Sunday, August 10, 2008

SOUTHERN UTAH . . . . . . . . . . BLOG # 19

   We left Jacob Lake campground last Monday morning, rolled west, northwest back down off of the high Kaibab plateau and on over in Kanab, Utah. We sat at McDonalds for a few minutes and made some phone calls. There's phone connectivity in the towns but not out in the Hinterlands. Filled up with fuel a little farther up the road and turned right on Route 12. This took us past Bryce National Park with all the spectacular Hoodoos but we didn't stop. We both saw it just a few years ago so we moved on through Tropic and Cannonsville and on up through this lovely land to Escalante where we parked for two nights at Broken Bow Campground. Actually a neat little town with a Sinclair gas station/True Value hardware combination. Things to see require back-road driving. The Blazer is 4-wheel drive but Hole-in-the Rock road was pure washboard. We opted out.

   I've read about route 12 for years and have wanted to see what it was like. From Escalante   northward it is big-time uphill but wonderful. On top, it's a narrow, skinny hogback for a ways. We were definitely close to Heaven up there. We spent a couple of hours driving this gorgeous highway on up to Torrey, a much prettier area. We camped at Thousand Lakes just west of town. We took the car and drove a dozen miles or so east on route 24. It took awhile. Holy Cow! We stopped for photos over and over. Marvelous and rugged beauty. Stuff like Twin Rocks, Gooseneck Canyon and the Castle. We drove past the visitors center and took the ten-mile scenic drive. Whooppee! At the end of that we headed on back Pleasant Creek (dirt) road for several miles. a few sprinkles of rain here and there but we both enjoyed it very much. Then it was back to the campground for a western cookout. We had packed a lot into just one day.

   On Thursday morning we drove farther eastward to the town of Hanksville and stopped at the Red Rock restaurant for a little breakfast. Eventually we got to talking to Larry at the next table. Larry is a 65 year old Morman who is in the sawmill and lumber business. So very personable and talks about everything including farming and old tractors. We hung-out with Larry way too long but we certainly had a good time there. Sort of hated to say goodbye.

   We drove the long stretch southward down route 95 in the general direction of Monument Valley. Awesome country as usual. We stopped at an Overlook for a view of the tail-end of Lake Powell and talked with Nicholas and Kenny, a couple of young travelers from Belgium who were  spending a few weeks vacationing in the country.

   We cut off on route 261, the road to Mexican Hat. The road looked fine BUT there was a warning about hazardous conditions twelve miles ahead. Obviously, NO PROBLEM. An l8-wheeler had passed me before the dangerous zone so I figured if he can make it, I can make it. When we arrived at the overlook I saw him, down there on the valley floor and heading for town. When I saw what was ahead however, I almost changed my mind. The problem was, I couldn't SEE it. The road hugged the vertical mountain edge all the way down and it was out-of-sight. Five miles per hour with several switchbacks. Passing cars coming up was very limited. Sweet Lynda was not happy.  We eased this baby back and forth straight down that half-baked excuse for a road, gunned her off the last hill and headed for town too. Sweet Lynda was STILL not happy. She added it to her 'short list' of roads never to travel again in her lifetime.

   Once through Mexican Hat, Monument Valley begins to open up. There's no place like it. This is where John Wayne made some of his best films, like Stagecoach, The Searchers and She wore a yellow ribbon. Two nights at Goulding's campground. On Friday I drove up to Moab to pick up our mail. On the return I drove 20 miles off to the west of route 191 to the Needles Overlook that eyeballs the way-beyond-spectacular CANYONLANDS. There's nothing like IT either. Four years ago Alan and I drove the Shafer trail down to the canyon floor from the other side. I could easily see the road below from the rim where I stood and sure enough, it called out to me, loud and clear. It's on my BUCKET LIST...along with a few hundred other list. A few things however, have been crossed off in the past few months.

   Well, there's news. Have your plans ever changed? Our's have. We left Monument Valley yesterday morning and are currently parked out west of Albuquerque near I-40. We plan to be in San Antonio sometime Tuesday afternoon. You see, our first great-grandchild was born four days ago on August 6th. Ezekiel Solace Pike arrived way early and weighed in at only 2 and 2. But they took him off the respirator yesterday and he's breathing on his own. Put "little Zeke" on your prayer list. His parents are Daniel and Kristen. We can't wait to see all three of them.

   It's 6:45 on Sunday morning. Today we will worship and praise the Lord while rolling down the Interstate. Sweet Lynda and I (can you believe I/m married to a Great-grandmother?) are headed for the Lone Star state.

Blessings...on the road with Winston and Lynda somewhere west of Albuquerque and headed for Texas.

No comments: