From Picher we headed across Oklahoma into Texas.
We planned on Dinner at the legendary Big Tex Steak House - home of the free 72oz steak, if you can eat it all - in Amarillo, but the parking situation at Big Texs parking lot(a 37foot motorhome and toad are hard to park) frustrated that. We settled for overnighting in the Amarillo Wal Mart.
We had made an appointment on the web to get the Motorhome serviced in Albuquerque at Rich Ford. So we drove like maniacs to get there from Amarillo and made arrangements to stay two nights in Albuquerque.
|Left rear axle stabilizer bar|
However when we got to Rich Ford, they refused to honor the appointment, saying instead we could come back in the morning and get the oil changed. The other service they could schedule 6 months out.
So we touristed in Albuquerque for 2 days. We hit the Nation Nuclear Museum. We discovered that it was dedicated to nuclear weaponary (makes sense since Sandia isright there). And while it was interesting to see replicas of the "The Gadget", "Fatman" and "Little Boy" plus all the varied delivery mechanisms, we really were interested in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
The Rattlesnake Museum and Giftshop was a horse of another color. They even let Ginger in and gave her a special K9 certificate for being brave enough (I think ignorant) to go into the live snake display area.
|Rattlesnake Museum Albuquerque New Mexico|
The next day we set sail for Cortez Colorado and the Mesa Verde National park.
Mesa Verde was a surprise. This has a large number of native American pueblo buildings dating from around the 1200s. The buildings are remarkable well preserved. It was unfortunate that the tours of the buildings are only offered from Memorial day to Labor day. The rest of the time you can observe them from the outside. We marked this place for a return visit during the summer high months.
Part of the reason for the tour limitations is the weather. It actually started to snow on us pretty good. which made driving in the Smart Car in a twisty mountain road an adventure. We had the RV parked in nearby Cortez, Colorado where the 27 degree air temperature gave the propane heater a work out.
|Snow Storm at Mesa Verde|
From Cortez it was quite a reasonable drive to Moab Utah where we stayed just outside of town in a small RV park with spectactular view of the red-rock mountains. But then again
everything in Moab has a spectacular view of the red-rock mountains,
We set off to explore the area and discovered we were in the "High Season" for Moab. Arches National Park was full as was Canyon Lands National Park and there were only allowing one car when a car exited the park.
National Parks are not dog friendly anyway, so we set off for a nearby state park that was dog friendly, Dead Horse Point. The state park had the same issue as the national parks, but the line was a lot shorter and decided to tough it out.
Are we glad we did.
|The view from Dead Horse Point State Park|
This was a spectacular park on top of the Canyon Lands and incredible views. We took a 4.5 mile hike with the dog on one the dog-friendly trails and enjoyed every bit of it.
When we finally left the State park, we drove back up to Canyon Lands Island in the Sky road. It was late enough that the Rangers had closed down so we got in for free. Islands in the Sky is primarily the top of Canyon Lands and has some pretty impressive geological formations.
We don't have time on this trip, but next time we are in the area, we are going to take one of the Jeep trips offered in Moab.
The next day was Arches National Park.
We learned our lesson yesterday and got up very early and drove to park. It was still about 10 minutes of being in line at the entrance station.
There is only one paved road in Arches and our strategy was to drive to the end and work our way back. While we were there we learned a important lesson - Don't take your dog in Arches.
Other than the general majesty of Arches, you need to walk on the trails to see the real neat stuff. Dogs aren't allowed on the trails - they have to stay in the car. Fortunately it was cool enough Ginger could be in the car, but the summer would be a different story.
Arches was fantastic. We will be back.
From Utah we head back to Castro Valley, where we will be "in port" until perhaps January when we go to Quartzsite and March when we head to the Yukon and Alaska.
Its been a hell of a trip
|Only a few states left to go|