Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!

So our last update saw us in Cedar City, Utah where we’d just spent the night in a motel after a long day getting there and changing the lights on the Suburban after my little tree incident! As Ben already mentioned we’d been recommended the Burr trail east of where we were starting in a place named Boulder. With that target entered into the sat-nav we set off for Interstate 70 with the aim of making it somewhere near the start and then sleeping to take in the trail first thing in the morning. We came across Dixie National Forest and these national forests had spelt free camping in the past so decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, there were no envelopes to post the fees at a paid campsite so they didn’t get paid. I guess that makes it two free nights.

Once again a clear, sunny day spelt a very cold night at that altitude and washing up in the morning was not a fun task it had to be said! With everything taken care of, we set the heaters to gas mark 5 and headed for the start of the Burr trail. It began at first with miles of tarmac as we had been told and we took in yet more of the amazing and varied terrain that Utah had to offer. At one point, we pulled into a viewing area just off the road to pause and take photos. Or Ben did anyway, I was still feeling rather green from all the changes in altitude. Unfortunately, when we decided it was time to press on further the ‘burb didn’t feel like cooperating. When the key was turned, only the heartbreaking sound of the starter solenoid clicking could be heard – there was no chance it would start. With that I hopped out and drafted in the help of some lovely people who had not long arrived at the same spot. We were in luck – they had jump leads! Quickly we attached them and the 5.7 litre Chevy V8 soon roared into life. With that we carried on to complete the whole dirt section of the trail without turning the engine off!

Then, it was time to set off in the direction of Moab, trying to make as much progress before it got dark so we were ready to enjoy it in the morning. Parking up in lay-by for the night meant we had to turn the engine off. As soon as it turned off, the dreaded clicking was back when we tried again but after a few attempts it ran once more. Confused still, we went to sleep praying it would start again in the morning. It did, once again after a few tries!

By lunchtime, the town of Moab opened out in front of us, and after a stopping to pick up a trail guide and eat some lunch, the ‘burb was ready for its first proper test – Gemini Bridges. The trail was steep in places and Ben had to contend with people mountain biking everywhere, some sort of event was taking place that weekend. By the time this was through, we thought it best to try and find somewhere to crash as it was the weekend. We tried a few campsites but all were chocker block with people enjoying a weekend away, so we stuck into a viewing area to do some cooking under the cover of darkness and settle in for the night.

'Goony Bird' Rock

The next day we drove 3 or 4 more easy trails and I actually got behind the wheel again for the first time in a few days. The Chevy easily managed everything we threw at it – soft sand, hard packed dirt with rocky outcrops and also the infamous slickrock! We both had a hugely awesome day and the Suburban barely touched tarmac all day. Exhausted, we booked ourselves into a motel and headed into town for some good eatin’ at the Moab Grill and stuffed our faces with steak. All that was left to do was settle into our beds with the next target decided on – Denver, Colorado.

Chris =)