On our way up to Canyonlands National Park, we first stopped at “The Monitor and Merrimac” rock features. To the east were the La Sal Mountains and Mount Waas at 12,306’. We turned left (east) we came to Dead Horse State Park, not knowing what to expect. Well, my new friend, Cindy, at Riverside Plumbing said she and her future husband used to go up to Dead Horse State Park for a date.
I think it was a $10 entry fee, but we had bought a Utah State Park pass, so they waved us on. The park overlooks a gooseneck turn in the great Colorado River. It really is as pretty a spot as one could wish for. A cute couple were having breakfast at the overlook at sunrise, giddy in their young love in such a gorgeous spot.
Karen, Josh and Melissa flew into Grand Junction, Colorado, about an hour and a half from Moab. Their flights were on time and without a hitch. We stopped for lunch at Qdoba, which was very good.
First driving west on I70, we turned SW on 129, which follows the great Colorado River through a beautiful canyon. We stopped several times for pictures and stopped at Sandy Beach and stood in the water. Melissa did one better. She went all the way in, then laid on the hot sand making sand angels.
There is a very pretty Lion’s Park and bike trail that extends 3 miles upriver from Moab. It also goes up to the entrance of Arches National Park and into and through the town of Moab. It is a great place for walkers, runners and bike riders.
Saturday, July 2, 2022
We got up at 4:10, and left at 4:30 in order to see sunrise at Delicate Arch. We had headlights, thinking we would be walking in the dark, but there was a pre-dawn light, so we really didn’t need the lights. Why so early? Martha and I had taken this hike a few days ago, and I will never forget passing a pretty girl carrying a camera. I asked if it was still there, and she said, “Yes, but the sunrise isn’t.” We were determined to catch the sunrise this time. This is an easy hike for Karen and the kids, but not so much for us, but we made it for sunrise 😊.
It is only a mile and a half hike, for a three-mile round trip, but it is an up-hill climb that is quite strenuous. It is a beautiful hike, finishing along a ledge with steep drop-off. Since we had done this before, I brought the 70-200mm lens. While Karen and the kids climbed to a high spot to see the sunrise, I was taking pictures of the arch when a voice with a heavy accent asked, “Can I see what you are taking?” I turned to show my last picture. He was interested in the lens and settings, and was a handsome young man from Ukraine. There were six or seven of them in a group. I asked him how things were in his country. He said, “The 21st century is crazy.” A perfect description I thought. I’m not sure what the story was, but they were having a big time.
As we sat watching the sun rise, making all kinds of light changes on the arch and surrounding cliffs, more and more people came up the mountain. They came speaking all kinds of different languages. Everyone wanted pictures under the arch. I was surprised how courteous they were, waiting their turn, then being pretty efficient in getting their pictures and getting out of the way.
The hike back down is easier, and we could look at the beautiful surrounding mountains. Again, we took the side trail to some of the best petroglyphs I have seen. Although a bit difficult, we would rate this hike at the top of our list. The arch is beautiful; the surrounding mountains are spectacular; the hike up a huge rock hill is cool, then walking along a cliff edge is cool, but an important part was unexpected. The people from all over the world, speaking different languages, small children, all with courtesy and respect. They took their shots under the arch, then got out of the way for the next group. Across the valley, Martha spotted another group viewing the arch from behind, perhaps with the sunrise showing through the arch. Cool!
To avoid the heat, we drove 40 minutes to Canyonlands National Park, up a big mountain and onto a giant Mesa that is divided into three sections by two rivers, the Colorado and the Green River. Like the Grand Canyons, the mesa sits above the rivers, carved away by a giant inland sea, the Cretaceous Seaway or the Western Interior Seaway.
“The Cretaceous Sea, also known as the Cretaceous Interior Seaway, was a narrow, rather shallow sea that connected the modern Gulf of Mexico and modern Arctic Ocean. The formation of the sea is rather complicated. Basically, the Earth’s crust is divided into slabs of crust called plates. These plates float on semi-molten rock and get pushed around by rising hotter rock and get pulled towards areas of sinking cooler rock. Sometimes the plates collide and this can result in crumpling of the crust forming mountain ranges. As mountains are pushed upwards, they often pull the surrounding land down making the landscape look like a crumbled rug.” From https://eastern.usu.edu/museum/paleontology/cretaceous-sea/index
Continuing from Utah State University Eastern:
“Simplified, the story began about 170 million years ago, during the Middle Jurassic as the North American Plate moving west at about an inch per year, started a slow crashed into the Farallon Plate that was moving east at about the same speed. Over the next 105 million years this slow-motion collision created a series of mountains between the west coast and western Utah. To the east of these mountains, the land was pulled downwards allowing ocean water to flood the center of North America.
This down-pull was erratic and the land surface would alternately bob up-and down very, very slowly over millions of years. The result was alternating times of submergence below sea level and rising above it. During the Cretaceous, the central part of North America began a downwards cycle around 130 million years ago (Early Cretaceous) and the sea reached Utah around 110 million years ago. The landscape began bouncing upwards around 70 million years ago, forming the Rocky Mountains and pushing the ocean off the continent. Much of this up and down motion during the Cretaceous is preserved in the Book Cliffs and in the Grand Staircase National Monument as alternating layers of marine and terrestrial sedimentary rocks as the coastline shifted back and forth. It is for this reason that these areas are famous among geologists.”
We were up early, so we grabbed some things and drove north 10 minutes to Arches National Park. The park is so busy, you have to reserve an entrance time between 6:00 am. and 5:00 pm. We got there at 5:30, showed our National Parks Senior Pass and drove right in. There were others in front and behind.
It’s about 12 miles to Delicate Arch trailhead, the featured attraction of the park. It’s hard to zip along, because the scenery is so spectacular. It was a beautiful morning with some cloud cover, a perfect morning for a hike.
The hike is 3 miles round trip, rated moderate. It’s a cool hike with incredible scenery. A pretty girl with a nice camera was walking out. I asked her if it was still there, and she said, “It is, but the sunrise isn’t.” I smiled and walked on. I guess we were about an hour late. The last stretch is along a cliff, which I do NOT like, but we made it. I could see why this is #1, as it is unique and very pretty.
On the way back out, we took a short side trail to some pretty spectacular petroglyphs made by the Ute Indians, for whom the state of Utah is named.
We stopped for a picture of Sand Dune Arch. Then we drove through the campground. It’s a very cool campground. Two sites had spectacular views of the valley below. One in particular looked so cool. A young lady was making breakfast with that view in front of her. There are also some nice picnic areas near the campground.
Then we went for a 1-mile hike to Landscape Arch. By now the parking lots were filled and the trail busy, but not really a problem. People watching is also fun. There were lots of young children, some not looking so happy. One very fit mother was carrying an infant on her back and holding the hand of a young girl.
There are 2,000 arches in the park! The landscape changes dramatically with different shapes, vertical walls that seem to have been cut with a laser. I envisioned riding a horse through a gorgeous valley below.
By 9:30, I was tired and sore and now hot. This is a good time to be finished, although the crowds were still pouring in. At the entrance cars were lined up for a quarter mile in two lanes.
Back at the trailer it was well into the 90’s, a good time to finish my projects. I finally I realized I had to go back under the sink and rotate the base 180 degrees and turn the handle around. Voila! It all worked! We have water 😊. As a bonus, the sprayer worked – not great, but it worked. There is a little spring with a plastic basket that goes in the line under the sink, but I couldn’t figure out how to place it, so I left it out.
On to the reading light. Trying to solder a dangling light proved a challenge. With Martha’s help, we tried a few times, but managed to just end up with a big ball of solder that didn’t hold. Finally, I saw how to remove the little on/off switch, which made access better. I cleaned off the solder, and while I held the the wire to the switch pole, Martha held the solder in her left hand, soldering iron in the right, and working between my two hands holding the wires, she soldered it! How she managed to not burn our fingers or touch the other pole, which would have blown a fuse or worse, is amazing, but she did it!
We screwed the light back in its hole, turned it on and it worked! Yahoo! It was a good day. I put all my tools back in the truck and cleaned up. It was 105 degrees outside, and pretty hot inside. The air conditioner runs all day, and never catches up during the day. We both considered that. God help us if that thing dies! We turned it off for a while and sat outside. Oddly, sitting in the shade with a little breeze is fine. A dip in the pool also helps, but by the time we walked back to the trailer in the sun, we were hot again.
We took Bob to dinner at his favorite pasta place and enjoyed further conversations. He had ridden his bike all through town this morning and found the trail with a line down the middle goes all the way through town, a street behind Main Street. This will give Karen even more distance to run when she comes. He said all side roads just lead to developments, although several were very nice.
We drove up the side of a mountain to Sunset Grill to see what the view was like. It was pretty spectacular. We could see the whole town, and for the first time to realize the town sits in a valley. It is also bigger than how it seems when you drive through it. Bob heads out tomorrow for Montrose, Colorado. Maybe we can visit later down the road.
I had a list of things to fix while in Moab. I had fixed the propane problem by finding a leaky connection on the tank harness. I checked again today with a propane sensor, and it picked up a bit of a leak where the big knob connects to one of the two tanks. I tightened it, but may have to get a new line if it continues.
My stuffed up faucet is the immediate problem, so I removed it and went to Ace Hardware. They had a bunch of faucets and a very helpful young lady, but nothing quite matched. We went to another plumbing supply store, Riverside Plumbing & Heating.
I plopped my faucet on the counter with its three hoses dangling. Debbie said it is likely the cartridge inside that needs to be replaced, and she showed us what it probably looked like. She said Moen faucets are guaranteed for life, so we could send it back (not an option), or they would send a new cartridge. I could have left it for them, but they are very busy, and it might be a day or so before they could get to it. She said to try to get to the cartridge so we could replace it.
Back at the trailer, I tried again to get it apart, and watched five videos, which weren’t the same faucet. Finally, with Martha’s help and a spark plug socket wrench, I removed the top and took out a cartridge. For two hours in the hot sun I tried to remove the inside to get to another cartridge.
Finally, I took it back to Riverside Plumbing. This time Cindy was at the counter. I retold the mice in the fresh water tank story. She looked inside and saw the seeds. Thankfully the young plumber, Steven, came in, and she asked him to take a look. I told him I couldn’t remove the inside parts, and he said that’s because you can’t remove anything else.
Taking it to a big sink in the back, he flushed it with water, poked at the seeds with an ice pick, blew air into the lines and managed to get a few seeds out. He was able to clear the cold and hot lines, but not the sprayer line. I said good enough for me, and thanked him profusely.
I bought a new top (and only) cartridge for $39 while Cindy told their story. She and her husband grew up in Moab. A good date in those days was to go up to Delicate Arch at sunset or Dead Horse Point. When they got married, she wanted to leave Moab, the small town she grew up in, so they did. Once she saw other places, they finally decided to return home and started the business. Both their sons work the business, and a daughter lives in town. She said she felt very blessed to live here and to have her family here. Steven was a very good athlete and pitched for the Minnesota Twins for a while. Then she showed me a picture of her young grand daughter sitting naturally on one of their horses. With a tear in my eye, I told Cindy she was very blessed and gave her a hug.
I could have bought a new faucet along with three braided lines for maybe $300-400, if I could have found it, but thanks to this wonderful place with great people, I was able to fix it for $39.
I went back to Ace Hardware and bought a couple of picture wire spools to try to further poke out the sprayer line. Then I went to Radio Shack for some solder and a soldering iron so I could solder a broken wire on a reading light that had dropped down while driving. I thought all Radio Shacks had closed. It is such a handy store! A nice young man helped me find what I needed.
I poked and blew and flushed the spray line all I could, then hooked everything up. Somehow I had the handle on backwards so when I pulled the handle down the water came on. Hey, but the water came on!
It rained all night, which I would think is unusual for this area. Yesterday we were able to book another night in Capitol Reef National Park. We had one night in site 28. Now we have a second night in site 29. They have had some terrible flooding. Hopefully it will be OK when we get there in 9 days.
We hooked up and got on the road a little after 8:00. The rains subsided as we drove south on 150 and turned west on 160 again. 160 has proven to be a great and beautiful road to travel. Driving through the cute little town of Alamosa, I spotted a Starbucks, the first we have seen in quite a while. I put on my blinker looking for a place to park and started to turn when I noticed a car coming behind me in the left lane. I really had not realized we were on a four lane road separated by stores. When the car passed, I turned into a vacant lot. the car was a state policeman, and he pulled in too.
Aren’t I an idiot? All for a cup of coffee I really didn’t need. Sergeant Noga, of the State Police, approached the car with what I thought was a very slight smile. “You were trying to make a left turn from the right lane.” “I know it. I was trying to get a cup of coffee”, I said. “You almost hit me. I had to swerve to avoid you.” “I know it. I’m sorry”, I said as I handed him my license and registration. He went to his car to check me out while I just shook my head. “When did this turn into a four lane?” I asked Martha.
After about five minutes, he walked back to the truck and handed my license, registration and his card to me. With a little smirk, he said, “You can go get your coffee now. Be careful driving.” I smiled, thanked him and gave him a fist bump. Whew! What a nice guy! I walked back and got a cup of coffee, even though I didn’t need one now.
As I am writing this up, I read the card he gave me. “Officer Noga of the Colorado State Patrol has contacted you as a result of a traffic stop. If you have comments (positive or negative) about this traffic stop, you should contact the office on the front of this card using the information provided.”
We are living in a time where some want to defund the police. Here is what the other side of the card says:
“The mission of the Colorado State Patrol is to ensure a safe and secure environment for all persons by utilizing the strengths of our members to provide professional law enforcement services that reflect our core values of Honor, Duty and Respect.”
I sent a $100 Starbucks card to the Alamosa Patrol with gratitude and respect.
We crossed the very pretty Rio Grande River at Monte Vista, then followed it for a while.160 climbs through the San Juan Mountains surrounded by beautiful, green scenery and through Wolf Creek Pass at 10,856’. Headed down the west side, we missed a crowded parking lot for Treasure Falls, but we had a full day of travel, so on we went.
160 then follows the beautiful San Juan River. We took a drive through very busy Durango, filled up with gas and stopped for lunch on the other side of town. You know you are in the west when I noticed a moss-covered elk antler next to the trailer.
We drove past places we will return to in a few weeks, Canyons of the Ancients and Mesa Verde. We got a pretty good look at National Monument, Chimney Rock. At Monticello (pronounced Cello), we turned north on 191. Soon we began to see rocks and cliffs.
We arrived at Portal RV Resort in Moab, Utah at about 3:30. As we were unhooking and setting up, a man stopped to talk with Martha. Bob Dombrowe lives in Crozet and used to live in Glenmore (our development)!
We ended up going to dinner with him. He loves this area and came to ride motorcycles through back roads and canyons of the area. He told us all the best places to go, gave us brochures, then took us for a drive along the Colorado River where a bike/running trail winds its way through a beautiful canyon. You can get to this from the campground, and it will be a great place for Karen to run.
Bob is like a tour guide, knowing the area well. He is on the Crozet Tunnel board and told us the history. I didn’t know there were five tunnels, some of which have been “unroofed”. I was also interested in the history of Claudius Crozet, who designed the tunnels. He taught at VMI, where there is a building in his name.