John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

August 2007 Journal

August

31  Today is our last day.  It’s hard to believe 5 days has gone by so quickly.  We got up and had coffee.  Everyone was moving a little slower this morning.  We started packing up our stuff and then had breakfast.  Today was egg in the toast with cheese and bacon.  It was a little overcast this morning which was appreciated by all.  John was going to go in the raft today, but decided to stay in the duckie.  This would be his 3rd duckie day.  Over the 3 duckie days, John did over 50 miles.
We saw multiple herds of Bighorn Sheep and antelope.  Throughout the day we saw over 50 Bighorn Sheep.  Yesterday we had a White Pelican we kept seeing along the way.  He’s back again today.  We don’t know if it’s the same one, but there aren’t many pelicans in this area.  Our take out is at Swaseys.  Mile marker 12.  We all unpacked the rafts, helped to load up the equipment truck and bus and then headed back to Moab which was about an hours drive.  We were going to go right home after dropping off Angie and Eva.  However, John the brew mister (Angie and Eva’s neighbor) came over and made John an offer he couldn’t refuse.  He had some wheat beer he had just brewed for our return.  We stayed by Angie and Eva’s for a while.  Their other neighbors Jenny and Frankie also stopped by.  We ended up getting back to the cow about 930pm.  A great trip, but it went by to fast.

30 
     This morning we had pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  Later we found out there was a bear just outside our camp last night.  He was a well behaved bear and didn’t come into camp.  John decided to do another day in the duckie.  We did have about an hour of rain and wind which made paddling very difficult.  There was one set of rapids where the duckies had to portage.
We set up camp just past Saleratus Rapids.  Mile marker 29.  We were all unloading the rafts and Michelle called us over and wanted us to take a walk.  She showed us bear tracks and said her and Dave which is a National Parks Service Ranger found tracks and bear scat.  So she advised us when we put up our tents to stick together and don’t have any food in or near the tents.
We all came down on the beach and had cocktails.  Angie’s arm was really bothering her, so we jury rigged a sling for her arm.  Dinner was steak with grilled mushrooms and onions and potatoes with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Since the water level is so low, we had a lot of paddling so everyone was tired and went to bed early.  Over the last two days John went close to 40 miles in the duckie.  His palms were getting blisters and callused, so Bolla gave him some gloves which helped a lot.

   29       Once again, coffee was ready early and this mornings breakfast is omelets and bacon.  Today we were in for some rapids.  Chandler Falls at mile marker 47.  Bruce went first.  He is experienced and has his own small oar raft.  He almost went over.  John was next.  We saw him go down, then his boat shot up.  Before we could look for him, we were already entering the rapid.  We went over a 4 foot drop and then into another.  I was in front with Eva and a huge wave of water came over us.  A minute later we were out of it ok.  Then we found out we lost Angie, she was in the ejector seat in the back with Bolla.  We saw her going down the rapids behind us.  John was in the water in front of us.  Bruce went out to get John and his raft to shore.  John made sure to hold on to his duckie and paddle.  Our raft made it to shore and Angie finally caught up with us.  Angie was holding on to the back rope when she was tossed out of the raft.  Her arm was twisted and she had rope burns on her fingers. Of our 3 big oar rafts and 10 duckies, we had 6 duckies wipe out.
We decided to camp at Big Canyon.  Mile marker 46.  We unpacked the 2 rafts that were there.  We had to wait to put up tents because all the food and most of the tents were on Russ’s raft.  While we were waiting, we saw another huge beaver.  It came up on shore not to far from camp and stayed a few minutes then left.  After about 45 minutes, some people decided to hike up river to find Russ.  That’s good they did.  His boat had hydroplaned onto rocks and there was no way off.  They had to move the rocks from under the boat and slowly drag it back to the channel.  Russ finally made it about 2 hours after us.
We set up our tent and then headed down to the beach.  We got a cocktail and there was a vegetable tray they had made for appetizers.  While they were preparing dinner, Ron Nagel got out his guitar and started playing all sorts of tunes.  He used to play with Kris Kristofferson.  He played a good variety but really liked playing Merle Haggard.  For dinner we had Rosemary Chicken and rice with peach shortcake for dessert.  Afterwards, Ron started playing guitar again and then Russ came over with his harmonicas.  A bunch of us sat around singing until the moon rose over the mountains.  We could see the light glowing on the mountains behind us.  Then we headed to bed.  We new we’d be up early.


28 
    This morning we got up and coffee was ready.  We started breaking down our tents.  This mornings breakfast was cereal, bagels and cream cheese, ham and cheese.  We were still going to motor for awhile to pick up time.  The 3 rafts were still connected and the duckies on board.  Duckies are like an inflatable kayak.  Most are for one person.  After our lunch stop the rafts cut loose from one another and the duckies also went in the water.  This area of the canyon is very impressive.  At one point, it’s higher than the tallest point of the Grand Canyon.
It turned out to be a long day.  We had to push the boats off of big boulders frequently due to the low water.  We had 3 rafts and 10 duckies in the river.  We saw 4 bighorn sheep along the river and we also saw a bull.  We camped at Firewater Rapids.  Mile marker 66.  Dinner was Grilled Salmon. We heard thunder and were concerned we may get a storm, but it never came.

   27      Today is our Green River – Desolation Canyon Raft Trip with Tag-a Long Raft Company.  It’s a 5 day, 4 night trip.  We will put in at Sand Wash.  Mile marker 95.  Then over 5 days we’ll raft 83 miles to Swaseys take out.  We will have over 50 rapids along the way.  The current water level is 1200 cfs, which is on the low side.
We have been in Moab Utah for 55 days so far over 2 different months.  In all that time, we have had very little rain.  Last night it started raining around 8pm and still has not stopped.  It’s very foggy out.  This is not good weather for a small plane flying over mountains and landing on a dirt airstrip in the middle of nowhere.
We got up at 615am and headed over to Angie and Eva’s to have coffee and pick them up.  We got to Tag-a-long at 815am.  We found out they may cancel our flight.  We were supposed to check back in at 930am.  So we went to Moab Diner for breakfast with Angie, Eva, John (Bolla) and Barbara.  Angie works for Barbara.  After breakfast we still had time, so John and I went back to Angie and Eva’s.  We called Tag at 930am and they still weren’t sure.  Check back at 1015am.  So then they said come over, were taking the school bus for a 5 hour ride up to our put in at Sand Wash.
We went through Price and Duchesne and at Myton we drove 40 miles on a dirt road across the Tavaputs Plateau to Sand Wash.  The last mile the road was actually a wash and since it had rained, there were parts that were wet and muddy.  Doug was our driver.  He was sure he could make it down, but brought a 12 pack in case he couldn’t make it up.  We got there and the boats were all packed up.  We got our life vests and some instruction and overview of what was happening.
Michelle was our boatman and the trip leader.  We had two other boatman, Russ and Sara.  There is a total of 22 of us.  Our 3 guides, 16 adults and 3 kids.  We started down the river about 430pm.  We saw a herd of wild horses along the way.  We stopped just past Gold Hole.  Mile marker 88.  Our first day we went 7 miles.  This is a sand bar beach area near where we saw the horses.
We set up our tent while Michelle, Russ and Sara (the boatsman) prepared dinner.  We had tuna wraps for dinner.  After a few nightcaps, we all went to bed early.  In the middle of the night we got up to go to the bathroom.  On the way we heard a loud noise right at the edge of the beach.  We found out that it was a huge beaver.  Angie woke us up around 3am so we could watch the total lunar eclipse.  Barbara didn’t get up so the 5 of us John (Bolla), Angie, Eva, John and myself sat on the beach for about an hour and watched the eclipse and saw meteors.  Not a single cloud in the sky.

26
     Today John headed out for a 5 mile hike.  I decided to stay back and update the website.  Also, we found out on Monday night while were on our raft trip, there is a total lunar eclipse.  So we have to get up at 330am.  It starts in Utah at 350am, the total eclipse will last from 450am until 550am and then be completely over at 650am.  So, we’ll check in after Labor Day with photos and updates on our trip.

25 
    We headed out early for another hike from our campground.  I did about 4 miles and John did 5 miles.  When we got back, we had to go to town and drop off our raft trip items.  We leave for our trip on Monday morning.  We have to drop all our stuff off today so they can do the 6 hour drive tomorrow to take it all up.  There are 17 of us on the trip and were flying up Monday morning.  John and I have 3 dry bags which has our tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and clothes.  We also have 2 dry day boxes for lotion, bug spray, cameras and anything we need during the day.
Now we have the alcohol.  We are dropping it off for the four of us, John, myself, Eva and Angie.  Ok, we think this will be enough, but everyone we talk to tells us were going to run out.  Let us know what you think.  We will be gone 5 days and 4 nights.  We have 84 cans of beer, 8 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of butterscotch schnapps.  1 bottle of Irish cream and 4 mini bottle of Irish cream.  Take a look.
When we get back, I will let you know how it worked out.  In the meantime, email us and let us know what you think.  I’ll be updating our photos and journal again just after Labor Day.

24 
Today we spent the day doing laundry and packing everything we need for the raft trip.

23 
Today we headed to head into town to do some shopping and get a few items for our raft trip.  Then we relaxed at the pool.

22  
We got up this morning and headed out to the ATV trails between our campground and Arches NP.  I hiked 4 miles round trip and John did 6.5 miles round trip.  Later in the day we went to the pool.

21
This morning is perfect temperature.  John is waxing the truck early while it’s still shady and I’m working on TCI stuff.  We got a video for later in the evening.

20  
This morning we worked on questions for our upcoming raft trip.  Then we headed out to the dentist for our cleanings.  We stopped by Tag-a-Long which is the company were going on the raft trip with.  We had a whole page of questions and also had to pick up our equipment bags and boxes.  We gave “Big Red” (the truck) a nice wash and headed home.  We had a nice dinner and watched the movie “Apocalypto”.  It’s about life in the Mayan World.

19 
     We went over to Eva and Angie’s this morning and then we all headed out to Red Cliffs Lodge along RT 128 River Road.  We were meeting Lisa our Colorado friend for Brunch.  The Red Cliff Lodge also has a Winery and Cowboy Museum.  So after brunch we had a few wine samples and headed to the museum.  It mostly shows the history of all the films shot in the Moab area and also local extras that worked on the sets.  It’s very cool to see the different scenery and know that you’ve been right in the same location.
Now it was getting hot and we’re all ready for the river.  We headed out to the secluded beach Eva and Angie know about.  We spent the afternoon on the beach soaking up the sun, cooling off in the Colorado, watching the rafters go by and enjoying a few ice cold cocktails.  How does it get much better than this!!  When it was time to leave, we had to transfer the beer that Lisa brought to our cooler.  Since she’s in Colorado the beer is stronger than what they sell in Utah, so we had her get us a supply for our raft trip.  Then we went back to Eva and Angie’s.  We had dinner there and we were done.  It was a great day!


18 
Today is a time out day.  We’re hanging around the cow reading

17 
    We headed out early this morning and picked up Eva and her son Jason.  We were finally going to hike Corona Arch.  We went out Potash Road to the trailhead.  The trail is about 3 miles round trip.  There is an elevation gain and also climbing up slickrock and a ladder.  We finally made it to the arch.  John and Jason did a little more hiking around and investigating the area.  Years ago a plane flew through the arch.  Now there is a law that you can no longer fly through arches.
After our hike we were ready for a cold one and lunch.  We stopped at Angie’s work but she was out somewhere.  So we went to the Mexican Restaurant, had a nice lunch and Eva and I had margaritas and John had beer.
We went back to Eva’s, Angie came home from work.  We had a few more Margaritas and hung out.  We were going to go to the pool, but it was thundering and lightning so we had dinner at their house and then headed home about 930pm.


16 
We’re still being bums.   That’s ok.  We had to purchase some items for our upcoming raft trip so we went into town.  Since we were there, we also did some grocery shopping.

15 
This morning is overcast.  We decided to head out of the campground for a hike.  We went about 5.5 miles on the ATV path behind the Campground.  We got back and took it easy.

14 
This morning we spent researching our campground for this winter.  We found one in Yuma Arizona and set up a reservation.  In the afternoon we went to the pool.  After dinner we took a walk around the campground and to the East was a fantastic lightning storm.  We watched it for a while but the storm never made it to us.

13 
Today is time out day.  We’re turning on the AC and hanging around the cow.  We got a call in the evening from our niece Stacey.  Her and Ed are now Engaged.

12  
This morning we were awaken by howling.  We didn’t know if it was a dog or a deer in distress.  It went on and on and on.  John got up and started the coffee and then went outside.  When he didn’t return, I knew he was on a mission.  I got up and Eva was just coming over.  We still heard the howling.  Eva and Angie went out to see if they could find John.  They all came back and John filled us in on his adventure.
He ran into a scout for some hunters.  They have 4 hounds searching for bobcats and bears.  Yesterday they got 2 bobcats.  The scout told John the hound probably had a bear trapped in a tree since last night there was a bear around their camp.  The scout headed up the hill to check it out.  When he returned he told John the hound had a bobcat in a tree.  When the bobcat saw the scout, he took off out of the tree with the hound close behind.  The scout didn’t care where the hound was, since they all have electronic tracking collars.  Turn on the GPS and go where it tells you.
Ok, the howling is ended for now, everyone is up and were all having coffee and pasties on the verandah overlooking the mountains.  Lisa started making breakfast burritos.  We were working hard.  We talked about packing up and heading to the river for a swim but we never made it.  Instead, we had a few cocktails while enjoying the cool mountain weather and scenery.  We headed home around 5pm it’s a little more than an hours drive.
We got back to Eva and Angie’s house and realized we forgot Misty the Chihuahua dog.    OOP’s!!!  OK, only one thing to do, turn around and drive back to the Yurt.  So off we went.  When we got there, Misty was relaxing in the Yurt and glad to see us.  We took in one last view and headed home, Again.  We made it back around 830pm.  We did see a deer along the way.  It was a beautiful drive back with the sun setting over the rock formations and a few clouds in the sky which gave us some great colors.  John and I got back to the cow about 9pm.  Our cats were hot and happy to see us.  We were done and ready for bed.

    11       This morning we got up early and packed the beast.  We met at Eva and Angie’s.  We were heading up to the LaSal Mountains with Eva, Angie and Lisa.  We were staying in Steve and Joettes Yurt.  A Yurt is a cross between a cabin and huge tent.  They are round and about 20 feet in diameter.  They have a round glass skylight in the center.  They have 2 Yurts.  One is the bedroom and the other is the main one which is the kitchen and living area.  John and I were staying in the main yurt.
Anyways, from Eva and Angie’s, it’s a little over an hours drive.  We got up and unpacked the cars.  It’s very pretty in this area.  Up in the mountains, it’s much cooler than down in Moab.  Moab will be about 98 today and were going to be around 85.  We enjoyed the deck and then moved to the shade of the trees.  We did get up some energy to go on a short hike around the property.  We didn’t see any animals but there are deer, elk, bears, bobcats and others around.
After dark, we were planning on watching the Perseid Meteor Showers.  This weekend is supposed to be the peak and since there is no moon and were up in the mountains away from all light it should be great.  Except for one small problem.  There are clouds around tonight.  We did see a few, but we decided to go to bed and get up around 3am and see if it clears up.  Eva and Angie got us up around 130am.  The sky was clear and loaded with stars.  You could clearly see the milky way.
We set our chairs up for viewing and had our sweats and sweaters on.  It was much cooler at night in the mountains.  We started seeing meteors.  I got up to get a blanket for Eva and Angie and wouldn’t you know it, but the best meteor came streaming across the sky.  John, Eva and Angie were screaming that I was missing it, but it was too late, I missed it.  That’s ok, now they all owe me.  We stayed out about an hour and saw over 50 meteors.  We were tired and had to go back to bed.


10 
   We headed out of Mancos early around 830am.  It was an easy drive back to Moab.  We got set up in our same spot by 130pm.  We did find out the internet connection is down and will be down for about a week.  Eva and Angie came over around 730pm for cocktails.  It was nice to see them again.
We were going to hang around the cow for the weekend and they talked us into going up to the mountains tomorrow.  There would be 5 of us and we would have our own Yurt to stay in.  They offered to do all the shopping and stuff we needed.  So how could we pass it up.  They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

9  
Tomorrow we leave for Moab.  So today is preparation day.  We gas up the beast, clean the cow inside and out and pack everything up.  Since there is no Walmart in Moab, we also did a little shopping.

8  
This morning we headed out to Mesa Verde NP around 1030am.  We had one more hike we wanted to do.  It’s a ranger guided hike at Cliff Palace.  It’s the largest of the cliff dwellings in the park.  We were able to get tickets for the 1pm tour.  So we went over to the Spruce House Trail.  It’s a short hike and it takes you to the 3rd largest of the cliff dwellings.  At the end of the hike is a museum.  So we checked that out and then had to head over to Cliff Palace.  We hiked down 110 feet and then toured the dwellings.  On the way up we had to take a series of ladders and stone steps.  After our hike we headed back to the campground and relaxed at the pool.

    When we got up this morning it was really raining, so we slept in.  Then we worked on computer projects.  The rain started to clear up so we decided to head over to Mesa Verde NP for a hike.  We wanted to do the Point Trail.  It’s only 2.5 miles round trip but with an elevation gain of 400 feet.  It takes you out to the point where you can see the Mancos Valley and the Montezuma Valley.  On our way back we noticed rainbow clouds.  They were very cool.  On our way out of the park we saw a few deer’s and fawns.  We got back and went to the pool.
After dinner we headed into Cortez for the Black Shawl Native Performance.  This is a 2 hour performance outside at the Cultural Center.  One woman story tells her native heritage back to the mid 1800’s.  We got back around 10pm.  Since it was a clear night we decided to sit outside and look for Meteors.  The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend.  We stayed out about an hour and saw 8 meteors.

This morning I have a TCI appointment and John is going to work on the truck.  We headed out to San Juan Natl Forest to hike the Chicken Creek Trail.  Since we’ve been having rain, the beginning was kind of muddy.  Then it got better.  I ended up hiking about 3 miles and John did 5 miles.  We came back and went to the pool.

3 – 5  The monsoon rains have arrived in Southwest Colorado.  We have been trying to get out hiking but it’s to rainy and wet.  That’s ok.  Instead were hanging around the cow and doing little projects.  We’re heading into Durango Sunday afternoon to have dinner with Terri.

    We set the alarm for 5am today.  We are catching the 730am Durango and Silverton Railroad.  We reserved the last open air gondola car.  We made sure to confirm the right side of the train.  This way we will view the gorge and Animas River most of the way.  It’s a 3 ½ hour ride each way.  We have about 2 ½ hours in Silverton.  It is a beautiful day.  Blue sky with a few puffy white clouds.  Even though we took the 1st train out, it was sold out.  We had lunch in Silverton and walked around.  John made us stop at the Silverton Brewery before boarding the train for the return trip.  On the return we were facing the mountains.  We got back to Durango around 515pm.
We had done this train back in 1981 with Sharon and Craig.  The station and train hasn’t really changed at all.


Sometimes domestic stuff has to be done.  Today were taking Big Red in for a Transmission Flush and filter change.  We also have to pick up some truck maintenance items at the auto store.