Blog Archive

Jul 17, 2013

The Maze District. Canyonlands Utah. Day IV and V

What a view to wake up to.  photo IMG_2839.jpg The repeater we've been using this entire trip!  photo IMG_2841.jpg I love the desert, but this time of year it sure was exhilarating to be cold and in the mountains!  photo IMG_2842.jpg These mountains are controlled by the all knowing being. Everyone knows to watch out for... the holy cow.  photo IMG_2844.jpg Right about where this photo was taken I ran out of luck with the truck.  photo IMG_2845.jpg We were descending from well over 11,000 feet down to just under 3,000 and we were using low range for the most part for braking. About 3/4 of the way down the road is smooth, fast and a lot less steep so we went into high range. About a mile later I tapped the brakes and.... wait for it... nothing. Well, maybe about 10-20% braking thankfully. Still it took us several hundred yards of the brakes to the floor to stop. It's strange thinking "STOP" in your brain and then driving around a corner, over a little rise and then half way through a corner and then stopping... The brakes were cooked. I've never overheated brakes on anything. I am thinking that I may have had a hanging piston on one caliper so it was heating up whether I was braking or not. Let's hope for that being the case or FZJ80 brakes are truly horrible. Always carry coveralls! I was in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, but I knew I'd be laying in the dirt covered in ants so I pulled out the trusty United Airlines coveralls a friend gave me and went to work. These things come in so handy. The only thing they didn't prevent was burning my arm on scalding hot brake fluid.  photo IMG_2847.jpg This is a bad picture. I took it driving. That being said I can't stop looking at all of these rocks as people huddled together praying. Wrapped in red and white blankets sitting around together.  photo IMG_2848.jpg After that we were back on black top! Under the dictionary next to the word "Road" this picture could go.  photo IMG_2850.jpg Oh yah, I will have to come back on a motorcycle.  photo IMG_2852.jpg  photo IMG_2854.jpg Again, where is a motorcycle when you need it! Go go gadget moto!  photo IMG_2856.jpg  photo IMG_2858.jpg Time to head for AZ.  photo IMG_2859.jpg Not a bad airport to land at.  photo IMG_2861.jpg Mogi Lookout, looking down to Johns Canyon trail.  photo IMG_2862.jpg Down at Mexican Hat stopping off at the river to cool off. NICE.  photo IMG_2866.jpg  photo IMG_2865.jpg We made it to the South Rim. Not a lot of people know that there are some great dirt roads to explore for free just south of the South Rim park. The old fire lookout. Still manned.  photo IMG_2868.jpg We camped right under the Helicopter flight path for sightseeing tours and actually loved it. The complete and utter quiet except for the rain punctuated by a helicopter about 100 yards above you.  photo IMG_2872.jpg Still, good spot.  photo IMG_2873.jpg We just read and ate leftover carne asada all night. Not a bad end to a great trip. We took our time going home through Williams and Prescott wishing the trip wasn't ending. Another great one in the books for us.  photo IMG_2875.jpg

Jul 15, 2013

The Maze District. Canyonlands Utah. Day III

Alright! Time to find higher ground. I love the heat and I love the desert, but even in this high desert running the AC all day was not what we were looking for. A quick look at the topo's showed Mt Ellen nearby that peaked out at 11,500 feet. Let's go! Nothing gets the heart racing like some tight switchbacks first thing in the morning!  photo IMG_2734.jpg It's like a red dirt version of Black Bear Pass in Colorado!  photo IMG_2736.jpg Hard right!  photo IMG_2740.jpg Goose likes the red dirt.  photo IMG_2737.jpg It was building up a nice coat.  photo IMG_2746.jpg The wall just keeps going.  photo IMG_2738.jpg Saw this little fella cruising along. He even did a fake rattlesnake shake for us with his tail. Pretty good too!  photo IMG_2741.jpg Don't worry. Goose isn't on fire, but my camera lens does have a smudge. Darn cheetos.  photo IMG_2747.jpg After seeing little rock cairns on top of every darn hill along Poison Spring road we just had to check one out so we hiked up. Nothing there and it did't seem to mark anything, but someone was sure bored!  photo IMG_2750.jpg All good art takes time.  photo IMG_2751.jpg Now this is an interesting site. An old Hudson that was turned into an awesome mad max trailer.  photo IMG_2752.jpg  photo IMG_2753.jpg  photo IMG_2756.jpg Talk about random. We took a side trail off of Poison Spring and came across some evidence of people doing... something!! Not sure what. Why exactly would you sink metal bars into solid rock and then also sink in an old farm jack (hilift type jack).  photo IMG_2757.jpg Trying to cleave pieces off of a rock? A rock that could be found a lot closer to major cities? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me so if anyone knows what sort of mining or work was being done out here, let me know!  photo IMG_2759.jpg Lots of Mexican Hat's like the one in Mexican Hat, UT.  photo IMG_2760.jpg Pretty amazing natural colors. What minerals they are, I have no idea.  photo IMG_2761.jpg  photo IMG_2763.jpg Just so many amazing vistas!  photo IMG_2767.jpg Water has carved smooth this section of rock. Amazing.  photo IMG_2768.jpg It was a trip to park under this section of rock overhang. Just picturing a big piece cleaving off like an iceberg was running through my head!  photo IMG_2771.jpg Nice hand reaching to the sky!  photo IMG_2772.jpg Not a bad tribute to a friend.  photo IMG_2773.jpg  photo IMG_2774.jpg Where you find remnants of past civilizations tend to make sense. Not always, but in this case it did. The first time we start to see running water and trees we come upon evidence of past peoples.  photo IMG_2788.jpg A snake.  photo IMG_2778.jpg A goat maybe?  photo IMG_2779.jpg Weiner dog? Haha, not sure.  photo IMG_2780.jpg  photo IMG_2782.jpg  photo IMG_2786.jpg This whole area has water seeping from the rocks. Pretty amazing.  photo IMG_2787.jpg It's always nice to see a lack of evidence of others being where you are. ahhhhhhhhh solitude.  photo IMG_2789.jpg  photo IMG_2790.jpg After exploring the Maze for a couple days, driving back to the highway via Poison Springs Canyon and then to Hankville the stock tank was just about empty. We didn't need to use the 2 new fuel cans we brought with us, but I was still glad to have them. There were a lot of side trails we explored that I wouldn't have if I didn't have the auxiliary fuel in reserve. Yep, it's really a hole in a rock and yep, it's a dump!  photo IMG_2791.jpg Local choices!  photo IMG_2792.jpg Time to head for high ground!!  photo IMG_2793.jpg We're getting warmer and by that I mean cooler!!  photo IMG_2795.jpg So nice!  photo IMG_2796.jpg Except for the part where climbing from 2,000 to 8,000 feet made my exhaust melt off the rear bumper! Whoops! No comment on that one.  photo IMG_2798.jpg What a change from this morning. WOW. It struck me how immensely diverse Utah is.  photo IMG_2799.jpg After going up, up and up in low range for a while we made it to the top. Pretty amazing. We were now staring at the Ham Radio Repeater we'd been using while in the Maze over the last couple days. Above the tree line.  photo IMG_2800.jpg Deer.  photo IMG_2801.jpg Rain is moving in.  photo IMG_2802.jpg Then all of a sudden it started hailing. A lot!  photo IMG_2806.jpg We found the most amazing camp and decided to grab a beer and hike around.  photo IMG_2819.jpg  photo IMG_2814.jpg  photo IMG_2816.jpg  photo IMG_2817.jpg A word from our sponsor. Sierra Expeditions and Beer.  photo IMG_2818.jpg  photo IMG_2821.jpg Look at this little guy.  photo IMG_2828.jpg He walked right up to us and then just about a foot away started burrowing.  photo IMG_2826.jpg He just kept wiggling and in a minute he was completely underground.  photo IMG_2829.jpg What an amazing spot!  photo IMG_2830.jpg It was carne asada time!!! We'd been lating it marinate during the trip so far and I have to say that it was absolutely amazing.  photo IMG_2833.jpg Now that was one of those HELLUVA great days. Just put it on a loop and I'm good.  photo IMG_2834.jpg