Tag Archives: Lake Powell

How to wrap up a 46-day caravan

I think we could write a book about a seven week caravan. There are so many things to see, and do, and a lot happens to us and to our large group. A lot of what we think is interesting might not be for you. So we try to condense it for easier reading.

How to shorten it? No more prelims, here’s the straight stuff. We’re following our good friends, the Blanchards, advice on posting about the caravan. Lots of pictures. Except we cannot resist throwing words in also. Half as many words, ten times as many pictures, let’s see how this works highlighting parts of the great times we had sightseeing in the Four Corners region of the Southwest:

oldest continuously inhabited place in the USA, Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo, also known as Sky City Pueblo, is on a mesa over 350 feet above the desert. The Puebloans, after suffering years of attacks from marauding tribes, moved onto this very defendable site. It reportedly worked well against all except the Spanish conquistadores. Our guide treated us to a very informative walking tour of Acoma Pueblo.

Ages 48 to 88, everyone in our caravan segwayed well

The Segway Tour of Old Town in Albuquerque was less a tour and more a lesson on riding Segways. We’re hooked on Segways, but for two concerns: they are still very expensive and we don’t have anywhere to stow them while we travel. This was a fun way for us to get our first glimpse at Old Town. The Segway guides, Sean and Sean, shepherded us across intersections and kept a watchful eye on our maneuvering. They didn’t provide us any narrative and so this did not, for us, replace walking about Old Town.

San Jose de las Gracias Church, Las Trampas, New Mexico is very old and seems authentic. The church was built in the 1700s and appears not to have changed since. The original wood planked floor is still in use, and many of the artifacts and icons are also very old.

Did they do this without ladders, too?

Bandelier National Monument includes a great hiking trail down to the Rio Grande River, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and pictographs, and adobe villages with large kivas. We could have spent another day exploring and hiking this nice park. The hike through Frijoles Canyon to the river is worth doing again.

How often do you meet a Train Tycoon?

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train ride is a real neat treat. We rode in open cars, the genuine article from 125 years ago, for a few hours from Durango to Silverton. Silverton, at around 9,000 feet elevation, was chilly and breezy as we walked around the small residential and business areas. We had a fine lunch in Pickle Barrel, perfect salad, and sweet potato and carrot soup, followed by the hugest chocolate cake (five layers, five pounds, just kidding). Great train ride, great lunch, great day.

This is as close to mudding as we want to go

Canyon del Muerto, Chinle, AZ, is a beautiful place filled with sorrow. The name means Canyon of the Dead. The Spaniards, in the 1800s, trapped dozens of Navajo in the Canyon and killed them all. Ben and Adam Teller’s family business, Antelope House Tours, provided us a very good tour of Canyon del Muerto. The wash was full of water, the banks were steep, and our tour guide/driver Daniel did a fantastic job sharing the history and safely conducting us through the canyon in his Jeep Cherokee.

That's some great engineering!

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, the largest cliff dwelling in North America, is a wonder of engineering and execution. It was built around 1200 AD and occupied only until approximately 1300 AD. Many of the walls are intact and the National Park Service attempts to stabilize them with minimal changes.

Our GPS said, SWITCHBACKS!

The real thing was as twisty as the GPS image was

We drove to Garden of the Gods via the Moki Dugway, an old uranium ore haul road from Cedar Mesa. The GPS route map was pretty fantastic, until we realized the road really is arranged just as the GPS shows. These two pictures depict the GPS image and the genuine Moki Dugway routes.

Neat place for photography, but take old camera

Antelope Canyon, near Page, AZ, provides a business opportunity for the Navajo Tribe. Since the Canyon is on Navajo lands the tour companies all must be Navajo. We met our tour in Page where we climbed high up onto the rear of a souped-up Chevy 2500 pickup with the hugest mudding tires you can imagine (our guide told us the tires list at $1,300 each). We cruised a few miles onto the reservation to the Canyon’s entrance and followed our guide inside. He showed us the best picture opportunities, capturing the sun’s rays piercing down through sifting sands from high above. Almost ruined our camera, exposing it to all the wind-blown and falling sands, but caught a few really pretty pictures in Antelope Canyon.

A beautiful and large natural bridge

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is a very impressive structure and the boat ride there was nice. We got to see Lake Powell, a lot more of it than from anywhere else. The little canyon was interesting because it didn’t look like the boat was going to fit, it was a very narrow canyon. We thought we could have reached out from the boat and touched the canyon sides.

We awoke to an inch of snow at North Rim

North Rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ, was one of our chilly stops. The snow started falling while we were asleep. We would have liked even chillier temperatures so the snow could stick around a couple of days, but it melted soon after sunrise. We hiked the Transept Trail from campground to the Grand Lodge, explored in and around the Grand Lodge a little, and visited several viewing lookouts including Cape Royal and Point Imperial.

This is the steepest trail we've ever hiked

Zion National Park in Utah is one of our favorites from this caravan. We could hike for days and days, never hiking the same trail. The mass transit is fantastic, totally eliminating any need to use our truck in the park or nearby Springdale while staying there. The Angels Landing trail was a big challenge for both of us. First we hiked upward four and a half miles. The remaining half mile is along a narrow rock spine and face and hikers are guided by heavy chains anchored into the rock face. We lasted all but the last 1/4 mile of the 1,488 foot hike. Maybe another time, maybe not.

Also while at Zion National Park we met Rob and Jan Wilson. They are on a fun adventure touring fifty national parks. They have calculated this will take over twenty thousand miles and 217 days. They are traveling in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van outfitted by Airstream. Mercedes is demonstrating this very capable platform can handle whatever they throw at it throughout the U.S. Rob and Jan are really neat people, never had RVed before and are on a whale of an adventure through the end of this year. Look them up at http://www.sprintertour.com/

A great trail ride throughout Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT, is best seen walking or on horseback instead of from lookout platforms. Our trail ride into the canyon was fabulous, better than we could have dreamed. Our animals, of course, knew every step of the trail and could hardly have cared whether we were on board or not. This makes the trail ride easier for the riders — just hang on and let the mule or horse pace along behind his buddy.

This is some really old log book, carved in stone!

Capital Reef National Park, in Torrey, UT, is a surprise. It just doesn’t seem like it can offer very much but every turn reveals another significant settler’s cabin or archaeological feature. Or, the Pioneers’ Register in Capitol Gorge. This was the main passage into Capitol Gorge until the 1960s (when the highway was built). The settlers engraved their names in the sandstone above the wagon trail over one-hundred years ago. Isn’t it interesting they carved in cursive?

Can you see little Debbie under the Delicate Arch?

Delicate Arch, Moab, UT, is one of those must-see monuments in Arches National Park. It, and Landscape Arch, and Dark Angel, and Double O, and another dozen or so occupied our hiking energies for two days. We divided our hiking time between Arches NP and Canyonlands NP, where we hiked to the lookout for the Upheaval Dome. Very very interesting.

Our Caravan Finale Folleys are fun for everyone

Our caravan’s last hurrah was at the Sunset Grill in Moab, UT. The food was good, and the entertainment was fantastic. Our caravan’s music makers had practiced for days, and several characters created scripts and worked on their spiels. The result? A fun finale and fitting closing to this successful caravan led by Jay and Elna Thompson and Winston and Carol Montague — Thanks for putting on such a fine caravan!

See you down the road,

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

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Blown Away by Glen Canyon NRA

Blown away, literally, by today’s winds. Max gusts of 50mph, per the weather guessers — our guess might be higher, based upon the wind tossing hardback books from the table-top to the ground.

Our group ambitiously will attempt a picnic here in little more than an hour. Debbie, Jerry and Ann Hall, Frank and Carol Colligan and I are hosts to our 55 fellow caravanners on the WBCCI SW Adventures Caravan.

We’re not doing anything fancy. We’re going to serve KFC chicken, fixings, and some pie from Safeway. It’s a picnic, after all. Some caravan guides material mentions caravan food competitive spirit. We’re here to help relax those who follow — it’s camping, after all.

Our first two days here were full of fabulous weather — mostly sunny skies, highs in the 70s, lows around 50. Oh, and sunrise is at 0515 hours, Arizona time. Wow, that’s really early. Jim’s waking and staying up, enjoying watching the morning unfold. None of this for Debbie. She’s arising to the clock time. Someone please pull the shades down early, okay?

We visited Antelope Canyon, a very pretty and narrow slot canyon. And we enjoyed a day-long rafting trip down the Colorado River from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry. Our guide, Rico, is very knowledgeable about the river and its history and entertained us thoroughly with his stories and histories.

Today we enjoyed a “zero day”, no tours, no hiking, nothing until mid-afternoon. Now we’re setting up for the big picnic. This is our only occasion on this caravan to host a meal and we have a fantastic committee with the Halls and Colligans.

Since we lack any kitchen and dining setting and are eating in the park’s picnic area, we easily agreed to picnic food. What’s more picnicky than fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, and cole slaw? Well, homemade ice cream would have iced it just perfectly, but some things are a little out of reach for our caravan.

Glen Canyon NRA has several campgrounds. Our group is tucked into Wahweap Campground near Page and on Lake Powell. Many of our trailers have a very fine view of Lake Powell and the opposite shoreline. Our price for this great setting is five days camping with no utilities.

A little more than half of our group have a little less an overlook. They are sited on concrete pads and provided with full electric, water, and sewer connections. Maybe it’s an even swap. Debbie and I think so. We’re a little more than halfway through our fresh water tank supply (total 40 gallons, used 22 gallons). We’ve had great solar electric power generation to keep our batteries full.

Our main use of batteries has, so far, been in restoring the Dell laptop. Thus far we have reloaded Vista, MS Office suite, Picasa, Coffee Cup, FileZilla, Quicken, and TurboTax. This afternoon we started trying to reload backed up data files from portable hard drives.

We have no idea how much data we’ll restore, or how well it will work. But we do have the cleanest and sparest install we’ve ever seen on any laptop anywhere. Our desktop has exactly one icon, Recycle Bin. That’s it except the quick launch bar at the very bottom screen margin, where each of the above-listed apps has a small icon.

Hopefully we’ll be able to keep it this way. And we’re talking about how and whether to optimize the uses of the laptop. We’re starting over, we can make the rules any way we want, right?

I can’t keep typing — one hand is bracing the laptop screen to keep the wind from folding it over. Sand is driving, off and on, into my face. And I want to go talk with fellow caravanners nearby.

We’re enjoying this big wind country through tomorrow morning, then we’re driving directly into the wind to North Rim. Tomorrow will be Debbie’s and my first opportunity to see the Grand Canyon and we’re excited.

This windy Glen Canyon NRA is perfectly wonderful this time of year on the calm days. And no calm days are in the immediate forecast. We’re blown away from here, and will hope to visit again in calmer times.

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Is an Apple Mac in our immediate future?

Shhh! We aren’t ready for our Dell computer to hear we might be planning it’s obsolescence. Most of our work career depended upon IBM-compatible machines. All our applications, for a very long time, were Microsoft DOS then Windows processes. And we would give this Dell up so easily? Not just yet, but. . .

You may already know where we are, if you follow us — our locate us tag at the bottom of our blogs seems to be pretty reliable. A little less reliable in Indian Country, the APRS system relies upon our finding ham radio digipeaters within range of our radio/antenna. While we have darned good range, every now and then our signal just isn’t heard by the right kind of receiver.

Sometimes you may wonder what we’re doing there when we say we’re here. Gee, sounds kinda like what you wondered when your kids said they were here, and you thought they were some there else. Not exactly like “The Library” in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (and similarly named bars probably in most other college towns, too).

We are here, and through Sunday morning the locator will show us at the edge of beautiful Lake Powell in Page, AZ. We arrived yesterday and have enjoyed a very peaceful setting 3/4 mile from, and approx 100 feet above, the lake’s edge.

Most of the other 62 caravanners are on a Lake Powell boat tour and hike to Rainbow Bridge (someone said, “Tenth Wonder”, but I don’t know). Your faithful reporter walked with Debbie to the resort office/gift shop/marina to meet up with the tour group, then I walked back up the hill to start my BIG project for the day.

Everyone else absent is a blessing for me, right now. I am attempting to salvage certain files from our Dell laptop which three days ago suffered crash-dumped memory. I can attend to this project, catch up a little on emails, do a little housekeeping, and keep an eye on some of our caravanners’ rigs.

The project, searching for a few very important files to save to a portable hard drive, is going slowly. The problem is I must attempt to recover tens of thousands of files so I can cherry pick the Quicken data folders and the most recent four weeks’ picture folders.

Our last back-up was, perhaps, a month ago just after completing taxes and just before this caravan. We will face, if we cannot recover any files, loss of the best pictures and our personal expense entries from our caravan’s first month. The pictures are somewhat replaceable. Oddly, our laptop’s recycle bin had almost 2,000 pictures, mostly from this same caravan.

Our camera allows shooting bracketed f-stop exposures (e.g., selected exposure plus -1 and +1 f-stop). We choose the exposure we like best and trash the other two exposures. Fortunately these extra shots survived the operating system’s crash by hiding out in the recycle bin.

We pulled the recycle bin contents into one of our portable hard drives (not the one with the most recent data backups). This morning we downloaded to another laptop a copy of PC-Tools’ “File Recovery”.

I only want the most recent one month’s pictures plus the Quicken files. This lengthy process is yet another instance of the old adage, it takes less time the second time around. Our favorite examples are the instructions for installing desktop computer internal components, replacing the hitch receiver under your pickup truck, and assembling children’s bicycles.

Invariably, it seems, they say the process can be accomplished in 40 minutes or less. And this may be true. But we are comfortable reporting most people will not approach less than five times this time frame on their first try. And the instructions might not include the time required to first remove the existing component or equipment to prepare for installation.

How lengthy is this recover process? I can’t yet say. Three and one-half hours ago I started running the file recovery utility and it has inventoried over 20,000 files thus far. And it may all be worthwhile if we can re-acquire the desired files.

What’s next? We’ll try to save the dozen folders we’re hunting to the portable hard drive. I’ll shut down the laptop, remove the keyboard and bottom cover, and gently blow compressed air throughout the motherboard and components. We imagine our laptop feels an extra few pounds heavier and needs to have a bunch of dust removed.

Everywhere we’ve been over the past several weeks has been incredibly dusty and windy. The blowing dust and sand we’ve encountered has spread throughout everything in our trailer. No doubt, the laptop has tried to store its share too.

Files recovered (or not), dust removed, machine reassembled, then we hope it again works. If it does, we’ll do low level format on the drives and start over with info from our back-ups. If it doesn’t work, we’ll see if there are any parts we want to salvage for some good future trailer or ham radio project.

Friends on our caravan advised us the laptops’ mean time between failures is three years. Two weeks ago our power supply started acting buggy. I’m pretty sure it is a broken wire in the attachment to the power transformer, and I can take this apart and effect some sort of repair. And now this problem with the User Profile Service not in service?

Will we change our back-up schedule? Darned tooting, at least until
we forget this incident. Some of you remember the old back-up procedures we maintained at work. I vaguely remember keeping six daily sets, three weekly sets, and two or more monthly sets of diskettes for our office’s computer.

We ran eleven completely different sets of diskettes, all labelled, and handled very frequently. How far we’ve fallen — Debbie and I were backing up seasonally and recently increased it to monthly. Now we’ll probably go to weekly.

Does this loss of laptop (and vast amounts of data files) affect us? Notice there aren’t any pictures in this blog (loads much quicker, doesn’t it?). We’re tracking expenses with pencil and paper. We can’t look stuff up (a habit I love). We cannot edit our pictures. And we’re vastly behind blogging. Mostly though, we’re experiencing a little separation anxiety toward our Dell laptop.

We’ve been browsing, very casually, new laptops. Didn’t want to upset our current one, you know. Well that’s out the window now! We’re full-on looking for this machine’s replacement. Our kids and friends use Macs. The appeal has grown in the past several days.

Until then, I’m watching our Dell undergo the PC Tools Fire Recover process (up to 21,850 files and counting). And I’m hoping I will find the few folders we want. I hope I’ll complete the gutting, cleaning, and formatting process sometime this afternoon. And start rebuilding — or find an Apple store down the road somewhere.

We’ll see you down the road, or perhaps in an Apple store!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr