clouds sitting on the ground and coming up from the canyon gave this view to us as we got out in the morning.

We are heading to the small town of Bluff in the morning to spend the night so we can flush out our tanks, do a little laundry and then will meet up with Robbie and Alice, who are staying here another night, for the last 100 miles to Moab Utah where we hope to get into our sites some- time early next week.
The park is still full of snow but just maybe we can get settled and start to learn our volunteer routine and spend some time hiking the park and seeing the surrounding area.
As a parting shot, here is a picture that Dick took late one evening with the clouds of a passing storm over the mountains. We had gone out for a ride and caught this sight as we came home.
Yes he took a little liberty with a photo editing program to get the moon in just the right place.

We still have pictures to share of Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Moki Dugway, Natural Bridges and more so stay tuned.
To be continued...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trying to get to Arches...

We are still sitting on the top of the cliff at Goosenecks State Park. This is night 6 and it has been snowing all evening. Our plan was to leave here yesterday and head the last 125 miles to Arches National Park for 2 months of camp-hosting. Because of all the snow there is no way that we can get into the park so we sit and wait to get the all clear.

After leaving Lake Havasu City our tour directors, Robbie and Alice, had us going to Flagstaff Arizona for 2 days of cleaning up the rigs and doing final shopping before going to Utah.

We arrived there only to find the park full of snow and mud so decided to continue east another 50 miles and stop at Winslow Arizona. We did all our laundry, the four of us went out to dinner and just had to take some time out to "Stand on the corner of Winslow Arizona" (remember the song?). Let us tell you this is the best that Winslow has to offer and it aint much.

We left Winslow and headed to Petrified Forest National Park where we found a place to camp right next to the fence of the park at a free campsite (we like free). The four of us set up camp and headed into the park to check out the history of the area and see all that petrified wood just lying every where you looked.

We walked part of the park and Dick wished he could fill a bucket, but you can't pick up and take any of the pieces. Dick did find an area outside of the park and ended up with 38 pounds of petrified wood that filled a 5 gallon bucket. Just more rocks to pack around.

The colors varied from red to blue to yellow; wow what a sight. The shops outside of the park sold large polished pieces for up to $10,000. We did purchase a small piece at the gift shop to put in the rig. (And Dick will tumble some of the ones he picked up and hopefully make jewelry out of them.)

On another hike several miles away we found pieces lying everywhere.

The next morning we hitched up and drove through the park and then the Painted Desert.

This guy was looking for a handout but got nothing from us except this "shot".

We continued to Chinle Arizona on the Navajo Reservation where we again camped at a free site on the Canyon de Chelly National Monument. After setting up we took a tour of the south rim, and let us tell you it was quite a sight.
We will just share a few pictures with you here and hope you can appreciate what we saw.

All up and down the canyon floor you can see small farms with the only means of access by jeep up the river flats.

The walls of the canyon are full of ancient dwellings built into the cracks on the walls. If you look close at the horizontal crack in this wall you can see old dwellings from hundreds of years ago.

Here is a shot of one of the small farms on the canyon floor.

Before we pulled out the next day we took a short ride up the north rim and got a few more pictures. No sun today so it was really cold standing on the edge in the wind.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First night in Utah

We arrived in Utah yesterday, set up camp with our friends, Robbie and Alice, who we will share the camp host duties at Arches National Park and have been our tour directors for the last week. We, again, have very poor Internet but hope to get a short blog off (2 pictures) as a little tease of where we are and what we have seen in the last few days.

We stood on the corner in Winslow Arizona, visited the Petrified Forest and Dick found an area outside the park where he collected 38 pounds of petrified wood for tumbling and whatever.

Then off to see the Painted Desert on our way to Chinle Arizona and the beautiful Canyon de Chelly and finally into Utah where we are camped at Goosenecks State Park 1000' straight above the San Juan River. We are on the edge of the cliff so have a view straight down from all our windows.

When we get to a place with better internet we will share more details and pictures of each location, should be late next week.

Here is the view from our dining table, and yes, at the lower left is the edge of the cliff. We have to remember to watch the first step when we come out of our rig.

And the view out our back window, must remember to walk close to the rig when going around the back. It's cool here with snow in the forecast so we maybe here most of the week. Arches has 14" of snow with another 3 in the forcast today and again on Sunday.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More adventures and lots of fireworks

We have been in and out of Internet coverage so have not been able to post a Blog. We could have done it without pictures but decided to just wait and fill you in on all out travels since we left Quartzsite Arizona.

We left the big "Montana Circle" and headed back to Ehrenberg to dump tanks, clean the rig and do a big pile of laundry. We went into the park without reservations and they let us stay for two nights and then we had to move on because the park was full. We decided to go to an Arizona State park but also decided that it would be better to not to head out there on the weekend so it was back to the desert at Quartzsite.

We went back to the remains of the circle where there was still about 8 rigs there. Three more showed up at about the same time we got there. We decided to stay for one night and ended up staying for 4 nights. It was great to see everyone if only for a short time. Some of us spent part of one day out in the desert searching for gold with metal detectors while Dick just wandered around and took pictures.

After 4 days it was time to move on to our planned destination of Lake Alamo State park, about 30 miles out in the desert. This is a lake that was created by a dam that was built for flood control. It's also a location where there are herds of wild Burrows. We were fortunate to run across two packs of over ten burrows each. These three kept checking on us to make sure we stayed away from them.

We took our new Christmas present, an inflatable canoe, out onto the lake and had a good time rowing around and checking out the dam. Another day we hiked over the earthen dam and
here is Jackie checking out the big pile of rocks that held back the lake.

We went out another day rock hounding only to find that because of the rain the lake had risen over 19' and the roads were all under water so took some time to get this shot after waiting for the 30 seconds of sun shining through the clouds to hit onto the winter trees with the mountains still in the shadows. Note that the trees are all in the flooded area.

Looking out our rear window as we camped above the lake we watched the receding storm clouds moving into the next county. The storm has passed and we now have another beautiful sunny day.

Again it was time to hitch up for our next destination. It was off to Lake Havasu City Arizona to see the annual fireworks that are a result of the Western Pyrotechnics Association convention. We found a spot on BLM land where one can camp for free. Several friends had been there for about a week before we got there.
We arrived, set up for a long stay, when the local police showed up and said because this area was leased by the city we all had to pack up and leave. We all packed up and headed for another location that was four miles down the road. No one was happy to have to move but two days later the area filled up again with campers and no one made them move. I think this will be the last time we spend any of our money in Lake Havasu City because of their selective enforcement of regulations.
We moved down the road and five of us were able to find another area on BLM land where we could have a nice fire every night and enjoy the fireworks.

We all headed out one day for another hike into the surrounding mountains. Here is Dick and a friend on the edge of a cliff looking down onto the lake. This photo was taken by another friend.

The reason for the trip was to see the firework show. We watched the first night sitting around the campfire, the second night four couples in our group packed up our chairs and went down to sit under the stars and the fireworks. (Dick's brother, Guy and his wife, Joan joined us for this event.) Dick ended up taking 198 pictures this night and wanted to share some of them with you.

Another shot that filled the sky from from as far as we could see from side to side.

The hardest fireworks to get into the camera was the bright white displays. But Dick lucked out getting these three rockets going off at the same time.

The next evening we stayed at camp and the next three pictures were taken from our campsite that was three miles away. These are just three of over 100 he took that evening.

It's interesting that Dick took about 300 photos in the two nights and was only really happy with about 12 shots.

This was one of the displays that when it exploded the trails went every direction and filled the sky above the park.

We are off in the morning for our two months as volunteer as camp hosts at Arches National Park near Moab Utah. We will arrive in late February and be there for the months of March and April. When we get set up and determine what we have for Internet we will post another Blog. In the meantime Alice and Robbie Simons (our co-hosts at Arches) will be showing us areas of Arizona and Utah they love, which just happen to be on the way to Arches.
To be continued...