AUGUST 10–25, 2014

    We packed a lot of scenery, history, and adventure into our two weeks on the road!
    We drove our RV and towed the Rav4 from Nederland to Marble, Colorado for two nights, through Ridgeway for one night, and on to Bluff, Utah for three nights and Escalante for two nights, before reaching Kanab, Utah, our final destination. Along the way, we visited the hard-to-reach ghost town of Crystal, Colorado, toured Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, discovered sites inhabited by the Ancient Ones along Montezuma Creek east of Blanding (Utah), crossed the bridge at Hell’s Backbone near Boulder (Utah), drove a good portion of the Hole-in-the-Rock Road out of Escalante (Utah), settled in Kanab (Utah) to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and, for a short while, enjoy the festivities at the 16th annual Western Legends Roundup. Our return home was a two-day sprint across Utah and Colorado on I-70.
Downtown Crystal


    Our first stop was Marble, Colorado, just south of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. It was not very long ago that Marble was on its way to becoming another Rocky Mountain ghost town. The town is named after the high quality marble from the Yule Marble Quarry that was used in the construction of Lincoln Memorial, Tomb of the Unknowns, other buildings across the country. The quarry came to life in the late 19th century, but the high cost of extraction and transportation caused a decline in the mine and with it a similar decline in population. Today, the mine has been purchased by an Italian company (from Carrera) and in spite of high transportation costs, the marble is still valued and selling well throughout the world as well as in this country. There is a renewed interest in the town in the past decade, with folks realizing how beautiful the area is (and always has been). Visitors (like us) who haven’t been to Marble in twenty or more years will be surprised at the new (and expensive) houses that have sprung up on the outskirts of the town and the active restoration of older buildings in town, several of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rocky Road
    At the north end of town Bogan Flats is a very comfortable and scenic 35-site campground national forest facility located on the Crystal River. We arrived in the late afternoon without a reservation. Next time we’ll reserve ahead and try for sites 21, 24, or 25 along the river, though our site was just fine.

    However, it was the ghost town of Crystal, six miles south of Marble that drew us to the area (see photo above of the current Main Street of Crystal). We have visited quite of few Colorado ghosts, as well as others throughout the Rockies, but Crystal has always held a kind of fascination because of its remote location and the challenging road in and out, portions of which are often described as “not for the faint of heart.” Crystal is also the site of one of the state’s most photographed images, the iconic Crystal Mill that graces scores of calendars every year.

    We could have hired a jeep, motorcycle, mountain bike, or ATV to make the trip; we could have gone with a local tour group that brings visitors from Marble to Crystal twice a day; of course we could have hiked the 12-mile round trip. In the end we decided that our 4-wheel drive Toyota Rav4 could make the trip without much difficulty. After all, we have navigated some pretty rough, rocky roads right here in the Nederland area.

Crystal Mill
    We pretty nearly made it all the way to Crystal and would have gone all the way except for one short, steep, treacherous ten yards of bare rock about halfway there that likely would have restructured the bottom of our semi-high clearance vehicle. As a result of our caution we prudently decided to park the car on the side of the road and hiked the remaining three miles to Crystal. The dogs (Lucy and Bella) enjoyed the adventure to the town site, and we arrived somewhat surprised to meet many of the summer residents who arrived in jeeps, pickups, on ATVs, as well as visitors on motorcycles and mountain bikes. (The three guys on mountain bikes came the hard way: they rode north on Forest Road 317, sometimes called “the Gothic Road,” from Crested Butte through the ghost town of Gothic, and across the extremely difficult and notorious Schofield Pass, traversing the Devils Punchbowls, considered among the most dangerous drives in the state.) There was one “car” in town: a late model Subaru Forester that brought a family comfortably up from Marble. We were very impressed!

    If the journey to Crystal was memorable—and it was—the remains of the old mining town itself left a lasting impression on us as well. A dozen or so well maintained cabins sit in a fairly flat area dotted with aspens. Lawns are watered and mowed, the flower gardens are spectacular, the path to the public outhouse is tidy, and there’s no traffic to keep visitors from walking down the main street in town. You can purchase sodas and water, along with post cards and souvenir T-shirts at a small general store; some cabins are available to rent; there is a bookstore run by author Roger Neal, whose book Crystal…What Really Happened (Crystal Tale Books, Elkhart, Indiana: 3rd edition, 2005) is a well documented and interesting history of the people and the mines of this fabled town high up in the Rocky Mountains. And the author was there to autograph a copy.
House in Crystal
    Just a few hundreds yards to the north of town is the Crystal Mill (referred to as the “Old Mill” by historian Roger Neal; originally called the Sheep Mountain Power House; other sources identify it as the Lost Horse Mill or the Dead Horse Mill) sitting high above the waters of the Crystal River. This frequently photographed structure, built in 1893, housed a vertical axle that drove a horizontal wooden wheel that powered an air compressor, which pumped air to drills in two different mines. (Contrary to some accounts, Crystal never had electricity and it still does not.) The current owners of the mill continue to work on its restoration.

    On our hike back to where we left the car, the dogs went from one shaded area to the next, stopping occasionally to drink heavily from the clear waters of the Crystal River. We drove the rest of the way back to Marble and had the best meal of the entire trip at Slow Groovin’ BBQ (read our review at Trip Advisor). The beef brisket and the salmon filet, both taken fresh from the smoker next to the porch, were to die for, the beer was cold, the blueberry pie was fresh make, the front porch provided shade, and the dogs drank and slept under the table while we enjoyed some of the best food anywhere between Denver and LA. It was a perfect end to a remarkable day.
Slow Groovin BBQ


    Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, we regularly drove out from Ohio to spend almost every summer working on our cabin in Silverton and exploring that area of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. At that time Ridgeway was a quiet crossroads we drove quickly through between Montrose and Ouray before we climbed over Red Mountain Pass to drop down into Silverton. In 1987 the Department of Reclamation completed the Ridgeway Dam across the Uncompahgre River, creating a reservoir to control the flow of the river and developing a recreational facility for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking.

    We stayed at Pa-Co-Chu-Pak campground, one of the three camping areas within the park north of town where there are full hook-ups for RVs, trailers, and areas for tents. (User fees are fairly consistent throughout the state park system: $7 daily per vehicle plus $26 for full hook-up sites. There is a $10 reservation fee. For other fee options check the state park web site at In addition to camping, there is access to several miles of bike/hike trails. The Uncompahgre River Trail bike path parallels the highway (US 550) connecting the state park campgrounds to the town of Ridgeway. Though paved, this is only a small portion of over 40 miles of both paved and single-track trails in the Ridgeway area. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours on a morning ride before continuing our travels into Utah.


    Driving west of Ridgeway to the Utah border took us across the Dallas Divide, an area of aspen hillsides whose expanse of autumn colors are often featured on Colorado calendars, and down through the beautiful canyon of the San Miguel River to Norwood where the landscape flattens out and ranches spread for miles, all the way to Utah where Abajo Peak stands tall in the distance at over 11,000' We turned south at Monticello (pronounced locally as Monti-sello), through Blanding (where many of the early settlers in Bluff moved when they found they could not control the San Juan River flooding and gave up farming and turned to ranching in the Blanding area), and finally to Bluff.
San Juan Mission Map
    The history of Bluff is a testament to human struggles against incredible forces of nature and the will to survive. In 1879 a group of Mormons (mostly family groups) living in the western part of the state volunteered to travel across the rugged and largely unexplored central part of Utah to the portion of the state south of the Colorado River where only a few Paiutes, Navajos, and gold-seekers had settled. They came with their families and only what possessions they could carry on their wagons. In the fall of 1879 they met up in Escalante to form the San Juan Mission. Several alternative routes to Montezuma Fort, less than 200 miles away near the Colorado border were discussed. Eventually they chose the most direct route: straight to the Colorado River 60 miles from Escalante, and across the river close to where it is joined by the San Juan River. Montezuma Fort was less than 100 miles from the crossing. However, when the families faced the 1500' descent down to the river, the trip took on an epic challenge at the now famous Hole-in-the-Rock. They built a “road” down a crack in the face of the cliff so the wagons could be driven to the river and animals could be lowered by ropes. After they built rafts to cross the river and then pulled themselves up the other side, they faced new hardships: fierce winter snows, little firewood, treacherous landscapes that required more road building, and declining food and water supplies. By April of 1880, they gathered at a flat area near the confluence of Cottonwood Wash and the San Juan River and decided they had gone far enough, though Montezuma Fort was only 20 miles beyond. Bluff City, as they named it, became their new home. A six-week journey had turned into a six-month test of will and determination.
Hole in the Rock today
    This story is central to the ethos of Bluff and of the people who live in San Juan County. The story is told throughout the state; re-enactments are held; descendants of those first pioneers gather on occasions to climb down and back up the Hole-in-the-Rock and relive the memory of the courage and determination of their 19th century ancestors. It’s a remarkable story for which there is a good deal of documentation, especially from journals and diaries kept by the pioneers. David Miller’s Hole-in-the-Rock: An Epic in the Colonization of the Great American West (Salt Lake City: Un. of Utah Press, 1966) is considered the most complete history of this event. Stewart Aitchison’s A Guide to Southern Utah’s Hole in the Rock Trail (Salt Lake City: Un. of Utah Press, 2005) offers a brief, authoritative overview of the journey including references to contemporary roads and locations for those who might attempt to retrace the trip.

    [While we were in Bluff we attended a lively performance of “Hole in the Rock Honeymoon” written, narrated, and sung by the Home Town Harmony Singers from Blanding and based upon historical anecdotes and journals. This non-professional production, was presented at Bluff Fort, a reconstruction of original cabins and tools, as well as the home of the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation.]

•Montezuma Canyon

    One of our primary reasons for returning to Bluff was to explore the archeological sites along Montezuma Canyon. This rugged and isolated region was carved out by Montezuma Creek that goes between Bluff and Monticello about 15 miles to the east of US 191. We began by driving 14 miles north of Bluff to the paved road to Hatch Trading Post and Hovenweep National Monument beyond. In 15 miles we left the pavement at the Hatch Trading Post and turned north on county road 146, a well graded gravel road. The next 36 miles is a lonely stretch of road (no services, no water, no cell service, no traffic—we were by ourselves virtually all the way) where the walls of the canyon show evidence of the Ancient Ones (formerly referred to Anasazi) who settled in the area over 1,000 years ago. They left petroglyphs, kivas, granaries, and other signs of life. Thanks to a Nederland neighbor, who visited the area some years ago, we had a mile-by-mile guide to many of these sites.
Montezuma Creek
    Along the way, we saw a few signs of modern settlers: corrals and stockades along the road where free ranging cattle might be rounded up and held for transport; huge bales of hay are stored in natural caves in the Navajo sandstone that makes up the landscape; a handful of ranches are located here and there on the northern section of the road; two or three folks have built conventional walls (with doors, windows, etc.) on the faces of natural caves in which they appear to live; and an oil company (maybe more than one?) have wells and tanks scattered throughout the area.

    We drove the road with confidence until we came to a creek crossing that we declined to cross, even with 4-wheel drive. The water was flowing quickly from a recent storm runoff, we didn’t know how deep the water was, and it was a pretty wide crossing. We didn’t see any tire tracks on the other side. So we backtracked a few miles to reach a parallel road that would take us around the risky creek. We returned to the canyon bottom via Deadman Canyon Road, a steep, narrow, twisting, not very well graded downhill track worthy of its name that brought us back to the good gravel road, but on the other side of the creek. We caught our breath and continued on our way, only to encounter two or three more creek crossings. These, however, were more like long puddles, not flowing water and not quite as wide as the first one, and the thought of going up Deadman Canyon was not a cheerful option. So we held our breath and drove across without much more than muddy, wet tires. The first time was the hardest; the next time we didn’t hesitate.
Cave House
    [We did not have a sufficient map to pinpoint where we were on the canyon road 146. When we got to the junction of Deadman Canyon Road and county road 146, we turned north to continue in the direction of where we had been heading. As a result, we missed the star attraction of the canyon, which was a few miles to the south: Three Kiva Pueblo. This apparently is an excavated site consisting of a 14-room complex that is open to careful exploration by the public. A booklet published by the BLM and the Canyonlands Natural History Association is guide to locating and explaining this historical site. We’ll have to go back, but not during the rainy season.]

    By mid-afternoon the storm clouds were thickening and we were glad to be heading up out of the canyon back to the pavement (US 191) just as the downpour began.

 •Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park   
Monument Formations
    John Ford and John Wayne made Americans aware of this remarkable and enchanting area on the border between Utah and Arizona. As often as we have driven by this beautiful area in previous trips, we have never driven through the park. We have had such good experiences in the past with native guided trips at other Navajo owned parks (Canyon de Chelly and Antelope Canyon) we decided to find a guide who would not only take us but also the dogs, who we couldn’t leave for the day. Without a reservation, we stopped at the visitor center booth where various individuals and companies are located. We simply asked if there was a driver or company who would take us and Bella and Lucy on a tour. There was some hesitation and finally one person spoke up and said she’d take us. No extra charge for the dogs and we would be the only passengers on the trip. It turned out that our driver was Ryan Holiday, a very friendly and accommodating (and soon to be father) young Navajo who was our driver and our guide for the four-hour trip (it was advertised as a two and a half hour tour, but we lingered at some stops). Ryan knew the names of all the formations, the locations of various movies or scenes of movies were filmed, where to stop for special photos, where to stop for refreshments, and knew where legendary weaver Susie Yazzie’s hogan is, though she had sadly passed away in February, 2013 at the age of 93. We’re sorry we missed the opportunity to meet this remarkable and beloved woman. Her daughter or grand-daughter (?) now greets visitors instead and describes the process of taking the sheep’s wool and turning it into beautiful rugs in the tradition of Susie Yazzie. (This meeting is only available with a guide and was itself worth price of the tour.) Still, Ryan knew his way around the sandy road system within the park and drove the vehicle with courage and confidence.
John Ford Point
    [Our advice: Take the tour. You’ll get so much more out of your time in the park. Your car will thank you, your passengers will thank you, and you’ll meet friendly and interesting people you’d otherwise miss.]

    On our return, we stopped by the Cow Canyon Trading Post on the north edge of town where Liza Doran used to prepare outstanding gourmet meals worth driving out of our way to enjoy. However, she has given up that part of the business and instead is concentrating on promoting the works of Native artists: jewelry makers, Navajo weavers, fine photography and graphics, and, more lately, paintings on wood based upon ye’ii images by Navajo artist Thomas Begay. We added one of his remarkable and unique creations to our collection of other Native American works.

    We toured Bluff Fort, bagged about a dozen geocaches in the town and area, packed up and prepared to leave Bluff in the morning.


    Utah State Highway 12 is one of the most scenic drives in America, an extraordinary experience that offers visitors nearly the full range of geologic landscapes the state has to offer. This designated National Scenic Byway begins in Torrey on the west side of Capitol Reef National Park and travels 124 miles south and west where it ends at the junction of US 89 (also a scenic drive). Along the way it passes through the conifer and aspen groves of Dixie National Forest (9,636' at the summit), down through the cattle ranching towns of Boulder, Escalante, and Tropic, and through the red sandstone cliffs of Red Canyon on the north edge of Bryce National Park. Inviting side trips include the Burr Trail (leaving from Boulder), Hell’s Backbone Scenic Backway (accessed from either Boulder or Escalante), the Hole-in-the-Rock Scenic Backway (starting in Escalante), and Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Backway and Kodachrome Basin State Park (out of Cannonville). All are graded gravel roads, passable by regular cars except following rains. This is a remarkable area of the state and country, one that visitors should include in their travel plans.

    To get to Torrey from Bluff, we drove through a desolate section of south-central Utah, much of which the Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers traveled: north through Butler Wash, across Comb Ridge, through the Grand Gulch Primitive Area and the Red Rock Plateau to Hite Crossing on the Colorado River at the bottom of Glen Canyon. The outside temperature began to rise, as did the RV’s engine as we climbed up from the river and skirted the Henry Mountains on our way to Hanksville (in the middle of nowhere). From there we turned west to Capitol Reef National Park and down into the green grass and shade trees of Torrey and Wonderland RV Park. In the morning, we bicycled south on SR 12 as far as Grover then returned, showered, and moved on by late morning.
    We drove south 15-20 miles until we reached Pleasant Creek Campground, a national forest facility that was deserted (though the rest rooms were open, clean, with plenty of TP). We hadn’t planned to stay there—in fact, Judy would have bicycled there if we had planned better. We saw this as chance for some rest and recovery from several days of driving, so we stopped earlier than usual. We hiked with the dogs through the adjoining area that had been logged off in the past, where we saw rabbits, a fox, and plenty of squirrels. There were piles of firewood throughout the campground so we enjoyed our first (and only) campfire on the trip. We woke in the morning relaxed and refreshed.

    The drive down SR 12 through the Dixie National Forest was a welcome change from the sandstone, heat, dry creeks, and treeless areas we had been in the previous few days. The hillsides of aspens would be glorious in a month with the pines as a soft green background. We passed through Boulder (where we had stayed on our last trip to the area in order to drive the scenic canyons cut through by the Burr Trail). We passed the campground at Calf Creek Falls where we had camped years ago and walked the six miles to almost magical Calf Creek Falls with our old dog Gordie. We arrived in Escalante in the early afternoon in time to park the rig in a shady spot at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park near the shore of the Wide Hollow Reservoir (fishing and swimming OK)—our home for the next three nights.
State Park in Escalante


•Hiking in Escalante State Park

    In the hills behind the campground are two adjoining trails, one an extension of the other: the Petrified Forest Trail and the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows. The first is a one-mile self-guided loop that offers a few glimpses of the area’s petrified wood; the second adds about another mile where the examples of petrified wood rival the specimens found in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. (See phots below of a sampling of what we found.) Later in the day we discovered there are geocaches in that area so we returned in the early evening to grab a couple of geocaches in the park.

•Hell’s Backbone Scenic Backway

    This 44-mile gravel road heads north up Pine Creek Road out of Escalante, through a thickly wooded area to the Posey Lake turnoff (a fairly popular fishing hole) and skirts the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness area to the rugged Sand Creek crossing and down into the ranching area leading into Boulder. The Hell’s Backbone Bridge across Sand Creek is an engineering marvel completed by the CCC in the early 1930s. The last time we came through here, we collected some pretty good blood jasper specimens along the side of the road between the bridge and highway 12. It’s an easy drive, though with the exception of the bridge crossing, we didn’t find the trip time well spent. Too many trees blocked most of the view, and there were no viewpoints until we reached the bridge.
Petrified Wood Logs
    [On our return to Escalante, we stopped in town in search of air for a tire on our Rav4, a recurring problem since before we left home. The Phillips 66 station had a source of free air, but Doug in the tire shop suggested that the persistent slow leak could be a sign of a more serious problem. He’d take a look and probably fix it within 20 minutes if we wanted to hang out in town. With a pretty good thrift store within an easy walk, we told Doug to go ahead. A half hour later, Doug showed me the remaining inch or so of a 12 penny nail he found attached to the inside of the tire. He patched it up and filled the tire with air that has stayed in even after our return. That was $25 well spent. Thanks, Doug!]

•Hole-in-the-Rock Road

    On the east side of Escalante is the attractive and informative Hole-in-the-Rock Heritage Center that has displays and photos pertaining to the San Juan Mission group, recounting their remarkable trek, and the road they took that begins just a few miles outside of town. The volunteers we met were informative and encouraged us make the drive. However, we found the best source of information about the road and what we might find along the way was Tracy Hassett, a gifted photographer we met at his Gallery Escalante. He offered us copies of very detailed maps he drew of the road and the sights along the way: slot canyons, dinosaur tracks, arches, Dance Hall Rock, and the Devil’s Garden (where the only rest room and picnic area are to be found along the 57 miles of dirt road). His maps also offered specific warnings about road hazards that can be found. However, he reassured us we could easily make the drive; the last seven miles might be best driven with a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. We’ll remember that the next time we come.
Arch at Devils Garden
    Because of some self-imposed time constraints, we drove only as far as the Devil’s Garden, a scenic area of sandstone hoodoos that are fairly common throughout Utah’s southeast corner (Goblin Valley State Park was designed to protect a large area of hoodoos in the San Rafael Swell north of Hanksville). We spent a leisurely hour or so wandering through the rocks enjoying the shifting light and shadows created by the odd and fascinating formations. It was another chance for the dogs to run freely since we were the only people there. We wish we had not spent so much of the previous day on the Hell’s Backbone Road.


    The remainder of State Route 12 passes through fairly unpopulated areas scrub trees, sandstone cliffs, and dry creeks until we came to the three small ranching towns of Henrieville (where you can turn off to the very popular Kodachrome State Park and Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Backway); Cannonville (about the same size as Henrieville [pop. 200] but with camping facilities, a grocery, and a paved access road to Kodachrome SP and Cottonwood Canyon); and Tropic (on the eastern edge of Bryce Canyon NP). A few more miles are the entrance to Bryce and the eastern end of the very scenic Red Canyon where SR 12 ends at the junction with US 89.

    A hour south on US 89 we passed through the very productive ranching area of “Long Valley” and the towns of Oderville, Mount Carmel Junction (where you turn to east entrance to Zion National Park) near the summer home and museum dedicated to western artist Maynard Dixon, and finally to Kanab, home of Best Friends Animal Society and the location of the annual Western Legends Roundup which we were able to attend this year.

•Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

    Most of you know we are strong supporters of Best Friends, the largest no-kill facility for sick/abandoned/injured animals in the country (maybe even the world). There are, at any one time, about 1700 dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, mules, pigs, birds who are being cared for: surgery and/or medication as needed, socialization, and rehab, all to prepare them for adoption. If necessary, some will live at Best Friends with the assurance of lifetime care and safety. This is a non-profit organization we believe to be worthy of our support of money and volunteer time. This year we both chose to work at “Dogtown,” feeding and walking dogs each day and cleaning pens and trails. Judy always works with the dogs; Hughes has worked with horses, pigs, and birds as well as dogs in the past. People we know who have volunteered there have found their time is well spent and very rewarding.

The 16th Annual Western Legends Roundup
Parade Wagon
    For nearly 80 years, Kanab has played host to Hollywood on location. The first movie made in Kanab was a Tom Mix oater “Deadwood Coach” filmed in 1924, and was followed by 110 others up to 2001. At least 15 TV series (including “Gunsmoke,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Daniel Boone,” to name just a few) were filmed entirely or in part in the Kanab area. John Wayne, Tex Ritter, Barbara Stanwyck, Ava Gardner, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, and Clint Eastwood are among the scores of actors who worked in the Kanab area, many staying at the Parry Lodge, which was there at the beginning of the arrival of the film companies. The Roundup is an event that honors the film making legacy of what has become know as “Little Hollywood.” There are 90 plaques along the sidewalks in town honoring most of the stars featured in Kanab made films.

    The three-day event brings many of the stars to town for the celebration. The Roundup also pays tribute to the area’s western and cowboy life—and makes a three-day spike in the local economy: motels and restaurants fill. The thousands of visitors can enjoy demonstrations of blacksmithing and quick-draw shooting, old time farm machinery and Model Ts, buckboards and Conestoga wagons, plus non-stop western/cowboy music and storytelling throughout the three days. Western movies made in the Kanab area were shown free of charge throughout the day, including “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” (with Dan Haggerty in attendance), “Buffalo Bill” (starring Joel McCrea and Maureen O’Hara), and “Duel at Diablo” (with James Garner and Sidney Poitier). Evening concerts this year featured country music singer Lynn Anderson, cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell, and cowboy music icons, the Sons of the Pioneers.
Kanab Parade
    The highlight for many folks is always the parade at high noon on Saturday when a fair sized herd of longhorn cattle leads the non-motorized parade of horse drawn wagons down Kanab’s main street (US 89). Seeing a herd of longhorns walking close to you helps a person to realize what courage it takes to herd these huge and sometimes cantankerous animals over trails for days on end. They are imposing beasts not to be messed with. We were on high alert as they passed by our spot on the curb, and kept the dogs tightly leashed and distracted until they passed. Following the longhorns were dozens of wagons, buckboards, and family groups on horseback, reminders of days gone by and the ranching and pioneer heritage of the area.

    When we were not working at Bests Friends or checking out the displays, the movies, the entertainers and craft booths on the streets in town, at the Round, we spent much of our time searching out geocaches (we found about a dozen), walking our own dogs, and paying our annual visit to the Kanab thrift store (slim pickings this year). Judy rode her bike to Arizona (7 miles south is the Arizona town of Fredonia) and together we rode east along US 89 almost to Johnson Canyon in the late afternoon the day before we left.


    After a little over two weeks we had finished what we came for, saw all the places we had planned to see plus some others we hadn’t counted on, and we knew it was time to head for home. It’s about 950 miles from Kanab to Nederland if we go by interstate. So we figured if we could make good time the first day, the trip might take only two days. With that in mind, we unplugged everything and pulled out before 9:00 a.m. Our first stop was in Panguich, where we fueled up with the cheapest diesel we found anywhere on the trip, then drove through Circleville (home of Robert Leroy Parker, who later changed his name to Butch Cassidy) and Marysville (a few miles south of Big Rock Candy Mountain), and got on to I-15. We drove north to I-70 east and drove as far as Fruita (Colorado) where we spent a comfortable night at James M Robb Colorado River State Park. (There are five sections to the park, spread between Fruita and Island Acres, 26 miles east; the Fruita section is one of two where full camping services are provided.)

    We left early in the morning and drove hard through some wet weather (rain and a fair amount of hail near Black Hawk and Central City) and got home with enough light left in the day to get the house opened up, turn on the hot water heater, unload the RV, and collapse in the friendly comfort of our own bed for the first time in a while.

    As usual, in spite of all the terrific experiences we had, we (Bella and Lucy included) were glad to be home. We counted ourselves lucky that we had no issues with the RV (which we had not used in nearly two years), or with the Rav4 (the nail in the tire notwithstanding.) We didn’t break anything, no one got sick or injured, and we returned with hundreds of photos and great memories.

    This is at least our third road trip to Utah, and though there are lots of other places we haven’t visited, we’re pretty sure we’ll go back to Utah. It’s a state of great contrasts, beautiful scenery, and fascinating history. If you haven’t been to Utah, you have missed many wonderful sights and experiences. Thankfully for us, it’s right next door to Colorado and begins less than a day’s drive. If you have visited the state, let us know where you went and how you liked it.

    One last look at Monument Valley…
Monument Valley

Judy and Hughes Moir
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