Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sailing the Southwest with the Whazoos

Hey Buddy, can you spare some time? 

I have to ask, has there ever been a trip report with three thousand pictures?  Don't worry I was just asking. This could
have been the one though. At least I narrowed it down to two hundred or so pictures. Heavy on the "or so" side I guess.
It was about two hundred twenty miles of dirt roads and some 4wheeling. This will probably be one of the longer
at-one-sitting reports. If it's too long I'll cut it in half.

I did this whole trip report in one sitting, except edit pictures, staying up late last night. I felt woozy going to bed, like
having too much too drink.This morning with a trip report hangover I had to have a hair of the blog, I added a last picture,
and feel much better now.Thanks for indulging me. 

There was a rough swell running from south to north. We hoisted full sail and rode it north, dropping into the trough for it's
hidden splendors. We rode it for a hundred miles, finally getting spit out in a desolate part of the ocean we've not visited
before. And like the group "America" says, the desert is an ocean with it's life underground. But they were't talking about
cows, and Whazoos.

The top of the swell had it's peaks.

And the backside was smooth down to the trough. (I don't know, it sounded good in my brain.)

The bottom of the swell showed us it's wrecks not yet buried.

And a rumble seat that will never rumble again.

In the distance we could see the next swell rising. And green grasses from fall rains covered the see floor.

Near the bottom of the trough, most of the scenery was up. I've spoken before about grand scenery being like a plate of good food, how we could eat more and more as our eyes had become like our mouths. This time it was us being swallowed by the scenery.

What a funny place. It was all stove up.

We dropped sail and anchored for the night.

Odie seemed to want to have a stair down. 

I called it bumpertography, I don't know why.

Odie has a passion for having a ball.

Riding low in the water like we were, the sun was slow to show over the swell. 8:30 darn near.

Was I trying to show you how small Odie was, or how bad my hand puppets can be?

I had mountains in my camper.

While Odie figured out the steps, which he did very well and very quickly, falling through only once in a week, beating my record of once a night. 

There was going to be a walk that day...

Somewhere up-current was another type of wreck we wanted to sea.

It required wading across very shallow but very cold water. Colder than a witches grits. Which meant little Odie had to ride. Odie is like us with a very narrow comfortable temperature range. Oh the humility.

Geez Dad, I can hardly breath with all that beer in the pack.

You're not gonna like trip or anything right Dad? You know I can't swim.

Mrs. Whazoo asked how much longer, I checked.

The waves were small that day, coming and going quickly.

Poor thing, after several crossings her feet were like blocks of ice.

It looked like we would be going through the break in the wall. 

Yacht to know it was rudderly fantastic that the wall broke so perfectly to let us through.

Yet with frozen feet we had to walk over round rocks. I rolled my ankle several times and still feel it today.

We finally stumbled through that canyon and up onto a bench, in the sun, where there was an old road.

She asked again how much longer. I had to tell it like it was...

Sure enough just ten more minutes and there was the wreck we'd come to see. The wreck of an old mine. No it's not yours it's mine.

It looked like the place needed a good dusting, think I'll have that Near Beer first.

She leans a little. Think the new owners will notice?

A room with a pee-yew.

I was thinking it was the honeymoon suite. It was a standup kind of place.

I've heard of raising the roof, this must be the opposite. Musically speaking, I wondered if it landed on A Flat Miner. (Yes it's an old joke. I believe it's the first time used this far west though.)

Yes Dear, I'll try my coffee on the rocks, in the rocks, with the rocks in it. That coffee had some serious grounds.

With the swell still running high, somewhere over there is a camper at anchor.

A zoomed view of the far away mining above camp.

A last look at the Molly-Be-Damned before the walk back.

Those guys were real men don't you think. I can hear them now, "I'll be back for dinner Dear, I gonna build a quick road across these cliffs."

Walking back through that narrow canyon we noticed some real colorful rocks. They'd fallen from the cliffs alongside us and the mud had broken off to show the colors. It looked like chocolate with mint swirls, my wife's favorite kind next to red licorice.

Right before we hit the stream Odie was dog tired and had to take a cat nap. 

It's always colder the second time in the water isn't it?

There she is, still anchored on the lee side of the swell. Now I don't know who Lee was but he sure had a swell side to him.

Another day another sunrise. We were still in the belly of the scene.

Another walk was underway.

The see life was in view...

along the beach. Wish I'd brought cocoa butter. 

Walking down another old track we could see the No Tell Motel, or old miners bunkhouse. What a place to live and work.

I stopped for a shower and to use the toilet.

Right about the middle, dead center is a little white dot, that be the camper.

Sailing out of that spot we could now look back over the petrified waves to just barely pick out the mine from yesterday, literally. Knowing there was a deep canyon and cold current flowing between us.

We left the wreck of the Al Capone and moved on.

Rolling on smooth water we were about to take on more on heavy sees.

We could sea horses in the distance. I've herd that they are wild but couldn't get close enough to ask. They seemed to be gossiping about the nay-bors.

The smooth see was wonderful having been on much worse.

I could imagine what those cows were thinking. "We can't get to the other side, well crap."

My wife has the sharpest eyes in the family, I just drive, honestly. "Look, an arch!" "Where?"

While I'm ogling the arch she says "Look, a mine!" "Where?" I'd run into the things before I saw them. 

Walking up to the mine I picked up a rock. Was this uranium? And why is it called that? If I discovered it I would call it myanium not uranium. I felt a shiver go through me thinking about it and I handed it to Mrs. Whazoo.

So is this mine arch? 

I know this dog is mine.

And I know that after wondering in circles I was about to lose my mine.

Finally a way out.

But it was the wrong way and it looked like we would have to dive into the rough sees to get back to the truck.

Odie wouldn't dive, he was almost out of his mine.

We went back in the retrace our footsteps. Something was different though.

It was a feeling of raw power, like I could light up a city. It was mine boggling!

I'd have to say those miners had a blast, chasing their pipe dreams in this kind of country.

With Odie stirring up hantavirus and uranium laden dust it was time to leave. Mrs. Whazoo was holding her breath.

And there was finally a way out.

Driving on we were soon stymied. (I knew a guy named Stymie once, or was that his nickname? I'll have to look at the yearbook.) 

A tight squeeze it was and I prayed the berm would hold or I'd end up in Davy Jones Locker.

We soon found this fella, looking like he was burning a little oil. Needing a ring job maybe and some plugs. Maybe just one plug, I know for a fact he runs on just one cylinder.

He looked real familiar and as I got closer could see that he wasn't all he was cracked up to be.

Almost evening, we made a lucky strike and found our Bonanza.

It looked to be an early model Dometic. They haven't come far. Did I just say that outloud?

We dropped anchor on the downside of Six-Fingered Reef, er Butte.

Photobombed, the picture Shanghaied by a little Shuh Tzu.

 I can hear Snoopy doing his mountain lion, "The mountain lion looks for prey." 

There we were, having a quiet perfect evening on the sunset side of the country. That be the west. It's all been quiet, very much so, and we loved it. Just like I love F-22. 

 I mean honestly it was so quiet you could hear a cricket fart. Odie!...

The quest to take a picture of the perfect fire. Or was that the perfect picture of a fire? I hope I came close to both.

It looked like a fire in the camper.

What a fabulous night...

because it was Thanksgiving and Lynn made baked turkey and fixins in the camper. Unfortunately I forgot the champaign for Kir Framboise. Yes, I had a few sips of the raspberry. 

A morning cup of view with Odie.

This view was so 3D that even standing there it looked like a landscape for a small train set. 

We weighed anchor and coasted over the top of the swell, battening the hatches for a rough ride. The swell was shoaling against the reef. (Where do I get this stuff?)

A fatality of the rough swells, this gent was high centered in the wrong century.

Nothing a valve job couldn't fix.

We found a small opening in the reef and took it.

After clearing the reef we stopped for lunch and looked back. My eyes hurt from all the seanery, my head throbbed. My scenus was acting up again.

Somehow or other we came to be floating in another part of an ocean of dirt. We laughed at this picture. The two seemed to say "Hay, we'll bust you guys out tonight and we'll barbecue some chicken."

The dunes of the Sahara rose from the depths. Where were we anyway?

I knew if I lifted that hat I'd find a cowboy's skeleton underneath, probably still on his horse.

It was like driving the Baja 1000, or at least the 50.

We figured it was the middle of flat aspirin nowhere.

A twilight zone of the western kind on the never ending road.

Camp would be on the rocks that night, along with a rum and coke.

Our blue eyed mascot was getting his land legs back. And looking a little freaky in this picture, like a miniature Cujo. It's his bright blue eyes.

A late evening walk to clear the scenusis.

The Green River barely visible.

We were looking for and found a five holer, arch I mean.

Yes, there are five, look close at the back left side.

I didn't bring my new wide angle lens, not thinking we'd really find the arch that evening or walk that far. And so we planned to go back in the morning. As nature would have it, clouds. Now I have a good reason to go back to the middle of nowhere.

Odie will go out on a cliff to smell the roses. Ok, to eat the daisys.

Walking to the camper was almost a religious experience, finding it bathed in a golden light. It was my kind of church.

Like the whole trip so far, there was absolutely no one around. No sound that we didn't make, no other person to see but each other. No other truck but ours. No other dog but, well, you get the picture. 

With cloud cover stopping us from going back to the arch we sailed off for other regions.

I just knew there were other waves to ride out there somewhere, as we sat on petrified sand.

We rode a wave up from the backside to a canyon.

It was canyoneering 101 for Odie. What a fun little guy he is, and turning into a wonderful outdoor companion for us.

The canyon started dropping fast.

Right there, a walking stick! 

And a strange looking insect, it reminded me of a walking stick.

Stymied again by a twenty or so foot dryfall with no sling for Odie we climbed out. Now I have a second reason to go back to the middle of nowhere. "Gee Mom, I don't know if I can make it."

Climbing out, driving forever in the middle of nowhere, we finally hit town. I would have asked directions but it seemed everyone was on break, somewhere, so we drove on to the next location. 

How much longer will this trip report be you might ask. Well just ten more minutes of course. I'll expect you're getting see sick by now, I apologize.

We were looking forward to a fire maybe, and a honey jack hot toddy, my new bedtime elixir. Made with sleepy time tea, oh yeah.

Skies were gorgeous but we were too tired for a fire. I took a few pictures...or should I say the pictures took me.

Then me and the Kid played cards. 

Morning on the high sees, it was a good morning and there would be another walk about.

The stick creatures all said go back, stay away from the forbidden zone.

But to Odie it was the fun zone.

He invented the OBS, Odie Butt Scoot or the Odie Brake System. The little guy was fearless as he slid all the way to the bottom. He was in four low don't you know.

There it was, standing on it's side like a petrified Entenmanns Donut.

And there we were, taking up archery. Arches, archery? Well, you had to be there.

Small toenails gripped the sandstone as Odie passed Climbing 101. Hands-down, um paws down, the best climbing Shih Tzu around those parts.

Now to find the camper in this ocean of sand and brush.

Smack dab in the middle of nowhere, someone had been here before us. 1922 it seemed.

It took a few minutes to find the camper and I was sure glad I parked on a hill to make it easy to find. 

We sailed down the highway to a favorite scene of mine, the Colorado River Bridge on Hwy 95. Looking futuristic in the sea of rock. 

Wind was absent, the sails were down with clouds coming in but pretty nice for the last nights fire as we looked over Monument Valley in the distance.

The camera was taken off the tripod for the night, hatches un-battened, time to relax. Now if I could just have kept that darn pipe lit...

And that was the end of our most recent and most fun sailing on the high sees.

Afterword: Who reads it right? But look, we held hands in the driveway before we left and prayed, please, no flats this time. There were none. Thank you God. Although a broken crossmember bracket forced us to find a welder in Hanksville, and that in itself was a fun time. It was a good fun trip and was sorely needed.

Little Grand Baby twin girls Parker and Zoey are doing fabulously. Our miracle baby Zoey, on the right, is working through all issues and is a so very happy little girl, after having such a serious start at life. I thought we lost her twice. Again, thank you God. And thanks for asking, I'll hope you and yours are all well, as it should be.

Zoey is already asking for the keys. They grow so fast, where did the time go? She now has teeth and always wants to bite Grand Pa Whazoo's finger. Wait till I teach her to pull it.


  1. Ah Wazoo,
    So many trails, and so little time and money. Really enjoyed you pictures, and your witty comments. Take care of that lil doggy now!

    Slickrock Steve

  2. Hey Dave.

    Great, great trip reports! Have you ever thought about trying to put any of these pics and captions (as narration) to video?
    If you are interested I'd love to give it a try and put it on my website and You Tube channel to see what happens....

    1. Oh boy Doug, thanks for the great great note, my head is swimming, or getting big, or something. What it is doing is thinking that I'd be the Tom Mix of truck camping. He was a big silent movie star who couldn't make the switch to "talkies." I apologize but I don't see these trip reports, or myself, as all that. But I do thank you very much, I'll sleep tonight dreaming of Whaztube and what could be!