2017 UTAH TRAVELOGUE
("Deseret", in the Book of Mormon, refers to a honey bee. Hence, Utah is the Beehive State.
And a Deseret Delight.)
HEAD ‘EM UP, MOVE ‘EM OUT
It feels like a long time between Christmas and summer, so we're splitting the difference and splitting outa town. We haven't been West in a few years, and Utah seems a likely place to visit. There are five National Parks there, and we hope to hit a few. This trip is a bit unusual for us, in that we have nothing firmly planned, except for the cabin we've rented near Moab. All the rest of it will be spur of the moment, as we feel like it. We've given ourselves a couple of extra days for travel and side-trips. We'll keep you up to date on our website and FB, as best we can, though, for several days in Utah, we'll have no internet service. Carrier pigeons are out. One pulled a hamstring, and the other has some kinda wingpit fungus. Ick. We'll miss you, but we'll be back on May Day
THE CORN PALACE & WALL IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the world’s only Corn Palace, as well a lot of other great stuff (did a little antique hunting). We’d by-passed Mitchell a few other times (at 80 mph, it’s easy to by-pass just about anything but the SoDak state patrol), but this time we drove into the heart of downtown for a visit. They’ve been re-decorating this building every year (with some few exceptions), pretty much with volunteers and community leaders. Amazing. Oddly, some listeners refer to Jay’s show as a Corn Palace.
After Mitchell, we headed to Wall. The only time we’d been here before was our first Christmas together. Wall was pretty much closed. We’d never seen big chain motels closed for the winter. We found that some of them are still closed in late Spring, as was much of Wall Drug. We still had a good time, met some interesting people, and kept on driving West.
CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL
Well, we went lots of miles and saw a lot of countryside…About 400 miles. We made a stop at the Crazy Horse Monument (pictures to follow).
Then we headed down through Wyoming. Wyoming definitely has its ups and downs. Flat lands that have very little vegetation and mountains covered with beautiful pine trees. Very dry in some places and a few rivers in others.
We ended the day’s trip with a passage by Denver…a little too close to Denver considering the traffic and road construction. Then zipping down the mountains toward Moab, Utah. We got as far as Georgetown, CO and decided to call it a night.
Tomorrow we will get to the cabin we have rented near Moab, Utah. There is no WiFi there, so will not be making entries on the website. If we can get cell service, we’ll try to keep in touch on Facebook. We are looking forward to seeing some of the 5 National Parks in Utah.
We’re thinking of you and hope you are enjoying this wonderful world we have.
ARE WE THERE, YET? YUP!
After all the hustle and bustle and heavy traffic around Denver, we were initially pleased with the much lighter traffic. We started thinking about stopping for the night, looking for a likely motel along the way. This stretch of western Colorado seemed to us almost as vacant as the pioneers found if, so far as lodging is concerned. We finally did stop at Georgetown, because we saw a sign for a motel chain with which we were familiar. It was the only one in town, and our GPS didn’t find anything even remotely close. So we stopped at the no-name motel. It was an older unit, with a quasi-log construction appearance. The room was quite inexpensive, and we were surprised at how nice it was. The only problem, as we discovered after we’d retired, was that the thermostat for heating the room appeared to be dead on the wall. We debated about calling the front desk and asking to be moved to another room, but decided that was too much bother and figured we’d keep each other warm. Sunday morning, we got up, at which time Jay, with his keen analytical mind, finally figured out that the window cooling unit also provided heat. (No rocket surgeon, he).
We passed on the “delicious continental breakfast”, choosing to grab a sandwich and coffee at the Valero c-store next door. Very nice place, which we found comparable to our Kwik-Trip back home. So, out on the road. About 30 miles along the way, we hit a crossroads that had about as many motels as Vegas. Oh, well.
All through this part of Colorado, the scenery has been incredibly beautiful. We’ll have some photos for you, whenever we can decide which ones to post. So far, there must be close to a thousand, and that’s no joke.
We finally crossed over into Utah and covered the miles in Dixie 2 quickly and in comfort.
Most often, when we travel, we listen to audiobooks. Not so much since we hit Wyoming on into Colorado and now Utah. There’s just too much to see and talk about.
We made our way to the Ballard RV Park at Thompson Springs, Utah, met our hostess, Karen, and were shown to our “cabin”. This may be the nicest place in which we’ve ever stayed. It’s virtually brand new and has every convenience we’ve ever wanted, even coffee for the coffee pot. Sunday was a marvelous day with a marvelous ending. Once the car was unloaded, we went down the road a couple of miles to the 7-11 and picked up enough eats for Sunday supper and Monday breakfast.
(Most of the fun was getting there.)
Coming from a place where we have towns that have names like Eau Claire, Imalone, Rice Lake (and all the towns with “Lake” in the name), the name Moab was a little strange to the ear. Were they going to call it Moby, like in Moby Dick or maybe Moba, that has a ring to it. Here’s the truth, as far as the internet goes...The name Moab is a Biblical name for a land just short of the Promised Land.
Moab, in itself, is a pretty low-key town. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the town proper, but we did find they had a really good Perkins and some good grocery shopping.
Getting to Moab is the breathtaking part. Coming down from the north, you go past flat prairie lands, craggy outcroppings and in the distance, snow topped mountains. You pass by the entrance to Arches National Park on the way.
Going south of Moab, you see a lot of very red formations and the entrance to Canyonlands National Park.
So, if there was a promise in this Moab, the promise is kept. The town is just short of the promise of beauty that surrounds it. Spectacular scenery anywhere you look!
SEGO CANYON PICTOGRAPHS
It may have been Taco Tuesday somewhere, but around Thompson Springs, Utah, it was Trailblazing Tuesday. You can do all the research in the world on the Internet and in travel brochures, but nothing beats getting to know and make friends with the local folks to find out the good stuff. After our exciting day in Arches National Park, we talked to some folks about going to Canyonlands National Park, because we heard about the “Newspaper Rock” and it’s Indian paintings and engravings. We were told that there’s a cliff with ancient Indian paintings about five miles from where we’re staying.
So, fortified with a good night’s sleep, we had a breakfast of cereal, toast, bananas, milk and day-old (?) baked goods from the Village Market in Moab. We saddled up Dixie 2 and headed North on a road vaguely reminiscent of Clairemont Avenue in spring, just at the end of pothole season. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, we were staring at these old paintings on the cliff and wondering, as thousands have, what they mean, if anything. We went through all sorts of speculation, beginning with why anyone would live in this desert country, all the way to what inspired someone to do these paintings.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
So, Monday morning, another late sleep-in day (7:25, she says), fortified with Cheerios, we headed out to Arches National Park. Jay discussed this venture with several people who’d been there. No discredit to any them, but their descriptions were woefully inadequate, as ours will be. We’ve always been aware of God’s handiwork, but these arches and all the incredible monuments around them are beyond our capabilities. We must have driven 60 or 70 miles through every nook and cranny in this huge park. In truth, one could spend weeks, maybe months, here, and still not see it all in total.
Oh, one more thing: we told you earlier that we’d be out of touch, as there was no internet service at the campground. At least, there was none, when we reserved out place. We had a nice surprise, when we got here, and our hostess said, “Oh, we finally got that up and running a couple of weeks ago, and it seems to be OK.”
Turns out the WiFi wasn’t quite strong enough to support our demands, so that put us out of touch with you, again.
The sign on the highway said “NEWSPAPER ROCK.” So, we decided to turn around and go back to see what it was. Turned out to be more petroglyphs…many more petroglyphs. (An image carved into the stone, unlike pictographs which are painted on the stone.) The oldest carvings were made approximately 2000 years ago.
It was a nice surprise, easily accessible, and for the brave, there was a biffy stop.
Onward to Canyonlands.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
After our trip up Sego Canyon, we decided to head way down the trail to Canyonlands National Park. It’s about a 2-hour drive from home base, going back South through Moab, where we stopped for lunch and supplies. It took us longer than we anticipated, thanks to some road construction and some peculiar ramblings from Lena, our on-board navigation system, who seemed to want us to go wilderness-hopping at one point.
Canyonlands has its own beauty, including the so-called “Newspaper Rock,” a vertical wall covered with more ancient paintings and engravings. The name comes from a Navajo word that means something like, “Get all the news right here.” It’s another one of those sites that makes you just sit and stare and wonder.
Then we continued on deeper into the park, through quite a bit of open range, with cattle all over the place, though, fortunately for us, not in the middle of the road. We don’t know how many canyons there are, but we must have seen a few hundred just in the “Needles” area, where we were. One of the recurring thoughts for us concerns those huge boulders, some as large as a garage, and a few more as large as a house, just a few feet from the roadway. And there are those a few feet from the roadway on the other side of the road; in other words, these enormous boulders would have come crashing down from the cliffs above, bouncing and skidding across the road before they came to rest. Tends to make you a little watchful as you drive along.
After we were pretty much canyoned-out, we headed back North to Thompson Springs. We hit some beautiful rain showers and then a pretty good downpouring of hail. Thankfully, the hail was kind of like Jay: soft and mushy, so no damage to Dixie.
We held a meeting and decided to head back home tomorrow, a day earlier than we’d planned. This trip is wonderful, but it’s also a bit tiring. It’ll be nice to have a day of rest, once we get home, before returning to work. We hope that all is well with you.
WYOMING & COLORADO
We chose to take the path less traveled and stay off the super slabs. The roads were remarkably good and our recently acquired “Dixie II” is a comfortable ride. There are not a lot of towns along the way, so never pass up a chance to pee. The scenery is not spectacular, neither is it boring. The rolling hills in some places, flat lands in others. The lack of traffic made it a lot less stressful. Sure we could have gotten to our destination hours before our actual arrival time, but, more tired and road weary.
I hope we bring to you the feeling of stepping one bubble off plumb, out of the mainstream.
FIRE UP THE GPS! WE’RE HEADING HOME
We had a great time in Utah and saw a lot of interesting sights, but as they say, all good things must end.
Let’s see, we wanted to see some of the unusual rock formations, check. We were amazed at the different types of formations; the different colors were somewhat of a surprise and the wide-open spaces where you can see for miles…tens of miles…possibly hundreds of miles.
The accommodations were excellent! We highly recommend the rental that we used in Thompson Springs, Utah. Ask us and we’ll give you all the info as to how to contact the owners. We didn’t take advantage of the UTV rental or hiking the trails, but it would be a plus for those who do. We’re bucket listing that.
The added excitement of the snowstorm at Vail, CO was a little bit of fun, because we left it behind.
The fudge and the other good food are going to be with us a while.
A special thank you to these folks:
Bo, our newly adopted mascot came from Mike at Hometown Mattress.
Joe from Chilson’s Corner Motors for finding a perfect fit for us when we were in the market of a different automobile.
Thanks to all you MOOSE COUNTRY folks who travel along with us. We couldn’t keep up as well as we would have liked on this trip, but, we hope you have fun reminiscing with us.
Special thanks to Tess Morgan for wrangling the Jay Moore in the Morning Show while Jay was gone.
Hope to see you all as we wonder around MOOSE COUNTRY.
Jay & Sherry