Four Corners

Posted: under Arizona, Colorado, Four Corners, New Mexico, September 2008, Utah.
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September 28, 2008– We crossed into Colorado today!

Carl and Judi standing on four states at once

Carl and Judi standing on four states at once: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona

I have always been fascinated by borders.  When I lived on Badgers Island in Kittery, ME, the border to NH was somewhere in the Piscataqua River.  I was born at the Portmouth Naval Base (in Kittery), again, just over the border from NH.  In fact for many years there was discussion of moving the border so that both Badgers Island and the Portsmouth Naval Base would suddenly be part of New Hampshire. I thought I would be one of the unique few who would suddenly have their place of birth changed from Maine to New Hampshire – though I did perceive some problems with renewing my passport.

 

 

Four Corners Monument

Four Corners Monument

It was only natural that I would be fascinated by a place called “four corners” in which you could stand on 4 states (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah) at the exact same time. (In fact, the Four Corners is the only place in the United States where four states come together at one place.) As it urned out that Carl was just as fascinated and we enjoyed many a morning cup of coffee talking about how we’d like to see Four Corners some day.

 

GPS shows we are parked on 4 states

GPS shows we are parked on 4 states

Well, we saw it today.  

All I can say is, if this really was to be the pinnacle of our trip, well, then I’d have to take a second look at all of our decisions up to this point. Outside of the fact that one can say that s/he stood in four states at once, there is nothing to recommend anyone to come here!  After seeing Mountain Meadows Monument and how nice that was done, I guess we expected more. Like maybe even a picnic table.  Or, an authentic Native American restaurant.  I suspect the Navajo eat stuff other than fried dough.

Of course, now that we have been here, we see the real irony in this being part of the Navajo Nation — the survey, and thus the borders, were done by U.S. Government and Astronomers: in 1868 with the survey of Colorado’s southern boundary. Surveys followed of New Mexico’s west boundary and Utah’s east boundary in 1878. The northern boundary of Arizona was surveyed in 1901. A small permanent marker was erected in 1912 where the boundaries of the four states intersected. The Monument was refurbished in 1992 with a bronze disk embedded in granite. Really, why would the Navajos care about this border?

Native American stands at Four Corners

Souvenir stands at Four Corners

Well, at least we now can say we have been here!

Tonight we are staying in Cortez, Colorado and will visit Mesa Verde tomorrow.  I am very excited about this!

 

Four Corners Visitor Center

Four Corners Visitor Center

Comments (1) Sep 28 2008

The Arches in Moab, Utah

Posted: under Arches National Park, September 2008, Utah.
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The Arches

September 27, 2008 –We started the day with a muffin and Cappuccino the Arches Book Company. Very civilized and a great change from the hotel breakfast. I’m always most at home in a book store.

We then headed up to explore the Arches. It starts with a long winding road.

Can you see the road that weaves up the side of the Canyon?

Can you see the road that weaves up the side of the Canyon?

 

 

GPS showing the road weaving up the canyon

GPS showing the road weaving up the canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guide book suggested that with a “willing driver” a person could walk the mile from the first scenic spot to the third one and meet the driver.  Carl matched the description, perfectly, so I took the walk.  The trail is marked by “cairns,” rocks piled pyramid style.  Many were knocked over, but no fear, even though I was alone, the footprints in the sand told me that many, many had walked before me.

Judi's walk along trail

Judi's Morning Walk - note cairn (small pile of rocks) which marks the trail.

When I came out to the parking lot, I could see the Prius, but no Carl, but  I kept hearing a birdlike whistle. The sun was so bright, that initially I did not see Carl sitting in the shade! 

Carl sitting in shade waiting for Judi

Carl sitting in shade waiting for Judi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of the stops along the road offer fabulous views… but surprisingly few arches.  As it turns out, you have to go for (long) walks (maybe “hike” is a better word) to see the majority of the arches.  

Here is a picture of a balancing rock.  Note the “weather” in the background.  Miles away we could see that it was raining but it never reached us.

Balancing Rock

Balancing Rock

The following double arch is visible from the road but we took the short walk to see it up close, as well.  Of course, the climb is a little more vertical than it looks from the road.

Carl looking up a the double arch.

Carl looking up a the double arch.

 

Closer view of one of the Double Arches

Closer view of one of the Double Arches with person

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl climbing towards Double Arch

Carl climbing towards Double Arch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get the most out of the colors, it is recommended to see the Fiery Fins in the late afternoon sun.  Well, our timing is a bit off, but they still look impressive to me. By the way, a Fin is similar to a hoodoo, only it is longer from the sideview – but when you look at the edge you might think it a hoodoo.

Fiery Fins around 1 in the afternoon.

Fiery Fins around 1 in the afternoon.

 

When we reached the end of the road, we have the chance to see three more arches.  We started to hike in for the nearest one, but realized about half way there that we did not have enough water. Now that we have a better idea about this place, if we should come back, we will be better prepared. Regardless, what we did see still made for a good day.

 

More fins during last walk in the Arches.

More fins during last walk in the Arches.

 

 

 

More Scenery with weather in the background

More Scenery with weather in the background

 

As we leaving the Arches and driving back to Moab, I was caught by the vast number of colors in one scene:

 

Overlooking all the colors in the valley.

Overlooking all the colors in the valley. Click on photo to enlarge it to really appreciate it.

Comments (1) Sep 27 2008

I-70, San Rafael and Moab

Posted: under September 2008, Utah.
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Driving along I-70

Driving along I-70 in San Rafael area

We had stopped about 2-3 hours outside of Moab, Utah last night after debating if we should drive on. Seeing what we did today, I am glad that we decided to stop. We would have been driving after dark and thus would have missed the whole San Rafael area.  As it was, it took us at least 4 hours because we stopped at nearly all the rest areas.  I-70 isn’t even marked as a scenic route! So let me just show the pictures and shut up.

 

Looking out over San Rafael, first stop

Looking out over San Rafael, first stop

 

San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell

 

 

Is this a Sphinx?

Is this a Sphinx?

 

Judi finds a new home!

Judi finds a new Anasazi style home!

 

Carl says "hi" from the edge.

Carl says "hi" from the edge.

 

This type of view went on for most of the drive on I-70.

This type of view went on for most of the drive on I-70.

 

 

 

Once we arrived in Moab, we realized that finding a room for the night might be difficult.  Everything had no vacancy — but then we saw a Vacancy sign at an older Best Western.  Turned out that they had 2 cancellations and Carl and I got the last room.  We explored the tourist town for a bit, shared a lovely Antipasto Salad for late lunch and then drove around to explore the area.  We happened on this scenic road… again I’ll let the picture speak for themselves.

Walking around Moab -- Carl considers an RV

Walking around Moab -- Carl considers an RV

 

Walking around Moab -- Carl's new friends

Walking around Moab -- Carl makes friends.

 

Moab scenic drive

Moab scenic drive

 

 

 

View of the Colorado River in The Big Bend area

View of the Colorado River in The Big Bend area

 

Fin or Hoodoo?

Fin or Hoodoo?

Comments (0) Sep 26 2008

Zion National Park

Posted: under September 2008, Utah, Zion.
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September 25, 2008 — After 4 nights in the Cedar City Comfort Inn, we finally checked out this morning.  The hotel was so comfortable (so new they still hadn’t put the exercise room together) and inexpensive, I was ready to stay another month.  But alas, the road — or I should say the canyons — were calling us wanderers.

Zion National Park - Court of the Matriachs

Zion National Park - Court of the Matriachs

Alas, we finally visited Zion National Park. Unlike Bryce and the Grand Canyon in which the visitor looks down over the rim into the canyon.  With Zion, you drive into the Canyon and look up (and up and up).  Actually, we didn’t drive this time either, since cars are not allowed on the scenic road.  Instead we took a shuttle bus into the Canyon.  It is set up so that you can get on and off at any of the stops and stay as long as you like since new shuttles arrive approximately every 8 minutes.  We opted to ride the whole way to the end of the scenic drive to “Temple of Sinawava.”  Then we walked back to the next shuttle stop, and rode it to “Weeping Rock.”

Carl encourage me to take a look at the Weeping Rock while he rested his foot. This was a very vertical walk (but civilized since it was a cement walkway) up to an area in which the rain water that seeps down the limestone reaches the harder rock and then exits sideways making a nice cold shower. This water that is coming out is 1200 years old. Can you imagine?  I stood under the dripping water and got very wet and walked back to show Carl that I had 1200 year old water on me.  But the air is so dry that by the time I got back (only took maybe 10-15 minutes), I was completely dry.  

Walking in Zion National Park

Walking in Zion National Park

 

Confession.  You will not see a photo of the Weeping Rock because “numb nuts” here, forgot to charge her camera battery the night before and ran out of juice shortly after visiting the Temple of Sinawava area. This means that during our walk, when Carl sighted an authentic, undocumented Anasazi ruin — a round grain bin up in a rock overhang, I couldn’t take a picture.  O.K. I have learned my lesson! And there are about a hundred more photos that I did not take. 

We then took the shuttle bus to the The Grotto and then to the Zion Lodge where we had a slice of pizza and a soft serve cone– and sat and watched the afternoon sunlight change the color of the rocks above us. It was so pleasant to just sit in the park.

 

We left Zion around 3 and decided to head up Rte 15 to 70 to get closer to the Arches (should see this tomorrow) and hopefully Mesa Verde in Colorado in a few days.  We’ll see. One more thing that I could not take a photo of… Cove Fort which was built in 1867 to serve as a way station for people traveling between the central Utah Communities.

 

Looking up at Zion National Park

Looking up at Zion National Park

Our conclusion at end of day at Zion is that we will return in October.  We would like to rent bikes and do the bicycle trail.  I’d like to stay a night in Springdale.  It’s one of those upscale tourist towns. Maybe there will be vacancies by then.

Comments (0) Sep 25 2008

Mountain Meadows Monument

Posted: under Mountain Meadow, September 2008, Utah.
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September 24, 2008 — We are still in Cedar City, Utah today.  This Comfort Inn is so new and nice it is hard to leave. That and we have a good price. We are finally resting up after all the excitement for the past 4 plus weeks.  

 

Mountain Meadows Grave Marker

Mountain Meadows Grave Marker

 

 

So today we just went on a small site seeing trip to see a bit of history.  We drove about an hour southeast of here to see the Mountain Meadows Monument.  This is actually both a monument up on the hill and a grave marker located where the bodies were found after the massacre that occurred over 150 years ago on September 11, 1857.  Though it is not absolutely known what happened, it is pretty much agreed that a group of militia Mormons massacred a group of 120 men, women and children who were emigrating by wagon train from Arkansas & Missouri to California.  The militia first disquised themselves as Indians and the emigrants defended themselves for 5 days.  Then, dressed in civilian clothes, the militia offered a truce on behalf of the “Indians” in which the emigrants willingly laid down their weapons. The militia then slaughtered nearly every single one of them, except for about 5 kids. It is suspected that it happened in retribution to the way the Mormons were treated in Arkansas.  It is unclear if any real Indians were involved, though the Indians say no.  All in all it is a tragic story.  

 

Mountain Meadows Monument on hill

Mountain Meadows Monument on hill

When we saw the monument with all the names of the victims and few survivors, it was disheartening to see how many of the massacred were actually young children.  At the grave site, there was a hand written note and a rose from one of the descendants of the militia with an apology.  I’m sure that this is a lot for a descendent to live with.

 

Here are some links to sites on this subject:

Mountain Meadows Massacre

Famous Trials

Mormonwiki on the subject

I first learned about this massacre through fiction while reading REDEYE by Clyde Edgerton.

 

 

Memorial Marker with "Sorry" note from Militia descendant

Memorial Marker with SORRY note

Comments (2) Sep 24 2008

Hello from Utah!

Posted: under Cedar City, UT, September 2008, Utah.
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Coming into Cedar City from Rte 56

Coming into Cedar City from Rte 56

September 23, 2008 –Today is a “down day” and I finally have a chance to update MostlyFiction, work on this blog and download photos. This life of travel and leisure can certainly run one down! Currently I am sitting in a hotel in Cedar City, Utah. This is the first day that we are not travelling since we started the trip. Instead we sat and enjoyed a Cappuchino at Starbucks, went shopping at Walmart (yes, family Carl was in Walmart!), washed and waxed the car (lots of bug juice), took naps and I learned how to create a blog. Oh, and Carl got a hair cut. (Note the goatee was shaved off days ago.)

 

 

Carl with new haircut

Carl with new haircut

We had planned to go to Zion National Park today, but we didn’t get much sleep last night and I think we are just worn out from constantly being on the move, not to mention the big move itself. Anyway, our room was next to a frequently used exit with a slamming door and a metal staircase.  We had the same room the night before but we only heard one or two people use this exit.  Starting around 4 am, it sounded like a heard of elephants chased by hunters with shot guns. This morning, we were switched to a new room and Carl is catching up on some valuable sleep as I write this. The new room is a suite for same low price as previous room. Lucky us!

We are thinking that we might have to wait until next spring to see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley — or at least until October 10th. There are no hotel rooms available within a reasonable driving distance. So we are trying to determine our next move. It is getting cool in the mountains, especially at night and morning so we are glad that we are not tenting. Maybe it is time to head back into the valley. We are even contemplating picking up an RV and setting it up with Internet access and Solar Panels for some boondocking experience. Staying in hotels is getting old. Stay tuned.

Because part of this expedition is to find our next place to live, I asked the front desk woman about the winters in Cedar City.  She said it is just too much snow. It starts in November and this year it didn’t end until February. I told this to Carl with dismay and he said he’d check on the Internet.   Guess what?   It only snows 8″ a month here, half as much as Nashua! Everything is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?  We do like Cedar City.  We will keep this one in mind for the future.

Comments (0) Sep 23 2008

Bryce Canyon in Utah

Posted: under Bryce Canyon, September 2008, Utah.
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September 22, 2008 — 

Bryce Canyon: Colors & "Hoodoos"

Bryce Canyon: "Hoodoos"

Today we went to Bryce Park (believe it or not, this is one of my photos — look at those colors!) and marvelled at nature’s “hoodoos.”

 

We enjoyed Bryce Canyon  — it was a lot less crowded than the south rim at the Grand Canyon. Also, the ride over and back both held a lot of surprises.  

I’ll just include some more photos… this should tell more of the day than my words. Besides, I’m tired. Click on the images for larger view.

 

Bryce Amphitheater at mid-day

Bryce Amphitheater at mid-day

 

 

 

Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon

Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon

 

 

 

Surprise, Water! Route 14 on the way to Bryce

Surprise, Water! Route 14 on the way to Bryce

 

On road prior to Bryce Nat'l Park

On road prior to Bryce National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (2) Sep 22 2008

Lake Mead and Hoover Dam

Posted: under Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Nevada, September 2008.
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September 20, 2008 —  Today we dipped our hands in Lake Mead while enjoying the scorchingly dry air, then stopped and gazed down at the marvels of the Hoover Dam, and then drove very fast past Las Vegas (neither of us likes this place but that’s not why w drove so fast — it was just to keep up with the traffic), until we came to the last town in Nevada on Rte 15, called Mesquite. Nice quiet stay with an outside pool and temps around 100. We almost stayed a second day. But Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon were calling to us.

 

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

This trip is full of surprises. We spend a lot of time driving on roads that go up and down and in and out of canyons.  In this case, we took a spontaneous left off of Hwy 15 before the Hoover Dam.  We road down a curving, sandy, barren road.  I started wondering if this was such a good idea. Then, poof!  We see the most beautiful color lake.  Oh, and the air was so hot and so dry.  I would have loved to have rented a boat right there and then but I was afraid our fair skin would be burned to a crisp!

 

After our brief visit to Lake Mead, Hoover Dam was disappointing.  

 

Hoover Dam from lookout above

Hoover Dam from lookout above

This is not exactly your Hollywood image of Hoover Dam.  If we had taken the tour then we would have been able to see the dam wall from inside — now that’s more like Hollywood.  We chose not to do the tour — it being a Saturday it was very crowded and it probably would have been too much walking for Carl’s foot.  Rather save torturing his bad foot for things like Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park!

 

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BTW Just finished reading THE SHAPE SHIFTER by Tony Hillerman — inspired to download this e-book while driving through the Navajo Nation and I was right — it is much more fun to read Hillerman when you’ve seen the places or at least know where they are located — and can stick your finger in some Pinyon sap and smell it (the sap plays a role in the mystery). Actually, I’m ready to go explore more Navajo Nation.

Comments (0) Sep 20 2008

Oak Creek Canyon Road

Posted: under Arizona, Oak Creek Canyon, September 2008.
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September 19, 2008 afternoon — We took a scenic drive through Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon Road down the mountain

Oak Creek Canyon Road down the mountain

This road eventually leads into Sedona — I was so busy admiring the red rock that I never took photos!  Will have to wait until next time we pass through!

The next photo is of the road that leads down the mountain from Jerome, the mining town turned from ghost town to tourist town.

We ended up staying in Prescott, Arizona and had lunch at a saloon that has been around over 100 years.  Food wasn’t all that great but the atmosphere was good.

 

GPS image of the road down from Jerome

GPS image of the road down from Jerome

Jerome, AZ and its crazy roads

Comments (0) Sep 19 2008

Meteor Crater near Winslow, AZ

Posted: under Arizona, Meteor, September 2008.
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September 19, 2008 — morning.  

Carl standing on the rim of the Meteor Crater

Carl standing on the rim of the Meteor Crater

Carl has been wanting to see this Meteor Crater  for a long time. To get here you drive down a long road. Then you get to this parking lot and building and you just know that its going to dig deep into your pocket. And it was a bit more money than we expected — $15 each.  Scratch that — Carl being over 60 got in at $13.  Compared to the Grand Canyon which is $25 per car load, this is a bit of a rip. But we were there, so we paid up. I don’t know why they had to do this because it tainted the experience.  In hindsight, looking at the photos, it was worth visiting.  Just have to block out the money part. 

 


Comments (0) Sep 19 2008