Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Thanksgiving #38 Boondock Deluxe

Boondock Deluxe, I like it. Reminds me of a band I used to like back in, back in, well way back. They were called BeBop Deluxe. 

Last year I wasn't sure Lynn and I would be able to continue our long stretch of consecutive Thanksgiving camp trips into 2017, making it 38, the same number of years we've been married. Lo and behold she was able to work out her schedule to keep the program rolling one more time. It will kill me when we do finally miss one, but I have a lot of memories to fall back on.

With thankful hearts and adventurous spirit we drove from Meridian Idaho to southern Utah for another drive through, well, through a lot of dirt road country. The best kind.

We spent a night thirty miles or so northeast of Moab, I was heading back to do the Top of the World jeep trail. We've done this before but it's been a few years, every now and then we need to see things through older eyes.

Duke was glad to out and about as he surveyed his kingdom. 

Or was he and Bailey just waiting for the breakfast bell?

Before we left we had to walk over and pay respects...

to Henry Waring who this mesa was named after. 

If I wanted to be buried this would be a good place. 

Locals go gaga over our rig...

Ten years worth of trip reports and I've made a point of not letting my feelings for the BLM show, I can't anymore. Every time we go out I know for a fact that I'll be furious and sick with all their petty signs and markers stating that this is their land, not ours. These signs were not here last time we camped at this location. There are more and more every time we go out.

While at the same time wondering how they can let people buy small sections of BLM land for homes. This home is a very short distance from our camp and we can see their lights at night. So much for the boondocks effect.

But up that trail we went trying to grind my sour feelings into the Utah dust and rock.

A short distance from this picture I high centered and tried pulling myself off the rocks. The sound of metal shattering was distinct and loud, busted axle. I wish I'd have taken some trail pictures of the issue, man there's a lot of grease in those cv boots! I had used my E-Locker to pull off those rocks but the darn thing would not release and I'm pretty sure as I cranked the steering wheel it had a negative effect on the axle.

It was an easy fix to yank the half shaft and 3-wheel it out. Back down that rocky mountain we went.
A new axle and quick fix in Moab put us back on our way. 

To say we've been there before and made it to the top just doesn't work without pictures. 

The way out took us by the Bridge. When we were here a few years ago the Dewey Bridge still existed. A very old wooden bridge spanning the Colorado River in these parts. Within hours of us passing it a young boy playing with matches burnt it to the ground leaving only the metal support structure.  I have no idea what his parents were doing.

After driving down a dirt road quite a ways we felt fortunate to finally find a place to spend the night. 

We had driven close to ten miles passing some very unlevel "designated" camp spots, and only a few of them. There was one decent spot already taken.

We ended up with this. Ah but this looks great you might say...

except for the wrapped wire fence around us...

Not to mention six signs right around us. Camp here, not here. Wilderness restoration area, wilderness study area. 

And oh yes, Day Use Area Only. Why?

Suck it up Dave, and drive on. You've been sucking it up the last thirty years as more and more land becomes unavailable to you, even some of your favorite places used all your adult life. Drive on I did...

The roads in these pictures look great but know that was not the case. Last years winter did significant damage and many washouts had been somewhat repaired, some not. Ok by me, the typical SUV driver wouldn't be back here.

There's a small ruin in this picture. Don't ruin your eyes looking.

It gets worse, there's two in this pic including the one above.

I'm not sure, guess I just like this one.

My low light/night shots aren't great, but I hope they relay the feeling of being away from city lights and noise. This area has plenty of coyotes though, I never get tired of hearing them.

Morning, and time to check out these little dudes.

Doesn't look too comfy to me, unless you're a corn cob.

I guess that's why they're called granaries and not nookeries.

Wouldn't it be neat if that little window was a passage to the center of the earth? The Anasazi in fact believed that mankind came from a hole in the ground, and all their kivas had one in the floor called a sipapu in Hopi dialect. Did I just mix a little sci-fi-fi with history? 

There seem to be several very small "granaries" fairly close together. Not typically large enough to sleep in they are many times found with 900 year old corn cobs.

Walking back to the truck, well, I recognize that pose. Guys? Seems while I hadn't been on watch, it was time to fly.
"Watch", "time", "fly"? I know it was a stretch but you would not have caught it otherwise.

A few miles down the trail was a tower ruin, kind of different from cliff ruins because they are out in the flats. No one seems to know exactly what tower ruins were used for but I think those folks just wanted a 360º view.

An old two story, the second floor long gone, yet it still has many stories.

Corners are near perfect, much better than the doghouse I built once. 

Walls perfect too. How did they do that?

Next we drove up a dry wash for a couple of miles looking for more ruins in cliffs found through research. Mostly soft sand it made for a smooth ride.

Ah but a smooth ride doesn't necessarily mean a copacetic ending. My storage pod and air conditioner were right in line with the wood truss. We were decopaceticised.
Looking at this picture though, I might have backed through! Next time...

I can't count the gates this lady has opened for me, literal and figurative.

The dirt roads were endless, the southwest is our kind of place.

Tired of bouncing around and not knowing exactly where we were we just stopped and set up for the night.

Any place we stop becomes home. I never get tired of mentioning that our Outfitter camper in a short bed truck has a shower, toilet, furnace plus catalytic heater, queen bed, compressor fridge, generator, 13 windows and so much more. Not your Grandads pop-up.

We had a meating of the Boondockers Club

Duke was the chairdog and counted the minutes.

Honestly, on cue the coyotes started singing. It was a perfect night.

Well except for the feeling we were being watched by ghosts of Anasazis past. Or something.

Another morning another road less graveled.

Is it just me or does that rock look like a rooster? As we cockadoodled by.

Driving by a huge stand of aspen, we are later in the year than our last trip here.

The last time they were in full fall regalia.

Silliness happened,  even the lake must have ducked out.

Peekaboo view of the Bears Ears from the north.

We weren't going by them this trip but heading for the canyons on the south side looking over Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa, as Comb Ridge bends south and west into the distance.

No camp spot pictures, it was nothing great. Ah but we were hiking and looking for some large ruins in the canyons below us.

I thought this hoodoo reminded of a cartoon character, I just can't remember which one.

We had sketchy directions and spent a bit of time looking to follow them. Here Lynn made use of old wood to down-climb. And yes, we have a technique we use for the dogs. I call it hotdog baiting. I just throw a hot dog where I want them to go and they jump.
Surely you don't believe that.

Lynn as usual was the first one to spot them way across the canyon. Besides bad directions we had bad coordinates because they weren't quite where they were supposed to be. Look close, they run the entire level in view below the cap rock. When we're out bagging ruins we look for a square or rectangle in the shadows, not something usually made by nature. Mother Nature's openings are usually a rounded arch on top.

I shot these with my 135mm lens and this was as close as I could get to those ruins that day.

There is a way to them but we couldn't find it. Duke called time out.

Lunch was eaten.

Then searching for a way down again.

The bloody things are just right there, rats.

We ran out of time or actually ran over. We had another hike and set of ruins to do that day or so I hoped. I guess you have to be fluid with plans since not everything works out. I AM coming back soon though, right after Christmas. I have to see those dudes up close.

By the time we hiked out to the truck and drove further than I thought to the next hike it was a getting late. And from that next hike I could see where I wanted to be for the night, the top of Comb Ridge, one of my favorite places.

Opting out of that next hike we drove to Comb Ridge and parked. Perfectly I might add.

These pictures get old, I know it. 50 plus trip reports with many of the same places we've camped multiple times. I can't say that will change but know that every time we pull up to these places it's just like home. I hope you have favorite places like that too.

It was the clearest of days with visibility near a hundred miles. My eastern and midwest Friends, you can't beat that. 

Somewhere in those far rocks is a cave I've read about, we'll look for it tomorrow.

A great place for a marguerita, or two.

We had a small signal, but who cares what the President tweeted, you're missing the sunset...

Which is much more important in my book.

That night was Thanksgiving and the reason I wanted to be camping there where the view goes forever and the food seemed to as well.

And what's this about too much whipped cream Dear? I can still see a little pie.

A shot before driving back to Blanding to refuel. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, belatedly.

Go to Blanding and fuel up, drive back to Comb Ridge to look for a cave. Really? A cave with stalagmites no less in a desert environment?

Its always called the mouth of a cave. I guess it sounds better than calling it by a name for the other end.

It was a steep and loose climb, Lynn basically wasn't interested. You can see she finally caved.

The skies had clouded over in the meantime. And to think we had Thanksgiving right up there last night.

Highway 95 cutting through the Comb.

Distant Bears Ears, I don't know why I like this picture.

Heading north on Highway 95 we never get tired of the scenery. Including Jacob's Chair viewed across White Canyon.

There are so many dirt roads to check out, and that's what we did for our last night in Utah. Drove down a random dirt road, it's a lifestyle.

Did I mention another perfect level parking job? You might want to hire me to park your rig.

I like pictures with many shades to them. While this isn't a good picture you can see the ripples of petrified sand dunes in the middle left.

A sure sign it was time to go home, pumpkin pie was gone, whipped cream too.

Next morning cereal too was about gone, making me invent Entemann Donut Cereal.

A few morning pics before hitting the road.

Driving on, I always stop for a picture of the bridge over the Colorado River looking so futuristic and out of place yet adding something to the scenery, I call it the Jetson Effect.

The boat launch at Hite has not seen this much water in years, being a mud flat mostly. The winter of 2016-17 brought it back up this far and I can only hope another good winter further north brings the lake back to full pool for 2018.

Parked just below those petrified dunes it's hard to imagine them being at the bottom of a sea, pressured into rock, now turning into sand again.

With Thanksgiving behind us we'll bid you Adieu, and thanks a lot for reading...
Dave & Lynn Rogers

(Funny how I made this picture many years ago and yet on this trip we just camped off the very same road, Utah Highway 95)


  1. Wow, still at it, sorry We missed the last meeting of the Boondockers club.
    Ted & Cheryl

    1. Ahoy Ted! Hey it's great to get your note here. I hope you two are still getting out, I was thinking you'd be in Idaho sometime for a meet up somewhere. Hope you're both healthy and trail worthy!

    2. It’s on the TODO list. Maybe later this spring.

  2. Thanks Whaz - always great to see your travels and pictures. Wish I could convince the SO to just get used to our Apex 8 and quit asking for a 5th wheel.

    1. While I agree with you about the choice between your Outfitter and a 5th wheel, some of those dudes are nice. But then the limitations are too much for us, keeping us from going exactly where we want to go. Thanks for the reply...

  3. Another fantastic trip report. Keep them coming.

    1. Thank you muchly, I'm trying to with another one coming soon. I only wish I could do these places justice.

  4. Thanks for the report on your trip. really great pictures! I will look into highway 95 next time in Utah. I just got rid of our 5th wheel, and love our popup truck camper.