Fins and Things

Our new Subaru Outback (SOB) will go a lot of places, but there are some trails where it pays to have friends like Bob and Becky who own a Jeep. One such pathway is the Fins and Things Trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area east of Moab.

At the start of the trail, Bob took the precaution of airing down his tires to increase traction.

While he’s doing that, I looked at the road and thought that the SOB would have no troubleFins and Things, at least on the starting terrain…

…but on this trail, things have a way of quickly going from good to interesting.

Notice the skid marks on this drop.

Best of all, it wasn’t all bushes out here. The ladies actually had some nice facilities to use out in the wild (I still preferred the bushes).

After the obligatory group photo…

…we headed into Moab for burgers and brews (yes, Utah now offers real beer in restaurants).

To Cortez and Back

On Monday, we set off on a little two-day drive down some old familiar territory in search of a little fall color. (Leaf changing seems to be delayed this year.) 

On the way, we took a short detour into the old mining town of Ophir. I had hoped to stop for a Lemonade, but it seems the kids’ upscale shop was apparently closed for the season.

Our route took us down the San Juan Skyway to Lizard Head Pass (named for a spire that doesn’t look like the head of any lizard I’ve ever seen). 

From there, we took detoured down part of the Galloping Goose Trail. 

The graded roadway follows the route of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, once the tracks of the Galloping Geese .  Along the way, we passed an abandoned trestle…

…and an historic water tank from the bygone railroad days.

We camped for the night in the Super 8 in Cortez.  Tuesday morning, we headed for home on a route through Colorado’s canyon country.  Our first stop was a return visit to the Lowery Pueblo ruins in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, a site I’ve enjoyed several times before. 

From there, we drove through the self-proclaimed Pinto Bean Capital of the World and soon turned onto a highway that would follow the Dolores River northward.

Along the way, we stopped to look down on the remains of the famous hanging flume…

…a wooden water trough clinging to the cliffs, 150+ feet above the canyon floor.

We continued on toward Gateway, motoring through a wide canyon with ruddy cliffs towering skyward on both sides of the highway. (Yes, friends, this is a pretty part of Colorado.)

Entering the Grand Valley, we made a detour to Dos Hombres (our favorite Mexican restaurant) in Clifton for burritos (excellent) and margaritas (not excellent).  Then on toward home.

Onion Creek/Thompson Canyon

Once again, it’s Photo Friday, time to post a few shots from this week’s “explore the neighborhood” photo excursion.

On Tuesday, we took our new vehicle (which my wife has now named the SOB for Subaru OutBack) on a trip to explore the Onion Creek and Thompson Canyon roads located across the border in Utah.

We started out on Onion Creek Road, which was so nicely graded that even Jeep drivers from Iowa had no trouble negotiating the route. 

The scenery was scenic…

…and 27 shallow stream crossings added a dash of fun to the first part of the journey.

A fork in the road comes about 9½ miles from its start, and following Yogi Berra’s wise advice, we took it. 

As the roadway switchbacked up the cliffs, its surface soon began to get more interesting, which allowed us to test out our SOB on rockier terrain.

Our SOB performed like a pro.

After a dozen miles of this form of fun, we reached the well graded Beaver Mesa Road. 

A left turn would have taken us to some old uranium mines, but with clouds building, shadows lengthening and our lack of a Geiger counter, we decided to turn back to Colorado and head for home.

If the amount of dirt on the car is indicative of the amount of fun we had, this was another fine day spent exploring the neighborhood.

Sego Canyon

It’s Photo Friday, time to post a few shots from this week’s “explore the neighborhood” photo excursion.

On this trip, we took Obie (our new Subaru Outback Wilderness) on a trip to explore the remains of Sego, a coal mine ghost town located across the border in Utah.

In addition to the remains of a few structures, the cliffs around the site also display a plethora of Indian rock art.

While impressive, the artworks have been excessively marred by bullet holes and graffiti.

I will normally refrain from disclosing the location of backcountry rock art and ruins, but these are so well known and locally promoted, there’s no point in hiding the location.

As always, the sign of a good trip is a dirty car at journey’s end.