An A Plus Plus Week in Palm Springs

We arrived in gloriously warm Palm Springs about two weeks ago and settled in very quickly to our beautiful site at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs. Our outdoor living space here is really awesome with lots of shade and privacy. Love, Love, Love sitting outside on the patio in the mornings with a steaming cup of java and listening to all the birds. The hummingbirds seem to love our flowering hedge so I got out my feeders and set them up so Sucia could bird watch too.

 

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Wally and Bentley relaxing on our quiet patio.

 

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Sucia is an avid bird watcher…like me, she loves hummingbirds.

 

My cousin June and her hubby Matt were arriving on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and staying at our nearby timeshare condo. So excited to be spending Thanksgiving with them and took my duties as official tour guide very seriously!!! The weather forecast for Thanksgiving day indicated that yes, we would be dining Alfresco – YAY!!! As a matter of fact, it seems the entire week was going to be toasty – 90 degrees of toasty.

There is so much to see and do in Palm Springs plus the dining scene here is outstanding. Everything from super casual to fine dining and every ethic option you could ask for. I do a lot of research on restaurants because I LOVE to eat and as much as I LOVE to cook, I really enjoy a great meal that someone else fixes and no dishes!!

After getting June and Matt checked into the condo on Sunday, we all headed to the Purple Palm Restaurant in Palm Springs for a late lunch. This place is the real meal deal, so totally quintessential Palm Springs. The restaurant is located in the Colony Palms Hotel  which is known as one of Palm Springs’ iconic and luxurious downtown hotels. Just one block off of the city’s main design district and built in the 1930s, this 57-room resort retains many charming features of its original Spanish colonial architecture, from arched entryways and covered ceilings to original ceramic floor tiles.

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We were seated outside in an intimate sanctuary with lush greenery with the pool as a backdrop behind us. What a great introduction to Palm Springs…the Purple Palm menu is casual, approachable and the Bloody Marys are buzz worthy!! In addition to a great meal, we experienced warm personalized service. This was a great place for us to have a long, lingering lunch and catch up as it had been years since we were all together.

 

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We were sitting at the four top on the far right.

 

Monday was going to be toasty so it seemed like the perfect day to head up The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This crazy ride is the world’s largest rotating tram car, traveling over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon and transports riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During our approximately ten-minute journey, the tram car rotated slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. We departed the tram at elevation 8,516 feet and at least 25 degrees cooler than the valley floor.

 

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All aboard….

 

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WOW…what a view!

 

After a casual lunch at The Peaks Restaurant we enjoyed the observation decks, the natural history museum and an easy hike through the long valley and back, stopping at the five scenic notches that gave different but spectacular views out over the valley below.

 

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Can you see the windmills off in the valley below?

 

The tram was the dream of a young electrical engineer, Francis Crocker, that began in 1935 while he was on a trip to Banning, California, with newspaper publisher Carl Barkow. Mopping his brow in the heat of the day, Crocker gazed at the still snow-capped peak of Mount San Jacinto 10,834 feet elevation and longed to “go up there where it’s nice and cool”. At that moment, “Crocker’s Folly,” as it was soon dubbed by one newspaper woman, was born – a tramway up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. The tramway project stalled several times over the years but because of sheer determination by Crocker was finished in 1963. No small feat to build, the first tower is the only one that can be reached by road. The helicopters flew some 23,000 missions during the 26 months of construction, hauling men and materials needed to erect the four other towers and the 35,000 sq. ft. Mountain Station.

 

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The winter months change the whole dynamic at the top and hiking gives way to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snow camping. There was no threat of snow when we were there but I can certainly imagine the transition of dry, pine forests to winter wonderland.

 

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Can you imagine how beautiful this area will be with a dusting of snow?

 

The next day our exploring took us on a drive across the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway. This beautiful drive from Palm Springs to Banning shows a different side of southern California. Palm trees give way to pines and firs as the byway climbs into the San Bernardino National Forest.

 

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Leaving the Coachella Valley on winding Hwy 74.

 

Idyllwild was the perfect lunch stop and we had another great meal at the Mile High Café. This family owned restaurant is a gem, offering an eclectic menu with a decidedly Korean influence. The Whiskey Bacon Jam was to die for!!! While definitely cooler than the Coachella Valley, sitting at over 5,000 ft elevation it was still a great day to enjoy the outdoor, dog friendly patio.

 

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Idyllwild has an eclectic mix of shops but is not really an artist community experience.

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A beautiful fall day!

 

Besides the great lunch, a stroll through Idyllwild and all the jaw dropping views along the way, I think the big highlight of the day was the short hike around Lake Fulmor. The fall colors were just spectacular, making the area a photographers nirvana. All of our cameras got a work out and I can only imagine how many MB of digital storage were used.

 

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The fall colors made Lake Filmor extra  photogenic.

 

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Bentley enjoyed the hike the most and wasn’t super thrilled about the rest of the winding, curvy ride.

 

The final experience of the day was on the drive back to Palm Springs with a detour of Hwy 10 through the windmill farms and a date shake at the funky Windmill Market. Dates are actually grown in the Coachella Valley and there are several places you can buy the local varietals. Date shakes are pretty dang good but I still prefer my dates wrapped in proscuttio…wink, wink!!

 

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The thanksgiving shopping was all done and the menu planned so we were able to spend the day before the big feast in Old Town Palm Springs wandering the shops, people watching, sipping coffee and doing a driving tour to see some amazing homes built in the era of mid-century architecture. We saw Marilyn Monroes house, the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway – can you say funky, the Kaufmann Desert House, Ann Miller’s House and the Liberace House. Driving the area where these houses are located is a feast to the eyes for those mid-century modern architecture lovers. Only wish we had been able to get inside some of those beauties.

 

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The Kaufmann Desert home is a stunning peice of architecture. The 5 bedroom, 5 bath property recently sold for $12.5 million. I would love to see the inside.

 

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Thanksgiving day was warm so we relaxed and enjoyed our outdoor living room at the RV Resort. I was a cooking crazy-woman and with some help turned out a pretty amazing Thanksgiving feast. I was so into the cooking that I completely forgot to take any pictures – lame – but it was a delicious feast, even the store bought pie, a “real” pecan pie from Claim Jumpers. Thanksfully, Matt took a few nice pictures 🙂

 

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The spatchcocked turkey is smoking nicely!!!

 

The menu below was written by my very creative cousin June…

To Quaf….
Monsuier Byer’s Cardboard-Cellared, Aged Vino:
A. Rafanelli, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley Zinfandel, 2014

Macchia Old Vine Zinfandel ‘Mischevious’ 2016 With Notes of Berries and Soft Vanilla

In The Beginning…
Tender Kale-Radicchio-Shaved Brussels Sprout, Sea Salt-Sprinkled Salad With Dried Cranberries & Garlic-Vinagarette

In The Middle….
Apple Wood, Tragar-Smoked, Spatchcocked Turkey with Citrus-Herb Butter

Southern Fried Corn with Crunchy Smoked Bacon Crumbles

Gruyered Gratin de Sweet Potato, Yam & Red Potatoes With Herb Cream Sauce

Slow-Simmered Turkey Giblet Gravy With Simon & Garfunkle Deconstructed Herb Garni of Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.

Rosemary-Balsamic-Maple Glazed, Roasted & Caramelized Carrots drizzled with Herb de Provence Olive Oil
In The End….
Claim Jumper’s Signature Southern Pecan Pie, With Extra Flaky Crust & Real (Not Fake) Pecans

Idyllwyld Ethiopian Organic, Tangy City-Roasted Coffee With Hints of Blueberry

Truly, the best part of the day was being together with my BCF’s from Kentucky, playing games, sipping wine and being silly. If you have never played the board game Redneck Life, be prepared to laugh until almost you pee your pants! I won because I actually accumulated enough money to have all my missing teeth fixed!!! So very thankfully they made the trip to Palm Springs to be with us.

Our week together was a busy whirlwind and our last night we went on a strange adventure to see Robo Lights. This fantastical, four acre winter-wonderland-meets-sci-fi art installation that lights up the upscale Movie Colony East neighborhood is the life-long work of is Kenny Irwin Jr. He is quoted as saying “The display features a life time’s worth of monumental and variety complex art that spanning nearly thirty five years from the time I was very little where I made my first large outdoor found art robot at the age of nine. Of course, I have been creating art in one form or another since I was practically born”.

 

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Kenny, is this is a self portrait?

 

This is one of the most amazingly, bizarre places I have ever been. Outrageous wonderland flies out of whacky artist’s mind into 3-D manifestation like that gory creature out of Kane’s chest in Alien. Only this one’s done in full trashion with exploded microwaves, hot pink foam , lawn chair fences, telephone christmas wreaths and so much more.

 

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Enter at your own risk …

 

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Wow, there is some really old technology in that wreath.

 

Watch out reindeer, these kinetic mannequins and bunnies are taking alien black Santa for the sleigh ride of the century! I wondered if the parents who brought children evaluated their child’s sensitivities and future propensity toward weirdness first! The level of detail in these mind-blowing recycled sculptures really must be seen to be believed.

 

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Now, that doesn’t look any any teddy bear I ever had???

 

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It’s really is all made with recycled treasures.

 

The only possible downside to all of this creepy brilliance is that it’s all SO MUCH. It’s hard to get your head around everything, and it’s honestly a little overwhelming. But hey, it is a lifetime of artistry, right!!!

 

 

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It was an unanimous decision to celebrate our fabulous week together over lunch again at the Purple Palm..it has been decided that this is our place. All good things must come to an end and somehow our week together just flew by. Seems I scored very high marks as a Palm Springs Tour Guide, A Plus Plus!!!!

 

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Ya’ll come back anytime!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rendezvous in Santa Fe

Santa Fe was not on the itinerary for this fall but that is the beauty of this mobile lifestyle – you can truly go whenever and wherever you want! So when our full-time RV friends Joe and Sharon texted me and mentioned they would be in Santa Fe for a month in Oct/Nov we decided to detour for 10 days and meet up with them.

 

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Beautiful Loretto Chapel near the Plaza

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Built in 1879, the staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support

 

The RVing lifestyle lends itself to meeting new people and there is a certain camaraderie amongst travelers in general. I met Joe and Sharon last February in Gold Canyon AZ when I spotted them walking a beautiful white Boxer. Of course, I pulled my bike over in the RV Resort to chat with them and meet Cooper. I remember telling Wally about these nice folks I met from Texas and gushing about Cooper. I guess we were destined to be friends so it was serendipity when we ran into them again in Santa Fe New Mexico in April.

We had a very warm welcome when we arrived last week and were really grateful to have a homemade meal and wine waiting after our long drive from Moab Utah. Our stay at the Santa Fe Skies RV Resort was spent catching up, long walks with the dogs, cocktails in front of the blazing courtyard chimenea in the evenings, wandering the Plaza, long lunches in charming Santa Fe with many margaritas (made with Patron Silver by the way) and hiking at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park.

 

They really do look like Tent Rocks!

 

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This is really fun hike with a slot canyon to shimmy through and a steep climb to spectacular views

 

Santa Fe is a very livable city and boast the cleanest air in the US. At 7,000 feet, Santa Fe sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture and as a creative arts hotbed. Founded as a Spanish colony in 1610, it has at its heart the traditional Plaza. The surrounding historic district’s crooked streets wind past adobe landmarks including the Palace of the Governors, now home to the New Mexico History Museum.

We are always looking at places we visit through the lens of “would we ever want to live here”.

Known as the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico offers residents breathtaking views, colorful scenery and vibrant culture. Millions of acres of land in New Mexico fall under the protection of the National Forest and National Park Services which mean there are abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. The more than 300 days of sunshine each year is pretty darn enticing too!

Santa Fe in particular has a nice vibe and loads of yummy dining places – definitely a foodie city, great roads and hiking areas. Services like shopping are plentiful and they have a Trader Joe’s – score!

 

Sucia gives Santa Fe a four paw rating for bird watching

 

The biggest downsides for me is that it is high desert which means things get a bit dusty and gritty plus the housing prices in Santa Fe are definitely higher than the national average.

 

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Oh, but the sunsets are so beautiful!

 

None of these things would be deal breakers, so Santa Fe stays on the list of possibilities for the distant future when we get tired of our mobile lifestyle. For now, we look forward to more exploration of the US, making new friends and all the adventures that our nomadic lifestyle brings.

 

What cute boys!!

What Really Happened to Cisco

I was so intrigued with the ghost town of Cisco that we visited on our Scenic Byway 128 drive near Moab that I thought it deserved its own post. The “town” doesn’t look like much and what remains is a bit creepy with an unwelcoming vibe but fun exploring none the less.

 

 

Seems creepy is good when it comes to some movies and Cisco has been featured in movies like Vanishing Point, Don’t Come Knocking, Thelma and Louise as well as the Johnny Cash song, “Cisco Clifton’s Filling Station”.

 

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What I learned from searching the internet is that the town started in the 1880s as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. As work crews and, later, travelers came through, stores, hotels and restaurants sprang up to accommodate them. Nearby cattle ranchers and sheep herders in the Book Cliffs north of town began using Cisco as a livestock and provisioning center. Around the turn of the 20th century, over 100,000 sheep were sheared at Cisco before being shipped to market.

In 1924, oil and natural gas were discovered in the region which gave a boost to the town. At one time, Cisco was the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the state. After World War II, when Americans began a love affair with the automobile and began to travel as never before, Cisco was a welcome respite for thirsty travelers headed through the arid desert. Situated on the main highway through the region at the time (US 6/50), a number of businesses sprouted up to serve those passing through, including restaurants, gas stations, and saloons.

 

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In the 1950’s, when the railroad began to use diesel engines, replacing the coal powered steam engines and the need for water stops, Cisco became a candidate for a ghost town. However, the small town was saved by the discovery of uranium and vanadium in the area that drew prospectors by the thousands. Cisco catered to the desert prospectors for several years, until the mining “craze” fizzled and the prospectors moved on.

 

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In the 1940’s the town was home to about 200 people.. I can understand why they left the chair!

 

Two decades later however, Cisco would not be so lucky when I-70 barreled through the region, completely bypassing Cisco and its businesses. The economy immediately declined and people moved away.

 

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I think this may have been the general store

 

The town site contains many relics of a typical old west railroad town. Cisco survived long enough into the 20th century to be assigned a ZIP Code, 84515. Unfortunately for history and railroad buffs, the ghost town’s easy access and proximity to the freeway have lured vandals; the relics are heavily damaged and the town is littered with abandoned vehicles now.

 

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According to Legends of America, one of the last businesses in Cisco was a gas station/restaurant, whose owner went to jail for shooting a man who drove off without paying for his gas. The gas station owner’s wife took over the business and ran it poorly, allegedly keeping the door locked and only serving customers when she felt like it. She had a large bad-tempered dog that frequently bit customers. It is said that if the customer got upset or kicked the dog, she turned them away, but if they kept a cool head, she would serve them.

 

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One of Cisco’s most notable landmarks is the tiny post office. It is really small and contains only a desk and a chair

 

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This is the filling station featured in the Johnny Cash song

 

Though the railroad tracks continue to be used by the Union Pacific Railroad and the California Zephyr still “flies” through, the train hasn’t stopped here in decades. Allegedly, there are still a few people who live in this desolate town, but during our quick visit we saw nary a soul, not even a roaming dog.

Apparently the state of Utah is home to over 100 ghost towns…another reason for me to come back and do some more exploring!

 

Visiting The Mighty Five

The Mighty 5 national parks in Utah draw several million visitors from around the world each year to marvel at surreal scenery and experience amazing outdoor activities. A trip to The Mighty 5 means watching the sunrise over the towering depths of Canyonlands National Park, then watching the sunset through an impossibly delicate rock bow in Arches National Park. It means standing nose-to-nose with ancient petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park, then lying on your back as a beautiful meteor shower streaks across the Milky Way. It means gazing down at coral-hued rock hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, then gazing upward at the steep walls of slot canyon trails in Zion National Park.

 

I feel fortunate to have been able to visit all of the Mighty 5 this year. We have been hiking, biking, picnicking, walking, exploring, stargazing and generally just marveling at how much natural beauty there is in the state of Utah.  This past spring we visited Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef National Parks and planned our fall migration south to take in the other two of the Mighty Five.

 

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Looks like a mask! Landscape Arch in Arches National Park

 

Our week in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks were a bit of a whirl wind.  Thanks to our unplanned stay in Twin Falls Idaho we broke our own rule about spending at least one week exploring each park. Our stay in Moab was just over a week long but was really the perfect place to base ourself to see both parks. On this trip we mainly hiked and did scenic drives so the bikes never made it off the back of the coach. Oh, well, next time!

 

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Arches was captivating and yes, there were so many arches. Most hikes and viewpoints in the park are centered around seeing these huge natural rock formations. Located just 5 miles north of Moab is Arches National Park, which contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Although over 2,000 arches are located within the park’s 76,518 acres, the park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park’s viewpoints and hiking trails. A newly paved scenic drive takes visitors to many of the major viewpoints within the park. As hikers, we had a variety of trails to choose from. Some are short twenty minute walks leading right up to many of the largest arches and others are half or full day adventures.

 

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Love this dwarf dome

 

When we have a week or more to spend exploring, we generally don’t spend time inside the parks on the weekends when it is busier. Those are great days for scenic drives such as the one we did on Byway 128. Late October was the perfect time to visit as the day time temps are near perfect for hiking and both parks felt empty. Don’t get me wrong, there were always people at the viewpoints and easy trail heads but when we got off the beaten path, we often had the trail to ourselves.

 

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The desert colors are just spectacular

 

Our first hike in Arches was Devils Garden Trail Loop, which is the longest of the maintained trails in the park and leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. We hiked over 7 miles, traversed narrow ledges with rocky surfaces and did plenty of scrambling on slickrock but lucky for us it was very dry so none of the surfaces were slippery.

 

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So cool to be able to hike across this huge rock fin

 

One of my favorite hikes, Tower Arch was even more off the beaten path and begins at the end of the four-wheel-drive road at the west side of the park. This unpaved road washes out quickly in rainstorms but again we had perfect conditions to get into the backcountry. While it was only 3.5 miles, the trail climbs a steep rock wall, then cuts across a valley and then meanders through sandstone fins and sand dunes. We literally didn’t see anyone for most of the hike and had a quiet picnic lunch under the arch with our friends Tom and Laurie.

 

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Tower Arch, the perfect picnic spot

 

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Yes, there is a tower behind the arch!

 

We decided to do some real off roading after leaving Tower Arches and were hoping to get to Anniversary Arch. The Trails Off Road website describes the technical rating as easy. Here is their Jeep trail description:
“Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6″ depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle”,

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This is what the park map describes as a primitive road

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Even with a small Jeep, about 4 miles into the drive we decided to turn around…good idea!!

 

Park Avenue was another fun, short, 2 mile in and out hike. The trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to the Courthouse Towers. There is a beautiful natural amphitheater there when I could image a concert being held. Unfortunately, the sun was all wrong for a picture so you will have to just explore it yourselves!

 

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Park Avenue

 

Our day at Canyonlands National Park was spent mainly driving through the park and doing short hikes at the viewpoints. Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah, and its diversity staggers the imagination. The park is divided into four districts, each having distinct geographic differences. The easiest way to see the park is to visit the Island in the Sky district which is only 32 miles from Moab.
The Island in the Sky district sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa, quite literally creating a visual Island in the Sky. Twenty miles of paved roads lead to many of the most spectacular views in Canyon Country. From these lofty viewpoints visitors can often see over 100 miles in any given direction and take in panoramic views that encompass thousands of square miles of canyon country.

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Canyonlands is literally canyons within canyons

 

Our first short 2 mile hike was to Upheaval Dome lookout where you have a great view into the crater. Upheaval Dome is an impact structure so you are seeing the deeply eroded bottom-most remnants of an impact crater. The crater is clearly visible on the surface as bright brown and black concentric rings. Approximately 3 miles in diameter, the crater is known to be less than 170 million years old. YAY,  I am just a youngster in comparison to this crater.

 

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The layers of color in Upheaval Dome are like a desert rainbow

 

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Zooming in with the camera I could see craters within craters and giant fin rock formations

 

Grand View Point and the 2 mile round trip trail along the rims edge was my favorite hike of the day. We sat right on the rim and ogled the panoramic vistas. I could have dangled my legs right over the rims edge but that was too much for this slightly height challenged gal.

 

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That’s a long ways down…my heart was pounding!

 

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Shafer Canyon…I need that big boy Jeep to drive the road that you can see snaking along the canyon floor

 

There are plenty of great picnic sites within the park and again, it was a relatively quiet day in the park so we feasted on the views and our lunch in solitude.

Our week in Moab went way to quickly and soon it was time to hit the road for Santa Fe NM where we will meet up with fellow full time RV friends. Knowing we have only barely scratched the surface of things to explore in the area, I think that Moab will remain on our list of places to visit again.

 

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Another shot of Double Arch

 

 

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Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

 

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Exploring Scenic Byway 128

Many folks come to Moab for the back county adventures, bringing their ATV’s or off road Jeeps to go exploring. The good news is that you don’t have to own a 4×4 jeep or a dune buggy to explore Moab, UT. We found one of many great scenic drives that was Ernie friendly. The Scenic Byway 128 from Moab to Cisco allowed us to experience the breathtaking landscape of Moab, without getting stuck in the sand! Admittedly, I am kinda jonesing to rent one of these big boys next year!

 

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This beautiful stretch of road from Moab to Cisco is known as “River Road” to the locals, and can be picked up just north of town. The road follows a narrow red rock canyon that’s been carved out by the Colorado River, before opening up and transitioning into an open desert landscape. This road will eventually lead you to the semi-abandoned ghost town of Cisco.

 

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While it is only 40 miles in distance, we took most of the day to explore the many interesting and beautiful places along the way. Bentley loved all the stops along the Colorado River. It is a dogs life, playing in the water and running free (there was no one around most of the time so we let him off leash…shhh). There are also many great hikes along the way and since we were out of National Parks, Bentley got to do some hiking too.

 

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Located just three miles from Moab is Negro Bill Canyon. The trailhead was renamed in 2017 to Grandstaff Canyon because thankfully black lives do matter to some people in the federal government. If you’re looking to go hiking, this a great spot because the narrow canyon remains well-shaded throughout the day. There is a trail that leads back into the canyon and about 2 miles in you’ll arrive at Morning Glory Natural Bridge. We didn’t hike here but would certainly come back and explore this area.

 

About four miles from Grandstaff Canyon, the byway passes the Big Bend Campground and picnic area with its white sand beach. Many of the campsites here are right on the river and the setting is just beautiful. In the late part of October, the campground was virtually empty.

 

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The next section of the road closely parallels the Colorado River with the high canyon walls on either side. Since we had the road to ourselves for most of the drive, we could slow down and just enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

 

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Our next stop was totally unexpected as we had no idea there was a winery so near Moab and almost didn’t stop when we passed the signs for Castle Creek Winery. News flash…Utah isn’t exactly the wine capital of the US, but what the heck, we had to turn around and go back.

 

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Located just 14 miles from Moab, the winery overlooks the river’s best white water rapids, at the foot of dramatic red rock cliffs. It’s a classic, rugged western landscape and the winery sits on a historic working ranch called Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge. There is also a western heritage and film museum on the property that it is well worth a stop. We learned that the grapes are actually grown in nearby Green Valley and Castle Valley. I preferred the white wines over their reds so we left with 2 bottles of the Chenin Blanc and 2 bottles of the Chardonnay. Both these wines are easy drinkers and priced right at $12.95 a bottle so into the wine ottoman they went!

 

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After the canyon widens, about 21 miles in, you’ll will see Fisher Towers in the distance off to your right. The massive 1,500’ tall spire know as the Titan creates an iconic southwestern vista and have been featured in a variety of western films.

 

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The trailhead and picnic area are about 2 miles off 128 on an unimproved but Ernie friendly road. There are a variety of hiking trails that depart from the parking area, as well as a bunch of technical climbing routes. We did part of the hike with Bentley and had our lunch in solitude with the massive towers as our backdrop.

 

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Lower Onion Creek Campground is a few miles from this beautiful hiking area. This campground offers spectacular views of Fisher Tower and the surrounding red rock canyon. We checked it out to see if it was big rig friendly and yes, many of the sites would accommodate the Road House. Again, it was virtually deserted so note to self…come in October when the crowds are all gone.

 

 

About 30 miles into the drive are the remains of historic Dewey Bridge. Constructed in 1916, the suspension bridge was in operation until 2008, when it was destroyed by a brush fire. Now all that is left is the steel frame and cable wiring making an eerie picture out over the desert vista. The story is a 7-year-old boy camping with his parents had gone down to the river and started a brush fire with matches. Bummer, I mean what kid doesn’t play with matches but what a legacy to live with, burning down a historical suspension bridge. I have fond memories of lighting gasoline on fire …and no, there was not any parental oversight going on then either.

 

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Our final stop was at the ghost town of Cisco, which was once used as a water refueling station for the railroad. The ghost town of Cisco, Utah is one of the most iconic ghost towns in all of America. It has been featured in movies like Thelma & Louise, Vanishing Point, and Don’t Come Knocking as well as the Johnny Cash song, “Cisco Clifton’s Filling Station,” so I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit this spooky, could be snake-infested, could-get-shot-at-any-moment by some nut job little ghost town. This place deserves a post all to itself so stayed tuned for more on Cisco.

 

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Scenic Byway 128 sure lived up to its name and was a great way to spend part of the day. We were all tuckered out…especially Bentley who gave the day a four paws up rating.

 

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