It sometimes doesn't seem fair, not at the beginning of things. We had tried a month before to make this trip but snowbound backroads kept us out. Here we were again facing the same dilemma. This winter had only two good storms and both happened the same time of planned trips. Mother Nature and I were not on the same page.
Mrs. Whazoo, Bear and me were supposed to be hiking in southern Utah. Besides the weather to deal with there was a breakage of bones two days before takeoff so we had to re-structure the trip. Yes, they were my bones, specifically the left foot and big toe. Dadgum, I've been riding dirt bikes since 7th grade yet waited until I was 58 years old to break some bones. And hiking in a big ol black air cast boot didn't work for me. I awkwardly made it up to a set of Anasazi ruins but discovered the boot would throw me forward on the way down. Not wanting to end up with a face flat as a plate I had to back down like a stink bug in reverse. Hands on the ground, legs straight with butt in the air, tears of humility streaming down my face as Mrs. Whazoo laughed hysterically. No comments please. Well ok, I can take it. There were definitely no pictures though, hah.
The only ruins we were able to visit this trip were along the San Juan River in southern Utah. The weather was not cooperating, giving us a full sky of blanket clouds which I don't see as good for anything. Much less for taking pictures. But the heady feeling of just being out in nature and the outback gave my soul enough sunshine to overcome dismal weather and just enjoy this for what it was, time off.
Here are a few pictures of those ruins.
Being the slowpoke on this trip Mrs. Whazoo always seemed to be waiting for me. I didn't like it, but at least she waited with open arms.
Driving next to the river on soft sand was...soft. And enjoyable. Why can't all dirt roads be as soft and fun to drive on?
While this big ol cottonwood is down it is not out, as it sprouts new green buds while laying on it's side. The only thing I sprout while laying on my side are roots, deep into that soft couch.
From a cliff-side road we could see the remains of the Mormon Wagon Trail coming off of San Juan Hill. This was the one and only spot possible for them to cross Comb Ridge this side of the Manti-La Sal Mountains. What incredible acts of human determination are visible here as the Mormons stacked rock and bent the landscape by hand to fit their human needs.
Parking on a bluff for a slightly elevated view of the San Juan River.
Even with a king size blanket of pesky clouds, the colors of the area would not be denied.
The road out gave us a good view of Comb Ridge in the near distance and to our immediate right.
While not a hard road to drive, 4wheel was needed a few times in soft sand. Not to mention the addition of yet more scratches from the salt cedar trying to grow in the bottom of Comb Wash.
Without the ability to hike it was time to make a decision on the direction of travel. I have a secret spot I've been wanting to go back to with Mrs. Whazoo and a voice in my ear said to go there. Or was it just Bear breathing?
Driving up the highway the outlook was dubious at best. Snow started blowing sideways and the temps dropped like skivvies in a privy. Well, we did have the first season of Game Of Thrones to watch if nothing else. Under my breath I prayed for better weather.
Reaching the turnoff to the "spot" I have to say it was looking good. The blanket clouds had turned to atmospheric delight along with my attitude. The colors were eye-popping, Whazoo was in canyon heaven. Under my breath...THANK YOU!
Mrs. Whazoo and I have camped under the far pass and enjoyed a Sunset or two there.
Mrs. Whazoo asked if I'd like a drink and snack before my back rub and a nap. I refused, I had pictures to take.
What a place to sit and watch a movie...The Greatest Show On Earth. It was to be a private showing today.
"Yes Dear Mrs. Whazoo, I ordered this show just for you."
With surroundings like this I thought...portrait time. Yet Bear was having an issue keeping his eyes open and tongue in his mouth. Kind of like some other ol fellas I know.
"Bear! Turn around and look at the camera!" Not happening, Bear was looking for a handout...or two.
Finally a model that would cooperate with eyes open and a smile. Makes a photographer look like he knows what he's doing.
Looking down into the canyon I could see the Dirty Whazoo River. Ok, it's really the Dirty Devil that used to be a tributary of the Colorado before the dammed thing ended up in Lake Powell.
I hope this isn't too much scenery to be throwing at you.
I'm so fortunate to have a wife and dog that wait patiently for me to take endless pictures. Though I'm sure Bear wonders, "What's that black thing stuck to the front of your face Dad?"
I thought I would bootleg this picture. Whatdoyathink, as I pose the offending appendage against one of natures best showings. With a truck and camper this is still available to us, gimpy foot and all. Under my breath another big "Thank you", for being alive in this time and place. Have others felt the same?
I'm sorry, I don't mean to gloat. I''m back at home now and wondering, "was that really me having a drink in such a fabulous place?" The time went so fast.
Like Mickey Mouse and his wand directing the storm segment of Fantasia, Mrs. Whazoo waves her "Mikes Hard Lemonade...Lite" at the attacking mass of clouds. Or is she just saying "Cheers Whazoo. Get the umbrella!"?
Her magic lemonade worked it's charm as the precipatative clouds kept their hydrometeors across the valley. "Precipatative", can I use that in scrabble?
After watching the storm pass by it left this Whazoo with a feeling of being very small in a large auditorium. The concert was over yet you wait and watch for an encore.
The encore didn't happen, no alpen glow, so it was time to grill. The famous Whazburgers with cheese, oh yeah. Ok, The burgers and cheese were both Costco but you get the picture, dinner wiith a view.
Morning brought, of course, breakfast with a view. (Notice how Mrs. Whazoo has cleaned hers up? She wouldn't want you to know she licks the syrup off her plate.) And this view is not the short stack, no way. This was the full breakfast sampler with perfect temperatures on the side. No extra charge, thanks for the tip...
While poor Bear wanders around outside. "Hey, where is everybody? I thought we were having breakfast burritos this morning."
Last picture of the canyon before hitting the road.
If someone were to ask how far can you see in this country I'd have to answer, "As far as you want to."
There were two places on the drive out that I was glad to have a front and rear locker. This first was more of a hill than it looks with nothing but soft sand to try a guy's patience. It always takes me two times to get it right. A third time would not be possible as the ruts in the sand would be too disturbed for this truck camper to make it. And there's no other way out. Don't you know I really punch it the second time, heck with the hoop-de-doos at the bottom.
Having made it past the sand dunes we were back on bladed dirt, the colors still making my head spin and my shutter finger twitch.
Traipsing back down the highway towards home we turned off on another dirt road to the west. First having to use the secret password to get passed the guard gate. "Open saysawhazoo!"
We had 15 miles of winding road to reach Lake Powell for some serious R&R, with Brokefoot Mountain in the background.
With the water level still down a bit we drove to the edge, wishing for a boat.
Yes Bear, I'll get you to play RinTinTin in the next movie, you keep practicing that pose.
Camp for the night was a backwater bay. Not much to write home about, but better than a night at the Rtiz.
A natural boat launch if I ever saw one, it sloped perfectly into the water.
Evening was another treat and I wonder how we got so lucky to have such gorgeous skies. And nary a boombox around.
Deciding to drive around a bit the next morning the road took a path away from the water.
The Whazoo was very hoppy to be on a drive-about. Or is he missing his crutches?
Back down at the lake we drove below the old high water mark. The water level of Lake Powell came up last year with the wet winter runoff but is still low. I felt like I was in a submarine but don't know why.
Feeling like we've moved uptown we were no longer the backwater Whazoos.
A splash of color, quick, take a picture.
Two members of the Whazoo gang test the waters. "Oy" says one "the water's too cold." "Yo" says the other "the waters just fine."
"I'm sorry Mom, I peed in the pool."
Pieces of shale that had been submerged under Lake Powell's waters for many years had lost their integrity...
falling to pieces like a maniacal jigsaw puzzle in our hands.
Mrs. Whaz and Bear take a walk...
...while the Whazoo takes up whittling, and a whittle rhyme.
Whazoo was a whittler,
what a whittler was Whazoo
When Whazoo would whittle
what a whittle Whaz would do.
Why would Whazoo whittle
when the Whaz would whittle wood?
Was Whazoo whittle crazy
when he whittled what he could?
Ouch, try saying that real fast after polishing off a bottle of Clausen's pickle juice when your lips are puckered so hard you can't spit or whistle Dixie. Truth is, I haven't whittled anything in decades, except away the time.
"Holy crapamolee Dad, I was almost impressed. Is it beer o"clock yet?"
Bear was dogging me for a Corona.
I didn't know he'd already had a Mike's Hard Lemonade too.
A discussion was had on how mixing alcohol is not a good thing.
It should be mentioned that by no means are crutches just that, crutches. They can be your own personal monkey bars slash trapeze...
A hot dog roaster...
And best of all they can be photon crutches, oh yeah. That camper with the loud music, gonzo. RV park that won't allow tcer's, gonzo. Loud generators, you're outta here, blasted into space. Photon crutches, coming to a Whazmart near you.
This must be what the Doors meant when they sang "Come on baby, light my fire."
Indeed, there was fire on the mountain.
And fire on the water...
Tonight it looks like we will be woking the dog.
That evening for a beverage I had a Perfect Night, straight up, on the rocks, hold the breeze. It was so perfect I drank my fill. It was Whazoolicious.
And rimmed the glass with starlight.
With morning came the drive out and across the beach.
Up the hill like a little beatle...
down that long and winding road...
That lead us to rocks waiting to kiss a larger rig. Do you see the pursed lips?!
Along colorful escarpments.
To the view west back to Lake Powell. We hope to see you again soon Mr. Powell.
Looking east to Jacob's Chair, Jacob wasn't there. But I thanked him for his cloak of many colors draped over our trip giving a lame Whazoo and his family some of the best scenery ever. If a guy can't walk he needs beautiful scenery to sit and enjoy. Enjoy we did.
A parting shot of blue skies, red buttes and an insignificant truck and camper, bouncing along enjoying the view and all that comes with the territory.
Thanks for reading,
Dave, Lynn and Bear aka the Whazoos
Wow! Another Fantastic Trip Report and Photos from the Great Whazoo, Sorry to hear about your accident, take care of yourself as we aren't kids in age anymore, but still are kids in spirit. Thanks again for posting, I always look forward to your Trip Report, Photos and Poems.
Another great Whazoo trip report. Sorry to learn of the breakup of Whazoo but all things heal with time. I am glad to know that a simple break did not break up your travel. It is good to see that the best family member was along for this journey. There are just not enough superlatives for many of those photos, especially the sunsets. Thanks for the effort. I WILL be in the southwest the winter of 2013 Lord willing. Perhaps we can meet in person rather than on the web!
Dodge 2500 CTD.
Constant companions - Scoter and Skye - Black Labs (better than most people)