Hoodoo You See?

When it comes to traveling, one of my greatest joys is immersing myself in a new place.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a city or some remote wilderness that I’m visiting for the first time, setting off on foot allows me to discover things up close.

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Do you?

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. What face do you see?

Whether I’m hiking, walking, strolling, meandering, or whatever pace I’m keeping at the moment, I love allowing my legs to transport me to exciting new visual delights .

hiking Red Canyon was a delight

hiking Red Canyon

Years ago, my son and I visited my parents in the Chicago suburbs and took the train into the city for a day of sightseeing.  We walked, and walked, and walked some more…. no cab rides for us.  According to my dad (who knows the city of Chicago like the back of his hand), Logan and I must have walked at least ten miles.  By doing so, he and Bryce Canyon National ParkI observed so many unique details in this bustling city – from architecture, to art, to the beautiful parks and shops, to the sounds and smells. It was a memorial day spent with my son along with discovering the city’s special character.

My week spent in Bryce Canyon Country was equally memorable and just like that day in Chicago, I knew I had to get out on foot to immerse myself in this mesmerizing landscape.

Each overlook is breathtaking!

Each overlook is breathtaking!

I started off my Bryce Canyon National Park visit by stopping at every single overlook and getting a feel for the lay of the land.

I see you!

This hoodoo sees you!

Seeing Mother Nature’s work of art from the rim of the canyon is breathtaking, but hiking in the depths of her creation left me awe-struck and speechless.  Around every corner was another perplexing sculpture.  So many of the rocks seem to have faces and personalities.   Then there are rocks that resemble people, things, or even a queen – Queen Victoria to be exact.Bryce Canyon

And now we know why the trail is called the Queen’s Garden Trail.  It took me a moment to grasp the resemblance, and of course, the aid of a sign was helpful.

Can you spot the Queen?

Can you spot the Queen?  Can you also see the hiking trail? Yep, I was down in there!

The Queen’s Garden trail is a fantastic hike that put me in the center of some of the most bizarre and interesting terrain that I’ve ever seen.  It’s obvious why it’s the parks most popular trail.  We saw hikers of all ages and ability on the trail, although I will say the 600 foot elevation climb back out of the canyon seemed to be a challenge for some, especially for those not accustomed to the 8,000 plus foot altitude.  Note the pointy hoodoo in the photos below.  The trailhead is high above that hoodoo.

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo seen on the left.

Bryce Canyon

Al and I enjoyed this hike so much so that we actually hiked it twice.  On our first day, we started the hike at the Navajo Loop trailhead which will eventually meet up with the Queens Garden trail.  The term “loop” is a bit of a misnomer because the return part of the Navajo trail loop has been damaged and eroded to the point it had to be closed off for safety reasons. Thus, no hiking loop at the time of this writing.Bryce Canyon

This land never rests due to weather and erosion.   These statuesque limestone rock formations called hoodoos are caused by the extreme weather changes… from snow and ice melt, to soaring heat.  The constant contraction and expansion causes cracks, collapses, and further sculpting. You won’t find any rock climbers around here considering the rock is soft, unstable, and ever-changing.  Because of this instability, its vital hikers stay on the trails and wear proper footwear for traction.

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Starting off at Sunset Point, we headed down the Navajo trail into the canyon floor via a series of switchbacks, and found ourselves hiking in a pine forest.  The crisp fresh air scented with pine made for a very pleasurable hike.

hiking with pines

hiking with pines

 

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Once we veered onto the Queens Garden trail, we exited the pine forest and the terrain became more stark and barren, but those hoodoos were up close and personal.

The next day, Al and I hiked the trail in reverse; starting at the Queens Garden trailhead and exiting at the Navajo trailhead.  Is one way better than the other?  No!  Regardless of the starting and ending point, the scenery is out of this world and I can’t recommend this hike enough.  The first day it took us a little over two hours to complete the hike because someone kept stopping to take photos 😉  The second go around took us less than two hours to hike, even though an equal amount of photos were taken!

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

BUT, if you’d like to start out with a couple of super easy hikes that are still beautiful, but won’t have the elevation change……

hoodoo you see?

hoodoo you see?

On highway 12 just east of highway 89 is the Red Canyon Visitor Center.   There’s a series of short trails that interconnect allowing one to hike the short interpretative trail only or add a little more distance by continuing onto the Pink Ledges trail and/or the Birds Eye trail.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

The scenery here is beautiful and worth the stop.  Since we were camped just a few miles down the road, I found myself meandering around here a couple of times.  It’s amazing the new sights I saw each time I hiked the same trail.  The more I looked at the rocks, the more faces I saw.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

 

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

Continuing east on Highway 12 past the turn off to Bryce Canyon National Park are more hiking trails.  Year’s ago (I’m talking more than twenty plus), Al and I traveled Highway 12 through this part of Utah.  It’s a stretch of road I’ve longed to revisit, but alas the weather this day would not cooperate.

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

I stopped in at the great visitor center in the town of Cannonville and picked up some local information then returned to the truck in a steady stream of rain.  Feeling somewhat disappointed, I decided to head home.  My exploration of Highway 12 will need to wait for another visit.

Highway 12

Highway 12

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

However, on my way home, the weather cleared just long enough for me to take a quick one mile (out and back) hike.  Any disappointment I may have felt was quickly lifted after a brisk walk in this beautiful setting.  The Mossy Cave Waterfall Trail was definitely a worthwhile hike in between rain clouds.Bryce Canyon

So that about wraps up my fabulous week spent in Bryce Canyon Country.  Oh, we can’t forget the beautiful faces of wildlife……

Pronghorn aka antelope

Pronghorn aka antelope

Chipmunk

Bryce CanyonFYI… the trails around here can get slick, gooey, and dangerous.  Proper hiking shoes are a must.  The weather can fluctuate to extremes and change rapidly.  A 40 degree (Fahrenheit) change throughout the day is not unusual.  Dressing in layers is a good idea.  Bring plenty of water and expect high winds.  Being prepared, allowed us to have a fantastic and memorable visit.

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit!

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit – a more challenging trail that I can’t wait to tackle!

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

I’ll be back! 

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In Love with Bryce

With the weather being fickle, we decided to pay for two nights at a RV Park giving us the flexibility to rearrange our plans on a whim.  When the weather improved, our two-night stop to visit Bryce Canyon Country quickly turned into six nights.  And oh my gosh…. amazing!Bryce Canyon

I assure you, six nights was not enough to savor this breathtaking scenery.  If it hadn’t been for our workamp obligation in Idaho, we would’ve stayed another week.  For some reason, I just couldn’t get enough of those perplexing hoodoos or the layers of texture and colors.  Simply mesmerizing!

Where to camp?
With snow and freezing overnight temps in the forecast, we knew we wanted a site with hook-ups and chose the Red Canyon Village RV Park. It was an ok place to stay and even offers cabins as well as campsites. (restroom shown in the photo below)

Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah

Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah

The park is located along highway 12 just east of highway 89 and road noise can be expected.  We paid $31 a night for a full hook-up site which included cable TV. The property is owned and managed by the same company that runs the Bryce Canyon Lodge, Forever Resorts.  The location worked fine for us.  It took a Bryce Canyon national parklittle less than thirty minutes to drive to the Bryce Canyon National Park visitor center and about 10 minutes to get to the town of Panguitch, Utah.  Just a couple of minutes away was Red Canyon with some lovely hiking trails that shouldn’t be missed.

Red Canyon is also home to a national forest campground: Red Canyon Campground.  It’s basic dry camping in a wooded setting.  Although some of the sites would accommodate our size RV, we’re not fans of trees and low-lying branches, and thus this campground is not an option we personally would consider.

As we continue along highway 12 toward Bryce Canyon NP, you’ll find the Bryce Canyon Pines RV Park.  We didn’t stop in, but drove by several times.  From a distance the park looked ok nestled in the pines with dirt/gravel roads and sites.  We noticed RV’s of all sizes parked there.

Bryce CanyonRuby’s RV Park seems to be the most popular spot with its close proximity to the hoodoos, but definitely the most expensive.  This RV park is located just outside the national park boundaries which means it offers location, full amenities, and is big rig friendly.

Want to camp even closer to the hoodoos?  Bryce Canyon National Park offers two campgrounds, both with no hook-ups, dry camping only.  The majority of the sites look sloped and mounded.  There were one or two sites at the Northern Campground we liked that we would consider if available.  Sunset and Northern Campgrounds appear to be best for tents, small Class C motorhomes, pop-ups, and small travel trailers.Bryce Canyon

Boondocking – There are a bunch of places off highway 12 east of highway 63 to boondock (boondocking means dry camping on public lands – no campground or facilities).  The land is located within the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and a free permit is required for any overnight stay.  Along highway 12 from Red Canyon to the town of Torrey, there are six visitor centers to assist you, provide permits, maps, and answer any questions.

There is also a fair amount of national forest land in the area with boondocking options and no permit needed.  Here’s a helpful post on dispersed camping.Bryce Canyon National ParkDuring those times when Al and I do boondock, after about a week we like to refresh and find a RV park with full hook-ups.  From a budgetary point of view the Paradise RV Park might be the perfect place to refresh. This somewhat basic and rustic park offers full hook-ups for $15 a night.  It’s located a few miles north of the town of Panguitch and about 30 miles from the Bryce Canyon Visitor center,  We actually did our laundry there since the Red Canyon RV Park offered one staked washer/dryer on the outside of a building.  Not ideal, especially in 32 degree weather.

Joe's MarketGroceries?
Since we were staying in the Red Canyon area, the town of Panguitch was an easy ten minute drive away.  Joe’s Market in Panguitch, Utah, is a great place to resupply.  We were impressed with the quality of fresh meats, veggies, and eggs that were reasonably priced.  Other items were a tad pricy though.

sour dough breadAcross the street from Joe’s Market is a Chevron Gas Station with a fast food place inside.  We don’t eat deep-fried fast food so I can’t help you there, but with the oven availability, the owners of the gas station bake fresh bread and rolls daily.

Our first stop at the Chevron was late one afternoon.  We filled up with gas and when we stepped inside, we noticed the hand written sign on the window noting fresh-baked sour dough bread.  When we asked about the bread, we were informed they were all sold out, but the gal behind the counter was quick to suggest placing our name on a loaf of sour dough bread for the next morning.   Yes!  It was still warm when we picked it up and perfect for our picnic lunch.  I wouldn’t normally recommend buying bread at a gas station, but this is small town America and it’s similar to enjoying a loaf of bread your mom made.

bakeryAnother place we tried was a bakery on highway 12 just east of highway 63.  The groceries and baked goods seemed a little pricy in my opinion, but we still ended up buying some fresh-baked baguettes for our sandwiches which were delicious.  And of course, hubby had to sample a blueberry turnover which received a two thumbs up as well.

One of our favorite little stops after hiking amongst the hoodoos, was stopping in at the General Store located within the national park just around the corner from the Bryce Canyon Lodge (btw – the restaurant in the lodge had a menu that was tempting, but our sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread won out).  This General Store along with a lovely picnic area is within walking distance to the Sunrise overlook and trailhead to the Queens Stewart'sGarden Trail.  After a somewhat steep hike back out of the canyon, we managed to work up a thirst.

We try to keep our soft drink intact to a minimum, but when we discovered the General Store stocks Stewart’s….. well…. there was no resisting the cream soda and orange cream.

We enjoyed this little splurge so much that when we received an impromptu email from some fellow full-time RVer’s letting us know they were in the area, I knew exactly where to meet up.  We hadn’t seen this couple in nearly two years and certainly had plenty to talk about.

Enjoying a picnic with friends at the general store was perfect.  It was awesome reconnecting, catching up, and sharing some of our favorite Bryce Canyon sites with this delightful couple.

me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera ;-)

me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera 😉

Cheers to friendships, breath-taking scenery, amazing hikes, and cold beverages.  It’s official, I’m in love with Bryce Canyon National Park and am already scheming my next visit.

Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?

Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?

 

The Many Moods of Hoodoos

As fickle as the spring weather has been, we’ve been equally fickle in regards to our travel itinerary.  The last few days, Al and I have changed our minds about as often as a teenage girl changes her outfit.Bryce Canyon

Last Friday morning, we were all loaded up and about ready to pull away from Lake Powell with a state park near Beaver, Utah, as our intended overnight destination.  Before Al could put the truck into drive I asked, “What kind of Coloradoans are we to let a little cold and snow keep us from exploring a National Park that’s at the top of our ‘must see’ list?”

Two seconds later, we were on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park.Bryce Canyon National Park

It took us three hours to drive from Page, Arizona, to Panguitch, Utah.  With cold and snow in the forecast, we decided to forego dry camping in the National Park and opt for full hook-ups at the Red Canyon RV Park, about twenty miles from thet Park.   We no sooner had the RV set up and the truck unhooked when we set off to explore.

Yes, it's snowing. The flakes were big, the wind was blowing, but the view was breathtaking.

Yes, it’s snowing. The flakes were big, the wind was blowing, but the view was breathtaking.

Refusing to allow a little snow to keep me from seeing those hoodoos (bulbous rock columns). I bundled up in my winter gear to take in this amazing sight.  It was cold and blustery but OH MY GOSH ….. pictures do not do this place justice!  I was on sensory overload and couldn’t decide where to point the camera.Bryce Canyon National Park

Even Al was awed.  At each scenic overlook, we stood there speechless, admiring the view.  Words can’t begin to describe this perplexing oddity of wind-swept rock.

This morning (Sunday), the weather finally let up long enough for Al and me to enjoy a hike.  According to my darling husband, we spent ten minutes hiking and two hours taking photos, but in reality, we hiked for two hours and snapped photos for ten 😉Bryce Canyon National Park

At 9:45 in the morning,  it was a cold 38 degrees Fahrenheit  (3.3 Celsius).  We started into the canyon via the Navajo Loop trail and eventually turned onto the Queens Garden trail.  The Queens/Navajo Combo trail is about 3 miles long starting at the Sunrise Point trailhead and ending at the Sunset Point trailhead with a 600 foot elevation change.  Although a relatively easy hike, the 600 foot climb back up to the rim can be challenging for some.  The trail can also be muddy and slick in spots.

'Thors Hammer' on the left

‘Thors Hammer’ on the left

beginning of the Navajo Trail

beginning of the Navajo Trail

Perfect hike!

Perfect hike!

The day started off with a beautiful blue sky and little to no wind.  Two hours later, the sky was blanketed in a threatening grey accompanied by swirling winds.   We were glad to be near the end of our hike as the weather started rolling in. hiking

Although the views of Bryce Canyon along the rim are spectacular, strolling among the hoodoos is a surreal experience.  The rocks never rest.  Stones tumbled as we slowly meandered along the trail.  The weather is quick to change causing light to alter hues and shadows.  There are many moods among the hoodoos, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the trees.hoodoos

There are pines of all kinds around here, but the Bristlecone pines are the most intriguing.  They are some of the longest-lived life forms on Earth.  Some of these trees are well over 1,000 years old and their trunks are a unique work of art.  Their ability to grow in such an unrelenting environment is fascinating. Bryce Canyon

The forces of weather continue to erode and sculpt this mesmerizing landscape daily.  We’ve already extended our stay once and may do so again.  Thus, you can plan on seeing more photos and posts on Bryce Canyon National Park.  Stay tuned!Bryce Canyon National Park

This weeks WordPress photo challenge word is admiration ….  after spending the last few days admiring Mother Nature’s creativity along with God’s handy work, it’s obvious who and what have captured my admiration. 

 

Let’s talk dirty

We always enjoy our time in Moab, Utah, but there is a down side to this unique and beautiful place.  It isn’t always easy to find a place to camp, even the RV Parks can fill quickly on weekends.  In general, we usually opt for a little more elbow room than most RV Parks offer and look for state parks, national forest campgrounds, or BLM land for boondocking…. all of which can present a challenge around Moab.  This is a popular place and outside of RV Parks the BLM campgrounds can be difficult to find an open spot, especially for larger RV’s.Moab Utah

Moab UtahKen’s Lake is usually our go-to campground in Moab, but our friends, Mike and Linda, snagged a boondock spot on some state land twelve miles out-of-town and were saving room for us.  We camped there last year as well and it’s all about luck finding room to park.

And even when you do find a spot, you can expect to have lots of company on the weekends, whether you want it or not.  This area is super popular with the OHV (off-highway vehicle) crowd.  Last year we had a couple of tear-drop trailers join us and this year it was a bunch of tenters.

There’s no boondocking etiquette around here.  If there’s open ground, it’s game.

Moab Utah

Friday night we had a couple of tents pitched between us and the road and another one in the rear. The rear tenter remained for a couple of days. Shy guy who didn’t engage in conversation.

Moab Utah

If you don’t leave Moab covered in “Moab Red” you haven’t visited Moab

The Friday night of Mother’s Day weekend brought plenty of rain.  And with rain comes mud.  Lot’s of mud.  Thank goodness there were no plans to move our RV’s because I’m not sure how far down the dirt mud road we could’ve gone. That mud gets slick and you sink easily.

The rain didn’t seem to deter anyone’s travel plans and there was a steady stream of traffic of folks looking for a place to camp. As the sun set, we were quickly surrounded by tents (well, that might be a slight exaggeration – at least 3 that we noticed in the dark).  All but one, broke camp the next morning.

Moab Utah

Al works on our broken generator. In the background you can see the campsite next to ours. Several tents and more dirt bikes and ATV’s than I could count. They had fun churning up the dirt…. regularly.

The rains on that Friday kept the four of us housebound and it was an entertaining feat just to walk from one RV to the other.  Once wet, the red dirt quickly turns to slick, thick mud.

Moab Utah

The mud is as slick as ice and all I could think about was not falling on my a*s…. not a pretty sight!

Moab red

My outdoor rug sunk into the mud when I stepped on it. I left a trail of mud on the steps. The bottom of my flip-flops were coated with thick red mud.

Paleo donuts

What do I do on rainy days? Bake! Paleo donuts, orange scones, and chocolate chip cookies

And when it dries, it turns to a concrete like substance.  Ever wonder how those ancient Pueblo ruins have survived so long?  Well, it’s pretty obvious to me – red Moab mud.

So as much as I love the open views and free campsite, it comes with a dirty price.  Once things dry out, it’s the dust devils you have to watch out for.

When the weather cleared, we took full advantage and enjoyed life around camp.  A campfire was built, drinks poured, and homemade treats were served.

Since the weather was so nice, we had our RV windows open and Mike and Linda had their door open as well.  While sitting around the campfire, that’s when it happened…. before we could process what was going on, it was over.Moab Utah

Moab redWe were sitting under our Laredo awning and watched a dust dirt devil swirl right past Mike and Linda’s RV open door.  Oh my gosh, talk about a trail of dirt left in its wake.

They had a thick layer of dirt covering the front half of their RV interior.  I think they’re still working on removing all that Moab red.

Moab Utah

Al, me, Linda, Mike

As much as we love our boondocking and admiring the views, it’s not perfect.  And although we didn’t have a dust devil enter our RV, we too continue to clean and find the fine red dirt in the strangest places.  But hey, with a camp like this, it’s worth a little dirt…. or in Mike and Linda’s case, a lot of dirt!Moab UtahMoab Utah

Moon Zion & Bryce: Including Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante & Moab (Moon Handbooks)

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Don’t tell Miss Piggy

We ended up staying in Phoenix about 2 weeks longer than we originally planned.  That meant a slow lingering meander through Utah was shortened to a mere four days.  We had a reservation and appointment in Grand Junction, Colorado, that required us to maintain a travel schedule or I assure you we would have moved through Utah a lot slower.  I love this state.

Utah

driving through Monument Valley is always a treat

Utah

I never get tired of the scenery driving through Monument Valley, Utah

Al and I don’t usually like long travel days, but we were really looking forward to some time in Moab.  Therefore, we drove from Phoenix to Moab in one day…. one very long day.  After an eight and a half hour drive, we pulled into a boondock spot next to our friends Linda and Mike.  They were thankfully saving room for us.Moab Utah

Moab UtahEven though Al and I split the driving, we arrived tired and were grateful to be greeted with hugs and chilled margaritas.  Thanks guys.

But their hospitality didn’t end there.

When Al went to start the generator, Honda EU2000i Super Quiet Portable Gas Powered Generator Power Inverter 2000, 120V, the cord ended up in his hand.  Yikes, four days of boondocking with no power would definitely drain our batteries.  Thus, the generator would need to be repaired.  Sounds like a project for two strapping young men to tackle (can I hear a little Tim Allen grunting?)  Fortunately for us, last year Mike and Linda added a ton of solar to their RV …. so much so, that they not only powered their own RV, they powered ours as well.  Yes, wattage envy!

Moab Utah

note the orange electrical cord on the ground – we’re hooked up to the “Bear” for electric.

Our four day stay whizzed by and the weather was a mixed bag; cold, warm, cloudy, sunny, windy, calm.  We had a ton of fun on Mother’s Day starting with the guys serving their wives mimosa’s.mimosa

One mimosa down and another in hand, it was time for me to fix breakfast…. by choice, of course.  I wanted to fix everyone one of my nutritious skilletini’s, which I’ll feature on my Moab Utahfood blog in a couple of weeks.

We all got a big chuckle out of the fact Mike could not seem to remember the work skill-e-tini and instead referred to the breakfast as a spank-a-tini.

From that point on, the dish was referred to as a spankatini.

So what’s in the ‘spankatini’?  Italian pork sausage, butternut squash, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and cilantro…. topped with two eggs and a side of bacon.Moab UtahAs if sausage and bacon at breakfast wasn’t enough pork in our diet for the day, the guys took us out for a Mother’s Day dinner at the Blue Pig in Moab for some yummy barbeque.  I’m sure somewhere on our table was a slab of ribs 🙂  Please don’t tell Miss Piggy that we started and ended our day eating pork.  It’s certainly not something the four of us do regularly, but we were in a rather celebratory mood – it was Mother’s Day after all.  With the exception of the champagne, I’m sure it was all Paleo approved 😉

The next day, Al and I hit the road with Grand Junction, Colorado, as our destination.  But before we get to Grand Junction, we have a little dirt to share…..Moab Utah

Weber 50060001 Q 1000 Liquid Propane Grill

Moab again and new tires

Hubby and I have been a couple of very busy campers lately.  First let’s just say Moab’s slogan of “again and again – the adventure never ends” is very fitting and I know Al and I will be returning to Moab again and again.boondocking RVing

We were back in Moab, Utah, boondocking with pals Linda and Mike for about a week before it was time for us to be moving on in separate directions.  But before moving, we all managed to get in some hiking, exploring, and a little socializing…..ok maybe it was a lot of socializing, but who’s keeping track  😉 Moab Utah

Why is it all the problems of the world seem to fade away over cocktails and an open fire?  Or perhaps we just felt somehow we solved all the problems.  Now if only someone would listen!RVing in Utah

The guy below sure didn’t listen to anyone and ended up getting himself stuck in a sandy wash.  Several days earlier it rained; first flooding the wash then compacting the sand, but as the sand dried out the sand got softer and softer making it impassable for anything other than a serious 4×4.  Yep, he’s calling AAA and they DID tow him out.stuck in sandAl and Mike even came to the rescue of a couple of Aussie kids young adults in a mini van.  This was their camp.  What made them think they could drive a mini van back there?camping in Moab

Two old spry men, a F-250, and rope…. can I hear a little male grunting “arrr, arrr, arrr” followed later by the clanking of beer bottles, “cheers” to success.  The Aussie’s were very grateful especially since the vehicle was borrowed from a friend and they had no other affordable options.  A “thanks mate” was all that was necessary.

wildlife in Moab

Beware of wildlife while camping in Moab

So with our fun in Moab over, we head back to Colorado and finish up some repairs.Moab Utah

I will say, having the new tires was a comfort during our travels.  We had the tires replaced before our return to Moab.   After experiencing a couple of blown tires on the 5th wheel, it feels a bit more reassuring to have a complete new set of tires all around when hitting the road.Discount Tire

Being in the home building business for many years, it was rather common for us to have tire issues.  Issues that centered mostly around air loss due to nails in tires.  Discount Tires has always treated us well and after a substantial amount of trailer tire research, we chose the Discount Tire in Grand Junction, Colorado, to do the work.  We spend the majority of our travels meandering around Colorado or Arizona and both states offer plenty of Discount Tire store locations in the event we have any tire issue that needs to be addressed.

We opted to go with their 10 ply trailer tire and not a truck tire.  We had 3 different tire shops in 3 different states recommend we use a 10 ply TRAILER tire.  Trailer tires are designed to withstand the scooching motion that occurs when maneuvering the trailer.

trailer tiresA motorhome, truck, or car all have axles that turn as the vehicle turns and thus the tires always move in the direction of the vehicle.  A trailer has stationary axles and as the trailer is maneuvered around, the tires aren’t always rolling but rather scooching or sliding.  The trailer tire side walls are specifically designed for this motion where as a truck tire is not.

Another thing we were adamant about was checking the dates on the new tires before installation.  Trailer tires should be replaced every 5 years regardless of mileage.  The manufacture date is clearly stamped on the side of the tire.trailer tiresOur new tires were manufactured the 15th week of the year 2014.  Thus our new tires were only 6 weeks old when we had them installed. Happy campers!

Next up, we complete some body work……..Moab Utah

Northwest Enterprises Hard Plastic Two Piece 5-1/2-Ounce Wine Glasses, Clear, 40 Count

Clear Plastic Margarita Glasses (1 dz)

May flowers or May snowstorms!

My how time flies when you’re having fun!  After a month long stay in Grand Junction, we find ourselves back in Moab, Utah.  And much to my surprise and pleasure, the land is covered in blooms.  Flowers, sun, and balmy eighty degree temperatures are a far cry from what I experienced a week ago in Denver, Colorado.Moab wildflowersLast Sunday was Mother’s Day and I traveled from Grand Junction, Colorado to Denver to spend the weekend with my daughter.  I always love spending time with my daughter, Ashton.  She surprised me by taking me out to breakfast followed by side by side manicures and pedicures.  What a special treat it was.mommy timeBut the biggest surprise was the weather.  I’ve called Colorado home for nearly twenty years and know Mother Nature can’t allow spring to spring without one last hurrah. Usually it’s in April when we’re graced with one last serious dumping of snow.  This year that dumping occurred on May 11th – Mother’s Day.

spring snowstorm

Ashton’s place north of Denver – May 11, 2014

spring snowstorms

Ashton and I clear our vehicles of snow

The snow didn’t let up all day and by the end of the day we had a fresh coating of snow totaling more than seven inches.  Some areas received even more precipitation causing snow skiers to flock to Arapahoe Basin (one of Colorado’s last ski resorts to close for the season) to catch a few more runs before the snow disappears.  Although the snow was sticking and building on the grass, I was very grateful it did not accumulate on the pavement.  Thus, driving wasn’t impacted too much at least not around the city.  The roads in the high country?  That was another story.

mani pedi

snow continues…..me running around in flip flops after my mani pedi

Running around in flip flops in this kind of weather was not exactly ideal, but after a fresh pedicure there was no way I was putting on shoes and socks.

After a very enjoyable weekend with my daughter, it was time to return to Al and the RV on the other side of the Continental Divide but all that snow was cause for me to delay that return for a day due to poor road conditions at the higher elevations.  Another day with my daughter?  No complaints here!  Ashton and her roommate did issue a codicil; with smiles and chuckles I was informed I could stay another night only if I made my pulled pork.

So while I was slaving away in my daughter’s kitchen, Al was back in Grand Junction slaving away on some of the needed repairs on the RV.  He too was not complaining as his “supervisor” wasn’t around to micro manage.   Better yet, since we were camped in my brother’s driveway hubby was well fed in my absence as well as any thirst was quickly quenched with an adult beverage.  I suspect between hubby and brother there may even have been some Tim Allen male grunting going on with all the tools necessary for the work at hand.

RV water lines

Al replaces the water lines, installs new insulation and thermapan – all damaged from the blown tire

I was thrilled the repairs were getting done and with a set of new tires we’d be able to go about our travels with confidence.on the road again

Today we’re sitting in a boondock spot north of the town of Moab where friends and fellow bloggers Mike and Linda saved us a spot.  The last two months have found our travels criss-crossing several times.  Tomorrow they move on and we most likely won’t run into them again until next winter in the Phoenix area.  Always a fun time sharing tales over an open fire!dry campingWith a holiday weekend approaching and no reservations, Al and I have decided to stay in Moab through the Memorial Day weekend.  Anyone else in the area looking for a spot to camp, let me know……we have plenty of room.  Come on down!  Who could say no to a view like this?boondocking dry camping

 

 

Dead Horse Point

The date had finally arrived.  It was April 10th.  With a child like excitement and exuberance, we hooked up the 5th wheel and readied everything for our twenty-minute drive up to Dead Horse Point State Park.  As excited as I was to head to a new campground, I was reluctant to bid farewell to our awesome boondocking site.

dry camping boondocking

boondocking near Moab, Utah. 360 degree views! Arches National Park can be seen in the distance on the left with snow capped La Sal mountains to the right.

I made a reservation (along with my brother) to camp at Dead Horse Point State Park a few months ago. Last fall when we visited the Moab area we stopped by Dead Horse Point State Park and did a quick drive through the campground.   I decided right then and there that I just had to stay at this state park sometime.

camping in Utah

One of the rare level sites….score!

During that exploratory drive, I made notes as to campsites we might fit into.  It’s because of campgrounds like this that when it came time to choose an RV, Al and I made a conscious decision to buy a RV that would not be too large and thus able to fit into some of these tighter campgrounds.  Let’s face it; size does matter!  If we had opposing slides or been much longer, we would not have fit so nicely into this site.camping in Utah

Most of the campsites at Dead Horse Point State Park are narrow and unlevel  requiring some extra maneuvering or inventive leveling.  The campground is also small with a mere 21 sites which book up quickly.  Each site has electric only.  Being located up on a mesa, water is not readily available.  There’s that precious commodity issue again…..water!

camping in Utah state park

A view from the west trail rim

Although there is an on-site dump station, there is no potable water to fill RV tanks. The restroom does have flush toilets, sinks for hand washing, but no shower facility.  The beauty of having scoped out this campground last fall was Al and I knew exactly what to expect and how to prepare.  So with waste tanks empty, water tank full, and our body’s scrubbed we embarked on our 5 day stay at Dead Horse Point State Park.

camping in Utah

my brother and sister-in-law fit nicely in the campsite across the street from us – site #1. Yep, that white stuff is snow and frost!

My brother and his wife joined us by camping in the campsite across from us.  Fortunately, my brother and I made reservations months ago for these sites.  It was great reconnecting and catching up on life.

camping in the snow

photo taken out of the RV rear window

camping in snowThe weather was perfect……well, almost perfect.  We had a snow day with cold blustery winds that kept us indoors most of the day.

A snow day was the perfect excuse to hang out with family, visit, and enjoy my homemade nachos.

So why was it so important for me to camp here at Dead Horse Point State Park?  The scenic views, of course….it’s all about the views.  And those views are easily accessed from the campground.  The visitor center is a quick walk from the campground and is filled with a wealth of information.  This is also a great spot to take in the amazing scenery.scenic campgrounds

dead horse state park

dead horse state park

the trail at the visitor center

While camping 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, I found myself repeatedly walking the rim trail and taking in this amazing scenery. scenic campgrounds

Sunrise and sunset were especially stunning.dead horse state park

Yep, a pretty special place.  Our five days were over before we knew it.  Due to needed repairs on the RV, we reluctantly had to pull ourselves away from Moab with a promise to return again…..   and again    ….and again 🙂best state parks

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I’m married to MacGyver

Once settled into our new home, a home with a view I might add, we set out in search of some petroglyphs aka rock art.  After a little research, I knew just where to go.  From our home located off Highway 191 we headed south and picked up Utah highway 279.

Colorado River Utah

The Colorado River along Utah scenic byway 279

petroglyphs

petroglyphsUtah road 279 located several miles north of Moab is a paved two lane road that meanders along the Colorado River and is a popular place with rafters, canoeists, and kayakers .  There’s numerous places to access the river as well as a few designated campsites.

The hunt for these petroglyphs or rather referred to as Indian writing and also known as rock art is an easy search.  There are actually a couple of brown signs near pull-outs that say “Indian writing”.

Al and I parked the truck and stood near the road glancing up at the red rock wall.  After a couple of minutes scanning the wall, I screamed out while pointing a finger, “There….up there.  Can you see it?”Indian WritingThere are several areas along this rock wall that were engraved with Indian writing – petroglyphs – rock art, whatever one calls it, that obviously told a story.  Most of the rock art is located on the smooth blackish face of the wall at least 20 feet up or higher.Indian WritingIndian writingrock climbing repellingI could’ve stood there for quite some time starring up at this unique historical site trying to decipher the story.  This was someone’s journal…..a blog post!  Hmm, wonder how long it took them to complete a blog post with all the carving and chiseling required.  I guess we have it pretty easy with our simple clicks and auto correct 🙂

We continued down Utah road 279 also known as Potash Road and stopped to observe some rock climbers.  Ah, to be young again.  However, even twenty some years ago I would’ve viewed the climbing part as perhaps a little too much work, but repelling?  Now that’s fun and I would still consider doing that today…..just beam me up Scottie and I’ll repel down.Moab Utah

We continued down Utah road 279 but not without getting side tracked with a gravel road that shot off to the west.  A little four-wheeling in the back country found us surrounded by huge majestic rock cliffs that left us admiring their beauty in awe.Red rockfour wheeling in Moab Utah

four wheeling the back country near Moab UtahIn the above photo, can you see little ole me climbing up the hill with camera in hand?  Look at the size of those boulders.  I wouldn’t want one of those tumbling down towards me.

Had we taken a map with us, we may have explored this back country road a little more, but the further in we drove the worse the road conditions got.  No map and a worsening road had us turning around.  We returned back to paved road 279.

Shortly after this slight back country road diversion and back on 279, the pavement ended near a large boat ramp.  This was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.  Beyond this point, folks with Jeeps or bicycles access Shafer Road; a gravel road leading up to Canyonlands.  High clearance vehicles are a must as well as a sense of adventure.

Across from our picnic area was the Intrepid Potash Plant.  I’ll share more about Potash in my next post.  For now it’s time to return to camp.Intrepid PotashBut before returning to camp, we needed to stop at Lion’s Park located at the intersection of Roads 191 and 128 in Moab to fill up our five gallon jugs with water.Colorado RiverRemember our day from hell……you know the day we blew a tire?  Well, that blown tire damaged our water lines.  We all know what a precious commodity water is especially when boondocking (dry camping).  Every time we turned on the water pump, we’d lose some water on the ground through the sliced line, thus we found ourselves going through water a lot quicker than normal even with our MacGyver patch.

boondocking Moab Utah

Our home with a view for a week. Boondocking north of Moab, Utah – Where’s my hook-ups?

With jugs filled, we returned to camp where Al preceded to fill our RV tank with fresh water.  Being self-sufficient in this lifestyle is a must and having a MacGyver for a husband is a big plus.

boondocking dry camping

Filling the RV with fresh water

It’s interesting how all winter long we stayed in RV Parks with hook-ups with a plan to spend most of April boondocking.  As luck would have it, we damaged the water lines just as we were entering our boondocking phase of the journey, which required us to travel through some pretty remote parts of Utah.

dry camping boondocking

Al’s nifty little rig up…..notice my lovely tape job on the wheel fender that got damaged from the blown tire – we’re a class act!

Unable to find the ‘right’ parts to fix the water lines properly, MacGyver aka Al used some tape to stem the loss of water and with a little more conservation on my part, we managed to still enjoy our boondocking.  Yep, it’s good to have a MacGyver around.  Once we get to a bigger town, we’ll getter all fixed up.

dry camping

Just another day in the life of an RV’er…………


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Home with a view!

We’ve enjoyed the past four days camped at Goosenecks State Park in Utah, but the itch to move on has set in.  adventureWith Moab a mere two hours up Highway 191, hubby and I hit the road but not before taking one final look around camp.  We find ourselves doing a quick recap of our stay at Goosenecks State Park and what made our stay so enjoyable;Goosenecks State Park

Socializing with our RV neighbors, Linda and MikeValley of the Gods

Exploring Valley of the GodsTrail of the Ancients

Touring the Trail of the AncientsMexican Hat

Discovering how the town of Mexican Hat got its nameSan Juan River Utah

Fearlessly enjoying inclement weather and high winds camped on an open, exposed mesaGoosenecks State Park

Enjoying sunrises and sunsets with a view that stretches endlessly.

Adventure and DiscoveryIt was such a positive and fun experience that Al and I feel this may just become a regular stopping point as our travels take us between Colorado and Arizona.  I will add it is very remote country; perhaps some might even use the word desolate to describe it.  Thus, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  However, it’s hard to dispute the beauty of the landscape.

After an uneventful scenic drive (we like uneventful), we arrived in Moab, Utah.  We originally planned to stay at Ken’s Lake Campground where we stayed last fall, but changed our minds wanting to explore new territory.  However, I would definitely recommend this BLM campground.  There are a bunch of sites that can accommodate almost any size RV and the internet connection was relatively good.

Hum, wherever shall we stay?  We found a large parking lot in Moab to park the RV while hubby and I set out in my truck….the “scout vehicle”…..and scout we did.  We already knew we didn’t want to stay in any of the BLM campgrounds along Highway 128 and thus we didn’t even bother checking them out on this trip.

Hwy 128 meanders along the Colorado River in a canyon and is very scenic.  However, the campgrounds are designed more for tents, pop up trailers, or small RV’s.  Of course, there are always a few sites that might accommodate larger RV’s, but they first need to be available.  Spring and fall are very popular times to visit Moab, Utah, and the BLM campgrounds fill up fast.   Finding an open site isn’t always easy.

Most of the campgrounds along Highway 128 are very tight and almost impossible for us to maneuver our truck pulling a 31 foot 5th wheel around.  That said, we skipped the BLM sites and ventured further north along U.S. 191 toward the Moab airport in search of a boondock spot. I’m looking for a home with a view!   FYI…….. Moab offers a ton of RV Parks with full hook-ups and lovely accommodation’s as well as plenty of hotels.  home with a view

We found a great spot about 15 miles north of town on state land with beautiful views in all directions.  This is popular Jeep and ATV country so one needs to embrace dirt, dust, and the vroom, vroom of engines to fully enjoy.  With amazing views and a nightly fee of nada, we were a couple of happy campers and most of the four-wheelers were rather respectful.  Yep, I found my home with a view and now it’s time to explore………camping in Moab

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