The capitol building in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tulare, South Dakota.

Where are they going next? East towards Ontario.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Hello Utah!

Heading west from Farmington, New Mexico is the town of Shiprock. There had been some discussion in the comments section here a a couple of days ago about things to see and do in and around Shiprock, but in our opinion, it's not a very nice town, and really not a very nice area.

The only thing worth seeing is the "shiprock"... a huge piece of volcanic rock jutting out of the ground.

It's all located on Navajo reservation land, including the town of Shiprock itself.

Our first decent view of the rock.




Because the rock is "sacred", you have to get permission to get anywhere near it or to climb it. And it was about a 14 mile (22 km) detour to get better photos, and we didn't think it was worth the effort.

Plus, the roads on the route we took through this area are in terrible condition. There were some areas where the speed limit was 65 mph and I had a hard time bouncing along at 40 mph. Good thing there was very little traffic.

No, we would not make an effort to visit Shiprock again.

From there, we headed to the 4 Corners Monument. I hadn't done any research into what we might find there because we were going to be driving right by it anyhow.



Scenery along the way.

The route to the 4 Corners Monument would take us through all four states. We were already in New Mexico, but then we spent a short time in both Arizona and Colorado before entering Utah.

The Navajo Nations have been highly affected by Covid and anything tourist related is closed. So we weren't surprised to find the the 4 Corners was closed as well.

Welcome to Arizona.

4 Corners Monument Closed.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado.

And finally, Welcome to Utah!







Arriving in the town of Bluff, Utah.

Yesterday's drive 110 miles (176 kms).

I had read that the town of Bluff (just outside the Navajo Nation border) is an interesting town. Sure enough, the rock formations as we entered the town are fantastic.

The town library has free unsecured WiFi, and there is a level gravel parking area suitable for any size rig. We pulled in there just in time for lunch and we were the only ones in the parking area during our entire stay. A few people would drive up beside the library to use the WiFi, but they were usually gone pretty quickly.

We decided to go for a hike up Calf Canyon, just behind the town itself.

Lots of neat rock formations!



Looking into the canyon.


Very cool!

Can you see Ruth?

Cactus flower.

This would be a great overnight spot!

Ruth.



Me!

Weird rock.

Looking down on the town. 
Sherman is right in the middle.

We saw a couple of other spots that would have been more scenic where we could have parked Sherman for the night. But at the library we were already totally level, and we had free WiFi. So we just stayed put. 

Ruth made a delicious shrimp and veggie fettuccine with a caesar salad.

We slept fine last night. Quiet as can be. You'd never have known that we were in the middle of town.

You can see from the photos above that we've had some great weather. And it's going to continue with blue skies and sunshine however starting Wednesday they're saying it's going to get hot... like 97F (36C) hot and it's supposed to last a week or so.

So we're probably going to zip through Utah fairly quickly (by our standards!) and get up to Wyoming where it's a little cooler.

But first... we are meeting up with Bob and Denise again tonight as our paths are crossing!

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And in Canada...



21 comments:

  1. Bluff has some amazing history about the Mormons.

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    1. It looked like it might have. They also have a really nice recreation of a fort which would have been nice to see but of course it was closed, maybe next time!

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  2. Hard to believe that Shiprock is what's left of a ancient volcano. Just the core of it. It's been used in several movies. Too bad it's hard to get close to(especially now) as I bet it would be pretty impressive being at the base of it.

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    1. It is definitely fairly impressive sitting out there in the middle of nowhere by itself.

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  3. Cool rock! Amazon promo code wasn't valid.

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  4. Bluff is one of our favorite places in the southwest. So jealous of your time there! Have to remember the library wifi if we are lucky enough to visit again. If possible visit Valley of Gods, The southern entrance of Canyonlands off of Rt 191 between Monticello and Moab. We do not like all the tourists in Moab but the rock formations around there are fantastic. We think the trip to the Needles is one of the most beautiful in the Southwest. Nothing there other than the visitor center and a small campground which is probably closed....easy to drive in and back.

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    1. We enjoyed Bluff and could easily have stayed in the area for another couple of nights. We were close to Valley of the Gods but for this trip we want to start heading north a little quicker than planned as Utah is going to get hit with some very hot weather and we don't want to be around for it.

      We would love to go to Canyonlands but it isn't opening up to the public until May 29th and by then we will be past that area. We are looking forward to seeing the rock formations around Moab though. Hopefully we will make it back to this area some other year and at a slightly cooler time of year so we can enjoy some of the many hikes that are here. :-)

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    2. Valley of the Gods is a pretty drive and there are several boondocking spots along the road starting from the south entrance.
      HOWEVER the south entrance is a fairly steep drop into a creek which you "should" be able to handle w/o a problem. However there is no place to stop off the pavement to scope out the drop to the creek and/or walk down.
      Once you get past the creek the road should (there is the word should again) be good for the next 10 miles or so. It was fine when we drove the road in 2017. If the road is wet it will be slippery. As you get to the northern part of the road where it turns to the west, there will be some hills and dips that your long rear overhang won't be able to handle.
      Coming from the NW entrance the road is good, but washboardy for about 5-8 miles or so to the first place you could park as a pull in or back in at an angle. But as memory serves I don't remember a place you could turn around before you get to the first dip.

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    3. As much as we would have loved to have visited the Valley of the Gods, it isn't going to be this year. We are already in Monticello and heading north and looking for higher ground because a heatwave is going to be hitting us late this afternoon and will stick around for the next week. The temperatures are going to be hitting the high 90's and into the low 100's which is just too hot for us. We are hoping that we will get some relief up in the Flaming Gorge area and it is an area that we have wanted to spend a bit more time exploring.

      Thank you for your helpful information though, we really do appreciate it. :-)

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  5. I'd have to put Utah at the top of my list of favorite states to visit. Maybe even live there, it is so scenic with amazing rock formations. And no I'm not a geologist, I just play one on TV... :cD

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    1. Yes, it is at the top of our list for favorite states as well, unfortunately it is starting to get too hot here to enjoy the many hikes that we would have loved to have done. It looks like we will need to head to higher ground because it is going up into the high 90's and that just doesn't sound like fun.

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  6. If you take 191 N thru UT on your way to WY, there are some nice spots to check out close to Vernal UT. The state parks up there are nice too. Look for the dinosaur tracks at Red Fleet State Park. And dinosaur nat mon is not too far. http://metamorphosisroad.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-fantastic-first-stop-in-utah-vernal.html

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    1. We will see how our time goes and how the weather is but a few of these places definitely sound interesting. It looks like Dinosaur National Mounument it open for driving and for hiking only everything else will be closed, but I think we would enjoy going for a hike there. On second thoughts we may not be going there as I just looked up the entry fee and they want $25USD ($34.58CAD) per vehicle just for the day and we don't have an annual America the Beautiful Pass. I know that we can find lots of other hikes to do in the area that would be free. We are looking forward to getting up into the Flaming Gorge area where we will be at higher elevation and hopefully slightly cooler temperatures.

      Thank you for the suggestions, you guys always do some beautiful hikes so we do love that you pass along some of your ideas. BTW, we can't do the Chesler Loop hike as Canyonlands is closed up and not open to hiking until May 29th and we will be past that area by then. Too bad because that looked like a fantastic hike :-(

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  7. Beautiful shots, and Ruth's coral-colored top looked great with the color of the red rocks. We have driven through this area and just loved it. Hope you can escape the heat before it arrives! Oh, and Ruth's dinner looked AMAZING. Slurp!

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    1. Yep, the colours and formations of the rock in that area were amazing, we love seeing stuff like that. I hope we can escape the coming heat wave too, when it gets up into the high 90's it is just too hot to do any good hiking. Hopefully we can get to some higher ground where we will get some relief before those temperatures hit us.

      Dinner was delicious if I say so myself, lol! :-)

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  8. We stopped at the Four Corners the day after Daylight Savings Time went into affect. We'll try to see it next time. We then went past Shiprock but the Winds were too much so again kept the wheels rolling.
    Looks like Ruth is serving in a restaurant. Yummy!
    Be Safe and Enjoy Wyoming.

    It's about time.

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    1. It wasn't a big deal that we didn't see the Four Corners but it still would have been fun. We were quite happy just seeing Shiprock from a distance, although I am sure it would have been pretty impressive up closer but it wasn't enough to make us want to drive the extra distance. We had some strong winds driving through as well, not fun!

      Dinner was delicious! :-)

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  9. Looks like our type of terrain. Nice and quiet and alone! Great pictures and I bet that pasta was delicious.

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    1. We do like looking at the rock formations in Utah, it is definitely a very interesting state but we are also very anxious to get up into Wyoming and Montana and get into the trees and the mountains.

      Dinner was delicious! :-)

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