Posted by: wheelsandfeet | April 28, 2011

Santa Fe to Moab…

well, we took a shower yesterday! that was big.  The shower was almost as good as our hike through Natural Bridges or the hamburgers on the grill with a salad to boot last night.  😀  I’m just not sure if I should mention how long it’s been since we took a shower…how about I get to what we’ve been up to lately and if I remember, I’ll mention how long it’s been at the end of the post.

So, we went from Santa Fe to Tent Rocks Park for the day. Then off to Gallup, NM for a short bit to check out the shops. Not a destination town, but if you want to buy local artisan jewelry, turquoise, etc…this place is awesome.  the prices are hard to beat.  stayed at the lovely local wal-mart just outside Gallup for the night.  water, bathrooms, and redbox.  what more do you need? off to Canyon de Chelly in the morning.  what a treat. and we were there for a free hiking tour of the canyon given by a local navaho woman who had been giving tours for 18 years.  very cool.  can’t say enough about canyon de chelly.  the camping is free just inside the park, although it’s primitive.  but that’s no problem!  then on to Monument Valley!  free camping there as well. and the views are amazing. right in the heart of the beast. the vistas are awesome and again, free camping means primitive with a biffy. but well worth it!  woke up for the sunrise and a morning walk for a couple hours with Malto.  Then, rather than pay for the drive around the valley in a four wheel drive vehicle, we decided to take our mountain bikes for a spin!  about a 15 mile round trip ride right into the valley.  they should consider renting mountain bikes for this ride.  such a great way to see it.  from Monument Valley we drove through ferocious winds…so sick of winds…not just breezes, but winds getting up to 50+ miles/hr in the rig is a real gas guzzler and a ridiculously frustrating way to drive.  From Monument Valley we drove to Goosenecks State Park followed by Valley of the Godsbackcountry road where we stayed for the night.  Goosenecks refers to the path of the Green River (?) shaped like a goose’s neck viewed from above.  amazing sight.  Valley of the Gods is a fantastic round trip backcountry road that’s nice enough for the VW where you can just pull off the road and camp in several places along the way with views of awesome desert scape and desert towers.  We actually had a fire that night!  so nice.  we checked in to the kane ranger station to get a weather report before we embarked on some backcountry canyon hiking near grand gulch only to find that the weather was not looking good.  cold and wet.  really???  and here I thought we were in canyon country at the best time of the year.  oh well! that just meant that we needed to continue to Natural Bridges National Monument where we did some great hiking and backcountry camping as well.  Even though we expected some inclement weather, it still surprised us!  rain 3 days in a row? snow??? yep, snow.  and a couple inches at that.   I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to drive on clay when it’s wet, but I don’t recommend it. especially in a VW Eurovan.  wow, that was quite unnerving.  even parking on the stuff for it to rain overnight made for a pretty restless couple night’s sleep for me!  yikes….what if we just start sliding on the wet clay, down the hill, and into the canyon?  hmmm…I had to stay up and check the tires late just to make sure we weren’t slipping even though we pulled up on some rocks to level out the ole VW.  well, I’m writing this now, so I guess we made it. 😀  we hiked natural bridges for an afternoon. got lost…continued downstream from Sipapu Bridge beyond Kachina Bridge all the way to the park boundary rather than UP the merging canyon/river at Kachina Bridge to the next Natural Bridge.  luckily Nicole noticed the tiny little park boundary sign!  yikes.  same thing happened to another older couple that we ran into later on in the day!  the map is crap and to get to the final bridge, the trail jogs up a canyon wall that takes you back to a parking area for a scenic overlook.  weird….at the time.  and still makes us wonder how many people end up doing what we did.  the next day we hunkered down and made some jewelry!  it rained and snowed, sleeted, hailed…good grief.  but we stayed nice and dry in the rig.  after the crappy weather cleared, I ended up using the crazy clay and made an adobe fireplace out of the rock fire ring! crazy working with that stuff. it’s no wonder the ancient ones used it for building material, as folks continue to do quite often these days.  we found the time to do a canyon hike called north mule canyon. one of the easier and more obvious canyon hikes in the area.  We had no idea the learning curve for wondering around canyon country was so steep.  Mule canyon was great, though. nice weather, awesome ruins still containing relics inside them.  there is an amazing amount of things to do in this lovely state of Utah and the learning curve really keeps it interesting.  From Mule Canyon, we headed up to Moab where we are now…online for the first time in a couple weeks…with cell coverage (in town, anyway…not at camp), a great selection at the grocery store, still a primitive campground but with a grill!, right on the colorado river.  primitive camping is prevalent here in moab with the drop the payment in the box ethic. but, it can be full! get here early in the day especially if you want a good site.  We biked slickrock yesterday. that was a tough but great workout.

I guess that’s what we’re up to!  hangin out in a coffee shop!  gettin all excited to go do some laundry…somehow missing out on some really nice weather.  I don’t know why, but that’s the way it goes as you all well know!  we still forget that there are daily responsibilities and feel guilty that we’re not outside on such a nice day…what a great thing to forget for a while.  I guess that’s part of what are road trips are all about…

just a thought before we go for now, here’s a little quote we ran across while reading at Cass’s in Arroyo Seco, NM.

You can’t separate individual struggle from universal implications.  My well-being depends on the planet; the planet’s health depends on me. “Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, said the naturalist Jon Muir, “we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” So at the bottom of trying to fashion a simple (and healthy) existence is the necessity to protect the very web of life itself.

I’m gonna try to throw on some photos in this post…hopefully it all goes well.  they’re pretty random, though…



  1. It’s nice o read about your travels! Thanks for posting. I can’t wait to check out this part of the country. Peace.

  2. So, do tell… How long has it been since taking a shower? Inquiring minds wait in baited anticipation…. 😉

  3. well, there, mr. “J”…it was a record for us. we figured out that we have taken a total of 26 showers so far in four months. well, she took one more than I did. So, a record for us is quite a few days. it was 12 days this time. good thing we’re in Moab. everyone stinks around here. as a matter of fact, if you smell clean, you’re just not cool enough to hang with all the cool people around here. we’re just tryin to keep up with the Jones’s as usual 😀

  4. gosh, i just read that and it meant sp much more to me since ive been there. thanks pat, for going there with me and for living your life the way You want to. ily.

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