Dinosaur Tracks and Hoodos in Southern Utah

Yesterday we took a moderate mountain bike ride to the edge of Arches National Park. We added a few dinosaur track pictures to our growing collection; there will be a story in that someday, and we’ll be able to provide the illustrations. We’re out here farming, harvesting photos that may someday be useful for Claire’s (and my) magazine writing.

We met two couples, one young from California, and the other older from Ontario, Canada. Both were interested in talking about our lifestyle, and how we manage it. Both had more money than we do, but considerable less time, and both wanted more time to explore together. Today I sent out query letters to a hundred or so literary agents for a book proposal we have tentatively set at It’s A Wonderful Life. We think there is a market for it, we just have to convince an agent and then a publisher. We have been working on one chapter and a tentative chapter list, but we’ll have a lot more work to do if we get a request for a full-blown proposal. Don’t know how we’ll do that on the road, but we’d find a way.

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A Visit to Monument Valley, Arizona in our Motorhome

we hiked a trail of 3.5 miles around one of the Mitten buttes and arrived back at Turtle just before a beautiful sunset. We got a fantastic place to park Turtle (check the photo) though I had to make him/her act like a 4 wheel drive to get there and out, the sunset view was worth it. Had one of us been prone to sleepwalking, it would have been about a dozen steps to the edge.

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Los Burros Campground and Mountain Bike Ride

Our first night out of Tucson we parked in a dirt lot next to the Apache Gold Casino and had a quiet, if somewhat warm night with a good NPR signal. We cooked a pork roast in our combo microwave/convection oven, along with a big, yam and a glass of Chilean red. Life on the road is tough.

Our second night we drove about eight miles back in the woods from McNary to the Los Burros campground on the Coconino National Forest. We read about it in Matt Nelson’s column in the Desert Leaf. We wanted to try some of the great mountain biking he described.
Around dark we heard the loudest commotion not far back in the ponderosas; it morphed into a chorus of howls the likes I have never heard. I would swear they were wolves, but I’m not sure the relocated Mexican Wolves are this far west. Maybe they are migrating this way because of all the New Mexicans shooting them. A few minutes later we heard the usual yips and yaps and sing song of a pack of coyotes. Nice go-to-bed sounds.

We love looking at the stars through our 16 x 24 inch (approximate) skylight above our little nest/bed. I was wondering at some very unusual low lying black as ink clouds, silhouetted against the starfield, when a huge shooting start burned out from behind the biggest cloud, fading out the stars for a couple of seconds. It was then I finally realized the black clouds were not clouds, but big ponderosa pines leaning in over our Turtle. We are so unused to tall trees in the desert that I had been fooled. I love it!

The trails were indeed wonderful, snaking through aspens and ponderosa in the cool 8,000ft. sunny mountain air. We hadn’t ridden trails for yonks and the first few miles were challenging until we got our looseness back, and then it was a hoot. However, the blue sky turned black, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, and we had to turn tail back to Turtle before we were ready to be done. Still a fine day, particularly the cool air after experiencing 100 degrees or more several days before leaving Tucson. We now know why so many Tucsonans come here for the summer; it’s an easy day drive and 30 degrees cooler.

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