Potato Salad Hill

Potato Salad Hill, originally uploaded by tomkellyphoto.

No, this is not our orange Jeep. I do wish it was. This is no picnic. This is Potato Salad Hill during Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. This is where the term insanity was coined.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and just thinking the outcome will be different. That describes the guy in the really nice F-250 without lockers who just couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t make it up the near-vertical rock outcropping of Potato Salad Hill. His day ended when he bent a tie rod at a 45 degree angle – not good for the steering (talk about toe-in).

This driver was good. And he had good equipment. Earlier he had climbed straight up the middle with no effort at all. For the rocks on rider’s right are steep – super, super steep. And it’s impossible to keep all four down, as you can see here

He tried and tried for nearly an hour – nearly tipping more than once. He moved a tire an inch here and an inch there.

Wanna know another trick? Look closely at the winch, which is wrapped around the front axle. From the cockpit, he can control the winch to keep the nose lower. As he steps the Jeep up the rock, the articulation of the front suspension throws the nose up and back. A quick hit on the winch and the nose of the Jeep is a bit closer to terra firme.

Yes, in the end, he made it. As did most of the others.

Potato Salad Hill is, indeed, insanity. But it’s fun. Thousands camp out on the rocks to watch driver after driver tackle the hill. It’s good fun – no problems. Just watching man and machine tackle Mother Nature.


Clouds Over the Castle in Capitol Reef

Clouds Over the Castle in Capitol Reef, originally uploaded by tomkellyphoto.

As many times as we’ve passed through Capitol Reef, we’ve never really stopped to spend time. So we decided to spend a night in Torrey, a tiny desert village on the western edge of the park.

Sadly, the light wasn’t too cooperative. Rain and overcast clouds most of the time kept the monuments from reflecting their traditional brilliant reds.

As we were leaving the park we made one final stop at the Visitor’s Center. Across the street, The Castle had a few touches of sun for just a short moment – with a line of clouds framing it in the sky.


Moab Redrock

Turret Arch through the North Window. (c) 2009 Tom Kelly Photo
The pre-dawn drive down Park Avenue in Arches National Park is a mystical experience. Shadows of redrock monuments can be faintly seen against the evening sky. To the east, the first sign of light glows over the La Sals. Every sunrise is different. Cloudy days can bring magical pre-dawn colors, while clear skies signal a burning red glow on the sandstone.


Girls Do Moab

The Orange Jeep hit the road – packed to the hilt – as Tumbleweed and Cactus took granddaughters Madeline and Hanna (a.k.a. Sassy 5 and Flying Ninja Bunny) to Moab for a weekend of hiking, Jeeping, Geocaching and swimming. It was the first redrock adventure for the young 12-year-olds.