8/29-9/2 Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah

It just keeps getting better and better! How can there be so many mountain views and they are all different? I have no words for the beauty I am seeing, with each moment of awe I am giving my gratitude to God for His masterful work.

At Watchman campground the mountains soar all around us, it’s hard to capture the beauty…but we are nestled in for a couple days to enjoy and explore this place.

Of course the first thing we did was get our bikes down and go for a ride. The Pa’rus trail was 3.5 miles round trip, it was so much fun! The trail was paved for the most part so the ride was wonderful.

We enjoyed it so much we decided to walk it the next morning so we could take pictures.

It was early and thankfully a cloudy day. We walked this trail from our campground, it was a mile to where it started at the visitors center and another 1.75 miles to the end.

We could have rode the bus up into the canyon from the visitors center but we decided to walk to the next bus stop which was at the end of the Pa’rus trail, we figured that would be a really nice walk of 2.75 miles by then.

When we got to the second bus stop we found out that it was closed.

We had two choices, one would be to walk up into the bus route which was allowed and was another 12 miles to the end. (ok, this really wasn’t a choice) or we could walk back to the visitor centers bus stop, get on the bus and take it up the 12 miles to “The Narrows”, which was where it ended and everyone had to get off the bus.

By the time we got back to the visitors center we had walked 4.5 miles! We could walk another mile back to the campground or get on the bus. We got on the bus.

Along, the bus route are several stops where you can get off and go explore other hikes and then get back on the bus and ride it to the next stop.

It was a beautiful, if not death defying ride up into the canyon. The road was very narrow, and buses were coming and going on it all day long. (no cars allowed)

If you wanted to ride a bike up you could, however, everytime a bus came by the bus had the right of way and you had to take your bike and pull over. We didn’t see many places to pull over and wait for a bus to go by, but there were lots of people riding bikes.

The Narrows, is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park. It consists of a 2 mile hike on a paved trail, the first 400ft being pretty flat and wheelchair accessible.

At the 2 mile point many people start walking in the creek, they can continue on another 9 miles. We learned that it’s ankle deep and then chin deep, just that fast, plus you are walking on stones the whole way. There’s an outfitters shop in Springdale which will rent you special water shoes for this hike as well as hiking staffs and other gear.

We thought we could at least walk the first 400ft, we had rested on the bus and felt better.

So off we went!

It was so beautiful…

After Paul saved us from the falling boulder we walked on.

It was a fun and interesting paved walkway into the gorge. The trail went down and up and seemingly around the mountain until we got to the end of the trail and there was nothing but water.

We couldn’t believe we had walked another 2 miles!

We didn’t have cell service but I had started the Pa’rus trail hike on my Alltrails app and it just kept recording, really thought this was funny, so I had to share, it recorded everything including the bus ride. We actually ended our day with just over 8 miles of actual walking, not a record for us but one of our top 5.

National Parks are a wonder and we’ve enjoyed yet another one to our fullest, thanks Zion.

SR 313, Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway

We’ve seen so many beautiful places it’s easy to get behind in blogging, who wants to spent time on the computer when we have all this to expore?! lol

This was another drive we took out of Moab.

It was an amazing drive to Dead Horse State Park over land that was so flat you could see forever. Then we would climb and climb until finally here we were! The view of Horseshoe Bend was stunning.

As with many stories of the old west this one has a sad begining…

Just above this text you can see the deadhorse shape

I choose not to dwell on the sadness but the beauty that abounds…

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Driving into the park is just jaw dropping amazing! I could have taken a thousand pictures and still not captured all the beauty that abounds here.

As we drove through the long windy road that soared high and dipped low to the end of the park …we couldn’t have taken a bad picture.

This is not the landscape I grew up with in the flat farmland of Indiana, and so I am constantly just staring and saying “look at that!!”

The picture of the map, if made larger, will show you the trail we took to the Double Arch, it was the highlight of our day.

The VERY TINY things at the bottom of the picture are people. We were surprised that by the time we finished this trail we had hiked over a mile. Thank goodness it was only about 93 degrees when we finished, that was way too hot for hiking!

SR 279, Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway

We headed off on another scenic byway drive, and here we thought we were just going to go to Arches National park and call it a day.

This byway headed out of Moab where we took Potash road which entered the deep gorge of the Colorado river.

About 4 miles in, looking up, one can sometimes see rock climbers on the cliffs along the road. This area is called Wall Street. Sadly, we didn’t see anyone climbing the cliff.

Another mile in and the pull off sign on the side of the road read “Petroglyphs”. We got out of the car and stared at the wall of rock in front of us.

I was just about to say “what petroglyphs, I don’t see anything”

AND THERE THEY WERE! WOW!

As if out of nowhere our eyes focused on them, to say these petroglyphs were amazing is putting it mildly.

Such a fun little drive. To have the mountains soar straight up from the road was stunning.

SR 128, Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway

I can’t say enough good things about this campground. It’s quiet, private and well maintained. It’s just a different landscape being all redish gravel.

We have liked the mountain in front of us and when the sun dips below the edge of it, we LOVE it, because the temperature drops at least 20 degrees and we come outside again after the hot afternoon to enjoy the coolness, breezes and eventually stars.

We needed to get some laundry done, we’re not on vacation everyday, lol. Anyway, this is where the laundrymat is…

Yes, laundry as with everything else here was on the honor system. Just put your money in the box. $1 for a load, wash and dry, is unheard of BUT then they even include the soap and softner. Just had to share about the owners goodness, there was even a leave and take shelf of books above the table…of course I had some books to leave.

We went into town to the visitors center and talked with a really nice lady who gave us a Moab outdoor adventure quide and suggested some drives that would get us acclimated to the area.

We were off on our first drive through the gorge and the views did not disappoint.

The Colorado river is so muddy, it’s really not very pretty, but the mountains make up for it. We started this drive at Lions park, it was a little pull off with a walking bridge over the river.

As we drove on, the road followed the edge of the mountains with the Colorado river on the other side.

We drove on to the historic Dewey Bridge, unfortunatly this was all that was left of it after the 2008 brush fire. We turned around and headed back, the views although the same seemed so different from the opposite direction.

We found this little shop/restaurant along the way. Paul was looking at this rack of what looked like branding irons, the one he’s holding is a Big foot, okay, who would brand their cow with Big foot? Now, that’s just silly. (of course I doubt these were real branding irons)

The last picture on the left is a big metal flower sculpture off to the side of the entrance. But the petals were solar panels and they opened to make the aray.

We didn’t see it moving but it was unique and actually beautiful for a solar aray.

8/22-8/29 Moab Baby! Moab, Utah that is.

The roads were long and flat, so flat I couldn’t even get pictures to show how flat…it was wonderful!

Here are some pictures of the mountains as we traveled from Silt, Colorado to Moab, Utah. We really enjoyed this drive!

I can’t explain why but I was so excited when we started to see the “red rocks”.

As we drove on towards our campground the mountains started to change color from browns and tans to tans then reds, it was lovely.

We arrived at our campground, it’s a bit different than your “normal” campground, but then I guess we like a bit of different. It’s called “St. Danes Cabins and Camping”. (I hope to find out where the name came from, all I can think of is great danes…hmmm, probably not)

Shawn and Nancy live on the property.

They have 6 campsites with full hook ups, a nice firepit and picnic table with a sun sail over the top. They even provide the yellow leveling blocks you’ll see under our tires in some of the pictures.

There are several cabins intermingled around the office building in the front as you come in.

You probably can’t tell but this is Paul, pointing to an “arch”. He just couldn’t wait till we got to Arches National Park, lol.

Here are some pictures of our campsite…

It’s just so wonderful to get up in the morning and sit outside, in somewhat private, as there are no other campsites in front of us, just the mountains. Well, there is also the highway, but the pleasure of the mountains makes the highway a mute point.

Moab, is dry and windy. It’s so much cooler if you are in the shade, like noticably cooler, maybe 10-20 degrees it feels like, because if you are in the sun it’s HOT.

More to come…

Rifle State Park, Rifle,Colorado

9/20~ We decided to take a drive in the mountains, in the car. We were in serious need of a walk, or hike, we needed to explore! I always search an area for places we can ride our bikes and sadly the choices were over an hour away, and not good choices, so we needed to get outta here! lol

It was actually a very enjoyable ride and we found the park quite easily.

Now this is my kind of hike!

It was an easy hike, with a few steps here and there that were a little bit challenging but there was a surprise around every corner!

It was amazing how we followed the path and there they were, 3 waterfalls! They were so loud and beautiful! It wasn’t a very hot day but the mist still felt wonderful.

As we made our way around them, we started climbing steps here and there and followed the path as we came upon more caves and stunning rock formations.

Before we knew it we were at the top, where we could walk out these narrow steel overhangs and look down at the waterfalls from above.

There were just stunning views all around this little park.

The Rifle Falls and Cave’s state park was just what we needed!

8/16-8/22 Rocky Mountain High, Silt, Colorado

Well, we did it. Early on I had said we would never stay at any place that had “resort” in the title or a KOA. Both always equal much more money than we want to pay.

We have come to know our preferred “camping places”. There are different places, for different reasons.

When we first started really thinking that our life long dream of selling everything and traveling in a motor home might actually come true, we started researching.

By researching I mean, we watched every Youtube video we could find on this lifestyle. At first we were all about, “boondocking” which is much different than “lotdocking” or “moochdocking”. Let me explain, so lotdocking would be a quick overnight in a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot, because we are just passing through and need to rest, as an example. Moochdocking would be, hanging out in your friend or relatives drive way, for a nice visit. Boondocking is when you are out in nature, with no hookups, and your home of choice can fully sustain you.

By sustain you I mean, you have plenty of water on board for everything you need water for. You have a grey and black tank that will hold whatever you need it to hold for the length of time you are boondocking and power to support your lights, frig, heat, AC or whichever of these things you need to use while boondocking, which would require propane, a generator and or solar.

Oh, and most of these places are free. No money paid, well, you might take your friend/relative out to dinner as a thank you, but that’s about it, or so we thought.

So, further education has taught us that places like BLM land exist. These are places, like around Yuma and Quartzite, Az where you can pay $40 for a month or $180 for 6 months for a permit. By having a permit you can travel around and through, I think, 6 different vast areas of land that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Your money also provides you with free drinking water, a free dump station for dumping your grey and black tanks (and yes, some places charge up to $20 just to let you use their dump station) and recepticals for trash. There are other areas of BLM land throughout the country but they are mostly in the west.

There are websites like “FreeCampsites.net” which lists anywhere you want to go, the places you can pull over to the side of the road or travel down bumpy, dusty, rocky, rutted, muddy roads to a location which may or may not look like a campsite by a fire ring of rocks or if you are super lucky a sign that says you can camp here.

We thought we could rough it, we could boondock… and so we joined the KOA campground “club”.

OK, so we’re soft, we aren’t quite as adventurous as we thought we were, staying the night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot and enjoying a warm dinner or breakfast, well that’s roughing it somedays. Other days, when the weather is perfect, we like to stay at a Harvest Host location, if we find one near where we are going, and it’s cool enough to not need to run the generator for AC.

We enjoy a bit of comfort and for me, lately, just driving places provides enough adventure.

So, we have chosen to stay at the KOA in Silt, Colorado.

It’s lovely, with concrete patios complete with colorful metal tables and chairs (in a bit of retro theme) and large beautiful firepits. We have and will continue to use and enjoy the pool and hot tub.

The mountain views are stunning and there is a little tiny house village to the front of us to enjoy looking at. (only $135,000 should you want to buy one)

The picture above was the first mornings sunrise, with rain over the mountains.

The picture below was our sunset last night… goodbye Silt, Colorado.

Goodbye KOA, we will add you to our options…for on down the road.

8/17 It’s a travel day and I hate mountains

We decided to make a run for it, 340 miles from Burlington, Co to Silt, Co which was mostly through the mountains.

I hate mountains (not the actual mountains, I like looking at them, it’s the curvy, narrow, steep roads you have to use to drive through them) I hate rain (not the actual rain, rain is nice to go to sleep to the sound on the MH roof, but I had a bad experience once, nuff said) When you put them together I am almost completely hysterical! You might ask, “why in the world does she even travel?” I love to see knew places, to wake up and see a new view, try new things…I’m trying to face my fears…I know that God has not given me a spirit of fear but of hope and strength.

Then as I look up the side of the mountain I see fences that look like nets to hold back falling rock! And my mouth falls open, forget taking a picture, I can’t even believe this!

There had been a mudslide on the route we are taking. On google maps and the routing app I use, for awhile it showed closed and we were going to have to take a different route, which looked even more death defying… we weren’t sure what we were going to do.

Then this road showed open and a sign on I-70 said Glenwood Springs route OPEN. So off we went, problem solved. But whoa!

Who wanted to do this?!

Mountains as high as I can see up out either of the side windows and the road so long, it just goes on and on through one mountain after another. It’s so green. There’s so many of them!

We go up, up, up and then we go doooowwwwnnnn! I don’t know what’s worse!

I am facing my fears, I am trying to accept all that this is.

It is God being in control, it is faith in the prayers that I am praying to keep the rain at bay and to keep Paul sure at the wheel.

But Paul loves this stuff, he loves to drive and has driven all over the country and is sure and capable and calm. I am in the passengers seat with hands so sweaty my fingers are sliding off the keys.

The Eisenhower tunnel was so long it felt like a cocoon and then we were tossed out into bright, bright sunshine and a steep decline.

I was so happy we were behind a truck that was taking it super slow, until Paul decided to pass it. Such a loooooonnnnggggg steep road down! We passed a “run away truck” dirt road half way up the mountain, in case a semi truck just couldn’t slow down they could take it for help.

But Paul had this.

We are now entering a construction zone, ON THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN! What else?!

Herds of elephants!

Finialy …I remembered one of the things that I had said I wanted a motor home for.

I could sit in the back when I couldn’t handle the view!

And so after being terrified to tears I have moved to the back, where I sit on the couch in comfort and almost fearless joy.

We knew it would be our longest travel day so far, 346 miles, that’s a lot. Then add going through the mountains and I’m a puddle. These pictures from the backseat don’t really capture just how high these mountains are but, from the backseat they are truly glorious.

Paul is great, he started the day when we turned the tire pressure monitoring system on with an error message that our passenger dully tires were low.

This meant he had to get out the air compressor, which we honestly thought we’d never use and try to air up the the tires with the TPMS sensors on, which he had to take off.

Like the trooper that he is, he got to it, and it wasn’t an easy task. The air compressor is old and needs a new gage, the air kept coming out of the tire as he tried to put it in.

Long story short, it was a good thing we got up early because this tire episode took up our extra time we planned for the trip.

But now as I sit in the back seat and we are within an hour of our campground for the next week, I am so grateful for a back seat. I am so grateful for the rain holding off and answers to prayers, I am grateful for God giving my husband the ability that he needs to manuver us safely…on down the road.

8/16 “Service Advance Trac” Burlington, Co.

OK, this is a worry, this light came on and the cruise control went off. Paul couldn’t tell if anything else was amiss so we continued on.

I’ve searched and found several choices for tonights stop, we are hoping to find a Ford service/dealership to help us take a look at this.

After talking to the great people at the Ford Support number we feel just a bit better. It seems others have called about this warning light.

When we start driving for the day the cruise control will work for awhile and then stop, if we stop and turn off the engine for about 15 minutes it will work again for awhile until it stops again. The Support person, Eric, is trying to find us a Ford Service/Dealership that can help us. Fortunatly it’s nothing serious and we can wait. I gave him the locations we hope to be in, in about 3-4 weeks, hoping that somewhere can get us in for service by that time. We are waiting for the call back, it might take a day or two. Service in some areas is out several months, one Lazydays dealership with service bays is out till November.

On a totally different note we had to find a place to park for the night.

It was 93 degrees so we wanted to have electric to hook up to, but we didn’t need much more.

Outback RV park would do for the night. $25 in the provided envelope and we were all set. Electric and water and sewer, Full hookups.

We never saw another human being, infact we were the only one’s staying overnight.

True it was only a parking lot, but it was a nice parking lot. It was new, with 13 electric posts and water spigots and newly spread pea gravel to park on, which was pretty level.

So, we hunkered down for the evening. We intended to get our chairs out and sit outside for awhile but we didn’t. Right before I pulled the blinds on the dark outside, little twinkly lights came on, on the newly planted little trees thru out the lot.

For a parkinglot they had gone above and beyond.

Camel Camel was getting a bit cheaky, it was time to go on down the road…