With the smoke and the fire and the stars at night

Up again in the morning bright

With nothing but road and sky in sight

And nothing to do but go...

—old hobo poem

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Busy Week at Burro Seep Doing A Bunch of Nothing

I'm at a wifi cafe in Green River, Utah, and can't post photos, so will just post the text for now.
We’ve survived our first week or so in the little Burro, even though it’s been kind of hard. But hardships are what bonds you together, right? If so, Brighty is now part of the gang.
Monday morning was kind of hectic, with lots going on: register Brighty, finish packing, get groceries, and get the little Moab cottage ready for the final walkthrough. We managed it all, in spite of not feeling good, and were on the road by about 2 p.m.
I knew it was hopeless going to our usual haunts, since it was Jeep Safari week, the busiest time of the year in Moab, so we headed north into the badlands. The plan was to maybe go to Green River, since it wouldn’t be so crowded, but we got to the old Burro Seep road and changed our minds. It’s now called the Klondike Bluffs road and is a popular mountain bike destination on the back side of Arches National Park.
I recalled a good camp spot up there on the ridge, so we turned off the highway. I’d camped there before in my tent, coming and going to and from Moab. What better place to get acquainted with Brighty the Burro than at Burro Seep?
We turned in and had a new home in the Dakota sandstone, complete with Indian paintbrush in bloom and a cool rock garden out the windows. Nary another camper in view anywhere, except far across the valley.
I spent the first afternoon and evening trying to rearrange all the stuff I’d ended up throwing into Brighty in my haste, plus trying to acclimate the cats to their new fate. Rowdy, not knowing any better, since I’ve had him since he was a baby, seemed to think it was just another new adventure, but Callie wanted only to curl up in her carrier and sleep. It took her a couple of days before she decided she would survive and started eating normally again (canned tuna did the trick). 
After awhile, I decided the cats needed to enjoy the scenery and get some sun, so I brought them outside. They seemed to think the cat tent was akin to being in prison, so I got out my little boomcan and played some Johnny Cash, and they soon relaxed and decided it was better than sitting in the trailer.
I had to be careful during the day and not let them get out, but at night they had free rein of Brighty. Actually, if they had gotten out, all they would do is return to the trailer, as that’s all they could think of when in prison or on “walks.”
The first night out, I thought I overheard them plotting how to get back to Moab, but the plot obviously failed. I’ll never forget the sight of little Rowdy laying on my feet while I tried to sleep, fascinated with the distant highway lights out the window. And last night seemed to be a free-for-all as they bounced off the walls half the night, chasing around.
Burro Seep was once a real seep with wild burros, but has dried up and now is host to tamarisk and cows. I once found a beautiful spear point at the seep, as I used to hike out here. Rowdy thought the cows were some type of four-legged Bigfoot, as he’d never seen such a thing, but he gradually got used to them, and they never came any closer than a half-mile or so. 
I immediately collapsed into a semi-coma with some type of bronchial infection that persisted the entire week, though I seem to now be improving. I did manage to keep everyone going and relatively happy. Times like this, you wish you had someone along. Fortunately, the dogs are easy, they stick around when outside and take no special care, just let them in when they want and feed and water them. They play stick, scope out the area, sleep, and entertain themselves. The cats tend to be more labor intensive, but we’re working on that, as we’re gradually learning to use the leash and harnesses to go out for walks.
Anyway, what have we been doing at Burro Seep? Lots— well, watching others do lots, I should say. Our camp spot is about a mile from the Moab airport, which is next to the highway and the railroad tracks. Here’s a list of what we’ve seen:
planes (which the dogs chase) and even a few helicopters
hot air balloons (which Spanky chased off, saving Moki from her dirigiblephobia)
lots of skydivers (that 30 second freefall is a terrifying thing to see)
the tailings train twice a day (which Cassie loves to bark at)
jeeps from Jeep Safari winding around on distant roads and some even coming by our camp
lots of mountain bikers and dirt bikers going to Klondike Bluffs
people coming and going on the highway
It wore me out trying to keep track of all this, and to top it off, a pair of ravens discovered us and have been buzzing us occasionally. And as a special treat, last night a heron flew right over us, then a beautiful rough-legged hawk.
Unfortunately, the past two days have been spent dealing with high winds, which have, for the most part, kept us indoors. Being near the airport is handy, as that’s where the weather radio data is collected for this area, so we know exactly what the temperatures and wind speeds have been. So far, we’ve had winds of 45 m.p.h., and last night got down to 22 degrees. Brighty really rocks when the winds get that high. It was scary at first, but once we realized we weren’t going anywhere, we hung in there, and it was a good time for me to sleep and rest. I just played some great music on my boomcan and let it all rock me to sleep. Of course, I neglected to get propane, so we stayed warm by dog-piling it.
I stocked up on dog and cat food, but am running out of people food, so may have to hit the road soon to resupply. If so, I’ll post this at an internet cafe somewhere.
Until we get the internet, these posts will be sporadic, but we’re looking forward to feeling better and having better weather. The highlight of our time here was seeing (with binoculars) a very bright planet Venus in the evening sky directly situated on the handle of the Pleides. 
So, from Brighty the Burro at Burro Seep, in southeastern Utah, 10-4, over and out.
Update: Just signed up for the internet. Decided to try Millenicom, which requires no contract, uses Verizon towers, and is a flat $60/month, with a setup fee that cost about $160. Will get my aircard in a few days. Tomorrow I think we’ll head for Green River, where I can get the dogs an Arby’s. I ran out of groceries today, and junk food sounds pretty darn good! Happy trails.
And thanks for all the comments!


  1. Great post. Sounds like a good enough start for the 7 of you (is that right???). Hope the flu bug or whatever is past and you are working out the kinks.


  2. It is quite a task you have set for yourself but what better way to stock up on some good old extra self confidence mixed with a healthy dose of excitment & challenge. All the best to the Burro Bunch & their upcoming adventures:))

  3. Brighty the Mighty Burro! Congrats on the initiation . . . Sorry you got a bug, hope you are feeling better now.

    Best wishes to you and your canine-feline crew!


  4. It sounds as if you have taken on quite a project but it also sounds like a labor of love.

    We just returned from a couple of weeks in the desert--San Rafael Swell and Robbers' Roost areas--and I had a question I think you may have answered in your posting: We heard a burro bray while poking around near Temple Mountain. I've seen wild burros in California and Arizona but not in Utah, but I guess Utah has them, too.

    And, yes, the wind she did blow.

    The Desert Scruff

  5. Glad you're starting to feel better. Sucks to start this adventure sick. Sounds like the cats are getting the hang of things.... It also sounds better than last year (so far) with just the springbar...
    Love from the Colorado side.

  6. So sorry your fist week had to start out with not feeling well! Hopefully you are doing much better now. Sounds like Brighty Burro did her job of keeping steady in the face of strong winds! YAY! Chuck and I have arrived in Virgin UT! Will start work tomorrow! Keep on feeling better and we will see you soon!

  7. Great! Glad to hear you're getting the better of whatever crud was trying to colonize you.

    Let us know how Millenicom works for you. We predict a sharp rise in our Verizon plan, or a sharp decrease in allowed bandwidth, or some of both. We're keeping an eye on your plan.