What I noticed is that I’ve begun to get a sense of restlessness when we’ve stayed in one place for more than a few days. This was certainly the case with Grand Canyon. I needed to move. We needed to forge ahead towards Utah. And within a day, the restlessness had become urgent. The urgency was partly fueled by meeting a guard who stopped and chatted with us about motorcycling and the side car. Of course I talked about the “Marriage made in hell”; German bike and the Russian sidecar. (If this doesn’t make sense, time to brush up on your WW II history) The guard in return told us about Lone Rock and the smokey mountain trail which starts around Lone Rock and ends at Escalente. We could camp right on the beach at Lone Rock!
So, after giving thanks for the generous hospitality to Grand Canyon, we started towards Utah! It was a bit of a home coming for me. After all, some ten years back, I was standing at the top of Moki’s dugway thinking how much I wanted to share the view with my family. For now, off to Lone Rock and the smokey mountain road. Then, we’ll hit Moki’s dugway (Valley of the Gods) and to Canyon Lands.
It took us good part of the day to get to Lone Rock, which is just across the AZ, UT border and right by Page, AZ. Yes, everything takes longer. I was relieved to have found Lone Rock and excited to camp on the beach. You see, there is some sense of romanticism associated with camping right on the beach. The ranger at the gate told me that I should be fine if I am careful. Make sure to look for hard packed sand and don’t get stuck! The tow truck will not come on to the beach and that can be problematic. Thank you for this information. I took the bike out so I could head down for something of a reconnassance. We don’t want to get the RV stuck in sand. OK. Path found and we should be fine, if we keep close to the water’s edge. We did just fine getting down to the beach. Looking for the right spot took us in a U-turn. And that’s when the RV found the deeper sand patch. You see, when you are confronted with such a mishap, there is a deep sinking feeling that takes hold of your lower stomach. Oh no! We are stuck. How the heck am I going to get out of this mess now? Try as I might, the RV just dug in deeper. The fact that my mother was back seat driving only made the situation harder to deal with. There she is… walking in front of the RV, finding the right path out. Mom !!! Stop!!!
Well, it was late afternoon by this time. We’re here, so let’s not worry about it for now. Plus, it seemed like there is a thunderstorm brewing, which will be something to watch. Hopefully, the wet sand will help with being stuck. The rain didn’t really come. But the sand storm did. Suddenly, there was sand flying everywhere. It got in everywhere. In your eyes, ears, mouths, noses. Everywhere. Nothing to do but stay inside the RV and make sure you close all the windows. It was interesting, nevertheless and watching the lightening storm from the distance was definitely novel for us. If only, we weren’t stuck in this darn sand! (Note: even now, after the trip, when I put the A/C on at full blast, we still get sand coming out of the vents)
Now, just what the heck do you do with a 45″ train that’s stuck in sand? Well, you dig! And we did. Fortunately, I had a couple of 2×6’s that I had, to load the bikes on to the trailer. They were wedged under the tires and I just “give’d her” The RV grabbed the boards and I was able to get it unstuck. Exhillaration! The elation one feels solving a problem, in this case becoming unstuck on the road is unique, and unlike any other. It means we’ve averted a possibly long and difficult (and often costly) endeavor. There is also a sense of accomplishment which is unlike any other as well. It’s like that on the road. You worry incessantly about all the little things that could possibly go wrong. You also try to prevent such an event from taking place. Inevitably something will happen which you were not prepared for. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to McGuyver your way out. If not, well, you just chalk it up as part of the trip.
I took two rides with the boys. One was with Taylor and we left early that evening. I was hoping to find the Smokey Mountain Road. Here’s the google map. The view does not suck. Even on the bike, we managed to get it stuck in sand three times. Imagine a dark thurnder cloud right above my head with little lightning bolts. Well, you get the idea. By the time we got out by the entrance to the park, it was dark and we were both spent. We also ended up not finding the entrance to the road. Oh well. We did end up starting a nice big fire, curtesy of some gasoline and sat by the lake and enjoyed the evening with Smores.
Next morning, Jonathan and I got out. And after a while, and getting stuck only a couple of times in sand, we did find the smokey mountrain road. Some of the photos are available here.
Although the beach was nice and camping on the beach really idelic, the aqua torquoise water was also full of Algae. While I did go in for a swim, it wasn’t a refreshing dip that I had assumed. No matter. The area is really magical. Weather, not like anything that we’ve seen before and the landscape, really out of this world. Was I happy to be there? Absolutely.
Canyon Lands, we’re coming for you.