Natural Bridges National Monument - Lake Powell - 9/14/2006
 

You probably don't believe me anymore, but today was a series of truck uphills following by slight downhills.  Here's a nice truck downhill at 8%.  It was a very curvy 20mph road.  If it's recommended that cars only go 20mph, I really don't feel the need to go faster than that!  I used my brakes a lot, followed by an average 7% uphill and a max of 12% uphill.  We had a few truck uphills but no corresponding truck downhills.  I could see a truck downhill sign in my rear view mirror for the other side of the road (what we just climbed) but no truck downhill for us :-(  We did 2000 feet uphill in a 10 mile span.  At one point, I cried out, "MF, does this end?"  It sucks to go uphill, curve to the left some, only to see more climbing ahead, and no end in sight.

Here's an interesting rock formation on the side of the road.

Here's Dave trucking on in his very weak state.  Again, this morning, I asked Dave if he wanted to stay another day in Blanding because he was so weak.  He would have none of that.  It was pretty scary because we knew we were headed into very limited (life/resources) area.  We heard from people that this part of Utah, the cops get the most calls from worried family members that they think their loved one is lost because they haven't heard from them in a while.  It's because there is absolutely no cell phone coverage out here.

Check out the red rocks.  They just blasted this big chunk of rock to allow a road to go through it.  As I went through the almost canyon, I was just yelling out, "echo... echo... echo...".  Was very cool and beautiful.  Look at the color!

I can't get enough of this Utah terrain.  It's amazing.

Here's Dave taking a break.  A car/passenger truck actually stopped and asked if we were okay.  I asked Dave if he wanted to hitch a ride to the next town and he said no.  With 20/20 hindsight, we should have.  Dave was really in no condition to ride today.

We were so high up from all the climbing, I seriously felt as if I could touch the clouds.

Here's some honeycomb rock formations.  From a distance, it looks like a big cow patty!

I told you we were high up today.

At the end of the day, trying to get to the Natural Bridges National Monument, we were hit with rain and more hills.  Really, we should have hitched that ride with the car that stopped.  It was cold and wet and Dave was really sick.  We finally arrived at our destination.

But not so fast.  If I recall correctly, we had to climb (if we were lucky, go downhill, but I'm sure it was uphill), a little more before we got to the campground area.

I think at the Visitor Center area, I tried to control 6 the women rangers (kind of hard for me to do my thing with women!) if there were any other alternative housing instead of camping.  Did I mention how cold it is?  Unsuccessful, we headed to the camp ground to set up.  I was either not that helpful or Dave took pitty on me because Dave let me go to the Visitor Center to warm up.  The plan was to just hang out in the Visitor Center until they closed so I at least could be warm for one more hour.  I made it to the Visitor Center in time for it to rain cats and dogs.  Make that lions and wolves.  Cats and dogs didn't describe the rain.  It was harsh.  What was worse was Dave was out in that trying to pitch a tent.

One volunteer/ranger could tell I was freezing my arse off.  I'm not even kidding about how cold it was.  Cold and wet - man, not a good combo.  She quietly signaled me over to her.  Yes, I knew what was about to happen.  She asked if I was that cold and the reply was affirmative.  Totally against the rules, she said we could quietly go into her ranger house and stay with her for the night!  Yeah!  When Dave finally made it to the Visitor Center after the flash floods ended, I shared with him the good news.  Thankfully during the rain, he was inside the already pitched tent.

So, we quietly headed over to the volunteer's house (I will omit her name as to not get her in trouble).  A true gentleman, Dave let me warm up in the house as he went back out in the freezing to unpitch the tent.  It was truly freezing out.  It took Dave a really long time to calm down his chills.

Here I am with our savior.