Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sept. 23, 2015


Drove to Bridgeport on Friday.  Stayed in a very nice if small RV park on the shore of local lake.  Boat ramp for fishermen, paddle boards for rent, dock, etc.  One problem – 4 1/2 year drought.  We had to walk nearly a quarter mile to reach lake shore which now looks much like a large puddle.  Very nice little park though.  Saturday we took a semi-leisurely drive to Reno stopping in Carson City for gas at Costco.  Cheapest we saw in the state.  Got to Christina and Roland's house about noon.  They had just finished the last step in the remake of their front yard (artificial grass) two days earlier.  Looks very nice and quite functional.

Stayed and played(with grandkids) for a day and headed over hill Sunday about 3:00 in the afternoon.  Home a little after 5:00.  Unpack, clean, wash, etc. over the next two days.  To storage this morning.

Sue’s birthday tomorrow and I fly to Atlanta on Friday.  Holidays and then think about where to next.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sept. 17, 2015

Death Valley

Forecast high in Death Valley, 105 degrees.  We left Las Vegas at 7:30 in the morning.  Fortunately going against morning traffic. Five lane parking lot leading into the city.  Short detour to Costco for gas and then north.  Made it through Death Valley (sea level –) by 11:00 am with temp not too bad – about 85.  Got to Lone Pine about 1:00 pm.  Nice campground. Quiet, FHU, pool AND spa, cable, WIFI, trees, east side of Sierras(Mt Whitney) for view.  Good place to stop for day.


At the end of that long straight road and over those mountains is Death Valley.


Headed down into Death Valley


Death Valley from the west



Sparse Joshua forest


Sierra Nevada Mountains. Feels like home-almost Smile

Sept. 16, 2015

Las Vegas

Last day and a half in Las Vegas.  Walked the strip.  Saw a number of free shows.  Decided not to pay for a show.  Nothing appealed.  Saw lots of interesting (strange) people wandering the strip.  Lots of stores on the strip and inside each hotel/casino.  Lots of places to spend LOTS of money.  Latest ‘homeless’ gig – sell cold bottled water to tourists.  Setting up just outside door to hotel which has water fountains just inside probably not too bright but different strokes.  Free shows were disappointing from what we remember.  Short and not very exciting.  Seemed like little imagination went into production of them.  One exception – Mystic Falls in Sams Town hotel/casino which is about ten miles from strip.  Ten minute water/light show with animatronic animals.  Done in interior courtyard landscaped to resemble a mountain stream setting.  Even when show is not on the setting is active with mountain sounds (crickets/birds/etc) and moving animals in natural settings (beaver gnawing tree limb, squirrel moving head and twitching tail several ways, deer twitching ears, bear looking around, more).  During show more things appear and become active.  Show is not on a par with Disney but is Disney like and far better than anything we saw on the strip (where there is much more money to really put on a good show if they wanted to).  Did find a good, reasonable Mexican restaurant – again, several miles from strip.



Leaving Hurricane.  Don’t often see one of these in the morning.



M&M’s of all flavors and shades


Bellagio fountain show

Aria Hotel Wall of Water




Canal inside Venetian Hotel


Inside Venetian

Waterfall at Wynn Hotel

Outside Winn Hotel




Sam’s Town show

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015

Thunder and lightening and rain Oh My! Smile

Layover in Hurricane.  Drove to St. George to do some sightseeing and shopping. Sunny and clear all day.  Warnings of potential storms 20 miles from us but no sign of them near us.  Clear and sunny over us.  Fifteen minutes ago still clear.  Ten minutes ago a storm moved in.  Lightening and instant thunder – lots of it.  Rain so heavy that gutters running full and visibility about 100’ due to heaviness of rain.  Stuff flashfloods are made of.  Lasted about fifteen minutes and then was gone but fun while it lasted.  Car and carbus got a good washing.  Smile

Sept 13, 2015

Pipe Spring NM and Zion NP

Down off the plateau.  Goodbye trees.  Hello sagebrush.

First stop Pipe Spring National Monument.  Interesting spot that has history going back several hundred years and covering several very different cultures.  Until fairly recent times the sprint was the only source of water for many miles in all directions.  Use of and then control and use of this water played a big part in the development of this part of the southwest.  Park is now like a living history museum of how it functioned when the Mormons had a tithing ranch here.  Active and periodic displays of crop gardens, livestock, and many of the day to day tasks of ranch life in the middle 1800’s.  So central was this location that it had the first telegraph station in southern Utah.  First operator was a 16 year old girl named Eliza Luella Stewart.  She operated the station for three years before she met and married David King Udall. She was  the matriarch of what became a long line  of  Udall's active in state and national government including Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior.

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Sitting/living room of ‘ Winsor Fort’ – name given to home/telegraph station/creamery/inn/operations center/hostel/etc. of Mormon family that settled and ranched Pipe Springs.


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Kitchen.  Stove was a later addition to original house.


On to town of Hurricane.  Park in RV park.  Drive to Zion NP.  An experience.  Last time we were here the park was still open to public traffic.  Some of the vista parking lots might have been a little congested but no inconvenience really.  Now the only travel in the park is on foot or by tram.  Good move.   Have never seen so many parked cars (and inhabitants of same) in one place.  Parking lot of the visitor center is huge, size of parking for a large mall.  It was packed and cars were driving around hoping for a vacant spot to appear.  Parking lots and road sides for a half mile both ways were packed. Nearby town (which has trams to park) was packed.  Summer is over, right?  We lucked out.  We got a spot actually pretty close to the visitor center and tram station.  Took tram through the park, stopping to look and hike at several spots.  At the end of the road a trail leads to the beginning of the Narrows.  A slot canyon through which flows the Virgin River.  You can walk up the narrows for miles wading in the mostly ankle deep river (unless it rains upstream – then LOOK OUT).  Trail to beginning of Narrows is one mile long.  Walking up trail we must have passed at least 300 (probably a lot more) people coming down.  Looking up the Narrows you couldn’t see the river.  There were so many people wading in it.  Kind of like a red rock Disneyland.  Oh well.  We got some pictures (without people even) and saw some neat stuff (again).

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Virgin River


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White Throne



Sue at opening of Narrows. Scores of tourists on either side.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sept. 12, 2015

Jacob Lake

First, Happy three month Birthday Gracie Sue!! Smile


We have spent last two days just kicking back at  a forest service campground at the Jacob Lake intersection where the road takes off to the north rim of Grand Canyon.  There is a small lodge and gas station across the road.  Very nice campground.  No hookups but large, level, gravel camp sites with lots of room between.  Our site is at the back of campground, away from road (which is not really that busy, dead at night) and looks out over nothing but trees.   Another plus (right now) is that the elevation is 8700’+.  Very comfortable days (85 degrees or less) and cool nights.  Clean air, blue skies by day and dark nights with lots of stars.  The rest of our trip will be at lower elevations and hotter so we have been watching the weather and extended our stay here ‘till lower temps forecast in our direction.  Today we took a couple of hikes.  Got in over five miles.







Some Kaibab Squirrels we saw on our walk.  The Kaibab Squirrel is only found on the Kaibab Plateau which is the land mass that extends from roughly where we are (Highway 89A on a map) south to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  Pointy ears and white tails.  Very different from any squirrel we have seen.  They are also very skittish.  Other squirrels will retreat to a safe distance and then watch you to see what you are up to.  Chipmunks and ground squirrels are even braver to the point of approaching you some times.  These guys head for a tree as soon as they see you coming and keep climbing.  Fun to see this rare animal in his environment.


There really is a Jacob Lake.  It is about a mile from the intersection down a gravel road.  The original inn and road were near here.  Historic ranger station is just across road behind where pictures were taken.  For several reasons the road and inn were moved to higher ground (nearly 100 years ago) leaving the lake alone in its peaceful setting.




Sept 10, 2015

Grand Canyon

Leisurely departure time for us as our goal camp spot had a 1:00 check in time and was only about 80 miles away.  First gas up then off.  Another pretty drive.  This time one of the key sights was the Vermillion Cliffs as well as crossing the Colorado River gorge at Lees Ferry.  Last time we will cross it this trip.  Lots of elevation changes We gained and lost 2000’ and then regained it and doubled that.  Reached Jacob Lake and checked in to campground even though we were early.  Lunch and then a 45 mile drive south to north rim of Grand Canyon.  Took pictures, wandered through lodge, talked to ranger for info, drove out another 30 mile long road to location with best views from north rim – much better than views from lodge.  Took pictures.  Back to carbus about 6:45.



View toward southeast from north rim Cape Royal



This is an area set up for weddings.  Picture taken from behind several rows of benches. Couple stand in area in front of rocks.  Looks like best time for wedding would be morning.  Much better light then.  Still an impressive backdrop.



Window rock



View of Grand Canyon through window



Looking southeast.  There is a reason south wall is more abrupt.  North rim is 1500’ higher.  More snow and rain.  More run off. More feeder streams. More erosion over longer distance before reaching Colorado River.

Speaking of the Colorado, it is in the picture.  Center of picture is a white bluff.  To the right of that is a dark green area on floor of canyon.  that is not the river.  River is brown area running diagonally down to left of green area.



Similar view.  River a little easier to make out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sept 09,2015

Rainbow Bridge

Boat tour to Rainbow Bridge. (With a 2 1/2 mile walk in the middle)  Amazing scenery the whole trip (which took seven hours Smile).  Pleasant, informative crew eager to share insights and answer questions.



Rainbow Bridge





One of our boat captains, ranger, and Sue

Sept 08, 2015

Travel to Page

Left Bryce just before sunrise.  Hour and a half drive to Kanab, location of visitor center that administers access to ‘The Wave’.  We filled out form to enter the lottery for tomorrows Wave permits.  Didn’t win (along with about 45 other people from all over the world).  Had no reason to stay in Kanab so on to Page, AZ, home of Glen Canyon Dam and access to Lake Powell.  Hooked up at Elks Lodge, to marina to make reservations for tour tomorrow, wash clothes, and chill out (@91 degrees).

Sept. 07, 2015

Bryce Canyon National Park

Last day and a half at Bryce.

First a note on getting here.  If you have the opportunity, take State highway 12 from Torrey south to Bryce.  It has an Americas Scenic Byway designation and it is well deserved.

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First time we have actually seen inhabitants of an open range


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Got to Bryce a little after noon.  Again the concern about space because middle of Labor Day weekend.  Lucked out and found several spots open in best campground for RV use.  Park and then off to see Bryce Canyon.  (Not really a canyon but it’s just a name)  What to say?  Will just post some pictures.



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You can not buy bottled water anywhere  in Bryce (and many- maybe all- other National Parks and monuments) or in nearby stores outside park.  They are happy to sell you a refillable bottle however and there are water stations in many places.



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