Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Utah to Nevada through the Virgin River Gorge

I-15 held an awesome surprise for us as we crossed the far northwest corner of Arizona.  Twenty miles wind through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge, just south of the Utah state line.  Ron was glad we were descending in elevation, rather than climbing.

This section of Interstate 15 is one of the most expensive parts of interstate highway ever constructed.  Due to the winding of the interstate, the canyon is also noted for its tricky driving conditions.  The gorge, a popular winter rock climbing area noted for its steep and overhanging limestone walls, actually exposes several beds of rock that lace the steep walls.  Virgin River Gorge separates the Utah desert from the one time marsh area in southeast Nevada.


After exiting the Gorge, and now in Nevada, we had intended on driving through Las Vegas, but the hosts at the State Visitor Center warned us that construction was causing extensive delays.  We decided, instead, to take the scenic route through the Mead Lake Recreation Area.  Also under construction, it was still a very enjoyable drive, and much better than driving in heavy city traffic.  We stopped for a two night stay in Boulder City.



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zion National Park

After leaving Hoyt and Bernice, we traveled to Kanarraville, about 30 miles north of Zion National Park.  Our plans were to rest during the afternoon, then tour Zion the next day, before moving on.  However the weather forecast was dire, with the possibility of high winds, and even snow in the higher elevations.

We decided to make a quick trip to Zion, so that we could continue southward the next morning.  Zion National Park covers 229 square miles, with elevation ranging from 3700 to over 8700 feet.  Many people say that they enjoy their trip to Zion National Park more than any of the other Utah parks, but I cannot say that.  Zion is every bit as beautiful as the other parks, but the enforced shuttle system prevents one from seeing much of the park in detail.zion1

The buses are nice and comfortable, but I much prefer to make our own way through a park at our own speed, stopping often for views, pictures and walks.  We got off the bus at several of the stops, and took the short hike back to the Emerald Pool and Waterfall, where you can walk behind the water falling from the cliffs high above.zion2

There was so much contrast between the bright sun and shaded areas, that it was hard to get good photos, but we found enough to make a slideshow.  Click on the photo.





Monday, September 28, 2009

Capitol Reef National Park

Several of our friends have told us Capitol Reef is their favorite of the 5 southern Utah national parks.  We might not go that far (I really loved Arches), but it’s right up there.  The Park is the second largest in the state, yet is much less visited than others in south Utah, partly due to the rather remote location.

The Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100 mile long warp in the earth’s crust,  defines Capitol Reef.  The most scenic portion of the Waterpocket Fold, found near the Fremont River, is known as Capitol Reef: capitol for the white domes of Navajo Sandstone that resemble capitol building domes, and reef for the rocky cliffs which are a barrier to travel, like a coral reef.cap1


After traveling for many days through Utah’s rocky landscape, the green color of the trees in Capitol Reef arrested our attention.  Running through the area is the Fremont River.  Early Morman settlers recognized the potential of the area and settled here in the 1880s, planting apple orchards.  They named their settlement, appropriately, Fruita.

The settlers are long gone, but several reminders remain behind, and provide a unique glimpse into the past for today’s travelers.  The historic Fruita tour begins at the Gifford House, where fresh breads and jams, made in nearby Torrey, provide a delicious start to the day.  cap3

The farmhouse is filled with remnants of yesterday. cap4

The road past the farm, following along side the old Butterfield Stage route, cap5

takes you along the Waterpocket Fold ca

to Capitol Gorge, where the pavement ends.ca

Back  near the farm, we stopped for a picnic lunch near the Junction of the Fremont River and Sulfur creek, and took a few minutes to wander through the nearby orchard.ca   Tourist still pick the apples during season.ca

Children  of the settlers attended school in this tiny building,ca


and left record of their time spent on the ‘school roll’ out back.ca

Leaving the settlement behind, we decided to hike to Hickman Natural Bridge.  ca

 ca   The elevation began to bother Ron, and he chose a shady spot to wait on Hoyt, Bernice and me.ca

  As in all the National Parks of Utah, the scenery is breathtaking.

ca One of the largest rock spans in the park, Hickman National Bridge has an opening of 125 feet top to bottom, and 133 feet between abutments.  The bridge is named after Joe Hickman, one of the men deserving credit for the preliminary work that led to the creation of the National Park.ca

We also spent time at the Petroglyph/Pictograph site, where a boardwalk ca

leads past dozens of examples of rock art.  The human depictions are often elaborately decorated with headdresses, ear bobs, necklaces, clothing items and facial expressions. A wide variety of animal figures include bighorn sheep, deer, dogs, birds, snakes and lizards. Abstract designs, geometric shapes and handprints are also common.  ca

Our last stop of the day was at an overlook near the entrance to the park.  ca The informational display made an interesting observation:

ca   ca

Torrey is a picturesque community of only 120 residents.  On Saturday morning, we visited the tiny farmers market, located in the side yard of a bookstore, consisting of only 1 vendor. ca


We purchased a delicious loaf of bread that had been cooked in an outside stone oven.  The bread is brought to the Farmer’s Market, unwrapped, in tubs.ca

On Sunday, we attended the small church, where Anita offered to provide piano music for the tiny congregation of 12 or so.  She was asked to stay and become their pianist.

At this point in the trip, Hoyt and Bernice decided to take the scenic route to Bryce Canyon National Park.  We chose not to visit Bryce, as it would mean driving through the aspens.  Ron was beginning to have allergy problems with the trees at Capitol Reef, and we didn’t want to aggravate the situation.  We decided to make Zion our next destination.

For a slideshow of more of Capitol Reef, CLICK anywhere on the collage:  



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Road Trip from Moab, UT to Torrey, UT

At the end of our week in Moab, we headed west to the tiny village of Torrey, UT.  As we followed first I-70, and then SR 24, our comments were on the order of “Ahhh…”, “Look over there!” , “Did you see that?” as one picture postcard view followed another along the whole route. 

Before reaching Torrey, we passed the boundary line for Capitol Reef National Park, and the remainder of the drive was within the park boundaries.

Come, take the drive with us as we follow Hoyt and Bernice down the road to Torrey, UT.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canyonlands National Park – Our Week in Moab, Part 6

Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah.  There are three major divisions of the park.  We visited the Island in the Sky, which sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa, living up to its name quite literally.  ca

20 miles of paved roads lead to many of the most spectacular views in Utah.  From the viewpoints, you can see nearly 100 miles on a clear day.ca

We hiked several trails throughout the day, the first being out to the end of the ‘island’ to Grand View Point, the second to Upheaval Dome and the third to Mesa Arch.

For a slideshow of our day: ca

Friday, September 25, 2009

Movie Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge – Our Week in Moab, Part 5

Since the earliest western movies, many of our favorites have been filmed in the Moab area.  So many, in fact, that a Museum of Film and Western History was established in the Red Cliffs Lodge just north of Moab.

We could not finish our week in Moab without a look, so a short, but scenic road trip was in order.  The scenery surrounding Moab is spectacular in all directions, and once again, we were not disappointed.  The trip was definitely just as enjoyable as the destination.mm1 Here’s the link for more pictures:


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dead Horse Point State Park – Our Week in Moab, Part 4

dh1 Around the turn of the century, the narrow point, high above the steep walls of a canyon,was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top.  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. This created a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs, affording no escape. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and let the culls or broomtails go free. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.  And so goes the legend behind the name of Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab.

Dead Horse Point is a small state park covering just a few square miles of land, but the  spectacular view rivals that of the Grand Canyon.

dh2 Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the main overlook of Dead Horse Point State Park has a 270° vista over the Colorado and its side canyons, from the bright turquoise tailing ponds of a potash mining complex in the northeast, along the river and south across vast areas of eroded ridges, buttes, pinnacles and cliffs with the La Sal Mountains in the far distance, then west to the near side of the Island in the Sky mesa and northwest along several branches of Shafer Canyon.

dh3 Plenty of the river and its corridor of greenery is visible, 1,900 feet below, including one big gooseneck meander close to the viewpoint.

 dh4 A dirt track winds over the rocky desert at the base of the cliffs - this is Potash Road, which follows the Colorado river starting just north of Moab. It is paved at first, as far as the potash mining complex, then unpaved for the next 17 miles, ending with a steep ascent up the cliffs at the head of Shafer Canyon where it joins the national park drive.

Join us on our hike.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Fiery Furnace of Arches – Our week in Moab, part 3

ff1 Perhaps one of the most strenuous hikes in Arches National Park is the one through the Fiery Furnace, so called from the vivid color of the stones in late day.  The Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons and fins, created over the years by erosion.  The route requires scrambling and squeezing through tight spaces.  This relatively small area is one of the most incredible and spectacular places in the park.This hike can only be taken with a guide, or a special permit, as it is very easy to lose your orientation among the rocks and get lost, or to fall and get injured, or both.

ff2 We chose to take the morning hike, to avoid the heat of the day.   Over two dozen people  gathered early in the morning at the entrance to the area.

We spent the next three hours, walking and climbing on irregular and broken sandstone, along narrow ledges above drop-offs and in loose, sometimes wet, sand. There are cracks which must be stepped over and narrow places in the rock that you must squeeze into and pull yourself up and through. In some of these places, you must hold yourself off the ground by pushing against the sandstone walls with your hands and feet.

There is no trail, and due to the maze-like nature of the terrain, one is committed to completing the hike once they have entered the Fiery Furnace.  It was one of the most enjoyable hikes we’ve made.

As always, pictures speak much more eloquently than words.  Have a look at our hike:ff

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In Search of Petroglyphs – Our week in Moab, Part 2

p1 Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, pecking, carving and abrading, usually by prehistoric people.  In the Desert Southwest, most petroglyphs have been created on rocks bearing desert varnish.

Desert varnish is created in areas of low precipitation, and is formed from just the right combination of clay, wind, high temperatures and dew.  It is a thin surface layer of black or navy coloring, which in appearance resembles the old chalkboards, and provided an excellent place to carve, exposing the lighter rock underneath.

We visited three petroglyphs sites near Moab.  The first, Moon Flower Canyon, is behind a protective fence, but that has not prevented the panel of 100 feet by 12 feet high from being highly vandalized over the years.  Why is it that folks visiting these sites cannot appreciate the history behind the etchings, a record that once destroyed, can never be regained? 

p2 The panel contains many figures, including a large human shape with headdress, bighorn sheep and a number of abstract elements.  The site is located on the south bank of the Colorado River at the entrance of a lovely canyon named for the datura (or Moonflowers) growing there.  Pictures from Moon Flower Canyon are in the slideshow (link below)

On the north side of the River, we found another site.  Historians believe these petroglyphs were created between 600 and 1300 A.D.  These carvings include animals, lines of hand-holding men and triangular figures with spears and shields.  It is very hard to photograph these sites due to the reflective quality of the desert varnish.

Another interesting bit of history found on this road is the dinosaur tracks.  We found several sites around Moab with similar tracks documented.  The tracks on this road were up on the side of a hill, and best viewed through binoculars or the zoom lens of a camera. p3

p4 The third petroglyph panel we found runs from ground level up about 30 feet and is about 90 feet wide.  This site caused us a few smiles, especially when we found a figure that very closely resembled Santa and his sled.  Santa has really gotten around over the ages, hasn’t he?