Loop Completed

The Earthroamer folks were awesome. Even though they were busy getting ready for the Overland Expo show they got us in, tuned up the rig and on our way in a day. We picked up some spares for the upcoming summer trek to Alaska and started home with Lou and Nancy, another Earthroamer couple who live near the Earthroamer plant. While we aren’t big fans of freeway traveling, I-70 through the Colorado rockies is a beautiful drive. It follows the Colorado River and in places passes through some beautiful gorges where the freeway is stacked on top of itself to fit through. 20150513_112554 We stopped in Fruita, Colorado at a Mexican butcher shop to pick up something good for dinner. It was chicken in an orange sauce that grilled up nicely. The butcher threw in some ribs to try and made a great appetizer. We made our way to Dewey Bridge, Utah and diverted to a dirt road that is in the Utah Backroads and 4 Wheel Drive Trails. P1040286 Roamers are really made for this type of exploring. I was able to jump out and snap a shot of them coming up behind us on the road. P1040288 We camped at a BLM campsite (Cowskin Campground) along the road that is mostly used by mountain bike groups that ride these areas. 20150513_153513 We hiked around the area and found this colorful fellow trying to hide, but having a hard time due to his colors. P1040305 Ate a great meal of chicken, ribs, re-fried beans and tortillas next to a nice campfire. This spot is now in the top 10 places to camp. The next morning we headed towards Moab, again a beautiful drive along the river. A spring weather front dropped some rain and snow on us off and on during the entire trip. 20150514_090858 The plan was to camp in the Valley of the Gods, but it was pouring when we arrived there so we continued south to Flagstaff, AZ area through Monument Valley. 20150514_112529 We stopped at Monument Valley for lunch and to take in the view. P1040318 We stopped for the day at Sunset Crater, a volcanic field north of Flagstaff. We got a hike in to the lava fields before the rain and snow hit later in the evening. P1040322 We then split ways the next morning. Lou and Nancy headed south to Mormon Lake and the Overland Expo, while Pam and I headed north west to the Vermillion Cliffs area on the Utah / Arizona border to meet up with some folks that were backpacking in the Paria Canyon. We camped the night at Stateline Campground that is located off of House Rock Valley Road, another dirt road that runs through some pretty country. P1040328 These are our preferred state line crossing roads. P1040333 The campground is so remote that its first-come first-served and free, with great facilities for the middle of nowhere. P1040336 Pam and I enjoyed a great dinner (grilled of course) and a campfire, but our friends never did show. It turned out that the weather and resulting run-off water made hiking out of the canyon impossible until it passed, so they did not make it out safely until the next day. On our way home the next day we stopped to do a hike to some toadstools, rocks supported by eroding softer rock. P1040342 The whole area was pretty spectacular in color. P1040341 We stopped at the Overland Expo on the way. The lake bed is usually dry, but the recent rains turned it into about 6 inches of slick mud where the expo was located. It was kind of fitting that you really needed 4 wheel drive to get into the parking lot and the expo. It was a blast driving in it, but now the Roamer needs a serious bath. P1040349 They have every kind of vehicle you can think of at the expo, but we’ll stick with the roamer. P1040356 Home now for a few weeks before we begin our summer trek. While last summer was an east / west route, this one will be more of a north/south route to Alaska and back. Just need to start packing and get about 50 lbs of mud off the roamer – lol.

Counterclockwise Around Four Corners 7:30 to 1:30

We’re on the road again, swinging a counterclockwise loop around the four corners states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. We started in Mesa and headed up to our place on the rim. Everything is nice and green, and plenty of water all around. Filled the peanut feeder for the Stellar’s jays and the Abert’s squirrels before heading out.


We’ve been trying new paths in and out of Arizona. This time we drove on hwy 61 into New Mexico and the Zuni reservation. We stopped for the day at El Morro National Monument. The sandstone rock there has been the crossroads for travels for 100s of years.


Probably because it has a year-around water source in a pond at the base of the rock.


The trail on the rock was one of the more interesting trials we’ve hiked in all of the parks. There were ancient Zuni tribe ruins…


Ancient art…..

P1040242 P1040240

Etching from the Spanish when they controlled the area. This one from 1709…


One of the more recent ones from early Americans when they took control of the area. This one from 1866…


The path was carved in the sandstone in some places and two lines marked the path along the crest.

P1040230 P1040235

Woke up the next morning to snow on the ground.


We drove a little way east to El Malpais National Conservation Area. It is a volcanic area with large volcanic beds and craters over a large area. There were many volcanic lava tubes that were now caves and tunnels throughout the area.


At the visitor center we ran into a couple that was hiking the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada. This park is along that trail. It was their third year of hiking, having finished the Appalachia Trail and Pacific Crest Trail in the two previous years. Pam and I agreed that we would stick with the roamer – lol.

As we were exploring the area a blizzard blew through with alternating heavy snow and blue skies. Here is a picture from one of the look off points over the volcanic flow fields below…


Pam enjoyed the view from inside the roamer…


Then the skies cleared when we got to the arch located in the park ….


We then continued up through Santa Fe, New Mexico and the snow to southern Colorado. We camped just outside the Great Sand Dunes National Park there and awoke to some beautiful landscapes.


We headed over to the Dunes for a unique shot of the snow covered 700 foot dunes with the 10,000 foot mountains in the background.


From there we continued up the valley through Salida (a very neat town with a great restaurant named Laughing Ladies), over the front range mountains and into Longmont, Colorado. The roamer is getting its yearly tune-up for all of the camping systems at the Earthroamer factory in Dacono. We’ll be heading west with friends back to Arizona soon to complete the loop through western Colorado and Utah. Stay tuned…