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Utah and then eastward bound

  • Truly mid-September is a great time to be in Utah’s national parks. The weather is just right for travel with warm days and cool nights. Of course, we are boondocking and found some interesting places to camp. The I-Overlander app is quite handy to find places to stay, the Campendium website helps to make sure that we have cell service where ever we are too. Tanya works remotely so this is essential for our travels.

    As Tanya works, I take the scooter and tour Capital Reef National Park. The scooter makes it easy to stop at every pull off right up to the display boards and read each one. I have learned so much of the places we visit by reading the boards. The Capitol Reef National Park was named because of the geologic plate that created a drop of 600 feet along a 100-mile range hence the word “reef” in the name. The capitol portion of the name is from a distinct mountain that resembles the Capitol in DC.

    There are 2 side canyons that have a trail at the end of the road that made for an interesting hike. One led back to some water tanks. These tanks were dry when I was there but important in the desert to have water much of the year. Along this trail was also a Pioneer Ledger. It had signatures in the rock wall from the 1800’s. Hiking these canyons with high narrow walls is exciting! Makes me feel I am in a protected area instead of the vast openness of the desert.

    When I tour by myself, I look for the best places to return to so the next day after Tanya finishes her work, we can do a driving tour hitting the highlights. This way Tanya can have some of the great travel experiences that I do and still be able to work. This is working well for us to share experiences together.

    There is a “river” that flows alongside Capitol Reef National Park and that is why the pioneers settled here and planted fruit trees and vegetable gardens. The native Fremont Indians had left before the pioneers arrived so no conflict was recorded. Kind of nice to see some green in the middle of the desert!

    Moving on to Arches National Park, we found a campsite next to the municipal airport. Our neighbors were pilots for commercial airlines and had a small plane at this airport. They spend quite a lot of time here and told us about the views of the area from a small plane. Wow, it would be quite a sight to see these National Parks from the air! Too bad that during our stay the wind was not cooperative for flying, it would have been outstanding to take a plane ride.

    My scooter trip to Arches was different, I went into Moab to have breakfast and it took 1 ½ hours for breakfast. This restaurant was not very organized and I did not leave a tip, the service was so poor. Going back to Arches NP and they had a sign saying park is full come back in 3 hours! Of course, no one to ask when the time started so I went to the parking area and waited 1 ½ hours before they opened it up for more visitors. Chatting with a man from CA who was on a scooter also and we ended up leapfrogging each other inside the park, kind of nice meeting people, sharing places.

    Arches has several points to hike to see more distinct arches. I enjoyed the hikes as much as the scenery as well as the scooter ride. The next day when Tanya was done with work we toured again hitting the highlights.

     

     

    The smoke from Mexico and AZ had arrived and views with any distance were very poor so we elected to pass on Canyonlands National Park and move on to other places with better air quality and closer views. This is not so bad, for it means another RV trip in the future.

    On the way to Canyon de Chelly we stopped for the night in a small town of Bluff, UT. Parked next to a historical visitor center with log cabins depicting the early Mormon settlers who came from Salt Lake City, UT to colonize and spread the word in this region. The travels they made to get here showed 3 different routes, the one they chose was called “Hole in the Rock” because they blasted a trail down a steep cliff to cross a canyon. There were pictures showing drilling into the cliff face placing wood poles, covering them with branches and rock to make a road down the cliff. Then the same thing on the other side of the canyon to get back up. This site is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved locations we have seen. There were docents in period dress to share information about the historic village, this couple came from upstate UT to spend a month sharing the word. There are others who participate and each one spends time doing maintenance and providing tours. A nice quiet night, great tours.

     

    Tanya has a long work meeting coming up so we travel to Albuquerque, NM to stay at a real campground at Kirtland AFB so she would be more relaxed and comfortable. Saw a roadrunner in campground! Apparently, he is a resident here, for we saw him the whole time we were there. Wow, never thought I would see one so close and personal. I have only had a glimpse of one before so this was really cool to watch him flit around all day.

    While Tanya is having her meeting, I tour downtown Albuquerque historic district. I'm sure I mentioned the izi travel app before, this app gives you a free guided tour of many cities around the world. This tour in Albuquerque was a walking tour that I followed on the scooter. As you reach each location on the map the app automatically starts telling you the history of the building. Of course, most of these buildings are now tourist shops but interesting how the town came to be. I really enjoyed this tour.

    I punched in vegetable stands and was rewarded with fire roasted green chiles! Mmmmmm, I bought a half bushel, for there was not much room in the freezer for more. Keeping two one-quart bags out in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer, we enjoy the rich bold flavor of fire roasted chiles. They roasted them on the spot, apparently a local farm brings their harvest to town and sells them raw or roasted. Wow, many years ago I had some of these and loved it, didn’t expect to find it so easily but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

     

    So Tanya gets on a plane for DC for her work and I leave Albuquerque and head toward Duane’s house in Brownwood, TX. Duane is the guru of Rialtas, he has helped so many people to keep these fine machines on the road and is a walking encyclopedia about Rialtas. We spent the afternoon and the next morning chatting about everything under the sun and had a very enjoyable visit.

    Leaving Duane's, I explore Texas Hill country and stop in and visit Eric and his wife Denise, another couple who are Rialta enthusiasts. They also had an older Rialta and Eric is parting it out, and I scored a gas tank cover holding spring. Have forgotten about this for years and used Velcro to keep the door closed, and now with the right spring it will function normally.

    While in Austin, TX I finally found the right size tires for the front of the Rialta. Having replaced all 4 tires in Oregon I had made a mistake and gotten too large of tires and we have been having a lot of problems on mountains, for the transmission shift ratio is way off. Gas mileage has suffered as well. Although the load rating of the Oregon tires is much higher and I feel safer, it is a poor performance. So glad to have corrected this and now we can climb hills much better again. I will keep the other new tires from Oregon to replace on the rear axle when it is needed. Oh well, these things happen.

    I really like this area from Duane's to Eric’s – Texas Hill Country. After so long of dry brown desert it is really nice to see green again. The humidity is nearly half of what Florida is so it is much more comfortable as well.

    I looked into Presidential Libraries, for Texas has a few, and they were all closed due to Covid. Deciding that it’s time to head east to hopefully see some fall foliage, I go through Tennessee. The mountains did not have color yet and I had to decide to visit my son and his family or go north to find color on the trees. Visiting family won out and away I go to South Carolina to see Doug and family.

    Next blog will be going to Florida for kayaking.