US-191 - into Red Rock Country
In Northern AZ there are three small places on tribal land, the names of which have intrigued me for some time. This time my route would take me right by them.
I did not stop in any, other than to take photos, but they are the typical tiny desert settlements - the landscape really being the only attraction.
Without designated roadside pull-offs, I had to find the best place to safely park, and get some photos. I may never pass this way again.
That whole area almost looks as if the left overs from Monument Valley were deposited there.
That evening I had planned to get to Monticello. It was dinner time. When I drove through Bluff and through that beautiful canyon, I did not have time to stop and take a photo. Neither did I see anywhere I could have pulled over. My dashcam was not rolling either.
North of Blanding I came to a sign saying Devil's Canyon Campground. Not sure that I wanted to camp with the Devil, I still pulled in, to find that there was only one other there.... a large red trailer with a red car pulling it. The Devil?
I turned in with the sun and had a good night.... for a mere $12. These State Parks and State Forests are really under-utilised. I am yet to come to one which is even half full.
It's great that you are able to load photos again. It might well be a software issue that has contributed to the problems.
US-191 - Moab
A late start, stops at Church Rock and Wilson's Arch saw me arrive in Moab soon after lunch.
In 2001, with the relocation of the Monte Carlo from Minneapolis MN to Green Valley AZ I had stopped over in Moab. Stayed at the Lazy Lizard hostel. My arrival was late, having driven UT-128 as it was going dark.... by just following the tail lights of the car in front. It was not till later I found out how close I had driven by the river.
I have fond memories of that drive and that hostel - the cheapest I have ever stayed at. $8.00. Today it is $21. At that time I did not know I could have driven through Monument Valley (did not get there till 2007), nor how close I was to the Grand Canyon, or any of the other great NPs..
This time was going to be different. I knew all the places, and most of the attractions. Neither did I have a time/mile or vehicle restraint. Rolled into Moab at my leisure and surveyed the town. Seemed a lot bigger than what I recalled. The Lazy Lizard is still there, still behind all the storage units.
Having gathered yet more information at the visitor centre, restocked the pantry and fridge and picked up the (e)mail at Maccas I decided to make myself comfortable at the Moab Rim Campark. Theresa was welcoming and helpful. She directed me to a spot in the tent section, right by the building - which housed everything - under a large shade tree. The tent area was well shaded with trees and lush green grass underfoot. Picnic tables a plenty and electricity for those who desired it.... together with excellent wifi.
With only one tent, I virtually had the place to myself. Not so on my second night there. A large group of young folk from Paris were camped in a dozen or more tents. Besides them, there was a couple on a Harley and three ladies with two young children in a Jucy van. Have seen a lot of Jucy vans on the road, around Moab and the NPs. This was my first opportunity to check it out, close up.
It was a very well fitted out van. I was impressed. It has a house battery which runs the refrigerator and the lights in the penthouse, and in the van. The five seat belts were, two in the front and three in the very back seats. The middle seat area seemed to be purely for luggage with a platform for sleeping folded up during the day. However, you would not want to put a six footer in there.
Up top in the penthouse is where two of the ladies and one child slept. Again, it looked very comfortable and weather tight, but not if you are tall. These folk were all about 5'6" or a little taller. Complete with two camp stoves, one built in one portable. At night they put the back packs, etc on the front seats.
US-191 - Arches and Canyonlands
Two places which were still on my to-do list.
The night had been wet, but the day promised to be mostly fine. As always, the visitor centre is my first port of call. Then like the hoards, I followed the roads on the map. We had been told that the road to Delicate Arch was closed due to water over the road. If you wanted to go there, you would have to walk from the main road. That's not me, at the best of times.
One of the first turnouts, the start of Park Avenue, is where everyone stopped, so I figured I too would see the attraction. Some, but by no means all of it, was visible from the parking area. Cameras were clicking all around me. I figured there are more than enough photos of Arches NP's attractions on the internet, and decided to save my 'film' for other things.
However, this image spoke to me.
Spoke of the harsh environment and the struggle to survive. Yet bravely, the young plants fight to survive in its shadow.
Drove all the way to the end, stopping at all the turnouts and taking in the beauty of this creation. When I got to the end of the road, where I had been assured I would be able to see arches with minimal walking, there was not a parking spot to be found. Many cars were illegally parked along the road. Even all the permit spots were taken, so I gave that a miss. (Glad I stopped at Wilson's Arch, as it ended up being the only Arch I saw.)
Soon it started to rain which only added to the beauty of the place. The darkened sky seemed to hilight the red rock.... change its colour. Despite not seeing Arches, still a fantastic place.
Before I got to Canyonlands, my interest was peaked along route 313. There may not be any camping permitted in the first 8 miles, but after that there are three wonderful opportunities, right outside the park.... and so close to Arches. The first one is Long (or Lone) Mesa. I assume that this is a BLM campground. Looked nice, though not much shade. Horsethief, a little further on, likewise. Dead Horse SP looked nice, though I did not drive through it.
As I entered Canyonlands the sky in the distance got darker and darker, and we were treated to a continuous lightning show.
[It was on a high point, as I sat there surveying the scene that my phone rang. I had been out of range for some time. It was someone from the hospital in Las Cruces offering to help paying the outstanding amount. Eventually she got the message that I am a visitor. Seems that they did not take any notice of the address I gave, both at the time of admittance, and when I told them where to send the account. I was still recorded at some - but I don't know which - New Mexico address. If she had not rung, if I had not made it all clear (again) to her, that bill may never get to me. The thought of it.]
Enjoyed my drive through Canyonlands, but with the on again and off again rain and lightning, did not get out of the car or linger too long, anywhere.
Next morning I headed out on UT-128, just for nostalgia.... and to see what I missed out on the first time. Then on to Wellington for the night.
I am SO glad you got to do UT-128 in the daylight hours. We loved that scenic drive!!!
Traveling along with you -- and wishing that I were still out on the road instead of unpacking what seem like a thousand boxes ....
US-191 - Nine Mile Canyon
The trip up to Wellington was, I am sure, a pleasant, uneventful one through more of beautiful Utah. I really can't remember the specifics. Most of the memory of it was obliterated by the events of that evening, at the Chevron Truck Stop. It was after 6pm when I arrived and it felt good to be back at a truck stop, after all the campgrounds.
While paying for my fuel I asked the two gents behind the desk what they could tell me about the sign I had just passed, pointing to Nine Mile Canyon.
They were full of generalities, but not able to give me any specifics, only answering my questions in the broadest of terms. Then one pointed to the door (behind me) and said.... "Ask him, that guy with the blue shirt".
Del Dickey, a long time local, works with archeologist Steve Schaffer in the Canyon. He is a proud member of The We Nooch Society (search in the darkness). He proceeded to tell me all about the bones, rock art and artifacts they have uncovered. These tell the story of how the canyon has been used for thousands of years, up to the present day. It was a most informative and wonderful couple of hours we spent. At the end of it I was eager for 'tomorrow' to come, and go and check out as much as I could. The larger and better known sites are well away from the road, with hiking trails leading to them. But there are some which can be seen right by the side of the road.
First place I stopped was the Nine Mile Canyon Ranch. (The internet has not yet reached this area.) Had a lovely chat with the owner of the property who gave me permission to check out the campground. Very rustic, but oh so natural, right by the creek/river. There was a bathhouse with showers.
Nine Mile Canyon Ranch tent area
Nine Mile Canyon Ranch cabins
The several cabins do not have plumbing. A large area for tent campers as well as a large field where several RVs were parked with generators, and a hose nearby. This indicated to me that there is no facility for electricity, and just one or two points to fill the water tanks. Still, this is well away from civilisation. (Unless you call the mining operations 'civilisation'.) Nine Mile Ranch was the first to open its property to campers. They realised that it takes more than a day to explore this area.
As well as the campground, there are two picnic areas along the way.
Nine Mile Canyon - Cottonwood Picnic Area
When I was there, there were extensive roadworks going on in the canyon.
Nine Mile Canyon Roadworks
These are not only to facilitate the mining traffic, but also to protect the rock art from further damage by road dust.
Nine Mile Canyon Art
The full length of Nine Mile Canyon to all the sites, is paved. The first six miles of the scenic byway to Myton are not paved, and very rough.
Scenic Byway to Myton
I would not have attempted them if the weather had not been fine. Look what I would have missed.
All day I spent in the canyon admiring its beauty and the artworks. Back at the Chevron Truck Stop I thanked the guys, and asked them to pass my thanks on to Del, next time they see him.
US-191 - Dinosaur Diamond
Continuing north on the Dinosaur Diamond, the Utah/Colorado Historic Byway took me through the lovely little historic town of Helper. Another place with one of those names, one wonders where they got it. Easily missed, but full of lovely old architecture and atmosphere.
Once over Indian Pass, I turned to have a look down Indian Canyon. It was made quite clear that this is the property of whatever the oil drilling company is, and their traffic has right of way. Less than half a mile down I turned around, horrified by the mess the place was. As well as the mining there is some cattle grazing, a few derelict dwellings and a lot of rubbish. Thankfully none of this is visible from the highway.
My end destination on that day was Naples UT. I had occasion to drive down the main street of Vernal, as it was getting dark. It struck me how pretty and inviting it was. The fancy lights, the hanging baskets, places to stay and eat all lit up. Even a theatre.
Next day saw me crossing another item of my list. Really half an item. I only went to the western section of Dinosaur NM. Drove to the end, and back again, checking out the campgrounds, which were only partially full. Lots of nicely shaded sites, right by the river, with 'available' tags on them. Unfortunately I was not able to see the Visitor Centre nor the Display. Just getting to the shuttle to be taken there was way beyond me, as was the distance from the parking to the Visitor Centre. (A constant and increasing source of frustration.)
As was the inability to find pull-offs along the scenic and interesting part of this highway going further north towards WY. This area has to be a geologists delight. I don't know all my geological eons, but all the way I enjoyed reading as much as I could, without stopping, of the roadside boards informing me about the geological history of the region through which I was driving.
When I got to the bridge over the Green River, just down from Flaming Gorge dam, I pulled into the overlook. Lovely views of the bridge. However, there were two young man who had found a way of getting under the cyclone wire fence on top of this cliff overlooking the river. They planned to climb down this rocky slope in the rain. The rocks must have been very slippery. I did not stay around to see what happened.
Further on, at the dam, I found the information place had just closed. As I was driving around the parking area, I was closely shadowed by a sheriff's vehicle. Assumed he was just doing his rounds. Satisfied that there was nowhere to take a photo, I moved on. Turned into a side road and parking area, just a little way further on, to find another Sheriff sitting in his car. Realising this was a great place to see the dam and take a photo, I pulled over, and got out. As did the Sheriff.
I doubt the information office could have given me more information. We had a wonderful chat, and he answered all my questions, including what he was doing there. Almost half an hour later I headed off again, still determined to get to Rock Springs before dark.
Almost right on the stateline the surroundings changed dramatically from typically UT scenery, to the more desolate and open land of the high plains. [Ever since the discussion on the quiz thread, I have been very conscious of why the State borders are where they are.]
FJ in Rock Springs is a comfortable place. Been there several times, over the years. The adjoining restaurant has wifi, as has Maccas across the street.
As a sometime railfan Helper has always interested me. In the days of steam trains Helper was where the railroad stationed extra (helper) engines to get trains up a rather steep grade.
Bringing back memories.
Loving the report Lifey and it brings back memories of almost a year ago now [where does the time go ?] and when I discovered the reason for the naming of 'Helper' to the town. There was a young lad at the Dam visitor centre, looked barely out of high school and he seemed to know the area like the back of his hand.
Now that you guys mention it... I do recall reading that somewhere.