Saturday, July 13, 2019

Taking Our T@b Camper out West

Anna and I started our journey on Tuesday June 11th.  We planned to drive approximately 300 miles a day and then stay overnight in a campground. The T@b has air conditioning, a heater, a refrigerator, two-burner stove, sink, shower, and toilet. Anna made window covers, a spare tire cover and outside decals. We also have an awning for shade.

Day one brought us to east Tennessee and Day two to west Tennessee. Both campgrounds had swimming pools. We had lunch in our camper at I-40 rest stops.

Day three ended in western Arkansas; on day four we crossed Oklahoma.  The only thing we saw in Arkansas and Oklahoma were solar farms and wind turbines. These are supplemented by oil. Despite support of President Trump, the folks here don't use coal.

Next stop was Amarillo, Texas. We stayed at a fun RV campground and they had a limo to drive us to dinner.

We ate in the Big Texas Steakhouse and had troubadours serenade us.

And Anna tried to get the ring on the hook:

See her trying:

The next day we made Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first National Park we visited was the Petrified Forest in Arizona. Millions of years was needed to convert trees to works of stone art.

And finally, the Grand Canyon: four nights on the South Rim and three nights on the North Rim.

Anna viewing the South Rim awesomeness:

Bright Angel Trail down the South Rim:

Anna being daring on the South Kaibab Trail:

The dramatic North Rim seen from the Lodge restaurant balcony:

And we took the mule ride 2,000 feet down the North Rim of the Canyon:

And the view from Cape Royal - the mighty Colorado River:

The remainder of our stops went back and forth between Utah and Arizona.
We continued to Zion National Park where we went rock climbing.  Climbing on slab sandstone required a completely different technique from climbing granite and limestone; fortunately we had hired a guide to teach us how to negotiate this rock.

Our teardrop camper dwarfed by Zion environment:


Hiking in Zion:

Emerald Pools formed by three waterfalls:

On the way to Antelope Canyon we stopped at the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River:

Antelope Canyon is surreal. Our Navajo guide led us through the twists and turns to see kaleidoscopic views of the rock.

On our way to Monument Valley we took a boat tour on Lake Powell:

Monument Valley:

Our guide in Monument Valley was a Navajo man who was born and reared right in the Valley. He took us to a hogan where an older Navajo woman demonstrated traditional weaving.  She also tied a Navajo double bun (Mother Earth and Father Sky) in a woman's hair.

Anna between "The Mittens":

"Big Hogan"


Anna on yet another ledge (à la John Wayne):

And then on to Mesa Verde (altitude 8,500 feet):

Our camper dwarfed:

The most incredible construction I've ever seen in the U.S. were the Pueblo communities built into rock at high altitudes.  Anna and I took a tour of Balcony House. We had to navigate many steep steps, ladders and a very narrow tunnel.

We also did a twilight tour of Cliff Palace:

A ceremonial kiva:

We next headed to Dead Horse State Park on our way to Goblin and Canyonlands:

"According to one legend, around the turn of the century, the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30-yards-wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush. This created a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs straight down on all sides, affording no escape. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and let the culls or broomtails go free. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below."

So, of course, we hiked the trail to Dead Horse Point:

On to Goblin Valley State Park:

The landscape which is covered with sandstone goblins and formations is often compared to Mars.

We went to Canyonlands next. We hiked to Mesa Bridge first:

And then hiked to Grand View:

Our last stop before landing in Salt Lake City was Capitol Reef:

We hiked to see the petroglyphs left by native Americans long ago:

Then we hiked to get a good view of the rock that gives the park its name (people thought it looked like the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.):

Anna and I wanted to hike the Capitol Gorge trail. We had to drive two miles on an unpaved, narrow twisty road and the walk another two miles between the high canyon walls.

Settlers in the 1800's sometimes inscribed their names on the walls of the gorge:

Anna scrambled up the difficult trail to "The Tanks" (pools of water at the top of the gorge):

Before we left Capitol Reef Anna just had to stand on the edge of the rock overlooking the road out of the park:

We arrived in Salt Lake City the day after the birth of Evie Rose Story:

The story of our road trip will continue when we eventually leave Salt Lake City for home in North Carolina.