Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at www.lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com

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I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Visiting Navajo Land


Navajo National Monument was a small city of 100-125 people who retreated to this alcove to farm for 30 years. Only one in ten of these ancient villages were in alcoves like this, but they are usually preserved better. The Monument provides a very nice free campground for RVs under 28 feet.

From there we moved on to Monument Valley. We camped at their primitive campground and had a spectacular view of the Mittens at our back door. The cost was only $5–a pre-season special.


We were entertained by the world’s simplest, lightest flying machine, a backpack paraglider. It weighs 75 pounds, costs about $6000, and flies an hour on a gallon of gas. We watched as he spread out his chute, cranked up the engine, ran a few steps into the wind, and rose up into the air right over our rigs.


Wow! As close to a bird man as ever achieved. We watched as three of them played around and over the spires of Monument Valley.



As if we weren’t entertained enough, a flock of sheep and goats grazing happily together came through the campground, moving as a unit without a human shepherd. The flock leader and shepherd is a dog who does his job all day without human direction.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Page Two

The other day, we went to see Horseshoe Bend with our friends. This is a lovely overlook of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon as it winds around a big rock.




Glen Canyon dam, dedicated in 1966. The town of Page did not exist until the construction of the dam began. It took 17 years for Lake Powell to fill for the first time.

A view of Lake Powell near Wahweap Marina. The water is so low that the boats can no longer get out into the lake through the area in the middle of the picture. They have to go all the way around Antelope Island to the right.

Diana went on a very exciting back country trip with Bob, Donna & George to the north side of the lake. This is a picture of Gunsight Butte.

More pictures on Flickr.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Homestead Update


Having friends over, RV-style
Bring your own rig and stay awhile.
Adventurous souls from our traveling band
Show up to help us “claim” the land.
Fully equipped with bed and bundle,
They roll into our “hobo jungle.”
Only folks who travel ‘round
Could make an instant, happy town.

Welcome to our WIN friends, left to right, George, Bob & Donna, Donna, Bill & Joanne, Tom. Diana & Randy are on the right. Brad and Diane arrived later.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Wave Revisited

Last year, when Barb, Ron and Diana went to the Wave, it took 5 days to get a permit. This year we got one in 2 days. We must be getting luckier. Only 10 hiker permits are given out each day, via a lottery. It's a tough 3-mile hike, over sand and uneven rock, but well worth the effort. It's truly a photographers' paradise. The Wave is a group of 200,000-year-old petrified sand dunes, in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.

We took time to see alot of the other rock formations outside the main part of the Wave. This one is called the Second Wave.

Here's Randy on the way to the Second Wave.


And here's Diana on top of Big Mac. (Our name for it)



You might have to click on this picture to find Randy. To read about last year's visit, click here. And of course there are more pictures on Flickr.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lower Antelope Canyon


Lower Antelope Canyon, also called Corkscrew, is surely the most beautiful of all the slot canyons in the Page area. From the surface, it doesn't look like much. To enter, you slide down into this crack.

Wow! What a surprise! The canyon is a quarter of a mile long, with 7 dropoffs. Ladders and staircases make it easy to negotiate. The Indians who own the land charge an entrance fee, and did all the improvements. They now also provide a guide.

I happened to be there when the sun shines through this hole. The guide throws sand in the air to make the light appear.


Our guide was an accomplished guitarist who serenaded us through the canyon. Although it was nice, I would have rather gone by myself. I later discovered that if you tell them you are a photographer, they will let you go in by yourself, and stay for 4 hours.

More of my pictures are on Flickr.


Friday, April 13, 2007

"Homesteading" 10,000 Acres


Here is the happy "homesteading" couple "squatting" on 10,000 acres near Page, AZ. Laying claim as far as the eye can see, we will "mine" it for whatever treasures it yields, then move on, for we are restless. Other fields await! Like Thoreau, we enjoy the land but own it not!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Dip Into the Arizona Strip


Boondocking where the beauty is---the Vermillion Cliffs in the Arizona Strip, that part of Arizona north of the Colorado River.



The old and new Navajo Bridges, the 1929 bridge at left and the 1995 replacement at right. For a long time, this was the only crossing of the Colorado River for 600 miles. The roadway on the old bridge was only 18 feet wide; the new one is 44 feet.


That's Molly and Randy underneath Balanced Rock on the way to Lee's Ferry.



John D. Lee's house at Lee's Ferry. A movie, September Dawn, will be out May 4 about this notorious individual. The ferry was established in 1871, and was the only crossing of the Colorado River between Moab, Utah and Needles, California.


Now Lee's Ferry is the launch point for rafting trips through the Grand Canyon.


The famous California Condor---just barely saved from extinction and given a new home here in the Vermillion Cliffs in 1996. If we'd seen any, this is what they would have looked like. That's a juvenile on the left. With a wing span of 9 1/2 feet, the sight would be incredible.





Monday, April 09, 2007

Two Little Lambs at Easter


Mara had this picture taken at her preschool. I don't know how they got either one of them to hold still, let alone both. And yes, that's a real lamb.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Sedona Pictures

While in Sedona, we went on a few hikes. Here is the back of Cathedral Rock from the Templeton trail. Not as pretty as the front, pictured in a previous post, but you can see the clouds look like a vortex. And these are real, honest!

The next day we went to the ruins at Palatki. The volunteers there keep it in excellent condition, and tell you everything you want to know about the Ancient Ones who lived there.

The next day, Diana went up Boynton Canyon. It's an interesting hike, although a lot of it was in the trees. More good clouds; another of Sedona's 4 vortexes is in this canyon.


And here she is on Devil's Bridge, a natural bridge. A little scary walking out there, but she had a great time taking pictures of the other hikers. Some actually crawled out.

For more pictures of Sedona, look at Diana's Flickr pictures by clicking at the link on the left.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Helicoptering Sedona


What a sucker I am for these things! They hooked me once again.


We were promised ruins and they delivered. Unfortunately, we were looking right into the sun. You may have to click on the picture to actually see the ruin. I don't see how the ancient ones made it up to their houses. It must have been a hard life.



The prettiest part of the ride was through Boynton Canyon. I didn't get the front seat, but could see pretty well around the other passenger's head.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sedona -- The New Age Babylon


Camped with WIN friends just outside Sedona, we are awakened each morning by the unmistakable whoosh of hot air balloons. Friendly aeronauts greet us from their magic sky-buckets.



Downtown Sedona is the spiritual mecca for New Agers. Spiritual paraphernalia and services are available everywhere.



Believers explain that the Sedona area is rich with 4 major vortexes, "energy centers" with "remarkable spiritual powers." Here are 2 of these vortexes, Cathedral Rock (on top) and Bell Rock.

Never a believer, Randy refers to Sedona as "woo-woo-ville" or "New Age Babylon." Nevertheless, one cannot help enjoy the scenery and the hoopla.


Even the forest service speaks the local dialect.