We’ve been having so much fun in southern Utah that we’ve simply been too dog-tired to blog. So let’s catch up!
We left you last in Henderson, Nevada. Our stay there was at the Desert Sands RV “Resort”. It’s Vegas, right? We’re expecting some cool place, but we find out that $15 a night buys you a space, some electricity, water, a sewer hookup, and a dip in a pool. There was no ambiance in that list because the DS is basically a trailer park for long term (and apparently minimum wage) residents. At least they have their teeth. And really great tans! The “Mayor” of the Desert Sands, Al, looked like he was a leather suitcase with arms and legs. We thought it was really hot at 105F until Elaine called to tell us that the day we left Anaheim for Vegas it was 113F in Los Angeles! The all-time high record. So, maybe for the first time in history, someone went to Vegas to cool down! We were definitely cooled down when we found that the 2 “top spots” for gelato had gone belly up. Bummer. Then we cruised by the Sunrise Station casino and dropped a quick $50 on a dollar slot and 2 nickel poker machines. Not to be defeated, we did make that trip to see Hoover Dam, the real reason for our stopover. It was STUPENDOUS! We also discovered that they have completed to new highway bypass around the top of the dam by constructing a massive bridge over the gorge just below the dam. So when the docent at the start of the tour said “Enjoy the dam tour!” he didn’t really understand we were enjoying so much more!
We slithered off to Hurricane Utah on Sept. 29 for our first official full week of camping! Up to this point we’ve been 2 nights here, 1 night there, so much setup and teardown! This time we’re really delighted at the Willowind RV Resort. Clean, paved, wide spaces with grass around them! Modern utilities to hook up to! Really friendly staff with a real front office! And great neighbors who are mostly full timers just like us, except they don’t live here year-round. On one side I was greeted immediately by Howard with “Are we having fun yet?”. This as the sweat poured off of me while I schlepped the power cable and the sewer line out for hookup. But, I WAS having fun, so Howard and I became immediate friends. His wife Marge we never met, she’s a “rig hobbit” who rarely goes outside apparently. On the other side we met Charlie and Roy (wife and husband, keep your minds focused here). She’s delightful and he’s retired from the California Dept. of Forestry. Oh, he’s delightful too, but she’s much more sociable so we see her a lot more. It always amazes me how fast you can meet people in an RV park and within 1 day know virtually everything about them. For instance, Charlie and Roy have been full-timing for 14 years. They didn’t intend this to begin with, but like many full-timers they just forgot how to live in a house. But last April they were rear-ended in Yuma Arizona while towing their big 5th wheel by a semi truck and sent flying out into the desert. The rig was demolished but they escaped with very minor injuries. It was a quirk in their rig insurance, the “full replacement” clause that put them back on the road. If it was a “cash out” policy they would probably have purchased a house in Redding CA (their home base) and called it quits.
Thursday Sept. 30 was a day at Zion, about 30 miles up the road. We started the morning with a short 2.5 mile walk before breakfast. When we arrived at the park entrance we thought we were pretty darn smart by purchasing an annual National Parks pass for $80 instead of a one-time entry pass for $25 only to discover that the time starts ticking on the 1st of the month, in this case Sept. 1. Oh well, what a difference a day makes! We enjoyed wonderful Mother Nature at her finest and decided that since we had a short morning walk that we would take a short afternoon hike. Just under a mile to Lower Emerald Pool. Perfect! But when you make ONE wrong turn at the start of the trail, you end up 1.5 miles farther and 500 feet higher at the Upper Emerald Pool. The view was worth it, and we took plenty of Advil before going to sleep that night.
On Saturday we visited Kolob Canyons, a new addition to Zion National Monument. Since we had taken no morning pre-breakfast walk we decided to hike the Taylor Creek trail to Double Arches Alcove. What a gorgeous hike! The “outside” temperature was over 90 (above the canyon walls), but in the canyon along the creek bed it was a very pleasant and shady 70. And the end of the trail made it all worthwhile.
On our trip back to the RV park we got to discussing the origin of the name of the town of Hurricane. I was convinced that because it was so implausible that an actual hurricane could ever reach these parts that it must be something stupid like a wild horse named Hurricane that killed one of the original town settlers, or something like that. Our curiosity was satisfied a short time later when a sudden storm front pushed through with gusts of wind that slammed the sides of the rig and stripped a ton of leaves off of the surrounding trees. Wow. No crazy horse I guess.
Sunday we got up at 5AM and drove the 120 miles to Bryce Canyon. After all, we bought the annual pass we might as well use it. Totally different from Zion, and magnificent. This is a sample in high def video. We elected the easy hike again to “The Queen’s Garden” down into the canyon but decided after reaching it that we would complete the “Navajo Loop” back out to another spot on the rim, the Sunset Point. All in all about 2.5 miles, and we lost and then gained back about 1000 feet of elevation. Pretty strenuous except this is all early in the morning so it wasn’t hot. But it was also all at about 8,000 feet of altitude to begin with. My body will be bursting with red blood cells when we leave here!
There is so much more, but we wanted to salute our Person Of Interest. Today it’s our Chief Postal Officer, Mort Lasnik! Without a permanent address his house in Bass Lake has become Muddscape Mail Central. And it’s been an exciting week. We are getting daily updates about checks, retirement benefit changes, insurance notices, all kinds of stuff. And Mort is right on the job. He figured out that phone calls don’t always go through to the boondocks, but he can send an email summary of the days mail and scan and forward important stuff, so we’re thinking of adding to the “Snow, sleet, rain….” motto with a little “Sort, scan, and send” footnote! Great job, Mort! Now if we can figure out what to do with the checks…