Thursday, October 31, 2013

Moab - A Most Excellent Road Trip - Part 1: Getting There

This was one of the more successful trips I've ever done - not quite sure why, but it seemed to go seamlessly with no real difficulties - and the problems we did have were pretty much non-events*. The driving was zen-like, travelling with Renee was fun, the pones seemed to thrive in each others' company despite long hours in the trailer, and the scenery was spectacular.

(* she said, clutching her iPhone, after shredding the trailer tyre on the way home) 

Friday 18th:
Having spent the previous weekend and all week putting things in the trailer, predictably still not everything was packed when I was finished with work on Friday afternoon. I'd managed to work at home that day and ran out around midday and to give both pones a bath - large amounts of scummy pink water came off so I was glad I was able to get that done. Afterwards they got put in sheets to try and stay clean. Uno looked quite smart in a large purple number that I'd acquired for Fergus, while Roo looked ridiculous stuffed into a tiny red sheet that was supposed to be for Small Thing. Lots of bucking ensued as soon as I put them away again (wondered if maybe those leg straps were just a little too tight for Roo) and both predictably rolled excessively but only managed to re-coat the bits that stuck out (more bits on Roo than Uno), not the all important saddle area.

Finally got done and loaded them up around 9 p.m. We arrived at Renee's in Reno at 11:30 p.m. to below freezing temperatures - erk - but the pones seemed pretty smug in their new temporary digs (plenty of food to eat, sand to run around on) and Uno had an admirer in Renee's new pone Jiffilube.

Uno and Jiffilube compare notes. Why does Uno look so butt-high? I swear he isn't.

Saturday 19th:

Being dynamic, Renee and I finally got going around 9:00 a.m. after installing her stuff, loading up the three horses, and filling up with diesel and Starbucks. We took nearly seven bales of hay with us... and came home with two and half. Apparently you don't need as much hay when Fergus isn't joining us.

We then proceeded to drive and drive and drive and...

I-80 headed east isn't exactly stressful driving - there's very little traffic and very little steering involved.

We got to watch the scenery go by - such as the interestingly-named "Pumpernickel Valley" which sounded like it should be full of dwarfs but in reality looked fairly barren (plenty windy on the way home, though):

and Death Star Valley (this I read while not wearing my glasses and thought "really?!?"):

A little east of Battle Mountain, after 260 miles, we stopped briefly at a rest stop to let them out to graze and walk. Unlike those in CA, NV rest stops don't have a manicured lawn on which to parade the horses and let them roll, so this was the best we could do, dodging the trash:

Although lacking in running water (trying to stuff a small bucket under the tap in the bathroom kind of worked, but in any case only Bite sipped from it), we did come across this interesting marker which made the stop worthwhile:

We stopped in Wendover, on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, for diesel and the pones got a drink and some carrots. The ag station was just after Wendover and we were duly weighed (I think 9600 lb ish for the trailer) and went inside to fill out the form for our Coggins information.

The Great Salt Lake is a strange source of fascination - something so big and alien. Whenever I've crossed it, I always think of the con-man Landsford Hastings telling the Donner Party "It's just a day's wagon ride to get to the other side"... yeah, right (it's 80 miles, give or take). 

By 7:30 p.m. the pones were safely ensconced in the free corrals at Cabelas in Lehi - perfect (we had a contingency plan to continue on to the fairgrounds in Spanish Fork if necessary, although the guy told us we needed to pre-book since they keep their corrals locked. We figured at worse we could pull in and hang the pones off their spring-ties). Staying at Cabelas was totally stress-free and they have running water right there. It was well-lit and there were maybe a dozen or so RVs also camping out, so we weren't isolated. In the morning we took the pones on a tour of the deserted parking lot before re-loading them.

Renee surprised me that evening by whipping up a supper of tortellini and I thought "I could get used to this" - and - amazement of amazements (and one of the best parts of the trip) - she did the cooking the whole trip. It was wonderful. I don't think she has any idea how grateful I was that she did this. Thanks Renee!!

Sunday 20th:
After a detour to "the last Starbucks in civilisation", off we went to find hwy-6, the road that cuts through the mountains towards Green River. I'd never gone that way before and it was absolutely beautiful - definitely the best time of year to take in the good colours.

Interesting sights along the way included:

Gorgeous tapestry of colours (somewhat muted by the grubby windscreen. We stopped at the first available opportunity to clean it, but those bugs were stuck on there pretty good.)

Wind turbines just outside Spanish Fork. We are pretty sure Siri on iPhone gave us bum information regarding the turn onto hwy-6 - telling us one exit number, then quickly changing it the moment we got to the inauspicious exit, but not soon enough to prevent us having to make a 3 mile detour south to turn around.

This was near the curiously-name Starvation Road

We saw a livestock guardian dog by the side of the road. Initially, Renee, who was driving, thought it was an abandoned dog and wanted to stop... but as we got closer we saw it was enjoying a hearty meal of road-kill deer entrails, totally oblivious to its at-risk flock on the opposite side of the road,  milling about by a steep creek bed and getting closer and closer to being obliterated on the highway. 

After Price, the road opens out onto a huge plain surrounded by high mesas.
Nearly to Moab - what a most excellent place!

Finally at Christoph and Dian's place in Moab

Stats (Mileage/Diesel/Driving Hours):

Garden Valley - Reno
130 miles
11.1 mpg (up over the Sierra)
12 gallons diesel

Reno - Lehi
565 miles
13.4 mpg
42 gallons diesel

Lehi - Moab
231 miles
13.2 mpg
17 gallons diesel

Garden Valley - Moab = Total 16 hours driving

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