Friday, May 23

Bus on the Road again

Outside Arches National Park
Outside Arches National Park.
Outside Moab
Outside Moab and the house made in theHole 'N the Rock. We stopped outside the house, thinking we'd take the tour this time, but only got a new caravan shot instead.
Our Caravan

This is the dirt lot we parked in while we waited for the final four bus tires.
Dry camping for the night in Moab
It's also where the kids played physics.
Jewel at work
Unschooling - Physics
They started with small rocks but quickly learned they had more of an impact with the larger ones. No children were hurt in the process.

Almost out of Utah, we see an arch off the side of the road that was screaming for us to hike it. Hike it, we flip flops, even.
hiking up to Wiilson Arch
As usual, they smoked me up the hill.
Wilson Arch
Walking inside the arch on a windy day, was actually a little scary. The woman that came up after me was grabbing on to my hand for support and constantly kepy chanting how "scaaaared" she was. I couldn't get myself to look up without getting dizzy.
Wilson Arch
The other side.
Wilson Arch - Inside
Looking down.
View from Wilson Arch

We finished the day with a nice storm going through Colorado, and into New Mexico.
Storm in Colorado desert

Thursday, May 15

Yesterday morning we decided it was time to leave Utah. We dropped the Bus off at the tire dealer for a new set of wheels, during which time I did laundry, and Joey packed up all the crap around our site. Lawn chairs, ladder, satellite dishes, hoses, and a storage unit that we no longer have room for. Go back to the bus and they only did the front tires, so now we have to drive the forty something miles to Moab to have the rear four switched out. We took our sweet time, this time with me towing the Hummer behind Joey's welding rig, and narrowly escaping death to capture some of the awesome panoramic views of the cliffs. (When I die in a car wreck, check my left hand for a camera).

By the time we get to Moab, they say we're too late and they can get to us at 8am the next day (right now). Rather then driving all the way out and staying along the Colorado River and chancing a blow out, we dry camped right in town, across from Denny's. Guess where we had supper?

Dry camping for the first time since last year, we forgot how boring it is with NO electricity. Not just no electricity, but even our house batteries are dead so we don't even have lights or enough battery power to pump the water. It turned out to be a blessing because it got us all outside and playing on the dirt mountain behind us. I'll post the pics once I download them. In the meantime I added a little widget to the sidebar that posts pictures from my cell phone, which I'll do periodically until we're wherever we're going. I said we made a decision to leave, we just haven't fully committed as to where yet. Follow along and you'll know when I do!

We are living proof that one does not need to have their shit all together to live on the road.

Wednesday, May 7

I love you t......

Joey and I are sitting on the couch, with Jonas on his lap.

Jonas: "I love you two"

Me: "We love you too, Jonas! We're so lucky to have you for a kid"

Jonas: "I said I love You Tube"

San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell @ I-70

We're still in Utah's Castle Country, and no visit to Castle Country would be complete without exploring the San Rafael Swell. With over 2000 miles of trails, I chose a loop that took us on 100 of those miles, including four different trails. The kids were armed with three Nintendo DS's, two Gameboy's, twelve games....but best of all, an explorer's spirit. No matter what, it was going to be a good day.

We hiked to the top of the viewing area off I-70, taking in the massive views of the reef, but being unable to get fifty miles of reef into one shot....didn't even try. Did take advantage of everyone being in one spot together, though. Smile.
San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell
After driving right through the center of the reef westbound on I-70, we got off at the Cottonwood Wash exit, and began our stirring of dust for the next eighty miles. We saw lots of dirt, monoliths, including the tallest free standing monolith in America, cows, sagebrush, a large sinkhole, and then out of nowhere the lovely San Rafael river appeared.
San Rafael Swell 078

We're really getting into the good stuff now.
San Rafael Swell 082

No more dusty desert. Looks like someone actually oiled down the roads.
San Rafael Swell 089

Watch out for the bicyclists!
San Rafael Swell 094
I know, I didn't see them coming, either.

According to my guide book, there was a large pictograph panel at mile 22.7, and since we figured out how to set the tripometer (by pushing the button, just like every other car we've owned), I was pissed when we passed mile 23 and didn't see the pictographs and someone wouldn't turn around to go look again. As I'm pouting, we hit mile 24.7 and....2000 yr old pictographs
2000 yr old pictographs
2000 yr old pictographs
Archeologists say these pictographs were painted by a culture of peoples known as "Barrier Canyon Culture", over two thousand years ago.

Next stop I wanted to make was to find a large dinosuar track, but we got all the way to the end of the trail and never saw where it could be, so we continued on to the next trail, Wedge Overlook.
San Rafael Swell - Wedge Overlook
We came up out of the canyon to see Utah's Little Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular!
rock bridge out to overlook
The walk out was only for the brave.
holding on for dear life
Can you say vertigo?
San Rafael Swell - Wedge Overlook
I had the same feeling the other day when I'd swing real high, then lean way back tilting my head upside down, and then come up real fast. I did that three times in a row and thought I was going to throw chunks. That's kinda how standing on those rocks, looking down, made me feel.

We had to pass within two miles of the dinosaur track on our way back so we decided to give it an honest try. We were looking for a sandstone ledge 10-15 feet above the road.
San Rafael Swell 141
We found it!
Jewel & Jonas w/ Dino print

The track was hiden under some big boulders. I remembered reading that people often do that thinking they're preserving it, when in fact it's "sanding down" the edges. It was surreal to step into the track and know we were standing in the exact same spot as this dino. It's a much bigger impact than just seeing their fossils in a museum. I love my life!

The last leg of the day was back home via the Green River Cutoff Road, and along with views of the familiar Bookcliffs we see a U.F.O.
ufo San Rafael Swell 150
Or as someone so kindly pointed out to me on Flickr, it's a lenticular cloud, but it's really much more fun to think you're following a U.F.O.

For a minute we got side tracked by these odd huge black boulders, totally out of place, hiding a cactus that I almost sat on while taking this picture....
Claretcup Cactus
Of a Claretcup Cactus.....I only saw flower....that's my life in my rose colored glasses, I only see the pretty, and not the thorns. Luckily, I'm fast.

Desert Paintbrush
This Desert Paintbrush could be the exact same flower the Indians used to paint their pictographs.

It was another great day, learned some geology and history, and plain wore ourselves out. You'd be surprised how tiring bouncing down eighty miles of gravel can be, especially when mixed in with a couple miles of hiking in, around, up and down boulders.

Our people guided us safely home.
UFO San Rafael Swell 182
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