Don’t tell Miss Piggy

We ended up staying in Phoenix about 2 weeks longer than we originally planned.  That meant a slow lingering meander through Utah was shortened to a mere four days.  We had a reservation and appointment in Grand Junction, Colorado, that required us to maintain a travel schedule or I assure you we would have moved through Utah a lot slower.  I love this state.

driving through Monument Valley is always a treat
I never get tired of the scenery driving through Monument Valley, Utah

Al and I don’t usually like long travel days, but we were really looking forward to some time in Moab.  Therefore, we drove from Phoenix to Moab in one day…. one very long day.  After an eight and a half hour drive, we pulled into a boondock spot next to our friends Linda and Mike.  They were thankfully saving room for us.Moab Utah

Moab UtahEven though Al and I split the driving, we arrived tired and were grateful to be greeted with hugs and chilled margaritas.  Thanks guys.

But their hospitality didn’t end there.

When Al went to start the generator, Honda EU2000i Super Quiet Portable Gas Powered Generator Power Inverter 2000, 120V, the cord ended up in his hand.  Yikes, four days of boondocking with no power would definitely drain our batteries.  Thus, the generator would need to be repaired.  Sounds like a project for two strapping young men to tackle (can I hear a little Tim Allen grunting?)  Fortunately for us, last year Mike and Linda added a ton of solar to their RV …. so much so, that they not only powered their own RV, they powered ours as well.  Yes, wattage envy!

Moab Utah
note the orange electrical cord on the ground – we’re hooked up to the “Bear” for electric.

Our four day stay whizzed by and the weather was a mixed bag; cold, warm, cloudy, sunny, windy, calm.  We had a ton of fun on Mother’s Day starting with the guys serving their wives mimosa’s.mimosa

One mimosa down and another in hand, it was time for me to fix breakfast…. by choice, of course.  I wanted to fix everyone one of my nutritious skilletini’s, which I’ll feature on my Moab Utahfood blog in a couple of weeks.

We all got a big chuckle out of the fact Mike could not seem to remember the work skill-e-tini and instead referred to the breakfast as a spank-a-tini.

From that point on, the dish was referred to as a spankatini.

So what’s in the ‘spankatini’?  Italian pork sausage, butternut squash, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and cilantro…. topped with two eggs and a side of bacon.Moab UtahAs if sausage and bacon at breakfast wasn’t enough pork in our diet for the day, the guys took us out for a Mother’s Day dinner at the Blue Pig in Moab for some yummy barbeque.  I’m sure somewhere on our table was a slab of ribs 🙂  Please don’t tell Miss Piggy that we started and ended our day eating pork.  It’s certainly not something the four of us do regularly, but we were in a rather celebratory mood – it was Mother’s Day after all.  With the exception of the champagne, I’m sure it was all Paleo approved 😉

The next day, Al and I hit the road with Grand Junction, Colorado, as our destination.  But before we get to Grand Junction, we have a little dirt to share…..Moab Utah

Weber 50060001 Q 1000 Liquid Propane Grill

Travel Tales

Our drive through Monument Valley this morning was breathtaking.  We contemplate our schedule and discuss the feasibility of staying here a night to take in the beauty and explore the backcountry.  Ah, that every looming, impending storm keeps us moving on.  Plus it’s “after the season” and campgrounds are closed. Dispersed camping (i.e. boondocking, dry camping, find a place and park it) is not allowed on the Navajo Nation.RVing

Whenever we travel through an Indian Reservation, Al and I feel we are a guest.  A guest given permission to travel across THEIR land.  As a guest, we never travel off a main road without asking for permission or checking the rules/laws.  The Navajo Nation as well as other Indian Reservations are governed by their own entity.  However, we have been known to get “turned around” (I don’t get lost) on Indian land before.RVing

Last year, on one of several trips to Phoenix, Highway 40 in New Mexico was shut down due to a propane truck rollover.  We arrived before highway patrol could efficiently divert and detour traffic.  There aren’t a lot of alternative roads in this neck of the woods desert.  Folks, us included, are driving all over the back roads trying to find a way around the incident and back to Hwy 40.  Our road atlas does not show many roads in the area.  We try following a Lexus with a GPS but that doesn’t work.  They keep turning around here, then there….’recalculating’.  Finally, Al and I see a group of guys working on a fence and decide to pull over before venturing any further on this gravel road.  I jump out of the vehicle and ask the guys for the best way to Gallup, New Mexico.  One guy lifts his head and briefly stops the task of pulling barbed wire to respond to my question, “Aye, you must be a traveling on Highway 40.  Ya know a propane truck rolled and that road ain’t open’n till tomorrow at best.  Cause a that, we ain’t seen so many white folk in these here parts in a long time”.  He politely gives me directions before returning to the mending of the fence.

His directions were tantamount to; turn right at Joe’s place, which is after the first bend in the road.  Go down a ways until ya see a huge wood pile.  That’s Rick’s place.  He’s been working on storing up his wood for the winter.  Don’t turn at that road, turn at the one after.  When ya come up over a ridge you’ll see ol’ Bill’s place.  He been pretty sick here lately but getting better.  Turn left after Bill’s and once you’re back on pavement, go …….

How I managed to navigate us off that reservation remains a mystery.  However, we must have looked like we knew where we were going because we had a line of followers…..other white folk turned around.Page ArizonaLake Powell

Sorry to have digressed.  I believe we were on the road heading to Page, Arizona and Lake Powell.  Ah, please allow me to digress once more.  Due to poor internet connection, my posts are about two-weeks behind my current/actual location.  I apologize for the delay, as well as not being able to comment on your blogs as much as I might like.  I’m hoping for a better internet connection once I’m in Phoenix next week.Rving

Back to regular programing……  We arrive in the town of Page by noon and stay at the Page RV Park with full hook-ups.  This will give me a chance to clean the Rig AND me.  Once all spiffed up and sweet-smelling, we leave the RV behind and Al and I explore the area.  High on the list – a place to camp near the water’s edge.  We drive around this quaint little town first and then head over to the Wahweap Marina.  We check out the campground at the Marina.  Although very nice, we’re looking for something a tad more remote.Lake Powell

After a couple of hours of exploration, we find the perfect camp spot and return the next morning with RV in tow.  What an amazing spot.  There are only a few other RV’s and they are parked a good distance from us.  We could camp right along the shoreline, but choose to stay further up on a rocky, gravely surface.  The weather app on my smart phone keeps sending me alerts.  If we do get rain or snow, we’d like to be parked on solid surface and not fear getting stuck in sand.Lake Powell

We’re able to sleep with all the blinds up.  No neighbors nearby.  The next morning, we awake to the most incredible view out our bedroom window.  We watch the sunrise from the warmth of the RV while enjoying some hot, black coffee… bed.  Life is good!Lake Powell

It’s cold but sunny.  We bundle up, Bear included, and go for a walk after breakfast.Lake Powell

I’m loving it here.  Tomorrow we had planned to position ourselves at the Grand Canyon with full hook-ups to ride out the storm, but my phone keeps alerting me to a high wind warning.  Al and I get on the internet for verification and review the latest weather forecast.Lake Powell

Yahoo, we are NOT traveling in the expected 60 mile per hour winds.  Guess we’ll just have to guts it out in this location.  I know, it’s a tough job  🙂Lake Powell

Monument Valley

The diverse landscape in the United States never ceases to amaze me.  One day I am surrounded by green, fragrant pine trees with rugged, majestic mountains and the next day there are no trees, no distinguishable scent.  Yet the air is crisp and fresh.  There’s rock, rock in all directions as far as the eye can see.  Rocks in a multitude of hues.  Rocks in awe-inspiring size and shape.RVing

We spent the night in a gravely parking lot on a Mesa high above the San Juan River (Mesa is the Spanish word for Plateau.  The English word Plateau is rarely used in this part of the country.)  Gooseneck State Park was a great find, although I have a bit of a problem referring to a parking lot as a State Park.  The 360 degree views, the faint sound of the rivers’ rapids echoing in the canyon, and the absence of a fee made up for any lack of amenities.

Horses roam the Navajo Nation

While Al and I are enjoying the sunset at a picnic table, a young couple drives up.  They ask about the fee and if a tent is ok?  We inform them they can tent here free, much to their surprise.  Turns out this young couple are from the Czech Republic and traveling America’s west for the next month.  They share their intended journey and we offer recommendations and advice, which they appreciate.

other campers spend the night on this scenic mesa

The next morning all campers (us and three cars) are up early and ready to embark on the day’s journey.  For Al and me, we are excited and look forward to today’s drive through Monument Valley.  It did not disappoint and was well worth traveling a bit out of our way to experience the scenery of Monument Valley.  We would definitely return and plan at least a day or two stay so we could horseback ride or ATV the backcountry.  We’re fascinated by the uniqueness of the area.  If you must have trees….well then….this is not the place for you.  It’s all about rock!Monument Valley

Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley

Today’s destination is Page, Arizona.  We’ll stay in an RV Park for the night to regroup.  The last time we were in Page, AZ was in the mid 90’s and we camped with the kids at the Wahweap Marina.  That was a pretty exciting trip for me.  Lake Powell was a place I had longed to visit.  And once again, I’m excited and happy to be returning.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell
Lake Powell

Flexible Plans

Day two’s original destination was to be the Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.  The drive is very scenic as we travel through a very pretty part of Colorado and cross the Continental Divide.  From the Great Sand Dunes to Mesa Verde should take about four hours.  After the day’s earlier excitement (written about in the previous post), we reassess our camping options and destination.RVing

The campground within Mesa Verde National Park as well as all private campgrounds in the surrounding area are closed for the season.  I locate a boondock spot for us just outside the National Park but all the information says the road is rough.  Rough road and impending cold front with snow are enough to keep us moving west.  As much as I am disappointed about not stopping at this highly anticipated location, I would be more disappointed getting unintentionally stuck in the backcountry.

this rock formation looks familiar, but can’t place 😉

We forego stop number two (Mesa Verde NP) and proceed directly to planned stop number three, but not without a famous stop along the way; the Four Corners.  The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of the southwest corner of Colorado, the northwest corner of New Mexico, the northeast corner of Arizona, and the southeast corner of Utah.  It is named after the quadripoint where the boundaries of these four states meet.  It is the only location of its kind in the United States and is administered by the Navajo Nation.RVing

each limb in a different state….anyone for a game of twister?
Al’s one foot is in four different states

Although this is a popular tourist stop, it certainly is NOT worth a special trip.  It is located in the middle of nowhere and offers nothing but a ground marker and the right to say, “I was in four states at the same time”.  After fifteen minutes of photo ops, we’re back on the road heading toward the small town of Mexican Hat, Utah.

Our spot high above the San Juan River – Gooseneck SP

Al and I have always wanted to see Monument Valley; the scenic backdrop to many Western Films.  After a little internet and map research, I find a place to park for the night; Gooseneck State Park, Utah.  And it’s free!  Our four-hour travel day turned into eight hours as we traveled from the Great Sand Dunes National Park to Mexican Hat, Utah.  Eight hours filled with plenty of beautiful scenery and more excitement than we would have liked.

San Juan River

Gooseneck State Park, Utah, sits on a Mesa/Plateau high above the San Juan River.  The Monument Valley rock formations can be seen in the far distance.  The area consists of a parking lot, picnic tables, vault toilet, and amazing 360 degree views.  Great place to spend the night.RVing

In the morning we’ll drive SLOWLY through Monument Valley.