Discover Moab Again and Again – The Adventure Never Ends

And That's A Promise!

We sure love this place.  Two weeks went by in a flash.  We will definitely be returning to Moab on a regular basis.

Our sweet boondocking spot!

Our sweet boondocking spot!

High winds prevented us from extending the slide-outs when we arrived.  But that’s ok because we appreciate that it is the high winds that have created this beautiful landscape.  It comes with the territory.  And, of course, the rain.  We need that, too.

Looks Like We're Going To Get Rained On

Uh-oh.  Looks Like We’re Going To Get Rain

After two days of rain, we were sitting in mud.  We didn’t dare try to drive anywhere until the ground hardened.  However, a little mud didn’t discourage the jeeps and ATVs.  They loved it.  We were a little concerned that the road out to the highway would be so rutted from those spin-outs and such that we would have a problem driving on it, but once it was dry it was fine.

We're Not Going Anywhere Yet

We’re Not Going Anywhere Yet

I loved that we were treated to another full moon during our stay.03 Full Moon in Moab

But getting out and DOING stuff is why we wanted to come back here.  We had a long list of things to do, so when the ground was dry, we got busy!

We took a scenic drive to Canyonlands National Park, Needles Overlook and got snowed on!  Ended up eating our picnic lunch in the car.  Then, on a sunny day, we drove up to Canyonlands National Park, Islands In The Sky District for several great hikes.  We did Murphy’s Trail, Upheaval Dome and Shafers Overlook. The views from the trails just take your breath away.

Canyonlands National Park - Murphys Trail

Canyonlands National Park – Murphy Point Overlook

Shafer Overlook

Shafer Overlook, Canyonlands National Park

Several blog commenters encouraged us to do the Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park, so we put that one on the list.  It was tougher than I expected!  It was only 3 miles round trip but lots of climbing, mostly on slickrock, which I really like.  In case you don’t know this, slickrock is not slippery.  Quite the contrary.  It’s fun to feel completely sure-footed at such incredibly steep angles.  Your rubber soles just stick to it!  And it absolutely was a wonderful hike.  Thanks to all who recommended it.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Ute Indian Rock Art, circa 1620 A.D.

Ute Indian Rock Art, circa 1650-1850 A.D. along the Delicate Arch Trail

Dead Horse Point State Park is another area we were eager to hike.  Lucy could go with us on this day.  We completed the East Rim and West Rim Trails logging 5 easy miles around this high-in-the-sky State Park.  Dead Horse Point State Park is next to Canyonlands National Park.  We got another dose of those breathtaking views with the Colorado River below.

Dead Horse Point at the Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point at the Dead Horse Point State Park

Yikes!  Don't get too close to the edge!

Yikes! Don’t get too close to the edge!

My very favorite hike was the Hidden Valley Trail.  I’m not sure why it was my favorite.  It may have been that the weather that day was perfect — the sun was shining, the mountains were snow-capped, the air was fresh, the wildflowers were blooming, the previous rain encouraged greenery to spout out of every nook and cranny, the moon and stars were in alignment, and my hormones must have been in perfect balance.  Whatever it was, I was euphoric the entire time!

Hidden Valley Trail - That's our car way down below.

Hidden Valley Trail – That’s our car way down below off Rimrock Road

The hike begins by ascending a series of steep switchbacks up to the top of Moab Rim.  This is where you enter Hidden Valley.  I loved finding this valley in the sky!

Crossing the first half of Hidden Valley.

Crossing the first half of Hidden Valley.

We stopped for lunch at the low pass before continuing to the Moab Rim Trail.

Lunch break along the Hidden Valley Trail

Lunch break along the Hidden Valley Trail

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley

Down those steep switchbacks and back to the car.  Beautiful hike!

Down those steep switchbacks to the car on the flatland below.  Beautiful hike!

After getting a taste of bicycling while we were in Colorado National Monument, we were eager to bike the Moab Canyon Pathway.  We started at Lions Park and bicycled a nice, flat 5 miles along the Colorado River before taking the pedestrian/bike bridge across the river and began snaking our way up through the gorgeous red rock canyon, past Arches National Park, where we really started climbing.  We turned around at Hwy 313 and enjoyed the mostly downhill return trip.  Total mileage was a little over 23 miles.

Bicycling Along The Colorado River

Bicycling Along The Colorado River

An easy ride along the river

A Beautiful Ride Along The River

7% Grade!  Going down was more fun than going up this hill!

7% Grade! Going down was more fun than going up this hill!

We were so happy when Ingrid and Al (Live, Laugh, RV blog) came back to Moab and joined us for a few days.  We all picked up right where we left off and enjoyed hiking, campfires, food, drink, stories and lots of laughter.  Lucy was giddy with excitement at the arrival of her BFF Ingrid.  Every morning after her breakfast, she would run outside and wait at Ingrid’s door.

Ingrid!  Can You Come Out To Play With Me?

Ingrid! Can You Come Out To Play With Me?

Little did Ingrid know, when she took this picture of a colorful tent while we were out walking, that Al and Mike would have to help this clueless group of kids after they seriously dug their car into the deep soft sand and got stuck.  Al’s Ford F-250 truck handled the job easily.  Mike had a line that was leftover from our sailing days which they used, so both of the guys had male-grunting rights for contributing to the rescue.  Arrr, Arrr, Arrr.

Deep, Soft, Sand Proved To Be A Problem For These Campers

Deep, Soft, Sand Proved To Be A Problem For These Campers

Good Times!

Good Times!

There are so, so, so many more things to do on our Moab list.  We will return, again and again.  Love this place!

Downtown Moab

Downtown Moab

Currently, we are at Strawberry Bay Reservoir, heading to Jordanelle State Park near Salt Lake City next week.  I’ll be flying to California for a week and will leave Lucy and Mike to fend for themselves while I’m gone.  I can’t wait to see all the kids, and get my personal maintenance taken care of .. dermatologist, esthetician, hairstylist, dental hygienist, herbalist, etc.  It’s a lot of work at my age!

 

Colorado National Monument

May 5, 2014

A reservation at the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado, was the only reason we departed Moab, Utah. We usually feel ready to go whenever we break camp and head to our next destination. But not this time. We just didn’t get enough of Moab. So after spending 2 weeks in and around the Colorado National Monument, we are now back in Moab, excited to spend another couple of weeks here before heading north again.

But this post is about our visit to Colorado. Let me begin by admitting that we were warned by our friend Ingrid about taking The Bear up the Monument. She thought we were nuts. We should have listened to her! The park reservation system said we could fit in the campground. And after Ingrid’s warning about the tunnels, we called the park to confirm we could drive through them. Our hearts skipped a beat when we turned onto the Monument Drive entrance and read the sign warning that the tunnels were only 10’6” high. We measure almost 12 ½ feet! But the ranger at the park entrance booth said, “no problem, just stay in the middle.”

We took the Bear through this tunnel!

We took the Bear through this tunnel!

Winding road up to the Saddlehorn Campground

Winding road up to the Saddlehorn Campground

I have to say this was one of the most frightening drives we have ever done. It was only 4 miles up to the campground, but it was the longest 4 miles of my life. The shoulder-less road is skinny and winds up the steep hill with lots of switchbacks. One inch over the white line and you would fall off the cliff. I knew immediately that I would not be going down this road in the RV. We would definitely disconnect The Cub and I would have to drive separately when our stay here ended. Our stay here ended sooner than we had planned.

This is a campsite?

This is a campsite?

The campground is too small for a 40’ RV!! We spent 4 hours trying to set up in 4 different sites. They were all so slanted we couldn’t get level no matter what we tried. We finally squeezed into a skinny site, which was really just a cleared parallel parking space on the edge of the road. Our slide-outs hung into the street. There wasn’t a sitting area, but we were level. We were practically on top of the next person. Plus, this is a no hook-up campground. We need to run our generator to charge the batteries. The only hours allowed for running generators is 8 am to 8 pm. I’ve explained in previous posts that it is hard for us to go 12 full hours without running the generator mainly because of our residential refrigerator. We wanted to get a good charge in before turning in for the night, but at 8:04 pm we got a knock on our door by the camp host telling us to turn off the gen. It was against the rules. Really? 4 minutes over?? And the campground was empty. Nine days here? I think not. We were ready to walk away from the pre-paid 9 days in this campground. The money wasn’t worth 9 days out of my life.

The next morning we pulled in the slides and hit the road. I drove separately, of course. The drive was actually quite beautiful from a car. I met Mike at the Island Acres State Park in Palisade, Colorado. We got a very large site in a pretty park next to the Colorado River. We were happy campers and enjoyed walking Lucy along the path next to the river.

Our spacious campsite at Island Acres State Park next to the Colorado River

Our spacious campsite at Island Acres State Park next to the Colorado River

Since we were feeling the need to make up for the money we lost at the first campground, we wanted to find a free spot to camp. We went to the BLM office and got directions to some open land out beyond the airport. It was perfect! Wide open spaces, sweeping views of the mountains, level ground, and not a soul in sight.

Free campsite on BLM land in Grand Junction

Free campsite on BLM land in Grand Junction

This area is obviously popular with the ATV crowd. We could see all the tracks on the hills around us. Occasionally a few bikes would come around and jump the hills, but it didn’t bother us at all. It was entertaining. And none of them were camping. We had the place all to ourselves at night. Oh, and I also found out that I was getting a refund for my unused nights at Saddlehorn Campground, so I’m very pleased.

A little daytime entertainment

A little daytime entertainment

Then we got a weather report calling for high winds and rain for a couple of days. We considered staying put, but the thought of getting stuck in mud convinced us to go to an RV park until the storm passed. We found a Passport America park in Grand Junction and battened the hatches. Then we went to the movie, ate popcorn and watched a comedy. Perfect way to spend a rainy day!

The typical parking lot style RV park, but we felt secure here for the storm

The typical parking lot style RV park, but we felt secure here for the storm.  This was our view.

Unfortunately, when it came time to check out, their electrical box shorted and caught fire as Mike was unplugging us. It fried our 50-amp plug and we’re just grateful that we have a good surge protector. Mike just went to the local RV parts store, bought a new plug, and everything is fine.

Burned up the 50-amp plug

Burned up the 50-amp plug

Our friends, Al and Ingrid from Live Laugh RV, are also visiting Grand Junction. They had a few days reserved at James Robb State Park in Fruita during the same week as us. That was great fun! We had nightly campfires and lots of socializing. And lots of eating! Ingrid is a wonderful baker and we got to enjoy the fruits of her labors (cookies, pies, cake). Mike was in heaven and I have no will-power around goodies like that! The four of us have many things in common and spent hours sharing stories and laughing a lot.

Our site at James Robb State Park in Fruita, CO

Our site at James Robb State Park in Fruita, CO

The view from our bedroom window

The view from our bedroom window

BBQ dinner with Al, Ingrid, and family

BBQ dinner with Al, Ingrid, and family

Aren't these lovebirds cute?

Aren’t these lovebirds cute?

A night-cap.  Al builds a fire, Mike brings the Frangelico.  Oh yeah.

A night-cap. Al builds a fire, Mike brings the Frangelico. Oh yeah.

Lucy enjoys a run on the grass by the lake

Lucy enjoys a run on the grass by the lake

Ingrid and I take a stroll around the lake

Ingrid and I take a stroll around the lake

Of course, our time here absolutely mandated that we enjoy the hiking opportunities. There is a lovely hike around the lake at the state park campground which I enjoyed several times. Another nearby hike which Lucy is permitted on is the Dinosaur Hill Trail. The trail climbs up and wraps around a hill where a 70-foot-long, 30-ton Apatosaurus dinosaur was discovered in 1900. The highlight of that hike was spotting a yellow-collared lizard. What amazing colors!

Hiking around Dinosaur Hill - excavation site in view

Hiking around Dinosaur Hill – excavation site in view

Yellow Collared Lizard

Yellow Collared Lizard

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails within the Colorado National Monument, so Lucy had to stay home for our hikes on Corkscrew Trail and Lower Monument Canyon. These were challenging and utterly beautiful hikes that we took on perfect weather days. It felt so good to work out like that!

Climbing the switchbacks up Corkscrew Trail in the Colorado National Monument

Climbing the switchbacks up Corkscrew Trail in the Colorado National Monument

The view from Wedding Canyon trail

The view from Wedding Canyon trail

Enjoying the scenery on the Lower Monument Canyon Trail

Enjoying the scenery on the Lower Monument Canyon Trail

Wildflowers covered the ground

Wildflowers covered the ground

View of Independence Monument

View of Independence Monument

We saw lots of big horn sheep, but I didn't have my good camera with me, darn it!

We saw lots of big horn sheep on the hillsides, but I didn’t have my good camera with me, darn it!

On our final day here, we got the bikes down for 18 miles on the Colorado Riverfront Trail. Going out was great! Coming back was another story. We had 25 mph headwinds that wanted to knock me off the trail. We felt like we were peddling up a steep hill! And I worried about my face getting wind burned. Fortunately, the brewery near the trailhead was having a Blues and Brews Festival that day. So we were able to sooth our weary bones with some great microbrews and replenish our depleted energy stores with beer-battered fish, onion rings, coleslaw, and an angus burger smothered in mushrooms, sautéed onions, and melted Swiss for Mike. We just completely un-did all the good calorie burning from the bike ride.

Riding our bikes on the Colorado Riverfront Trail

Riding our bikes on the Colorado Riverfront Trail

So here it is, May 5, and we just got settled in our boon docking spot back in Moab. The wind is kicking up to 30 mph today and will go even higher tomorrow. So we’ll just sit tight and wait for this to pass. Beautiful weather returns on Wednesday, and our Moab explorations will resume. Can’t wait! In the meantime, we’re celebrating with margaritas since it is Cinco de Mayo. Cheers!