Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, My, 20.

It’s was a beautiful morning in the Sierras. Cool and clear.
We went to breakfast at the Boomtown Casino and then got on I 80 heading for home around 8:00.
I was surprised that the road surface was so good on the east side of the mountains. The last time I came that way it was as rough as a gravel road. They have done a lot of work there in the last year or so.
When we got to the west side the gravel road feel was back and just got worse the farther west we traveled. By the time we got to the turnoff for hwy. 12 to Sonoma I was thinking that “Plan B” was going to rattle apart.
We have been on some jeep trails that weren’t that rough.
We got home at 12:00.

Thinking back on the trip, it is hard to believe that we were gone for 5 months. What a wonderful time we had and what fantastic things we have seen from the flat desert and discarded ordinance of the Berry Goldwater bombing range.

To the beautiful mountains and natural cactus gardens of the Kofa Wildlife Refuge.

And the Indian ruins and the caverns of New Mexico.

And the red rock country of Utah with its fantastic shapes and soaring cliffs.

We took rides on some rough assed jeep roads. There were few times when I was afraid that we would destroy Clifford before we even got to Utah.

But we did get to Utah in one piece. And found some even better trails.

Sure, there were issues. “Clifford the big red Jeep” had his problems but they were minor.
Like a radiator that was coming apart when we were in Wellton, or the stick that went through the tire on our first ride into the Kofa Refuge

or the day that a crankcase sensor went bad 15 miles back at the end of the Big Eye Mine road but after some dicking around it started and got us all the way to the Border Patrol check point on highway 95 before it died completely and we had to get towed home.

“Plan B” also had its problems, like the water pump that leaked under the bed and the thermo couple on the fridge that broke or the day we came back from a ride and found the bathroom, hall and bedroom flooded due to too high water pressure.
But all these things were minor inconveniences.

If the refrigerator hadn’t given us trouble we wouldn’t have moved to the Holliday Palms RV Resort and we may not have met Becky and Dennis and the gang in Quartzsite if we hadn’t gotten towed home after dark.

And we might not have been introduced to the hotdog roast in the desert tradition.

Of course I can’t forget the Cactus flowers,

Or the wildlife,

Or the sunsets,

Or the night we spent at the Hoodoo Hilton,

Or the night we spent at the end of the “Dip’s Trail”

Or the many petroglyphs and pictographs we saw in all 3 states.

It was truly an incredible journey and I cant wait until December when we will (if all goes well) do it again
Now that we are home I will be bloging less often but stop by now and then and check the blog.
When we do something or something happens that I think is interesting, I will tell you about it.
Like for instance, around the 12th of June we will be going to The Pacific Primitive Rendezvous. It will last a week and we will take pictures. When we get home I will write it up.
We will be up at Indian creek for the fourth of July so I will probably write that up as well.
I’m sure that there will also be other things that will come up so keep checking my blog.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, May, 19

It was cloudy and cold this morning with a strong wind.

We left Ely around 7:30 am.
It was a long hard drive west on highway 50 toward Fallon, then to I 80 and Boomtown. It was very windy, I had to fight the wheel the whole way to keep “Plan B” between the lines.
Along the way, we drove through one of my favorite Nevada town’s.
I know what you are thinking.
“Austin”? “There’s nothing in Austin“.
If you don’t know it, Austin is on highway 50 about in the middle of the state. It is located in a range of beautiful mountains, not far from some hot springs and some Petroglyphs.
I believe there are also some Opal mines in Austin.
The thing that really endeared Austin to me was;
Once while on the way to Colorado to go hunting with Dave, Sonny and Kirk, we were driving through Austin and saw a group of guys skinning a deer hanging from the only lamp post in the town.
Now, that’s my kind of town!
Not some namby-pamby limp-wristed California town.
A real western town, where people are not afraid of the realities of life and death and where they know where their food comes from.

We arrived at Boomtown at 3:00 and parked in the oversized vehicle area of the parking lot. Patti called John (my nephew who lives in Reno) to let him know we were going to spend the night there. Then she went to the casino.
I stayed at the RV.
I read, wrote up this post and waited for Patti to come back. Then we will go back to the casino for supper.

5:20, Patti just returned from the casino and with her $149 dollar winnings. Now she can buy me supper.

We will be back in Santa Rosa tomorrow and life will return to the mundane.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday, May, 18

This morning was cool but by the time we got to Nevada it was pretty warm and windy.

We left Torrey Utah around 9:15 and arrived in Ely Nevada around 3:00. The drive was uneventful except for a little excitement when the screen on the drivers side window blew in and distracted me enough to send us onto the shoulder for a short distance. I got things under control pretty fast but it scared us a bit.

At Ely we decided to stop for the day at “The Prospector Casino Hotel and RV Park”. The RV spots are only $17.00 per night, they have a good restaurant and Patti can do a little gambling. She lost the last of her winnings from Yuma.

We plan to get an early start tomorrow and hopefully get as far as Boomtown. If I get tired before then we will maybe stop at Fallon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May, 17.

Windy last night but very nice and warm today.

This is the last day that we will be taking a jeep ride in Utah.

This morning we drove east to the junction of Utah 24 and 12.
We gassed up at the Texaco and headed south on hwy. 12 toward Boulder, Utah.
Our first stop was at a turn out at 8500 ft. overlooking Capital Reef NP.
Patti took a couple of pictures

Then we got back in the jeep and it would not start.
This is the second time this has happened on this trip where we stopped at an elevation over 8000 ft and had trouble starting the jeep. It was running fine and gave no indication that there was a problem. After several minutes of cranking the engine finally stumbled into life. I was very relieved because we were in a spot where we couldn’t roll forward to do a compression start. Once the engine started it ran just fine. I wasn’t sure if we should continue the ride or not but decided to stay on the paved road to Boulder and try turning off the engine once we got to a lower elevation and then try starting it again. I wanted to wait until we were somewhere where I could pull off on the side and be on a hill so we could roll forward if it wouldn’t start.
On the way we stopped at a couple of overlooks but I kept the motor running.
Patti took some nice pictures of the aspen starting to leaf out

And a deer crossing the road.

We eventually went over a 9600 ft. pass and started the long downhill toward Boulder.
When we got below 7000 ft. I started looking for some where to stop but couldn’t find anywhere appropriate until after we turned onto the road to “Escalante National Monument“.
The elevation was 6500 ft. There was a turn out on a hill so we stopped and I waited while Patti had a cigarette. When she got back in the jeep I turned the ignition switch and Clifford started right up. ??? Who knows what that’s about.??
The scenery along the road through Escalante is gorgeous.

The road goes through a red rock gorge.

With what I guess you could call arches or amphitheaters.

This wall is honeycombed with holes.

Eventually we came to an overlook of the southern end of Capital reef.

I bet you are tired of pictures of cactus flowers. Well here is the last one until next year. :o)

As soon as you cross over into Capital Reef the road turns to dirt, it is a good wide road but with a lot of washboard.

It goes down a great set of switch backs and off into the desert.

We cruised along the dirt road for about 30 miles; there were no places with any shade to stop for lunch. Eventually we crossed a wash where there were tracks going to the left and I turned on to them. We went about a couple hundred yards and found this little Cottonwood tree with just enough shade to work for lunch.

One thing we noticed was that a lot of the Cottonwood trees were covered with Caterpillar sacks.

I’m sorry Tom but there is a road here in Utah that you can’t go on but don’t feel to bad it isn’t that exciting anyway.

Tomorrow we will start for home and should be back in Santa Rosa in about three days.

Ok that’s all for today.
Saturday, May, 16.

Another warm day.

The problem with the jeep turned out to be a simple one. As I was checking the many plug connections around the engine I noticed a vacuum line had come off. I stuck it back on, took the jeep for a test ride and it worked just fine.

Around 11:30 we took off for our scheduled jeep ride. We headed east on Utah 24, through “Capital Reef Park”. Along the way we stopped to check out the historic “Fruita Schoolhouse“.

The next stop was a small red rock cabin called the “Behunin Cabin” built in 1884.

Patti found a lizard in the rafters to take a picture of.

We drove on and turned onto “Cathedral Valley Rd“. We forded the “Fremont River”

and drove north through BLM land for about 10 miles of very stark desert.

We pulled off the road to let some cattle being herded pass. There isn’t much out there for them to eat but some how they make it.

Finally we entered the northern end of the park where the road turns northwest. We stopped at a couple of overlooks. The first one was the “Lower South Desert Overlook.

The next one is “The upper South Desert Overlook”.

After going over a really rocky section of road we came to The Cathedral Valley Overlook”.

Then we drove down into “Cathedral Valley” The rock formations are really beautiful.

The next stop was at a place called “The Gypsum Sink hole” I don’t know how this was formed but it was pretty impressive.
The "sink hole" is at the base of this rock formation at the end of the trail in the picture.

We drove passed some other interesting rocks.
this one kind of reminds me of a layer cake.

This is the “Temple Of The Moon”

This is the “Temple Of The Sun” with part of the temple of the moon in the foreground.

After driving for about 60 miles on rough dirt roads we got back to Utah 24 and headed back toward Torrey. Along the way Patti got some nice shots of the rocks along the highway.

This one is called “The Castle”

We got home at 6:00
The round trip was 117 miles 60 of which was on the dirt road. That part was classified as 4 wheel drive road but only about 10 miles if it was real rough, the rest was a pretty fair dirt road.

Tomorrow we are going to go further south and make a loop through the central part of the Park. On the map it looks like only a third of it will be on a dirt road.