July 30, 2011, Saturday
Cedar Mt to Family Butte area (day camp) & on to near Goblin Valley SP, boondocking overnight.
Left Cedar Mt about 8:30. My original plans were to drive out to Wedge Overlook to view the “Little Grand Canyon” carved by the San Rafael River, I decided to do that another time. I have seen pretty view of canyons many times, and they are nice. However driving to the rim and looking down and then leaving, is not nearly as nice as parking overnight right on the rim so you can see the shadows & colors change with the evening and morning sun. I had about 55 miles of gravel road to drive today and I didn’t need another 20-25 miles added to it.
It was a pleasant drive down from Cedar Mt and then a beautiful drive down Buckhorn Wash. Buckhorn wash is about 6-7 miles dropping about 500’ through a Navajo Sandstone layer. The next 17 miles to I-70 was through mostly non-descript open country. Some of it was a little bumpy, but not bad. I averaged about 20-25mph.
At I-70 I continued S on Temple Mt Rd at exit 131. A lot of the material I have read about the road N & S from exit 131, describe it at exit 129. Sometime since 1970 they may have changed the exit from 129 to 131. It is marked 131 on the road signs on I-70.
I stopped twice along Temple Mt Rd and got out the laptop to be sure I knew where I was and where to turn. Once I got out the GPS sensor and attached it to the laptop/mapping program to be sure which road to take.
I had thought I would stay at the base of Family Butte, but the boondocking areas there did not appeal to me. No distant view. So I continued about 2-3 miles down Red’s Canyon Rd and found a nice place about 200 yards off of the main road.
About 2pm I some darker clouds forming far to the SW. Not dark thunder bumpers, but just a dark sky from the horizon to about 45 degrees up. About 4pm the dark sky extended to about 75 degrees up, and I saw large cumulus in the sky in other directions. By about 4:20 things didn’t look much worse, but they were not getting any better. It is about 18 miles of gravel road to get to paved road. There are many areas where it is not gravel but dirt and you can see the ruts where people have driven on the wet road. Add to that to get out of where I was parked/camped I had about a 7% grade on dirt which would turn to slick mud for about ¾ mile. I didn’t want to get stuck here or slip off of the road. When I left Red’s Canyon at 4:30pm I figured I would be at Goblin Valley SP by 5:30. I based that on the gravel roads I had been driving on all day. Not to be, the bumpy roads took about 1.5 hours to get to the paved road & had I gone all the way to Goblin Valley, it was another 7 miles, but on paved road. Goblin Valley SP charges $16 for the night, no hookups. Nice paved sites and covered picnic tables & I think showers, but no elect. Lets see 7 miles down, 7 miles back, that’s almost 2 gallons of gas at $3.70/gal at least, or about $7 plus the $16, or I can boondock just after turning from Temple Rd onto the paved rd going to Goblin Valley. Still no elect, but at least I don’t have to pay. I pulled off on a gravel hard packed road, actually a 2 track, and not a graded road and park just off of the road. Where I parked was on some softer ground, not very soft, my tires only sank in about ¾ inch. A little sporadic light rain started near dark, not enough to get the dirt more than damp. After I went to bed, it started raining a slight bit harder, so I got up and moved BF off of the softer ground onto the hard packed road. All was good. By now the generator & a/c had been running for about 1.5 hours. It was warm, low to mid 80’s and humid but it was cooling down. When I had the windows open the light rain would blow in. About midnight I woke up and saw it was cool enough to open up, but not fully because there was still some light rain. About 4am, it started to rain a little harder and I got concerned that the hard packed road would soften by morning. I got up and drove to an unlevel paved parking area next to a BLM information sign and went back to sleep. Slept to just after 6am when it was getting light. Got up and drove a few miles until I found a level spot to park and have coffee and breakfast.
Morning view from campsite:
Wild horses at Cedar mountain, a mare and her colt:
Drive down Buckhorn Wash:
Pictographs in Buckhorn Wash:
Afternoon campsite before the threat of rain chased me off:
Boodocking area near Goblin Valley SP