Utah '01 -- May 19-25, 2001

After a couple of weekend trips to the hot springs in the (new)
'87 Vanagon GL Syncro Westy, it was time for a trip to see
how well it could handle roads that stopped Mr Bus.
So off to Utah's San Rafael Swell and Capitol Reef Nat'l
Park.

How does the Syncro handle rough roads?

Answer: amazingly well.  One particular eroded stairs on
the  Copper Globe Mine road would have been the end for
Mr Bus.  Just put the Syncro in granny low and slowly
climb up over all the obstacles.  El Jefe also goes right
through sand that would bog down Mr Bus. We were joking that
nothing is a problem for the Syncro--and almost decided
to name it "Nada" but stuck with El Jefe, our original
choice. El Jefe because from our bedroom balcony looking
down on the two Vanagons parked, Mr Bus looks simple,
small and conservative, while the Syncro looks big, tall,
and mean.  The boss, El Jefe.  

Most of the photos are flowers because they were spectacular.
The peak week for the San Rafael Swell and Capitol Reef
Nat'l Park.  

Saturday:  Boulder to exit 114, I-70, San Rafael Swell.
415 miles from Boulder on I-70.  Camp beyond Justensen Flats.

Sunday: primitive roads--Copper Globe Mine Road, Kimball
Draw, Cedar Mtn, Carlyle Wash, ending at Cathedral 
primitive campground, N end of Capitol Reef Nat'l Park.
86 miles of back roads.

Monday: camp day

Tuesday: road to Fremont River ford, west to Torrey and
showers.  Then S on Notom-Bullfrog Road to Cedar Mesa primitive
campground.

Wednesday: S on Notom-Bullfrog Road, with detour to Hall
Creek overlook.  Bullfrog Ferry, east to Cedar Mesa area,
(difference Cedar Mesa--this one the Grand Gulch area)
[we joke that the most common name in Utah is "Cedar Mesa"]
then S to Mexican Hat for navajo tacos at the San Juan
River Inn, just by the bridge over the river.  Go there,
do that!  Also propane since the fridge was warming up. 
Back up N through Cedar Mesa, up into mtns and
camp between Bears Ears, Monti-La Sal Nat'l Forest.

Thursday: short hike in Peavine Canyon, then forest roads
to Blanding.  Tea and pastry in Monticello, then E to
Cortez, Durango, Wolf Creek Pass (59 minute construction
delay), Del Norte, and N to Valley View Hots Springs.
Whew!  Arrive at 8pm, soaking minutes later!!

Friday: easy drive home to Boulder, with lunch at Hog
Heaven BBQ, Bailey, Colorado.

1385 miles. Performance: flawless--just like Mr Bus, except
that it didn't use any oil (well, maybe 1/4 qt) and cruises
the mountains much faster.  I admit, it was still second
gear up parts of the W side of Wolf Creek Pass.

And now for the photos....