Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Beeline to Goosenecks State Park

When Steven and I arrived at the ranch last year in early November, we had no idea that it would be after Easter before we said our goodbyes and began our trek back to the northwest. We assumed we'd be on our way shortly after Christmas, boondocking in the desert southwest for several weeks before turning north. But my dental appointments kept us in the area far longer than we had anticipated.

Though we would not have planned it this way, in the end, we realized how well it worked out and just how much more traveling we were able to do. With the ranch as our center of all things, we branched out in every direction possible. We had an amazing winter and early spring filled with new destinations, beautiful sights and unforgettable experiences. The icing on the cake was the time we got to spend with my family. All-in-all, it was just about perfect.

Fun with Buzzy at the ranch and an aerial shot of the ranch with Scoopy.


Steven and Tara did a fun photo shoot before she left.

In between final appointments, we managed to get Scoopy's new water pump installed and put Tara on a plane back to San Diego. Just six days after returning to the ranch from our northern swing, we waved goodbye one more time to my parents and the dogs, Luke and Maddie. We will return to the ranch in November, but there is so much traveling to be done between now and then, and we were really excited to get going!


Luke wishes he could go too.

Tara heads home to San Diego.

Earlier, when we had to cancel our plans to go boondocking with friends Clarke and Elaine Hockwald, we thought that opportunity was lost. Then we realized with a little tweak to our schedule and a beeline out of Texas and through New Mexico, we could meet up for a couple of days of boondocking at Goosenecks State Park in southern Utah just outside a little town called Mexican Hat.

The rock(s) that give Mexican Hat its name.

On the way to Goosenecks, we stayed one overnight in Santa Rosa, NM before moving on to Farmington, where we stayed a couple of nights so that Steven would have the opportunity to photograph the massive rock structure known as Shiprock. We stayed at the Elks Lodge in Farmington, which turned out to be kind of awesome. It's located high on a hill overlooking town, so if you get the front site, you get a great view.

We couldn’t pass through Albuquerque without a stop at TJs. Wine, boo! Basil, yay!


Scoopy arrives at the Elk's Lodge.

Our awesome view in Farmington.


Toadie approves of the view of Shiprock.

A raven very kindly poses for his closeup with Shiprock.

When we departed the lodge heading to Goosenecks State Park, we anticipated about a two and a half hour drive. But for some reason I can't even begin to explain, we took a turn south out of Shiprock and almost made it to Gallup before we realized our mistake. Yeah. Not wanting to backtrack, I figured we could just turn around and take any one of the numerous left-hand turns off the highway and that would eventually hook up back up where we needed to be.

In theory, that was a good plan. In actuality, it was not. I mean, it turned out okay, it's just that it didn't even cross my mind that in order to meet up with the highway we wanted to be on, we first had to cross a mountain pass that would put us above 10,000 feet and the snowline. On the one hand, it was kind of a grind to drive, but on the other, it was beautiful. Nonetheless, it put us a couple of hours behind schedule and added a whole bunch of unnecessary miles to our trip. Oh, well. Good thing we're retired.

Uh, the altimeter says we are at 10,000 feet!

We finally rolled into Goosenecks S.P and were met by Clarke. He gave us the lowdown on the available sites, and we picked the very one we were stopped in. If you had told me that I'd park 30 feet away from a 1,000 foot drop-off with a windstorm on the way, I'd have LOL’d. But that's exactly what we did. The winds were ferocious the first night, but calmed for the remainder of our stay.

You can see Scoopy's proximity to the cliff edge.

An aerial shot showing Goosenecks in the background.


There were so many gorgeous views here!

The light changed by the minute creating all sorts of drama.

Steven was in photography heaven at Goosnecks.

What a treat it was to see Clarke and Elaine again! We first met them not long after we hit the road late last summer, when they were lighthouse hosts at Cape Blanco in Port Orford, OR. We just knew we would enjoy spending time with them and looked for that opportunity during our travels. They were on their way south for Elaine's dental appointment, but had two more days at Goosenecks SP. We were lucky to connect with them even for just a couple of days. We had a lot of fun yakking and eating (and drinking, of course) and generally enjoying each others company. We look forward to catching up with them again somewhere during our travels.

Clarke and Elaine's setup at sunrise.

The gang - together at last!

Goosenecks S.P. is located just north of Monument Valley. We took advantage of that and made several trips through the valley. We also took a tour so that we could get up close and personal with the monuments. The trip was so jarring, I racked up over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit just by carrying it in my pocket! (Fitbit friends - is that cheating??)
Some of the unforgettable sights in and around Monument Valley.
We stayed only one more night after Clarke and Elaine departed, then made our way north. More on that in our next blog!

Scoopy says goodbye to Clarke and Elaine.

As usual, Steven put together some beautiful photographic blogs documenting the sights. Take a look by clicking on the pictures below:



  1. LOL over the Fitbit. That is between you and your conscience, Linda. :)

    1. Imma let that 10,000 stand. It took a lot of core work to stay upright in that bouncy vehicle. I feel I've earned it. :)

  2. Longer stays and longer routes - ain't retirement grand? Of course you were able to make the best of both :-) We took a road trip a couple years ago through that area and although we didn't go to Gooseneck, the rest of it was incredible. It's not hard to imagine why the native population honor the spirituality of the place. So glad you were able to hook up with friends for a couple days of fun!!

  3. Since you reposted it as "test", the post shows up in my blogroll as a current entry rather than down the queue as it did before. However, it just now "populated" with the actual post. Last night I got your blog but no post entry. Hope that helps :-)

    1. It's that stupid Live Writer issue! Like everyone else, we're in there trying to see what we can and can't do. Steven published a "test", not realizing it sends out notification and rises to the top of blogrolls. :)