Sunday, September 15, 2013

RV Life-Road Trip

We recently took a road trip to Utah.  Like I said here, we recently obtained a used motorhome, which was quite a blessing for us.  It's also been a VERY long time since we've taken a vacation, so this was super exciting.  Part of me was worried that my hubby wouldn't like RVing once he tried it, but to my delight he loves it just as I do. 

Lil J was super excited about being in the motorhome.

We live in Southern California, so we went to the 15 freeway & headed East (North, according to the freeway).  We crossed through Nevada, Arizona, & then crossed the border into Utah.  I was surprised that reaching the border of Utah really wasn't that long of a drive, although that would depend on timing & traffic conditions at the time of the drive.  It's about a 8 hour drive I guess.

We had specific areas of Utah that we wanted to see.  Our first stop just across the border we looked at Santa Clara & Ivins & then camped for the night in Snow Canyon State Park.  I had gotten an app on my phone that would show us where RV camps were.  We quickly learned that the exact locations of the camps were not all that accurate though.  We were thrilled that this camp had full hookups & was only $20 for the night.  It was very pretty here & we did a little hike the next morning before getting back on the road. 

The ants here were very large & we didn't think they could get any larger.......until we got to the Grand Canyon that is.......  My son had been begging me for a toy motorhome ever since we bought our's.  I found this one & hid it in his bunk so he could find it while we were on the road.  It quickly became one of his all time favorite toys.

This sign with the lizard was at the trail head of the trail we hiked the next morning.  We didn't get very far on this trail because my hubby wasn't used to the altitude.

We stopped at a market in La Verkin & took advantage of these great photo opps in the parking lot there.  We continued onward Toquerville & Hurricane & then to Zion National Park.  I must say that this area was our favorite part of all of Utah that we saw on this trip. 

We got super lucky here at Zion.  One of the campgrounds was full, the other had some open spots still we were told.  When we arrived we got the very last spot that was available.  Here we paid $16 for the night, with no hook ups.  The other camp does have some hook ups & they also take reservations, but the one we stayed in had neither.

I was at Zion National Park when I was a kid & the one thing I remember was the weeping rock.  So the next morning we got up & took the shuttle bus all the way up the mountain.  On our way back down we stopped for the weeping rock. 

We actually ended up on the wrong trail at first.  It was super narrow (which made us nervous with our son) & steep.  We went quite a ways up & then decided to go back down & try the other trailhead that was also there.  And it was the other one that went to the weeping rock & it was safe & wide & not so steep.  My hubby was still trying to adjust to the altitude changes on this day, but he was doing much better with it.

Zion National Park is so very beautiful.....if you've never been I highly recommend going

I don't think I'd ever get tired of looking at this

There were LOTS of deer on the trails we hiked on.  And they weren't very afraid or timid either, which surprised me.  They looked really thin, but maybe that's the norm for them this time of year, I'm not sure.......

The weather was raining off & on, but still so beautiful

So many breathtaking views

I might add that the shuttle bus is a free service, how wonderful is that?

In our campground--it seems like construction work follows us wherever we go!!  At home we have never ending construction going on it seems & always wake up to the "beep beep beep" of construction vehicles backing up in reverse & we did here too.....of course Lil J loves construction vehicles. so we had to go check it out & take a video of the action!

My hubby & I like to collect magnets on our travels.  So he stopped in this shop to get one.  He posed for a pic with the Indian but the Indian started farting much to my hubby's surprise!!  Our son was passed out asleep at this time, so I waited in the motorhome while hubby was in this shop.

Bottom Left: This river ran next to our camp ground; Bottom Right: the roads inside the National Park are this beautiful rust color, matching all the rocks

After we left Zion we headed North to Sanpete, Manti, Spring City, Mt Pleasant, & Fairview.  We camped in Fairview for the night. 

I can certainly appreciate the speed limits in Utah.....hehehe......although they aren't too doable in a motorhome.

Much to my son's excitement we spotted Tow Mater on the way to Fairview!!  It was getting dark so it was hard to get a good picture of it

When we called this RV camp they said there was only one other person staying at the time, so we could pick any spot we wanted when we arrived.  But by the time we arrived we were the only ones there for the night & next morning.  We had quite an adventure trying to find this place!  We were following the directions on the app on my phone & we couldn't find the place where the app said it was.  We came to this little old rickety wooden bridge.  My hubby stops & we both looked at each other......we were both thinking that there was no way that bridge was going to hold the weight of the motorhome.  So he called the camp on the phone.  He asks the lady about the bridge & she says yes, to cross the bridge.  Again we both look at each other in alarm.  So he inquires again, stating that it's a wooden bridge & she says no, it should be a cement bridge.  Whew!!  What a close call!!  The camp was actually a little ways away from where the app on my phone said it was, but we did eventually get there.  It was also $20 with full hook ups. 

When I was a kid my mother had posed for a photo hanging on the back of our motorhome.  I was telling my hubby about it & he said suggested we pose also.  But I didn't have the guts to hang my feet off like she did!!  And then our son got excited about the ladder & wanted to climb up too.

Onward we travelled to Spanish Fork, Mapleton, Springville, & Midway.  This area was very nice, but it appears to be a big snow & skiing area in the colder weather.

We were interested in this Heber Valley Railroad....until we learned that the ride on it was 3 hours long.  There was no way we had time for that.  But we did see it stopped here at this park while we were driving so we stopped for photos. 

Our son was very sad to leave the train behind without being able to board.

But we got him cheered up again

We stopped at Strawberry Resevoir to park & eat lunch.  He built a "rock castle"

He also had a blast playing in this puddle with his boat.

Then we did a really long drive south to Monticello & Blanding

This was a lengthy drive through lots of mountains......on a very narrow highway......

......with plenty of  fog.........

......and rain.......

......and more beautiful views......

We spent the night in Blanding, this place was about $30 with full hook ups.

The next morning we took off, heading to highway 12.  Top Left: these "open range" signs are everywhere.  The first few we saw didn't have a picture of a cow & we didn't know what it meant.  We learned it means the cows roam freely & are likely to be on the highway & they don't move away quickly when they see a vehicle coming, so you'd better watch out!

there were views of the Colorado River

This whole drive was breathtaking.......Highway 12 is a must see drive, at least once in your life time

did I mention "breath taking"?

Here we were just about to reach Highway12 & we found this road block.  The police officer helped us find an alternate route on our map, he said a whole section of this highway was completely washed away the night before in the rain.  Top Right: there were lots of old cars all over Utah, this one is a Plymouth Belvedere, which I rarely see.  But growing up my father owned a 2 door coupe '54 Plymouth Belvedere so I had to get a pic of this one!

It was still a little rainy & cloudy

There was a flash flood warning in effect for most of the areas we were in for this whole trip while in Utah, we had to wait here for this road to reopen.  This was at the very beginning of Highway 12 for us.  We were told it was a record breaking year for how much rain they were getting.  I personally love the rain, but my hubby not so much.

There were LOTS of cows roaming freely, all over the highways

Lots of beautiful canyons & caves

some rain & plenty of clouds

Once we got onto highway 12 it was breath taking (even moreso than the other breathtaking views we had seen) & I do believe it was the highest elevations we experienced in our whole trip.

I stopped at this little post office on highway 12 to mail my mother's birthday card.

We spent the night at this RV park, very near Bryce Canyon National Park, although I never actually saw signs indicating where you enter Bryce Canyon National Park.  This place was around $20 for the night with full hook ups.  We had called the day before & made reservations for this one.

We stopped at this little shop that was next to our camp before taking off for the Grand Canyon

So we headed South through Utah..... (This was some sort of Museum....the structure itself was amazingly beautiful, a naturally occurring cave, but we didn't actually pay admission & enter the museum, we were in a hurry to get to the Grand Canyon)

.....and entered into Arizona

We had made a reservation here at the North Rim Camp of Grand Canyon before we got there.  I do believe this is the same campground we stayed in when I vistited the Grand Canyon as a little girl

In our camp site our son spotted this little baby lizard.  Upon looking at literature I discovered that it is a short horned lizard, but I do believe it was only a baby, it was very tiny & very cute.

Our son claimed that this rock on the right was a truck & the rock on the left was the 5th wheel trailer!  I do have to admit that I can see the resemblance.  He said the stick was Curious George, but he had a broken leg, LOL.  And we stopped at the general store in our campground & our son was begging for this snack.  It was healthy & gluten & dairy free so we got it for him.  To our surprise he ate almost everything in it!

Our son really wanted to ride on this choo choo, but upon inquiring in the general store we found it was only for some sort of dining experience package deal.

We hiked the Transept Trail to Bright Angel Point

And then came back on the Bridle Trail....we spotted a deer along the way....and some interesting trees

We had been dreaming of having a camp fire, we finally got to do so here at Grand Canyon, almost at the end of our trip. 

The next morning, we drove to Point Imperial before leaving Grand Canyon behind

I was told you can see all the way to the South Rim from this point

Lil J begged to show "Buddy" the Grand Canyon.....this was his only request to take Buddy anywhere on this whole trip, so I allowed it (I normally don't allow Buddy out of the house, since it needs to stay clean so he can snuggle & sleep with it)

And so we left Grand Canyon & headed back to Utah to get to the 15 freeway to head homeward

The easiest/shortest route I could find on the map was to take Highway 9 across to the 15....and then I realized it was the same highway that goes through Zion National Park.  But this time we were on the other side of the Park.  Since we had just paid for entrance to the Park a few days prior (& we had the receipt to prove it) we didn't have to pay the entrance fee again, but we did have to pay to go through the mile long tunnel.  That was quite an experience.  Our son was really excited, although he did get scared before we reached the end of it.  We were able to make him realize it wasn't scary easily enough though.  I was actually excited to pass through here again since this was our favorite part of Utah & because we still needed to buy a Zion magnet......hubby had stopped for one the first time we were here but he just got one that said "Utah", nothing about Zion specifically.  We had to make a few stops to find a magnet that specified "Zion", but we did finally find one.

We were ahead of schedule on our trip, so instead of making the long drive straight home we decided to spend the night in Las Vegas, NV.  I've never been a fan of Vegas, but I did want to see ATM headquarters, which is where they film the TV show Tanked that we like to watch.  This camp wasn't really a "camp", I guess that's why they cal it a "resort", but it was nice.  It had an amazing pool & other amenities.  And there were actually people living in here long term, which I hadn't seen before & was surprised to realize that people do such a thing.  We also finally found the time to put our USA sticker on our motorhome while we were here.  And being in the desert, we were finally out of the rain.

That big blue/gray fish was my son's fave in the whole place & he literally BEGGED to be able to take him home.....I tried explaining that mommy's tank wasn't big enough & was freshwater rather than saltwater, but he still wanted it.

This tank was 1100 gallons!  The fish in it were massive! This is where that blue/gray fish my son fell in love with lives.

My birthday present from Freddie Five O at ATM--an autographed poster

And onward to the California border!!  And a few more hours until home

One final shot of my little stinker laying on me while I was resting on the long drive home!

All in all it was a really great trip & we learned a lot about the motorhome & we cannot wait to go on a trip again!!!

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