Category Archives: UT

Utah is gorgeous…. but I’m sure you knew that.

We are still in Utah and it is unbelievably pretty. I have seen so many houses with beautiful rose bushes blooming – and I don’t even care much for roses! The mountains go without saying. The weather has been wonderful too, although it is starting to get a bit hot!

Its so easy to get a bike ride in with a great trail system in Bountiful, UT. 

Of course there is hiking, easy to hard. But beware of trail reviews that say “easy and great for kids”! We took the dogs to a trail with this description and it was STEEP!!!! With some areas having drop offs on the edges! Scary for us, crazy for the dogs… I don’t know what kids were being referenced in the review!!!

Also, this is my first attempt at a blog post from my phone.  If I can get this to work I might start blogging more often!

Salty Desert

Last week we found ourselves needing to find better weather. We had been around Salt Lake City, UT and in the upcoming week the temps were going to drop and rain and/or snow was in the forecast. EVACUATE! EVACUATE!

We only wanted to go as far as would get us out of the crappiest of the weather since we’re trying to stay close to SLC to meet up with Mike’s daughter as much as possible these next few weeks. It seemed the whole state was going to get sacked and going north just made matters worse. So we decided to head west to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  You may be familiar with this place because of the famous Bonneville Speedway where they set land speed records. The forecast called for some rain one day but was otherwise much better than just about any place else in a 2-3 hour driving radius of SLC.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. But here we stopped at the viewing area they have on westbound I-80.

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You can get out and walk on the salt. I can’t really describe it, although you may have seen pictures of the flats on TV at some point.

We set up camp on BLM land adjacent to the flats. The first time we arrived we parked right at the BLM sign where there was a large gravel lot. We arrived late in the day/early evening and didn’t really have time to drop the camper and scout around first.  We could see a gravel road in a few directions and figured we’d check it all out later.

Then the weather came.

The first week we were here it was cold (for us) only reaching into the 50’s. It was cloudy and boy was it windy! One night we had to pull the slides in because of the wind gusts up over 20-30 MPH. If you’ve never been hit with wind gusts in a camper…. it’s scary! Especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. You just don’t sleep. I kept thinking we were going to blow over or the jacks were going to break… every terrible scenario went through my head.

By Thursday the weather was getting a little better – slightly warmer temps and the wind wasn’t quite as bad. We headed across the state line to Nevada to a small little town called West Wendover, NV. The town consists of a main road with about 5 or 6 large casinos on either side. It’s actually pretty neat and literally 4 miles from the Salt Flats.

That night we dolled up and headed to the Montego Bay Casino, partook of their $18 buffet and gambled at our usual penny slots! We had a great time except I have sworn off casino buffets for life. Except maybe another visit to the Wicked Spoon in Las Vegas, but that’s another story….

Friday morning we took care of camper business, ex. dumping the tanks, filling up with gas for the generator, filling propane tanks, etc. Then we headed back to the flats but to a different spot.

About a mile down the gravel road we found an awesome spot. It’s secluded, but on the road, behind a large rock outcropping. The ground here isn’t white salt like the flats but a light colored powdery dirt. Saturday morning was so great we were lying out like we were at the beach! But with no ocean….

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Even the cat got in on the beach action!

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Saturday afternoon we decided to head to town to make a stop at the hardware store. As we were there we saw some ominous clouds to the west heading east (our direction). We got in the truck and started back on the highway, in a hurry, since we’d left windows open and slides out on the camper. As soon as we drove through the cut away in the mountain that separates NV and UT we got hit with unbelievable wind gusts that were trying to push our one ton truck off the road!

In the rear view mirror we saw our rolled up soft truck bed cover go flying up, catching wind like a boat sail! I think we both forgot the cover was even there since we keep it rolled up against the rear of the cab and it’s never come unfurled before. And now it’s flapping against the truck bed, with the heavy metal catch bar threatening to break out the back window!

Mike pulled over on the highway, which he really didn’t want to do in high winds, rain and cars and trucks zooming past at 80 MPG (or faster… 80 is the speed limit on this section of road.) We both jumped out to try and latch the cover down but the wind kept grabbing it and there was no way we could get it secured. We tried shoving it around and under the fifth wheel hitch just to keep it contained until we could get back to the camper.

We jumped back in the truck, soaked and proceeded with caution lights flashing. We only had about a mile to our exit. But even once off the interstate we could see the storm moving closer to our camper in the distance. We had to get back!

Going slower than we’d like we limped back to the camper, raced to close windows and pull in slides. Luckily the storm hadn’t hit the camper with full force yet. But the soft truck cover got blown around more and more on the way home… it was ruined. But we’re ok with that since we didn’t use it much anyway. Better that than a broken truck window or camper damage!

Yesterday was a pretty day but windy again. Not enough to pull in the slides but too windy to be able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. But today is looking fantastic and tomorrow even better!! We can pretend we’re at the beach and relax. Or hike! There are plenty of paths/ATV roads to hike. And don’t forget geocaching! People seem to have gone great lengths to get some hidden waaaaaay out here and beyond! Hopefully the wind will stay away and we can enjoy this calm, relaxing place!

Time to Get Back on the Horse

I haven’t blogged in almost a year! Before that it had been several months….. When you first start RVing it’s like you’re on vacation and have a million stories to share. And then you finally get in a groove and either you don’t appreciate the stories you have to share or your just get lazy about writing about it.

I was both lazy and distracted to see all the stories we have to tell. I keep forgetting that my “everyday” is not everyone else’s “everyday” and might actually be interesting! We have traveled quite a bit this past year and are currently outside of Provo, Utah. It’s gorgeous, I won’t lie.

The other part of my blogging was taking pictures with my Canon Ti5 and posting here. But I wax and wane with using the camera. I’ve been getting better with it the past few months. But sometimes it’s hard to bring it along when you just want to hike or bike ride because I’m constantly stopping to shoot. Mike swears he doesn’t mind but sometimes I do! Especially when I’m biking I like to get on my road bike and RIDE! And I would never take it mountain biking because I rarely come home in one piece and I wouldn’t want to ruin my camera.

Speaking of mountain biking. We were in Page, Arizona about two weeks ago and biked the 10 mile Page Rim Trail. It was fantastic! You can hike it or bike it and it runs the edge of the rim around town with beautiful views of Glen Canyon, Lake Powell and the stunning18342795_10154408822195474_6770848968407107273_n rock formations out further in the desert. If you mountain bike there are some technical sections, or if you’re like me, you haul a$$ up and down the rocky sections and then wipe out on a flat section. Yes,this is the bruise about day 3 or 4. I hit so hard it squished tissue out from the side of my thigh to a fat lump on the back side. But less than two weeks later it’s almost gone!! I have never had a bruise heal so fast!

Another big change we have done in the past year, actually just since January of this year, is we joined the Elks Lodge. Many Elks lodges across the country allow RV dry camping for members only and some even have hook ups! They charge a nominal fee, even the locations with hook ups. We started boondocking (dry camping) for a large portion of our travels this past year and the Elks were a great addition to alternative options to state parks and expensive private campgrounds. Plus we get to meet great new people at every location! It’s a win-win!

I don’t want to overwhelm you or me with relaying a year’s worth of info so I’ll finish up here and share some photos.

Some Utah photos:

 

Payson, AZ:

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Page, AZ and the Glen Canyon:

Toadstool Trail (HooDoos) north of Page, AZ:

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Granite Dells, Prescott, AZ:

Prescott AZ Granite Dells

Time Slips Away

I bet you thought we’d given up on RVing, didn’t you. I haven’t blogged in almost a YEAR! What has happened to me??

We are still RVing our little hearts out. We’ve been around the country almost 2 times! We’ve stopped at some familiar haunts and discovered new ones. We’ve had trials and tribulations and also a heck of a lot of fun! But we’re still at it!

When we first started this adventure almost a year and a half ago we were buzzing from place to place. A few days here, a few days there, maybe even stopping for a week! But that pace gets tiring really fast. It’s not difficult, per se, to pack up and move. But all the time driving (which equals less time working) and gas money between stops is exhausting.

We initially had to take some time to figure out exactly how to work while on the road. This wasn’t a function of logistics as much as developing a new business plan and executing it as well as working together. And once we really got the hang of it it became apparent that we should sit tight for a while to accommodate all the conference calls and work that needed to get done.

Due to the El Nino conditions this year we skipped California.  We cut our stay in Florida short this past winter and headed west sooner. We’ve been hashing (our beer drinking running club) a lot more across that country than we did last year! We spent more time in southern Utah, including a whole week in Moab in March. Which brings me to the first serious break-down we’ve had on the road.

Breaking down in the middle of a road trip in any vehicle can really put a damper on things. If it’s your camper that breaks down, well, that’s even more concerning. But when your HOUSE breaks down….that’s a whole new can of worms.

We were headed to southern Utah, killing a bit of time (luckily) before we were to meet Mike’s oldest daughter and her boyfriend in Moab for a week, complete with all four of us running a half marathon! As we were passing through the northwestern tip of Arizona, while driving in the Virgin CANYON we had another RV pass is making gestures. Oh boy, we have a flat tire on the camper. When you’re driving a camper with three axles you don’t automatically know you’ve blown a tire.

But where to pull over?? We were driving through a windy gorge! Luckily we found a pull off most likely used for construction vehicles. Just big enough for us to safely get off the road. But where were we?

Murphy’s Law states you will have car trouble in the middle of a canyon with no cell service.

We got out to take a look at the damage and Mike immediately realized we didn’t blow a tire. The tire was about to fall off!

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We unhitched the camper, knocked the tire off and headed out to find help. Did I mention there was a concrete barrier between the lanes of traffic? We could only continue going the way we came and had no idea how long until we were out of the canyon or how far we’d have to go to get back to the camper.

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Luckily we were only 2 miles from the end of the canyon and the Utah state line and the town of St. George, Utah. We found a mechanic, relayed our issues and were told to go pick up the camper and limp back to the garage. And we did. Slowly at 30 MPH. Through a winding gorge.

What turned out to be a tire falling off was actually a whole host of issues the mechanic found under there. Lucky for us this “minor” tire issues alerted us to a bunch of things that could have gone wrong soon that could have resulted in some serious, really expensive issues. Like… and axle falling off!

We were sidelined for a few days but we weren’t complaining! The mechanic was great and walked us through everything to make sure we knew what he was doing and what he found. (I’ve never had such a great experience with a mechanic before!) and the town of St. George is beautiful! We walked and biked the paths in town for hours every day we were there.

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Once everything was repaired and replaced we headed out! We eventually made our way to Moab and ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon through a beautiful canyon on the edge of Arches National Park.

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We’re now in South Carolina. Hanging at my dad’s for a bit while the weather is moderate and sunny. Ok, with an occasional spring shower….

I’m going to try and record our travels again. It’s so easy with Facebook to just drop a quick update. But I want to make sure my Aunt Dotty gets to hear about our travels since she’s not on facebook!!

 

Utah is……

I know, I know. I’m kinda dragging out this whole vacation posting thing. And S, if you’re reading, I know, there’s not enough about you in it. 🙂 But the thing is, I have real work to get caught up on, RV packing up and moving to do, campsites to immediately find, pictures to go through… on top of that I’m also trying to reach back a week or so and even remember what the heck we did. Yes, there were funny moments – none of which I feel I’m capturing here. (yet, anyway). But I really want to make sure I, at minimum, get down what we did and where for posterity. Along with the photos, of course.

The lesson learned: Blog while you’re vacationing. Even if you can’t post it you can write it. Then it doesn’t turn into such a chore when you get back. And you really do capture the funny stuff to share!

After our night in the secluded beauty of the rainbow rocks, we continued to our next destination, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Escalante, Utah. I had booked us a few nights at the state park that sits inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Let me be honest – I had no idea what this park was about. Several months ago, when we decided on this vacation, I sat down and started combing state and federal parks for a site that a) was available and b) could fit our rig. A 39′ fifth wheel is no small camper. Campground after campground was coming up booked (it was spring break, after all) or could not accommodate a camper our size. When this park had an opening I snagged it. I figured we were close enough to other parks that the worst situation was that we’d drive everyday to a park and just use the campground as a base camp.

Man did we luck out!

It’s called the Petrified Forest state park for a reason! DUH! First there were rocks and boulders EVERYWHERE! And what did I say keeps a Boadway happy? Climbing on rocks and boulders!! Second there was a fantastic path up the side of the hill through an area covered in petrified wood! I had no idea it would be so colorful!

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And the scenery was breathtaking.

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That’s how we spent one morning. That afternoon we headed to Calf Creek to hike the three miles, one way, to the Lower Falls. It was just a 10 mile drive east of our park. The drive itself was indescribable. Marbled canyon walls, steep, hairpin turns. Unfortunately not enough great places to pull the big dually over to take photos. There’s the Kiva Koffee House between our camp and the falls on Hwy 12 that sits atop a hill, surrounded by all of this gorgeousness. It has wraparound windows for an unobstructed view. However we went to falls on a Tuesday – the day the Koffee House is closed. I have no idea what their coffee is like but I’m certain you need to stop for the phenomenal views!

At Calf Creek we meandered the three miles to the falls. Interestingly, a lot of the trail is sandy. Sand so fine, in fact, it’s like powdered sugar the color of terra cotta! Sounds neat. Crap to hike in. But still a hike that it worth it!

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There were ancient pictographs too!!

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And getting close to the falls…

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And the falls!!!

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And more in the “S Doing Scorpions in Scenic Places: A Collection”

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That was enough excitement for one day! I think we all slept like the dead that night. Which was a good thing because I had it on good authority that Bryce Canyon is waaaay better than Zion National Park. Convenient – since we were a lot closer to Bryce Canyon anyway.

That is, of course, so long as it’s not’s SNOWING!!!

Yes folks, the kids that left Syracuse, New York to get out of snow woke up to light flurries. Oops! Although no one was in the mood to hike in it, it made for some great pictures. That’s after the mad raid for warm clothes through MY closet. S was swaddled head-to-toe in my oversized long sleeve performance shirts, fleeces and jackets. Z was in my Adidas workout pants, flood waders for him, and my Clemson sweatshirt. (because you know, 16 year old boys are too cool to be too warm and cozy, but humble enough to wear ridiculous looking highwater athletic pants.) And Uncle Dan had on a pair of my funky designed spandex running tights under his shorts. Michael swears he will never look at me the same way in those (previously sexy) running tights again. :-/

We may have driven through Bryce Canyon but I took some pictures (and on the way there!!)

We pulled over the side of the road to capture this snow system moving across the distance!

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Bryce Canyon in snow.

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Another long day and we were pooped. We needed our rest because we were headed back to Nevada and Las Vegas, baby!!

Scenic Byways in AZ

We left the Grand Canyon and headed north. Our next destination was the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument in Utah. Our route took us north on Hwy 89 to Page, AZ and over to Kanab, UT to carry us on to our destination. But while in the truck I noticed a Hwy 89A that split at Bitter Springs, AZ  that skirted the south edge of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and a “red dot” labeled “Navajo Bridge” and on to Fredonia where it soon met back up with regular ‘ol Hwy 89 in Kanab.

I know in this day and age of wildly popular electronics and gadgets it seems ridiculous to read anything “paper” while navigating but any RVer worth his/her salt will tell you it’s a must. I will admit to not carrying any maps. I leave that to the GPS in the dash and our phones. I do, however, have an American Highway road atlas I picked up at a gas station a while back. It claims “140 detailed road maps and 55 large city maps and a national parks section with profiles of the top 12 parks.” I bought this a few years ago before I was even considering RVing. It appears to have been published in MMXIII. (2013. I had to look it up too….) This comes in handy ALL THE TIME!

  • double check Janet (what we lovingly call our in-dash sat-nav)
  • get my general bearings
  • planning
  • illustrate to Michael when a cell phone screen is just too small

You may be asking yourself, “what in the heck is a ‘red dot’ “? It’s just my atlas’ way of noting points of interest. So I started investigating this Navajo Bridge and decided it fell perfectly into a “Dillon Vacation Detour”. So we took it.

But before we even got that far we saw signs for “Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument“. We actually saw signs for this on the road, and turns out, it’s POI in my map too! We had no idea what it was or what to expect, but hey! That’s how a “Dillon Vacation” goes! *wink*wink*

It was most interesting volcanic rubble! We were able to hike around in it and take photos!! You let the Boadway’s climb on rocks and they are happy!!!

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I want to note here that I made the $80 “investment” of an Annual National Parks Pass while at the Grand Canyon.  Hey, it’s only a $10 lifetime pass if you’re over 62! By the end of the vacation it had already paid for itself. I highly recommend it since it gives you free access to all the national parks. They can get kind of expensive….. $25/ car here, $5/ car there… it adds up! This really is the cheap way to see them time and again throughout the year!

Highway 89A did not disappoint! It is an official scenic byway. We even stopped at a marked area of ancient pueblos!

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And we made it to the Navajo Bridge! (ok, I have since figured out how to get the exposure correct when I have light and shadow in my view. I did not know how to do that then… Please excuse my learning curve….)

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Trying to stay free and easy, I had left one night open for us to boondock. See! I do have a wild side!! If I haven’t mentioned it before I use www.overnightrvparking.com.  It’s a subscription site on where you can stay overnight, usually for free. There are other free sites but I like this one because other RVers submit info to “keep it real”.  I found we could just pull over on the side of the road on a gravel pull out on 89A. So we did.

Sometimes you get a stinker. And sometimes you hit the jackpot!

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This was our backyard in  Vermillion Cliffs!!

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The next morning… on to UTAH!!!!!