Canyon De Chelley


May26 2

We spent another day or two in town, taking advantage of the use of a car to zip from one place to spend money to another (another reason I don’t want a tow vehicle), and then went about figuring out where to go. There are only a couple of routes out of Albuquerque. North was my original choice, but it looked to be pretty hilly (the Rockies are pretty hilly right?), and after the brake troubles I still wasn’t quite ready to tackle anything too challenging. So west it was, which unfortunately meant a pretty boring hundred miles on the interstate. We spent a night in Gallup on Route 66—where it rained sleet for a while—and then bailed out the next day.

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Back on the small highways we cruised north and west into Navajo land, which always means stray dogs. One local mutt cost us about ten dollars worth of sausage and turkey.

Today we’re in Canyon De Chelly. The drive into this area is pretty—not spectacular. But the drive into the park changes that pretty quickly. We hiked to the White House today, which is just a couple of miles, but took us from the rim of the canyon to the floor about 800′ below. I liked the fact that before we even got started we could wander right up to the edge of the cliff that dropped straight down to the canyon floor. It always makes me happy when I’m not being fenced off and treated like a child. Granted, unroped cliffs get the heart rate going when kids are involved. Ali and I were both amazed at how our kids, and probably kids in general, have zero fear of heights. I don’t know if it’s because they just don’t grasp the concept yet, or if they haven’t developed depth perception, or what it is, but our kids would have happily balanced half their foot on the rock and half of it in midair with nothing below them but certain death. Wouldn’t have phased them one bit.

We hiked down, had a picnic and took in the White House built into a depression in the 800′ rock face, then hiked back up. Ali and I took turns carrying Lowe, who had decided he was too tired to continue. Lazy little bugger with his one-foot stride. I don’t see why he can’t keep up with us.

After hitting the top we drove further down the road to the Spider Rock lookout, which was pretty spectacular. Lowe didn’t make it the full two hundred yards, he was too distracted by driving his cars on the ledge of the walkway. He’d had enough of the views for the day, it was time to play. We drove back to the park campground where he could get serious about his cars, trucks, and trains.

On a Travco note, the brakes are working superb. Fortunately. The engine is running pretty well too, considering the elevation. I think the highest we’ve been is 7,800 feet, and while the power certainly isn’t there like it is at sea level, we’ve got enough to keep us moving. Getting up to speed takes a while, but we can cruise easily as fast as 65 if we so desire. Hills present a bit of a challenge, but downshifting to second and occasionally first (with the safety flashers going) gets us up anything. Overall I’m pretty happy. We’ve got some things to deal with eventually. The rear main seal is leaking, so oil-top-offs are a morning ritual now. The starter is also beginning to crap out. Occasionally we get a click, followed by a couple more clicks, followed by a crank. It’s pretty rare, but it’s there. And of course we’re still busting around the country with a big crack in one of the exhaust manifolds. These are all things that we’ll have to address eventually, or will be forced to deal with at some point down the road, but for now we just continue to happily go about our business.

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What the past couple of months look like.


20 Comments on “Canyon De Chelley”

  1. Steve Yoder

    Hey Pat, get ready if you’re travels take you to eastern California. I just drove the Dolphin up Hwy 395 from down south to Carson City Nevada. I tell ya, there are some grades along that route. BEAUTIFUL country but jeez-o-pete! I think I spent half the drive in 2nd gear between 25 and 30 mph. Highest pass I crossed was 8,130 feet. Poor little Toyota was struggling but she made it. Happy trails.

  2. Trent

    Wow the terrain and red dirt remind me of the
    pilbara region in my native state of Western-
    Australia, it gets very hot there, almost 50C
    sometimes, as i am sure it does in that national-
    park you went to. There are a few small differences
    in the geography, but not many. Great to see your
    wonderful children having such a great happy time. 🙂


  3. Chris

    I love this part of our beautiful country, so beautiful and for the most part, untouched. Great photos, as always.

  4. Donald and Deborah

    Love the pics, especially the kids and kids (goats) 🙂
    question ? what kind is your stereo, I dislike the ones that are 80% “streaming light show”, yours seems to not be that type.
    Thought: Your really going to be impressed with how well your motor runs when you get to Death Valley, (below sea level) I was amazed at the increased performance of my fuel injected Harley Davidson, motors love that heavy air 🙂

  5. Joe

    Awesome photographs, you truly have an eye for it.

    Just food for thought, when the time comes you may want to line up a place that will do a full late model engine/tranny swap, many of the Chevy LS truck engine packages out there with overdrive.

  6. Rik

    Mind your parking brake on those promontories! We camped on one in a van and were awakened by the motor turning over – clunk, clunk – due to the force of the wind.

    Yay for brakes… Great pics 8^)

  7. Glenn Madill

    You have bigger cojones than I have.
    Parking that close to the edge……… thanks.
    Nice to see you’re having fun.

  8. Barbara

    Such a different life than being on the water. I love RVing. New Mexico has an annual pass for $225 that gets you into all the State Parks for free (drycamping) or $4/night for elec. 14 days in, then 6 days out – or just travel to another State Park. This is my third year in NM, and I still haven’t seen all the State Parks. I’m at Storrie Lake now – you should travel to Bluewater Lake (it was on you way to Gallup) in the summer. Beautiful! Looks like you guys are having a great time. 🙂

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