We had a lot of ground to cover today so we were into the Jeep early & headed to Moab with the heater on full on. Time was 7:25 a.m. & the Jeep’s outside thermometer said it was 33F. We went from freezing our Tooshes’ off to Hawaiian temperatures in a matter of minutes. Noticed we are going to have a couple hefty long grades to get over Wednesday morning on our way to Moab. Too help out Kelly will drive the Jeep separately to north of Moab where we’ll hook it back up to the rig before heading off to our early Thursday morning garage appointment in Grand Junction Colorado.
ALWAYS HAVE TO AWARE OF THE LOCALS OUT HERE IN THE WEST
Even at the time of morning we drove through Moab it was busy so we just motored right on through & out the other side. Somebody, & I can’t remember who, told us recently of a great Jeep road making a big loop around the northwestern side of Moab. I remembered the west end of the dirt road section was out around Dead Horst Point State Park so that is where we headed.
ONE OF THE JEEP ROADS WE FOLLOWED THIS MORNING SUDDENLY DISAPPEARED STEEPLY DOWN INTO THIS DEEP NARROW CANYON
<<< PHEEBS & I WALKED A SHORT DISTANCE DOWN THE ROAD TO SEE IF IT WAS DOABLE
Took us a bit of looking & a couple trips down 2 dead end dusty back roads with one leading into a blind canyon & the other to an oil drilling operation but that’s Okay because that is what makes for adventurous drives. Especially the blind canyon road which we opted not to follow any further.
AFTER MAKING A U-TURN AT THAT YELLOW SIGN IN UPPER LEFT WE MADE OUR WAY BACK OUT OF THE CANYON & I STOPPED UP TOP & WALKED OVER TO THE EDGE TO SEE IF I COULD SEE WHERE THE ROAD WENT
NOPE, THE ROAD DISAPPEARED & I COULD SEE NO SIGN OF IT FURTHER DOWN THE CANYON
On highway 313 I remembered passing a road called Gemini Bridges & figured that must have been the one these folks took so we backtracked a bit & got ourselves onto the right road which has the number 118. Only thing not on our side today was the weather. Had a high thin cloud cover so the landscape colors were not popping however for photography purposes it was actually better lighting than bright contrasty sunlight in many ways.
ANOTHER DEAD END ROAD LED US TO THIS OIL DRILLING OPERATION
A lot of tent camping spots in the area we traveled through with one road having the name, ‘Metal Masher.’ Dirt Bikes & ATV’s suggesting maybe a younger crowd. We finally made it to a sign pointing up a short road to Gemini Bridges so in we went & shut er down for a leg stretch. We had no idea what Gemini Bridges was until we read a reader board & I decided to take a short walk to what appeared to be the rim of a large canyon. Kelly stayed with Pheebs & put her on a leash.
A VERY LARGE & DANGEROUS HOLE IN THE ROCK
THESE ARE THE 2 GEMINI BRIDGES ACROSS THE CHASMS BELOW
Heard a gaggle of people coming along the trail ahead of me & had to dodge behind a big rock until they passed. It’s nature I want to see, not people. Didn’t take me long to come across a most amazing spot. Two large openings in the rock with drops of a couple hundred feet to the bottom of each one. Two miniature canyons which reminded me of a much smaller version of Canyon De Chelly. It was immediately apparent this was a very dangerous area as the hard rock surface gently sloped down to the canyon rim. On a rainy day someone with ordinary walking shoes could easily slip on this rock then roll the short few feet & topple over the canyon’s rim. The fall would be fatal. It even gave me Goose bumps as I carefully edged up to the rim for a few photos.
LOOKING OVER THE EDGE INTO THE CANYON BELOW
ONE SURE HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE ONE IS WALKING HERE
Two narrow rock formations ran between these 2 small but deep canyons & I could see right away where the name Gemini came from. Anyone familiar with the night sky knows of the constellation Gemini. The constellation consists of 2 stars, Castor & Pollux. In the natural rock bridge over the canyon below there was a narrow opening in the center which in effect made it 2 bridges across. A really cool beans place for sure & I took me a bunch of photos of course.
It was while taking my photos I noticed a bronze plaque imbedded right into the side of a large boulder. It was dedicated to someone who had died at this spot. Not surprising when you can see how anyone or any animal could so easily fall over the sloping rims of these two small deep canyons. I also did see 2 locations where metal pins were anchored into the rock & I am assuming they are anchors for people repelling down into the canyons for whatever reason.
I was soon back to the parking lot where Pheebs & Kelly were waiting & we resumed our trek east on the Jeep road. A sign warned of a rough road ahead & suggested 4 wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. Up to the Gemini Bridges point the road had been relatively tame but that soon changed as we began getting into the good stuff. Bone jarring ruts, tight corners, short sharp grades up & down with lots of dust to boot. However, the main troublesome thing on the road was nothing Mother Nature offered but what the human factor had to offer. Young kids on dirt bikes coming the other way driving waaaaay too fast. Met a lot of ATV’s. Some with responsible driver’s & others once again driving carelessly & going way too fast.
Lots of great scenery along the way & as we approached the eastern side of the ride the road kinda tamed down again & I thought that was about it & we’d be at highway 191 shortly. Well we got to highway 191 alright but road 118 had saved the best for last & that became very evident as we began ascending a steep dusty dirt road climbing up the side of a cliff face. This Jeep ride got very exciting very quickly & from the gasps & sighs coming from the passenger seat I knew it was going to be a nail biter.
WE BEGIN CLIMBING A POWDERY DIRT ROAD WITH STEEP DROP-OFFS ALL THE WAY ON THE PASSENGER SIDE
HEAVY TRAFFIC COMING THE OTHER WAY
Like I have said before, narrow mountain roads are much easier for the driver of a vehicle than it is for the passenger. The driver is in control & knows what he is doing but a passenger is totally at the mercy of not knowing what the driver is doing or thinking. Today climbing that narrow road up the mountain Kelly was on the cliff side & that just makes things even more scary. This steep road with it’s tight blind corners in many places is not wide enough for two vehicles to pass so it’s up to the discretion of the two opposing drivers who can back up easily & safely enough. Luckily I got my back-up license many many years ago & am totally comfortable doing it so I never hesitate to back up & give the other guy the right away.
KELLY HAS A TIGHT GRIP ON THE JEEP
THAT JEEP’S CLINGING TO THE INSIDE
A BIG ‘THANKS FOR PULLING OVER’ WAVE FROM A FELLOW JEEPER
‘OH NO’ WHERE DID MY PASSENGER GO????
We could finally see traffic far below moving along highway 191 & after a number of pull-overs to let other folks get by we finally found our way bumping down the other side of the long mountain grade. If one does not have a fear of heights I would recommend this great Jeep drive for anyone & for anyone wanting to get their adrenalin pumping in a hurry I would suggest you do this road from east to west meaning exit off highway 191 north of Moab onto road 118 & begin your journey from there. Neat-O:))
LARGE PARKING AREA FOR OFF-LOADING ATV’S, DIRT BIKES ETC AT THE JUNCTION OF HIGHWAY 191 & ROAD 118
AND WE EVEN MANAGED TO STOP & PHOTO SOME FLOWERS ALONG THE WAY
With a quick stop in Moab at Burger King for a couple Whoppers & 2 coffee’s to go from McD’s next door we were soon southbound for our rig about 30 miles south of Moab. We had planned to drive out to Needles Overlook as well but we were both so tired we just said the heck with it………….and then we darn well went anyway & I’m sure glad we did. I hope to post my NEEDLES OVERLOOK photos in tomorrow night’s blog.
I think it was after 3 sometime when we finally made it back to the rig. It was a long day but it was a good day & day trips like that into new areas seeing new things is always one of my favorite things to do. With another 145 photos to edit & a blog to write there was no resting up & I got right at it. Sure beats sitting around doing nothing:))
MANTI LA SAL MOUNTAINS JUST NORTH OF US TOWARDS MOAB
GROANER’S CORNER:)) A boy, who was a witness in court, was asked by a lawyer: "Did anyone tell you what to say in court?" "Yes, sir." "I thought so! Who was it?" "My father, sir." "And what did he tell you?" "He said the lawyers would try to get me all tangled up, but if I stuck to the truth, I would be all right."