Saturday, November 01, 2008
Capitol Reef to Gallup, NM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Continued the drive along beautiful UT Hwy 12. Route 12 is like driving on a roller coaster. Steep grades and tight turns. A narrow road with very few guard rails.
We stopped in Torrey at the Visitor Center and inquired about a grocery store. There was one. As it turns out, today is the last day they are opened until next March. Bought some very good, freshly made bread & a package of hot dogs. The shelves were about bare of anything else. We haven’t seen a decent grocery store since we left Page, AZ. I wonder where these people shop. Found a Subway shop at a gas station and had lunch. We then drove to the Capitol Reef National Park just a few miles east of Torrey. The campground is in a place called Fruita. It was an old Mormon settlement from the late 1800’s. The original house was built in 1908 by polygamist Calvin Pendleton. The Gifford farm as it is commonly known is “…a sudden, intensely green little valley among the Waterpocket Fold, opulent with cherries, peaches and apples in season, inhabited by a few families who were about equally good Mormons and good frontiersmen and good farmers”. There are two accessible trails. One running along the Fremont River and another running through the farm & orchards. We walked them both. A very nice place for Carol. Gave her lots of interesting places to walk.
Left Fruita about 9:00 intending to go to Goblin Valley SP. Stopped at the Behunin Cabin in the Capitol Reef area. Look at the picture and read the sign! A family of TEN lived in this cabin. Next time you think you’re cramped for space, think about poor Mrs. Behunin & family.
We stopped in Hanksville to buy some cranberry juice and hamburger. While there we were able to get cell phone service; first time in three days. There was a message from Suzanne saying the Post Office had returned the mail she sent to us at Green River, UT. Since there was no longer a real need to go to Green River, and since I had already been there before and knew it wasn’t much, we sat in the grocery store parking lot and reviewed our plans. Carol was tired of being cold and had seen enough Utah rocks to last her a lifetime so we decided to head south to New Mexico. The road to NM took us right by the Hite access area to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Hite is where the Colorado River enters Lake Powell. So now we have been to both the beginning and end of the lake. We camped right on the lake. Mostly mud & rock. Not nearly as nice as the sandy beach at Lone Rock near the dam. It was us and two other RV’s along the entire lake. That’s one of the reasons we enjoy travelling off season; no crowds.
Today was mostly a driving day. Stopped near Bluff, UT at a BLD campground called Sand Island right on the San Juan River. Had lunch. There was a group of rafters heading down the San Juan River for a three day trip to Mexican Water. Continued on through UT then AZ. Most of AZ is through the Navajo Reservation. The poverty on the reservations is extensive. Shacks, old trucks, lots of men standing idly around just talking. Every vehicle they have ever owned is parked next to the house. I guess they simply drive them until they can no longer be driven.
We stayed the night at Chinle, AZ. Chinle, like Shiprock, has a huge outdoor market place. Cloths, household goods, etc. The Canyon de Chelly National Monument has a free campground next to the Visitors Center.
Drove to Gallup, NM today. Between yesterdays drive and today, we went mostly through the Navajo Reservation. Drove through several towns we remember from reading the Tony Hillerman series of mystery books centered on this part of the Country. Mexican Water, Chinle, where the Holiday Inn the characters had coffee at is located, Gonado, the location of the Hubbel Trading Post, and Window Rock, the Capitol of the Navajo Nation. Read in today’s paper that Hillerman passed away last week. We really enjoyed the books. Granddaddy (Gil Wagner) introduced us to them. In Gallup we went grocery shopping, did laundry and went to our all time favorite bakery; Glenn’s located on Route 66. They also have take-out lunch so we got burritos and a green chili Philly cheese steak. What a treat that was. Bought gas. $2.29/gallon. The cheapest gas so far on this trip and only the second time gas has been under $3.00/gallon.
Went to the Red Rock SP campground just off US-40 east of Gallup. Met an interestinf fellow. From Fort Collins. He & his wife must be at least 80. They are in a very old motorhome. Two years ago, they weren’t feeling very well and figured their travelling days were over so they sold the RV. A year later they were visiting family in Cheyenne, WY and went to a neighborhood garage sale. It turns out that part of the sale was their old motorhome!!. They bought it back. They figured it must just be their destiny to travel so they are still on the road. Heading to Tucson, AZ for the winter. Neither one is in great condition but they figure they would rather be warm then cold.