Part 9: Canyon City, CO to Dead Horse Point, UT


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The Trip

When we were in Canyon City we got a text message from my good friend and truck maintenance guy, Rob,  that he had the parts to repair my much-needed air conditioning.  So, we broke camp and drove the 3 hours to La Junta, CO.  When we arrived at Rob's shop we discovered another friend, Vince, who was already there, albeit under much more adverse circumstances.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Both Vince and I were headed to the same place: Overland Expo in mid-May in Flagstaff, AZ.  Sadly for Vince, his transfer case ate itself around Amarillo, TX and he had to be transported to La Junta for repairs.  His rig was in the shop when we arrived.  This is an ex-mil M935 6x6.

Not to worry, Tony, your rig is getting attention.

Another "truck buddy", Tony, is getting some enhancements done on his 1300L.

Vince recently purchased this electric pedal-assist bike for his travels in his ex-mil 5-ton.

Another U500 with GVX box was in the shop for some repairs.

This 1700 is a work-in-progress effort.

Rob's firm, Terry Lee Enterprises, just completed a substantial build-out on this 1550L.

Several more 1300L rigs for sale at Terry Lee Enterprises.

The truck on the left is a 1017A just like Thor (albeit without an enhanced turbocharger/intercooler that Thor currently has) with a GXV box.

Kathleen had been in contact with other friends Mark and Gail and discovered that they were only a few hours to our west so we headed out and joined them at Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado.  Those two trucks made an impressive sight in the parking lot of the visitor's center.

We have traveled before with Mark and Gail.  They have a U500 with a GVX box (living quarters).

After hooking up with Mark and Gail, we traveled to Hovenweep and then west to Blanding, UT.  In Blanding, we decided to check out the local dinosaur museum.  The displays were much nicer and more detailed than we expected, so we were pleasantly surprise that we got our $5 worth.  Above is a skeleton that was excavated in the local mountains.

One of the recurring themes in the museum's displays was the recent realization that dinosaurs likely had feathers, or proto-feathers, like modern birds.  In the above display, the figures show the "historical" depiction of a dino along with the now-accepted form on the right.  Feathers or not, these were some bad beasts -- check out the foot claws on this bad boy.

The museum had a number of nice specimens but this one caught my eye.  This beast might have been arboreal, but likely not a flying creature.  The front claws show that this creature was highly adapted to climbing trees.  Plus, those gnarly teeth!!

This is a recreation of a skeleton that was found in a nearby quarry.  This dino was a plant-eater, but well armed for defense.

From Blanding, UT we rolled north to Moab and then on to Dead Horse State Park.  The wind had been blowing hard all day making visibility poor.  Dead Horse overlooks the huge canyon of the Colorado River.  This is one of the best views in America.

To the west we could see Canyonlands National Park.  The dirt road on the far canyon wall is the famous Shaffer Trail that descends the cliff walls to the valley below.

To the east we could see the La Salle mountains and the potash settling ponds.

The company that is mining the potash does it in an interesting way: water is injected into the strata containing the potash.  The potash is dissolved and the solution is then pumped into huge ponds that allow the water to evaporate leaving only the mineral.

We decided to do a remote camp so we took a dirt road from the park area into the brush on top of the mesa.  In the waning evening light we could see the huge sandstone formations on the flanks of the La Salle mountains from our camp site.

To the north of our camp there were huge sandstone monoliths in the distant valley.

Dead Horse Point is the best view in America in my opinion.  Mark and Gail had never been there before so I stated it was a must-do.  I was a tad disappointed that the visibility was impacted by dust, but that is the luck of the draw.  We enjoyed our remote camp despite the high winds.  There is plenty to be said for a hard-walled shelter.

Tomorrow, we do a drive-through of Canyonlands Island in the Sky unit and then Arches National Park.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights reserved.
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