Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trapped in Moab

Roger here....  Ah!!!!!! Look at the sunset views from my lawn chair outside the motor home.  So peaceful.  So beautiful.  So hot.
The soft sounds of graders and steam rollers.  The fragrance of asphalt in the air.  Pictures do not always paint the entire picture. 

Due to the ongoing nature of this topic, I will not be posting it until we leave Moab, if we are able to leave Moab.  We are scheduled to leave in a week and there are still many things we would like to do, if we are able to get out of the RV park.

Don't get me wrong.  I am happy that the workers have employment as they improve the infrastructure in this area.  I know that if highways are to be improved, that inconveniences occur during the construction.  I know that the friendly staff at the RV Park does not have control over the situation, and must have their own frayed nerves.  My purpose in this post is merely to express the frustrations that many full-time travelers face from time to time.  I'm really not complaining; I'm just whining.

Let's start at the beginning:  We were scheduled to spend two weeks in Moab.  We needed to have reservations for the Fourth of July, and there is so much to do and see here.  When we arrived two weeks ago (Sunday), we were thrilled to see that the road construction on 191 ended north of the city limits.  It did not look like it would have any bearing on our activities.  We were disappointed to see a new set of construction signs (including the dreaded flagger icon) on the south side of the city limits as we approached our  RV park.  We were relieved to see that the construction was taking place well beyond the entrance of our turn into the entrance of our park.  All was good.

The next day (Monday), we went to the visitor center, the grocery, and did some initial exploring.  I have already written about our frustrations that took place on Tuesday when we were unable to get into the RV park after hiking at Arches.  Those frustrations continued.

No problems on Wednesday.  We took the dogs to the dog park and Dianne went to the laundry.  No problems on Thursday.  We took the dogs on a canyon hike and did a night cruise on the Colorado River.  

I left early Friday morning to go on the ranger-led hike at the Fiery Furnace at Arches.  It was such a great hike.  I was in such a good mood while driving back to the RV Park.  I called Dianne to let her know I survived.  Her response was a subdued, "Good," followed by, "The entrance to the park is blocked.  I don't think you will be able to get in."  The next statement was, "Would you get some milk and bread on your way back?" At that point my thinking was that I would find things to do in town before rushing back. 

So..... I stopped by the local tire store to see if they could repair the slow leak in the car tire that had been concerning me for quite a while.  I had been adding air a couple times a week.  They were able to work me in, and had the tire repaired after an hour.  REALLY GOOD NEWS!  They found a four-inch nail.  I am amazed that we did not have a really flat tire.  Sometimes things happen for a reason.  Very lucky.

OK, with the tire fixed, I might as well find a place to eat lunch (more time for the RV park entrance to open up.)  I returned to the Moab Brewery, sat at the bar, and enjoyed cheese quesadillas with one of their home-brewed "scorpions".  Good food.  Good beer.  Since I was in no hurry to leave, I had another beer.  My time in the tire store and enjoying lunch ate up a couple of hours.

Surely, by now the entrance would be open.  I dropped by the grocery for milk, bread, and salad.  I called Dianne while waiting in the flagger line.  She said that the entrance was still blocked.  I was already in line, so I proceeded down the road.  I asked the flagger at the north end of the construction if I would be able to get into the RV Park.  He said, yes.

When I approached the entrance, I saw that it was completely blocked.  I quickly turned into the Shell station across the highway, which by this time had turned into an RV corral (three motor homes waiting to get into the park).  I walked over to talk to the flagger lady, who told me it would be another three hours before I could cross the asphalt.  THREE MORE HOURS!  I told her that I had groceries in the car (well over 100 degrees).  I asked if there was any other way to get into the RV Park.  She rattled off a series of streets and turns, mentioning a dirt road.  I had nothing to write down the directions, so I took off on the back roads looking for any familiar street name.  I ended up at a convenience store back on the main highway, where I went in to buy ice for the milk.  I was lucky to have a small cooler in the car.  I then called Dianne.  "THREE HOURS!," she yelled into the phone.  (In that time frame, I would not be able to get back to the motor home before 7:00 p.m.)  I asked Dianne to look up the phone number for the RV Park, thinking that they might know a back way in.  

When I talked with the (very nice) work camper in the office.  She confirmed that the entrance was still closed, but was surprised by how long it would still be closed.  She asked someone else in the office about directions to get to the dirt road and began reciting a series of road names and directions.  I scribbled them down as quickly as I could.  

Since I did not know how to find the first street in the series of directions, I went back into the convenience store.  A very helpful clerk and a local lady, waiting to check  out, helped me figure out my first turn.  I made a couple wrong turns before finding the correct way.  Then I found the dirt road that parallels the highway.  Thankfully, I did not get stuck as I slid around on the sandy surface. (We need to get a Jeep.)

After safely making it back to the RV Park.  I walked over to ask the guy who was blocking the entrance about the status of the construction over the next few days.  Bryce was a friendly and understanding guy.  (I suspect he was the supervisor of the entire process).  He told me that the next day we would be able to get in the RV Park, but not the Shell station (the RV corral) across the street.  I made a quick stop at the office of the RV Park to thank Judy, the lady who gave me directions, and to tell her the specific street name that leads to the dirt road.

Saturday, we stayed in.  Bandido was having intestinal problems that you do not want to hear about.  Leaving him would have been a mistake.  Lots of activity on the road.

We took the dogs to Dead Horse Point State Park yesterday (Sunday), and had no problems.  No one was working on Sunday.   (Dianne here:  I took advantage of the Sunday work stoppage to make a grocery run in the afternoon, not wanting a repeat of Roger's experience.)

Today (Monday), I am watching a flurry of activity on the highway.  The "follow the pilot car" sign is up at the entrance to the RV park, but I think we can get out.  We may try later.   We are  about to run out of wine, but can only buy it at a state-run liquor store in the State of Utah.  Wine-thirty will not be pleasant today, if we can't get out :-).  If we can't get back in, we can just drink wine at the Shell station.   :-).  Just kidding.  I am sure that would be a violation of one of Utah's strange liquor laws,  this one justified.

We still have a couple more things to do around Moab (Canyonlands, a petroglypyh hunt on Potash Road, and another hike at Arches), but we decided this morning to cut our stay short after doing those three things.  Tired of wondering if we can get out.  Tired of wondering if we can get back in after if we do get out.  Tired of listening to the construction.  Tired of smelling the asphalt. 

The RV Park sign should have an addendum....  but you may not be able to get in (or out). 

Waaaah,  Waaah, Waaaah.  Time to stop the whining :-), at least for today.  Whining is really unattractive, don't ya think?

Since writing the first part of this post, we have had no additional problems.  Our trips to Canyonlands, Potash Road (something we won't forget), and Arches this week were non-eventful as far as road construction is concerned.  No delays.  No incidents of being stranded.  Good news.  We decided to leave a day early, because we were ready for a change of scenery --- not that the scenery here is anything but spectacular. 

This is what we saw on the way back from our last hike at Arches National Park, yesterday.  Uh oh.  Today the traffic was backed up in front of the entrance of the RV park all day long.  Time to go.

Talk with you again later from the Mountain View Winery in Olathe, Colorado, unless we are trapped again in Moab.

HOLD ON.... It is the morning of our departure and it looks as if we are indeed trapped in Moab.   Only the people on bicycles (right side of photo) seem to be getting in or out.

We had no problem exiting  the RV park and breezed through town.  We thought we had escaped.  But then, just on the north side of town near our favorite place, Potash Road, Highway 191 became a parking lot.  We could not figure out why there was not a flagger sign.  We could not figure out why the four lanes of traffic had not been diverted to a single lane.  Thirty minutes later, we were a little closer.  It doesn't look like road construction. It looks like road obstruction.  (Notice the cars in the left-hand lane driving to the front, knowing that they will be able to cut in line at the last minute.  I hate that.  I have been known to tailgate the guy in front of me so as not to let the interlopers in.  Childish, I know, but satisfying.)

Looking at this photo that was taken as we were about to get past the mess, you can begin to see the source of the problem.  This looks like some of the scenery from the Lone Ranger set.  Doesn't that look like a camera boom?

It appeared that two (double) trailers being pulled by a truck,  jack-knifed while turning from Potash Road onto 191.  The trailers were definitely loaded with scenery from the movie set that we had seen a couple of days ago.  Oh well, I guess it was worth the wait.  It makes a good story, anyway.

NOW, I really do think we have escaped.  On to Colorado.


klbexplores said...

I have truly enjoyed your pictures from the Moab area. I had no idea that there was so much to see in the area. I definitely want to experience the area. Now that you have escaped and are traveling on to Colorado - STAY SAFE

Nancy and Bill said...

Thanks for all the hard work you two went through to bring us all those wonder pictures of all the places you took us!!!

Trapped in an RV Park is way better than trapped in rush hour;o)) Glad you escaped and can't wait to see Colorado!

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't screw around with "wine time"...makes one ugly!!! The rest of the story just makes you go, ARE YOU KIDDING????? Can't wait for the Colorado experiences...let's hope fire isn't involved.


heyduke50 said...

love Moab but that is the kind of fun i can do without...

Patty w/ Joey and Scout, the greyhounds said...

I would hate to feel trapped. I'm glad you were able to get out. Safe travels!

Travelwithwhippets said...

Despite the road closure issues, we found the Moab area to be an amazing place. We are loving it now in Colorado. Adele... Our wine supply has been replenished. So nice to see alpine scenery.

Diana said...

Thank you for being so patient so you can get lots of blog fodder - we do enjoy it...