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Redrocks and Aspen Trees - UTAH - Day 3


Good morning!

Today we were on a mission to find some brake pads. (Exciting, I know)

We headed down towards Monticello, UT where there was a Napa. Technically it showed that it was closed on a Sunday, but if we waited another day it would be the 4th of July and it would definitely be closed so we thought it was worth a shot.

Stopping by beautiful Butts Point on the way.


(They sure do)

We stopped at the Napa and as the website stated, they were closed. I walked over to the welding shop next door and ask the couple of guys there where the closest auto parts store was. This preceded one more of the many great experiences I’ve had while traveling.

They pulled me up a chair and started calling and texting everyone they knew in town. “Jim, hey Jim did I wake you up? Oh, sorry. Hey, are you a COP yet or do you still work at the Napa? Oh, well congrats, never mind.”

We bs’d for a while as this went on. They tried just about everyone in town, but couldn’t find anyone with a key. They joked that they were the only two folks I could have found at this hour on a Sunday in town because everyone else was at church. With everyone they knew in Blanding and Moticello, UT unable to help he took a piece of paper and gave me his name and number.

“If you find that the autoparts places in Moab are closed for some reason, give me a call, I know folks there too so I know we’ll get one of the auto parts places to open one way or another.” With that, I said a sincere thanks and we headed off to Moab.

In Moab, we found several open auto parts stores so I picked up a set of the cheapest rear brake pads knowing they would be only on the truck for a few weeks or months at the most.

We promptly found a parking lot and got to work. It was in the 90's already this morning and it was a brutally hot parking lot repair. It took using a BFH (Big Fookin Hammer) to get the caliper piston to un-seize and retract.


The pads we took off were just down to the backing plate. Yikes.


While I was wrestling with the caliper my trusty floor jack decided to piss out it’s oil. This jack has traveled with me for many years. Not bad for a Harbor Freight Special. I’ve had it for over 7 years. Time to find a rebuild kit or start fresh.

The good news is that I always keep the factory bottle back in the truck as a backup. Toyota jacks just don’t seem to ever die. It acted as a jack stand.


(Sorry to the gas station for the corrosive brake fluid and floor jack fluid on your nice asphalt...)

Back in the day. So young, so clean. :-(


The important thing is that we got it fixed. The floor jack still worked, but would loose pressure slowly meaning someone had to be on the handle every minute or two to keep it at the desired height. No biggie.

I love/hate Moab. I love the terrain and I want to spend SO much more time there. I appreciate solitude as well and even on this 100f day the town was packed with tourists, rental cars, and jeeps going all over town. I was keen to get the hell out ASAP.

We grabbed a quick bite at a place that multiple folks recommended to us (it sucked oddly) and then headed back south. I was tired of the heat and looking forward to some elevation!


We found what we were looking for. It was a bit of an insane road for how nicely graded it was. I actually had to put the truck in low range just to climb this steep and switch-backing road. At the spot, above, I had to stop and soak it in. I was exhausted, a bit heat stroked from the parking lot repair and being at low elevations. I got out of the truck and just listened to the babbling brook next to us. Utah is the twilight zone. So much change in so few miles...


There were wild turkey in the photo above... I can’t find them, but I know they “were” there.

We just kept climbing. Eventually we were above the treeline looking around at amazing mountains. We still hadn’t seen another car since we hit dirt. Perfect.





Considering that most of the day had been spent on pavement driving, we were making up for it in the last couple hours of the day.

Our only goal was to find a nice cool (Temp and views) to camp.


(The pond on the left had a cabin next to it. Talk about a place for a ranch. Wow.)


We just kept on site seeing. The Manti-La Sals are amazing.


(Nature finds a way)


Eventually we found our first camp site. I say first, because it didn’t last. It was beautiful, but as the monsoon clouds gathered and rain started to fall, we took a closer look at the dirt beneath us.




That view from camp though!!! Still, seeing the red soft dirt underneath us and being about 50 feet lower than the road near us we both pictured a morning of winching through knee deep clay to get out of our campsite. Were we being paranoid, after the issues the day before, yes. Could it actually happen, been there and done that.

So, we both decided it was worth another bit of driving to find a better camp site.

As we drove down in elevation we had to slog through some big mud holes. The tracks in the road were from a truck the previous day by the looks of it. They were DEEP. This was letting us both know what the morning would be like if it rained all night. This drove us forward to keep going down in elevation. Eventually we descended enough where we were driving on a mix of sand and dirt. This was a “bit” better so we found a side road and followed it to it’s end. Then another, and then another. It seemed unremarkable enough until we looked at the view from the old long forgotten fire pit.



The later it got, the better the view became. We sat back, drank some good whiskey and reveled in what a mind blowing trip it had been. We always seem to luck out on amazing camp sites. It takes some time and some dead end roads each day to find them, but when you do, you know it’s worth it.

With a group, I find it’s hard to get everyone on board with trying random dead end turn after random dead end turn. The group grows restless and you know that if you try even one dead end each day, someone will start with the complaining. I love group trips, but this one factor is something I love about solo trips.




As with our honeymoon road trip, we had to laugh at how many times we said WOW. Sitting, staring dumbfounded at the changing view. “Wow..... wow.... ooooh look, wow.”

I can’t articulate the dollar amount something like this is worth to me. I value all trips - all types of adventure, but when you work hard and get to sit and see a view from a spot that appears to have been forgotten for decades, you can’t help, but feel lucky.

Good night.

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#Tim