Tag Archives: FST

FST : Day 8 – Shamrock TX to Home (640 mi)

After yet another night of illness for me last night, we decided to point the Big Green Box for home. In truth, we were dancing on the fence about possibly heading to Suck Creek Mountain as late as going through Oklahoma City, but we decided to just push for home, and get me back into some familiar territory. It’s always nicer to recover in your own bed.

Today’s was a long leg of driving. It’d be long when feeling the best you could, but with a none-too-well-functioning body, it seemed interminable. We crossed from Texas to Oklahoma, and then to Missouri, and the end of the line for this trip could be seen. We arrived home, Beck went to pick up the dogs, and all seemed right with the world.

You can’t control illness, and I’ve been very fortunate to have been lucky enough to not fall significantly ill during our travels. This year, though, the odds caught up with me, and our vacation planning was cratered. We’ve decided to call this a “scouting trip” for travel in the future. We’ve also agreed that next time, we’ll do Monument Valley first, which forces us on a southern route to travel west. We’d then travel up to Moab, and return again through a southern route. Those steps will keep us out of the really high mountains in Colorado, and perhaps spare us some of the struggle we had along the way.

We definitely want to stay at The View at Monument Valley, and see the dark skies and rock formations. I don’t know that we have to time that visit around a meteor shower (although that’d be cool), so we may end up splitting up as two trips the voyage to Monument Valley and Moab. Regardless of the pairing or splitting of those trips, they will definitely be made in spring, autumn or winter — no more treks into the desert in summer for us!

FST : Day 5 – Moab UT to Santa Fe NM (407 mi)

By comparison to yesterday’s infirmity, today I felt dramatically better — albeit still not quite normal. To get a sense of the temperatures we’ve been dealing with, you only have to look at this morning’s weather. When we got up (right around sunrise), the temperature was about 66°. Two hours later when we left the motel, it was almost 90°. It gets hot out here, and quickly.

And once we’d gained 1000′ of elevation above Moab, we got a little rain. Maybe enough to get the windshield wet, and then it was gone. Just a reminder of the water-hungry nature of this environment.

Shortly after we left Moab, we ran across Wilson Arch, which is outside the park, and right on the side of the road. Again, I was tempted to hike up to it — I hadn’t been inside any of the arches we’d encountered yet — but I still wasn’t quite up to the task. Kinda unfortunate, as this one would’ve been easy.

The rest of our trek southeast was largely uneventful, and an exercise of watching the outside temperature to confirm that we’d made a good decision to move in this direction. Through most of the afternoon, our trek across SE Utah and SW Colorado let us stay in reasonably constant temperatures in the 80s. This was a nice change. However, as we moved toward NW New Mexico, our temperatures rose as continued toward Bernilillo NM, where we found temperatures in high 90s. Between the higher-than-expected temperatures and hitting I-25 at rush hour, my spirits sank. However, the closer we got to Santa Fe, the more the traffic thinned, and the lower the temperatures sank. By the time we arrived at the hotel in Santa Fe, our temperatures were in the low 80s, and dropped quickly into the 70s as sunset approached. What a welcome change!

So why’d we pick Santa Fe for recharging our batteries? Well, we’d been through Santa Fe a few years ago, and didn’t get to spend much time looking around. We’ve heard so many good things about the city — especially the downtown area — that we thought it deserved another shake.

Our hotel was a bit of oddity. Apparently, the two-story hotels in Santa Fe don’t have elevators, which left us lugging our impressive pile o’ stuff up two stories. Not the most fun I’ve had. Add to that the room. Our room had a king bed, but had obviously had been designed with two queen beds in mind. You’d think that the hotel would fill some of that dead space with furniture — a table and chair, perhaps. Nope. We had the biggest deadspace I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. There could’ve had a massive game of Twister had on all that carpet.

Tomorrow — wandering the streets of Santa Fe.

FST : Day 4 – Arches NP

Last night, both Beck and I were a little ill — not from the food, I’m sure. The more likely culprit was the heat and the mountain crossing through Colorado. Whatever the cause, the effect was some gastrointestinal distress and my waking up during the night with a massive, raging headache. By breakfast, I was just well enough to get out of bed, and grab breakfast at the motel’s restaurant. However, I was beginning to feel better, especially after eating, and Arches NP was just around the corner, so we gathered up our gear and supplies and headed north to Arches.

Arches was breathtaking. We only went about halfway up the main road through the park, electing to call it a day after three hours in the 100°+ heat. We did a little hiking around Balanced Rock, and it was after that hike that we decided the heat was too much. We drove to The Windows, and I really thought about hiking out to them, but I began feeling a little unwell, and that’s when we decided to head to our rented room.

The rest of the afternoon and night was horrible. My headache returned, and I could barely think straight. Becky took the opportunity to do the laundry, and brought me back a club sandwich from a local joint called Hogi Yogi, which was just what I needed. I was teetering on the edge of asking Beck to take me to a doctor to see what was going on. I knew this wasn’t normal, and I knew if it continued for long, I’d be in trouble. With a lot of fluid, my little sandwich, and lots of cold towels, I’ve come back to normal.

However, this ordeal was a hint and a half — I’m just not rigged for running in this kind of climate. It’s time to cry “uncle” and look for cooler climes. We’ve decided to forego the desert stay at this time, and journey toward Santa Fe where the weather is almost 20° cooler than Moab and the Four Corners region.

Rediscovering my intolerance of this kind of heat is heart-wrenching, as it means the end of our pursuit of the desert in this trip. Moab and Monument Valley will have to wait for another season, when the weather is cooler. Tomorrow, we’re off to Santa Fe, for a couple of days of recovery in the cooler weather.

FST : Day 3 – Wheat Ridge CO to Moab UT (356mi)

Today’s trek took us from the green lushness of mid-Colorado to the extremely stark landscape of southeastern Utah. Along the way, we had some fun.

A few years ago, we crossed the high passes in Colorado, and really suffered for it. Apparently, I don’t do elevations above 10,000 feet very well. This time, we took it easy, drank lots of water, and took breaks as we crossed the passes. We even took a short hike at the Gore Range trailhead after we passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel. It seemed to make a big difference in how we felt after crossing through the big mountains.

Along the way, we stopped at the Glenwood Canyon rest area. This is a fantastic area, with access to raft the river, trails to hike, and plenty of space to ride a bike. (In fact, I think we saw more cyclists at the rest areas than I usually see on the Katy Trail. Coloradans really seem to enjoy pedaling.) This was a luscious area, and we could’ve easily spent hours and hours exploring it. Utah beckoned, and so we plowed on.

We arrived in Moab, and got checked in to the Big Horn Lodge. This is a classic-design motel, with the rooms filled with log-construction furniture, and wood plank walls. Really a step back in time, but still including color TV, high speed internet, fridge and microwave. Very nice place.

However, the temperatures were not. When we rolled into town, it was 103 degrees, and miserable. It’s hard to describe what the heat is like — maybe like a blast furnace, or a kiln. It just takes your breath away as soon as it hits you.

Since it was around dinner time, we went down the street, and stopped at Pasta Jay’s. This was said to be the best Italian food in town, and there was absolutely no argument from me! I had a portabella mushroom cap, filled with diced chicken and ricotta cheese, served over spaghetti noodles and smothered in a tomato cream sauce. This was amazing, and something I wanna try to replicate at home on the Egg.

Having arranged housing, and with full bellies, we headed back to the motel for a restful night.