Sunday, July 25, 2004


Why is i supposed to be capitalized? Why not You, They, We, He, etc.? It seems so conceited. I don't like to capitalize my name, either,...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Today we're in Moab.  We have a much nicer hotel.  We left Cortez this morning around 8.  On our way here we stopped at Lowry Pueblo, about 20 miles North of Cortez.  It is about nine miles off the highway and is part of the National Monument called Canyon of the Ancients.  It is an unmonitored site - no rangers there watching you.  It has a painted kiva that they have tried to preserve since it was excavated in the 1930's.  However, there is basically nothing left of the paint - they preserved some of it in a museum, but it is still cool that you can walk in there for free, alone, no one bothering you, and get down in a covered kiva, etc.

Then we got back on the road (491) until just past Monticello, where we made the turn-off to Canyonlands National Park.  It is a huge park, and dad decided we didn't really have time for it. On our way in, however, it was starting to look really beautiful.  We did stop to see Newspaper Rock on the road into the park - now that was quite impressive.  It is a rock just off the rock on the canyon wall that has that black patina on it and it is literally covered with petroglyphs - probably thousands of them.  And they date from all different periods - some as old as 2000 B.C., and newer ones on top of those - including ones made by Utes after 1540 - because they show them hunting on horses.  I did take a few pictures to show you later.

After seeing the Petroglyphs, we went on to Moab, got our hotel room and had lunch.  We stopped for a cache that I found at the north end of Moab - a real one.  I also managed to do a virtual cache this morning because I saw a barber pole and my parents were getting gas so I had time to get the coordinates for that locationless cache. 

After lunch, we headed up to Arches National Park.  It is literally just a few minutes out of Moab.  We did the whole thing in a few hours, basically.  If you want to spend more time, there are plenty more hikes to do, camping, and jeeping.  Given the money and time and people who would do it with me, I'd be interested in doing some more challenging, longer hikes and even the jeeping.  My dad just isn't up for that stuff so our hikes have been short.  You can get the feel for Arches without hardly leaving your car.  It was a $10 entry fee, more than all the other parks we've been to this trip.  I thought it was nice, but my favorites still have to be back at Hovenweep and I liked Newspaper Rock.  There are some hikes through the Canyon of the Ancients that I'd like to try some day, and I'd like to do Canyon de Chelly and Navajo National Monument some day, too - more stuff like that.  It was REALLY hot today - right now it is about 100 degrees, it was up to 102 when were coming back from Arches.  So it was a bit hot for hiking; we did just a little, and took some pictures.  Today was a pretty good road trip day - three stops with interesting things to see and logged some miles.  If I win Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, I think it would be cool to take like an 8-week roadtrip through wherever - mostly the southwest as I am partial to it - and do all that hiking and camping stuff.

Mom's swimming in the hotel pool now.  If it weren't for the hijab thing I'd probably join her.  Dad's drinking beer and watching TV.  This trip would've been much more enjoyable if he didn't drink and smoke so much and was a little bit nicer of a person.  But, it was still a good trip.  He was upset today that, this being Utah, he had to buy his liquor for the evening from the state liquor store and they don't have domestic beer.  So he bought 12 of these British beers and some other 24 ounce bottle of beer to get him through until tomorrow night.  Yuck.

Tomorrow we're leaving Moab - which is a nice little town - a bit yuppyish but still nice, and heading on to Glenwood Springs.  Apparently there are some caverns to see there.  Then Friday we're supposed to come home.

Saw some rocky mountain sheep today and tried to get a picture of those, too.

Take care!


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Well we had a change of plans.  We realized it would be too much driving to do both Canyon de Chelly and Petrified in one day.  So we were going to do just de Chelly or Chaco and the websites we found had more detail about Chaco stuff to see so that's the one we did.  We got a bit of a late start because we had to go buy stuff at Wal-mart and then driving down 550 from Durango the map wasn't exactly detailed enough.  Apparently to stay on 550 down to Chaco you have to get off it somewhere and get back on like 20 miles later.  So it took us a little while to figure that out.  People in Farmington seem to be very bad at giving directions.  So, if you get lost there, ask three people, and average their responses and you'll probably get close to where you wanted to be. 

Once we were back on track, the drive to Chaco was through the Navajo Reservation.  The turn-off from 550 was about 30-45 minutes of gravel road.  We ate lunch there with Subway we packed (cool thing - they open at 8 down here for all us tourists).  Then we went and looked at some of the ruins there.  Most are just a quarter mile or so from the road.  We saw some petroglyphs and Pueblo Bonito, a 600+ room ruin.  By then, dad was petering out and worried about getting back "home"  so we left after a few hours there.  But, we'd seen the basics of what was there.  The buildings were well constructed and large and in a slightly different style than those we'd seen earlier.  They have cool night astronomy programs there that we obviously didn't stay for, but some guy had his telescope set up to look at the sun and we could see its sunspots and prominences.

We took a slightly different route back to see if it was any shorter; instead of coming back to Durango, we went over to Shiprock from Farmington and up 666 to Cortez, which, by the way, is not actually labelled 666, nor 160 as it is on the maps, it was labeled 491.  We have noticed a few other little mapping aberrations like that.  For example 261 on the maps is 161 according to the Utah road signs coming out of Aneth.  And then the whole get off 550 to stay on it stuff, too.

Chaco was good, but personally Hovenweep had a cooler feel to it.  There are more ruins and bigger ruins and maybe even better built ruins at Chaco, but the way Hovenweep looked and the nice, quiet walk and everything puts it on top in my book. 

Tomorrow we're heading up to Canyonlands and planning to stay the night in Moab. (me)


Today, the wind blew a little which helped to keep it around 90 Degrees instead of 100 Degrees - more pleasant temperatures felt by all.  We drove down through Durango.  Very pretty country side - I can see why so many  people choose to live there.  We didn't like getting lost, we didn't like the passenger seat driving or comments on my driving skills, or the wash board roads but there was plenty to like in its place.  The village is quite interesting and it is surprising at how much of it is still in place.  Apparently, more than 30 room were wiped out in 1941 by huge boulders that fell off of the mountain side.  It surprised me that the rest of the village wasn't demolished due to what I think would have been ground shaking.  The Weatherills, who discovered Chaco and Mesa Verde are buried in poorly kept graves at the site near Pueblo Bonito in Chaco.  The ruins in this area are the oldest by far and were built @850 A.D. - 1300 A.D.  While most other locations were built @1170-1270.  You would really need to be in dire straits to make the pilgramage from Mesa Verde to Chaco to pick up supplies to take back home to the family.  Chaco is purported to be the center of it all - trading, etc.  I'd hate to have been the Indians who had to walk that distance and carry back the tribes' supplies.  They had extensive trade routes that included shells from the Coast, Macaws and copper bells from the Yucatan.  (Mom- almost grumpy but not :))

Yeah, we're here taking a "break" from dad now.....

Not sure I'll have internet at the next stop.  If so, I'll try to blog, but if not, I guess it'll be Friday, insha'allah.




Monday, July 19, 2004

Hovenweep and Four Corners

Today was cool! The Indians have become better architects since Mesa Verde.  Several ruins remain.  Hovenweep is in an out of way place so very few tourists to compete with.  Saw a leapord lizard, regular lizard and green collar lizard, bunny, gray squirrels and a vulture hawk.  The journey (hike) took approximately 1 & 1/2 hours.  We followed the yellow brick road, aha! -  seriously, the rangers were nice enough to lay out a path with stones on each side of the path leading us to where we needed to go to.  The scenery was quite different.  Mostly bush plants, sage, mormon tea, and grasses.  We drove through an area that must have been bordering the desert - there wasn't much growing there - yuck and hot!  (From Mom)
The drive to Hovenweep was about an hour from Cortez, just inside Utah.  Once you leave Cortez, there is nothing the whole way there except the Ismay Trading Post.  I really wish I had gotten a picture of it because it is one of those things you just have to see.  It was a building literally falling apart - the facade was basically nothing anymore except chickenwire with some old plaster.  Inside was very dingy and dusty and there you could get various odds and ends - candy bars, canned goods, string, shoelaces, car parts, etc.  No gas or other services.  It was run by an old geezer type fella who lived there. 
Hovenweep was really beautiful - out in the middle of nowhere, hardly anyone there. My favorite thing on the trip so far. Very peaceful, just as good as Mesa Verde in terms of the ruins - in fact these were better preserved and built.  At the ranger station you get a map and then walk the two or so mile trail down into the canyon and around the canyon rim to see the ruins.  Nice, fun trail; you can get close to the ruins, with occasional shade to battle the impressive heat.
After Hovenweep, we drove down to Four Corners.  The only town on our way was the ultra-impressive Aneth.  This is a Navajo "village" of about fifty homes with bright red, green, or blue roofs, otherwise factory-style homes.  One church and one gas station with gas marked up to 2.09/gallon. 
Four Corners is just as I remember.  Nice, standard tourist fare.  I got a virtual cache at the monument and we bought some Indian jewelry there  - best prices anywhere, basically. 
I took pictures of some lizard and ruins at Hovenweep and a few others here and there to share hopefully when I get back.
Tomorrow we're supposed to do a lot of driving - to Canyon de Chelly and Petrified National Monument and then back to Cortez for our last night here in this town.
Bye for now!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Cache Approved

The First-to-Sign cache was approved. :) For you locals, it is located "in or near" Widefield park. A virtual cache I was working on wasn't approved; I need to change it to a traditional cache, perhaps a micro cache. So I think I'll try to take care of that in the next week and see how that goes. You can look the approved on up on but I don't think there'd be much to see.

I hope he makes it...

I like when people break records, usually, so I hope he makes it.

Armstrong Falls at Tour, Then Recovers

Associated Press Writer

ANGERS, France (AP) -- Lance Armstrong recovered from an early fall and finished in a pack behind stage winner Tom Boonen of Belgium in the Tour de France on Friday.

Armstrong, trying for a record sixth straight Tour title, was thrown from his bike but not hurt in a crash involving a number of cyclists about 20 minutes into Friday's sixth stage, a 122-mile run from Bonneval to Angers.

But the fall didn't derail Armstrong's bid for another Tour title.

He quickly got back in the race and, with help from his U.S. Postal Service teammates, caught up with the pack. He was not seriously hurt, but appeared to have a scrape on his right leg.

The spill was the first of this Tour for the 32-year-old Texan and came a day after he said he was worried about crashing.

"In this race, I'm always scared, always nervous," he said. "The last two or three days for me, personally, have been really, really nerve-racking.

"It's a stressful race."

Boonen won a sprint finish Friday, speeding past Cofidis' Stuart O'Grady of Australia and T-Mobile rider Erik Zabel of Germany. Thomas Voeckler of France retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

American Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Armstrong who now rides for Phonak, blew a tire, but caught up with the main group near the 36-mile mark.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Cache idea - Share your Thoughts

Okay, so I'm working on a new cache idea. I have a deck of flash cards that each is a map and fact sheet about the U.S. states and territories. One card per state or territory. And, I'm going to try to pick up a small world map somewhere, probably a fold-up one, because I haven't found country flash cards. The idea is to make this a small cache that people come to and mark on it where they are from. I was thinking maybe that all people would put a dot on the map where they are from if it isn't marked yet, sign a log, and if they are the first person from a state, they get to sign the state card, too. So the cache would have a goal: to get all the state cards signed, and as many dots from all over on the map as possible. I'd probably sign the Colorado card myself and take a picture of it to put on the website and show folks what they're supposed to do. I need to find a good, secure hiding place that isn't too hard to reach. So I'm open to ideas on working out the kinks, etc.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Frederick Douglass Independence Day Speech-Excerpt

Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the lame man leap as an hart.

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.