Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada: November 21-22, 2017

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Fire Wave

 

On our way home we had a quick overnight stay at Valley of Fire.  We got there early and were lucky enough to grab a campsite.  There are two campgrounds with a total of 72 sites.  It’s all first-come, first-served.  It’s a shame we only had a few hours instead of a few days.  There are a lot of hikes and amazing things to see in the park.  And Lake Mead is just a few minutes away.  We drove the scenic White Domes Rd and got in one short hike to the Fire Wave.

In the middle of the night the campground was dead quiet.  Amelia, sensing I was also awake, said, “Do you hear that noise?”

“Yes, I’ve been listening to it for a while,” I replied.

“What do you think it is? Could it be a moth?”

“I don’t think so, it sounds like a rat.”

“Well get up and figure it out!”

So I dragged my rear out of bed and of course Sara also got up.  The sound was definitely coming from under the sink, but Sara was banging on the door, so we went outside and both pottied.  The stars were amazing.  We came back in and I opened the cabinet sink, sure enough rodent droppings, but no vermin.  Good, I was thinking let’s go back to sleep.  A few minutes later Amelia says, ” I hear it again.”

So did I, so we all got up this time to have a closer inspection.  Of course, we couldn’t spot it, but we saw what it was chewing on, a small container that holds Sara’s treats.  There were pink plastic shavings and teeth marks on the container.  So we removed all the food items and even Sara’s pill containers.  “Problem solved,” I said.  “Now let’s go back to bed, it’ll be light in 3 hours.”

A few minutes later, Amelia says again, “I hear it again!  I think it’s in the trash can.”

I drop a barrage of F bombs, get up yet again, and pull out the garbage can.  After that it was peace and quiet.  The big question is, did the vermin hitchhike a ride to San Diego?

We had an easy just over six hour ride home.  I was grinning ear to ear at all the suckers going north on the 15 through the dreadful Inland Empire.  The only thing dumber than going north on the 15 on a Friday, is going on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving!

When we pulled up to our house at 2pm it was 100 degrees.  That’s quite a hoax the Chinese are perpetrating on the world.

 

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Campsite #10

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A sure sign the apocalypse is near, those darn Pink Jeep Tours are now at the Valley of Fire.

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This huge One Way street sign couldn’t be more out of place.

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Rideable rock everywhere

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A perspective shot

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We intentionally ventured off course.

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Our first glimpse at the Fire Wave.

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Fire Wave

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We didn’t get The Narrows, but this was quite an unplanned treat.

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So many different colors of rock

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Blur

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Petroglyphs on Atlati Rock.  It’s a shame there are so many stupid people that vandalize.

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This area was named Valley of Fire because of the sunsets!

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I couldn’t resist including this artsy Airstream picture.

Sheep Bridge Road, Virgin, Utah: November 17-21, 2017

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Sunrise on Sheep Bridge Road with the peaks of Zion National Park.

 

Note to self:  Never, never, ever take the 15 North towards Vegas on a holiday Friday, or any Friday for that matter.  And don’t think if you leave at noon it’ll be all right.  A six plus hour drive to Mesquite turned into an eight plus hour drive.  Traffic always sucks, but to be out in the Mohave desert, in the middle of nowhere, in stop and go traffic is stupid.  Waze isn’t going to help you on this drive.

We were hemming and hawing since our last trip about where to go pre-Thanksgiving.  Then the Bennetts contacted us in mid October; their Belgium trip fell through and they wanted to know if we’d like to meet them in the Zion area.  We thought about it for a minute and replied if the weather is cooperating we’ll be there!  Odds are it would be chilly, so we wouldn’t need full hook-ups like we do in warm weather to prevent Sara from baking like a potato in the Airstream while we are out riding.  This could be the perfect opportunity to boondock and finally hike The Narrows in Zion.  Every Spring when we are out there The Narrows are typically closed because the North Fork of the Virgin River is flowing too fast and too high.  So we boned up on boondocking and The Narrows and even researched pet sitters, so we could exceed the 6 hour max alone time for Sara in the Airstream.

Two weeks before departure while riding with my Thursday night group, Cory mentions he’s going to Hurricane with Josh and a couple of other guys.  None of them had ever been so he’d been researching all the rides.  Their dates matched our dates, so I told him to stop his research, that I was the mayor of Hurricane, and I’d love to guide his group around.  We get a real kick out of showing first timers the incredible rock terrain.  It’s like reliving our first visit.

 

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You haven’t lived until you wake up at sunrise in a Walmart parking lot. This one is in Mesquite, Nevada.

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Less than two hours later a prime spot on Sheep Bridge Road with Gooseberry Mesa in the background.  Sheep Bridge Road runs between Utah Highways 9 & 59.

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What the hell!  Get off the table!

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Rest in peace Robin.

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North Rim of Gooseberry Mesa, Amelia close to the edge.

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Cory.

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Cory and a short stocky guy.  I’ve lost an inch and a quarter off of my height.

 

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Amelia on Gooseberry Mesa.

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I’m predicting when I hit 60 in three years, Amelia will be taller than me.

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Beautiful morning light at our campsite.

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She loves her morning sun.

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Post Gooseberry ride get together.

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Mike, Amelia, and Chris on the one and only Little Creek Mesa.

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Amelia with perfect form.

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Josh airborne.

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Who drained the pool?

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Mike’s laughing, bending his knees, doing his best to make me not look like a short stocky guy.

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Amelia riding away on Little Creek Mesa.

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After Little Creek, the guys came back for dinner.

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And a little revelry.  Left to right, Mike, Chris, Cory, Christian, Josh, and Amelia.  A very compatible and super fun group of folks.

 

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What a scenic spot and free!  

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The Queen of Sheep Bridge Road.

 

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If you are blogging about the Hurricane area, you have to include a pic of Molly’s nipple.  That speck is Amelia.

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Buzzkill, but one hell of a sunset.

 

The flat tire was the final nail in the coffin of The Narrows hike.  It just wasn’t meant to be; red flags were popping up everywhere.  First, the road in Springdale, the town right before the entrance to Zion, was all tore up, with only one lane open, and a flagman 24 hours a day, with waits up to 30 minutes each direction.  Second, Zion was a lot more crowded than the park service anticipated.  It got so bad they stopped letting people enter the park.  In hindsight I’m sure they wished the shuttles were operating.  Third, the pet sitter never got back to us.  Finally, while we were driving into Springdale the evening before our big Narrows adventure to rent gear for hiking up the river, we got the flat tire.  At least it didn’t happen while we were towing!  The Narrows will have to wait for another day.