02 July 2006 Sunday

We slept in, despite the light rain shower early this morning that forced us to close up some windows.  I talked to a lady from Lakeland, FL this morning from a nearby camp and she mentioned that she and her husband have made 2 trips up into Alaska.  George and Barbara Coffman had lots to say about the beauty of Alaska.  They gave us several tips on what to see, including getting the book called “Mileposts” that gives lots of information about what’s in an area.  

We continued to the Visitor’s Center at Colorado National Monument and stumbled upon a ranger program on the geology of the area.  One of the rocks he had in his collection caught my eye.  I found a rock with similar patterns on a bike ride years ago in North Carolina (I think).  I just thought it was a cool rock.  It turns out to be a fossilized palm tree relative about 300 million years old!!  And to think, some people laughed at me for storing a box of rock!  (You know who you are).  

We stopped for gas at a place called Hollow Mountain.  It was probably once an old mining claim, but it’s now a convenience store that is carved into the mountain!  Parts of the interior looked like an other convenience store, but when you went back to the bathroom, you could see the carved rock hallway leading to a pretty normal bathroom.  You know, I’ve peed on many mountains, but this is the first time I’ve peed IN a mountain!

We continued west to Capitol Reef National Monument, UT.  We were here a few months ago, before visiting Moab, UT, but we had to cut out visit short.  Capitol Reef has within it a historic Mormon Orchard that is maintained by the park service and has fruit that can be picked in season.  We had just missed the cherries (a ranger said they are gone in a couple of days) but we were in time for apricots.  I love fresh apricots!  50 cents per pound… all you want to pick.  But they don’t stay fresh long.  We got 3 pounds for $1.50, (what a bargain!) and snacked on then for the next couple of days.  We stayed at the campground in the park (and right in the apricot orchard).  We would have boondocked on a back road, but just as we got into the park, it started raining heavily.  The dirt roads in this part of the desert are made up of a very gooey, slippery form of clay.  This is the desert, and for most of the time, it’s not a problem.  Except when it rains.  They have lovely old photos of cars being pulled out of deep mud by farming tractors.  They caution heavily about flash floods and how you should never go into a wash when rain is threatening.  Many of the washes serve as roads here.  So tonight, we stayed at the campground with a large family group with loud children right across the street.  The apricot orchards are all around the campground, so we ate all the fresh fruit we could stand.

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