*As of September 25, 2018 Youtube now shows "related videos" at the end of every video. There is no way around this, I've spent hours investigating with no luck or workaround. There is no code to alter, it's baked into their new algorithm. Every person in the world with youtube videos will now have this issue. I've started using a paid Vimeo account and will slowly go back to every video and move them from Youtube to get around this. Thanks Youtube, he said sarcasticly.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Whazoo's Trip of a Wifetime
You read right, a wifetime. It was Mrs. Whazoo's idea to go to Fort Collins Colorado (where we had wanted to move at that time) to mail letters and bills. "And oh Whazoo, can we 4wheel through Utah and see ruins and stuff?" Maybe not those exact words but it was her idea, knowing I had spent a lot of time researching some ruins that I wanted to see but didn't get to this last spring.
I want to say right now that not only was this a great trip, it was a perfect trip. That's not a word a guy just throws around. Mrs. Whazoo, the kids, animals, truck and camper are the only instances of perfect in my life. And now this trip of a wifetime.
Somewhere between Phoenix and Denver there is a dirt road by way of Utah. It was a beautiful dirt road this time of year, and it was perfect.
It started off in high desert and ran between two buttes. They were the bees knees of buttes, the Bears Ears. The road runs right between the Bears Ears. Did you ear me?
At higher altitude the colors started exploding in front of my slightly dimming retina display.
Dropping to lower altitude but with the attitude still running high, the road was good but for the fifty million mud holes which hardened to cement and had to be beat off of my wheel wells with a hammer. I can see why these Anasazi ruins we seek are still standing after nine hundred years. I fully believe that my truck will now rust away and leave Anasazi mud cement standing in the form of wheel wells and frame rails, I was glad to have mud flaps. As John Wayne would say while lifting his whiskey glass, "Mud!"
We drove many miles seeing no one, wondering if we were on the right road. There was no signage and a few spur roads. With talk of turning around we finally came to the spot I had hoped to find. Dropping out of the truck to the sound of elk bugling, it was...perfect.
I parked in front of Chippendales, I mean Chip and Dales, and were greeted by the two monks that lived there.
That evening the Whazoo's had a serious stress dump, and went to bed at 6:30pm. It happens almost every time on the first night or two. Are we alone in this? The stress of daily living falls off our shoulders making it hard to hold up the head and suddenly the pillow and camper bed look like an opulent sleeping arrangement at the Dew Drop Inn.
Mrs. Whazoo and I woke twelve hours later to the cacophonous sound of birds all around. It's true, we've never heard so many birds in one place all sharing their joy of being alive on a beautiful day. One bird had us perplexed with it's call. Not quite in tune and a little like a cross between a duck and a canary it reminded me of a baby burping a tune into a jug. I told Mrs. Whazoo it must have chirpies, it's a canarial disease. Yes, this bird had us laughing, it must have failed the tryouts for "Bye Bye Birdie."
Having a cup-o-joe I logged on to wilderness.net, then I logged off. Logged on, logged off...I know, this one's obvious isn't it? I'll snake one by you later.
"Yes Dear, my applejacks are ready. And donuts for energy."
We started off to find some good hidden ruins using my handheld WPS, Whazoo Positioning System. It doesn't take batteries but runs on donut power. If you run out of donuts a quick splash or two of rum will get it going in short bursts, at least from tree to tree in a zig zagging route. With maybe a nap under a tree.
We were following co-ordinates sent to us by a good friend and cartographer extraordinaire. (I would like to thank him for his help and expertise in all things Anasazi and give him credit for our finding these and other ruins on this trip.) I had been researching these and other ruins for some time without getting a good bead on the location. I had the general area but looking could take forever. These ruins are a closely guarded secret even to those that know of them. I sent him my info by email and within a few hours as if by magic his co-ords showed up in my inbox. Of course downloading them to my WPS wasn't easy and involved a few colored Sharpie's. And as I traced, I mean downloaded, his map onto my WPS I wondered "How did he do that?"
Being in the land of canyons thick with trees was something new to us. Not being able to see exactly where we wanted to go the WPS worked...perfectly.
And there it stood, looking like a little dollhouse made by a larger creature, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Whazoo dolls to take up residence. Indeed it looked as if the previous dolls had just stepped out and into history, never to return.
I don't know why I'm so obsessed with finding dwellings and granaries made by those early people, it's not like these are the ruins ofPuma Punku. Is it the stir of echoes, nine centuries gone that I hear? The ability to actually see their fingerprints hardened in the mud? Or the mystery surrounding the people themselves since we don't really know where they came from or went, leaving an historical hole on either side of their lives. Or maybe it's just like looking for a geo cache, an excuse, I mean reason to go camping.
Being so sheltered under the cliff overhang, the ceiling was in surprisingly good shape for nine hundred years, but who's counting?
A view from above and behind the little dwelling shows me that with pizza delivery I could live here. Check out the roof of dirt and rock.
So symmetrical and perfect, these indigenius people knew how to make the best of their surroundings without the use of Home Depot. Now I don't know what indigenius means, but I bet these native peoples were pretty darn smart to make dwellings that stand to this day and I for one am forever impressed.
With a little imagination you could feel what it must have been like to live here. To have the fires lit inside as night came on. This is why I'm here, for the feeling of sharing a space in time with a Grand Whazoo of old.
Goodbye little dollhouse, I don't know if I'll be back, but I have you in my memory card.
We were back on that perfect road, heading north to more canyons and colors.
"Yes Deer, you want to fawn over this little dear. I'll stop and take a picture before you bid a fawned farewell."
Canyons with trees. I was in love with this country...and wish I was still there.
Giving the trees a last look we dropped in altitude again to the canyon looks that we're used to, wide open vistas.
Now I've heard of a one horse town, but a one cow corral?
The WHAZN8R's back, starring in the western "Deadwood." "Put on your big boy pants or get outta town."
The first sighting of a ruin comes out of the shadows. We've learned to look into the shadows of overhangs as we try to pick out a black rectangle, not commonly made by nature.
I called this Jabba the Hutt rock, with a ruin tucked behind his ear. You could say his hearing was ruined.
Moving away from the cliffs we found one of the few tower ruins left standing. We wondered about the purpose of the towers. Were they lookouts for defense, guard stations? Maybe celestial observatories? Or Anasazis that just wanted a 360º view? Of course we can only conjecture, but the fun is in the guessing, I guess.
And as there are always two sides to every story, this side had two stories, with one lone beam left as proof.
The rock stacking was more than impressive, it was perfect.
Late afternoon was showing it's shadows and we had miles to drive. I had planned to camp on Onion Creek thirty miles north east of Moab. We were picking up my youngest daughter, Whazanna Whazanna Danna, and her boyfriend at the Denver Airport the next evening, 430 miles away. We didn't know how much longer the dirt road was before it hit the highway into Canyonlands but it had been a good road so far. Passing a great canyon-side spot to camp I sped on down the road. I figured we had at least 3 hours of driving left and Onion Creek camp would be a late arrival. Well, we couldn't pass up a camp with a view so we turned around, planning to get up at 6am the next morning.
I was fired up to get the evening started, what with twelve hours of sleep the night before.
The moon was making the rounds at full circle and the temps were, you guessed it, perfect.
No, I'm never surprised at the depths I go to to make my wife laugh. The sound of which I hope to always hear. "Am I a hot dog or just full of baloney?", I asked with a meaty smile and breath no hot dog would relish.
Under a full moon the canyon was serene, urethral, I mean ethereal. Ok, it was very very nice, there you have it. It was only urethral for a moment when taking a pee...k over the edge.
We did make the 6am wake-up. Quick breakfast and hit the road. However, the road immediately went south as much as it went north. On the Whazoo Slobberknocker scale of 1-10 it became a solid 2. Not for technicality but for the fact of hitting the gas and hitting the brakes off and on for the next seventeen miles, which took an hour and a half. If you didn't hit the brakes in time, or see the rut than ran under the shadows it would knock the slobber right off my slack jaw. Ruts ran parallel and perpendicular to the road, giving the feeling of driving over a very large waffle iron. It was on this road while trying to make good time that I pulled my two rear tie down anchors right through the frame of the camper. Slobber and a few choice words went right out the window. "Franklin Delano!"
Even running behind there were a few stops for pictures of nature. On a scale of one to a thousand, this guy was cool. And that ain't no bull...snake.
And a cow doing Robert De Niro. (Oh really?)
We finally hit pavement and had places to be way on up the road. While cruising towards I-70 north of Moab a Mustang pulled up beside the WHAZN8R and wanted to race. I gave a good kick to the gas pedal hitting 105mph PDQ, pretty darn quick. Well, like most Mustangs it came to the end of the pasture and pulled up before hitting barbed-wire while we continued on down the road, my horses still running free, all 470 of them. ( I have been up to 110mph once before, becoming one with the wind on a lonely stretch of highway just to see what the WHAZN8R had up his sleeve. It was like doing 55, only twice as fast.)
Just before the I-70 on-ramp we saw what was a dichotomy of surroundings right in front of us. Here we were in the high desert of Utah looking at Yosemite, California. What a trip. Then I had the thought of a camper like a chameleon, that could change to blend in giving stealth camping a new meaning. Just imagine, a camper that could look like a Wallmart parking lot.
In my figures for time and mileage I had determined that being in Moab, Utah at least by noon would give us just enough time to make the Denver Airport to pick up the "kids." Driving through Moab at around 11am I felt calm, secure, like I had used Dial soap the night before. Getting into Denver there was a slow down for freeway construction. A little sweat happened. Of course the Denver Airport is fifteen miles east Jiminy Cricket from nowhere. We darn near had to park in a corn field, being a camper and all. Walking into the airport I asked Mrs. Whazoo if she had reading material, it was 5pm and we had to meet a 6:05 plane. Arriving inside we looked at the signage for incoming filghts, ours said..."at the gate". Wait, what? I turned and asked a lady what time it was, 6:05 pm. "Manischewitz!", we were now on Mountain Standard Time. I looked up, I swear this to be true, and saw Whazanna Whazanna Danna and her boyfriend walking out of the the concourse gate. An immediate sense of "perfect" swept over me and I laughed out loud. 430 miles of lolly-gagging over twelve hours and with a down-to-the-minute arrival, how could a guy plan this any better?!
The plan was to spend two days in the Fort Collins area plus a drive into the Rocky Mountains. And what a fun two days it was. We saw and herd elk, more yeller trees and best of all, cooler temps than we've seen since April in the Phoenix area. Here are a few random pictures...
I wanted to tell this tree to send it's roots en route to the other side where there was water available, but it was to late.
While in the navigator's seat I noticed a white Mustang pulling up next to us. Not wanting to race I just gave him a nod and a wink. There was no response, giving truth to the adage "a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse."
I know this trip report is wordy, hopefully it is worded...perfectly.
Speaking again of perfect. We dropped the young adults of at the Denver Airport Tuesday morning and drove back up to Longmont and the home of our camper. Outfitter had said they could fit us into their schedule to fix the rear tie down anchors that I had ripped through the frame. Not only did they fix them but they are now better than new. I do believe them to be what the doctor ordered for what we like to do best, 4wheel the darn thing. And there was much 4wheeling to come. So the perfect thing to do is break your camper on the way to the manufacturer and not after leaving the area. There it is.Thanks Outfitter.
There we were driving back to Moab, Utah and camping for the night in another perfect spot.
And it was time for my cup of "who hit john."
Morning found us in a grave situation. (yes, I know)
"Here in the ground lies Grand ol Whazoo. Shot in the back down in Kalamazoo. A dry gulch fer sure, ner a Howdeeyado. Shot in the back fer too long on the loo."
With rear tie down anchors replaced and restructured it was time for bidness.
There was no drinking on the trail, yet there I was feeling tipsy.
It was official, the WHAZN8R had become a seesaw stopping at a point where the truck rocked to and fro. I was hoping for more to than fro, as the hair on my head curled and my underside puckered. Well, it was a little pucker as I held the pose for Mrs. Whazoo to take a picture." Hurry up Mrs. Whazoo, I'm getting seasick."
The next obstacle would be my last on this trail. An unstoppable force had finally met an immovable object.
Not that the truck wouldn't make it. Just something about the rear jacks, raised as they were to the bottom of the camper, kept hitting rocks and scooping dirt as I tried to maneuver. Looking in the side mirror I could see the dump valve cover crack and pipes were moving. Women and children were screaming when I backed down a wee bit and pulled off a rear mud flap as it bent under the wheel. And I knew that even if I could get the jack to clear with a little trenching that coming back down would be catastrophic. Both jacks would be dealing with solid rock. The trail had just kicked me in the axle.
I knew this day was coming and I had tried to prepare myself for an eventual defeat. Talk of departure angles finally came home and the taste was bitter. I knew that just above this sluice was a mesa full of fun waiting for us. Not today Whazoo, you've seen it from a Jeep before but your camper is too long.
There had been a group of Jeepers just ahead of us, getting out to watch and take pictures as we made it past obstacles the trail was throwing our way. I bragged about getting to the top and camping with a shower and all, knowing full well that smack talk has a way of catching up with you. When we couldn't clear the sluice the Jeepers were gone in a second. I had gone from complete rock star to backup singer for Lionel Richie in mere minutes. Under my breath..."Dammit"
The ride back down was still fun and worth every minute of the rocky drive. Even though on the Slobberknocker scale this one had been off the charts, my slobber having been knocked into the next county.
Whew, that was a lot of truck pictures. Never let it be said that pop-ups need level ground. Hi Jim.
Re-tracing our route we were back on that "perfect" dirt road again. Gritting my teeth at the "brake-gas-brake" of the first seventeen miles.
Well bless my get along little doggie britches, lean beef on the hoof.
So of course we had to stop again at the perfect spot.
It was time to survey trail damage. Mrs. Whazoo asked if the smashed again tailpipe would cause restriction. Funny girl, what does she know?
Yes, that's where a mud flap used to be. I guess you could say I was one flap short of a full set. Just don't say it in front of Mrs. Whazoo, she might flap you.
I was able to stay up long enough to take a picture of the night sky. Is that the Whazoo Nebula?
Yes Whazoo we have to hand it to you, it's a nice place to wake up to.
Mrs. Whazoo took this picture to remind me why I have so many scratches on the truck and camper. Usually I get home and say "It wasn't that bad, where'd I get all the scratches?"
We were back on the trail of two other sets of ruins that I'd spent much time looking for. And with Silver's help there they were, both in the same picture. Can you pick them out?
Mrs. Whazoo moves along to the next set of anasazi ruins.
I had my favorite Indiana Jones underwear on and thought I'd climb to find the Crystal Skulls in the ruins above...
Then I woke from the daydream to realize that I was paralyzed, a scant few inches off the ground. No ruins in sight, I had been dreaming in photoshop.
I know I've said it before but it is still amazing that something dead can still be alive.
Moving along, we're driving we're driving. Back into the higher altitudes as we headed to next destination.
Boy the colors were really hanging on for us by not leaving right away.
Looking back at the Bears Ears from pavement, our last stop would again be Muley Point.
That ol bobblehead Whazoo was still working. No trail damage there. Maybe a little dain brammage though.
The canyons of the San Juan River were looking a bit mysterious, shady as evening came on.
Yet the cliffs were gilded in gold, making us feel rich just by the looking.
You've seen this picture before of Monument Valley twenty-five miles away.
The sunset was on fire, lit by alpenglow.
Out of nowhere came hurricane wind, making it hard to have a drink. I had to improvise, not being able to sit upright. Anybody got a straw?
That wind was terrible and the worst we've ever camped in, sounding like the angry monster from "Forbidden Planet." It would leave us alone for a second as it went howling along the cliffs looking for other campers to ravage. Finding none it always came back to us. The sound made by tiny bullets of sand against the softwall of the camper made me worry for the first time. As well as the rocking of the camper so close to the cliff edge. I knew I'd eaten enough donuts to weigh us down but I expected millions of tiny holes in the weblon come morning. So for those that ask about the ability of a pop-up to withstand severe wind, I can give you a big "YES!" The weblon took everything thrown at it and was still...perfect.
Morning, no wind.
What was once a cedar is no longer. When it rains becoming just another stick in the mud, something I know a little about.
Mr. and Mrs. Whazoo toast to what ended up as a perfect trip, what with all the variables thrown in by man and nature. And brother that was one perfect cup of coffee.
My friends and I would like to say, thanks for reading. Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. Whazoo
And while there is much discussion as to where the Anasazi went and what became of them I believe I have the answer. They all moved to San Francisco to spread love, peace and understanding, coming back to their home in the southwest only to visit.