Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Break Part 2b (Petroglyphs)

So in part 2a, Cindy left off with us just getting comfortable in our our desert campsite.  On our second full day we decided to tackle an adventure that required an able vehicle and driver.  After I bought my big one-ton van I made some improvements that give it some ability to drive on sandy desert roads.  It does have its limits, but I was pretty confident that we could drive to Black Canyon and Inscription Canyon to check out the Indian petroglyphs.  Petroglyphs, or rock art, are where the Indians would leave symbols or pictures by pecking, or tapping on hard rock surfaces with other rocks.  The two sites we checked out were in the Black Mountains, which were about 15 miles from our campsite. About 90% of the drive was on dirt roads and some of the dirt roads were narrow "two track" trails with brush rubbing one or both sides of the van.  We had cell phone coverage most of the drive, and as an experienced desert rat I had plenty of water and tools in case we got stuck.    This day was my van's first big test, and other than the factory computer controlled traction system malfunctioning, the van passed the test.  The traction system alarm started going off once we hit our second section of sandy road.  When we returned home my mechanic replaced a $60 wheel sensor that went bad only when we got the van dirty.  Really!  When the van was on a paved road the alarm would turn off.   Did I mention that the alarm would go off every 5 to 6 minutes for about 30 seconds?  The kids went berserk, complaining to me to turn it off, which I could not because it is an "important" feature.  Important when you are traveling at high speed on a freeway, not at 10 mph on a dirt road.  I figured out how to calm the kids, every 5 to 6 minutes, by singing a song to the tempo of the alarm.  "Yellow Submarine" was the favorite, but we tried gibberish songs, the National anthems of the U.S. and France and some hymns too.

Besides the petroglyphs, we spent some time firing off model rockets, which the kids enjoyed running to collect.  We also had a thrill when a Navy/Marine jet broke the sound barrier nearly over our heads.  The immense boom scared the crud out of the kids.  
Note that the sign says "video in use".  Remember we are miles from anywhere.

A. Tillman stopped here in 1874
The boys posing in front of some Indian rock art

Dominik posing with an older petroglyph in the background

A nice sheep is covered in red paint

Natalie enjoyed the sand more than the petroglyphs (the sun might have been too bright for her).

This nice lizard is about nine inches long

Dominik returning with a model rocket he just picked up

Me preparing to launch a rocket, and moments after the sonic boom.

 Stay tuned for parts 2c and 2d...

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