Saturday, April 27, 2013

About That Two Year Anniversary (April 21 - 27)

Dear Family and Friends,

We are in our fourth and final week in Moab. The time has flown as we have cycled and hiked this gorgeous part of eastern Utah. Though it has been a great month, it is time to move on and we leave on  May 1st for Park City.

The 22nd of April marked our two year anniversary of full-timing in the RV. This second year has flown by and I can honestly say that our experience has been wonderful. The places that we have seen in this incredible country, the people we have met, the friends which we have reconnected and the family visits have made for some of the most rewarding times in our lives. We are so grateful to have this opportunity and look forward to our third year of this nomadic lifestyle.

Some statistics:
     1. Mileage on the Tour (14,937 miles)
     2. 2,403 gallons of diesel
     3. Mileage on the Terrain (36,000 miles)

This week found us hiking, biking and four wheeling (thanks to some new friends). Arches National Park has the largest concentration of stone arches in the world (more than 2,500). To qualify as an arch, the opening must be at least 3 feet.  Our first hike in Arches National Park was to the upper and lower viewing areas of Delicate Arch. This famous arch is on the license plates in Utah.

 Delicate Arch viewed from the upper viewpoint.

Roger and I then hiked a total of three miles to view Delicate Arch. This hike was over slick rock and traversed a rock ledge at the top. It was definitely worth the hike.

 Delicate Arch with the La Sal Mountains on the left.

One of the great things about RVing is meeting new people. We have been so fortunate in becoming friends with Nancy and Dan. They are avid Jeep enthusiasts and love to go off road and discover the beautiful sights around Moab. In addition to finding dinosaur prints and bones, we were able to get to a cave that we could not do with our Terrain.

Roger, Nancy and Dan with the Rubicon.

 Dinosaur prints discovered by ranchers when a flood moved the ground hiding them.

The start of a trail that took us along a path where dinosaur bones are buried in the rock. Fortunately parts of the bones are exposed.

 Inspiration Towers in the background.

 Inspiration Towers

 Dinosaur bone


 Continuing off road in the Jeep, we found a marked trail leading us to the mouth of a cave that opened onto a beautiful canyon area.
 Roger at the mouth of the cave.

 A short walk revealed the other opening of the cave, with lots of slick rock .

Tuesday morning was a hike to Hidden Valley. Bear was thrilled because he got to go with us. After finding the trailhead, we had to scramble up rock along a series of steep switch-backs. At the top of the switch-backs, we entered Hidden Valley, a broad shelf between Moab Rim and Spanish Valley.

At the beginning of the hike (heading up the mountain).

Roger and Bear taking a break from the steep switch-backs.

Finally we find flat land in the Valley.

 Sandstone Fins at the end of the trail.

 Golden Eagles make their homes in these mountains.

 Heading back down with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

 About to start the switch-backs.

Thursday morning was an early hike at Arches National Park. We had to go early in order to get a parking spot at the trailhead. The hike out to Double O Arch was challenging and fun. The pictures below show parts of the hike.

 On the hike, we passed Landscape Arch.

 Landscape Arch

 Partition Arch

 Yes Roger, you have to do a bit of rock scrambling.

 Our reward, Double O Arch

Double O Arch

Did I mention that the last week of April is the Moab Rotary Car Show? It is a yearly happening where the town is taken over by car enthusiasts. The Portal RV Park (where we are staying) had no vacancies. Our Tour was surrounded by RV's with trailers that contained all sorts of cars dating back to the 50's and 60's. The main event was held at the city park on Saturday morning. It was fun to see the loving care lavished on these automobiles.

Thank you for checking in with us. We appreciate your interest in our travels.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

About That Difficult Week in Moab (April 14 - 20)

Dear Family and Friends,

BOSTON!!!  Like you, I was shocked beyond measure at the tragedy at this most famous race. The loss of life and maiming saddened me greatly.  Our son, Rob, has run Boston twice. It took several days for me to come to terms with the horrible aftermath. At first I wanted my children to stop participating in sporting events (cycling, Ironman competitions and marathons), but after reading Thomas Friedman's opinion piece in The New York Times, I changed my mind. It was published on April 16th and titled "Bring On The Next Marathon." Basically, it was about never giving terrorists the idea that we (the nation) quit.

This was our third week in Moab, Utah. We are finding April to be a very iffy month as far as the weather goes. Sunday and Monday forced us to do indoor things because of the rain and wind. Roger, Bear and I are used to being outside. When bad weather forces us indoors we have to become very creative. Reading, working on the computer, watching movies does keep us busy, but we do need our hiking and cycling fix.

On Tuesday, we decided to brave the elements and drive the LaSal Mountain Loop. These mountains are the snow covered ones that lie south of Moab on the Utah/Colorado border. We climbed to 8,000 feet and the temperature dropped 10 degrees.

 Driving to the La Sal Mountains
 No red rock here! Pines and Aspens dot the sides of the mountains.

 Heading back into Moab, we saw the famous rock formations known as "The Priest" and "The Nuns." Moisture in the air gives this picture an unusual coloring.

"The Priest" and "The Nuns"

We had a break in the weather on Tuesday afternoon, so we started out on a bike ride, only to have to turn around after 5 miles because of the wind. That wind brought in freezing temperatures, unusual for Moab at this time of year.

We woke up on Wednesday morning to the sight of snow on the red rocks in Moab. The picture below showed it all.

This picture of the snowfall was taken from our spot at Portal RV Park.

Finally, on Thursday morning, we awoke to beautiful blue skies, but it was cold. Around 11, the thermometer reached 40 degrees, so we decided to take Bear and do the Hunter Canyon Hike. We drove about 9 miles, along the Colorado River, to the Hunter Canyon Trailhead. This hike followed a branch of the Colorado, the Kane River (at this time of year, it is really a stream) into Hunter Canyon. This hike had lots of red sand, the Kane River, hiking in brush and a little bit of rock scrambling.

 Roger at the start of the hike

 Heading into Hunter Canyon

 Traversing the stream 

 How do you spell "BATH?"

 At times, the stream was deep and Bear loved it.

 Brush Hiking

 Bear is on the run.
He can actually find the trail better that we can, even when it comes to crossing streams.

 Beautiful Spring wildflowers

After the hike, Roger came up with the brilliant idea of stopping off at The Barkery (Moab's pet store) to wash Bear. They provided the shampoo conditioner, and waist high wash station. Our backs loved it. It wasn't long before Bear was no longer red and the sand was down the drain. What a great place to wash away the dirt from a fun hike.

 The Wash

The Dry

We decided to cycle in Arches National Park on Friday. It is located 3 miles from where the Tour is parked. Moab has a great cycling path that goes from the town to Canyonlands National Park, passing Arches along the way.

This bridge across the Colorado River is only for cyclists and pedestrians.

Roger is ready for the climb to Balanced Rock. This road is a continual climb with very few breaks. Good thing we had lots of practice with Mt. Lemmon in Tucson.

Hooray! We reached Balanced Rock!

Imagine our surprise, on the way back from Arches, to find a tight rope walker on the Colorado River. Blow the following pictures up and you can really see this man. Thank goodness he has a safety harness attached.

Yes, he did fall off several times, but was strong enough to climb back up.

Thank you for checking in with us. We love Moab and look forward to another week of cycling and hiking in this beautiful area. Next week marks our two year anniversary of living full time in the RV.