It’s Just Another Hoodoo

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Holding up the Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park

Reflections of 4 Months Gone

When we last wrote, more than a month ago, we were writing about a journey of 2 months in the making and here we are, double that time on the road.  Much has happened since we wrote on March 2, which was just after leaving New Orleans and Mardi Gras. In the intervening time, we have traveled from Louisiana to Texas to New Mexico to Arizona to Utah and to Grand Junction, Colorado where we are resting as of this writing.  Not only have we added 5 states to our US Sticker Map but we have added a lot of miles, learning, self knowledge and joy. We have also had some real adjustments to life on the road and we will share those later when our thoughts are more organized.

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Our US Sticker Map includes states visited from the date of retirement until present

Sometime between Louisiana and Colorado, we realized we had put more than 10,000 miles on Gertie since leaving Maryland on December 26, 2016.  Had we used those 10,000 miles to drive straight from Maryland to Alaska and then from Alaska to Panama, we would be in Panama by now.  Within those 10,000 miles (which are really 14,000+ at this time), we have stayed in a LOT of campgrounds in a LOT of places, and so on.

Since we were amused and somewhat surprised by some of what we realized about the magnitude of this undertaking, we wonder whether, you, too, will be amused and somewhat amazed by some of what we subsequently cataloged about this trip.  So, here goes:

  • Total Number of miles driven: 14,000+ miles
  • Total Number of States Entered: 15
  • Total Number of Places Stayed/Accommodations:  48 (5 Hiltons, 16 private homes/campgrounds, 5 City/County campgrounds, 17 State campgrounds, 5 federal campgrounds)
  • Number of oil changes on the trip (not counting one done pre-trip):   3
  • Number of observed snow falls: 3
  • Number of crossings into Mexico:  2
  • Favorite new purchases along the trip (in no particular order):
    •      Portable storage tank (dubbed the Honey Pot by a fellow traveler)
    •      Digital TV antenna (reliably finds local channels for news and weather)
    •      Small electric coffee pot (gave ours away pretrip and bought another one            to avoid the daily challenge of cleaning coffee grounds from the French press)
    •      Zero gravity lounge chairs
    •      Wolfie
    •      New mattress for Wolfie
  • Number of National Parks visited so far (not counting National Monuments or Presidential Libraries): Great Smoky, Mammoth Cave, Everglades, Big Bend, Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef and Arches
  • Lowest gas price paid: $1.75 (Texas or Louisiana)
  • Highest gas price: $2.89 in Big Bend National Park and $4.79 just north of Moab, UT where the price didn’t display until Roque started to pump the gas (!)
  • Highest elevation with Gertie alone: 9100′ at Rainbow Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Highest elevation with Gertie and Wolfie:  9612′ on Utah 12 en route to Torrey, UT
  • Number of time changes: 5 (2 time zones and 3 changes to and from Daylight savings time)
  • Number of post cards sent to grandchildren: 40+
  • Number of quarters used for laundry: approximately 270
  • Most challenging road: Utah RT 12 between Bryce Canyon National Park/Kodachrome Basin State Park and Torrey, UT (next to Capital Reef National Park). At points, the road traveled on top of a mountain ridge with drop offs in both direction
  • Highest temperature: 98 in Big Bend
  • Lowest temperature: 18 in Santa Fe
  • Holidays celebrated (not counting federal holidays such as MLK’s birthday and President’s Day): New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Sharon’s birthday, Passover and Easter
  • Number of ice cream scoops: 0
  • Number of bagels consumed after leaving Florida: 2
  • Best grocery stores visited: H-E-B and Whole Foods in Austin; City Market and Sprouts in Grand Junction, CO
  • Number of bottles of body wash used:  2
  • Number of times we have eaten sushi: 0
  • Number of stickers on Gertie: 33
  • Number of hiking boot laces replaced: 4 (2 pair total)
  • Number of times shopped at Walmart: more than once

Note about shopping at Walmart:  We prefer to shop local and to avoid Walmart.  Despite this preference, there have been times when we literally had no choice BUT to shop at Walmart. Whether Walmart has driven out the local Mom-and-Pop’s or whether Walmart entered markets where no other competition exists, alas, there are times when they are the only game in town . . .

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Wolfie’s sticker collection

What the Heck is a Hoodoo (and why it matters)

After we departed Dallas on the road toward Big Bend National Park, we entered a series of landscapes that were mostly characterized as dusty, arid, scrubby, and rocky.  Throughout southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, there were huge variations on this theme but the basic geology, at least to these untrained eyes, remained the same.  Our visits to the various state and national parks in these states have taught us about the events that occurred millions and millions of years ago to the land that became the Colorado Plateau – land that is located in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.  The Colorado Plateau is the home of the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks and numerous other monuments, state parks and various other protected land within these states.  Through collision, folding, rising and erosion, the Colorado Plateau not only produced these park lands but the broad range of geological structures that include canyons, arches, walls and hoodoos.

“A hoodoo (also called a tent rockfairy chimney or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland.”  Wikipedia Definition of Hoodoo.  Like most of you, we had never heard the term before we entered Arizona and Utah – at least with reference to rock structures.  By the time we entered Colorado, however, we could spot a hoodoo miles away and after weeks of exposure to the majesty of some of this country’s most dramatic and beautiful landforms, we may have become a little blasé about these magnificent scenes.  Of course, we have continued to take photo after photo (many of them posted and shared on our Facebook Boots and Coffee page if you are interested) and yet, we caught ourselves recently remarking, as we drove along the Colorado River scenic drive between Grand Junction and Parachute, CO, “Oh. It’s just another hoodoo.”

Whether the cataloging of “events” and “stats” above is remarkable or not, it is just our life on this journey.  Many people who we have met along the road are enthralled/amazed/excited by or perhaps even wary of us when we share our plans for this trip.  Many of our family members and friends reacted similarly as they heard of our plans.  To us, however, these “stats” and more are just how we are living.  It’s just another hoodoo to us.

 

 

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Hoodoos (galore) at Bryce Canyon
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Big Wall Climbers – Zion
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Boots and Red Rocks
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Navajo Loop hiking trail – Bryce

 

 

Our Current Location

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4 thoughts on “It’s Just Another Hoodoo

    1. We keep running notes on certain things over time but don’t track anything that closely . . . We had plans to,track our finances to share with those planning a similar trip but it is just too much work!

      Liked by 1 person

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