Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Navajo Lake, New Mexico to Page, Arizona

About an hour before sunrise I woke up to zip up my sleeping bag all the way and pull it over my head. It was cold. We were sleeping at 6,000 feet in elevation. I really wanted to put on my fleece but I was too lazy to crawl out from the sleeping bag and put it on and I knew that I was getting up at sun rise anyway, which wasn’t too long. My alarm went off in the early morning but there was no sun yet so I re-set it for a later time and when it went off again still no sun, the last time it went off the sun was already at the horizon. I jetted out of the tent, grabbed the camera and headed for the lake to capture some pictures of the sun rise but the sun was way over the horizon by the time I climbed down to the water. The air was still chilly, but not for long, with each half hour it became warmer and warmer.

Sunrise at Navajo Lake

A beautiful morning at the camp site

When I got back to the camp site, Sandy informed me that when she got up she found a small praying mantis inside her tent, how bizarre. The camp bathroom had free warm showers, although there were only two showers in the woman’s bathroom and one of them didn’t work really well. We got cleaned up, packed up and left by 11AM. This setting up and tearing down of the camp site does take some time but camping is just so much fun.

See the car driving on the road that goes to the Navajo Dam? In the picture below, we're on that road

On the Navajo Dam road

One has to be very careful not too go over the cliff

Twisties near Navajo Dam

Navajo Dam

A washed out road

Looking down a the road that goes to the camp site

It was a magnificent day already. We rode up towards the Navajo Dam to take some pictures, but since we didn’t spend the night in Mesa Verde I had to look at the map and adjust the route, I wanted to make it easy and quick; we were still behind, so we took 64 out. There was a bit of traffic on this road through New Mexico, but once we got in to Arizona the roads opened up a bit. With the open roads our speed increased also. Sandy was running a radar detector and I was leading on this trip, so I was watching her in my mirrors, if she backed down, I did too. of course I had no idea Sandy didn’t have the radar detector on right now. I went to pass a SUV swiftly and got back in to my lane just to find out there was a police car approaching in the near distance, hiding behind some other cars. Then he put his lights on. Sandy just finished her pass when I looked in my mirror to watch him turn around, but he didn’t. We got lucky. Sandy did turn her radar detector on right away and just in time too, two more police cars were heading in the other direction 5 minutes later.

Under state under our belt

A thief stealing a granola bar at a gas stop

Cool rock formations along 160

An abandoned building - time to investigate

Yea, the place has a door, but what fun is that

I had to be careful, the floor had collapsed in a few places

Storm building outside the window in the distance

So the whole time we’re riding, we’re watching and admiring this storm in the distance. As the road turned, it would be to the left of us and then sometimes to the right and then it would be ahead of us. For about an hour we watched it dance in the distance, big menacing dark clouds and spectacular lightning. Once we turned on to 98 North we started to get close to it, so close you could see water falling in sheets to the ground from the dark clouds. Then we started to smell the rain, this was the smell of dry earth sucking up moisture, we knew then we couldn’t escape it. We rode right into it, it got gusty and cold right away, the rain drops were big and even painful at times as I felt them through my textile jacket. Then close to Page, AZ we rode out through the other side of the storm, and back in to the heat and sunshine. The closer we got to the city the hotter it got, in town it must have been in the upper80’s or low 90’s.

We wanted to call some of the campsites and get more information about them but none of the phone numbers we had worked so we just got on the bikes and rode toward the Wahweap marina and campsite, stopping at the Glen Canyon Dam for pictures. It cost us $7 to enter the Glen Canyon Recreational Area, this road used to be free back in the day when I used to come out here, now it was a national park. Back then there was no marina, and there wasn’t a lot of motorized boats here either, the lake was peaceful and serene. In the late 80’s and early 90’s I remembered camping at Lake Powel and not seeing another person for days. Those were the days. Now it’s all built up.

Glen Canyon Dam

Lake Powell

Camping at the Wahweap cost us $19 for one camp site. For dinner we bought some wood, salsa, tortilla chips, turkey franks and hot dog buns at the camp store, then schlepped all that stuff to our camp site on our bikes. The sun was low on the horizon so we needed to hurry and set up our tents but first we needed to park our bikes. Although the road to the camp site was paved, the parking spots were sand, both Sandy and I tried backing her bike in to the sand pit, but we were having a lot of difficulties, even with the both of us. Our neighbor next door was watching and came over to help. He used to race motocross and seemed familiar with motorbikes. He parked our bikes pretty quick, backing them in so we could ride right out tomorrow morning.

Getting supplies at the camp store

Wahweap camp site

It was another great night for camping, clear skies, mid 70’s all night. The only thing bad about this camp site was the sand, it was everywhere, in our tents and in our sleeping bags, but it was so beautiful here that I didn’t even care, we could see the lake in the distance from our camp site, the moon hung above us like a giant lamp. The bathroom was near by also but the showers were a short walk near the camp store, and they were $2 for 15 minutes.


Sandy got the fire going, I looked for sticks that I could cut and make skewers out off. Yea, you can’t get this close to nature at a Super 8, camping was awesome. After dinner we were beat and went to bed. I set the alarm clock again, knowing now when exactly the sun would come up, I was going to be ready to watch the sun rise tomorrow morning.

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