Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 8

This was our last full day of our vacation. Tomorrow we will be heading home. We had decided to schedule an extra day in Kanab so that we could relax and do some things around that area that are fun and interesting to do. Ann wasn't feeling well in the morning so she said she'd be fine if I just took off and did some four-wheeling, which I did. I chose a route called John R. Flat Road, which was supposed to have a rating of 5 in difficulty if I started from the west, and if I started from the east it would be a 4. I decided to start from the east, and then if that went well, to try and climb the hill from the west--that had a 5 rating. Fives require high clearance four wheel drive vehicles, and usually have some rocks that are at least 9 inches high in the road that need to be negotiated. The rest of the road was driving through sand, so I had to take some air out of my tires. Though there were some nice views along the way (this route is near the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument), most of it was sandy roads through junipers.
Most of the way was a sandy road through sagebrush and junipers.
After driving through the sand for nine miles, with no problems, I finally got to the west end where the hard part was. Going down it was a piece of cake. There were two routes, both were supposed to be equally hard, but the route on the right looked easier, so I tried that first. There were some ledges, but I easily negotiated this road and made it to the bottom without trouble. I went back up the same route with no trouble. Then I decided to try the left route that looked tougher. It was tougher, with a couple of ledges that were pretty high that I needed to drop from, one right after the other. When I tried to go back up, I got stuck in the deep sand at the bottom of the ledges and had to back up. I found that I had accidentally shifted back into two-wheel drive. No wonder I bogged down! I shifted into low-range four-wheel drive, second gear, and made it up without a problem. I came down the same way once again. It sure was fun!
After that, Ann and I went to lunch, then went on a drive up Johnson Canyon Road, which skirted the western edge of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It was pretty along that edge for a few miles, and then we left the Monument area and were once again driving through junipers.
We went back, played backgammon (which we were both relearning because it had been years since we'd played), then I took a nap. We each had a salad for dinner.
When dinner was done, I went out into the darkness and experimented with taking some pics of the stars. Here is my best one:
That's it. I didn't have my best tripod, so I was wedging the camera with a jacket trying to get pics of the Milky Way. It didn't turn out as good as I'd hoped, but for my first real attempt, I was fairly pleased. They say also that the best time to take pics of the Milky Way is in the summer, because it "rises" in the wee hours of the morning in the winter. I will give it another try in the summer for sure.

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