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Saturday, April 30, 2016

And We Are Home In Montana

Larry appeared at our door Thursday morning—right before we all left North Ranch, Larry and Geri had purchased another home, just up the street from us.  They were anxious to get back to North Ranch and start working on that house.  And, it was raining again in Moab.  So, with that said, Larry and Geri were ready to head back to North Ranch and they started an epidemic!!  The cowboy and I decided to head north. 

Baggs, WY the first night—we boondocked in an abandoned port of entry station—then all the way home to “up the Boulder” on Friday night after stopping in Billings to get some kisses and snuggles from Brooks Michael!

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DSCN2479Parents and baby are doing well—sleep deprived of course—but doing well!  Brooks has gained weight and is doing great for being almost three weeks premature! 

I didn’t get the local telephone company called soon enough to have that wonderful unlimited DSL running by the time we arrived—it will be Monday but we can use the mi-fi device when we go to town.  Having no internet will force us to unload and store the motorhome, clean the house, do some yard work—the grass is green, a few trees have leaves, a lot don’t have leaves—the to do list goes on and on this time of year!

We left Mike and Cathy all alone in our boondocking location but they sent text messages detailing the fun they’ve been having—they rode a very popular trail called Fins and Things which had been on our agenda before Larry decided to jump ship! SmileThey also told us our boondocking location was a mite crowded again—ten rigs arrived after we left!!!  Here’s one last Moab photo taken during the rain storm Thursday morning—the sun was trying to break through the clouds creating the hazy appearance.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Poison Spider Mesa

Challenging, scary, awe inspiring, gorgeous—did I say scary??—ride on Wednesday!!  After being on the trail a mere five minutes I totally understood why Geri and Larry never took Michael and me up there when we were still riding 4-wheelers.  Way too difficult a trail for 4-wheelers yet Geri has the skill to make it look easy! 

The views were just spectacular—rock formations, vivid colors, wildflowers, occasional blue skies and white capped mountains.  Unfortunately my photos are disappointing—usually I am able to snap on the fly as we are bouncing along—maybe it was just a tad too bouncy, maybe the sun washed out the colors—I don’t know but when I saw the photos in Picasa last ngiht I was disappointed.

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Twenty-three miles and six and a half hours of breathtaking scenery.  This trail is way more crowded than any other Moab area trail we have used—we passed/they passed with two groups all day—one a family on ATVs, the other a group of jeeps.  We stopped to view this arch which looks down on the highway and the Colorado River reaching it via a short but very steep hike—the muddy streak next to the green way down below is the river.  The family of ATVers came up the hill while we were having our lunch near the arch and were going to just drive on by—we flagged them down and told the lead ATV driver about the arch.  They were thrilled—a couple of the younger people even hiked out onto the arch. 

IMG_5132Our fearless leader Geri is always prepared—she researches these trails and notes the highlights plus she and Larry have ridden so many of the Moab trails—we are fortunate. 

IMG_5111IMG_5121We had rain again on Tuesday filling all the rock depressions and low areas.

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IMG_5158Golden Spike—on top of a rock with an incredibly steep/scary/breathtaking climb because it was so steep!!IMG_5159This photo doesn’t show well but the gang is standing several feet back from a significant drop down into a creek bed—we had those all day—significant drops! 

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We finished the day by having a wonderful meal at the Atomic Lounge—thanks Mike and Cathy!!  We enjoyed lunch there with Larry and Geri on Tuesday while we were out scouting staging locations for future rides—the food is outstanding!!

Here is a short video of a couple of the more challenging spots on the trail:

I am typing this blog from Baggs, Wyoming just across the Colorado border—we are boondocking in an abandoned port of entry station—with a few truckers!  We have a new name for Larry—“he who moves when it rains”—Larry was ready to go back to North Ranch and started an epidemic this morning—we pulled out of Moab about 11am.  It rained a lot during the night and was to have rained more today.  Of course, it’s going to snow in Wyoming and Montana but that grand-baby is calling!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Moab Doings

When the rains come the rigs depart!  When we arrived Sunday afternoon this boondocking location was literally packed—it was a generator running city late Sunday afternoon.  Monday night as I type this blog, there are about seven less rigs and it’s much quieter!  Tuesday afternoon there is one rig other than our three rigs. 

Geri and Larry let me tag along Monday morning when they went into Moab to attend to some house purchase closing duties—we all needed some groceries.  Once back out in the boonies Mike and Cathy joined us for another spectacular ride—this is Mike and Cathy’s first trip to Moab.

Our fearless leader—Geri—usually has a track in her GPS as well as a good map—today we winged it with mixed results!!Winking smileWe eventually arrived at our destination—Determination Towers.IMG_5040Geri and Larry leading the way.

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Before leaving the staging area, we all donned rain gear—once again the rain held off but geez did we have some strong winds!

IMG_5062Onward to Tusher Tunnel—a natural tunnel through the rock formations—the extra people were a family/friends riding together. 

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IMG_5071Mike and Cathy

IMG_5089A storm blowing in from the La Sal mountains as we stood near the tunnel exit. 

Back at the rigs we all went our separate ways—making dinner, showers—the usual.  We are plotting our return to Montana—I’m anxious to get my hands on this little guy--

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And one last photo—Michael asked me, “didn’t you take a photo of the arch from the overlook?”—yep I did, the photo just didn’t make it into the previous blog--

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Monday, April 25, 2016

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Warning—long blog, lots of photos!!

Friday was another day of riding and yes, I am getting a touch weary—Smile--and so is Emmi!  It was another great ride—up to the top of Comb Ridge--a linear north to south-trending monocline nearly 80 miles long in southeast Utah and northeast Arizona. Its northern end merges with the Abajo Mountains some eleven miles west of Blanding. Wikipedia

We’ve done this ride before with Larry and Geri but it was new to Tom, Sandy, Mike, Cathy, Mike and Eileen.  Geri instructed all of us to bring our cellphones as once on top of the ridge we would have phone service in the “phone booth.”  It’s a rough, narrow trail all the way to the top but the views are so worth the bouncing!

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IMG_4962While at the “phone booth” some of us were making phone calls and checking messages while others were working on Eileen and Mike’s RZR—they had been hitting rocks with the undercarriage and Larry showed them how to tighten the spring adjustment to give them more clearance—worked like a charm!!

Right before lunch we hiked down a very steep trail into the canyon for an up close view of Tower Ruin.  Lucky for us there were three very knowledgeable people all ready at the ruin—one an archeologist!!  We learned so much about the structure—it’s a two story structure and each story was built during a different era of the Anasazi time period. 

IMG_4974These deep grooves were from sharpening tools--IMG_4971and isn’t this the coolest petroglyph--

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IMG_4978On Saturday we rode a new to all of us trail—Arch Canyon View Trail—we stopped at several overlooks which gave us a whole different perspective looking down on the canyon we rode through on Thursday—breathtaking views!!!  But geez was it windy, so windy in fact that the cowboy was afraid his hat was going over the edge--

IMG_5003chilly and gale force winds—not the kind of weather conducive to standing on the edge of a 500 foot cliff!!!

 IMG_5000IMG_5005Now, remember the photo of the guy standing on the top of that huge rock in the previous blog—we were thinking he was an industrious fellow to have climbed all the way up there????--

IMG_4952IMG_4943Well—when you are on top of the ridge, that climb out to the edge of the pinnacle rock isn’t so hard—someone even built steps for you to use!!! (see the red arrow below) SmileAnd, no, I did not go out on the pinnacle! 

IMG_5023As we were eating our lunch it began to rain—we all donned rain gear—and the rain stopped!  Back at the bottom of the trail the cowboy and Larry talked the gang into trying a trail we flunked in spring, 2014 when still riding 4-wheelers.  YIKES!!!  It is amazing what these side by side ATVs will climb—see for yourself—it’s a short video. 

OK—I’m up to date now.  Tom and Sandy headed north to Minnesota Sunday morning and we left Mike and Eileen behind Sad smileto finish their original plans as Larry, Geri, Mike and Cathy joined us as we headed north to Moab.  And oh, boy is Moab ever busy!!!  The boondocking location we’ve always used is full to the brim with toyhaulers and ATVs!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Arch Canyon

One of our all time favorite rides—we’ve done this ride once before but it was just as beautiful today as a year ago.  Eileen and Mike joined us again—6 rigs and 10 people.  Arch Canyon trail leads to a beautiful arch but the fun is in trying to spot the many ruins high above the trail.  One of the ruins—we call it “shelf ruin” as it’s the only ruin we’ve seen with shelves built into the walls.  There are also finger tip prints in the mud of the walls.  This ruin is one of two which are accessible for exploring—the rest of the Arch Canyon ruins we’ve discovered are way higher in the canyon walls than we want to climb!

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IMG_4896Peep holes in the walls.

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Lots of creek crossings, huge pine, cedar and cottonwood trees add to the beauty.

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We took our time, arriving at the arch just after noon—just in time for lunch with a view!

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Right before lunch, Larry stopped in front of us to use his binoculars—he had spotted a huge bird on top of a pinnacle rock formation.  As he looked through the binoculars he said, “that’s not a bird, that’s a man!!” 

IMG_4952IMG_4943I would say that guy got his exercise for the day and Larry had good eyesight!

We meandered back to the rigs and enjoyed happy hour sitting in the shade—our temps have warmed significantly! 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Ruins And Ruins

Early Tuesday morning we were on the move—closer to Bluff, Utah and River House Ruins.  Once we were all set up in our boondocking site at a set of old corrals in the bottom of Combs Wash we unloaded rigs and rode to River House Ruins—Larry and Geri have made several trips to this set of ruins in surprisingly good shape and this was our second trip there.  The ruins are set high in a cliff but it is possible to scramble up getting a better look at both the ruins and the surrounding countryside. 

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Near River House Ruins is another treasure—Butler Wash petroglyph panels—towering rock walls covered with ancient petroglyphs--

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IMG_4852and it is indeed a special place, I swear you can hear the chatter of the Native Americans who lived here so long ago.

Before reaching River House Ruins we stopped for a hike—at San Juan Hill where Morman pioneers found a way to cross Combs Ridge in the laste 1800’s.  It’s very hard to imagine the struggle these early settlers had crossing this rocky/steep ridge with loaded wagons, horses and oxen—and the women in long skirts!! 

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IMG_4821Wednesday morning we were on the move again—this is just one of those kind of trips—not the most fun having to move every day but some of the gang are on their way north and we want them to see as much as possible.  We landed in Combs Wash again—but a little more north—a place we’ve camped before.   Our party makes up four rigs and we were a little worried about space—the largest spot was taken by a small motorhome/trailer and we were forced to join them, something we don’t like to do.  There’s an unwritten boondocking rule—don’t crowd—right Ellie???  They are a delightful couple, Mike and Eileen from Salt Lake City—we asked them to join us on our rides in this area and they readily agreed.

Wednesday afternoon was a short ride then a wonderful dinner of beef stew prepared by Sandy.  There are some ruins less than a mile from our campsite—again in surprisingly good shape.

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OK—I think I am caught up to Thursday—I will post this blog when I can, no internet down here in the bottom of Combs Wash!