Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finally at Arches

We finally arrived at our new home for the next two months. We pulled our rig out front and unloaded what we needed into the cabin at the entrance to Arches National Park, Devils Garden Campground.

Our "driveway" starts at the Visitors Center/Main Entrance and winds 18 miles through the park to the end of the road where Devils Garden Campground is located.

We moved the rig to it's parking spot 50' from the cabin where we are making daily trips getting more things out and putting them back. We guess this will go on for the next two months.

The cabin is small but larger than our rig and the kitchen is fully furnished; the queen bed is a pillowtop. We set up the TV and the dish so we could watch it in the evenings if we want. We had purchased a Wilson antenna with amplifier and a router so we now have Internet here and have to switch the input of the amplifier between the router and the telephone if we want service.

Dick had to mount the antenna on our flag pole and move it around the outside of the cabin until he finally found that right spot.

The power for us is from storage batteries located adjacent to the cabin and charged by solar panels on the roof. We expected the worst with this system after reading the Blog from the people that stayed here last year, but I guess they used a lot more power than we do because we have not had the system shut down yet.

The hot water is a propane "on-demand" system and what a great idea so you don't have a large tank constantly heating water day and night. The only problem is that you have to run the hot water in the sink when you shower or it will cycle on and off, and let us tell you the cold water is really cold when you least expect it while showering.

The two of us plus Robbie and Alice who are our co-hosts, took a tour around the campground wondering where we are going to put all the snow so the campers can pitch tents. The weather was cold but wow what a beautiful day to arrive here.

The snow plow did a good job of clearing the roads but sure did make a lot of big piles at the entrance to each camp site. They park people came back and did their best to clear out the driveway of most sites.

This is a typical camp site when we arrived; it took about two weeks before there was bare ground so tents could be pitched.

This was looking across Salt Vally toward the La Sal mountains. It's about halfway from the main entrance.

A lot of the snow had melted after about a week but our yard still looks great. We had the duty the day Dick took this picture as you can see the golf cart parked in front that we get to share. It's about 1 1/2 miles from the cabin around the campground and back. We walk it every morning we are on duty, but most of the rest of the time we take the cart.

The night of the 14th we got another snowstorm and Dick had to shoot the winter trees with white against some of the red rock here in the park.

Wherever you look from the campground you will find these unbelievable sights.

Looking out the other directions from the campground the view continues to amaze us.

Even at our little cabin we have a nice fire pit and when it warms up we can enjoy a relaxing time just sitting and reading.

On another trip through the park we took a few minutes to stop and look over the entrance into Park Avenue. Another incredible view.

And finally we close with another view down Park Avenue here in the park on a warm and cloudy day. Not sure how we will find the time to see it all, but we keep trying.

Next week we will start with some of the arches so check back in a week or so.

To be continued...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Natural Bridges National Monument Utah

Our last and final post before we start with our present location in this unbelivable place of Arches National Park.

We spent another sunny but cold day taking the tour of Natural Bridges Monument in Utah. We arrived at the visitors center to find that all but one of the trails was still snowed in. Looks like we will have to see most of this park from the lookouts.

The park has 3 major natural bridges that have been formed by water flowing at the base and eroding it until a hole opens up in the base and then continues to form the bridges.

Looking down into the valley you can see in the middle of the picture the first bridge at a distance.

Lets just change the lense in the camera and get you a closer look. We were a little sad that we could not hike down into the valley. I guess we will save that for the next time we are in the area.

Another bridge and the same problems, but the view was spectacular.

The snow had melted, so after taking a few shots at the top of this natural bridge we started our journey down to the bottom.

One other family was there so we shared taking pictures. Do you need to quess who this is.

If you look closely you can see Dick standing at the bottom directly under the bridge. He got out of there quick after he was unable to determine what was holding it all up.

Another fun shot looking at a cave entrance we found. We spent an hour searching this area.

NOT... Take a closer look at the rock in front of Jackie. Did we get you?

After spending several hours at Natural Bridges, we continued on to Blanding, then met Robbie and Alice at Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff for dinner (which was excellent, by the way). Then we completed the circle back to our campsite.
We pulled out after 9 days sitting at Goosenecks State Park and moved into the little town of Bluff for one night and then pulled out for the final 100 mile journey to Moab. Nice sunny day for traveling and lots of things to see along the way.
This journey started in Washington then to Minnesota, a hard right to Texas where we took another hard right to Arizona and another right to Utah. Wow have we seen a lot in the last 6 months.
When we got to Moab we found a campground for 2 nights before heading up our 18 mile driveway to our new "home".

To be continued...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Monument Valley and Moki Dugway...

Here are two more places we visited while camped on the cliff at Goosenecks. First, Monument Valley. The first day we went close to Monument Valley it was foggy and this is what we saw, so we went into town for propane and water. They charged us $6.00 to fill our water container. We forgot to tell them that our water container was 40 gallons.

Then a couple of days later it was sunny and nice, so we went back and actually entered Monument Valley. Monument Valley is on the indian reservation. There is a new hotel, gift shop and restaurant there, with beautiful views of the valley.

It's nice to be able to get pictures with blue sky and not rain and snow. If we remember right our plan was to stay in warm places, so what are we doing here?

The road through Monument Valley is rough and not very comfortable, but we sure wouldn't suggest that that stop anyone. The views are spectacular.

Catch the moon in this shot? (And this one is not photo-shopped!)

Lots of the old western movies were shot in this park. John Wayne spent many a day riding through here.

The shear rock walls are over 1000' tall but sorry you can't climb them in this park.

We thought this would make a good natural amphitheatre on the right, just spend a few minutes clearing out some of the loose rocks.

Every turn of the road brought into view another beautiful and scenic view for us to try and remember.

Another day we drove up to Moki Dugway with Robbie and Alice. Here is the sign at the bottom of the road. Can you see where the road goes? We couldn't, and weren't sure we wanted to go!
The road gained about 1000' of elevation in about 2 miles and was all dirt and mud. We went up it twice and down once. No we did not pull the rig up or down.

And this is looking down on the grade from part-way up. Alice wanted to go from the top to the overlook, where we'd be 2000' up from the river, but unfortunately there was way too much snow and the road to the overlook was all mud and snow. Something for next time, I guess.

Another view from above looking out over the Valley of the Gods.

Pretty impressive scenery in this part of the country if you like BIG rocks, and we do.
To be continued...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mexican hat and Valley of the Gods

Well, we finally made it to Arches National Park on Wednesday. We moved into the cabin and got settled in. On Thursday we started our new job as campground host and then turned the duties over to our co-hosts, Robbie and Alice.

On Friday we hiked in the snow about 2 miles to landscape arch and got this picture to share as a tease of what to look forward to in the next two months. We must admit that the moon was a little added attraction to the photo by Dick.

While camping at Goosenecks State Park we spent a lot of time traveling around the area. A small town just a few miles down the road is Mexican Hat. It got it's name from the balanced rock that looks like of all things a Mexican hat.

What is just as interesting is the hills in the background.

A close up of the rock and then on to the hills. Must use lots of glue to keep it there.

If you look closely at the hills you can see the variegated ribbons of color running up and down the slopes.

A little closer shot of the various colors in the slopes with still some snow on the hills.

A little closer look at the zig-zag patterns on the hills. It was an overcast day so did not get a true picture of the distinct colors.

Dick drove the 17 mile dirt road through the Valley of the Gods on another cloudy day so no blue sky here. But did see some great sights. Wonder how bright the red sand would show up with the evening sun shining on it.

Around every corner was another unique rock formation, some in the distance.

And then a little closer.

Not sure what keeps some standing but they will all be gone in years to come. Lots of years.

If you get just on the right side of this one you can figure out why it's called Rooster rock.

We still have two more postings to follow before we start sharing our adventures here at Arches.
There is just so much to see here in Utah--it's incredible. And we've only just begun.
To be continued...