Leaving Moab, driving South on Rt 191 towards Monticello …..The kids are working on spelling and the IPOD is on shuffle….song # 11 of 3,838. Ouch.…it just went from Billie Holliday to Disney Food Songs. We stayed at the OK RV Park and Stables south of Moab for 3 nights. It didn’t win any awards for scenery, but had 50 amps of electricity for us and a donkey who brayed like a freight train in the early morning hours. Well…the heated bathrooms were pretty nice too. Cassidy and Teslin found a motor cross track nearby and took their mountain bikes on it. Teslin came back with her fourth flat tire of the trip and we excitedly poured half a bottle of slime into each of their bike tires. That stuff is amazing! I’m not sure how it will do when we get into the frozen mountains of New Mexico, but we’ll see! The weather is still amazing….. in the 40’s at night and up into the high 60’s during the day. They say that winter is moving in tonight so we’re on our way to Santa Fe….surely THEY won’t have winter.
Like so many places we’ve visited, Moab has burst in size since we were here last. The business section snakes along Rt 191 much longer and wider than I remember. But…the land around Moab is still exquisite. We were unable to do any mountain biking because we don’t have a bike rack except for on top of our trailer, so we are stuck to riding around wherever we are staying. We spent the first day in Arches National Park hiking and looking around. We took a great side canyon off Devil’s Garden trail and watched the sunset from high on a rock outcropping.
It was also our first day of Geo Caching. WOW IS THAT FUN! For those who don’t know, geo-caching is like a high tech treasure hunt. You research “caches” in your area (there were 80 around Moab and vicinity), enter the coordinates into your GPS, then off you go. Our first one took us into the heart of Arches National Park in the Windows area. We searched and searched for a cache but found out that it was a virtual one…..it just involved a good view.
The next day we set off for some real geo-caching and did 3 amazing goose chases. One took us up a 4WD road we never would have discovered on our own. It left us breathless at a few places while it climbed 1500 feet above the canyon on narrow switchbacks. That was a great one….we found the cache nestled in some rocks on a steep slope near the top of the mesa. The cache itself was an old ammo box and was filled with cheap toys and various junk. Each cache has a log book in it to write in. Everyone is expected to do an entry in the book, but whether you swap something is up to you. The kids were really excited to swap, but alas, didn’t find anything worth swapping, so we just filled in the log and buried it as sneakily as we could. We decided to continue on the road instead of turning around. The first thing we found was a HUGE boulder which had recently fallen across the road and created a tunnel of sorts to drive under. That was very cool. Then there was a series of steep, smooth rock inclines which the old Sequoia couldn’t master without slipping sidewise. This did not impress the kids, as the ditch 2 feet away from the tires fell off some 2-300 feet. We all agreed to live another day and managed to turn around and head down back the way we came. We decided that this close encounter with death mandated at the very least that we devour all what remained of our Halloween candy before returning to Geocaching which we did-OUCH!!The next two caches were placed by one person and were near each other (or so we thought). The first one was relatively easy to find, so we decided to try for the second one. By now, the sun was sinking in the sky, and as we continued to bushwack our way NE among the cactus and slickrock, there was some disagreement about how wise this was. When it was obvious we wouldn’t find it before nightfall, I turned back and hiked about 30 minutes back to the car. I had noticed some mountain bike/ATV trails snaking their way in the direction we were headed, so I decided to take the Great White Beluga and try to pick up the rest of my family. That was exciting. It took me back to my days of driving over Elephant Hill in Canyonlands when I was 20-something. (I’m not sure if age makes one wiser or more paranoid, but this wasn’t nearly as much fun!) I had to get out twice and let myself through cattle gates, then continued to wind my way up and down these rather narrow trails. We had cell phones, so I was able to find out when Chris could see my headlights. After about 20 minutes, he said I was pretty close and sure enough, up they ran a few minutes later. Although the GPS had died, the 3 of them had succeeded in finding the last cache and were feeling very smug. Except for some minor ankle scratches, everyone was in great shape. I thought they were nuts and had narrowly missed a very thorny night-time walk out to the highway. Alas, little do Cassidy and Teslin know that this was just the first of many “Ruge’s Ridges” they would go on!