West to Moab!

Added 8/6/2017

For a while now we've wanted to get back out to Southern Utah and see some of the things we've missed on past trips.  In June 2017 we finally got the chance to go.  The only unfortunate thing about the trip was the expected daytime temperatures...we had days where the OAT hit 103F on the ground!  Despite the heat, we found the trip to be very enjoyable.  It went against my usual routine of flying where you can be comfortable all day long, but hey, it's a dry heat, right?

One of the cool things about this trip...it was flown completely by the girls.  Yep, this was one good long cross-country for Danielle, and some good high-altitude experience for both Danielle and Andrea!

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This trip started out with an afternoon departure to Colorado Springs. That would get us out of town while the weather was good, and get us in a good position for a morning flight out of KCOS.  The reason this was important was that our first stop of the day was going to be in Leadville, CO (KLXV).  Leadville is said to be the highest elevation airport in all of the US, and the 3rd highest in the world, at an elevation of 9934' msl.  It's got a 6400' long runway, much of it that went un-used by our RV-10.  Needless to say, this was an "Oxygen Required" flight for us flatlanders.

Danielle flew the leg into Leadville, and then leg 2 was a quick climb out of the Leadville basin area, over a mountain pass, on on past Aspen and Grand Junction to Canyonlands airport (KCNY).  She did great on the flight with the high altitude landing and takeoff.

Below are a bunch of our pictures from the trip, many will go without comment.  Since Colleen wasn't able to go with us on this trip, we replaced her with a stuffed monkey.  It works better for the Weight and Balance, and Monkey Colleen didn't affect our C.G. very much at all.

We had a couple of days in Moab, UT, with the first day being spent driving around Arches National Park.  Once again we got a 2018 National Park annual pass.  I recommend you all just go ahead and get one if you travel to the National Parks.  Even if you only get to one park, you get to support our great National Park system...something that may be in more jeopardy given our current political situation.  It's something that I highly value and I'll always get an annual pass from now on, just to help support it.

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Interesting side trip:  Not too far out of Moab you can travel up a mountain where there are actual dinosaur tracks on the mountain top.  Very interesting little place!!

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Day 2 we decided to try our hands at the rock climbing you can do with Jeeps.  It's dang cool, but beware that any rollovers or major damage will result in you buying a nearly new but wrecked jeep, out of pocket!!   We had intended to go to "Hell's Revenge".  Check it out on youtube.  It quickly eliminated one body from our jeep, so we backed down and skipped it.  We had a ton of fun at Baby Lion's Back, however.  I really can't believe these things can stick to the boulders so well!    After that we headed out to Chicken's crossing trail, which was much easier, but still intimidating.  Although it's a 2 track path through the mountains, it's anything but smooth and has definite possibilities for rolling a few hundred feet over the edge of a cliff.  Tons of fun!

Below you'll also see some ancient Petroglyphs on some rocks.  There is a lot of this sort of thing around the Moab area.

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Later on we toured Canyonlands National Park.  Canyonlands and Arches are two totally different places within a few miles of eachother.  Canyonlands reminds me more of the Grand Canyon, with it's awesome big scenery, which Arches is full of more localized attraction type scenery.  I caught a photo of this cool bathroom at Canyonlands.  Trust me, I'm not going to be one who's much interested in using that floor-hole, should the need arise.

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Departing KCNY, the plan was to fly to Cortez, CO, to see Mesa Verde National Park.  Turned out though that they were all out of rental cars at Cortez, so we ended up flying to Durango, CO.   But, we had wanted to swing by Monument Valley on the way, just to take some pictures.  Turns out our previous trip where we had in improptu fly-by of Monument Valley was much more satisfying.  I highly recommend flying by Monument Valley either in the early a.m. or near dusk, as the shadows and lighting are much more spectacular than the mid-day sun.

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Once we hit Durango, we jumped in our rental car and blazed to Mesa Verde.  This is a very cool drive, and a cool park to visit.  It's interesting how when you're in Utah, you FEEL like you're in Utah.  And when you are in Colorado, you FEEL like you're in Colorado.  These states are really leaving an impression on us after traveling around so many places, as we are able to see the uniqueness of every area.

The Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings are really something to see...take the kids!

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After getting some sleep after Mesa Verde, we launched for home the next day...flying East over Colorado's Sand Dunes National Park, through a mountain pass, and then home over the plains.  We did the flight at 13,500' for much of the way, giving the girls a chance to try out the new Mountain High O2 system I bought 2 years ago and we hadn't used as a family yet.

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