Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Nth Degree

I have been invited to a Bridal Shower for nephew Jim’s fiancĂ©e, Laura.  Everyone has been asked to bring a recipe and a spice or kitchen tool.

As I began filling out the recipe card the came with the invitation I began to think of the recipe disc I gave for Christmas in 2006.  Ah, that’s the ticket. 

I’m not sure if I did get one to Jim as I can’t remember if he was there for Christmas as he was in the military.  But he has moved a few times since so I can’t be sure if he still has the disc anyway.

I had everything saved on my computer so it was just a matter of rechecking what I had done. I rewrote the “read me first” file, edited the disc label and made a jewel case insert.

The jewel case cover was the new aspect of the project.  I used my Scrapbook Deluxe software to make the cover.  I included wedding photos of my parents, grandparents on Mom’s side and grandmother on Dad’s side, a 1965 photo of three of us kids and the entire family at our house on Christmas 1990. 

Also is a dedication to Mom, a description of the project and table of contents.  The disc contains  110 of my Mom’s recipes, 93 of mine, 110 recipes I saved to try later, 62 household hints files and some recipes for wildlife (suet cakes, etc.).  All the files are scanned and saved to pdf so they can be opened on any system.

Recipe Disc Project photo for Laura'a Shower

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quark on the Mend

During our stay in Moab, UT, Quark began having episodes of reverse sneezing.  We figured that he inhaled something and we thought it would soon pass.  It did not.  He continued to have episodes and after several days it became apparent that he had lost some weight. 

As we made our way east, Quark felt a little warm and the lower lid on his right eye became puffy and the inside of the lid was bright red.  I made up my mind to get him to a veterinarian in Dodge City, KS, our next stop.  The doctor couldn’t pinpoint the problem and gave him a “two-week” antibiotic.  I felt better even if Quark didn’t. 

On the final leg of our trip two days later, I still was not happy with his progress.  I called our veterinarian from the road to be sure I would get him early Monday, morning (it was Saturday). 

By Sunday evening Quark had a walnut-sized swelling under his right ear and his eye was looking worse.  Was I glad I made the appointment.

Monday morning we saw the doctor. Quark was running a temp of 103 and had lost almost 2 lbs. The doctor said it was an enflamed salivary gland and it was probably related to the reverse sneezing and the eye problem.  He put Quark on oral antibiotic and eye ointment.  Quark took the antibiotic for two weeks without significant results for the swelling but his eye did respond to treatment.  Back to the doctor and a change of medication and finally the swelling slowly began to diminish.

It has been 1.5 months and he will be finishing up his medication soon. He looks normal—no swelling or bad eye.

This picture was taken on October 16, 23 days after he first became ill.

Quark 16 Oct 2009002

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wasn't a Month Enough?

Well we weren't home a week and we were at it again.

A camp club outing about 30 minutes from home. Weather forecast was for COLD and snow flurries.

The group had access to a cabin at the fairgrounds where we camped so we could have our meeting and activities. The fireplace in the cabin threw heat about four feet into the building so the only real escape from the cold was our individual campers.

We invited Tim, Amy and the girls to the camp out as we would be winterizing the motorhome and would not be taking it out again till spring. Amy and the girls picked Tim up at work and they headed north. Unfortunately they took a different route due to having picked Tim up at work and this caused some confusion. After hours in the car they finally arrived after 8 p.m.

As you can see from this picture, we were quite cozy. Four adults, two children and two dogs filled up the 32 ft. motorhome. Moisture was just dripping down the windows from condensation.

The girls met Sebrina, granddaughter, of friends of Jim and Sherry. They hit it off and all three came to our place to watch a movie.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trip Stats

Motorhome Miles = 3696
Car Miles = 1920
Total Miles = 5616

Gas Motorhome 520.19 gal = $1301.75 mpg 6.89
Gas Car 75.82 = $208.24 mpg 25.33
Lowest price per gallon $2.04 Great Bend, KS
Highest price per gallon $2.89 Sidney, WY & Moab, UT

Camping = $524.85 (includes Samboree)
Most expensive $39.48 Zion (private cg)
Least expensive $5 Capitol Reef

Misc. Expenses--souvenirs, ice cream/snacks, admissions, tolls = $291.43

Restaurants = $217.93
Ate out six times. One time was dinner and show.

Total 30 days $2609.90 / $87 per day

Did not include groceries as we would have had to eat at home anyway.

2003 Trip West
Duration = 27 days
Total Expenses = $2433.49 (includes groceries)

2004 Trip West
Duration = 36 days
Total Expenses = $2668.33 (6 days no camping fees stayed with family) (includes groceries)

Top Ten Glitches and Problems

1) Fridge goes out when traveling in wind.
2) Furnace was acting up.
3) Various drawers not properly closed came out sometimes strewing contents about.
4) Ran out of LP
5) Car battery died.
6) Bedroom TV fell off its shelf on to bed. (we were driving at the time)
7) The spring on the Brake Buddy attachment for the brake pedal kept coming off.
8) Sue's camera mysteriously changes date and time--date and time vary.
9) Should have planned to spend more time at the Family History Center in Salt Lake
10) Quark got sick.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kiss the Ground We're Finally Home

The car battery died. We need to start the car every 200 miles and put it in gear so the transmission doesn't burn up. Could not start. Rain threatening. Found someone to jump the car.

After four long hard days we are finally home. Mountains in Colorado, winds through Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, trouble with the car and a vet visit in Dodge City for Quark.

There's no place like home.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Windy Again

Had to stop early today. The wind was as bad as it was yesterday and the day before. It is now 48 outside and raining.
Stopped driving at 2:15 p.m. and are staying at Terrible's Lakeside Casino Campground in Osceola, IA. The place has filled up since we got here. Talked to a few of the campers and they stopped for the same reason we did, the wind. We picked up a brochure at the Iowa Welcome Center that said a site was $20 a night and you would receive a $10 comp at the casino. They quit doing that on 9/30. We were also supposed to get cable, no cable. We do have Wi-Fi though.
They did have a terrific buffet with prime rib, ham, crab legs, shrimp (you peel and scampi), chicken, Chinese and Italian. Yummy.
We are now back in the motorhome being rocked by the wind. Folks are still pulling in for the night. As far as I can tell there are only three spaces open.
Six hour (+-) drive tomorrow because we stopped early today. It will be good to get home.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spent a Week in Kansas and it was Called Thursday

We had never been to Kansas before. Right in the middle of the country and we missed it. Been in all the other lower forty-eight.

How do I sum up Kansas--Wind. There may have been more to it but who could notice. There were 40 + mph gusts and steady 35 mph wind. When you are driving a box down the road you tend to notice the wind. We were on two-lane roads with a cross wind until we got on I-70.

When an on-coming semi passed us we were first sucked toward the center line then pushed toward the side of the road. We were trying to analyze the effects of various types of trucks and determined you just can't tell. We weren't the only ones being buffeted in our "little" 15-year-old motor home. Even the big fancy motorhomes were getting pummeled. This went on from 9:45 to 2:30.

Dodge City

Recreated Front Street

After another long day. We got into Dodge City and spending the night at Gunsmoke Campground.
What to do with the limited time here. There were many choices although some were eliminated right off as they were closed. We chose to go to the Boot Hill Museum.

The actual remains who were buried on Boot Hill have been relocated to a newer cemetery in town. Boot Hill was never an official cemetery, rather it was used as a burial ground for buffalo hunters, drifters and others who had no family in the area--a potters field. The cemetery closed in 1879.

The museum is more than Boot Hill. The museum's Front Street buildings are reconstructions, exhibiting hundreds of original artifacts. They represent Dodge City in 1876, and were carefully researched through historic photographs and newspapers. A wonderful collection of artifacts displayed in vignettes behind the store fronts. During the peak season you will find gunfights and a variety show at the Long Branch Saloon.

The Long Branch was an actual saloon. Gunsmoke used the name.

It was an educational and fun visit.

Trying to be artsy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House

“Mesa Verde National Park is also an International Heritage site which includes over 4,500 archeological sites; only 600 are cliff dwellings.” Only 600—only 600!

Where do you begin?

Before we left home I downloaded the park brochure and other information. We looked at it prior to our visit. Two of the largest and most famous cliff dwellings—Cliff Palace and Balcony House could only be toured with a ranger and we determined that it would be too strenuous to visit those due to the many steps and ladders.

We spoke to the ranger at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is the only place you can get tickets for the ranger-guided tours and they help you decide what to do. The ranger confirmed what we thought and suggested visiting Spruce Tree House and the Mesa top sites and overlooks as well as the Chapin Mesa Museum. That is what we did.

After visiting the Chapin Mesa Museum where the artifacts ranged from pottery to textiles, we took the path to Spruce Tree House that begins just outside the museum. The asphalt path zigzagged down to the level of Spruce Tree House.

Tom overlooking Spruce Tree House

Tom at Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House, the best preserved cliff dwelling, is a self-guided tour. Rangers are posted at the site to answer questions and to keep people from climbing on the walls. Spruce Tree House is 89 ft. deep and 216 ft. across. It contains 114 rooms and is the third largest cliff dwelling in the park. It is believed that 100 people lived in Spruce Tree House. We purchased a booklet describing the features of the structure. I was able to climb down into a kiva, a religious structure. Ceremonies to ensure successful hunts, crops and good weather took place in kivas such as this one.

We then visited several of the mesa top sites and viewed many of smaller cliff dwellings from the overlooks. A highlight was the view of Cliff Palace. This is the cliff dwelling that is most associated with Mesa Verde.

Cliff Palace

Wildlife Detection Area

There were electronic signs on one section of US Hwy. 160 that were triggered by wildlife activity in the area of the sign. There must have been a motion sensor of some kind.

We passed several of these signs and then the last one said, “end wildlife detection area”.. About ½ mile after the final electronic sign two deer decided to cross the road. The first one crossed while we were still pretty far away but the second hesitated and finally crossed about 20 ft. in front of us. I guess those two weren’t told of the animal detection area.

Overcoming Fear, Well Not Quite

I wrote about Arches’ dramatic entry road. Arches can’t hold a candle to Mesa Verde.

In 2003, we went to Mesa Verde. Well shall I say we got to the Visitor Center 15 miles into the park. I was in hysterics—shaking and sobbing. Why? They are what I call vertical miles. The ascent from the park entrance was 1040 ft. to the Visitor Center. We drove up in our old motorhome, the squirrelliest thing on 4 wheels. All I could see out my window was sheer drop-offs. Tom did an excellent job driving that was not the issue. It was the way the motorhome handled and the road.

I was determined this time to tour Mesa Verde. We took the car and I drove up, and down, as well as the tour of the mesa. I had to drive to help me overcome my fear. Again this had nothing to do with Tom’s driving, just my extreme fear that has been built up in my mind since 2003.

Tuesday morning we began the long haul home. This leg was 257 miles. That took us over two mountain passes on US Hwy 160, which for the most part is a two-lane road. They do have passing lanes when there is a grade for slower moving vehicles. Wolf Creek pass was the first and by far the worse one at 10,850 ft. The climb was very slow. First we shut the overdrive off, then down to second and finally first gear straining up at 15 mph. If that wasn’t enough there was road construction near the summit.

Of course what goes up must go down. The descent is mostly 6%, which is a relatively easy grade but there was 12 miles of it. Many of the curves were posted as 25 or 30 mph. I think to go at those speeds would have taken nerves of steel. One of the 30 mph curves was through one of the two tunnels.

The next was La Veta pass at 9413 ft. This would have not been bad either way had it not been for one section without a shoulder or guardrail and the wind. Fortunately the time the wind really caught us, there was a shoulder. The speed limit was generally set at 65 mph with some curves down to 50 mph. We went considerably slower.

Open Range

Cattle on the road.

If you see an open range sign expect to see cattle near or on the road. Most often you will see an open range sign and no cattle at all. Or on your way somewhere there will be no cattle as far as the eye can see and when you return, cattle near the road. Cattle are not road savvy. If they are near the road as you are approaching, just assume they will be in the road by the time you get there.

Cowboys are not a thing of the past. The summer ranges are scattered over miles of open range and cowboys gather the herds together to go to market or winter pasture. We did see a cowboy and his two cattle dogs in action near Flaming Gorge, herding the cattle toward some pens that were setup to hold them until they could be loaded into a cattle truck. There are pens of this type all over.

Round 'em up.

There are fences but they seem to divide ranges and do not keep the cattle out of the road like they do back home. When there is a road there is a cattle guard (a metal rumble strip that the cattle cannot cross) that keeps the cattle in their own range. The ranges are so vast out west because the food the cattle graze is sparse. At home you may need an acre to support one head of cattle, out west you may need 25, 50 or 100. Of course water is an issue. No matter how many acres of land you have to graze, the cattle must have a source of water. I read the figures somewhere and will need to look them up, but I thought it said the cattle had to have a water source within two miles.

Who presses the button?


Snake at Escalante

Lizard at Mesa Verde

Buffalo (probably belonged to someone)


Mule Deer

Black-Billed Magpie

Stellar’s Jay

Mountain Bluebird

Lesser Goldfinch

Bald Eagle

Golden Eagle

Lewis Woodpecker


Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Kangaroo Rat

White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel

Snake of undetermined species

Eastern Fence Lizard

Western Pipistrelle Bat

Jay, Pinyon or Western Scrub

Falcon, Prairie or Peregrine

Western Meadowlark

Western Bluebird

Cliff Swallow


Northern Harrier

Cooper’s Hawk



Armadillo (dead)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moab Part 3-Canyonlands Needles District

Newspaper Rock

We traveled 200 miles by car to Canyonlands Needles District. It was a long way to go for what we were able to see. There were no grand vistas from the various overlooks. The high point was Newspaper Rock on Utah Hwy 211. The rock is jam-packed with petroglyphs, hundreds of petroglyphs. Some of the images on rock were deer, birds, people, footprints and squiggly lines.

On a hike.

View from the Needles Overlook.

On the way back we stopped at the Needles Overlook, which was located at the end of a 22-mile road off Hwy 191. The Overlook allowed us to safely look down into the canyon. There were very securely attached railings with chain-link fencing. I even felt secure leaning over for a look (after first testing to see if it wiggled).

It was a six-hour day and the temp was 99. By the time we got back we were both frazzled. We left the boys in the motorhome with the AC on and they were good while we were gone. We had a chance to rest a little then change for dinner show at the Bar M Chuckwagon.

All the dinner guests gathered outside for the shootout. There were two tour groups from France and one from Japan. I thought the dinner was delicious. Sliced roast beef, baked beans, baked potato, applesauce and spice cake. The show was good. The folks in the show did everything from selling tickets, to the gunfight, to serving food and drinks.

Some of the guests were asked to go on stage for one song and twirl little lariats. It was pretty funny. An older Japanese lady was one of the people called on stage. They said that she had hiked 3-miles to Delicate Arch that day. She was just a little thing. What spunk.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moab Part 2--Arches

Went to Arches National Park today. Entering the park is dramatic to say the least. The road makes a series of switchbacks as it climbs up the face of the cliff. From the bottom the cars, motorhomes and tour buses look like ants as they make their way to the top.

If you enlarge this photo you will see a white speck. That is a motorhome going up the entrance road to Arches. We are at ground level.

Almost immediately after the road levels out, you see the impressive formations called Park Avenue. Followed shortly by The Organ, Courthouse Towers, Three Gossips and Sheep Rock. There are many more unnamed pinnacles, spires, sandstone fins and eroded monoliths.

Park Avenue

Most of the Arches are only accessible on foot. There are several that you can see from the road or overlooks but the famous Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch require hiking.

It took about four hours to drive the whole park. Parking spaces are at a premium. Cars park in RV/Bus spaces so RVs end up parking in car spaces and buses where ever they can. Again I don’t remember it being so busy five years ago.


Musical RVs

When we made reservations at this campground we were told that we could have two nights in one space and two nights in another. We were willing to move as we did call at the last minute.

Apparently the move was bigger that just us. The big move involved four rigs who moved to different spaces and two who departed. No one could move until those two departed. I must say this left us all scratching our heads. We discovered that four rigs pulled in together and took the four spaces that were freed up. They were traveling together.

Moab, UT Part 1

Tom at one of the overlooks.

From another overlook.

The focus of our visit here is Canyonlands National Park. Last time we were here we visited Arches National Park and our schedule didn’t allow us to see Canyonlands.

After setting up at the campground at about 1:30, we headed toward the park. We chose the nearest road, as we didn’t want to be gone too long.

This road followed the Colorado River as it meandered its way into the park. The paved portion of the road is only about 20 miles then it turns to a 4x4 road. We didn’t take the 4x4 road. It was a nice ride.

It’s not till you get on the rim that you appreciate how Canyonlands got its name. The Green and Colorado Rivers merge within the park and these are the forces that etched this huge canyon into the earth. The park covers 527 square miles and in places the canyon is nearly a ½ mile deep. The vista stretches to the horizon 100 miles. The color of the sandstone is in varying layers of brown mostly, almost a chocolate brown—A much different color compared to the other areas we have seen. At mid-day, when we were there, the canyons had a very dark appearance. Brochure pictures show flaming red to golden colors on the rock at sunset.

Green River Overlook

We took the park roads to all the overlooks in the Island in the Sky region, which is the easiest way to see the park. The more adventurous visitor can get down into the canyons. From the rim you can see 4x4 roads where you can either take your own vehicle, rent one or be guided. Some trips into the canyons can take days and permits are required for certain activities. I don’t know if they charge for the permits or just want to know your plans. It can be a dangerous place. The canyons are quite warm, 1/4 in of rain can cause some washes to flood and dehydration is a concern.

The plan is to go to the Needles region on Friday or Saturday.

The La Sal Mountains to the east. The highest peak is Mt. Peale at 12,721 feet.

Shafer Trail (4x4) approaching the visitor center.

Grandview Point Overlook. Wind noise is loud so turn your sound down.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My New Favorite Place Is Capitol Reef

A 100 mile long "Waterpocket Fold" in the earth defines Capitol Reef. Much of the park is accessible only by backpacking. The historic Fruita area and a 10 mile paved park road are easy to visit.

Fruita was a small community settled in the 1880s by Mormon settlers. The Fremont River allowed settlers to farm, creating the many orchards that exist today. At most, only ten families lived in this valley, which was somewhat isolated due its remote location.

Franklin Roosevelt designated Capitol Reef a National Monument, then in the 1960s Capitol Reef was established as a National Park. Utah Hwy 24 was paved around that time and access to the area became easier. Today the park’s facilities—visitor center, historic buildings, orchards park road and campgrounds can be found just off Hwy 24.

Our campsite at sunset.

We really enjoyed the campground that is adjacent to one of the orchards. The fruit is Pick Your Own for $1.00 per pound, with bags and scales available. Several herds of mule deer browse the orchards with the human visitors. There are shower/restrooms available. The camping is dry as there are no hookups at the sites. There are no reservations and we were lucky to get there early enough to get a spot. The campground filled shortly after we arrived. Although the campgrounds were full, there weren’t the crowds as in other parks we visited.

These mule deer are local park residents. You can see they aren't bothered as this man approaches.

We took the park road; the first 10 miles are paved. At the end of the pavement you can take the South Draw road/ trail which connects with Hwy 12 to the west but is designated for high clearance 4x4 vehicles or the mile long Capitol Gorge road, which is a must see. We drove along a wash and at the end is a hiking trail that leads to petroglyphs, pioneer writing and the tanks, rock pockets where rainwater collects. We walked a short way together and Tom turned back. I continued on alone for a while and would have kept on going if someone else were in sight. But being the chicken that I am turned around and came back.

Tom on the Capitol Gorge trail.

We came back and drove the park road and Grand Wash after supper. I wanted to get some pictures with the setting sun hitting the rocks. The setting sun seemed to make the cliffs glow. It was quite beautiful.

Sunset at Capitol Reef

We went to the ranger program that evening but it got so cool that we didn’t stay for the whole thing. We didn’t dress properly. When you stay at a state or Federal campground you can easily take advantage of the ranger programs and activities.

Sue in Capitol Gorge

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Cold in Them Thar Hills

Summit Scenic Byway 12

The past couple of days have been quite windy. At our campsite in Escalante the wind blew so hard you could feel the sand hitting your legs as you walked and it smarted. Yesterday morning it was the same as we prepared to head over the mountains from Escalante to Torrey. I was somewhat concerened about the wind and the high mountain roads. As it turned out that was not a problem. in the video you can hear just how windy it was.

When we were driving up on the mountain on the Fish Lake Loop it was COLD. The wind was blowing really hard and the aspen leaves were glistening in the sun as the wind caught them and Fish Lake had white caps.
Fish Lake Loop

Aspens on Fish Lake Loop

Monday, September 21, 2009

More on Mountain Driving

I know I have mentioned mountain driving in at least one past blog entry, but it deserves a little more attention.

Today we took the much-dreaded Scenic Byway 12 from Escalante to Torrey, UT. We inquired at the Interagency Visitor’s Center after reading that the road’s summit was 9800 feet above sea level. We were told that the road did have a 9800 ft. summit and that there are many steep grades and switchbacks.

Yesterday we had decided to head to Boulder, UT in the car to see the Anasazi State Park Museum in a valley over the first set of mountains. I drove. The road is just as advertised—scenic, but who had the time or nerve to sightsee. There were turnouts and scenic overlooks, which we took advantage of. The views, when stopped, were fantastic. There were two sections that had 14% grades and many more 8%. One section of road went across a spine between two mountains and it was difficult not to see the sheer drop-off on each side of the road. This road is not for the feint of heart. Tom took photos and video both when we were stopped and moving.

We made it there and back fine but we knew we would be heading back with the motorhome the next day. We decided to drive separately. Why pull an extra nearly 4, 000 lbs. up these winding roads and then try to slow both vehicles on the way down.

This morning took the Scenic Byway 12 drive. Tom was at the wheel of the motorhome and I was driving the Suzuki. The 70 miles took us 2.5 hours. By far the worse portion was the first section, the one we took yesterday.

If that was not enough after we got settled at our campsite, we took off again. We buckled the boys into their car seats and drove the mountainous Fish Lake Loop. The sagebrush and cedar trees disappeared and it was like being in another world--blue mountain lakes, streams and groves of quaking aspen that were brilliant yellow to orange.

We came home and took a nap.


Met some very nice people on this trip. At Flaming Gorge, we were parked next to a nice couple, who always took time to say hi or chat. As they were getting ready to leave the man came over to say goodbye. That was really nice. At Bryce Pines the folks next to us and behind us were very friendly and of course the couple from Wisconsin. At Escalante we have met some very nice folks and their big boy Chihuahua, Chico. Who were completing an unfinished trip they started last year when they were called home to assess damage when hurricane Ike struck near their home in Texas.

Not too many years ago you would take a campground walk and visit with those you would encounter. Now many don’t want to talk. They are not rude they just keep to themselves. I’ve been trying to think of some possible reasons. I can come up with a few. Full-timers—this is not a vacation for them it is their lifestyle, an everyday occurrence. Satellite television—years ago you sat outside and were available to visit. Now folks are tied to their televisions and are not outside. Younger people—they don’t have anything in common with the older generation. They are out doing it all. Biking and hiking are the most popular activities it seems. Traveling in groups—they have no reason to go outside their circle of friends. For instance, at the Pines there were members from a bicycling club from California camped near each other and they pretty much stayed to themselves.

So the friendly people are like gems. They are harder to find, but well worth it when you do.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Our campsite at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Our base for three nights is Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. We arrived early, as we were only 50 miles away. It did take us two hours to drive it though. It was up and down and around. At one point the motorhome was down in first gear. Fortunately it was a good road so I was only scared not really, really, really scared.

Of course we arrived too early to get into our spot so we parked near the office, left the boys and went to the Interagency Visitor Center as the park is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior and NPS. After we finished there we came back and our space still was not vacated so we put the boys in their car seats and drove 30 miles to the turnoff to Kodachrome Basin State Park. The park entrance was an eight-mile drive from Hwy 12. This brought us to a hidden treasure with bright red rocks, hoodoos and spires. We attempted to take a dirt road to see the Grosvenor Arch but after two miles or so down the washboard road we decided to cut our losses and return.

Escalante-Day 2

Did the stargazing with the naturalist last night. It was amazing the number of stars. We even saw our nearest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. We were told some of the stories behind the names of the constellations. There were about 30 people out to see the stars.

This morning we went with the State Park naturalist on a back country hike. It was us and one other couple. We told our guide that we would only go part way as we didn’t think we could do the climbing involved in the 5-mile hike. Are you kidding? I couldn’t tell you if either of us ever walked or hiked 5-miles even when we were young. So we parted ways when they went up and we followed a wash for about a ½ mile. As long as we stayed in the wash we couldn’t get lost. It was like walking on a sidewalk for the most part. The surface was hard and fairly even. We saw coyote and deer tracks and more nice scenery.

Tom on our back country hike.

After that we took a 17-mile gravel and dirt road to Devil’s Garden. This was a good site for us as you could walk into it without climbing. You could walk among the hoodoos and arches. Wildlife today was a snake—undetermined species. This was located in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Devil's Garden in Escalante

On the way back we stopped for a few essentials at the grocery store in town. When we came back the campground was pretty much cleared out but this evening it was full and I saw at least three parties leave as there was no spaces remaining. They did arrive quiet late.

People Do the Strangest Things or What Are They Thinking

We nearly had an old woman fall in front of the motorhome in Zion. We were near Checkerboard Mesa and for some reason about 10-15 people had crossed the road from the scenic turnout and climbed a large (size of a house) rock. This was not a designated viewing area. Well I saw this old women coming down off the rock toward the road as we were approaching, stumble in loose sand at the bottom and almost fall into the road. We were only going 10-15 mph as it was a congested area, but I am not sure we could have stopped if she had fallen in front of us.

Then there was the young lady in the dress and flip-flops coming up the steep Navajo Trail Loop at Sunset point at Bryce. How far had she gone? I don’t believe that she hiked the whole loop as I think her feet would have been a mess.

People, in droves, walk down the middle of the road, dart into the road for a picture or stand very close to the side of the road to pose. They will go out on ledges for a better look or a photo. A woman at the Bryce Shuttle station said when she was driving home one evening, someone was laying on the double yellow lines taking a worms-eye view photo of the one of the two tunnels on Hwy 12 between Panguitch and the park.

I will add more. I’m sure there will be more.

Bryce’s Top 10 Causes of Injury (from their newspape)

#10 Unsafe Driving

#9 Climbing / Sliding Down Cliffs

#8 Feeding Animals

#7 Ignoring Extreme Weather

#6 Dehydration

#5 Leaving The Trail

#4 Over-Exertion

#3, 2, 1 Bad Choice Of Footwear

Bryce averages less than one fatality per year. Causes in order most to least:

Heart Attacks

Falling off Cliffs


Vehicle Accidents