Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You Know You're in Virginia When.....

My father and I went to Northern Virginia one day to visit my son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Carisa. On the way I saw something I'd never seen before - a horse ambulance.

This is their new gigantic house - Wow!

Mark and Carisa got married a year ago (post here) and recently went on a cruise to Bermuda to celebrate their first anniversary. I just love this picture.

I also got to meet my new grandcat. Paka (Swahili for "cat") is a Savannah, a cross between a serval, an African wild cat, and a domestic cat. He's about 16% serval. (Sorry he's so blurry - he moves fast.)

Savannah cats are a little different from domestic cats. They behave somewhat like dogs - they will walk on a leash, fetch, and do not dislike water. He can also jump up 6 feet or more from a standing position. Here he's showing off his long legs. He trusts Daddy completely.

Mark made us crab cakes for lunch, since he know's they're my favorite. He's a really good cook, and I am clueless as to how that happened...

Part of Mark's wine cellar - he's quite the connoisseur.

A short walk from their house is Lake Manassas and on the other side of the lake you can see the very exclusive Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.

While we were at their house, we went through Mark's baby book. I found something I didn't remember. Here's Mark in 4th grade 26 years ago.

His teacher asked the class to ask their parents a question and write about it. Here's what Mark wrote. If you need a translation,

"I don't have a question for you because I know everything about you. Mr. Tally said ask her what she is going to do in 20 years. I told him you would be too old to do anything."

Well, I sure am glad he was wrong!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whipping Around the Country

After a fairly slow trip through Utah and Colorado this spring and summer, I'm on the move. Leaving Bluff and heading southwest, you go through Monument Valley. I didn't stop this time, but spent some time there last summer. That post is here.

Just a little south of Monument Valley is Agathla Peak, a 1400' volcanic plug on the Navajo Reservation. Sorry about the drive-by shooting...

I was headed to the Elks Lodge in Prescott Valley, AZ. It used to be a great place to boondock, with a gorgeous view.

Unfortunately, they won't let you boondock anymore, because they want to fill up their $18 hookup spots. I wouldn't mind that price if I needed hookups, but I didn't. So this was my view...

I didn't stay as long as I had originally intended, but left and went to my sister Barbara's house in Mesa. She's not back for the winter yet, so I settled in, parking my trailer in her backyard.

From here I flew to my father's house in Pennsylvania. He's 91 years old, and going strong. He recently built those steps up to the deck all by himself.

And I hit the changing of the leaves just perfectly - I had forgotten what I was missing in the West.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Procession Panel

In terms of petroglyphs, Procession Panel is one of the least known, but most spectacular ones in the area. I had been there back in 2007, so once again I got to lead. Back then there were no trail markers and it was difficult to find.

But this time, there were cairns and even an occasional trail sign. After about a mile of crossing slick rock, we are close. The panel is up those boulders and around the corner.

Along the way are some teaser petroglyphs, including a hockey player in the upper right and a hand without an opposable thumb in the lower left. And possibly some Olympic rings.

We found it! The Procession Panel is a 20-foot long conga line of tiny marching figures. There are 179 figures in what is thought to be a funeral procession.

Do we look stumped or what?

The first thing I noticed was that every so many people, there was a guy carrying a staff.

And then some guys were waving at us!

And a dinosaur was invited.

But is this really a funeral procession? I think I found the dead guy!

What do YOU think?

And all the while, a dragon is doing the disco. What a party!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bushwacking through the Jungle

One day we decided to hike down to the River Petroglyph Panel just west of Bluff, UT. I had been there before, a long time ago, so I "led."

The trail goes down an old wagon road from 100 years ago to the San Juan River. Can you believe this was a wagon road???

But when we got down into the wash, the trail was very overgrown. I didn't remember it being that way - maybe because it was 5 years ago, or maybe because it was spring, not fall. Anyway, some of the group (including me) was wondering if I knew what I was doing...

But I knew the panel was along the river, so as long as we were going down, I didn't think we were too far off. When we got down closer to the river, there were some ruins.

And then - whoopee! I found them!

Okay, here's my caption --- "I wish I could get this guy out of my head!!!"

There were several panels along the river, again some older and some newer.

We found a big tree to have lunch under. That's me in the lower right corner, sitting next to Arlien, a WIN friend I first met in 1996 in Virginia when I was hanging out with the Loners on Wheels.

The San Juan River is a popular rafting spot. It seems to be one of the few waterways we've seen this summer that actually has plenty of water.

All too soon, it was time to climb back out of the canyon.

It's always nice to see those kayaks again - useful in parking lots too!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moving on to Bluff

The WINs moved on to Bluff, UT, a town so small I'm not really sure it's a town. But because of all the Ancient Pueblo ruins around, it appears to be the oldest town in the US, at least according to them.

This is pretty much the whole town. We went to the Twin Rocks Cafe one night to celebrate Karen's birthday. (Notice the rusty stuff...)

We stayed 2 1/2 miles east at a gravel pit. Nothing but the best for us! We had these visitors from the Navajo reservation across the river the first day.

Just west of town is Sand Island, which contains some of the best petroglyph panels around.

It's the only place I've seen Kokopelli, the flute-playing ancient god of fertility.

Can you see why?

Some of the petroglyphs are not as old as 1000 years. You can tell because the newer ones are brighter, and some have horses, which didn't arrive here until the 1600s. And some are really new - more like vandalism.

The Bluff Fort Historic Site in town is brand new since I was here last. There are about 10 cabins furnished in authentic items from when the Mormons first came here. It looked like each one was decorated by a family, as there were lots of old photos.

You could get a free Book of Mormon in almost any language.

The Mormons first settled here after a death-defying journey that involved going down the Hole in the Rock to cross the Colorado River.

There was even one of the original wagons from the 1879 journey here. I saw where they came down to the river when I was on the houseboat in 2009. You can read about it here.