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Sunday, May 13, 2018

GooseNecks SP, UT to Moab, UT

Routing - Utah Tour

Album Pic links:
Goosenecks SP, UT
Moki Dugway, UT
Muley Point, UT
Natural Bridges, UT

Leaving Flagstaff, finally, I headed on out to the Goosenecks SP  which is a nice place to stay awhile.

While it can get a little windy coming up from the river there, it is nice to camp along the rim.

There are limited spaces, 10? maybe right at the campground

but you take the dirt road out along the rim and plenty of sites either on the rim or the inside of the roads.

If high winds are forecasted for a while, might be best to camp on the inside, otherwise the rim, IMNSHO, is the better of the two. You'll see the turnouts and probably the rock piled fire pits.

Not a whole lot to do right in the area unless you like roaming around aimlessly in the desert or along the rim.

Now, the question might be, why go back to Goosenecks (been there 2x s)  ... well aside of it being cheap, $10 night, nice views, it is also near the Moki Dugway
and Muley Point up on top.

Moki or Mokee, or Mokey, or however you want to spell it, it's something to check off the "To do" list.

The road, paved as showing, stops with the pavement and becomes a good gravel/dirt road, easily traveled.

While it's narrow and has a few hair pinned turns, it's pretty doable.

My rig is apx ~24', it's just a pickup sized truck after all, and I would feel comfortable towing a 13-16' trailer.  Might have do some wide turns but traffic isn't that bad, so just wait till they pass.

Just take it slow n easy if you have to tow something.

Next stop is Muley Point.  It's at the top of the Moki where the pavement returns to head north.

On the left side, going up the Moki, a gravel/dirt road will take you to the view point and boondocking.

It was a lot longer than I had thought, washboarded, so a PITA to drive. eventually getting you to the point.

The road goes on, but was a little too rough for me to do alone without recovery equipment.

Plenty of camping areas, a few bigger trailers on Rock and or dirt.

Now, why go there in the first place.... VIEWS....

The view's area was Awesome-Possum.  If you look closely, some days you can see South America (joking)

(Believe that Monument Park way out there)

So, between the two, Moki and Muley, they both have fantastic views.

Onward and upward, next stop is to the Natural Bridges near Blanding, UT

This was a little interesting in that I got mixed up on "Bridges vs Arches" so I was thinking, big mistake, that I'd be seeing those 'Red Arches' that you always see.  Nope....

Basically, there are 3 main arches there.  You drive around a 9-mile one-way loop and pull off at various locations.  There are trails to hike to the bottom, but I let me mini-telephoto doing the walking for me.

You can see the trails below.

Find the Bridge...
Easier if close up.

Well, missed that one, not entirely unusual to say the least, as these were more like 'Ghost Bridges'.  can you see it??  Neither did I.

I went to the Look out point.... and looked... and looked again, and looked again, still couldn't find it so figured I had to walk down the trail to see it...

Hiking down...

Interesting formations going down the trail.

(Do you see the Shark? I didn't until posting the pic)

And then Voila', 'Thar she blows....'...

So you drive/ride/walk/fly, whatever around the loop to see the 3 main Natural Bridges, there are maps at the visitor center that helps.

Camping.... sigh, "Timing, it's not my thing...'  FULL !!!

Limited campsites, small and only a few in the campground.

Pretty much car/truck/small trailer/van camping.  Nice if you can get them.

Now, with the "Full" in mind, there are alternatives, maybe not as nice.

Before the park entrance there are 3 alternatives, 2, next to each other and the 3rd an Abandoned Air Strip.  These are FREE BLM dispersed land with dirt roads going back into the 'out back'..  Visitor Center has the maps and info on them.

(Road for the Deer one BLM Dispersed)
I would NOT drive these if rain was anywhere close, as the Red Stuff is like ice when wet, you're gonna get stuck....

Smaller sites and  the powdered dust, blow like crazy if you sneeze..

but dry, roads are ok.

The Air strip was fine, just a little further away, but doable.  Not active, but you never know..
(Tower, Fox990, ready for takeoff.....)
It is right off the Hwy and little side slots you can slip into.  bigger rigs park alongside or at the ends..

I just picture an Emergency Landing coming in so I left the runway clear.

and a nice view, so it's not that bad.

and it snowed...  fun in the Sun, well not today anyway..

Blanding, UT  - Nice place and very convenient.

The Shell/7-11 has gas/diesel, obviously. but also a 'Dump N Fill' station for $5 or free if you buy fuel.

(Station is at the RV park, Water is locked, key at Shell counter)

But wait, there's more..

a small laundromat, little white shop there.

Also, a good Market across the street

a Hardware store, next to that.

and finally a bigger, very nice laundromat just apx 1/4 mi south of Shell station.

How do I know that or more importantly Why?? I know that, brings up the routine stuff you have to plan for and do while on the road.

Laundry.... Eventually I run outta T-shirts.  They are the easiest to maintain.  Low Maintenance  as you just wash'em, dry'em, fold-roll'em And DONE!!!.. 
Then you have to deal with the machines themselves.  Single/Double/Triple and how many "Soap/Oxy Pods" if there are any left after snacking, Gwad.. I'm of the consensus that you use 2- pods for double and 3 for triple. One place said no...  so who knows..

And finally, Duallys (trucks) do have a benefit. Several times I've been caught with a bad tire, AKA flat tires.  The Dually is good as it's like carrying a spare on the wheels. 

I couldn't change one, some 9+ lugs that supposedly need to be  loosened/tightened according to a set pattern and have no place to carry one.

The point being that I had a small screw in the tire, found out when I took it into Blanding.  I have small compressor/battery jumper but it only went up some 40 lbs PSI.. I need 90 PSI min, for the 19.5 sized tires. 

(Previous Flat, drove some 40+ mi before seeing it)
So the additional tire was able to carry the weight to repair shop. I kept the speed down to apx 45 mph as I didn't want to shred it.

I've had to do this twice, but need to get the Compressor w/Air Bags as I had on my other truck.  I would recommend Bradford Tire, not sure what else he can do.

So, after a quick fix/patch and propane fill up, I was loaded n tied, ready to ride.

I wasn't sure when I'd get outta Blanding, doing laundry so looked for a place to land if running late.  Hate pulling into campsites, especially dispersed ones, at night.

Found one just north of Blanding, reservoir that looked good, but was planning on getting up to Moab, UT Ken's lake.

Ken's Lake, just south of Moab, UT.

All reviews stated, "...Plenty of campsites, No PROBLEM, nice place, blah-blah-blah.

Got there, FULL....  There are two areas, the main one above and another one a little further back.. 'FULLER'...  Nothing on the water or more like a pond/reservoir

Ended up at Willow Springs BLM Dispersed,

north of Moab after checking out the two other sites along the Colorado River, just north of town.. FULL and FULLER (beginning to hate Moab) .

Willow Springs BLM area is a little iffy on sites.  They have some along side the road and the road is a good one, but the side spurs are rough.  Very active with dirt bikes and UTVs and as goes with the activity, they area racing up and down thinking, "What Dust...".  It's that red Talcum Powder stuff so even a 'Sneeze' can kick up a dust storm.

It was crowded, I was lucky to find a spot off of a side spur.

As it turns out, I'm not a big fan of Moab without a Buggy.

Especially during May apparently the busiest season, so sitting there in the dust, staring at the riders was painful and just added to the continued frustrations that I can't seem to get over.

Finally got fed up, headed up to another campsite on the route, Horse Thief CG, BLM, which was OK, nicer but costs.

Again, without a Buggy, pretty much sitting there staring at the shrubs. so it was getting time to move on.  Had to do a Dump N Fill.

Dump N fills, tried one RV park that I thought said $5 but wrote back, it's only for guests. Figured default, KOA at south end of town would do for the standard $15, was some $30 and recommend the Maverick Gas Station, south end of town for free.  I figured there'd be a long line but just one or two in front, bring a long hose for water, but worked find.

(Dump line)

(Water line, need a 30' + hose)

I was pretty much stuck in Moab due to $$ needed for fuel ~ $3.50 Gal Diesel, so went back to Willow Springs thinking I'd stay till payday still a week away.  Got there, winds howling, dust blowing and I still don't get this .  I made the mistake of parking in a wide open place.  People coming in for just the night off the Hwy next to entrance since it's free, parked within 20 feet of my place (too close)  Area wide open, but they come right up next to you, just don't get it..

Anyway, one night and I was ready to go.  Dug around for Fuel money and headed out, I've had it with 'The Moab', just wanted to get outta this place.

Headed North-West...

Next stop?? not real sure yet, but towards the Great Basin, NV..  I'll do the original planned route next time.

I did make a day drive up to the Dead Horse Camping area just to check it out.
$15 just to drive in, so turned around and continued on to the Canyonlands Visitor Center.

 Crowds.  Got out snapped a few and got the hell outta there.  I was able to see the White Rim Road (dirt road in pics), now that looked kewl..

Map and info for Canyonlands.

On to NV.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Q" to Goosenecks SP, UT - Apr 2018

Ok, Temps at the "Q" (Quartzsite, AZ) were getting warm, read 105F several times and the Rattlesnakes are coming out, saw one next to kitchen rattling away, so it's time to leave.

The game plan was to head up to UT and due to $$$ roam around there, take little 1-hr travel legs to BLM free or cheap, $5 night, campsites.

First night was easy, stayed at Big River, BLM, Parker, AZ as needed to make a Wally-run (resupply at Walmart) and then head out.  My Camping Buddy George was heading West toward Death Valley and the Gawd knows where but direction of back East to Kentucky to hang out there.

The initial leg was to a campsite just below Flagstaff, AZ but it was Full, so  pressed on to Flagstaff to see if the Sunset Crater campground was opened yet.

Nope, but there is "Free" camping just across the way.  Long drive from the Q so just found a spot and parked it.

Nice, but dusty, the 553 Rd across from the Sunset Crater, just north of Flagstaff, has little pull offs along the road.  Apparently there's a gravel mining operation further into the area as there are the 18-wheeler trucks tearing down the road, did I mention Dust???

Washboarded roads, I guess the thinking is, either take'em slow or go fast to ride on the top.  Anywhere in between is murder and will knock your teeth out.

Stayed at the initial place for one night since it was late and nice to be among some trees...Miss the trees..  Had to look for a place for "SID" (Solar-Internet-DISH)

Next day, wanted to scout around, had to walk for better sites OFF the main dusty road.

Found several but by time I got back to the camper, loaded up and got to the one site, someone else grabbed it.  Found another but wanted to check out the road a little more, diving eh?, to see what was what.

Came back, someone grabbed that one too, so figured just better grab what I can and park it.

Found this one, and actually better as it's off the main dirt dusty road.... Did I mention 'Dusty'... 

Apparently these sites, up against the hills come with their own firing range as empty shell casing were all around and a tree stump on the hill was pretty chewed up.

Wind was becoming a problem and a PITA with the talcum powder dust whirring about.

I blew a water pump while there and didn't really realize what that actually ment i.e. NO WATER... for Washing and Flushing, so went into town to try to find one.  There's an RV sales/dept lot at north end of town.  While they had the pump, they wanted apx 2x the Amazon price for it.

Now, some issues about having no address for shipping Krap to... I could use the South Dakota address, but then I have wait for it's arrival there, then request they reship to me here, apx 2 weeks.   I then thought of the UPS local stores that "Sometimes" will NOT accept packages for non-customers.  I called, they will accept for $5 each package, and kept that in mind.

Then suddenly remembered Amazon Lockers.  Pretty kewl. fast 2 day shipping and it's at the locker.  They have a search location thing and you just use that address for the shipping.  FYI, there is a size limit and locations are sparse, but a bigger city should have them.  (Update, I whined to Amazon Techs and they might work to improve it, here's hoping, it's pretty convenient.  Location map sucks)


So went onto Amazon, ordered and shipped to the Locker, happens to be Whole foods in Flagstaff.

They then track it as normal, once arrived, they send you a 6-digit code and a scan bar code in an email.  You just go to the location, Yellow boxed wall, screen in the middle, either punch in the code or scan from phone and the locker door swings open and Voila' there's the package.

I needed to do a dump n fill in the next day or two and without water, useless in the container without a pump, so bought some bottled water and used that.  What a waste, went through a whole case in a 24-hr period.

I had to Dump n Fill, went to KOA.  They are YOUR friends and a default, like McDonalds,  when all else fails.   Usually for $15 you can use their facilities.  Did it and went back out there to install the pump.

Sadly, my electrical abilities are less than nonexistent but managed to 'Spark' my way though it.  Bought a crimping box of misc crimps and with Crimper thing, still couldn't get them to work, should be obvious right? so ended up electric taping the ends together.  I needed to get those little red/yellow screw caps, but the ones I had, of course, were too big.. (Note to self, Self?  get more electrical krap to play with).

So got it installed and will order another one to keep as a backup.  I now know the importance of it and if I was really out in the middle on No Man's land, I couldn't order, no cell coverage, would have to come in without water until I got to a store and cell coverage.  So Lesson's Learned on that one.  Who woulda thunk a water pump would go out, right??

At this point in time, I was ready for an R & R and since the KOA was right there and time to Dump again, I figured I'd just go in, catch up on internet etc and enjoy the stay.  It was pay-day, sorta so figured what the hell..  do it, been out here, boon docking, some 8+ months, it was time..

Stayed there 3 nights. heheh..  yeah, I know, Merry Christmas to me...

Moving along, spent apx 3 nights at the Sunset Crater area, ORV at Cinder Hills.  (just south of the Crater turn off, apx 1 mile south, just as you start to climb the hill)
Nice place if not busy.

Only two others there and if you can pick a spot in the back, near a fence it's not really a problem.

Now that the "Waiting for fuel" time is over, we're about to head on out.  First stop, Goosenecks SP, UT..

I've been there several times already, just north of Mexican Hat.

I wanted to get close to the Moki Dugway and Muley Point.  I had planned on doing these before, but had an engine cooling issue, still do, but believe it's just a top off leak.

Wanted to get a fresh start and hit it early.. well, everything is relative as I usually don't get going till 1100hrs..  even with the best of plan.

So next stop?
Goosenecks SP on the next blog post (this one is getting too long..)


Friday, March 30, 2018

Trip Planning

I've been asked a few times, "How in the hell do you know where to go and how do you plan it"..
Close the eyes and throw some darts... heheh,  not too far from the truth. 

Basically, it's What/Where/When to you want to do something.  Need cooler, trees, ocean, warmth etc. so it's really what you want to do.

  • Paper Map Atlas.  I usually start with the individual states are nice but a nationwide one is helpful for X-country planning
  • Online maps with campsites and RV'er friendly.  
  • Truck Nav
    • I use Garmin, my "Arch Nemeses" (older model), there's a 770 unit that's been around that allows you to put in the Rig's dimension, LxWxH, etc which helps when planning more so in the EAST coast area with lower bridges etc.
    • I also use on a tablet, a back up, google maps as "Ms Garmin" can and will drop you at some point.  Also, unless you like dirt roads, there should be an option "no dirt roads" in the preferences for Garmin.  'Fastest Routing' is probably the best and you can, in Trip-wiz, stay off of main Hwy.  
    • Importing/transferring routes. You supposedly can down/upload routes in various formats, I've never had much luck.  My Garmin says there are "Too Many" way points but would be kewl if you could.
  • Destination - So once I have a final or intermediate location in mind, I'll break out the paper atlas/map and just see what's there and around in the area.  On the paper Atlas, I'll highlight the location and then look at the possible routeing to and from.
  • Roads - I like to travel the back roads and avoid the main Hwy if possible.  Know your rig's limitations, either size or power or whatever might keep you off certain roads and adjust the Nav and online app accordingly.  Ex: Height, 12.6 or 14' high as bridges might be lower.
  • Camping - Once I have a general routing, subject to change on a whim, I'll go to the online apps, put the routing in and then check out the camping spots.  You can set preferences for various campground 'Types', KOA or BLM and everything in-between.

    There are many ways to trip plan, these are just a few which I seem to keep coming back to.  If you want to Blog/Journalize the trips, good idea for those that like to keep track, there are many ways of doing it.  Here's a reference of what others find helpful

As noted, I use the paper atlas to highlight the various routes, put a To/From like Moab/Ely with a date.  I also do a Blog (Google Blogspot - it's free) and there are many other ways of doing that, Word Press is a popular one.
“I use a Map/Atlas in color marker pens with dates and routes traveled so I don’t do the same route all the time.  Typically, looking for back roads.

I ended up with the uMap system for free.  It was a little labor intensive at first but, once I got the routine down, it’s really quite simple.  I made a template in 'Note Pad - text doc'. It’s a pin map that’s customizable, with pop-up pictures, a GPS, and links.  I use the Google Albums to post the rest of my pictures.  Pins are changeable along with colors and layers.

On the pop-up, I put four pictures to remind me of the locations, comments, GPS, and then a link to a website or resource.  I can link to more photos in the Google gallery.  You can also do routing, and trips by months and years in layers – depending upon what you’re trying to do.  I used a tutorial that helped a lot.