Cat Tales


We don’t normally travel on Sunday but we did this day. We left Torrey early because we had a serious drive ahead to get to Bryce Canyon Pines Campground. Hwy 12 from Torrey to Bryce is called The All American Highway. It is not a road for the faint of heart.

On the way we stopped for gas at a station where I liked these flowers and snapped a picture. These are plentiful all throughout Utah and Colorado.

 

Here is where we stayed near Bryce Canyon, a pleasant, quiet campground.

 

This is a shot of our campsite, C3 for 3 days.

 

 

Our first ride was west on Hwy.12 through Red Canyon, where you see beautiful red rock mountains and formations from the road. All traffic passes through this tunnel on Hwy12.

 

All this sight seeing is hard work. We took a lunch break at a visitor center on Hwy 14. We met the husband/wife volunteers working inside at the information desk and had a nice talk with them then it was back to work!

 

Utah’s Hwy 14, also known as Markaguant High Plateau Scenic Byway  is about 50 miles long and runs thru the Dixie National Forest, Utah's largest national forest, stretching over two million acres. The elevation in this forest spans from 3,300' in Dixie's desert to over 11,000' on Cedar Mountain.

Robb thought other riders would like the curvy 25 MPH sign. It was the first time we had seen one like this. What do think about the gap between the rocks? We’ve seen this in many places. It makes me wonder how long it’ll remain standing and how loud it will be when it does fall.

 

We took a turn onto Hwy 148 toward Cedar Breaks National Monument, where the climate is called sub-alpine. There are quaking aspens and tons of delicate wildflowers. We walked to Supreme Point which was a sight to behold.

 

 

 I read that color analysts have identified more than fifty different hues in the Cedar Breaks hoodoos. What’s a hoo-doo? Here they are.

I came across a site with some AWESOME pics of Cedar Breaks: http://www.zionnational-park.com/images/album2/index60.htm

 

With all the motorcycling through Utah’s National Parks filled with visitors one can forget that a lot of this land is cattle country. As we drive we are not only reminded by the road signs warning “open range” but here we passed these cowboys and their herd.

 

Other wildlife to watch for while riding is the beautiful antelope.

 

Next we’re off to Bryce Canyon which was set aside as a National Monument in 1923 by President Harding. In 1928, Congress established it as a National Park. Development was completed in 1942. The Park covers nearly 36,000 acres. Elevations range from 6,900’-9,100’.

 

There was too much Park for the amount of time we had. Someday we hope to come back to explore Bryce in much more detail. There is an 18 mile scenic road, north to south that has numerous overlooks of the canyon. From many, you may see over 100 miles away, on a clear day. Hiking and nature trails are plentiful, about 50 miles of them!

We stopped at this Natural Bridge where the elevation was 8,627’

 

There are overlooks that are viewed from a distance behind fences while others are dangerously open to the canyon below. As you read the sign below realize that fatal accidents do occur in the Parks because some people are not cautious.

 

On the top left, the Park Service tries to manage the forests by having controlled burns. Unfortunately, these sometimes become uncontrolled as this week’s was. The smell was not pleasant and there was smoke in certain areas yet.

 

I am always impressed with trees that grow in difficult places.

 

Here’s a last look at Bryce. Beautiful!

We’re on the road again, this time for 4 days visiting Zion National Park. We have reservations at St. George RV Resort in Hurricane, UT for 2 days. Surrounded by mountains the phone and internet services were sometimes non-existent.

 

Bottom right: Rec. hall where Robb and I sang. We met a pastor in the camp, who arranged an unscheduled Sunday church service, about 12 people attended. It was very neat! We are excited the way God keeps us busy for Him!

Hwy. 9 going into Zion was a scenic road. The beauty of the area is something we do not grow tired of. Tell me, would you find this tiresome?

 

Zion wasn’t always Zion. In 1909 President Taft set the area aside as Mukuntuweap National Monument. It wasn’t until 1919 that Congress designated it as Zion National Park. It encompasses some 150,000 acres. Visitors are most interested in Zion Canyon where you are able to drive east to west on Zion-Mt.Carmel Hwy or ride a shuttle north on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The elevations in Zion are as low as 3,600’, reaching as high as 8,700’.   

Riding thru on a motorcycle is neat. These next pictures were all taken on the Zion- Mt.Carmel Hwy.

This is an exciting ride filled with beautiful, tall mountains of many different types and switchbacks high above the winding road below.

There is a tunnel on the Zion-Mt.Carmel Hwy. that was built in the 1920’s. Cars have no problem with it but RV’s, busses, etc. need special blocking so they can use both lanes, plus they have to pay an extra $15.

 Bottom right: there are windows cut in the tunnel so you can see outside.

 

Just west of Zion is a community called Springdale that has a small but lovely park where we ate our lunch.

Exploring the big parks is always amazing and exciting but sometimes a quiet, little place tucked away amongst all the hub-bub is just what we need.

We decided we’d like more of the less populated attractions so we headed for Kolob Reservoir. There’s only one way, one road (about 25miles) to get there and it’s called Kolob Terrace Road just east of Virgin, Utah.

The ride was picturesque, there were definitely no crowds. Once again we got to a destination where the paved road ended but we continued on a bit to find a secluded area of the reservoir where cattle grazed and mooed on one side. On another, people fished in a boat, kids laughed from a remote camp area. In the distance speckled in the mountains were a few houses with beautiful views of the lake. What a gem of a place at 8,100’!

 

Returning to our camper we had supper, Robb wanted to go for another ride. I stayed back to do laundry since we leave tomorrow and are camping for 2 days in Zion with only electricity.

There was a short road off of I-15 at exit 40, called Kolob Canyons Road. Robb kept telling me how much I would have enjoyed the ride. Oh well! I did finish the laundry and had a great phone call from Robbie. We talked for 2 hours! Here are some pics Robb took.

 

Here we are at Watchman Campground in Zion Park.

 

From inside Zion we walked to the visitor center where an open air shuttle bus drove us north on Canyon Scenic Drive which is not open to cars. There are many trails in Zion. We look for short, easy hikes. The altitude and dry heat tires and winds us, making our hearts pump pretty hard. Recommendations are: do not hike beyond your physical ability, wear sun block, sunglasses, hats. Drink a gallon of water a day, wow, that’s a lot. In the desert, you don't noticed that you're sweating. Body moisture evaporates quickly, without your knowledge, dehydration is common.

 

On our hikes rocks sometimes can be an obstacle, sometimes you just have to clear the way!

 

A ranger said to watch out for the gray squirrels. They are being very aggressive. Do not feed them. Seal foods and coolers well. They are large and pretty much everywhere in the park.

We had to chuckle when this mama deer decided that the river was a good place to squat while baby watches on.

 

Tree roots wrap themselves around rocks in all directions. It’s interesting to see how these trees fight to survive.

 

We saw what looked like a face in a rock. Do you see it?

 

We saw a waterfall.

 

Zion, with its massive stone walls can make you feel pretty small.

 

 

A parting peaceful scene in beautiful Zion.

 

It’s Sunday, July 26, we'll leave Zion today. We’re headed for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in AZ. But first we will return to St.George RV Resort in Hurricane, UT. for the church service I told you about earlier. What a blessing it was.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived at North Rim Campground was the lower temperature. This area is part of the Kaibab Plateau which is 8,000’-9,000’ above sea level. The campground has tall pines and is not crowded. Except for the noisy ravens that fly into camp a couple times a day it is a quiet, peaceful place.

 

There are trails a short distance from your site that lead you to some spectacular views of the Canyon. We went exploring right away. It was really nice to have such awesome scenery right in your camp!

 

Monday was a busy ‘work’ day! We drove almost 20 miles away from camp on Scenic Drive, Cape Royal Road to view the canyon from Cape Royal. There is a paved path for easy access to the different vistas marked with information signs describing the scenery, plant and animal life around you. The picture on the right is of Angel’s Window.

 

Here is one of those signs with useful information. Did you know this about lightning?

 

We also drove up to Imperial Point which is the highest point in Grand Canyon at 8,803’. Here are some pictures taken from Cape Royal to Imperial Point that I especially like.

Here are some more good photos we took along the way.

 

These are at Imperial Point.

 

Our last stop was the Visitor Center and Lodge. We were impressed with the view from the Lodge. From the front entrance you walk across a lobby, down some stairs and enter a large room with tall, wide windows. There before you is a panoramic view of the canyon. Outside this room are patios with the same view where you can sit, put your feet up to take in the beauty.

 

It is time to return to camp. We’ll start preparing for tomorrow’s departure. We’re off to Camp Verde where we will stay for a week. This is a special week to visit with our son, Corey from Phoenix. We will be on the road by 6:00am tomorrow.

It took us over 5 hrs to drive to Camp Verde. There was no interstate until we got to Flagstaff. The temps are climbing higher. While camping in Utah we made an effort to park the camper under large shade trees. We did the same here! It is hot, hot, hot.

 

Corey arrived with one of his good friends, Bryan. It was so good to see them both. I hugged Corey a long time. That felt goooood! There were times this week, in the middle of walking or talking I had to just go up and hug him again and again. Now that I’m in Wi. I realize that wasn’t enough. We miss you, Corey.

 

Corey has made plans for us to go to Bryan’s mom’s house for dinner on Wed. night. Debbie and her husband, Fred love Corey like a second son. That is comforting for me knowing he is welcome at their house. It was great to meet them. They were very gracious hosts. We had a wonderful time together.

 

 

Everyone had a good laugh as Robb showed them some of Tasha’s and Mikey’s Cat Tales . Sitting on the couch is Robb, Corey, Debbie and Sherri (Fred and Debbie’s neighbor).

 

Many people have pets; dogs, cats, fish etc. What about tortoises? Debbie and Fred have a special habitat for these two. Bryan said they love melon!

Thanks Fred and Debbie for making us feel so welcomed in your home!

After dropping Corey off at home we returned to Camp Verde, 90 min. north of Phoenix.

 

Thurs. we drove to Corey’s apartment before meeting with some of his friends for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes. Corey also has 2 cats, Puff and Rascal. They are 15 yrs. old.

 

Bryan was helping with the ironing while Corey gets ready.

 

In years past, we have met nearly all Corey’s friends who we are having dinner with. Here is a group picture at the restaurant.

 

We went back to Corey’s to celebrate Karsen’s (3) and Rion’s (1) birthdays. We were glad to have had the chance to spend this time with them. I have too many cuuuuute pictures of them, here are a few.

 

On Fri. Corey drove up to go to dinner with us. We planned to go to a BBQ place but when we got there, it no longer existed. He got a little stressed when we ended up driving around in circles trying to find another place to eat. We settled on Randall’s and Family Restaurant, a homey little place in Camp Verde. Afterwards we strolled around the campground then he took that long drive back to Phoenix.

 

Sat. would be the only day we would not see Corey this week. He had plans and I wanted to see Sedona.

Past Sedona heading north on Hwy 179 is a nice ride through Oak Creek Canyon.

 

Sat. night there was a dinner at the clubhouse. We went. A real nice meal was served. There was good conversation with some wonderful people.

Sun. morning Robb and I sang at the church service in the clubhouse. Earlier in the week we met Pastor Jack and his wife Rose. We developed a sweet friendship and spent hours talking with them.

 

Sunday is a day for company. We had guests visit us today. First there was this cat that spent the entire day up in the tree alongside our camper. Corey and his friend Mark came over. They played a game of pool in the rec. area. We went for a short walk around camp and ate supper. Then we were off to Dairy Queen for a cool treat.

 

Monday; only one more day left to visit with Corey. Time has sped by. Late afternoon, Corey arrives at Camp Verde with his adopted family, the Lomax’s, Rob, Shaina, Karsen and Rion. After a bite to eat at Denny’s it was time to hit the pool. Even though it’s been 100 degrees all week the water is refreshingly cool.

 

Karsen had some swing time before she left.

I knew this time would come…I have not been looking forward to it… Time to say goodbye. While Rob and Shaina get the kids in the car. Robb and I say goodbye to Corey.

Long embraces give way to “I love you’s”. We all kept our composure, no tears. Then the next thing you know… you’re waving goodbye, but not before Robb plants a set of bunny ears on Corey! Just like that… one week’s visit…finished much too soon.

 

Some extra pictures. I played with effects on a couple pictures. I like it, I like it.

 

 

Tues. Aug 4th we left Camp Verde around 9:00 am. We had chosen our route to Bluff, UT but on the way we changed our mind and took a different, more scenic route. We were glad that we did. We drove through Monument Valley, an unknown place to us.

Yesterday, Rob Lomax had asked us if we’d seen it. We didn’t know we were anywhere near it. Strange how things happen at times.

 

 

20 miles after crossing into Utah on Hwy 163 we came to a small village called Mexican Hat, named after a nearby rock formation, shown below.

 

 

This area has some very colorful mountains.

 

For 2 nights we will stay at Cadillac Ranch in Bluff, Utah. This is a small, private campground that is clean and very nicely landscaped. We enjoyed our stay here.

 

 

This is Bluff.

 

 

Here is a rock formation known to this area called Navajo Twin Rocks.

 

 

North of Bluff is State Hwy 95. About 30 miles west is Natural Bridges National Monument in White Canyon. It is a small park with 3 of the world’s largest natural stone bridges, Sipapu, Kachina and Owachomo. Bridge View Drive, an 8 mile loop with overviews and trails runs through the park.

 

 

 

The Sipapu Bridge is the first bridge after the Visitor Center. Its height is 220’ from the ground, span is 268’,width 31’, thickness 53’.

 

 

Kachina Bridge was next. Its height is 210’, span 204’, width 44’, thickness 93’

 

 

The last bridge on the loop is Owachomo. Its height is 106’, span 180’, width 27’, thickness 9’.

 

 

We decided to take the trail down to this bridge. Going down was easy. Coming back up was very tiring. Our hearts were beating pretty hard and that was after a very slow ascent with breaks to rest (bottom left). Some of the trail stairs were carved out of the rocks by developers while others were just the natural slope as you can see on the bottom right photo.

 

 

Once you make it to the bridge it is just too big to photograph. Here is Robb resting under the Bridge. You can see that he is tiny in comparison to the small portion of the base that is showing.

 

 

When we did return to the parking lot we got our lunch out of the bike and found a bench to rest and eat before we headed south on scenic Hwy. 261 to Moki Dugway.

 

Moki Dugway is a 2.2 mile unpaved, but nicely graded stretch of road that has steep10% grades, and numerous switchbacks. Vehicles over 10,000 lbs. and longer than 28’ are warned not to travel this road.

 

 

 

There is an overlook where you may stop to see the panoramic view of the valley and Hwy 261 as it winds south to Mexican Hat. It is an amazing sight to see.

 

 

Our 2 days in Bluff were gone in no time. We are on our way to Pack Creek Campground in Moab, UT for 6 days. Traveling on Hwy 163/191 north we passed this enormous structure called Church Rock.

 

There is so much to see in Moab. It is not possible to visit it all in just 6 days. As I look through the pictures it is also hard to decide which ones to use. I want to show so many more than there is room for. I hope you enjoy the ones that are posted.

 

 

Aug. 7,2009  The first thing we did in Moab was to drive through and then hike in Arches National Park, 5 miles north of Moab on Hwy 191.

 

 

 

The scenic drive is 48 miles round trip. We passed an area called Courthouse Towers.

 

 

We were off to Balanced Rock where Robb couldn’t resist this picture.

 

 

Our next stop was Delicate Arch. We took a 3 mile, steep walk to shoot these pictures.

 

 

 

An 8 mile ride brought us to Devil’s Garden. We hiked 1.6 miles to Landscape Arch taking many pictures.

 

 

Landscape Arch was the last one to explore on our hike.

 

 

We learned that last year at about this time one of the Park’s Arches fell! Aug. 5, 2008 Wall Arch collapsed during the night landing on a trail below. What a sound that must have made. That’s one mess I wouldn’t want to clean up!

 

The next day we rode to Canyonlands, Utah’s largest National Park 337, 598 acres of canyons, mesas, buttes,arches and more. The park is divided into sections by 2 rivers, the Green and the Colorado. It is very invigorating climbing the rocks and walking the trails. We had a good time.

 

 

The roads were fun to drive too.

 

 

This is another place that you cannot visit in one day...way too much to see.

 

 

The following day we took a ride that wasn’t one of the typical tourist routes but it looked like an excellent motorcycle ride… and it was! From Moab we took Hwy 128 east along the Colorado River then turned on a road called the La Sal Mnt. Loop. WOW! A book described it this way, 64 miles, the climb is steep with narrow switchbacks, but the views are spectacular.

 

 

This area has been used as backdrop to westerns and other movies since 1949. It is beautiful.

 

 

The only problem with long rides in the desert is it’s hard to find gas. Many bikes are able to get 100 + miles on a tank. We learned to carry 2 small gas cans in our saddle bags. We took a break in this lovely little spot after filling up.

 

 

Mounting the bike again we started the steep ascent of the mountain. At one point we had to pull over to snap this breath taking view.

 

 

Up and down we rode twisting the turns, leaning the curves. Many times we thought we were at the summit starting our descent when along came another curve with another hill to climb then down again just to find another curve with a hill up again. It was an interesting drive with spectacular scenery.

 

 

I like this one.

 

 

Returning to Moab we stopped off to eat at the Branding Iron after our hard days ride.

 

 

One last picture to share. I thought this was interesting. It was not the first time we'd seen this type of fence. When we were in Texas we often saw fences like these. My guess is that these branches and tree pieces are less expensive than lumber from Menards or Home Depot.

 

We tell ourselves time and again that we have to get up early to ride in the cool of the morning. That hasn’t happened yet so we have either gone out in 100 degrees or have waited till the heat of the day passes. Today is Mon. Aug.10. It is 2:00pm, hot and guess what? Yes, we’re ridin’! We were told that a scenic byway, U- 279 was another ‘Must See’.

 

The rock walls along the river are so tall you feel like a tiny insect.

 

 

Underneath these enormous sheer walls we rode our bike praying that nothing that was teetering above would decide to visit us on the road below.

 

 

This was a 17 mile paved rode. After the pavement ended the road continued on as gravel. We did not take it. It took us over an hour round trip to drive this Byway.

 

 

 

Much of Utah has been awesome to view just from the major highways. This is on US 191 just north of Moab. You pass it everyday!

 

 

Since it was mid afternoon we drove over to Hwy 128 again to see the sights along the Colorado, east of Hwy 191. The curves are plentiful with some beautiful scenery.

 

 

These rafters are enjoying the river differently than us.

 

 

There’s never a shortage of curves, twists and turns.

 

 

Today, Tues. Aug.11th is our last day riding in Moab. Saturday we had visited Canyonlands to the area called The Needles. Today we are driving to the northern area called Island in the Sky. Grand View Point is at the end of the road. You can see for miles and miles. The views were grand indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The roads were twisty and fun. Our time in Moab was memorable to say the least. We spent a month in Utah and just scratched the surface of all there is to see in this state. Robb said you could take a year and see something different every day and never run out of new things to see and do!

 

 

Tomorrow we leave for Fairplay, Co. to visit with friends, Al and Corene Watson.

Aug.12,2009 We left Moab early Wed. morning. The drive north to I-70 was quick. The scenery started changing as soon as we got to I-70. Once we were on the interstate we only had about 50 miles till we reached the CO state line. The further east we drove the more the scenery changed. Here are some pics I took while driving on I-70 in Colorado.

 

 

 

 

We drove about 200 miles east on I-70. The mountainous interstate was  challenging but nothing like what was ahead on State Hwy. 9 and 285 on the way to the campground where Al and Corene stay which is south of Fairplay with an elevation just under 10,000’. I commented that I was glad we were not driving these roads with our 5th wheel. Climbing up through Hoosier Pass was incredible.

 

 

 

We finally got to Al and Corene’s and set up the camper. What a joy to see them again! They had a nice dinner for us and invited some of their family over too. Around the table from left to right is Corene, Al, Larry, Ellie and Robb. I was taking the picture.

 

 

Al and Corene own an RV lot in this mountain top campground. There are trees, plants, flowers and bird houses in their yard. They have hummingbird feeders too. And beware. The hummingbirds buzz right past you and over your head to get to their food.

 

 

I asked Al if he drives his 5th wheel through Hoosier Pass when he comes to Colorado. He smiled and said because they always come from Texas they take an easier route from the south. Just look at this picture carefully. Can you see how this road twists and rises? Great for motorcycling…not so great for big rigs.

 

 

We spent 5 full days at Al and Corene’s, riding hundreds of miles. We’ve always loved the Colorado scenery. I could show you way too many photos…but I’ll restrain myself.

 

 

 

Notice the curvy line to the right in this picture? It is the same road we are on only it is much further down the mountain far below us.

 

 

One night at the campground we played for a crowd of residents, who were having a delicious Mexican potluck. Wow, we ate too much. Then along with the high altitude we had some trouble singing. But what a fun time we all had!

 

 

Time to relax in the clubhouse, while I do the laundry in a nearby room.

 

 

Beautiful Colorado.

 

 

 

While riding through Salida one day we stopped at Walmart. We parked the bike and noticed these 3 characters looking at us. The windows were all down in the truck and they were just sitting, watching, waiting patiently, quietly. It was way too cute. I had to snap a picture.

 

 

Since we’re talking animals…even though we did not bring Tasha and Mikey on this trip, we did have some cat time with Lil’ Bit and Domino, Al and Corene’s cats.

 

 

These 5 days went by fast. It is time for a group photo. We will be leaving Fairplay very early tomorrow morning. Al is a very tender hearted man, who has been known to shed a few tears. When it was time to say goodbye to our dear friends, Al cried, so did Corene , then it was my turn. We are thankful that God brought us together when we were in Texas!

 

 

Mon. Aug.17 when Robb and I left Fairplay the temp was 27! After a month of 100 degree temps… it’s down to 27!  Brrrrr!

In a little while Al and Corene will be packing up their 5th wheel, heading for the warmer climate in the Hill Country of Texas.  God bless your travels and your health!

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