Call My Bluff
Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
51Trip End May 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
In the car
What I did
Got heat exhaustion
KK: After three days camping we moved into a motel. With a telly. And a bed. And air-con. Sat on the bed and watched the David Haye fight then the Wimbledon final. With clean clothes on. Oh the unbridled luxury.
LK: Went out to celebrate Cameron's birthday with delicious buffalo burgers and beer. Retired to said motel with telly to watch the new series of True Blood while quaffing a bottle of Bogle Petit Syrah (bought for just over $7, ie. less than £5). Cheers Liam.
KK: Yum yum yum.
Monday 4 July – Happy Birthday America
LK: Up bright and early to do a morning’s rafting down the Colorado River
KK: Our guide, John, was terrific, informative without trying to whoop it up. Telling us things like how John Ford came to shoot the John Wayne films "Rio Grande" and “The Comancheros” in the area. Even the safety instructions were informative what with people actually dying while rafting on this river – this year. Not on the bit we were doing though. It was still a bit hairy mind, LK had expressed doubts about doing it but the first time the raft pitched up and down she got drenched and just started laughing.
LK: Sadly, no opportunities presented themselves for me to laugh at KK, as he miraculously stayed dry-ish throughout the journey. Our co-passengers, Irene and Eric, were great company and the morning sped over.
KK: Irene asked John where he ate in Moab – turned out to be a damn interesting question and answer. The guides are not well paid and live behind the company office. John is in a tent for three months, others are sleeping in a bus, on a dry-docked boat or in trailers
LK: We did anyway. OOOH, AAAH.
Tuesday 5 July
LK: Canyonlands National Park was next on our agenda. But the Island in the Sky part of the park was north of Moab. This would mean travelling back through Moab on the way south. We didn’t think we’d done with Moab yet, or it with us, so another night camping here couldn’t do any harm? As ever, the landscape was awesome, if somewhat vertiginous (for me anyway) as we did a mile long cliff edge walk to peer down onto the most amazing rock formations. It had rained the night before and even though we had DEETed up, there was a plague of bothersome insects following us (pay attention, this will be relevant later).
KK: The place John recommended was Milt’s, an old American burger bar
Wednesday 6 July
KK: It was a hot night, too hot to sleep well, especially on a Milt’s supper. Somewhat remarkably I had been sleeping better on the hard camp ground than in the motel bed (it must be my inner tramp) but the day’s heat barely diminished as night fell. We woke early from a fitful sleep with LK’s wrist swollen from her bite.
LK: We had another section of Canyonlands to visit on the way south, but I promised myself that we would call into a pharmacy at the next available town. In Canyonlands, we embarked on the Cave Spring hike in the Needles area of the park. Quite honestly, it was spooky – overhanging rocks created sheltered areas where evidence of abandoned cowboy living areas could still be seen, and you didn’t know what could be waiting around the next corner
KK: We were the only people there at first as well, climbing up ladders, dropping down off boulders, back under the overhang – “look at that!” says LK at a big old kitty footprint in the sand. Excited or terrified? Hard to tell really – in retrospect we would have liked to have seen a cougar/puma/mountain lion (same thing) but not having-to-smack-it-with- a-rucksack close. There was a ten mile walk to see the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers through tricky twisting canyon footpaths. We were tempted... maybe next time.
LK: More prosaic matters were calling and we found a lovely pharmacist, with a well-groomed fabulous assistant, in Blanding. He advised strong anti-histamine tablets (I was out of it for the rest of the day) and also a visit to a doctor’s drop-in centre in Cortez the next day to get antibiotics if the rash was spreading down my arm (it already was)
KK: Found a campsite in Bluff, $17 for the night – that’ll do the budget the world of good. Except we found it just after lunch and the heat was intense. We wandered around a reconstructed Mormon settlement presided over by a twitchy woman while LK’s tablets kicked in. It was the only thing to look at in town. The car was too hot to touch. The tent was a little greenhouse. We could get a shower but as soon as you got out of it you started sweating again. Cranked up the air con in the car, LK slept, I went for a walk. We drove down to the Twin Rocks Cafe.
LK: Which was blessed with air conditioning and a kindly waitress offering iced water. We ordered Navajo Tacos which was a very hearty meal of chilli vegetables/meat piled on top of Navajo fry bread (oh, my waist). Then we spent a while grinning at the gorgeous green hummingbirds visiting the sugar water feeders outside the cafe.
KK: We sat outside the tent digesting, while our neighbours, a French couple, stropped at each other then drove off. The sun dropped behind the mountains and we waited for it to get cooler. It didn’t, even when the storm broke. The wind whipped up and our Walmart tent flapped like a Scottish goalkeeper at a corner. Lightning cracked across the sky – the loudest thunder I have ever heard grumbled like a vengeful god. We were camped under a tree – is that a good idea? We got in the car –LK, whacked out on insect-drugs, slipped into a deep sleep while I watched the rain thrash against the windscreen.