Heading to West with a Stop in Wallace, Idaho

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This was an amazing stop, and totally unplanned. The heat was on so we wanted to be plugged in for a few days.  The campground was Wallace RV Park, which is on a creek and the big selling point to us was has a brewery attached.  After getting off the interstate we drove through this adorable western mining town and then into the campground.  The campground, while the sites were small the location was amazing.  It had a railtrial (Trail of the Coeur d”Alenes) right outside the door which was amazing for working on my training.  It was underneath the interstate for a couple miles which made it very pleasant to stay out of the hot sun.  The trail is something like 73 miles long. 

The town is full of history. It is located in Shoshone County, Idaho in the Silver Valley mining district of the Idaho panhandle.  It was founded in 1884 and sits on the Coeur d’ Alene River and Interstate 90.   They had more brothels there than in San Fransciso did at one point.  The last one closed in the 80’s, the 1980’s.  It then became a museum and the rooms were rented it out.  There is an old theater there as well, however the summer program had not started while we were there.  One day we went on the Mine Tour (Sierra Silver Mine Tour).  We started at the Silver Mining Store, which is part store and part museum and ice cream parlor.  We hopped on a trolley that took us to our tour, after a steep ride up the side of the mountain we were greeted by a Miner who had us place a hard hat on our heads and off we went into the mine.  Very dark and very damp place.  After our 45-60 minute tour down below we decided that spending 12 hours per day in the dark, damp place would not be our idea of fun.  It was interesting how the miner’s lived and we now know that they did not make a lot of money but they would spend some money at the many brothels.  After our mine tour our driver collected us to take us on a tour of the town of Wallace.  In which we learned about the history of Wallace and how it became and why it became the only town in the US that all the buildings, homes are on the National Historical Registry.  Apparently in the 80’s again the 1980’s the government wanted to build the Interstate right through the town, so the town put every house on the historical registry.  

One evening we went to the brewery  (City Limits Brewery) we sat at the bar and a gentleman asked to sit next to us.  We started to chat up Bruce, he is a native of the town of Wallace, however he lives in San Antonio and goes back for a few months in the summer, can’t blame him for that.  Anyway, he was telling us about growing up there and the making of the railtrail.  He said when he was in the military they told the people when on leave they did not want them to go to San Fransciso or Wallace because of the amounts of brothels.  He also told us how the building of the railtrail was a way to unpollute the area. The area was polluted when they were taking out the railroad so the government told the town you either have to spend a lot of money to get rid of the pollutants or “cap”, capping is what they did and the railtrail was born.  There is a train museum, which we did as well, worth our time for sure.

Speaking of Railtrails, there is one we did the Hiawatha Trail.  It is an unpaved railtrail that is awared the Rails-To-Trails Hall of Fame designation.  It is considered the “crown jewel” of rail trails and after riding the trail I can honestly say we agree.  The adventure begins at Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho state line.  We drove up there and rode our bikes down, very little pedaling needed.  The trail is a 2% downhill grade of 15 miles of amazing views on the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad.  The trail has 10 tunnels, (one is 2 miles long, long dark and damp) and the trail also has 7 trestles.  After we got to the bottom there were some nice folks to take our bikes and us back up to the top, well almost the top, we have to ride the tunnel back to the beginning. It cost us less than $30.00 each for the ride and the return shuttle.  They rent bicyles and helmets (must be worn) and headlights (a necessity as well, remember the 2 mile, dark, damp tunnel), however, we had our bikes, helmets and lights with us.  We were finally able to use our bikes since we left Florida and were grateful for having our own and my Ion headlight and tail light.  After we got back we were wishing there was more.  If this is something you want to do check out the schedule at  ridethehiawatha.com. 

While we were in Wallace our days were spent exploring and the afternoons were spent enjoying the little town, checking out the breweries and just enjoying hanging around the campground.  

During one of the afternoon walks with Eris the Court’s bailiff asked us to bring Eris to the courthouse he had a cookie. He told us to go ahead and bring her in and he meant all the way in up the marble stairs and up to the lobby area where he could give her a treat. He said they are very proud of not having a dog policy. The hospitality in the whole town was amazing, for a second I thought we were in the south.

Bottomline, if heading west and you are like us and don’t have concrete plans be sure to do a stopover in Wallace, Idaho.  If we had time we would be heading back there.  

Next week’s blog we are skipping ahead to the Seattle area as there wasn’t much to be said about where we were in eastern Washington, because we were fleeing the heat.  

So until next week keep exploring, discovering and dreaming, whether you are traveling or staying in place.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

PS if you would like to purchase any of my photo’s, email me and I will be happy to sell you some.  I will be reopening my Etsy store in the near future as well, selling cards and magnets of my prints. Look out for that coming soon.

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Email: hlmichaudphotography@gmail.com

NEXT UP ON OUR WESTWARD BOUND TRIP-MISSOULA, MONTANA

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As we headed west we thought a stopover in Missoula was in order.  Since we did not have reservations anywhere we decided to do a night at a Harvest Host and then find our boondocking spot the next day.  We stayed at Wildwood Brewing, where the beers were good and pizza was decent as well.  The next day we  made it to our boondocking spot at Chief Looking Glass Campground.  It is a fishing access campground, with first come first serve campsites with fishing access if you so choose and a canoe launch, and has pit toilets.  It was $15.00 a night as we did not have a Montana fishing license.  Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit.  We did not use either as the mosquitos were awful.  First time since we left that the mosquitos made us stay inside.  The location was perfect for site seeing Missoula.  We had decent cell signal and even a few stations on tv. 

Missoula has it all, wilderness and adventure and restuarants of all levels to satisfy any foodie out there.  There is a river that runs through the city that has a manmade wave in it, where surfer’s take their boards and do the wave over and over again.  Very cool thing to see.  It is right of the riverwalk area which is surrounded by parks and museums and downtown.  Missoula lies at the convergence of 3 rivers and 7 wilderness areas and is an artsy sort of town.  This was the first town we came across during our travels that we thought we could live there.  

We went downtown to go to a couple of the markets they had on Saturday.  It made us feel we were home and almost “normal”.  Pups couldn’t go into the market so Eris had to stay home.  The vendors were just like our market in St. Pete, but of course local to the area.

Missoula is also home to Adventure Cycling, the organization with 50,000 bicyle routes to get the adventure on.  For those who want to travel by bicycle this is the place to go.  

Another day we went to Fort Missoula which is 32 acres with over 20 historic structures.  It was built in 1877  during the Indian Wars and served as the starting point for the African American 25th Infantry Bicyle Corps (a 1900 mile rid to St. Louis), it was also a WWI Military  training center, a CCC headquarters and a WWII interment camp for Japanese and Italian Americans.  Oddly, I can’t remember the fictional novel I was reading but it spoke of Ft. Missoula as one of the Italian interment camps.  

There was much more to be seen in Missoula but the weather promised to get hot so we needed to move on.  We spent a nice 5 days or so there and we will be back again.  

I highly recommend going there if you like the urban life with the small town feel.  So until next week’s blog remember to keep on exploring, discovering and dreaming and if you like this consider following us and give us a big thumbs up.

Stay safe, see you next week as we continue onward towards the west….

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

OUR TIME IN YELLOWSTONE, SADLY HAD TO COME TO AN END AS IT WAS HEATING UP—WESTWARD WE GO!!!

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After freezing in the morning of our hike it warmed up to nearly 95 degrees, it was time for us to go and find some electrical hookups.  Westward we headed as we started making our way west to Washington State.  On our way we stopped at Quake Lake, which got its name when an earthquake caused a rock slide that closed off a canyon, dammed a river, destroying homes and an occupied in its wake. What started off as a clear, beautiful night, ended in terror for many. We had been there prior but stopped at the visitor’s center on the way through.

Since we had reservations at the next campsite, we weren’t concerned about stopping to smell the flowers. We ended up at Deer Lodge, Montana, where we had hookups and a laundry room.  We weren’t expecting much but this was one of the towns that surprised us.  First the campground we stayed at (Indian Creek) while it was on the interstate was easy on and easy off, but it also had hiking trail about 1.5 miles long.  We did what we always do when we get to a new place, learn the way of the land.  We were only supposed to stay one night, however there was a bit to do we added 2 extra nights on so that we could see the sites we wanted to see.

Deer Lodge is an little city in southwest Montana, where more museums and historical sites can be found there than any other town in the Northwest. In 1946 Deer Lodge Vally became part of the United States.    It is one of those towns thatO make you just want to stay, reminded me of our little town in North Florida. While on our first drive we saw and National Park Visitor’s Center so we knew we had to go back to get the National Park passport stamp.  Driving through the quant town we noticed the historic prison  so  we figured we needed to see that as well.  We stopped at a train depot that was by the prison, it had train engines from the Milwaukee Road Rail line commerating the completion of the railway to the Pacific, it was the location of the last spike.  But more importantly at least to me and Eris there was icecream to be had.  Eris had her very own scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

We came back and did the little hike from our campsite that took us down a little dirt path behind some houses that had a horse farm.  The next day after I did some work and had lunch we decided to go the Visitor’s Center.  We told Eris that we would be right back as how long could it take to look around and get my passport stamped.  Well we were pleasantly surprised.  Deer Lodge’s 1500 acre Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site not only had the stamp I was looking for but also took us nearly 3 hours to get through and we wished we would have started it earlier.  It shows the development of the cattle industry from the 1850’s to the current time.  The park rangers were cowboys and explained the chuck wagon and the meaning, how “cowboy’s” started, and what the differences between today’s cattle rearing and from the 1800’s.  There were rangers there acting the parts.  It is still a working ranch.  Never knew there was a ranch run by the government, but probably smoother.  

The next day we went to the Historic Prison (Territorial Prison), again it was one of those things that we thought we would be done quickly and again we were wrong.  The prison was called  Montana’s Teritorial Prison and it incarcerated it’s first person in July of 1871.  When going to the museum it cost’s $15.00 and it so worth it as it not only includes the prison but also includes the auto museum where the are hundreds of mint condition cars from the beginning of time, well of cars that is, it also includes the WW II museum and there was a little town Cottonwood (which had little homes and buildings from the the 1800’s.  At the prison they gave us a brochure which was numbered that explained what we were seeing.  There was some notable people that entered that prison and were numerous books about some. There were two riots at the prison 50 years apart.  The prison also has “ghost tours” basically they lock you up overnight, it sounded like a good idea during the daytime but after walking through the prison, they couldn’t pay me to spend the night there.  I am sure there are ghost’s there.  The auto museum was amazing and we spent probably another hour and half in there.  By the time we were done with the two museums we decided we needed to go home, because again we promised a certain canine we wouldn’t be long, so that was two days in a row we told her a fib.  

That’s is about it for our time in Deer Lodge, Montana, a nice little town with a lot of history, so if you are heading through make sure you stop for a quick visit but give it a couple days.

If you like this, please like and consider following us on our adventures as we continue to head west…next stop Missoula, Montana.

Until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound.

It’s Time for Yellowstone Part I, but First Here Comes the Teton Pass….

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So after spending a wonderful, memorable week in the Teton’s it was time for us to move on, in order to do this we had to go through Jacksonhole and head over the Teton Pass, after traveling across the country I have driven a lot of mountain passes but I gotta tell you Teton Pass is not for the faint at heart, it is never ending or so it seemed.  We made it through and I assume it was beautiful but my hands were firmly placed on the steering wheel and eyes on the road and I kept peeking at gages as well, maybe someday without us towing our home we will go up it again and check out the views, but honestly I wanted it overwith as did Eris.  Eris is not crazy about passes, we can tell, just wonder if it is because she cannot “pop” her ears or if the twisty turny road hurts her belly.  Either way, I am with her on that, this Florida girl is not happy driving them either.  

Well after we made it to that we went through Driggs (where we will be going to the XCapers Convergence in August.  Cute town and are looking forward to heading back.  We found a perfect campsite in Island Park, Boot Jack Dispersed Camping, it was free and it was easy to get in and out of and close to West Yellowstone.  After getting settled we did what we always do with a national park, headed in to get the way of the land.  We have been there previously (3 times to be exact, once just Mike and I, once with Annette and Cathy (we did a backpacking trip) and once with the girls, however, even though with the girls we did stay in West Yellowstone we never really did much on that side of the park.  We did do the required stops like Old Faithful, but mostly we just kept heading over to the Canyon area.  

One day we went to Mammoth area, saw some elk just chillin’ on the lawn, and we did all the pull offs and hiked the Mammoth area.  The weather in early June was perfect (mostly).  

Of course we got stuck in our fair share of “bison jams”, which I always like, got some great shots of some bison.  Also a lot of animal butts, a little cooperation would be lovely but I am certainly not one to ask them to move or smile for the camera.  

We did spend some time in West Yellowstone.  They have a great camera shop there (Yellowstone Camera).  I got a great zoom lens, which will be great for my wildlife photos when we come back.  When we come back we will be going on a scenic boat ride but what I am most excited about is the photo safari.  Honestly, we didn’t know these exist but not only do the exist they are reasonable.  Scenic boat ride is $19.00 per person and the photo safari is a little over $100.00.  They will take me and a few others to the areas where wildlife is present, I am hoping for a bear.  

One very cold morning (puffy jacket cold)  we got up super early and headed into the park in the dark, to try to beat the crowd for the Grand Prasmatic shot, well, the steam washed it out.  But we had a great hike and got some great shots regardless. Then we headed to Old Faithful and had breakfast at the Snow Lodge.  We walked the boardwalk around Old Faithful and made it back to what I think was a great place to see it “blow”.  We then headed to do the scenic drives.  Scenic drives are nice and relaxing, they have pull offs where they need to be and ususally have ample parking to see such.  I highly recommend doing any scenic drives that are available.  The ones in Yellowstone do not require a 4 wheel drive truck, but if any of the parks suggest that you have a 4 wheel drive truck, heed that advise oh and be sure to know how to use your 4 wheel drive properly.  On the scenic drives we did, one had a ton of thermal features and the other had some waterfalls and mountains.  While we were freezing when we left home in the morning our Waggle went off that it was 94 degrees inside the camper.  It was a hot night,  so we made our plans to move on. 

After a few days, I needed to go see Canyon, as that area has been our favorite part of the park.  I am excited to be spending some time on that side in August but wanted to see it just the same.  Oh my has it changed.  We did the scenic drive to the Yellowstone Canyon, of course.  

We ended up staying a full week in our free campsite.  Very unique area and can’t wait to return.  Yellowstone for sure is our favorite national park and if you haven’t been, make plans as pictures do not do it justice.  

That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please consider following us and liking it.  We will be back next week as we make our way to Deer Lodge, Montana, a surprisingly interesting cowboy town and if we weren’t looking for air conditioning we might have missed it and then back boondocking in Missoula.

So until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming…

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

ONWARD NORTH AND WEST TO THE TETON’S WE GO….

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We have been to Grand Teton National Park previously three times.  All times was just for a day or so to go to specific places.  The first time we were there, well all three times, we were visiting Mike’s Mom and Dad, who worked every year for 13 summers in Yellowstone. We would see all of Yellowstone and then near the end of our trips we would go to the Bar J, Rendezvous Mountain, and Jackson and of course see the sites we needed and everyone needs to see while in Grand Teton.  This time the trip was all about the Tetons for us.  We found some boondocking designated campsites, called Antelope Springs Dispersed.  For $15.00 there was trash, and water and pit toilets.  The road starts up the mountain on pavement and then the pavement changes to washboard, gravel, it does not flatten out and the truck skipped on part of it.  Scary and sketchy for sure.  But once in the campground the sites are level while the road to it is not. The road in front of us was a 7% grade, the air was thin, and it made walking literally breathtaking, just like the views.  There was virtually no cell service up there but I was able to squeak out my daily Instagram posts but sometimes it was difficult.  We were just there to sleep and take in the sites anyways so it was a good place to be.  We just made sure we were back before dark because the thought of climbing the mountain did not feel like a great time for us.  

We did head into Jacksonhole, where our son was able to see us on the camera and he is in North Carolina, pretty cool.  We went to the Fish Hatchery, which was pretty cool and had a little tour of it. 

We planned on doing some hikes and the one we wanted to do Hidden Falls, which takes off from Jenny Lake.  We got there nice and early (glad we did) and headed out.  We were going to take the shuttle boat over, but apparently we could not get an answer as to when they were taking off, so we decided to hike it.  The crowd also decided to the same thing.  It was super crowded at one point that I really didn’t enjoy it but we found another hike right off of the main trail from the Hidden Falls trail, called Moose Ponds.  There were three little ponds their, and moose are supposed to be there, we did not see any, however, we did see some really nice water falls.  We only saw maybe 20 people on this nice loop trail.  There was one point that there were some mosquitos but it just made us not want to lollygag too long.  When we got back to the truck the parking lot was beyond full. People were parked probably about 2-3 miles away. Forget about getting on the shuttle boat, the line for that had to be 3 hours. Again we were glad to get there nice and early.

My suggestion is get the maps, brochures and like most of the parks they have a newspaper, study it and decide what you want to and need to see and do and make plans to do such. For example, we wanted to hike the hike so we made plans the day before to make sure we were up and out to get there early enough and as tempting as it was we did not stop at any of the pull offs that day. Another example, I had photos I wanted to get so we made an extra effort to get to the locations. Now I take the map that they give us and with suggestions from rangers and others write on the map what shots I wanted to get and the location.

Another day we went to Colter Bay and we saw the sign for Yellowstone, which was only about 20 miles away, how can we say no to that.  We obviously couldn’t.  We drove into Yellowstone and while nothing was quite open yet there was a ranger on duty who gave us the rundown of what was open and what was expected to be open. Yellowstone is still my favorite and probably always will be. After checking out Grant Village we headed back to the Tetons. When we got back to Colter Bay the visitor’s center was closed, so we knew we would have to come back.

One morning we got up early and went to all the pulloffs, and to some of the most photgraphed places in the park.  That to me was the major highlight.  

We obvioulsy did Morman Row for the photos.  I sort of had a little mini meltdown, as this was our first time exploring the Tetons without Mike’s parents and how I would have loved to show Dad the photos I was getting.  

Grand Teton is known as the “mountains of imagination”, which led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park, which is the home to 200 miles of trails and floats down the Snake RIver.  This is one of the places that you must go to believe the beauty that awaits. Wildlife flourishes in the park as well, including of course Bison, which is the place where I got my first Bison pics of the year.  It has established campgrounds and also the boondocking on forest land.  We did score a night in the campground Gros Ventre, what a beautiful, breathtaking place.  Between the overlooks and the pull-offs and the hikes you can’t go wrong with staying here.  We stayed a full week and can’t wait to go back in August.  

Stay tuned for Teton’s Part Two.  Next week will be all about Yellowstone, Part One so be sure to like and consider following us so that you don’t miss any of our blog updates.  

Until then keep exploring, discovering and dreaming,

Hope, Mike and Eris the Lowrider Campinghound 

AFTER BRYCE CAME SALT LAKE CITY AND FAVORITE ADDITION TO THE CAMPER THIS WEEK

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We left Bryce and our glorous spot in search of groceries and some Amazon deliveries.  While we were sad to go we needed a little bit of civilization.  We went to Flight Park State Recreation Area right outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.  The fee for it was $15.00 per night and included a pit toilet only.  With it’s proximity to Salt Lake City they needed to charge otherwise it may become overrun by homeless.  This location was a great place to see all that Salt Lake and surrounding area had to to offer plus it wasn’t hard on the eyes either.  We woke up to paragliders taking off every morning (unless the winds were too bad). The location was on the top of a hill with a 9% grade to get up to the top.  While the sport itself is quiet, people would show up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to fly by morning light.  Then they would all be leaving by 8:30-9:00 a.m. I assume to go to work.  

We found some nice hikes there, with amazing views and beautiful wild flowers.  One of the hikes was a dog off leash hike, Eris enjoyed that. 

In between picking up our packages we did do some touristy things like we went to see Temple Square.  Temple Square was built in 1853 and is 10 acres and owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in the center of Salt Lake City. It was very interesting and we were saddened that we could not go into any of the buildings (stupid COVID)  but we found the grounds and buildings interesting just the same.  We will make a trip back to check it out when all is opened. It is said that Temple Square is the most popular tourist attraction in Utah, bringing in more visitors than Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, attracting 3-5 million visitors a year.  Of course I am not sure that is a current asssessment during these of times of COVID.  We may make a trip back after COVID but during a different season to see all that it has to offer.  

Another day we left Eris at home and headed to Park City, Utah.  It is a cute 11.35 square mile ski town.  Of course we weren’t there in ski season and all the slopes and slope activities were just closed for inbetween seasons.  We went to Wastach Brew Pub and had some delicious adult beverages and some great food as well.  

We spent about a week there and again when we realized we didn’t need Google Maps to get us around we knew it was time to move on.  

This weeks favorite addition is: my desk and the peg board (we got this idea from VanFest in Hurricane). My desk folds down and is out of the way but it gives me a place to leave the computer set up while doing other things.  The peg board we got at IKEA and is great for storing extra items to try to keep our little home uncluttered.  

I hope this will inspire some to check out Salt Lake City, we will return and participate in some local events that start after Memorial Day. After leaving Salt Lake we knew we needed to be buckled down someplace for Memorial Weekend so as we got in the car we asked or Son and Daughter-in-Law which way-Tetons or Flaming Gorge.  Flaming Gorge was where we headed to and we were very glad that was the choice we made.  

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us.  

Until next week, remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming,

Hope, Mike and Eris the lowrider camping hound.  

AFTER THE DUST WE HEADED TO BRYCE CANYON AND OUR ONE FAVORITE ADDITION TO OUR CAMPER

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After a very dusty, windy few days at Parowan Gap we decided we needed to head to Bryce. We picked a camping spot on Tom’s Best Road. To get to our perfect place we were on Scenic Byway 12 which goes right through the center of Red Canyon. Which has it’s own hikes and views for sure.

After arriving at Tom’s Best we did do a little survey of the area and found our perfect spot. It was about 6 miles from Bryce’s entrance and we had our own little slice of heaven.

From our campsite

Of course after getting set up we decided to make our way in to Bryce to check out the visitor’s center and learn the way of the land so to speak. Bryce Canyon National Park is both of our national park thus far. It is accessible and easy to get around. The shuttle is there if you want to take it but you do not need to make reservations, so it makes it easy to get on and off at the different locations. Bryce Canyon is the home of the largest collection of hoodoos in the world. They were truly amazing. In 2019 Bryce became one of the designated dark sky areas. While I didn’t get the star shots in Bryce I did get them in our campground. After finding our way we made plans for the next few days. As pets can’t go on the trails we left her home with Waggle to watch over her and went into the park. We hiked the rim trail, we were heading from the parking lot at the gift shop to Bryce overlook. But as we headed we realized that it would be all uphill, that was after already hiking 1.5 miles so we did what we should have done to begin with and hopped on a shuttle to take us to Bryce Point and hiked back. The views were amazing. After that we headed into the gift shop for some delish pizza.

Taken on one very cold night

Another day we did the scenic drive and did all the view points and also did the Bristlecone Loop which was a short hike through a sub-alpine fir forest with bristlecone pines. The smells of the pines and the wind whipping through the trees made us think of the cabin.

Mossy Cave hike was one of my favorites. It was short but the views were amazing just the same. It had a creek and a waterfall.

In Grand Staircase Escalante we found a hike that sounded perfect and one we could take our pup on. After heading down about 20 miles down a sketchy, twisty-turny narrow dirt road, with drop offs on boths sides sometimes and a creek to cross we made it to the trailhead. The trail was amazing there was water to walk in and horses to pass and slot canyons to go through. It was called Willis Creek Narrows Trail. The only thing that was scary was the drive to it other than that it was a beautiful hike and that was the day Eris became a 4.2 mile pup instead of 3 miles.

We did the hike behind the visitor’s center at Red Canyon, which Eris could do as well. However, I could not. We started up the hill and it was ledge after ledge. I figured how bad could it be, after all it was an interpretive trail with benches and sign posts. Ohhhh it was bad after I got to signpost number 2 (out of 13), I said oh I can’t had basically a panic attack. It was high, slippery and ledgy (not sure if that is a word but it is for me). We continued on to number 3 and it was getting worse, so I said, I am heading back and not going back down from 2-1. Mike went along with me as we made our way down to the bottom of a wash and walked out and found the trail and then continued on.

We headed into Bryce about every other day and were able to fill up our water. We did laundry at Ruby’s and while we were waiting we saw the cowboy show called Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill. We said if we could get in that night or the next we would go. We were able to get tickets. It was the first time in 14 months that we had live music. It was a treat for sure. After spending 8 glorious, star filled sky, nights there it was time for us to move on. We were sad to be leaving but we will be back again someday.

Our favorite addition to our camper is our utensil holder. Our camper came with one, just one, very small drawer. We needed to have someplace to put our utensils. In my past life I was a barista that pedaled down to my hometown everyday with a bike cart and we had the silver utensil holders leftover. Mike drilled a hole in the countertop and it fit’s right in there and holds all of our cooking utensils.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed about our time in Bryce and the area and be sure to check back next week when we talk all things Salt Lake City.

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us.

Until next week, remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming, Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

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After spending time in Nevada it was time to head back to Utah and what better place then Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. Several centuries ago Native Americans traveled the area and stopped and etched designs onto the smooth faces of the large boulders in this gap.  They are made by several cultural groups and represent long periods of use by Native cultures. It is still unknown what these drawings represent.  The Parowan Gap is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Petrogphys make for a interesting stop.  The gap is a 600 foot deep notch through the Red Hills caused by an ancient river.  

We had things to do in Cedar City, which is close (which we are learning the meaning of “close” is relative).  Anyway, we were able to get an additional AT&T hotspot to give us more access and get some groceries.  We had some really good pizza, almost as good as Cappie’s in St. Pete.  Actually, I believe the pizza was the best we have eaten since we left Florida.  

We heard about the Parowan cinnamon buns, supposed to be the best, so we were up for the taste test, while they were good, really good, the “best” is still questionable.  

While we were there we went to check out Parowan dinosaur tracks.  They were ok, and some were hard to see.  I would not go out of my way to see them, but as they were on the way to anyplace we wanted to go it was an easy stop.  

We stayed at some dispersed camping at the petroglyphs site.  While there is a ton of space but man it was the windest, maybe not the windest but certainly the sandiest place we stayed.  The sand blew in and it took us many days to finally get rid of the sand that settled everywhere, even in the refrigerator. We only stayed there 3 nights mostly because we were done seeing the area and we couldn’t take the sandy wind any longer.  While we were only there 3 nights we had decent cell signal.  

Remember I said that “close” is relative, well while we were there Hurricane was having Van Fest, so we purchased tickets and went. Afterall it was close only 1 hour and a couple mountain passes away.  So why not.  The funny thing was when pulling back into Hurricane/St. George we felt like we were home.  We knew where everything was and where to go.  The Van Fest was a ton of fun and we got some ideas for any van builds Mike ends up doing and also we met some nice people, who all welcomed us into their tiny homes on wheels to steal some of the ideas.  We even used a few of them in our camper.  After the festival we headed to our laundromat in Hurricane.  It is reasonably priced and super clean and again made us feel like we were at home.  Then we headed back to our home and explained to Eris that she should be glad she didn’t go.  

One day we went to Brianhead.  It was still really cold up there.  Nothing was open as the season had ended and summer season had not yet begun.  Anyway, while driving up we pulled off at a trailhead and decided to do the hike there, it was called Hidden Hollow.  The smells of the enormous pine trees and the sound of the wind whipping through the trees instantly transported us back home. At this point in our journey we hadn’t seen tall trees or hardly any trees since Louisiana.  So it was nice for a little change to be out of the desert.  

Utah is amazing state with an amazing culture.  Until we were here I was thinking Arizona was our favorite but after spending the time here my thoughts are slowly changing.  There are beehives on all of the road signs, we had no idea what that meant so we decided to look it up.  Apparently, the Honeybee is Utah’s state insect and Utah’s nickname is the beehive state, due to it’s original title of “State of Deseret”, interestingly there are businesses and bookstores called “deseret”.  Deseret means honeybee in the book of Morman, who settled here 172 years ago, long before Utah became a state. The State emblem is also the beehive.  The beehive is a symbol of industry which is the state’s motto.  So that is why there are beehives on everything.  

The favorite addition to our camper of the week is adding the accent wall covered in espresso stained wood flooring and the fireplace, tv and shelf.  It made our little home feel more homey.  

Come along with us next week as we head to Bryce, which I believe is my favorite National Park so far on our journey west.  I can’t wait to tell you all about and the awesome campsite we had.

Until next week remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming,

Hope,  Mike & Eris

Catherdral Gorge

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We headed to Cathedral Gorge after reading about it in some paperwork we received by Zion in things to do in area.  We have found out that “in the area” means anywhere from a few minute drive to a 2-3 hour drive.  Anyway, this place intriqued me and they had me sold on it when it read that it is a photgrapher’s dream location and that dogs can hike any of the trails within the park.  Catherdral Gorge is one of Nevada’s first state parks.  The campground is first come first serve most with electric but there is an overflow area with some spots  that if you don’t need electric you are welcome to go there.  It is located in southwestern Nevada between Panaca and Pioche Nevada.  Panaca has a gas station and not much else and Pioche is not much better but has some interesting history.  But for now let’s get back to the park.  It has some amazing views and all the hiking can be done right from the campground.  We arrived at 12:30 p.m. and were able to score a site for the next few nights.  The campground was clean and it was super nice to not have dust blowing through our camper all the time.  We  opted for electric thinking we might want the ac, but honestly we used the electric heaters more.  

The parks geological features is what makes the place so interesting.  There are some decent hiking trails and views.  Mostly, everything is from the bottom, where we were able to climb in and out of the short, but numerous slot canyons.  The canyons were formed from erosion that is caused by snow melt and rain.  When it rains the water leaks out of the bottom like a straw.  The ground where we were walking is now a dry lake, which was a lake nearly 1 million years ago.  Over the centuries it began to dry out and hence became this ancient dry lakebed.  There was a nice fairly easy and well marked trail down on the bottom, it took us out closer to some of the other formations.  There were a couple other trails you could do that took us to a ledge and an overlook.  I overlooked enough, snapped some pics and was good and didn’t have to do the ledge.  The other hike took us from the bottom up to the top and then it got scary for me, so we turned around.  The hike that stayed on the ground was by far my favorite.  

The town of Pioche which as some services, when I say some, I mean a few, there is no grocery store perse.  It sits at 6060 feet of elevation and it is the county seat of Lincoln County.  It is a silver mining town or at least was. In the early 70’s, 1870’s that is it had grown to become one of the most important silver-mining towns in Nevada.  It also had the reputation of being the roughest towns in the “Old West”.  It was reported that about 60% of all the homicides during 1871-72 took place in Pioche or surrounding areas.  Local legend tells it as 72 men were killed in gunfights before the first natural deah occurred.  Hence creation of Boot Hill Cemetery, which is now a landmark in the city. Pioche is also known for it’s “Million Dollar Courthouse” built in 1872.  The original cost of $88,000 far exceedin the estimates and was financed and refinanced with bonds totally nearly $1 million dollars.  Today it is the county administrative office and has one of oldest grade schools in the state. There is an aerial tramway which carried buckets of orde from the mines to the top of Godbe Mill.  It ran from the 1920’as- 1930’s.  There are buckets still hanging and people use them as decoration.  After coming from the campground we headed down the mountain and took us to quant western town.  Where we were able to get gas and check out Boot Hill Cemetery.  There were boots placed on the graves and the headstones were carved in wood.  

Interestingly in Pioche there is a little city run RV park, pay by donation.  It had trash cans at each partial hookups. As we were enjoying our state park amenities we didn’t really investigate much more about it.  

That’s all I have to say about our first Nevada State Park.  We enjoyed ourselves during our stay in Catherdral Gorge but it was time to move on, be sure to catch us next week as we head back into Utah to Parowan Gap Petroglyphs.  

Our favorite addition to our camper of the week, we should have written about back when we were in San Antonio, is our TPMS, (tire pressure monitoring system).  They are little guages (sending unit) that monitors the tire pressure and relays it to the display in the tow vehicle.  We had the original tires (and as everyone who owns a camper knows they are crap) on our camper when we left for this first season on the road, we meant to change them before we left but didn’t find a convenient time to do it and afterall we had reservations we needed to get to.  So we thought we will do it while we were in San Antonio, well guess what, we didn’t make it to San Antonio when we had our first blow out.  Luckily for us our TPMS was working and went off.  The roads in Texas are so horrrible I think if the TPMS did not go off we would have continued driving on a blown out tire and it could have cause all kinds of damage.  We were fortunate that it went off where it did and I was able to get off at the next exit, (it was right there) and go across to the shoulder so we could change the tire and get back on the road.  Another thing I am so glad we purchased before we left  was the Trailer-Aid Tandem Tire Changing Ramp.  It made for fast business to get the tire changed quickly and safely.  We just drove up on to it and we didn’t have jack our camper up at all.  We use Tireminder brand for our TPMS system and it has worked flawlessly.

So if you are on the road, one piece of advise we can give is, get a TPMS, and changing ramp and be sure to change your tires if they are the crap ones from the factory, don’t wait.  

If you like this article I’d appreciate it if you could like it and consider following us. We will catch you next week as we talk all about the Parowon Gap area of Utah.  
Until next week, remember don’t wonder what you have been waiting for and  keep exploring, discovering and dreaming.

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowerider camping hound

Zion and the Area and Favorite Addition of the Week and How We Plan on Where We Are Going To Go Next

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After a few peaceful nights in Kanab it was time for us to move further west and check out Zion.  We found a campsite on Campendium, called the Hurricane Cliffs Recreation Area.  They have them grouped by site number.  Each site has a fire pit, which we did not use and enough space between neighbors that it made for a peaceful week. When we arrived at the trailhead we knew we needed to scout it out.  We dropped the trailer to scout out our site, man are we glad we did.  The road on the way back to the sites from the trailhead (it is a mountain bike mecca) was fine, gravel but fairly decent but the roads to the campsites were horrible, rutted and actually painful.  Not to mention that you can’t really see where the next site is, so it must be driven and also there is no good place to turn around.  We found our site after about an hour of driving on the horrible roads and went back and got the camper to bring it back there.  I would not have even considered it had we not been planning on staying for a while.  Also, they said if it rained it made the roads worse, so when the rain came we just stayed home. The first weekend we were there was a mountain bike race.  Sadly for us while we enjoyed our time there we did not take our bikes off the back of the camper.  Maybe next time, while the road in sucked it was a great place to stay.  We stayed 11 nights.  We got water from Maverick in La Verkin and emptied our tanks when we left.  Also, we got propane filled at Tractor Supply in Hurricane as we also did laundry and went grocery shopping.  Between Hurricane and St. George we were able to get everything we needed and La Verkin for water and dump.  The sunsets were amazing as were the stars at night, I also got to fly my new drone around the area for a birdseye view.  While there was wind almost everyday, there was one day of nothing but rain and cold, we just stayed home and got some work done and enjoyed the relaxation of doing nothing.  

Speaking of Hurricane, it is a quant western town.  When leaving the campground heading further west after going down this twisty, turny road you end in the town of Hurricane, after you turn right of that road it takes you to the road that leads to Zion in one direction and to St. George in the other.  Hurricane is located in Washington County, Utah.  It was first settled in 1896 and received its name after a wind storm blew the top of a buggy, the rider of the buggy said it felt like a Hurricane.  I can tell you while we were there the winds rarely stopped.  Fun fact that Hurricane is pronounced by the locals as “Her-ah”kun”.  The town was established by Brigham Young for agricultural purposes and it once had a large peach and apricot orchard.  The tound has parks and trails galore.  We hiked on part of the Hurricane Canal and Canal Trail .  The Hurricane Canal trail was built over 11 years, from 1893-1904 by pick and shovel.  The canal is empty but in 2000 speical interest groups came together to preserve it and reconstruct it to stand a  tribute to the early settlers.  Hurricane is the home to Sand Hollow and Quail Creek State Parks.  While we were there we did not go to either, but maybe on our return trip.  

While we were there we also went to St. George, which is a bigger cowboy town.  We were able to get our second vaccine in St. George but probably could have gotten it in Hurricane as well.  Anyway we are glad it is done. 

The first day after getting all set up we headed into Zion National Park to get acquainted and make our plans for the next few days. Of course dogs are only allowed on a few trails but they are allowed to ride in the car.  So after arriving in the park after 3 p.m. we decided to do the scenic drive. Zion has a north, a south and east entrance in the main part of the park. As we were coming from Hurricane we entered from the South, going through the towns of La Verkin, Virgin and then Springdale.  Springdale had a Gatlinburg vibe to it.  Very crowded and very touristy.  Getting there after 3 we were pretty much assured that going through the gate we would be able to get a parking spot.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center, got our passport book stamped and grabbed any available maps and hit the road to do the scenic drive.  The road is twisty/turny and steep and goes through a really cool tunnel. The highlights include rock formation, towers, hilltops and the tunnel.  If you are too tall you must make arrangements to go through the tunnel and also pay an additional $15.00 so that the Rangers can stop traffic on either end.  The tunnel was open in 1930.  It has a series of windows in it, to let in light and views.   It was used as a place of dumping grounds for tunnel debris.  So with information in hand we were ready to “tackle” Zion and get the most out of it while in the area.  

Honestly, neither one of us expected to be blown away as we were by this park.  It was amazing to look up at the msssive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink and red and the bright blue sky. It was truly amazing and made realize how small we really are on the world. We knew we wanted to do at least a few hikes in the park and one that we were supposed to recreate the picture for a friend.  So this meant that we knew we would have to come back without the pup.  Since being on the road our get up and go early usually means leaving home at 10.00 a.m.  One morning we did that and headed to the north entrance (Kolob Canyon) of Zion to try and do a hike or two.  The main hike we picked out was Taylor Creek Trail.  Which would take us to an old homestead. Arriving in the late morning, the Park Ranger advised us that it was pretty crowded up there but enjoy the scenic drive anyway.  So we set out on the Kolob Canyon Road and went to the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint (where the Timber Crrek Overlook Trail is), as there was no parking at the Taylor Creek Trail .  We did the short 1 mile hike which was a nice little hike that as the name implies offered amazing views.   After we got back it was after lunch so we were able to score a parking spot on the trail, but being that it was late in the day we decided that we  would only go as far as the homestead, which was a couple miles in.  I loved this hike, we had 12 stream crossings (we counted on the way back), had amazing views, and honestly since we were in the desert for so long it was nice to be among the trees.  We wish we would have had the time to do the whole hike.  There was nothing scary for me on this trail, which is saying something. On the way home we were able to secure a shuttle ticket for the next day.  Part of the park the only way to get to some of the trails, the lodge is by shuttle.  It cost $2.00 and was reservable via Rec.gov.  Anyway after parking 2 miles away from the door, as parking was full,  and paying $15.00 for parking, we hopped on a bus/shuttle in Springdale.  The shuttle bus driver dropped us at a walkin gate at the park.  It was kind of cool to walk into the park.  We hopped on the shuttle and it took us to the Lodge.  The shuttle runs part of the year and the only way to the area is by shuttle as no personal vehicles are allowed, unless staying at the Lodge  After getting off the shuttle we went upstairs and had a sit down lunch that we both agree wKas one of the few really good meals we had since leaving St. Pete.  Afteward, again, it was late in the day, we decided that we would go and hike Lower Emerald Pool.  It’s about 1.2 miles round trip. While the views were great, the trail was nice and the views from the trail were amazing, it honestly was not my favorite.  The crowds were thick and no one knows what trail etiquette is, and the view at the “pool” left much to be desired.  I did get some great pics out of it.  

A few days later we headed back to “recreate” the picture, on the Canyon Overlook trail. It is listed as moderate. It is located on the other side of the tunnel.  It is only 1 mile.  We headed up the steep steps (that aren’t really steps, just more rocks” with a handrail.  We got up around the bend at the top of the steps and it is shear rock.  I was freaking out by this point.  We walked a little further and saw the next steep incline that had a railing on it, but there was no railing to hold on to to get to that point.  Mike continued up to try and recreate the tree picture, I stayed where I was. He came back down because he said there would be no way I would do it and it was really sketchy beyond this point, and when he says it’s sketchy, it’s sketchy.  When he got back to  me, he talked me into heading back down, I was having a full on panic attack and was crying by the time we got down.  After we got back through the tunnel we went back down to the Visitor’s Center and headed out on the Watchman Trail which is also rated as moderate.  This trail was not so bad, we did however turn around as we it was getting late and if we would have completed it we would have been hiking back in the dark.  It was a nice trail again the views were amazing.  

Our last time in the park occurred the day after our second Covid shot.  We didn’t want to do anything too strenuous or leave Eris at home again, so we did the scenic drive called Kolob Terrace Road.  Honestly, the word “scenic” is an understatement.  The road winds in and out of Zion three times. It has all kinds of trails off of it. The road itself ends at Kolob Reservoir  at the elevation of 8118 feet. There  was snow up there and we made snowmen, and like I said in my Instagram post, don’t judge we are from Florida after all.  We also did the West Rim Road which has an overlook at 7890 feet, has a great campground, which was still closed.  

So that is it of our time in the Zion area.  We had a great visit and someday we shall return. 

I hear that some people are freaked out about the camping season and reservations.  While we are in the west and BLM is plentiful and we might be more concerned if we were in the east about not having reseravations, I can tell you we like to travel by winging it.  We don’t know where we are going or how long we are staying.  Take Hurricane for instance we had no idea that we would be there for 11 nights, 12 days.  That’s crazy long for us.  We usually last a few days and then we are heading to a different locatation to check out something new.  So we call our style of traveling as free wheeling. Now that’s not to say we don’t ever make reservations because we do, we started off with reservations in Florida (duh, winter in Florida, made 1 year ahead of time needed), Mississippi, probably didn’t need to be made but did to be on the safe side, and then NOLA, which again we made 1 year ahead of time because we were there for Mardi Gras (which obviously didn’t happen). We are meeting friends in Washington state, no reservations needed. We have reservations in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons for the end of August and beginning of September and then our last reservations is in Savannah for a half marathon that we are signed up for.  After we left Hurricane we headed to Nevada because we saw something that looked cool and wanted to see, (next week’s blog), and we just made sure we get to a first come first serve campground before 1 p.m.   I prefer before lunch.  So far this plan has not failed us yet, sometimes we don’t really know where we will be heading until the day before.  For apps to help find our camping spot my number one is Campendium, then I will check the Dyrt but mostly Campendium. I hit directions on the location in the app and then I copy them and put them in RV Life/Trip Wizard right into the RV Safe GPS and we are ready to go.   Anyway, don’t let not having reservations stop you from getting out there, just do it, it is so worth it.  

Our favorite addition to our home on wheels is the security of knowing when we do leave Eris behind (rare but happens) our newly installed Waggle Pet Monitor works well.  Has an internal backup battery but runs of of the camper’s 12 volt system and alerts us if the temperature and/or humidity goes out of our preset safe range.  It gives us peace of mind that when on those rare occassions that Eris’ environment is being safely monitored.  It took us a while to get it dialed in as while we were on one of our scenic drive we kept getting low humidity warnings.  We both looked at each other and said so, low humidity is bad, anyway Mike fixed the settings so that the humidity can go down to zero.  

If you want anymore information on anything discussed just message me. If you liked this article, please like and consider following us as we continue to explore, discover and dream. 

Keep on exploring, discovering and dreaming, catch you next week,

Hope, Mike and Eris