States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Monday, April 19, 2010

From Colorado to Utah: Saturday, April 10th

If only every Saturday’s travel drive could be this quick: 2½ hours, barely enough time for a movie and certainly not enough time to catch up on the blog, particularly when the scenery we were driving by was so spectacular! I did manage to sew up holes in cuddly toys (a sick Snappy is no good thing: Nate’s favorite lovey), trousers and the tooth fairy pillow though – sadly, the mundane things still have to be dealt with.

As we got closer to our destination, we passed the World Famous Hole N’ The Rock Home. This is one of the go-to kitschy tourist destinations of the area. We didn’t stop, no wish to part with our money that much! Apparently it is a 5,000 sq.ft house (no longer inhabited as the owners passed away) that is fully built into a hole in the rock, complete with 14 rooms, a chimney and a bathroom tub built into the rock (and bizarrely a petting zoo!).

The drive through Moab, we were staying about 9 miles north of the city, was a bit of a shocker. It was insanely busy. Evidently this is an off-road Mecca and the go-to destination for adventurers who love to mountain bike, dirt bike, ATV, dune buggy etc, you get the idea, the list goes on! Our arrival at the campground was amidst the chaos of people getting gas, shopping the little store and checking-out. It was a tad overwhelming and quite the change of pace compared to where we’ve been staying of late.

Thankfully the people staying in our spot checked out a couple of minutes before we were ready to move in: absolutely perfect. We had plenty of time to set everything up, clean the camper, have the kids play and eat lunch before heading up to nearby Dead Horse Point State Park.

From the brochure: Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the Park provides a breathtaking panorama of Canyonlands’ sculptured pinnacles and buttes. Dead Horse Point is situated atop a high plateau at an elevation of about 6,000 feet above sea level. From the Point, layers of geologic time may be viewed, revealing 300 million years of the earth’s geologic history. While standing on the canyon rim, 8,000 feet of geologic strata is visible looking from the peaks of the 12,000-foot high La Sal Mountains to the river below. These rock layers were deposited over the eons by oceans, fresh water and wind as well as isolated igneous events.

Sediments at the 4,000-foot river level were deposited during the Pennsylvanian period, 300 million years ago. The La Sal Mountains are composed of igneous rocks from an ancient laccolith that formed during the Tertiary period. Uplifting caused by continental drift elevated the entire Colorado Plateau by more than one mile. The Colorado River was born during this regional uplift, and has been carving down through the sediments ever since. Erosion continues today as the river winds from the Continental Divide high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean at the Sea of Cortez (a distance of 1,400 miles!) sculpting ancient rock layers into this spectacular panorama.

According to one legend, the point was once used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30 yards wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush, creating a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and for reasons unknown, left the other horses corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below. We also read in another version that the corral was left open and for some reason, the horses stayed where they were – this is probably the ‘nicer’ version (and the one we chose to share with the kids)!

The entrance to the State Park was on the way to Canyonlands National Park so we drove the extra few miles to take a quick look in the Visitor Center. We picked up Junior Ranger programs, watched the movie and checked out the exhibits; as usual the kids found the books in the shop and settled themselves in for a reading session. I know it’s probably not great that they treat these places as a library but I hate to deny them a chance to read a different book and they are very careful.

We had arranged to meet up with the Fine’s at Zax for dinner, as they were stopping for the night in Moab on their way back home to Park City. The restaurant had been recommended to us by a couple from Cambridge, UK, who’d we’d chatted with at Mesa Verde NP. We chat with people everywhere we go and get all sorts of advice and recommendations!

The kids were excited to see Emily and Josh again and everyone enjoyed the pizza buffet and gooey brownie and ice cream that followed. Rich and Janet invited us over to their camper for cocktails on the way back to our campground. The kids were thrilled to disappear to the playground and mini-golf, while the adults socialized: a very pleasant way to end the day.

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