Jan and Fred's Newest Adventure...May 2009 travel blog

dad working to get a reluctant bull to cooperate

view of Castle Valley from way up at about 8000 feet, on...

view of the La Sal Mountains east of Moab; several peaks are...

as we descended into Castle Valley, we could see the famous movie...

once in the valley,the Priest and Nuns looked much larger - they...

the giant Castle formation also dominates the center of the valley

one of the homes in Castle Valley - what a view the...

a kayaker enjoying the small rapids in the Colorado River Canyon along...

Fremont culture petroglyphs on the canyon walls along Rt. 279

more petroglyphs carved into the desert varnish

the Colorado River where we stopped to eat lunch

another view of the Colorado River and the canyon - also from...

jug handle arch - on the Potash Road; the river is on...

this is the massive formation called the American eagle;it is flying away...


No bike today – more rain was imminent right where we planned to travel, and although we have ridden in the rain hundreds of times, Fred says it is rather foolish to PLAN a ride into the rain! We rode two very scenic drives today: the first was the La Sal Mountain Loop around and then through Castle Valley and back to Moab along the Colorado River on Rt. 128. The second one was on Rt. 279, called the Potash Road, which also followed the Colorado River as it meandered through the region. Both were very picturesque and we enjoyed our day. As we left Moab via a back country road, we watched cattle on the open range, crossing in front of us, crossing the road as several cowboys worked to get them to cooperate. It looked like a family affair, since the cowboys were a young boy, a teenaged girl, and a middle aged man; they were only being semi-successful at their task as we drove by. As we continued upward, we entered the Manti-La Sal National Forest. At first, the trees were mostly piñon and juniper, but as we reached higher elevations, we saw more oak, larger pines, and aspens. The higher parts of the mountains had spruce and fir, but our road did not go that high - only dirt roads ascended higher than we were. We saw several vans toting tourists and mountain bikes up to the summit - the bikers will ride down the mountain. At one point, an enormous elk ran across the road right in front of us. That was a real treat for us!

At the summit of the loop, we saw a ranch that advertised “cabins” for rent, but all of the cabins were really large homes, with equally large views of the nearby mountains and the valley below, and I am sure, equally large rental fees to match. As we rode along the loop road, we became happier and happier that we had not attempted the ride with the Harley. Although we loved the views and the ride, the road surface was rough pavement, very patched, there were no guard rails anywhere, sometimes the road was chip sealed, and sometimes only gravel. In some places, the road was no more than a dugway road, with precipitous drops to Castle Valley below. With those conditions, Fred would not have been a happy camper.

Once we had traveled all around the mountain road, viewing the valley with its central giant sandstone formations: the Priest, the Nuns and the Castle, from every direction, we entered Castle Valley itself. There we saw homes of every type: large and small log homes, A-frame houses, gated mansions, pueblo style adobe dwellings, Airstream trailers, plus even several tipis and yurts. It was obvious that no home owner association operated in this valley community! The last fifteen miles of the loop road were on Utah 128 through part of the Colorado River canyon, where the two lane road wound through the canyon, right next to the placid Colorado River. We saw lots of steep sheer cliffs, some BLM primitive campgrounds and some kayakers enjoying the river.

Our second road today was Utah 279, also called the Potash Road. This road also followed the Colorado River, and traveled through its canyon as it flowed toward the Portal where it leaves the Moab Valley. The gorge at first was narrow and deep, with steep sheer cliffs of red sandstone again, but gradually, the canyon became a little wider. We sat at a BLM picnic table right next to the river and ate our lunch, enjoying the mild day that had cleared up and no longer looked like rain. We stopped a few times to view more Fremont culture petroglyphs similar to those we’d seen in Capitol Reef NP, and also enjoyed more arches and sandstone formations, especially the jug handle arch and the formation on the cliffs called the American eagle. The pavement ran out at a large potash plant, and we turned around when we saw a sign stating: Stop. Steep, narrow, rough road ahead. Four wheel drives only. The rough road continued until it joined the Dead Horse Park Road, but it obviously was not a road for us! Tomorrow we leave Moab and Utah and go to Boulder, CO to visit Will for a few days.



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