Saturday, August 30, 2014

Arches

Kathi and I visited Arches National Park in October 2009. It was a beautiful sun-shiny afternoon without a cloud in the sky. Note the blue sky in some of the photos below.

Arches is on the Colorado River about six miles north of Moab, UT. The park covers about 120 square miles and has over 2,000 arches. I like the arches, but I am more awed by the brilliant red colors of most of the rock structures throughout the park. The arches are normally a lighter tan color and appear to be sandstone. The arches are often delicate and occasionally one will collapse. I remember a couple of years ago some visitors thought an arch was unsafe and forced it to crash. The proper procedure is to report safety issues to park rangers and they will get engineers to determine safety of the arches.

Vandalism is always a problem in public spaces and many people scratch their names in the rock formations. This is discouraged by park rangers and unappreciated by other visitors.

I love the  rusty coloring. Note the rock on the rightmost edge being separated by erosion.

There are some really magnificent stone structures in the park.

This arch will last forever -- solid rock above. Note the strata coloration.

Most of the structures have names, but I saw no signs in the park.

Another arch that will last forever in earth years.

We did not see a lot of caves, but it makes sense that there would be some.

I saw people standing in this arch later in the day. I estimate the top of the loop to be twenty four feet high.

Kathi and usually do driving tours, since neither of us do well walking up hill in the rocks. For more adventurous people, there are walking trails and guided tours available as well as evening programs.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Canyonlands II

Canyonlands covers over 330 thousand acres, so Kathi and I did not see most of it. We stayed up high and near the roads. We were looking for a place to take our motorhome to boondock and we found a great spot on a high plateau where you could see 20 miles into the park. We talked ourselves out of taking our motorhome there because the drive up and across the plateau was so rough. The RVs we saw in the park were mostly 20 foot trailers pulled by pick up trucks.

We stopped at many pullouts along the route and walked to see the scenic vistas. We were worn out after four hours. This park would take days to explore and still you would not see most of it. The park is divided by the Green and Colorado Rivers into four areas: "Island in the sky", "The Needles", "The Maze" and the rivers themselves. My pictures today are intended to show the vastness of the park. My camera does not display a lot of clarity in the distance, but I think you will get the idea.

This guy kept blocking our view.

I used to see these scenes in sci-fi movies.

This is looking down and out at the green river. See the water near the center,

Another picture looking down and out.

The colors are mesmerizing.


Looking down into a sinkhole.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Canyonlands I

Kathi and I are still at the RV park near the Dancing Eagle Casino in Casa Blanca, NM.

Last week we passed so quickly through Moab I did not discuss a lot about the Area. I did mention passing Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Today I am going to show some pictures from our visit to Canyonlands in October 2009. Canyon lands covers such a vast area, I am going to do multiple posts on Canyonlands. In this post I am going to concentrate on the rock formations and coloring.

I think iron ore gives the rocks the bright red colors.

Rock formation in the park include, buttes, mesas and plateaus.

I love the contrast with the bright red rocks and dark green trees.

The canyons are created by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Rivers and their direction of flow that carved out canyons are guided and limited by snow melt.

You get a small glimpse of the vastness of the park in this photo.

This road takes you to the bottom of the canyon. You have to admire the bikers that have the strength to get back up the hill.

I like to take pictures down off the side of cliffs. The fascination may be from my fear of heights.

Rocks in the park are primarily limestone, sandstone and shale.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo is about 15 miles south of Casa Blanca, NM on NM 23, also called Casa Blanca Highway and Kaatsiia Rd. Pueblo Acoma is purportedly the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America, Acoma Sky City and the Sky City Cultural Center and the Haak'u Museum are highlights of the area. We went to the city about three years ago and will probably go again this year.

Sky City Cultural Center

Rock formation along highway


Sculpture at Cultural Center


Sky City

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Towaoc to Casa Blanca

Kathi and I left the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, CO about 8:30 this morning. It was a comfortable sixty degrees and the sun was shining bright, so I knew it would get hotter. We went south on US 491 and crossed into New Mexico. The mountain formations looked like sandstone, with dull yellow to tan coloring. Vegetation was sparse and light green.

We got to Shiprock and turned west to continue following US 491 which turned back south after a mile or so. Off to the west was a big rock that looked like an old European Cathedral. It turns out is called Shiprock which comes from the Navajo name. The Navajo name for the rock means winged rock.




We entered the Navajo Nation and stayed on Navajo land all the way through Shiprock, through Little Water and on to Gallup. We saw a lot of small Navajo villages, which consist mostly of trailers or prefab buildings. We also saw many trailers isolated and alone. The few communities we passed along the road consisted of a small grocery and gas station. We saw a lot of great rock formations during this part of the drive. Some through the windshield picture are included.



At Gallup, we got on I-40 and turned east. Our motorhome was kind of sluggish on some of these long climbs, so we had a lot of time to observe the scenery. From Gallup to Grants, most of the mountains appeared to be granite plateaus. As we passed Grants there was a lot of black and dark brown rock and dirt near the highway and granite plateaus in the background. The black rock always draws my attention, being in such contrast to the surrounding area.




We passed the Blue Water Lake State Park and the Sky city Casino on the way to Casa Blanca and the Dancing Eagle Casino at exit 108 on NM 23. This area of New Mexico and on east into Albuquerque is Pueblo Indian land.

We had a nice drive and will probably be here for a month or so. The price is right and I have a lot of writing to do while Kathi plays video poker at the Dancing Eagle.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Moab to Towaoc

We left the OK RV park this morning heading south on US 191 moving to the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, CO. We planned to boondock in the casino parking lot in Towaoc, so we wanted to leave Moab about noon. That plan changed when the clouds got real dark and we decided to skip town before the rain set in. We went south on US 191 to Monticello, UT, then turned east on US 491 which goes southeast to Cortez, CO, then south to Towaoc. We got to Towaoc about one pm in beautiful sun shiny weather. The temperature is about 80, a little warm for me to be boondocking, but we expect it to be in the fifties tonight.

As we left Moab the mountains were mostly sandstone and granite. The rock colors were mostly eggshell white and tan with dark green shrubbery and light green grass. After we turned at Monticello we began seeing a lot of fields that had been plowed, but nothing was planted yet. As we moved further south and east we saw a lot of dark green crops and many, many water sprinklers irrigating the fields. I saw one irrigation ditch that was about fifteen feet wide and made a loop around what I would estimate to be a twenty acre plowed area.

As we got into Colorado we started seeing a lot of cattle and a few horses. We are used to seeing groups of ten to fifteen cows, but today we saw a herd of about 100 as we neared the Ute Reservation. We always see horses in front yards and in pastures on the reservation.

Purple sage always reminds me of western movies.

Our Alfa in the Ute Mountain Casino parking lot.

Picnic area on the casino grounds. Several tepees and a covered pavilion.

Close up picture of a tepee.

Casino entrance with hotel on the left.

View from my window as I write.

Today was a short drive of about 130 miles, Tomorrow we plan to drive about 210 miles to Casa Blanca, New Mexico and stay at the RV park by the Dancing Eagle Casino. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Moab, Utah

Kathi and I got to Moab on Tuesday and will not leave until Saturday morning, if our mail shows up. It takes three days to get mail to Moab from east Texas. It has been overcast every day, so we have not been able to get out and see any of the beautiful red rocks in the area. I do have some Moab pictures in my archive I will share.

Most people do not travel to see shrubbery, but I like anything unique.

I love the corkscrew cut bushes.

You have to appreciate the contrasting colors you see in Moab.

Hacienda near the OK RV Park on Spanish Trail Road.

Another hacienda on Spanish Trail Road.

This gate entrance is to a hacienda at the base of the mountains east of Moab.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sunset to Moab

We left Sunset, Utah yesterday morning in the rain heading for Moab. It was steady rain and moderate traffic south on I-15 through Salt Lake City, American Fork, Orem, Provo and into Spanish Fork. At Spanish Fork we went east on US 6 through the Wasatch Mountains. The rain eased up some during this stretch of the journey, but it was overcast all day. US 6 goes east and south on winding roads with slow climbs and fast descents. Then we went through Price on the way to I-70 where we turned east passed Green River and on for about 50 miles, then south on US 191 past Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and on to Moab.

Kathi did manage to take a few pictures trough the windshield as we drove through the mountains, though it was overcast all day. Even in this weather the colors were special to see. In the Wasatch Mountains we saw mostly yellow and tan rock with a lot of dark green trees. The further south we went the rock colors showed more oranges and into reds and deep brown and less vegetation. Then as you approach Moab you see bright reds and lime greens on the mountains along the road.


Another mountain pass

See the railroad tunnels just above Kathi's rear view mirror.

Through a mountain pass

I love pictures of the long road ahead.

My view as I sit at my computer writing this blog entry.

It was another great drive that Kathi and I enjoyed. How can you not love the mountains? We saw many empty spaces available in all of the RV parks in Moab. I guess this is not the place to be in August. After we parked we had a hard rain for about an hour that washed the road film and grime off our motorhome. Left over roast and mashed potatoes for dinner ended another fun RV travel day.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Snow Basin

All repairs have been completed for our motorhome, so Kathi and I will be leaving tomorrow for Moab, Utah.

Today I will discuss another ski resort in the area. Kathi and I visited Snow Basin in April 2011. Snow basin in about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City and 10 miles east of Ogden. We had an opportunity to talk to one of the security personnel who gave us a rundown on the ski trails and resort amenities.  The resort was closed at the time, except for beginner ski training.

Snow basin features Mount Ogden with towers above 9,000 feet in elevation. This resort hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and Para-Olympics. Lodging needs are met via a partnership with Lakeside Resort Properties located a few minutes drive down the mountain.

Amenities include three world class lodges, Needles Lodge, John Paul Lodge and Earl's Lodge. Earl's was erected just before the 2002 Olympics. Gondolas include Strawberry Express, Middle Bowl, Needles Express and John Paul Express.

Gondola for Needles which share the building with the John Paul

Easter brunch sign with a look at the inside of the lodge.

One of the lodge building at the base of the mountain.

View of Resort buildings at parking lot level.


Wildflower Meadow
Summer fare offers gondola rides, guided tours, bicycle trails and hiking trails. They also hold several wedding per year in the resort.