2015 Travels travel blog

Carpes at Gooseneck State Park

Drone view of Carpes at Gooseneck State Park

Rain mixed with sleet south of Flagstaff
Elevation ~ 7,000'

Rock spires along US 160

More scenery along US 160

Signs along US 160

Monument Valley on US 163

Monument Valley on US 163

Monument Valley on US 163

Monument Valley on US 163

Monument Valley on US 163

Blowing sand is how Monument Valley was formed
But we don't like it...

Entering Utah at north end of Monument Valley

Steep grade down to Mexican Hat & San Juan River

How Mexican Hat got its name

This way to Gooseneck State Park

Gooseneck State Park

Gooseneck State Park


Fri, 24 Apr: Heading north, to very special places...

After almost two weeks at Verde Valley Thousand Trails Preserve it was time to move on. We enjoy staying at Verde Valley, but the sites are pretty tight and overall it is a bit noisy.

We got things ready and at 0822 Bob put Carpe in gear and eased out of our site. It takes a bit to get thru the park and thru the guard gate. Then a couple of miles to the highway.

East on Arizona 260 to Interstate 17 north toward Flagstaff. We were at 3,000' elevation when we got on I 17 and Flagstaff is more than 7,000' high. We had a bunch of climbing to do. To make it interesting we encountered some showers south of Flagstaff, including some mixed snow. Fortunately, the road was warm so nothing stuck.

At Flagstaff we headed east a few miles on I 40 to US 89, which we took north a few miles to Carter's Travel Center where we topped up our diesel tank. We only took 35 gallons, but this is the last good truck stop between Flagstaff and Salt Lake City.

We continued north on US 89 to the junction with US 160, which we took eastbound toward Tuba City and Kayenta. Enroute we stopped at a wide spot in the road for lunch, one of the real benefits of RV travel. As we continued the scenery began to get more and more interesting with red rock bluffs and interesting formations on which to feast one's eyes (and Nikons).

At Kayenta we picked up US 163 north toward Monument Valley. The weather and light were OK for many excellent Monument Valley pix. In the interest of Internet bandwidth we only loaded a half dozen, but we shot almost fifty.

Crossing into Utah we continued north toward Mexican Hat. Mexican Hat, named for a nearby rock formation that looks much like a sombrero, sits on the San Juan River. US 163 drops to the river valley, at one stretch at 10%. That is a serious downgrade and we took it very slow and once again thanked the inventor of the diesel compression brake.

A few miles north of Mexican Hat we picked up Utah 261 and then Utah 316 to Gooseneck State Park. This is one of our favorite boondock spot as we can park right on the edge of a sheer ledge that drops 1,000' to the San Juan River. The rock formations created by the river's meandering are among the most photogenic we've ever taken. Please see the picture section for these images, including a drone-eye view of Carpes and the river gorge beyond.

We were all set up by 1530 (Mountain Daylite Time, we lost an hour crossing into Utah) and had a beautiful sunset. The wind kicked up overnite, but despite that we managed to enjoy our wilderness setting.

Today's run was a "longish" 265 miles. With all the verticality our fuel economy was slightly south of eight mpg. Not too shabby if you think about it.



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