Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tusher Tunnel

Another week has gone by.   We've relaxed and also been busy.   Dave has been bothered by a toothache since we got here so, thanks to friends Gay and Joe, he secured a dentist appointment.   The result of that was a course of antibiotics (which are helping to lessen the pain) and another appointment at an Endodontist in Grand Junction this week (probable root canal - oh joy).

The pain, however, didn't stop him from eating well.   We met Gay and Joe at Zax's  for dinner last week (no pictures....of course!), had delectable quesidillas at the cute Quesidilla Mobilla food truck down town, a light dinner (and wine) at the Sorrel River Ranch (complete with a wine tasting AFTER our meal!) and "last night" dinner at MonaLiza and Steve's motor home last night before they left this morning.

I'm not good at taking pictures inside restaurants.   I'm uncomfortable doing so and the result is that the shots I do get are awful.     I do, however, enjoy capturing people doing what they love to do.

Dave instructs MonaLiza in the finer points of Lilac sniffing

well....I captured someone doing what he loves to do!

wine tasting at Castle Creek Winery after dinner at Sorrel Ranch
(nothing wrong with that!)

MonaLiza's colorful dinner.  Mmmmmm

As far as adventure goes, we drove to and explored Tusher Tunnel.   The road is listed as "easy" and most of it was, but it became rocky as we approached the Tunnel.   We liked that because it meant that it wasn't exciting enough for the "big guys" but too rough for regular cars.   Perfect!

The company we did have was of the bovine persuasion.

We had a short hike up to access the Tunnel and we weren't really sure where it was as we climbed up.

natural Tusher Tunnel cuts through this rocky ridge

Dave waits for me to catch up at the entrance

We found the narrow entrance and, although the term "tunnel" usually means it has an opening at both ends, I wasn't excited about entering this black slit.
Once again, Mr. David's A-1 Tunnel Guide went ahead to make sure there actually was an other end.   On can always count on any of Mr. David's long list of enterprises....they never disappoint.

He came back out right away and told me it was safe to follow, that there was a fantastic view once through the darkness.   So I left the relative safety of the opening and went on in.

light at the end of the tunnel

we exit into the sunshine and find ourselves 200/300 feet above the ground

interesting petrified sand dunes in the distance

As we came out of the Tunnel we discovered how high we were!   The views were incredible and expansive.   We turned right and followed a wide, rocky ledge to and into other arches, small slots and alcoves. 

rocky ledge out the Tunnel's backside

Another time (when my knee isn't singing quite so loudly) we'd like to go back and do more investigating.....

We took a different route - Bartlett Wash Rd. - home, along portions of a muddy wash and across some slick rock with totally different views.

we got out to check out some interesting rocks/stones.
don't ask

this huge boulder looked like a giant beaver had been trying to fell it!

MonaLiza and Steve have been doing a lot of strenuous hiking during their two weeks here and Saturday they had earmarked for a day of rest.   They told us this when they stopped by that morning.     We thought they may as well rest in the back of our Jeep, seeing more of this unbelievable scenery so we invited them to ride along on a repeat (for us) of Onion Creek Road.   They thought that sounded like a good plan, so after they did a quick grocery run we all set off.     I'll show you some pictures of that adventure later, this post has gone on long enough.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Onion Creek Road

Monday we took Lewis with us for a drive on Onion Creek Road.    I wanted to drive this road the last time we were in the Moab area but we didn't have a high clearance vehicle at that point so I filed this drive away for another time.

The road begins near the famous Fisher Towers area and crosses Onion Creek numerous times (I counted 29 times!).

We wouldn't drive this road if there had been rain recently, or if it was in the forecast but Monday the crossings were shallow and not very slippery.

The road started out relatively flat and sandy running between red sandstone rock formations.

someone has a sense of humor!

Spring seems to have arrived, finally.   We enjoyed small patches of wildflowers as we drove through the beautiful canyon.   There was impossibly green grass along the edges of the road.

The creek and the road soon parted as our track climbed up into distinctive rock formations.

Dave checks the condition of the road ahead before taking the Jeep on a narrow section
(at my "request")

The scenery changed as we drove out of the  deep cut part of the canyon.   The walls became rounded and the previous reds became greens, golds, pinks, whites and grays.   We were entering the Onion Creek Salt Diapir.  Here's a good description of this area......

We stopped for lunch to enjoy the beautiful colors in front of us.

What we discovered, sitting there eating our turkey sandwiches and potato chip cookies, was the creek had also changed.   Not it's look, it's smell....

Sulfur smell.     We finished eating and continued along the creek until we spotted the odor's source.   Stinking Spring comes bubbling happily out of the rocks.....

and joins the creek, imparting a nasty rotten egg smell to the entire area.

the white line above is the Stinking Spring's water making it's way to the creek

We decided to turn around and head home at this point.    We could have continued on and linked another trail with this one but we had dinner plans with MonaLiza, Steve and their friends at 5 and we didn't want to be late for Lumpia!

back into the canyon, heading for Lumpia and Pancit!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sand Flats Road

I received an odd text message this morning, during second cup.   "Do you have binoculars handy?"    Yes......    "We are looking down at you, can you see us?"
Hmmmmm, let me see.

Yes, Steve, I CAN see you!    It was Steve and MonaLiza calling us from the top of the mesa pictured above.     I zoomed my camera as far out as it would go and this is what I saw! 

Steve and MonaLiza turn their backs on us to continue their hike
We stood in the middle of our rv park's road and waved, they saw us too!

After another relaxed morning and lunch we decided we'd better stop lazing around and get going or our time here would be up!  Against our normal habit of laying low on the weekends, we headed out for a ride on Sand Flats Road.

We usually enjoy exploring during the week when most other people are unavailable but it was a beautiful day so we went against tradition.     As a result, we did see quite a few people camping and riding their ATVs, UTV's, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, etc.     In addition we had picked one of the most popular areas to explore so couldn't complain.   Sand Flats Recreation Area is a high plain landscape of slick rock domes, bowls and fins, a nationally recognized mountain bike and jeep playground. 

out the rear window

The further along the road we went, the fewer people we encountered and by the time we exited the Sand Flats Recreation Area and entered the colorful mesas and nearly 13,000 feet peaks of the Manti-LaSal National Forest we were virtually alone.

four nipples?

see the tree in the "pot" above?

hello ladies

distance pictures never look as good as they do in person

now that's a house with a view!

At one point we came upon a neat little arch....well, actually three arches of different sizes in the same rock.

Yep, he's looking at an airplane while I'm trying to take his picture!

Oh Dave......