First some pictures:
Mud is fun. Here is the base layer of red mud in Zion. We added slightly more orange mud in Arizona. Now that the car has been cleaned the mud has sucked the oils out of the paint and you can really tell where it was before. Oh well, if you read any of my thread about the "Teflon" coating you already know the paint is shot anyway.
Here is an example of the dinosaur tracks we risked our lives and equipment for:
On our way to the Grand Canyon:
So we got the hell out of the reservation and headed to the Grand Canyon. We cut off on forestry roads most of the way there through the desert and mountains. It was a ton of fun, but at the very end we had a big scare as we came to a closed Forestry Service gate, but after we checked...it wasn't locked! The weather on the first day was absolutely phenomenal. We got there with plenty of time to have a look around and set up camp and enjoy ourselves.
Elk in the camp:
The next morning we checked the weather and headed to the ranger station to talk to the rangers and see what they thought about the weather. They advised us that we would be good for one more night before the snow hit as the snow (2+ ft) would be coming in that afternoon. De decided to take the gamble and spend another night. That bought us plenty of time to do some exploring outside of the park.
We headed of out of the park on forestry roads and headed into some muddy and rocky terrain. We lucked out and found ourselves in a "designated wood cutting" area and scored a bunch of free firewood. We didn't have to cut anything it was just laying all around, scraps from people that had come before us. Good thing we didn't have to cut anything since I left my hatchet back at camp in the camp box.
The weather the next morning was noticeably colder and much more windy. The snow, rain, and a whole hell of a lot of wind was on its way and we had to make some serious decisions about where we were going to go. We had been running from the storms since our third day out and it looked like we had run out of options.
If we went East (back the way we came), we wouldn't have been able to go too far before we had to turn around and start heading back, through the storms we were avoiding in the first place. Plus, there wasn't anything we were really wanting to see in New Mexico after our experience with the Indian Reservations.
We couldn't go back to Bryce / Zion because they were already in the storms, and we didn't want to go south because it would only buy us a day at the most. Going off road again through the desert did sound like a lot of fun, but it would come at the cost of taking us way out of the way of getting to the start of the Mojave Road on the 21st.
With the 4runner packed, we sat in the ranger station's parking lot going over our maps, gps, and iphone mapping apps. We came up empty handed. We even thought about heading to the airport and going to Fiji. But, we couldn't with our dog. We were out of options.
I forgot where I took this...
My first plan was to head straight on to the Mojave Preserve, but that too had its issues. First of all, it would already be in the storm. Second of all, I finally got a hold of my dad as he was out on his own 4 day off road / drinking trip. He had bad news. He was supposed to be meeting us at the Colorado River to guide us along the Mojave Road, making a stop at our ranch within the Mojave Preserve. But, he had taken out my mom's 100 series (2007) Land Cruiser, which he says he didn't want to mess up going over the Paiute Mts in the rain. I did not want to take the chance of going over those first mountains and "little grand canyon" solo in the rain and wind.
Then it also came out that even if we went directly up to the ranch via Goffs and Landfair Rd. that he wouldn't be able to meet us out there until Tuesday afternoon (two days away at that point). So we decided to check it out and at least drive to the preserve.
The wind had already been howling for hundreds of miles by the time we got to Fenner, the turn off on the 40 to get to Goffs. And when we started on to Goffs the blowing rain and dust started.
My wife turned to me and after a long conversation...we called the trip. I was willing to brave the rain and the wind at least for a day but she had enough. She said she was tired and woozy and dirty and just want to go home. This will make a little more sense in a minute.
So I surrendered and we drove to my parents house in Oak Hills ( east side of 395 and 15 split) to take cover. We stayed there and waited for my dad to come home to tell both my mom and him that they are going to be grandparents for the first time this November. We had a lot to drink (my wife drank water...a lot of water), had a BBQ and a nice time before we returned home on Monday.
I thank you all for following along on this trip of ours and I will be posting some reviews and such here, as well as our Facebook page. We have more smaller and more focused trips planned so stay tuned!