Moab, Utah: June 15 – 18, 2014

Greg says everyone will know it’s not him writing, but just for the record it’s me, Amy, aka Amelia, doing my second blog.

The drive from Cortez to Moab was beautiful the entire way.  Fortunately, there was not an 11% grade as the Allstays app stated and had Greg fretting the night before and during the drive.  To calm him down, I took over the driving at the half way point.  There were only 6% grades and the most lovely rest stop we’ve been to so far.  Some of you have seen a modified version of this as my new Facebook cover shot.

Rest stop south of Moab just past a tourist trap called Hole in the Rock. Air conditioned bathrooms and big shady trees. Plus two chatty guys that run the place.

Rest stop south of Moab just past a tourist trap called Hole in the Rock. Air conditioned bathrooms and big shady trees. Plus two chatty guys that run the place.

After our delightful experience at the KOA in Cortez, we decided to give the KOA in Moab a try.  It was not quite the same experience as Cortez.

Joe took Greg on a little ride to let him choose between two spots.

Joe took Greg on a little ride to let him choose between two spots.

Site 45, before all the rental RVs start to show up every evening.

Site 45, before all the rental RVs start to show up every evening.

The views from our site were great as long as no one was in site 44.

The views from our site were great as long as no one was in site 44.

"They have 'em stacked in like cord wood here," said Greg repeatedly as the campground filled up every evening.

“They have ’em stacked in like cord wood here,” said Greg repeatedly as the campground filled up every evening.

Have microwave will travel.  Classic retired couple from Boron, CA traveling in a Tab.

Have microwave will travel. Classic retired couple from Boron, CA traveling in a Tab.

So I have been wanting to return to Moab since we were here several years ago and I drove a big truck for the first time.

From our first trip to Moab with Birch and Mudd. I was actually between the white lines. We surmised all about the person that wrote the note and called each other fucker whenever we were parking.

From our first trip to Moab with Birch and Mudd. I was actually between the white lines. We surmised all about the person that wrote the note and called each other fucker whenever we were parking.

As I excitedly changed my cog to make climbing on the slick rock easier, I found a gnarly crack in my frame.  BUZZKILL.  I rented a bike and we did three really fun rides:  the Mag 7 trails, Slickrock, and Moab Brand Trails.

Just follow the white dashes.

Just follow the white dashes.

Finally I got ahead of Greg to get an action shot! #whitecottontshirt

Finally I got ahead of Greg to get an action shot! #whitecottontshirt

This is our favorite kind of terrain.

This is our favorite kind of terrain.

One evening we did the tourist drive through Canyonlands National Park.  The ranger that took our $10 and flirted with Sara didn’t say anything about dogs not being allowed on most of the trails.  We enjoyed the views anyway.

We took this picture from a dirt road that traveled along the rim, was really high up, close to the edge, and beyond scary for me.

We took this picture from a dirt road that traveled along the rim, was really high up, close to the edge, and beyond scary for me.

Tourists.

Tourists.

Incredible views.

Incredible views.

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

We were treated to a spectacular sunset on our last night.

We were treated to a spectacular sunset on our last night.

Queen of Moab KOA.

Queen of Moab KOA.

On our way to San Diego to replace my bike we spent the night at Stateline with a bunch of truckers and a few diesel pushers. Once upon a time I took Greg on that roller coaster and it scared the shit out of him.

On our way to San Diego to replace my bike we spent the night at Stateline with a bunch of truckers and a few diesel pushers. Once upon a time I took Greg on that roller coaster and it scared the shit out of him.

Cortez, Colorado: June 9 – 14, 2014

Phil's World. The reason we backtracked to Cortez. Boy was it worth it, what a great ride.

Phil’s World. The reason we backtracked to Cortez. Boy was it worth it, what a great ride.

You learn a lot about yourself while on the road. There’s a lot of time for reflecting. It was really odd we didn’t embrace Durango.  Much like when we were in the McKenzie River area of Oregon, it was a strange sensation being totally surrounded by beauty, yet claustrophobic. Cortez wasn’t even on our radar this trip, yet we were hearing all the hype about Phil’s World, so we decided to backtrack, and drove 45 miles west to Cortez. We immediately felt more at ease, something about the wide open country does that for us. We fell in love with Cortez and ended up spending six nights. Enjoy the pics.

Sweet memories of my youth. We spent many a night at KOA's back in the 70's.

Sweet memories of my youth. We spent many a night at KOA’s back in the 70’s.

Uphill stretch at Phil's World. We love this kind of scenery, terrain, and wide open space.

Uphill stretch at Phil’s World. We love this kind of scenery, terrain, and wide open space.

So cool, one of the intersections at Phil's.

So cool, one of the intersections at Phil’s.

Rib Cage at Phil's. Better than an amusement park ride. If you are a mountain biker you really need to go here.

Rib Cage at Phil’s. Better than an amusement park ride. If you are a mountain biker you really need to go here.

Another beautiful ride.

Another beautiful ride.

Very interesting riding your bike past an ancient dwelling.

Very interesting riding your bike past an ancient dwelling.

Amelia going down a drop.

Amelia going down a drop.

A long rock uphill at the Ancients.

A long rock uphill at the Ancients.

So we are driving through multiple states with our recyclables, looking for a convenient place to deposit them, I'm threatening Amelia with just tossing them in the garbage. But I said "I do" back in 2001, so we are driving through an industrial park in Cortez looking for the city recycling station, low and behold we see the Osprey sign. It's their distribution center. Amelia has been needing a new bite valve for her hydration pack for weeks. We walk in, talk to them, and they give her one for free!

So we are driving through multiple states with our recyclables, looking for a convenient place to deposit them, I’m threatening Amelia with just tossing them in the garbage. But I said “I do” back in 2001, so we are driving through an industrial park in Cortez looking for the city recycling station, low and behold we see the Osprey sign. It’s their distribution center. Amelia has been needing a new bite valve for her hydration pack for weeks. We walk in, talk to them, and they give her one for free!

Mesa Verde National Park wasn't on anyone's agenda. We are really glad we went. It's the fifth oldest national park. This is Cliff Palace. It almost looked like a miniature movie set until you were up close.

Mesa Verde National Park wasn’t on anyone’s agenda. We are really glad we went. It’s the fifth oldest national park. This is Cliff Palace. It almost looked like a miniature movie set until you were up close.

Amelia walking down to Cliff Palace. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the stairs in the 30's.

Amelia walking down to Cliff Palace. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the stairs in the 30’s.

Up close at Cliff Palace. They estimate the Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from 1200-1290.

Up close at Cliff Palace. They estimate the Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from 1200-1290.

Balcony House, the second tour we took.  This one involved descending a ton of stairs, then ascending a 35 foot ladder to access the cliff dwelling.  To leave we had to crawl through a short tunnel and climb two more ladders.  Amelia really enjoyed our guide's enthusiasm and knowledge.

Balcony House, the second tour we took. This one involved descending a ton of stairs, then ascending a 35 foot ladder to access the cliff dwelling. To leave we had to crawl through a short tunnel and climb two more ladders. Amelia really enjoyed our guide’s enthusiasm and knowledge.

The Grandest View at Park Point Overlook in MVNP, 8,572ft. Crazy 360 degree views of the southwest.

The Grandest View at Park Point Overlook in MVNP, 8,572ft. Crazy 360 degree views of the southwest.

Like clockwork, at about noon everyday the cotton ball clouds appear. This shot was heading down the hill from MVNP into Montezuma Valley where Cortez is located.

Like clockwork, at about noon everyday the cotton ball clouds appear. This shot was heading down the hill from MVNP into Montezuma Valley where Cortez is located.

We've decided our girl is definitely older than the 2-3 years the animal shelter told us.

We’ve decided our girl is definitely older than the 2-3 years the animal shelter told us.

Maverick's Trail in the Boggy Draw area above Delores. When it's too warm to ride in Cortez this is the go to place.

Maverick’s Trail in the Boggy Draw area above Delores. When it’s too warm to ride in Cortez this is the go to place.

Yellow Salsify, very similar looking to a Blazing Star.

Yellow Salsify, very similar looking to a Blazing Star.

June 1st is when the San Juan National Forest allows grazing in the Boggy Draw area. It's pretty exciting to be ripping around a blind corner and have a big ol' cow standing in the trail.

June 1st is when the San Juan National Forest allows grazing in the Boggy Draw area. It’s pretty exciting to be ripping around a blind corner and have a big ol’ cow standing in the trail.

When in Cortez, eat at the Burger Boy. The tater tots are excellent!

When in Cortez, eat at the Burger Boy. The tater tots are excellent!

So long Cortez, you’ve been wonderful. We can’t wait to come back and visit you. Tomorrow it’s off to Moab.

Durango: June 5 – 8

Camping in the trees at Lower Hermosa Creek. Yes, this is a back in site!  We didn't have a problem…now leveling, that's another story. We used all the leveling blocks and were still uneven. It felt like being on a fishing boat.

Camping in the trees at Lower Hermosa Creek. Yes, this is a back in site! We didn’t have a problem…now leveling, that’s another story. We used all the leveling blocks and were still uneven. It felt like being on a fishing boat.

Durango is your typical mountain town. It is surrounded with gorgeous views. And also like most mountain towns it is highly dependent upon tourists. Another thing we’ve noticed is mountain towns seem to have the same cast of characters. Durango’s cast of characters could easily be Mammoth’s cast of characters. I’ll just leave it at that.

We spent four nights at Lower Hermosa Creek campground. It is a free campground in the San Juan National Forest about 14 miles outside of town. It is a long 14 miles, which kind of doesn’t make it free as you commute back into town daily for rides, shopping, and a brewery visit.

The campground was beautiful but it had a strange vibe. What we’ve found out is there’s a big difference between a free campground and a boon docking spot. We much prefer a nice boon docking spot.

No, we did not take the train to Silverton.

For rides we did The Colorado Trail-Dry Fork, Hermosa Creek Trail, and Horse Gulch/Telegraph trails.

Four nights is all we spent in Durango, as we were leaving town heading towards Cortez, we kind of felt we didn’t give the town a fair shake.

Serendipity! We were in Durango the same time as our friend Joy. She used to live in SD, now she's in Park City, but in Durango on a business trip.  This shot is from Ska Brewery.

Serendipity! We were in Durango the same time as our friend Joy. She used to live in SD, now she’s in Park City, but in Durango on a business trip. This shot is from Ska Brewery.

A couple of fine beverages from Ska. 2 for $5. What a deal.

A couple of fine beverages from Ska. 2 for $5. What a deal.

Oh yeah, did I mention Joy is a professional mountain biker? She guided us on the Colorado Trail. Many a guy has hurt himself trying to keep up with her on the downhills. It's absolute poetry in motion watching her handle her bike.

Oh yeah, did I mention Joy is a professional mountain biker? She guided us on the Colorado Trail. Many a guy has hurt himself trying to keep up with her on the downhills. It’s absolute poetry in motion watching her handle her bike.

Amelia and Joy, Gudy's Rest on the Colorado Trail.

Amelia and Joy, Gudy’s Rest on the Colorado Trail.

Queen of Lower Hermosa Creek Campground.

Queen of Lower Hermosa Creek Campground.

A field of lupine on the Hermosa Creek Trail.

A field of lupine on the Hermosa Creek Trail.

Telegraph trail.  We got of there just in time.

Telegraph trail. We got of there just in time.

 

Bluff, Utah: June 3 – 4, 2014

Highway 191 runs straight through Bluff, Utah. As you can see there's not a lot of traffic on a Tuesday evening.

Highway 191 runs straight through Bluff, Utah. As you can see there’s not a lot of traffic on a Tuesday evening.

 

We almost titled the post Monument Valley, but there was so much more to this stop.  We left Hurricane and drove through Monument Valley to Bluff, Utah, where we ran our base of operations for two days. Originally we were going to spend four days in this area, but the heat requires a full hook up RV park, so we can run the air conditioning. We are quickly growing tired of the lack of privacy in the RV Parks and the added expense!  It’s a far cry from our wonderful Sedona campsite.  The heat also kills the noon to 6pm time frame. It’s just too hot to do much activity except drive around and sight see in air conditioning. The Harris’ can only do so much of that.  We’d much rather be actually outside instead of looking through the windshield. So this was a two day stop. It’s too bad because there are a lot of great BLM campgrounds. The best boon docking spot we’ve ever seen may be in the Valley of the Gods. Wow! It’s easy to imagine waking up there every morning.

 

WARNING: There are a lot of pics, do not start viewing unless you have the time.

 

The iconic Monument Valley shot looking north.

The iconic Monument Valley shot looking north.

The same shot looking south.

The same shot looking south.

Monument Valley was everything we hoped it would be.

Monument Valley was everything we hoped it would be.

My girls. That building in the back is an elementary school. I wonder if they are hiring?

My girls. That building in the back is an elementary school. I wonder if they are hiring?

Beautiful scenery.

Beautiful scenery.

Everywhere you looked it was amazing.

Everywhere you looked it was amazing.

The place we stayed in Bluff. It was one of those deals where the internet pictures were a lot better than reality. There's definitely no fishing going on any more, the pond is really low. I'd say the place is one step from bankruptcy.

The place we stayed in Bluff. It was one of those deals where the internet pictures were a lot better than reality. There’s definitely no fishing going on any more, the pond is really low. I’d say the place is one step from bankruptcy.

It was a small place with only 14 sites. You can see our Tundra, but only the nose of the Airstream. The 30 amp hook up was probably not quite 30 amps. The AC would run, but not at the same time the water heater was on electric. It was a real downer for a couple of hours until we figured out the problem. Then we were back on top of the world.

It was a small place with only 14 sites. You can see our Tundra, but only the nose of the Airstream. The 30 amp hook up was probably not quite 30 amps. The AC would run, but not at the same time the water heater was on electric. It was a real downer for a couple of hours until we figured out the problem. Then we were back on top of the world.

Interesting way of handling the interference of the telephone line. Just cut out the middle. The cottonwoods are hardy trees!

Interesting way of handling the interference of the telephone line. Just cut out the middle. The cottonwoods are hardy trees!

What the hell? Slide shows?

What the hell? Slide shows?

The morning sun casting long RV shadows at the Cadillac Ranch.

The morning sun casting long RV shadows at the Cadillac Ranch.

The dirt road into Valley of the Gods. What a great BLM area.

The dirt road into Valley of the Gods. What a great BLM area.

Can't wait to come back in cooler weather and boon dock.

Can’t wait to come back in cooler weather and boon dock.

We couldn't believe there were still some Prince's Plumes.

We couldn’t believe there were still some Prince’s Plumes.

Toyota Tundra commercial.

Toyota Tundra commercial.

Goosenecks State Park.

Goosenecks State Park.

 

Very strange place. That's the San Juan River working it's way around the Goosenecks.

Very strange place. That’s the San Juan River working it’s way around the Goosenecks.

Mexican Hat, Utah. Now that's a different name. I wanted to get a picture in front of the Welcome to Mexican Hat sign, but there wasn't one.

Mexican Hat, Utah. Now that’s a different name. I wanted to get a picture in front of the Welcome to Mexican Hat sign, but there wasn’t one.

There are huge expanses of slick rock everywhere and no one riding it. Amelia couldn't hold back any longer. Here she is cruising my bike in flip flops and a straw hat.

There are huge expanses of slick rock everywhere and no one riding it. Amelia couldn’t hold back any longer. Here she is cruising my bike in flip flops and a straw hat.

Here's the first dud of the trip, Four Corners. What a rip off. It's on Navajo land, so they charge $5 per person to enter. Basically you are paying to enter a Navajo flea market. All around the circumference were tables and little shops selling jewelry and junk. Pit toilets, a beat up dirt parking lot. The biggest bummer, which wasn't stated until you were in the "park," no dogs at the Four Corners monument. What a bullshit stop.

Here’s the first dud of the trip, Four Corners. What a rip off. It’s on Navajo land, so they charge $5 per person to enter. Basically you are paying to enter a Navajo flea market. All around the circumference were tables and little shops selling jewelry and junk. Pit toilets, a beat up dirt parking lot. The biggest bummer, which wasn’t stated until you were in the “park,” no dogs at the Four Corners monument. What a bullshit stop.

Bluff sunset.

Bluff sunset.

 

Now we are off to higher country in Durango for bike rides and breweries, and hopefully cooler weather.

 

 

Hurricane Again: May 30 – June 2, 2014

Windmill Trailhead, Gooseberry Mesa.

Windmill Trailhead, Gooseberry Mesa.

Five weeks ago we were in Hurricane, and now here we are again.  I couldn’t wait to get to the grocery store, sure enough, all the Fundalmentalists ladies with their long dresses and hairdos, lost Euros, and scruffy mountain bikers, were all there. I had a big smile on my face. The town is a little warmer and less crowded, but the mountain biking is still great. This time of the year you start riding at 8am, instead of 10am.

We found a wonderful RV Park, WillowWind, smack dab in the middle of town, just off the main road, and walking distance to the grocery store.

For rides we did The Goose, Amelia’s new favorite, The Gander, Bear Claw Poppy down in St George, and I doubled up one day and snuck in the Jem Trail.

We had to stop at the Pizza Wagon wood fired pizzaria joint. It was as good as we remembered it being! This time I was on my game and took pics.

WillowWind RV Park. After the stark beauty of the Virgin River Gorge, this place felt like being in a city park. The shade really helped.

WillowWind RV Park. After the stark beauty of the Virgin River Gorge, this place felt like being in a city park. The shade really helped.

Amelia is a magnet for the old folks, and like any RV Park, there were a lot of them. I don't think we were even unhooked yet and this lady was chatting her up. RV Parks are also a mecca for little dogs. Every evening it was like a parade watching all the little dogs walking their owners.

Amelia is a magnet for the old folks, and like any RV Park, there were a lot of them. I don’t think we were even unhooked yet and this lady was chatting her up. RV Parks are also a mecca for little dogs. Every evening it was like a parade watching all the little dogs walking their owners.

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The rock of Gooseberry Mesa.

#whitecottontshirt

#whitecottontshirt

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Gander trail, which is actually part of Gooseberry Mesa. Amelia is getting ready to go up and over the rock.

A Gander view

A Gander view

What a great sign!

Bear Claw Poppy Trail. Wide open rolling single track.

Bear Claw Poppy Trail. Wide open rolling single track.

Where are all the people, houses, and roads?

Where are all the people, houses, and roads?

 

And now the wood fired pizza pics.  The owner is originally from Whittier, California. I don’t know how he ended up in Hurricane.  The hours are Thursday-Saturday,  noon-8pm.  Nice gig! The pizza wagon literally just sits on this empty lot right on the main drag. While he’s not there, it just stays there. The wood fired pizzas are incredible and worth twice what he charges. Are you kidding me, $8 for a large pie!  This is a must stop. Even if you are just driving north on the 15 past St. George, get off the freeway and drive into Hurricane and visit the Pizza Wagon. You won’t be disappointed.

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His sign.

Obviously his rent is close to nothing, but I still can't get over how little he's charging for his pizza. It's really high quality and delicious. We suggest The Sicilian or Italian Cowboy.

Obviously his rent is close to nothing, but I still can’t get over how little he’s charging for his pizza. It’s really high quality and delicious. We suggest The Sicilian or Italian Cowboy.

These are the two girls that take the order and and prep the pie before it goes into the oven.

These are the two girls that take the order and and prep the pie before it goes into the oven.

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The owner cooks all the pies while holding court and chatting everyone up. They had a 20 minute wait. There’s one picnic table that’s really for while you are waiting. All pies are to go.

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He’s using pecan wood. A wood fired pizza oven on wheels! Who would’ve thought?

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Monday, closed.