Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Back into Utah and Canyonlands

I finally broke down this year and opened a US bank account and got a US debit card, thinking that it would save me from the hassles of entering a zip code you don’t have into those dang gas pumps.  Well, it does not seem to have helped much.  I still don’t have a zip code, and many pumps ask.  I have a pin number.  Why not ask for that?  At least it may be saving me from some bad exchange rates from the credit cards?

Now where were we?  Oh yes, we were camping at Snowslide campground, down the road from Mayday, Colorado.  Morning was shady and cool as expected, so headed back for the highway pronto and continued west into Cortez.  It was sunny and nice there, and it was tempting to look for a place around there, but the itchy feet got the better of me, and off towards Utah we went.


Coming into Monticello from the east on 491, we still had not decided on whether to head north towards Moab from there, or perhaps go south back to Goosenecks SP near Mexican Hat.  But the view straight ahead showed a road heading up the slopes of Horsehead peak, so that was an easy compromise.  And the map showed a couple for forestry campsites up there, so what more could one ask?  Up the mountain we went, on a paved road no less, but the first campsite looked quite overgrown, bushy, and perhaps more suited to tents or smaller rigs.  The second one was even higher elevation, and there was a thin coating of snow on the access road – nope!  Luckily the road contours along the slopes of the mountain before dropping down again (yes!) and joining up with the Indian Creek Scenic Byway (211), which in turn leads into the Needles area of Canyonlands! Hailey got a pic of a wild turkey along the road, but with difficulty holding the camera in her paws, it did not turn out well.  The map showed a campsite at Newspaper rock, but I didn’t see it and a sign said ‘no camping for the next 9 miles’ Sad smile.


But the scenery made up for the lack of camping big time, with every curve exposing a dramatic new vista.


Mile after mile of sandstone columns went by, with quite a few small parking areas filled with ‘rock climber’ vehicles!


Once past the 9 mile exclusion zone there were a couple of small BLM campsites, but I found at least one to be very RV unfriendly.  I determined this after backing out of more than one curving, sandy, dead-end road.  Great camp spots for tenters, and climbers, and small rigs however.


We were getting pretty close to the National park boundary when the Lockhart basin road beckoned – with Hamburger rock campsite as well.  The road was a bit rough, but after only a half mile we came across the perfect spot.  Stunning 360 degree views, no close neighbours, 14 day limit, good hunting terrain for Hailey, and bare rock to park on.  Yes!  For the first time this roadtrip we pulled out all the blocks, slid out the slides, set up the dish and solar, and even unhooked.


If you really want to get a good look at this camp spot, from the roof of my rig, here’s what you have to do …

Open the new Google Maps at:,-109.669432,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

Make sure that ‘show imagery’ is activated at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.  This may not be available on tablets, phones, etc.  When this is activated, you may see one or several images across the bottom of the screen.  Ignore any from street-view or photos, or panoramas, but click on mine which shows up as a ‘photo sphere’!  You can then see in all directions from that spot – including up and down.

This is created and geo-referenced from a new Google app called ‘Photo Sphere’ and it is available on IOS and Android and it’s free.  I’d rather find a more direct way to display these photos, but have not found a way yet.


Just when it couldn’t get any better, the moon came out and Hailey posed.


I should mention as well that the campsites here are very clean.  Really hard to find any foreign litter to pick up.  No nails, broken glass, plastic bags or other trash strewn about!  It might reflect the regular users (climbers and hikers), but I suspect it has more to do with the distance from the nearest big city.  There seems to be a direct relationship there, but at any rate it is appreciated.PB060288PB060287

The next day was stellar.  Sunny, warm, calm, so off we went into Canyonlands.  Well, actually I went as Hailey wanted to stay behind and catch up on her rest.PB060289

Where the road ends overlooking the canyon, we were immediately under attack by the locals.  I could have used Hailey as backup. A pair of ravens clearly knew what visitors bring with them and were instantly sitting on the roof, the mirrors, the open doors, and looking inside.  I quickly secured a bag of garbage I had in the back, then tried to get some photos.  But the subjects kept wanting to pose closer than my cameras would focus.  When upset by not being fed, one tried to tear the door seals off my truck.


Next: hiking in Canyonlands, and hopefully some new videos!


  1. I'm not sure how but I was able to view your super-clean roof..And that swell new homesite for you two...Sure looks a lot warmer than the 8* I had last night. I'm keeping my socks on at night..
    Looks like a great place to relax, at least for 14 days..

  2. Re your new CC at the still need an American postal address to attach to the card,using that zip.
    But I've noticed recently that most pumps now give you the option of debit or credit......if you use credit,no zip is required,just your pin.

  3. Very nice photo sphere... I like it !! As I can see you need reseal left hatch on the roof , may be 3 cm long, no more :-)) Good Luck. Hope to see you this winter in Arizona

  4. It seems I again missed one of your posts....this one. Like the photos of Hailey's Moon & especially that other one with a big rock face on the right, a road & gray barren trees.