Friday, a day of relaxation and another shot at the Bucket List, hiking up Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park for a second time,then reversing to a downward path for a walk among the hoodoo’s.
Bryce Canyon was named for Ebenezer Bryce, an immigrant from Scotland who moved with his family to the Paria River Valley in 1875. His skill as a carpenter was prized enough by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to send him to settle the area. Local’s called the strange rock formations near Ebenezer’s home “Bryce’s Canyon” and to this day, people continue to call this area Bryce Canyon.
With KatieBug snug in her crate, we drove around the rim to each of the Points, all of us hiking up to admire the views.
Bryce Point rim and close up of the hikers on the rim
Hoodoos are pinnacles, spires or odd-shaped rock left standing by the forces of erosion. I find them the most fascinating of mother nature’s structures. Multicolored sandstone, rising hundreds of feet above their bases, they are wonders that will indefinitely leave me amazed.
Hoodoos and close up of people walking the paths
Mossy Cave, walking among the hoodoo’s
It was a struggle being on meds and short of breath to scale the mount leading to Inspiration Point but determination forced me up to the 8,100 foot top to peer out at the never ending view of colorful hoodoo’s. John hiked ahead cheering me on.
Considered sacred lands by Mormon and American Indian cultures, it becomes eminently clear as to the reason the moment you draw in your first breath from the Point and gaze out into eternity.
Exiting the park, an open field was home to dozens of prairie dogs that popped their heads up out of their holes and made mad dashes across the fields.
Homeward bound, we passed an RV park with a wonderful old truck turned RV at its gate.
Decades old homesteads left standing, sprung up from wagons traveling west, pioneers living off the land in hand hewn log cabins, gathering together for safety.
The late afternoon sun lighting up Mt. Carmel mountains.
Mt. Carmel Junction’s infamous Thunderbird Diner and their Ho-Made pies
Deciding to leave Best Friends Animal Sanctuary a day early, we offered our site to our Sanctuary neighbor from last year who was parked up at Dog Town. Volunteering each year for several months, he comes in his cab over truck camper and happily fills in holes dug by the dogs, clears brush and clips back overgrowth.
Come morning, we begin our journey back to Texas,drawing near the end of our second year of travels in our rolling box, both of us remain alive, some days happily married and relatively sane.
Awoke to Fila Brazil, “Get A Move On”. Everything that must go on the bed is made ready…pictures off the wall, towels from the racks, extra blankets from the counter, shoes must go in trays, small appliances not able to fit in cupboards. Shake out rugs and roll them up, clear everything off counters, rubber band cabinets, lock down, store and put away anything that moves. Pull in slides, open shades, raise jacks, start engine, hook-up Ribbit. Almost, not quite, done completed while we are on auto pilot. Check and double check as carelessness can be very costly. Next pause, a day away, Holbrook Arizona. Ribbit’s pump was still malfunctioning so again with the continuation of loud non-stop buzzzzzzzing.
Holbrook, our overnight in AZ, was an unassuming little town just outside of the Petrified Forest off Rt. 66. The train near our RV site was determined to let everyone within miles know that it was coming down the tracks so the whistle blew every 15 minutes until way past my bedtime.
Up early, another day of continual noise from Ribbit’s pump for the eight hour drive. Can’t be fixed so it must be endured until we reach the REMCO dealer in Albuquerque. Another “It’s always something” was the loud rattle of the sideboard cabinets installed last year that had broken free from the wall and were bouncing with every road dip we encountered. This was going to be a noisy headachy day.
A long stretch of miles, few scenic views, irregular sightings of old disheveled billboards, paint distressed beyond recognition, announcing the coming of a long ago deserted Indian gift shop occasionally attached to a gas station lacking the ability to sell gas.
With each small patch of mobile home communities we passed, traditional hogans, spiritual Navajo dwellings constructed with exact specifications, sit in reverence among the homes. Requirements include doors facing east and floors to be dirt. At least two specifications not difficult to fulfill considering the available landscape.
It is hard for me to imagine living in the desert among the dry withered scrub brush, constant wind blown dust and rock scape as far as the eye can see. Harder still to imagine living in a Teepee.
After pulling into Albuquerque and settling in at the KOA we searched out our previously contacted REMCO service provider and made plans for the repair.
Next morning we dropped off our rolling duo, the owner loaned us his Camry to drive for the day and we moseyed off to Old Town for a little country breakfast and sightseeing.
Albuquerque’s Old Town has been the focal point of community life since it was founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez. It is the Historical Zone of the City of Albuquerque and home for many families whose ancestors founded the town. One of the first homes, Casa De Armijo built in 1706, graciously lends its covered frontage to entrepreneurs of handmade silver jewelry displayed on colorful Mexican blankets offered to tourists strolling around the square.
Quaint and architecturally fascinating, the square is the center of approximately ten blocks of historic adobe buildings turned art, antique and dining establishments.
Centuries old hand hammered wrought iron and hand hewn wooden doors and window frames adorned many of the buildings.
Brick lined side streets wind into courtyards bursting with floral color and local cacti.
Spicy scents drift into the main footpaths from slivers of alleyways while bright banners announce the promise of a festival atmosphere shopping experience.
The north side of the plaza is home to the oldest building, continuously serving as a house of prayer for nearly 200 years. San Felipe de Neri church built in 1793 is beautifully simplistic and a cool peaceful respite on a warm day.
KatieBug enjoyed visiting with the children in the square and posing for Kodak Moments.
Our explorations of the area resulted in stumbling across the entrance to a tiny vibrantly Spanish chapel being exited by several scarfed devotees. The entrance held just enough room to kneel and pray to the Virgin Mary.
Returned the Camry, picked up LilyPad and Ribbit, next morning we departed Albuquerque with the surrounding Sandia Mountains draped in clouds, fog and a low buzz harmonizing with our satellite radio music. Bumps seemed to give it strength. Better after the repair but still ongoing, we paused to call REMCO again, pick up suggested parts, attempted to install them, drive another hour, call the repair shop for suggestions, stop for more parts, install them and finally halt our travels at a rest stop, cranking up Ribbit’s engine to let it run while we drive the balance of our trip. Not the recommended towing procedure and far from the perfect solution but stopping hourly along our travels to let Ribbit cool down should soften any damage.
I-40 and Rt. 66 took us past The El Rancho Hotel in Gallup New Mexico opened in 1937 as a base for movie productions. Its motto: The Charm of Yesterday with the Convenience of Tomorrow. Falling into decline after the opening of I-40, it was bought and restored by Armand Ortega. Originally built by the brother of film director D.W. Griffith, it is located on historic old U.S. Route 66 and became the temporary home for many Hollywood movie stars including Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn, Jackie Cooper and John Wayne. Movies made in the area spanned from 1940’s to 1950’s and included Streets of Laredo 1948, Fort Defiance 1950, The Hallelujah Trail 1964.
Blue Collar Radio, enjoying the funnies as we roll across yet another desert with occasional kitschy petrified rock and fake looking dinosaur statue adorned gift shops.
The Yin and Yang of eight hours of motorhome travel through the barren desert, having a toilet on board so you don’t have to pee behind cactus on the side of the road.
At first, looking off to the side, it seems the Department Of Transportation had abandoned miles of an old unused asphalt road, leaving it to the whims of desert downpours and shifting earth. A closer look revealed split open cracks with plants struggling to squeeze themselves through the parched dirt and black volcanic rock, not asphalt, that makes up the majority of the land.
Due at Rayford Crossing RV Resort in two days, we drove the whole day, stopping at our favorite no cost RV Park, Childress Wal-Mart Parking Lot, for an overnight.
Continuing on the next morning until nightfall to arrive in time for the Chili Cook-off and a meet-up with Tiffin friends from past years gatherings. Family, friends, doctor appointments and planted in one spot for the next month. Life is Good.