Backtracking to red rock country around Sedona now, I wasn't exactly thrilled about departing seventy-some degrees and sunshine—trading shorts for long pants, t-shirt for jacket, and warm sumptuous shades of red for icebox white. The weather widgets called for the abnormally warm multi-state dome of high pressure to hold indefinitely, so I hatched a plan to take the long way back to Colorado, one that would, metaphorically speaking, kill two birds with one stone and keep us abiding in glorious climate with postcards.
Normally we wouldn't be wintering over in Lovely Ouray. Normally we leave sometime in October, head to Moab for a spell and then take our leisurely time getting to the Zion area where we spend November into December before going home for the holidays. Normally we leave for Arid-zona in early January and don't get back till the snow is (almost) melted in our front yard, say mid April. But, as you may know, God often laughs at the plans of mortals, reminds them who's Boss, and for some greater reason, beyond fairness and understanding, beyond my ability to fathom, He slips a hernia and blood clot into my calendar and put the kibosh on our best laid plans. FYI, J. C. this is not how to win converts. Dear Lord, I'm left holding a bag of lemons in one hand and sour grapes in the other. Lemonade anyone?
So Goldie, our intrepid Lazy Daze antique motorhome, has been in storage near Saint George, Utah…patiently awaiting the remainder of our Southwest Sojourn. Thinking we would be back in a month or less, we left almost everything behind in order to come home for Christmas, some of which we now needed/want, given the Drone attack on "the plan."
So instead of heading east, we headed west to Saint George in order to bail Goldie out of jail, as well as extend our warm "bath" of vitamin D. Our route took us through the wondrous Vermillion Cliffs, where we feasted on more red rocks…enough to fill hollow eyes and souls to the brim. If you are one of those people that don't believe there is an array of mood and energy amongst different colors, then you haven't been to Sedona, Vermillion Cliffs, or Vally of Fire.
We stopped for a pee break at Navajo Bridge, and found the restrooms locked…not a problem for me, but Bobbie, well, she needs a bigger bush. There are actually two bridges side by side…one narrow that was the old road, and one "newer" and wider to better handle traffic. They both span the Colorado River, a green worm, slowly burrowing its way through hundreds of feet of sandstone millimeter by millimeter, day in day out. Near the end of the bridges we spied a vulture-like bird sunning himself on a steel beam. We believed it to be a California Condor, as this was their original habitat before being reduced from millions to less than twenty at the hands of "shooters" and lead poisoning…presumably from ingestion of spent buckshot. Mature Condors have bald heads…a hygiene adaptation because they often feed on long-dead rotting meat and must stick their heads into maggot infested carcasses in order to get at the meat. This led us to believe that our Condor was "immature."
We skirted around the Grandest of all Canyons, following an asphalt snake up, up, up into thin, cold air, through well spaced ponderosa pine forests strangely absent from snow, last years grass lifeless, flaxen, smushed from the weight of an early retreated winter, now soft and muddy and primed for spring...trampled and fertilized by thousands of elk and deer. On through Jacob's Lake, open but deserted, campground closed—to impending switchbacks that briefly overlook another asphalt snake and Utah's vast Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, its rojo rock juxtaposed against cobalt sky. Slipstreaming now, down, down, down the snake, past Polygamy Town with its sprawling 20 bedroom houses, subdued harems of women in long, long dresses, hair in buns and tucked away under white bonnets; and finally into the familiar mood and energy of Zion's grandeur, to Goldie, awaiting just as we left her, safe and sound.