Tuesday, March 24, 2015

IN SEARCH OF A PLACE CALLED GEMINI BRIDGES

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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. 

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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.

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ONE OF THE JEEP ROADS WE FOLLOWED THIS MORNING SUDDENLY DISAPPEARED STEEPLY DOWN INTO THIS DEEP NARROW CANYON

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<<< 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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A VERY LARGE & DANGEROUS HOLE IN THE ROCK

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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.

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LOOKING OVER THE EDGE INTO THE CANYON BELOW

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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WE BEGIN CLIMBING A POWDERY DIRT ROAD WITH STEEP DROP-OFFS ALL THE WAY ON THE PASSENGER SIDE

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HEAVY TRAFFIC COMING THE OTHER WAY

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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.

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KELLY HAS A TIGHT GRIP ON THE JEEP

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THAT JEEP’S CLINGING TO THE INSIDE

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A BIG ‘THANKS FOR PULLING OVER’ WAVE FROM A FELLOW JEEPER

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‘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:))

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LARGE PARKING AREA FOR OFF-LOADING ATV’S, DIRT BIKES ETC AT THE JUNCTION OF HIGHWAY 191 & ROAD 118

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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. 

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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:))

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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."

23 comments:

  1. I am wondering----with the driver having to pay close attention to staying on the road---and watching out for oncoming traffic---and the passenger holding on for dear life--- who was taking the pictures? I know Pheebes is wonderful, but...????

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  2. We did Gemini Bridges a year ago almost to the day in a full sized truck....I nearly had a coronary. But it was a gorgeous drive and your pictures brought back wonderful memories. That is one of the beauties of writing a blog.... We can revisit the memories complete with pictures anytime.

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  3. Some absolutely amazing country out there. You captured it beautifully'
    Nina

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  4. Oh NO!! Far too scary for me - I did enjoy the pics even so - glad someone is game enough to go , so I can sit in comfort & look. Kelly is very brave....cheers

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  5. Bayfield Bunch: you have been in my favorite area of the Southwest. The beauty always astounds me. If I thought of it a day ago I would have suggested you ride the Schaefer Trail down to the crossroad and take a left This road goes right by the Potash beds and is a great ride. I have ridden the entire Canyonlands trail system on a mountain bike, camping along the way.
    Thanks for the memories.

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  6. No my kind of tour either, but nice to see all your awesome pictures.

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  7. Great photos! That is some beautiful country around Moab. The road looks pretty scary near the edge....

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  8. Boy, you sure get in to some spectacular country! Great photos! Your comments remind me of the passenger when we were driving on the wrong side of the road in England, which I was ok with but the passenger not!

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  9. You know, we've never been there, but that sounds and looks like an interesting place! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. So much fun, Al, and great photos! I have done the Shaeffer Trail, but never found the amazing road you did. I laughed out loud at Kelly's hand on the handle, that would be me too if I wasn't driving. One last thought. The only saving grace about slickrock is that it isn't slick. Like rough sandpaper that grabs the soles of your shoes so you can walk up almost vertical slopes. I would imagine that guy died doing something in a vehicle, rather than walking on slickrock.

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  11. Another great day trip! Love the pics around the Bridges, but had to scroll past the ones looking down in the hole - nope!! I'm afraid I used to be one of those too fast ATVers, but we were never around any other people where we rode (that was a good excuse at the time). That is quite the road out the other side - Kelly must have nerves of steel, I can't even do the passenger seat in the motorhome!

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  12. Well, I for one am sure glad you and the gang got out today for a road trip--great photos! Larry and Geri took us to Gemini Bridges last spring and I had the same feelings as you did--it's a long way to the bottom!

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  13. What a great jeep day. Glad I was able to go along.

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  14. wIs know we have a Jeep, but that kind of road is way to scary for me. Especially when traffic is going both ways.

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  15. What a great drive, we haven't been to Moab but Gemini Bridges is another reason to go. Beautiful!

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  16. I can hardly wait to get back to Moab in May...my heart was pounding! I just love Moab, as you already know, and have enjoyed the ride you and Kelly did many times. We even share the same pictures. I would so love to be there when you and Kelly are there too...we could have "kissed" Gooney Bird!

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  17. Here's the info on the dead guy:

    "A 19-year-old Park City man was killed when his vehicle plunged off a cliff due to apparent brake failure.

    Killed was:Beau James Daley, 19, Park City

    Daley was driving at Gemini Twin Bridges, 15 miles northwest of Moab, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., when witnesses said the brakes on his jeep failed as he approached the rock bridge, Grand County sheriff's deputy Archie Walker said.

    Because of the failure, Daley couldn't stop and fell 155 feet off the outer bridge, he said.

    Daley was pronounced dead at the scene."

    Drive carefully!

    Pat

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  18. Do NOT like those roads, and we have been on many...Like Kelly, I was white knuckled being on the "cliff" side of that deal...In Denali when we went to Alaska, you have to take the tour bus..You can only drive in so far..and the "tour bus" is an old school bus..talk about white knuckled, when 2 buses had to pass each other on that road, I was doing "Hail Marys"..and I'm not even Catholic!! I love your photos...Hmmmm...If I were you, I might be looking for another little vacation home near Moab..

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  19. Oh Al your pictures are just so fantastic. The color is simply amazing. Those canyon walls are so steep, so straight down. Love your closing shot. I'm amazed that you only take 145 pictures to come up with so many fabulous ones. You sure know how to deal with the sun better than I do. When we were at Arches and Canyonlands we were just mesmerized by the scenery and color but I don't think we ever even went in to Moab.

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  20. The uphill vehicle has the right of way but most people don't know that...Love the snowy mountains shot at the end..

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  21. I love your photos but I don't think I will ever drive roads like that again. I just don't have the heart for heights and steep drop offs anymore.

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  22. Sure makes me wish I had a jeep. And maybe a driver so I could be taking the photos. Looks like some more fun roads down below Gemini Bridges. Can hardly wait to return to this land.

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  23. I don't like the heights and could not do that "look see" down the hole. but I think we could do that road in our little Tracker and I would enjoy that part... . holding on tight to the handle like Kelly, but still enjoying the rambling ride!
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
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