Saturday, April 30, 2011

Freezing in Bryce Canyon

altBryce Canyon has unbelievable canyons with hoodoos.  Hoodoos.  They remind me of the sand columns we would build on the beach by dripping wet sand in one spot until it forms a rippled tower.  Except Bryce’s sand columns are very large and very orange.  And over 9,000 feet above sea level.

altThe month of May temperatures are normally an average of 65 degrees (averages – sheesh!).  We hit 17 degrees last night.  The wind makes the daytime temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s too cold to linger outdoors.  Most of the hiking trails are closed due to ice, mud or snow.  Dang, it is cold!

altWe are sightseeing from the truck or running out to the viewpoint, a quick click of the camera and we are back inside!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good-Bye Capitol Reef and On to Bryce Canyon

One last hike yesterday in Capitol Reef National Park in the Grand Wash.  The views just got better and better the more we hiked.  The 4.5 mile trail winds back and forth through the canyon with red rock outcroppings and molded formations that look like tall mummies propped up side-by-side.  Mike is again the little human in the picture.  Beautiful National Park.  Relatively small (in terms of access) and very remote, but worth the trip.



On to Bryce Canyon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Following the Weather

MonthlyTempAveOur travel planning considers the average temperature for the month (60-70 degrees is our goal), the distance between locations, nice place to park our RV, and activities of interest in the area.  The weather part of the equation can be tricky.  A mean average is just that, an average, and we have learned the calculation of weather averages in the State of Utah can often be the combination of extremes. 

The last two days in Torrey, Utah we have experienced warm balmy temperatures, extremely cold temperatures, wind, hail, lightening, and yes, even blowing snow.  Today, all of this has happened within a few hours! predicted that we should experience an average of 65 degrees in the month of April. 

Guess what?   Tomorrow is predicted at 65 degrees, no wind, not an average.  Take that, Mr. Weather-dot-com!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Butch Cassidy

250px-ButchcassidyThe Old West outlaw, Butch Cassidy, was born in Beaver, Utah not too far from our current location.  I recently found out my Uncle Bill is also from Beaver.  Could they be related?  It is a very small town.  The picture of Butch Cassidy found on the internet has a resemblance to Uncle Bill.  Uncle Bill?  I am just sayin’….

IMG_1764We have been holed up in our little house near Capitol Reef National Park for a couple of days due to wind, rain, hail, and then some more wind, rain, and hail.  Decided to chance the weather and took a drive over scenic Highway 12 climbing up close to 10,000 feet in elevation (have you ever heard of a road with a 14% grade-wow!).  You can see clear to Wyoming and Colorado—green mesas, deep canyons, rivers and far-off snow covered mountains.  You would think the weather would be worse up so high, but it was not.  It was calm and partly sunny.  Works for us.  Land of Butch Cassidy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Capitol Gorge Scenic Drive & Hike

IMG_1757We have relocated to Capital Reef National Park for a week.  First stop this morning to the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center for my National Park Passport stamp and hiking trail information.  The park is situated on a giant fold in the earth which tips the rock cliffs at 45 degree angles looking like upturned faces enjoying the last warm rays of the setting sun.

Just past the Visitor Center we drove the 10 mile scenic drive winding through the narrow canyon of Capitol Gorge.  At the end, we parked the truck and hiked up the gorge with a short rock scramble  to the “tanks”.  The red slickrock has large dimples in areas collecting water from the last rain—they are called tanks.  We are told the water is filled with lots of life, although all we could see were swimming insects. [The picture above is a canyon offshoot from the trail.  I was not paying attention to my picture taking today—there were better things to photograph, like the tanks, but I spaced out.  Sorry.]

Torrey UT RVOur new RV Park, Thousands Lakes RV, is located in Torrey, Utah and we have wonderful views of the red rock cliffs and the green tree line of the nearby forest starting at a little higher elevation (we are already at 8,000 feet).  Great park with wide, grassy sites.  They also have the local bakery deliver freshly made muffins each morning….nice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moonflower Canyon

IMG_1750Very short hike up Moonflower Canyon located just off of the Colorado River.  A special treat at the end of the hike—a little pond reflecting the gnarled oak trees and fallen rocks from the nearby cliffs.  There really are moonflowers, but the trumpet shaped flower only opens in the dark.  A desert oasis.  Lots of rain the last couple of days and you can tell from the resulting humidity felt on our morning walk.  The humidity is nothing compared to the East Coast, but having any at all is  unexpected by us here in the desert.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Park Avenue

altWe hiked through “Park Avenue” today (Arches National Park).  Named by the early settlers remembering the tall buildings of New York City.  Obviously, less the bustle of people and the traffic gridlock.  Not a long hike (2 miles), but lots to see--full of awesome cliffs, slickrock, green pinion, and purple spring desert flowers.  The color combinations here are striking reds, greens, purple and blue skies.  Happy colors.

IMG_1749Most trails (in the national and state parks, and well-known areas) are marked with cairns--small stacks of rocks—without them it would be easy to lose the trail.  The cairn makers (who I suspect are park employees and volunteers) can get creative with the rock arrangements and it is fun to see what they dream up next.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Devil’s Garden

IMG_1743Hiked through Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park—gravity defying rock arches and fin rock formations that look like skyscrapers.  (Partition Arch in the left picture)  We got to the trail head early, but when we completed the trail and were walking out there were hordes of people—mostly parents and kids—arriving.  The parking lot was jammed up.  Just how long do they string out spring break?  Come on…

IMG_1729So, far we have to say Arches National Park is our favorite of the Grand Circle of National Parks/Monuments through northern Arizona and Utah.  (Navajo Arche in the picture at right)  Although, we have been told that we will like Capital Reef National Park and/or Bryce Canyon National Park even more.  Bring it on!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Family Ties

8-Terry_Poppie ColeSCAN0835 (2)Another hobby we have picked up in retirement is the research into our family trees.  It is like a jig-saw puzzle; slowly forming a picture of what you are “made of” and where your family came from.  Without I am not sure I would be so enthusiastic, though.  This website is loaded with information.  I have found the passenger list for my great-great grandfather and grandmother from Liverpool, England to Boston, Massachusetts.  He was  an Irishman from Killarney, Ireland and she was from Somerset, England (Wales).  The website actually has scanned copies of the list, censuses taken in the 1800’s both in the U.S. and England/Wales, and, get this…the scanned copy of my grandfather’s draft card for World War I.

SCAN0765 (2)My maternal grandmother’s family came from France in the 1600’s (French Huguenots) and my husband’s mother’s family came from Ireland as part of the Scotch-Irish immigration in the 1700’s.  And my paternal grandmother’s grandparents were from Ireland, too.  It is pretty safe to say that we both can celebrate St. Patty’s day.  But then, add to the soup, English-Canadian and German for Mike’s paternal grandparents.

SCAN0724 (2)With the exception of Native Americans, we are all pretty much mutts here in the United States, but you always want to know if the mutt is a German Shepard/Lab mix or a Beagle/Poodle.

Remember the corny dialog from the comedy, “Stripes”?  ‘We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts!  But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt.”

Copy of Pict0012revJPG (2)Hilarious and so true.

We plan to stop at the towns and cemeteries that our family trees indicate is a significant place.  Another interesting way to get to know our country, our family and enjoy our travels.  And an excuse to extend our travels some day, to visit some far-off lands.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Canyonlands National Park

IMG_1702You would think if you saw one canyon in Utah you have seen them all.  It is not so.  They are all so unique with slickrock mounds, canyon within canyon as far as you can see, eroded rocks looking like totem poles and rocks so red you would think they are on fire.  We are getting so spoiled on our hikes.  Each one is special and around each bend of the trail you see something new. 

Two hikes in Canyonlands National Park today, Whale Back Trail and First Outlook trail.  First Outlook has a vista of what?  No one knows what it is.  Some speculate that it is a salt dome from a long-ago sea that has eroded and collapsed over time; others think it was a hit from a giant meteor.  Use your imagination.

See the little spot of a human figure in the picture below…Mike.  In fact, the picture is a little misleading the sides not seen in the photo keep going down another 100 feet or so.

IMG_1705I never thought I was afraid of heights, but that was before I experienced the cliffs and high places in the Utah canyons.  I have to say without the man-made railings; I hyperventilate a bit on the narrow paths and pitched grade of the slick rock.  I can hike it, but I am slow.  And the high elevation of the area, makes my lungs burn a bit, as I suck in the thinner air.  If it was not for Mike’s adventuresome spirit, I am not sure I would be so game.  But, I am glad he is and pushes me to follow; I am seeing some amazing sights and have a great feeling of accomplishment as I finish each hike.  Life Elevated.




Everyone enjoys the vistas, from the Harley riders to the hikers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Morning Glory Bridge

IMG_1673Moab has over 40 hikes in the area, and that is not counting Canyonlands National Park.  Yesterday, we picked the hike to the Morning Glory Bridge.  It is not a man-made bridge, but a rather large rock bridge at the end of 2 mile hike up a very pretty little canyon just 4 miles from our RV Park.  The trail follows an active creek that spills into the Colorado River. 

IMG_1681The trail is very popular with locals and their dogs.  The dogs love the jumping in the creek, and the barking echoes loudly off the canyon walls.  Dogs are fun to watch when they are in their element—no holding back when it is time for play—jump multiple times in the water, shake, roll in the sand and do it all over again. 

When we reached the arch, there was a group of “canyoneers” rappelling from the top of the arch.  They were trying to convince us to try, but….no…that is not going to happen.

Today, we finally took the truck to the car wash and got rid of all the red rock silt that seems to stick like glue to everything.  Everyone else seems to have the same problem, there were bicycles, jeeps, and motorcycles all washing the crud off.  I guess that is what happens when you play outdoors.  You get a little dirty.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


We arrived in Moab, Utah a few days ago on Thursday.  The morning drive was calm, but raining.  By the time we reached our RV Park (Portal RV Resort), the wind was starting to pick up.  We got settled in and went downtown to the Slickrock CafĂ© for a quick bite.  

IMG_1667The wind and rain just will not leave, but we were anxious to get familiar with our surroundings. We were also nervous that the government budget issues would affect our visits to the two nearby national parks (the national parks will close if the federal budget is not approved within the next few days), Arches and Canyonlands, so we went for at least a road trip through the Arches National Park yesterday.  Absolute phenomenal sights—from “fin” rocks (narrow rock formations reaching many stories high) to over 2,000 arches.  We were surprised to pass lots of bicyclers braving the wind.  I always wonder what brings the athletes to an area like this.  Are they on vacation in Moab?  Do they live in Moab for the outdoor challenges and natural beauty and earn a few coins waitressing?  Are they all a large group training for an upcoming event? 

[When I took the photo above, the wind was howling making it difficult for me to hold my hand still.]

We are excited to hike in the parks and around the Moab area and next week starting Monday the weather is supposed to cooperate with no wind and sunny skies in the mid-70 degrees.  And it appears as of this morning that the federal budget is back on track, so our plans are back on track, as well.

Since it is another indoor day today, we will visit the hip, little shops of Moab and enjoy a meal out at one of their many restaurants. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Name

driving-miss-daisyOur blog name often gets comments and giggles, especially from full-time RV’ers like us.  They know that it is usually one person who gets the duty of driving.  In our case, Mike gets that honor.  We would have never made it safely outside our hometown, if I was in charge of the driving.   So, the name, “Driving Miss Terry” is not only appropriate for our trips to each new location, but also for the side trips once our RV is parked.   Since we started our full-time adventure, I have had a personal chauffeur—such as in the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy”

BUT, we did not originate the name.   My sister-in-law, Barb, and her husband, Jerry,  are both famous for coming up with funny names and jokes about their lifestyle.  Jerry often takes pot-shots at Barb (and Barb does not hold back with her barbs back to Jerry), and jokes about his quest to “please her”.  No, it was Jerry who joked about driving Barb around the country in their motorhome as, “Driving Miss Daisy”.

Mike really got a chuckle about the reference, most likely since it was at his sister’s expense.  So, he began referring to our travels as “Driving Miss Terry”.  Not unlike Jerry, he likes to torment.  And the name stuck. 

Thanks Barb and Jerry for the material!  Cannot wait to see you guys when we are in town in May.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

alt IMG_1631 IMG_1659
Vintage, smoking steam locomotives are just downright cool.  A ride on the Durango-to-Silverton narrow gauge railroad (36 inches apart, versus the standard 56.5 inches) takes you back to the old wild west of the mining days in Colorado.  The movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was filmed in the area and used the train (man, I miss Paul Newman).  The train chugs through pastoral farm lands and on up through the San Juan Forest of the Colorado Rockies with the Animas River cutting a deep channel through the rocks and the little track following along the cliff side looking down at the water.

altWe elected to ride first-class, and it was worth it!  We had the last car and shared with only four other lucky couples. We met some wonderful people including Cheryl and Chantel, a mother and daughter enjoying the day together on the train (cute, aren’t they?).  The best part about first-class was exclusive access to stand outside on the back platform—kind of a whistle-stop campaign feeling.  The luxury car ticket came with free gifts (logo mugs, tote bags, and pins identifying the #480 steam-powered locomotive) and free drinks and pastries.  Our attendant was a former field geologist from Alaska; so not only did we get information about the train and the history of the railway from her, but also a wealth of information about the rock formations along the way. 

altIMG_1653Occasionally, we would hang our heads out the window and get hit with a puff of black smoke and a few cinders hitting our face.   The steam engine requires a fireman shoveling about 5 tons of coal into the firebox and the stops to take on water—lots and lots of water to make mucho steam.  Downright cool, right?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...