Tag Archives: Utah

Sand Island Petroglyph Panel

Sand Island Petroglyh panel is a about 4 miles West of Bluff Utah.  This panel is located on the grounds of the Sand Island BLM Campground on the San Juan River.

The panel is about 100 yards long and is believed to be 800 to 2,500 years old.  The panel has big horn sheep, Kokopelli’s . men on horse back and much more.Panels like this gives us a glimpse into the past.  If we only knew what it all meant.

This an easy place to get to and is perfect for someone who who has mobility limitations.










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Fort Bluff ,Utah

After our trip through the Valley of the Gods we landed in Bluff Utah.  It was getting dark, so we checked into the Kokopelli Inn.

The Kokopelli Inn has modest rooms and is great for spending the night.   One bonus was the owner’s husband is a Jets fan, so he and Mrs. Badlandsexpeditions had a nice conversation about their losing team.

The main attraction is Bluff Fort.  Bluff Fort is a restored/rebuilt Mormon settlement that is a Church Historical site.

In 1878 there was a “Mission Call” to establish a settlement at Montezuma, on the San Juan River, in the southeastern region of Utah.

70 families consisting of 250 men, women and children answered the call and left their established comfortable lives to venture in to the uncharted wilderness.

A scouting party had identified a route that was approximately 125 miles and would take only six weeks. The reality was, the journey was over 260 miles and took over six months through the winter.

The convoy of horses and wagons were stopped at the top of a massive mesa with a 1,200 ft almost sheer drop to the Colorado River. For six weeks, the Mormon pioneers chipped, dug and blasted a passage through this steep (45 degree) gorge. It was named the “Hole in the Rock”.

The Mormons used ropes attached to anchors to control the wagons descent down the steep trail.  Many of the women and children slid down on their butts.  Finally at the Colorado River, the Mormon missionaries were still a distance from the destination. This obstacle was not the last one on this journey. Cottonwood Hill proved to be a larger obstacle than the Hole in the Rock requiring more blasting than the Hole.  Other obstacles were the Slick rocks requiring more blasting and the creation of a switchback road the mountain. The Cedars took the settlers through a dense forest of pine trees that had the men cutting a 20-mile road through the forest.  The final obstacle was Comb Ridge where a dugway had to be built to ascend the hill. After six months, the group arrived at present day Bluff; about 20 miles short of their destination Montezuma.  Exhausted, the settlers decided to stop there.

The pilgrims built their community in a large square with their small cabins on four sides with the doors all facing the center plaza.

In addition to building their community, a major challenge was irrigation for their fields, and they worked at different methods of getting water from the San Juan river to their fields.

Bluff Fort Historical site does a great job of recreating the actual settlement with replicas of actual buildings as well as the remains of some original buildings.  Walking though these modest cabins takes you back in time and you imagine how life was at that time and the hardships. The thick timbers the cabins were made up offered insulation from the heat and the cold and each cabin had a fireplace.  Despite the strong construction of the cabins,  the roof construction was lacking and the cabins  suffered from leaks .

Perhaps I overthink some things, but I could not help imagining the smell of unwashed bodies in summer heat. Especially with all the heavy clothing worn by both men and women as was the fashion at the time.

The restored Co-op store serves as a visitors center and the staff are very well versed in the history of the Fort and the travels of the settlers. There is a short video about the journey the settlers took and was one of the better of these types of videos that I’ve seen.

There are many original photographs of the settlers and given the penchant of Mormons for recording family history we have a good look into life back then.  Each cabin featured an audio recording about the family that had lived there and offered a glimpse into their lives.  More than one family suffered the loss of the wife/mother during or just after childbirth, leaving the man alone with his four or five children.

This is an exceptionally well-done restoration and a testament to the faith , strength and resilience of these pioneers.  It is certainly  worth the stop if you are in the vicinity.

H/t to the below links for resource information and for further information on Bluff Fort.






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Needles Overlook ,Muley Point, Moki Dugway and Valley of the Gods Utah March 2019


On our way back from Northern Utah, I wanted to take Mrs Badlandsexpeditions on the “scenic route “back through Utah.  We had always driven through Moab, so it seemed like time for a change. There is so many amazing sights, and I wanted to share with Lisa all I have seen.

The plan this time was to drive to Mexican Hat via Muley Point and the Moki Dugway. That was cancelled by the heavy rain we encountered traveling through Salt Lake City. The rain was to continue all throughout southern Utah so we decided to go our usual route through Moab as there was nothing to see in the pouring rain. Some of our route was to be on dirt roads and the rain turns the red Utah dirt into a slippery sloppy mess even with four-wheel drive.  The rain stopped as we got to Moab and so we settled into our comfortable hotel and planned the next day, hoping to get back on the “scenic route”. I broke out the map and we looked at our options to get back where we wanted to be, preferably   on dirt roads.

As we headed out of town in the morning, we made a quick stop at the Visitors Center to pick up brochures for a friend.  While there we decided to ask about the route we had planned.   The staff member suggested we might modify our route to include Needles Overlook which would be new for me too. So we added those directions and continued on our way.

As we drove South on Hwy 191, we looked for the turnoff for County Rd 133 and happily turned off onto the red Utah dirt.  The two track led us into the desolate desert with scrub bushes.  As we drove along and splashed through a small stream and passed a corral.  Like much of the Southwest, this most likely is open range with cattle roaming and grazing almost wild.

As we continued on, I saw a reflection of the sun on something and suddenly, we could see a large grouping of dwellings with solar panels. Some of these houses were built into the side of a large sandstone rock formation.  There were not any No Trespassing signs but we had the sense that this was private property, so we respected the inhabitants’ privacy.  We moved down the road a little to take a picture and saw a sign that said Rockland Ranch , Modern Caveman. When we got back into cell service we found the below link about this remote community.


ext up was Needles Overlook (38.2827643°N, -109.6851185°W )          .  The views of the Needles District of Canyon Lands are beyond beautiful. Mother nature surely worked overtime on this amazing scenery.



Next on our scenic route was Muley Point. (37.2374° N, 109.9807° W) While most of the drive was on paved UT 191, 95 and 261 but the drive was beautiful. The remains of snow were still clinging to the north facing hillsides and under the bushes.  We soon made the turn off to Muley Point and the pavement turned to red dirt.  The road had dried out a little, but I could feel the Porsche slide a little and hear the A/T tires spitting mud against the fenders. The road ended with a panorama of the valley below.

South – On a clear day, you can see the towers of Monument Valley off in the distance.

South/West – The large mountain to the southwest is Navajo Mountain, above Lake Powell. Navajo Mountain is a prominent landmark that is visible from many areas of southeastern Utah.

North/West – The mountains in the distance are the Little Rockies and Henry Mountains near Hanksville.

North – The Bears Ears can often be made out in the distance.

Looking down below Muley Point is the obvious San Juan River, in the deep canyon coming out of the Goosenecks.

H/t  https://www.roadtripryan.com/go/t/utah/cedar-mesa/muley-point

We drove back to UT 261 and were on the Moki Dugway.  This road is dirt and narrow, and not for the faint of heart or someone scared of heights.  We were lucky and had both Muley point and the Moki all to ourselves.

Moki Dugway

The Moki Dugway (also spelled Mokee or Moqui) is located on UT-261, just northwest of Valley of the Gods. 

The term moki is derived from the Spanish word, moqui, a general term used by explorers in this region to describe Pueblo Indians they encountered as well as the vanished Ancestral Puebloan culture.  Dugway is a term used to describe a roadway carved from a hillside.

The Moki Dugway is a staggering, graded dirt switchback road carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa.  It consists of 3 miles of steep, unpaved, but well-graded switchbacks (11% grade), which wind 1,200 feet from Cedar Mesa to the valley floor near Valley of the Gods.  This route provides breathtaking views of some of Utah’s most beautiful sites.  Scenic views of Valley of the Gods and distant Monument Valley open at every turn of the dugway.

The Moki Dugway was constructed in the 1950’s to provide a way to haul ore from the Happy Jack Mine on Cedar Mesa to the mill in Halchita, near Mexican Hat.

The State of Utah recommends that only vehicles less than 28 feet and 10,000 pounds attempt to negotiate the dugway.  The remainder of US-261 is paved.

H/t     https://bluffutah.org/mokey-dugway-muley-point/

I had been to both Muley point and the Moki Dugway before. Now that we are married, I wanted Lisa to see all that I’ve seen in my travels around Utah.

We had decided that we were going to RON (remain overnight) in Bluff so a consult with the map and we took a left turn into the Valley of the Gods. There is a 17-mile road that connects UT 261 and UT 163 about 17 miles from Bluff. We passed a couple of Jeeps and pickups and the looks we got, being a in Porsche, are always priceless.

H/t   https://bluffutah.org/valley-of-the-gods/

We arrived at Bluff just as it got dark. It was a great day and we shared so much of God’s beauty together. As always there is more enjoyment in sharing experiences with an appreciative partner… so much nicer than traveling alone.


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Land Cruiser Heritage Museum Salt Lake City, Utah

While in SLC today, we stopped to visit the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum.  The collection is breathtaking.  Kyle met us and answered some questions . His knowledge was extensive and I learned a couple of new things.

If in SLC, this museum is a must see even if not a Land Cruiser aficionado.  Below is from the official website.

Greg Miller has always loved Land Cruisers. In his words, “When I’m in a Land Cruiser, I’m usually in a place I love, with people I love, doing what I love.” For many years, Greg has been collecting historically significant Land Cruisers and adding them to his collection.  Greg also outfitted several 78 series Land Cruisers and took them on a journey around the world, driving them on all seven continents, including Antarctica. http://www.expeditions7.com

When Greg realized that Toyota did not maintain a museum to celebrate the history of his favorite vehicle, the idea to create a museum of his own both as a place to display his collection and as a way to celebrate Land Cruiser heritage started to form in his mind.

The museum began in a specially designed building at the former Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, but moved to Salt Lake City in 2015 where it is more accessible to guests who wish to visit and explore.

The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum is designed for those who share a passion for these remarkable vehicles. Within the walls of the museum rare and classic Land Cruisers are carefully preserved while their stories are shared.

The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum houses what is believed to be the world’s most diverse collection of Land Cruisers. Models range from a beautifully patina’d 1953 Toyota Jeep to a pristine 200 series. You’ll see 20 series, 40 series, 55s, 60 series, 70 series, 80s, 90 series, 100s, a 105 and many other rare “cousins” of the Land Cruiser, including a Delta mini-Cruiser, Blizzards, a PX-10, and Mega-Cruisers. You’ll see the first Land Cruiser sold in the United States, the first (and only) four-wheeled vehicle to traverse all seven continents, and more.

The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, just six minutes from the Salt Lake International airport. Our address is 470 West 600 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101  M-F 0800-1700

Contact Information:

Dan Busey – 505.615.5470
Kyle Patten – 801.717.6017

H/T: http://www.landcruiserhm.com/





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