Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015-15 Dolores Colorado to Moab Utah


Dolores Colorado continued
Moab Utah

Campground:  Ok Rv park and Canyonlands Stables.  $24.50 + tax PA rate, price includes a $3 elect chg.  Full hookups with cable tv.  Electric and water only sites are around $21.  Nice little park, I've been here a few times.

Colorado living

McPhee Reservoir 

evening sunset at campground

I’ve been in the 4 corners area now for a couple of weeks and I’ve finally gotten all pooped out on seeing all the historical Native Indian sites and I haven’t even gone back to some of my favorites like Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Ute Mountain Tribal Park and so many others.  It would take months to fully explore this region.  There’s even a place called Indian Camp Ranch, where one can purchase 35 acre lots that are guaranteed to contain historical Native Indian sites such as Kiva’s, pueblos, pit houses, pottery etc.  The heir to the Hine’s fortune owns some of this property and has opened it up to archeologist to explore on her land.  Giving her 1st rights to any finds.  Colorado permits land owners to excavate their own land with the supervision of an archaeologist.

One of my last tours in the area was to Canyons of the Ancients.

one of my day tours through part of Canyons of the Ancients

Lowry Pueblo

what Lowry Pueblo might have looked like

one of the few Great Pueblos with a protective roof added

a great Kiva at Lowry Pueblo

Well it’s getting close to another holiday and I need to make reservations somewhere.  Not having a particular plan of which direction I’d be going, I first checked into a place near Montrose Colorado, thinking it would be nice to start getting closer to a higher elevation as the summer heats up.  Unfortunately they were all booked up for the 4th of July.  So, I’ve decided to head into Utah, even though the temps are expected be in the 100’s.  I’ll be in Moab for 6 days and then I’ve found a nice little city park in Spanish Fork Utah for the week of July 4th.  My goal now is to head towards northern Idaho.  Sometimes we full time RV-ers have no idea where we will end up.

Painted Hand Pueblo

Painted hand Pueblo

Painted hands, now quite faded

These towers are characteristic of this region

possibly used as a watch tower and storage of grains etc.

I’ve learned a few tips I’ll share with you fellow travelers.

Telluride Colorado.  A beautiful mountain community that has major music festivals almost every weekend during the summer months and of course skiing in the winter.  If you don’t like huge crowds and the cost of those festivals, do what the locals do.  They head to Mountain Village.  It’s above Telluride and has weekly free events for the locals.  Outdoor movie nights Sunset Concert Series.  Bring a picnic and blanket and listen to the outdoor music.  Plenty of time to leave before the sun sets late in the evening to get back to Cortez or the Dolores area.  And if you have a hankering to go into Telluride, you can take the free gondola ride down the mountain into Telluride.  Tour the town on foot and ride the gondola back up the mountain away from all the traffic and congestion.

Cortez Colorado.  There is a big Colorado Visitor Center in town with a Mesa Verde Tourist extension.  I would recommend going here first before heading to Mesa Verde.  You can discuss the various tours available, make reservations (a must for the tours) and then be all set knowing your plans for your visit to Mesa Verde have been made and are in place.  Mesa Verde also has a number of options for restaurants if you are not doing a picnic lunch and you can learn more about those options at the visitor center.

Distance traveled:  109 miles

Wilson Arch, first of many arches in the Moab area

Moab Utah.  I crossed over from Colorado to Utah at 9:02 am today.  The western side of Colorado sure has some great ranch and farm land and it extended a bit into Utah before turning into the red sandstone and desert scenery that is so prevalent here.  Coming from the southern end of Utah, the first natural arch along the two lane highway 191 is the Wilson Arch followed by soft rounded monoliths of sandstone some looking like layered wedding cakes, others like blobs of stone in a desert.  Moab being home to Natural Arches National Park where there are just a ton of natural stone arches both in the park are surrounding area.  Moab is geared towards the outdoors with numerous rafting, ATV and jeep tours and rentals available.

Of course Moab is famous for Arches National Park, which I hope to tour early one morning, but with other sites in the area that I haven't seen in the past, Arches will be put on the back burner for now.

HOT.  My fist day in the area and it’s gotten up to 109 degrees.  That’s just about the hottest I’ve ever encountered while traveling the country.  The campers two a/c units are handling the high temps really well, keeping the 5th wheel camper a very comfortable cool 76 degrees inside.  Both are ducted throughout and I’ve noticed the bedroom a/c stays on most of the day and the living room unit cuts on and off as needed.

Canyon Lands National Park (North entrance)

I toured the north end of the Canyonlands National Park today which brings me on top of the mesa overlooking the canyon lands.  The southern end entrance will bring one into the bottom of the canyon itself.  One of the first things I notice as I’m driving up to the top of the mesa, is the large broad expanse of prairie grass lands on top.  Because of good rains this spring the grass lands are all as green as can be.

would you ever drive on that road?  

caused by many jeep tours, farming and city smog drifting in

As I stop at each of the overlook viewpoints along the way, I am amazed that folks will come all this way to tour and see the sights, only to use their smart phones and tablets to attempt to capture the spectacular scenery.  One guy was telling his wife, as they both were trying to capture the canyons miles below our viewing area that taking pictures with his smart phone just wasn't doing justice to the scenery.  Well, no kidding!?  I don’t really understand why someone would come all this way and not at least use a good point-and-shoot camera with a halfway decent zoom lense.

I can tell you, even with my good Canon Digital camera it is a challenge to try and get the perfect picture.

The most amazing site along the mesa top tour to me was the Mesa Arch.  It’s a low narrow arch hanging on the very top edge of one of the deep canyon walls.  A short hike leads the viewer to the edge of the canyon with it’s spectacular arch providing an eyebrow view of the canyon below.  The canyons were created centuries ago by the Green River and the Colorado river which merge at one point in the canyons below.  Wesley Powell explored the deep canyons as he traveled along the Colorado river which today leads into Lake Powell on the southern Utah boarder.

Mesa Arch, Canyon Lands NP

what a great view!

my favorite shot of the week....

The arch is right on the edge of the Mesa cliff and it's straight down....

It’s another 100 degree weather day, so all of my touring is being done before noon.  Then it’s back to the camper to hibernate in the cool recesses of the Rv.

one of many buttes in the area

all of this land was etched out by the Green River and Colorado River

So that’s about it for the week.  Could have done a bit more touring, but for now this will have to do.

more photos on PICASA

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