Chris Roams

Travel, Adventures, and Photography

Westward Ho

Since the untimely demise of my motorcycle I've been searching for a new adventuremobile. Bad Larry, my Baja Beetle, is a ton of fun and proved itself (mostly) in Death Valley but is neither fast nor comfortable for long distance trips. I decided it's time for something a bit more comfy: a 19' Airstream trailer and a Chevy ZR2 to tow it with; the best of both worlds as I can leave the trailer behind and take the truck out into rougher terrain when necessary.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_59b0
As with most of my vehicles, I can't leave well enough alone so I decided that a lift kit was in order. Not for the truck, that's tall enough as it is, but for the trailer. I can't have it dragging on the rocks on my way out to remote boondocking sites. Fortunately Airstream suspensions are dead simple and installing a 3" lift on the trailer was as simple as putting spacers between the axle and the frame.
With that job completed, thanks to the vehicle lift in Sean's driveway, and the snow already falling in New England it was time to head west in a hurry. After a 3 day blur of truck stops, WalMart parking lots, and a snow storm in Illinois Laura, Amanda, and I met up with Justin in Las Vegas, New Mexico. We started our real adventures at Canyon de Chelly National Park where we hiked down to the White House ruin and had the place all to ourselves.
We finished the evening driving up Moki Dugway in the dark to one of my old haunts from the motorcycle days: Muley Point, where we enjoyed a spectacular sunrise, some petroglyphs, and the realization that Justin brought his surf board all the way from San Diego for no apparent reason.
Leaving the trailer behind, we proceeded back down the Dugway, through the Valley of the Gods, and up Comb Wash to the Moon House Ruin. This is another tough spot to get into both due to the rough dirt road and the strict limits on the number of people allowed to access the ruin. Fortunately nobody thinks to come out here during the off-season so once again we had the place all to ourselves. This area is part of what was until recently Bears Ears National Monument and along the way we stumbled across one capped drill site. It makes me wonder how long it will be until this vista is marred with oil and gas rigs like the area north of Canyonlands National Park.
The next day we continued our ancient ruins tour with a hike in to the House on Fire ruin and then made our way across the northern end of Lake Powell where we split up with Justin and Amanda taking the Burr Trail though Capitol Reef while Laura and I pulled the camper over the mountains, reuniting in Escalante's Petrified Forest State Park.
In Escalante it was time to leave the trailer behind again and head back to another old haunt: the Dry Fork Slots of Coyote Gulch where we ascended Peekaboo Gulch and descended Spooky Gulch, just as tight as ever.
We finished off our stay in Escalante the next day with a hike into Lower Calf Creek Falls.
Heading further west we made our way up to Bryce Canyon National Park, already dusted with snow due to its higher elevation, where we strung together the Queens Garden Trail and part of the Navajo Loop Trail for a nice tour of the bottom of the canyon.
Finally, dropping down off the Colorado Plateau, we descended into Las Vegas where we parted ways, everyone heading home while I continued on to San Diego to make it a true transcontinental trip.