Friday, November 6, 2015

Arches NP

Hi Kids!  We are still alive and still trying to beat the weather! We plan to spend 2 days here, there is a lot to see.

Arches NP! We have been wanting
to visit this park for a long time!
We had high expectations of Arches National Park. We have seen all the photos and seen the Utah State License Plates with "Delicate Arch" on them.  With our weather window quickly closing, we headed into the park and secured a campsite in the VERY nice campground-still, no hookups of any kind and only water near the bathroom, no ability to fill up tanks with a hose. We part from our usual routine of staying in a campground when we are IN the National Parks simply because it saves tons of mileage if we are going to be there hiking and recreating.  MOST of the National Parks offer only primitive, small, though very nice campgrounds.

Normally, we do a good job of planning, but for some reason, we were a little absent minded about taking care of business before heading into the park.  Our holding tanks were on the full side, and our water was nearly gone.  Don't make that mistake!  Luckily, we brought along our handy portable water fill tank that usually rides, unused, in the rear of the truck cab.  We were darn glad we had it!  Dad was able to use it to add some much needed water to our holding tank.  A toilet that doesn't flush can quickly make Mom MOODY.  No worries, mission accomplished!  We got settled in and studied our guidebook to make sure we saw as much as we could of the park before the weather changed on us.

Arches Day 2:

Good Morning Kids!

It's so amazing hiking in this area.
Yesterday we did quite a bit of hiking.  Probably covered about five miles in total all day, but they were "Moderately Difficult" which meant rock scrambling and steep climbing involved, and boy, does that make a huge difference.  I am really feeling it today.  We hiked up and saw the famous "Delicate Arch", this is the one you see on the Utah State license plates.  I was shocked at the hike, I guess I was envisioning the arch being on a plateau and we would drive up and see it from a distance. Not at all.

We hiked up a mile and half at a very steep and (for me) hair-raising climb, around a cliff edge and then the arch itself was part of a large, slickrock bowl... very precarious, and terrifying for anyone (like me) afraid of heights.

There it is! Delicate Arch! Wow, what a hike.
I wouldn't want to do this hike in gusting winds like we have had the last couple of days... you could get blown right off the side with very little effort.  Of course I was forced to endure watching a group of very athletic 70-somethings clamoring around the bowl and posing in the arch... I could barely even LOOK at it, let alone run over there.  There are no "guard rails" or anything, and people must die here, I am convinced.

We left Arches this morning to head for Colorado. You know Dad, he wants to go to "Four Corners" so he can stand in 4 different states at the same time.  We will be going to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado as well.  The weather is not improving for us, and it is supposed to snow there today, so we are going to do the best we can.

Check out the slickrock in the far distance, upper left.
Those little specks are people,
on the wayto Delicate Arch.
The nights have been stormy and cold, but we have been very comfortable in the camper, as always.  We have been using the Olympic radiant heater every night.  Our batteries would never make it otherwise, because of lack of daylight hours, the solar would not be enough to keep us totally charged with the furnace running.  We have yet to plug in anywhere or use hookups.

We let ourselves get a little too depleted on water and full tanks and yesterday and we finally got into the town of Moab to "refresh" (empty tanks and fill up freshwater)  Luckily there is a local gas station and convenience store called "Maverik" that allows free RV dumping and fresh water filling. Super awesome of them to do this, and we are certainly grateful. We filled up our diesel there too.  We stopped at a small laundromat there and did our one load of clothes (first since we left a week ago) and while that did it's thing, we walked next door to a small grocery and bought some food.  I bought some salad, because I feel like we haven't any fresh veggies for a while and Dad looks like he might be getting scurvy.

Everything was nice and fresh after the stormy night.
Last night, right after we arrived back at the camper after the very satisfying day of hiking, we no sooner got in the camper than another squall blew in with cold air and rain.  It's so different when it rains in the dessert, the water rushes down the slick rock faces into "washes" which are like little flash-floods the appear almost immediately.  Then, it disappears almost as quickly as it arrived.  It made for a beautiful hike yesterday morning, with the red sand all wet, there was no blowing grit getting into our eyes and mouths and the colors against the blue sky were electric! Plus, there were tons of fresh animals tracks of all kinds as we traveled further away from people... deer, squirrels and all kinds of birds left clear markings all over the place.  The place must come alive at night with creatures everywhere!

Well, one thing I can tell you for sure, don't wait and visit all these parks when you are old and creaky like us. You will miss the very best parts, because you need to really hike out into the wilderness to fully experience the wonder they have to offer.  Our National Parks system has done an amazing job of making all of this available to us all in a very affordable, accessible way.  I have yet to go to any of them and not be absolutely slack-jawed at how amazing they are. They are all very different and unique and have their own special qualities, but they share the same quality in that they are just amazing-just like the four of you!

This morning it's on to Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park.  We took off early after morning coffee and pulled in the slides to head to new adventures.  We stopped at the Visitor's Center of the park because I had forgotten to get the obligatory T-shirt from Arches NP.  I chose a nice long sleeved one in honor of the colder place we were headed.  Todd's credit card was declined at the register so after reluctantly using our debit card to purchase my T-shirt (Debit cards are NOT a safe option these days kids) we got to the truck and I called our bank to find out what was going on.  Sure enough, our traveling gave them the heebeejeebees and they shut off our card.  I guess we are just too transient for them!  It's nice they make sure though, but it's a little bit embarrassing when your card gets declined!  Oh well. They apologized and turned the spigot back on, so we are off to CHARGE IT!

Literally took less than 30 minutes to get
the rock chip repaired!
Just as we were about to head out of Moab, I noticed a small but nasty looking rock chip on our windshield with the "star" effect starting already. Knowing we were headed for much colder climates tonight and tomorrow I dialed up USAA, with whom we have our auto insurance.  After a few minutes with a very polite and professional technician on the phone, they directed us to a glass repair shop only about 1/2 mile from us.  They called them and made arrangements, and with just a signature and 10 minutes of our time, we were back on the road with a repaired windshield! I don't see how it gets better than that! Thank you USAA!

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