A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Few Bad Days and Newspaper Rock

After the Pecos River camp, campgrounds were nearly non-existent in northern New Mexico. We wound up at another mud puddle reservoir camp the following night. Towns were few and widely spaced apart. After what happened in Marathon Texas still fresh in my mind, the next day I paid way too much for fuel at what appeared to be a large town on my map that had only one station, when the next town further on was larger and had two stations with a lower price. With the price of diesel fuel as it is, you shop. I'll not trust the map and its red dots for town sizes again. We were now in Indian Reservation land with zero campgrounds to be had. We entered Farmington and the few RV parks left a lot to be desired and way too much time was wasted driving around town searching for them. We camped at a Wal-mart which by the way turned out to be a nice evening camp.

The next two days held sites for me I've always wanted to see much like Billy the Kid's grave. First was Shiprock, a large rock formation on the featureless plains which the early pioneers used as a way point in their travels westward on the Santa Fe trail. When it first came into view I was disappointed. The skies were so polluted with haze, dust and smoke from nearby coal fired power plants, I could barely see it. It just did not present the image I imagined they settlers had. This picture is of it much closer than the 20 mile away first sighting.

As we had been in Indian Reservation land, I was becoming morose seeing all the litter and disregard for the land. The road would take us by Four Corners where the state boundaries of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico all meet. I've seen it a couple times before and thought "Well I am here, why not?" I turned off the road and discovered that the litterbugs are now charging a fee to get in.
I did a U-turn and left. Not because I am cheap (which I am to a degree) but on a matter of all the desecration of the land. Now what to do? We were getting ahead of our itinerary. I needed to find a camp. A sign guided us to a Forest Service campground. This led us 18 miles up into the Manti-La Sal mountains of Utah, at 7000' elevation, with snow on the ground, not one other camper there and the Little House on the Highway bogging down in the dirt roads of the campground. I barely made it out and made hasty tracks back to the highway. Over an hour was wasted and now quickly approaching tea time. The next Forest Service campground was a few miles on and fortunately near the highway. Whew! I pulled off and up to a closed gate. My heart sank. The campground would open in April. Now what?

I saw that there was camping on BLM land across from Newspaper Rock 30 miles away. I really wanted to see this site the next day when I was fresh, but things don't always work out to plan. When we passed through Monticello Utah, I made note of the two RV parks I saw there. As we neared the Rock 12 miles from the highway I see a sign "No camping within the next 9 miles". How can that be? Sure enough, there was no campground across from the monument. It had been obliterated by a flood a few years back and deemed unsafe to renew. I was mortified! To make matters worse, Newspaper Rock was not what I was thinking. I had it in my mind it was etchings left behind as the pioneers passed through the area. Instead it was Indian petroglyphs. I would have bet anything I had read otherwise long ago. Yet I was here and tried to put all that I had been through so far out of my mind and enjoy the monument.

So these etchings pose some questions. What is with the spoked wheel on the right side? The ancient peoples did not have the wheel.

What can be made of this other than a rocket ship and an alien being?
Antennae on people?

Is this an instrument or craft of an extra terrestrial existence?

Why four toes?

The more I looked the more puzzles there were. At least I knew this was a road kill.

We ended up back in Monticello at a rustic little RV park operated by the young wife of the local sheriff. It was still cold enough at night that they had not turned on the water to the camp spots or restrooms for fear of freezing pipes. She gave me, the only camper there, a discount for that. I really didn't mind as I was just grateful to have found a camp for the night. But there was electricity and wi-fi which created further problems the following day.


  1. those drawings/glyphs are amazing! the wheel is intriguing all by itself. i believe in lifeforms from other planets/solar systems/whatever. perhaps one of those aliens can come help me rehang my barn door! :)

    (there's no point as my gelding will eat away at it again and pull it down off track...)

  2. Even in the best adventures we have bad days...
    Have a good weekend!


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