Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Two short recent trips.

December 19, 2017

We made two short trips recently. 

On the first one, we worked our way to Page, AZ and the Lake Powell area taking I-25 south to Walsenburg then US-160 west towards Durango/Cortez.  Near Fort Garland  is the Mountain Home Reservoir SWA. A very nice disbursed camping area. Just west of South Fork off 160 is another very nice disbursed area right along the creek. Stayed there one night.
From our campsite
Mountain Home Reservoir

In Lake Powell we camped at the Lone Rock BLM camping area until it closed  for the season on the last day of October. We last stayed in this area in 2008. 
The Lone Rock

 Then we headed west on US-89 to Kanab continuing north to our destination of UT-12.  Spent the night at a disbursed site near where BLM-177 joins UT-12. UT-12 runs past the Bryce Canyon NP which we had visited before then continues east through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Our favorite stop on  the trip was the Kodachrome Basin SP near Cannonville. Lots of interesting Jeep rides in that area. We had been there before, but not towing the Jeep which opens up a new set of travel options for us. This was early November and it was cold so the electrical hookup site was appreciated. The American Southwest is very popular with the Swiss/German/Dutch tourists. We ran into several groups traveling in their European 4WD RV’s they had shipped over. They are certainly adventurous. We would see them camped in some of the most remote locations. Always very friendly people. 

The American Southwest along UT-12

We continued East with the plan of camping along the Hole-In-The-Rock Wall Road then driving to the end in the Jeep. The wind had picked up and turned the entire area into one huge dust storm so we continued on. The Calf Creek BLM campground was full. (We stayed there during our 2008 UT trip) The weather had deteriorated so we just drove on and wound up in the campground at the Capital Reef NP.  When we were there during prime-time last year, the place was packed. In November it was us and a handful of others.  The on-site store selling great coffee and cinnamon rolls, had recently closed for the season. Camping offseason does have its advantages. (Nice, warm weather not being one of the advantages).   The on-site store selling great coffee and cinnamon rolls, had recently closed for the season. Rats.

From Capital Reef we decided to head home stopping overnight at one of the rest areas along I-70 in CO. We have all the good ones marked on our CO Benchmark Map.

Camping neighbors at Capital Reef

Watching the neighbors

Later in the month we headed out again with a week of great weather in the forecast. This time to explore the border area between CO and UT.
Stayed at the very nice, Colorado SP in Fruita. Drove to the Colorado National Monument one day and managed to get somewhat lost when I decided to follow a dirt trail to see if we could get to all the radio towers perched way up on the mountain top. We did but took a very unintended, but scenic, way back into Grand Junction. We stumbled across the downtown and had a great lunch. A fun day.
North of I-70 from Fruita is the North Fruita Desert.

Carol isn’t interested in long, bumpy rides so I went exploring the area myself looking for possible camping areas. While there are disbursed camping areas, as well as a BLM campground, the terrain is mostly brown and grey colored mounds of dirt.Nothing green in sight. Not appealing to us at all.  
From Fruita we took Old Hwy 6 into UT. US-6 was the east/west road before I-70 was built. Over the years, we have driven 6 through CO as a welcomed, and more relaxing, alternative to 70. 

UT Welcome sign on Old Hwy 6

In UT we headed north on Bookcliffs Road to a super disbursed camping area I found on Google Earth. 

Entry to an old mine.

In UT, the Colorado River shifts to the south of I-70. After leaving the Bookcliffs area, we drove to Cisco Landing River Access. This is a popular rafting put-in ramp that allows camping away from the ramp. 
The Colorado River. Cisco Landing.

Then to Moab via UT-128 staying at the Upper Onion BLM campground and riding the trails in the area.

We stayed at the BLM Goose Island CG for a few days until the weather started to turn much colder then moved to the Dead Horse Point SP to take advantage of the electric hookup. I drove the Shafer Trail and part of the White Rim Road by myself. Carol was much happier being warm in the camper rather than being bounced around in the Jeep.

From the top looking down

Gopher the Dog.

At Dead Horse Point SP , it  became clear, that Gopher wasn’t feeling well. Coughing a lot, not wanting to walk more than 50’ or so and panting heavily. We decided to cut the trip short and head home.

On November 7, I took Gopher to her regular vet who took X-rays and did an EKG. She decided that Gopher needed to be referred to a dog cardiologist $$$$$ in Boulder so off we went. The cardiologist, who knew there was such a thing as a dog cardiologist,  did a sonogram, another EKG, blood tests, etc., and $1,600 later declared that Gopher has a serious , and non-reversable, heart condition called Mitral Regurgitation plus Congestive Heart Failure. Both being quite common in “senior” dogs. (The PC word for an old dog is a ‘senior’ dog. ) Gopher will turn 14 on January 18.
The vet said that given the quality of medications available these days, Gopher should hang in there comfortably for perhaps another 9-12 months and then it will be decision time. She’s on five different medications. Interestingly enough, of course, is that us old people have Medicare to foot most of the bill for such care. I feel badly for the many people who under the current administration will lose access to affordable healthcare. Gophers monthly meds run just over $200!!. Manageable for us but if those meds were for a person with no coverage, that could certainly create a real financial  problem.

We’re planning another trip right now just not sure where or when.  We talk about “Q” but it’s a four day drive from here and we’ve been there several times and I don't like four day drives. On the other hand, it’s warm.  Given a decent weather forecast, perhaps southern UT? State parks with electric hookups work well for the really cold days and the Wave 3 and blankets gets us by on the chilly ones.

We’re  going to keep traveling as long as we are both in decent health and Gopher’s condition is under control ; just taking one day at the time.

Our two Virginia daughters, and their families, will be here for the week between Christmas and New Years. Looking forward to that.