Durango to Salt Lake City
We were pleased to be leaving Moab today. The campground was full and the pitch we’d moved to was right next to a bathroom block. Consequently campers were continually trudging past our RV to cut through to the loos and showers, understandable but annoying. There were lots of adults staggering around the campground wearing only pyjamas, campers attempting to cook breakfasts over damp real wood fires which, as a consequence, created a lot of smoke, kids everywhere, and the roar of adult toys being started and throttled up. We felt like New Age travellers. The RV had been partly prepared for transit last night which made a huge difference and allowed us to be on the road at 08:30.
This is Memorial Day weekend and the roads are very busy, for many miles after leaving Moab we saw jeeps, pickups and cars carrying and towing ATV’s and trials bikes going the other way, if they’re all heading for Moab there’ll probably end up being traffic jams on the off-road trails. It was a fairly cool journey, sunny most of the time with occasional light showers and at one point we had climbed up amongst snow on either side of the road, the remains of what fell only a couple of days ago here.
The RV ran really well and the road surface was good. Utah may have the least number of roads per square mile of any state but what they do have they look after. As a consequence we made good time and were on the outskirts of Salt Lake City at about 14:30 which was far too early to park up in a Wal-Mart for the night, besides which the stores we had seen on the way were very busy indeed and would make it difficult or impossible to park the RV. I decided to take a look at the salt flats at Bonneville, but unfortunately fellow motorists wouldn’t let me move over to the lane I needed and the next thing I’m going in the opposite direction to the one I want. By now I was getting hacked off with the very busy roads full of drivers in a hurry to go nowhere in particular and decided to call it a day. The Chef phoned the KOA campground at Salt Lake City www.slckoa.com and they could take us a day early and so we made for there.
En-route we managed to get a number of outstanding issues sorted. I exchanged my lounger chair which broke about three weeks ago but we’d not been near a ‘Camping World’ store since then to swap it. I also bought a new folding cycle bag as the one I bought at Camping World in Albuquerque is rubbish. The staff at Camping World here in Salt Lake City were really helpful and suggested we could overcome our basket problem on the bikes by lashing them to the bracket over the rear wheel using small plastic cable ties. Meanwhile The Chef managed to track down a store where she could buy a replacement printer cartridge, I then got the tyre pressures checked again.
The campground is ok, much smaller than I’d been led to believe. It takes about 170 RV’s and some tents. We feel quite at home here as there is the usual railway track somewhere not too far away and we get regular horns blown by the trains as they approach unguarded crossings.
Tomorrow we have to be up bright and early as we’re booked on the 08:20 shuttle to watch a live performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, something which is on my list of things to see and do
LOCATION TONIGHT: Salt Lake City KOA, 1400 West North Temple, Salt Lake City.
We had a bit of a lie in today before moving the RV from site 24 to 78. We positioned the vehicle so that we could squeeze the jeep down the side of it.
We loaded up and went for a drive down Hwy 128 which runs eastwards along the side of the Colorado River just on the edge of Moab. We couldn’t find any evidence of ‘white water’ to raft on despite the fact that we were passing the area where supposedly most of the rafting is done. We had to conclude that this area was not strictly speaking a ‘white-water’ area at all, rather a good fast flowing stretch of river for floating, or drifting on, those who want real white-water rafting being bussed elsewhere, probably deeper in to Canyonlands National Park. We were pleased that we had now decided to do our white-water rafting at Jackson, Wyoming rather than here.
We travelled most of the way down the 128 before turning round and coming back and making our way to Dead Horse Point State Park http://www.utah.com/stateparks/dead_horse.htm which is about 30 miles out of Moab. We had to part with a $10 entrance fee, but once parked up it was well worth it. The overlook is 6,000ft above sea level and 2,000ft below runs the Colorado River. The State Park gets its name from the days when cowboys would round up wild mustang horses and drive them on to the point which has a sheer drop on all sides except for a strip of land about 30 yards wide. Once the horses were on the point the gap was fenced in. The mustangs were then roped and broken, with the better ones being kept for personal use or sold to markets. Unwanted horses or ‘broomtails’ were left to find their way off the point after the cowboys had removed the fence. One year for some inexplicable reason the horses, despite the fencing having been removed, remained on the point and died there within sight of food and drinking water in the Colorado River below.
From the overlook we had wonderful views of Canyonlands National Park stretching out before us, the Colorado River, and much of the area we had off-roaded two days ago. Many people were looking down and remarking on the 4x4’s as they worked their way along the track, little knowing they were looking at the easy part, the really tricky section of the trail was out of sight behind a mountain. Rosina said she was pleased to have actually been a part of the view a couple of days ago rather than just an observer today which I think sums it up admirably.
On the way back we could think of nothing else we wanted to do, other than move on. We dropped by a Liquor Store and bought another box of wine then returned to the campground, unloaded the Jeep then drove just down the road to Thrifty’s and handed it in. I was sorry to part with it. I had developed a great respect for the Jeep over the past three days and would have loved to have held on to her for longer.
This evening has been spent cooking a stir-fry outside, but eating it indoors as it’s still pretty cool. The campground is full due to this being a Public Holiday weekend. There’s now riff-raff and kids everywhere and we’re looking forward to hitting the road tomorrow heading towards Salt Lake City. The plan is to get within striking distance of the city by tomorrow night, wild camp for the night, then cruise in to town early on our planned day in the hope that we could squeeze in one and a half days there rather than the one as planned.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Canyonlands Campground, 555 South Main Street, Moab, Utah