We did hear rain off and on throughout the night. The tent is well made and it remained dry inside. However at 5 am it was lightly raining. Weather.com said that it was going to be raining harder by 8 am, so we made the decision to break down the tent early and move on. My wife started to boil hot water for coffee, and before the coffee was ready I had the tent closed up and the trailer was ready go to! (I hadn't unhooked the trailer from the Jeep.)
Due to being ahead of schedule for the day, and passing through Silverton, we decided to head into Durango to see the Durango, Silverton train leave the local train station at 8 am, along with to find a place for breakfast. 17 years ago when my wife and I were dating, and while she was out of state on an internship, I flew her home for a long 4th of July weekend and we road the train. (Which we highly recommend the bar car at the end!) So it was fun to see the train again. We also had an awesome breakfast at the Durango Diner, which is an old, very cool diner where the cook cooks breakfast right in front of the long counter. The food was outstanding!
We then made our way west from the rolling mountains around Durango and into the desert of Utah. This had been the third day of rain that was failing in Utah, and wow, for all of the roads, paved, dirt roads and Jeep trials, they all had damage from mud, ruts, washouts to minor creeks still flowing. The first dirt road we came to was through Valley of the Gods, which as I've read is described as what a national park use to look like before it became a park. Immediately when we turned off of the paved road a sign warned, "Impassable When Wet" with a creek crossing. Big deal, we'll check it out! Once crossing the creek, it looked like a well maintained dirt road. There was minor standing water in places. We stopped along different places for pictures. It was overcast and sprinkling rain, but the views were outstanding like a John Wayne western!
As the 17 mile road progressed, up near the north end of the road, there began to be a lot more ruts, rocks, and creeks to cross. I did use four-wheel low on several occasions on climbs just incase. I also used just the trailer brakes on a steep, narrow decent in one place. I was most impressed with the trailer! In other areas I was flying down the road! As the trial continued, we had another good water crossing and the MTR tires on both my Jeep and trailer where slinging the red mud. It was fun!
That night we planned to stop at a B&B along the road as I figured my wife needed a nice place for the night after four long days of driving. The location of the B&B was outstanding! As we arrived rain started to fall hard. With all of the mesas and red cliffs around, it turned to some flash flooding. We were glad to off of the dirt road. The B&B had once been a 1930s ranch house, which we stayed in what was once the root cellar of the ranch. We sat on the porch of the root cellar and enjoyed a most beautiful sunset with some Colorado wine, including to take an evening walk down along what had just been a hard running creek. The change in colors and shadows were most impressive.
The owners of the B&B were old hippies. The husband was personable and we enjoyed talking with him. His wife on the other hand was not. I'm sure that she saw the NRA sticker on my Jeep, and the next morning during breakfast she made us feel that we weren't welcome. It was a bit odd. This B&B generally seems to have people lined up to pay them $150 a night to stay there, so I guess they can pick and choose who they want? So after breakfast, I thanked the husband for his hospitality (the wife made herself unavailable), and I even left a tip as I always do, so we left.
We then made our way into Arizona. The landscape being north of Monument Valley was as well impressive. While stopping for fuel on a reservation, I did have a run in with a local. I'm not sure that he was sober at 10 am, and he was missing his front teeth and was a big boy. I've read stories of guys on expeditions around the world with dealing with panhandlers in what felt like a different country, and their advice. He promptly attempted to put himself in my face (seriously), so I took that advice and told him to back off! He acted insulted, but he did walk away from me and move onto someone else. :laugh:
Our next stop was Page, Arizona, where we found a Safeway for groceries. I also sprayed off the Jeep and trailer, stopped at Glenn Canyon dam, and headed to a BLM office in Bigwater, Utah.
My plan was to check on the condition of the road to Alstrom Point. At the BLM office I was asked what was I driving? I said a Jeep, but I didn't include a trailer as few people know that an "expo" trailer is not the average
trailer. The guy at the office warned me of two water crossings and that no one had been up there since the rain to check out the road conditions. He was not recommending it. Hum… So I decided I'd go check out the road that headed out of the small town. There was a steep road down to the first water crossing. The water looked okay, but the previous rain had washed away the side of climb on the other side. It looked a bit muddy yet and there was nothing to winch too. If I had another Jeep with me, or at least not the trailer, I would have felt good enough to go for it. I did have with me a set of MaxTrax, but, the trailer could be sitting in the water if the Jeep sank at all in the mud on the other side.
So… No need to ruin the trip as it had just started!
Months ago I had considered a back up plan for NPS beach front camping on the northwest end of Lake Powell. And wow, that was a great backup! The sand was fine and deep in places, but I immediately aired down the Jeep's tires and went for it. There were a number of RVs in the good spots, so we took a far end spot which did mean more sand to drive through. I had to spin the trailer around so that it was an easier way out when I stopped. I did find that it's most challenging to have to back up a trailer in sand, as unless the trailer is straight, it just gets pushed backwards rather then turning! I ended up parking the Jeep and trailer near the edge of the water as it was the most level spot. And we setup camp!
Again, this was an awesome place to spend a night. The wife and I made pan fried pizzas for dinner and had more wine. The temperature was nice, we had shade behind the Jeep and tent, and the sunset was again awesome over the water. We did try out the water too, which was decently warm. I also fired up the Campfire in a Can thanks to having the propane tank. Once we went to bed, we left the side windows open on the tent (just the screens) and the moon was shinning in the tent over the water. It sounded as well as if we were in a boat!