OFF TOO DRIGGS OR FLAMING GORGE, WHAT WILL THE MAGIC 8 BALL PICK, AND OUR FAVORITE CAMPER ADDITION

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Well we don’t have a Magic 8 Ball, but we do have a son, so we sent him the weather conditions for both Driggs and Flaming Gorge and said you be our Magic 8 Ball and tell us where to go.  This is the conversation we were having with our son as we were emptying out our black tanks at the Maverick down the road from the Flight Park.  He said definately Flaming Gorge.  So off we went, headed east, made it into Wyoming and then back into Utah.  Flaming Gorge is technically in both Wyoming and Utah  but our campground was in Utah.  After a series of serious, not kidding mountain passes we made it to our campground, Jug Hollow Dispersed. We decided to not scope it out and just go for it, because we could see there was a way to turn around at the end from Google Maps, so off we set out to what would become our home for the next week, actually 10 days, as we were not leaving on Memorial Day or before.  

The campground was amazing the road in was cow filled (cow jams were not out of a question) and the road in, while it was only 5 miles back took every bit of 20 minutes.  Our piece of paradise was at the very end on a penisula and while the ride back was a bitch it was worth every bit of it.  We were surrounded by beautiful water on three sides.  We had beautiful weather almost every day we were there, cool to cold in the morning and warm and pleasant during the day. The rain that looks so ominous never came to us.

While boating and fishing are favorite past times in the area we enjoyed just hanging out at our site and chilling.  The closest big town to the area is Rock Springs, Wyoming, while it was only about 50 miles, with getting out of our area and driving the scary mountian passes it is easily and 1.5 hours to get there.  But we did it a couple times, once for groceries, and laundry and another because I needed some running shoes.  

Since we were there a week before Memorial Day we felt like we would be protected from people camping too close to us and as there are no and I mean NO facilities at the campground we honestly didn’t figure on it becoming the place to drive down to for the weekend, but we were wrong and am glad we have plans to be at a friend’s mom’s house for 4th of July and established campground for Labor Day.  It started with 2 vans, with their dogs and kids, the were mostly quiet but let their dogs run loose.  We set up a tent near our camper thinking for sure this would deter anyone further from intruding or getting to close to our camper, no such luck, we went to bed at 11:30 one night and woke the next morning to 3 huge tents (almost on top of our tent) 4 or so kids and 4 or so off leash dogs, however, Eris now has a boyfriend.  Well he liked her but not sure how she felt about them.  Honestly, they were quiet though so except for letting their dogs run loose they were all fine.  But my question is where, oh where are they using the bathroom.  Anyway, by Monday afternoon all peace was restored, they all left.  We spoke to one of our other full time neighbors and they said she actually had to park her truck behind her rig because multiple people tried to set up behind her.  Anyway, our time in the campground was amazing and we will definately go back again.  

Now all about Flaming Gorge,  established in 1968 is a National Recreation Area.  There is over 300 miles of shoreline, boat ramps, marinas compgrounds and lodges.  As I mentioned it is a water paradise with the fishing, swimming and boating. As a Floridian I can tell you I was not getting in the water as it was 42 or so degrees.  There is dam and the Green River below it is world renowned for its trout fishing and rafting.  The area was named by John Wesley Powell in 1869 after he and his 9 men saw the sun reflecting off the red rocks.  In the 1870’s ranchers moved into the mountain valleys near Flaming Gorge.  There are remenents of Swett Ranch stil present today. Apparently, many outlasws and fugitives would hide out in the isolated valleys along the Green River, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were among them.  

There is a ton of hiking and as it is a National Recreation area, most of the trails are able to be used by dogs.  So Eris did get to go hiking with us.  We hiked the Rim Trail.  Not sketchy just beautiful.  When in the area we will return to here. It was amazingly breathtaking, if you don’t believe me go check it out.  

At our campground we had amazing cell service so I was able to work.  Which get’s me to my favorite addition to our camper this week and that is our WeBoost.  It gives us just that little bit extra when needed.  Also, I might want to add our two hotspots, one AT&T with 100 GB a month and our Verizon, doesn’t give us nearly as much but works good when needed.  Right now and most times, I use my phone as a hotspot we are able to do most with it but sometimes we just need that little bit of boost and we now have our WeBoost for that.  

So that’s all I got for this week, again put The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on your bucket list and if you liked this blog, give it a like and consider following us for a weekly dose of our travels as we head towards Grand Teton National Park.  

Until next week, and 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

COME ALONG WITH US AS WE TALK ABOUT BOONDOCKING IN GLEN CANYON AND OUR FAV ADDITION OF THE WEEK

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Glen Canyon has it all, cliffs, buttes, sand dunes and whitewater rapids.  It spans from southern Utah as part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to northern Arizona.  It includes Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lees Ferry.   We wanted to go to Antelope Canyon but as it is on Indian land it was closed because of Covid.  However, Horseshoe Bend was open so we were able to go there.  It was $10.00 for the car load to get into Horseshoe Canyon.  There is a short walk to go see it.  The day we were there it was a busy weekday, however, it was not so bad that we felt unsafe as far as Covid goes.  There is not really anything there, you can purchase water and stickers at the entrance booth. Make sure you carry water as there is no shade and while it is not a long hike it is still hot, and we were there in early April.  Also, there are bathrooms in the parking lot.  Pups are able to go on this hike and Eris seems to like the edge of rocks.  Was it worth going? Heck yeah…

Now let me tell you about Lees Ferry, where we boondocked  for 7 days.  While it was not free it was boondocking just the same, no electrical, water or sewer.  There was access to water and a dump in the area.  There were bathrooms in the campground with running water.  I can’t speak of the cleanliness as we didn’t use them.  Each campsite has a table and pavillion or as they call it here a ramada and I believe they all have a view. The campground sits in the canyon on the Colorado River. Glen Canyon is basically the bottom of the Grand Canyon, as a matter of fact, if you (it won’t be me) wants to raft to through the Grand Canyon you start your journey here. While we were there the campground was $20.00 a night, first come, first serve.  My advice is to get there early as it fills up every day by 3 p.m.  

 There are plenty of hikes that kept us busy.  Mostly short, and all that Eris went on with us. One hike that we did was Lonely Dell Ranch Walking Tour which connects into Paria Canyon Trail, which we did part of the following week. You’ll have to return next week to hear all about that hike. Let’s just say it took care of our need to hike Antelope Canyon.  Anyway, back to the Lonely Dell Ranch hike, it starts by going up a dirt road where there is a parking lot.  Lonely Dell Ranch is what it the name implies, a ranch that was the home to the families who operated Lees Ferry in the 1870’s-1880’s. Let’s start with wherea and why is Lees Ferry. Lees Ferry is located in a secluded area of northern Arizona, it was a ferry operation established to offer transporation across the Colorado River for the Morman pioneers headed south from Utah into Arizona.  On to the hike, we started at the parking lot and walked past the orchard.  Sadly there wasn’t anything blooming, otherwise they were free for the picking.  After passing the orchard comes the ranch which is collection of buildings that was the homestead of the Lonely Dell Ranch.  We continued walking down the trail and saw some old trucks and equipment.  Then we went beyond the “Lonely Dell Trail” and continued on down the Paria Trail, we came to a ledge, I was not comfortable continuing on but I saw the Paria River was pretty low and I was willing to go across the river that way, so that is what I did. Mike and Eris continued with me going across, we walked for a little while longer and then turned around.  When we got to the ledge, I again said “ahh nope” so I went across by myself, Mike and Eris went across the sketchy ledge.  

Another memorable hike was the Cathedral Wash Hike.  This hike was rated as moderate, a 3 on the scale of 1-5.  Not very long but to me it was everybit a rating of 3.  This hike began in the wash and if we would have reached the end would have ended up at the Colorado River. However, we stopped before that because we got to an area that we would have gone down this huge drop and I wasn’t about it.  It was a beautiful hike but I hate having to try to figure out how I am getting out of these situations that don’t make me comfortable to begin with.  We did bring Eris, oops we realized after that she wasn’t supposed to go.  

We did a few other hikes around the area. All had their views.  My take on Lees Ferry, the area and the campground, will we be back, heck yeah.  Oh forgot, the night sky is crazy beautiful. 

Enjoy the photos of the area and I hope this will have you wanting you to add it to your bucket list.

As for the favorite addition that we made to our camper, this week it is our solar system, and Battleborn Litium Batteries.  We have 650 watts of solar panels, two charge controllers, 3 Battleborn Litium Batteries and two small invertors.  We have never come close to using all of our available power. On a sunny day, we can charge my computer (it is a power hog), use our crock pot and cook all day on it.  We watch tv every night, charge all of our items that need to be charged.  This has made it easy for us to boondock, and when looking at campgrounds we don’t care if electrical is offered as it is not needed.  We have not needed our generator that we have been carrying with us.  We do wish people would invest in solar it is so worth it, environmentally friendly and not annoying to any fellow campers around.  Mike could go on and on about our solar system, so if you have any questions about our set up, don’t hesitate to ask. 

I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog about Glen Canyon and makes you want to add it to your bucket list and also our fav addition to our camper.  Come back next week to hear about Kanab and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

If you liked this be sure to like it and follow us. 

Until next week, 

Stay safe,

Hope, Mike and Eris

YUMA TO QUARTZSITE TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, WHERE TO GET GREAT PHOTOS, WHERE TO HIKE WITH FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS AND CHEVY TRUCK BUILT LIKE A ROCK…..

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We headed to Quartzsite where we were treated to a nice boondocking spot at the LTVA BLM (Long-Term Visitor Area-Bureau of Land Managment).  We could have stayed there for 2 weeks for the cost of $40.00, there is a dump, trash and potable water available. Also there are people who stay for the whole season, (7 months) for something like $180.00. Pretty reasonable place to be.  It is about 2 miles from  Quartzsite, which is where the Big Tent (RV Show) is held as well as the gem show.  Oh, the rocks, were everywhere.  Poor Eris feet.  I tried doing yoga outside and I used the rocks under under my mat as pressure point relievers.  We can only imagine what this place was like during the rv show.  Quartzsite truly is a nomad mecca.  We do plan on coming back for the Big Tent next year. Our campsite was nice and private in a big field.  But no one really was that close to us.  It was super windy when we were there so the dust and sand was everywhere.  But can’t expect much different since it is the desert afterall.   We spent 4 nights there, had 4 beautiful sunsets and then  it was time to head to Joshua Tree.  

We arrived to Joshua Tree, South BLM after a couple hour windy drive.  We couldn’t have been any closer to the Joshua Tree sign even if we were staying inside the park.  First thing after we got camp set up was to head into the park to the Visitor’s Center, where we got the maps and lay of the land.  Of course there was not much we could do with Eris so it was a mostly drive thru park.  We did stop and see alot however.  The park is layed out and is condusive to pulling off and seeing and climbing up and over rocks, which we did.  We were able to take Eris on two trails, one honestly really sucked it was supposed to be an Oasis and the other was Keys View which was a beautiful overlook, not really a hike.  This is a beautiful park.  Joshua Tree is famous for it’s namesake the Joshua Tree, which is only found here.  The park roadway winds it’s way from the Colorado Desert to the Mojave Desert where all the Joshua Trees are.  It is such different landscapes.  We drove through the campgrounds to see what it is all about.  While they would have been nice to stay in, we were quite content to be right outside the south entrance for free.  We had the same amenities they have except we had a lot more space.  Basically outside the park on the south entrance there really is nothing.  We did find some hikes the pup could do we picked one called the Painted Canyon.  The drive to the hike was as beautiful if not in some spots as driving through the park.  We realized that Eris while she is a 3 mile dog in normal conditions she is a 2 mile dog in the desert.  After the canyons we went down to check out the Salton Sea.  Very interesting, it is a body of water that was made by accident.  Sadly the accident was pollutants.  There is the highest concentration of salt in this body of water that only two forms of sea life exist.  However, it was nice to smell the salt water as we haven’t had that scent since Mississippi. Also, what I noticed while we were having our picnic was the sound of the sea birds.   Down there they offer camping, fairly reasonable with hookups. But there really is nothing to do there.   

One day Mike had me drive him up the mountain from the campground so he could ride his bike back down.  He smiled all the way down. 

If in the area and need someplace to stay I highly recommend Joshua Tree South BLM, great space and super great cell service, amazing sunsets and great stargazing.

Best place for photos in this area is in Joshua Tree National Park at all of the pull offs.  Supposidly the best place for a sunset photos is at Keys View.  We couldn’t get a parking during the sunset so we came back in the daytime.  The sky was sadly hazy. I got better photos elsewhere in the park and I got amazing sunsets at our campsite.  Also, I highly recommend doing the other trails in the area outside the south of the park.  I got some amazing photos of canyons.

Oh where can the four legged friends go, all over Quartzsite and the BLM land around it, only two trails in Joshua Tree and mile and miles of trails by the Painted Canyon. 

We have done a lot of upgrades to our home, I would like to take the time to mention one a week. However, this weeks is not our camper it is our truck.  All I can say people if you are planning on going off road, make sure you have the proper vehicle to get yourself unstuck. Mike had to pull two people out of the soft sand. One couple spent the whole night in the sand in the park, the other rescue was in our campground.  

The weather was warming up so it was our time to move on and up, so follow along to see where our next adventures will take us.  

Don’t forget to explore, discover and dream and ask yourself what are you waiting for, life is short.

If you like this consider subscribing and like it and follow.  

Safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowerrider camping hound.

Extra, Extra read all about it: A lot has happended since Loma Paloma there was Carlesbad, Guadalupe Mountians, Tuson and Saguaro National Park

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I left off with us leaving Loma Paloma in Presidio to Texas to go to Carlesbad Caverns National Park. The day we were departing it said that we would be having a lot of wind. Wind we did, however, it was a tail wind so not as scary as it could have been. When we were leaving Loma Paloma we realized our water pump in the rig died, so we had to find a place where we could get one as we were boondocking and wouldn’t have hook-ups for the unforeseeable future and we needed water. So while we had service off an on and on our way towards El Paso Mike made a ton of phone calls. There was a Camping World outside of El Paso, so our plans were gonna have to change and we thought maybe we would hit Carlesbad another time. However, as luck would have it there was an RV dealer with a store front in Carlsbad. Mike got a hold of them and indeed they had our water pump, so plans were back on to hit Carlsbad. We got to Chosa and dropped the rig at what became our home for the next few nights and headed to Carlsbad to get the water pump. It was a nice store and had everything you could need or want. We headed back to the camper, Mike fixed the water pump and we had a decent nights sleep. It was warmer then it had been and we had our windows open and there was a rig that ran his generator all night long. Anyway, we got up early and headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We got to use our National Park Pass for the first time, which was a great gift given to us by our besties, Nancy, Mark and Nya. We chose to walk down into the cave and everyone takes the elevator up. Felt totally safe, everyone was masked up. It was truly beautiful. After we picked up Eris and did the scenic drive through the park. That too was well worth the time. We got back to the rig and relaxed the rest of the evening. Carlesbad Caverns is an amazing sight to see. Above ground is the Chihuahuan Desert of the Guadelupe Mountains. Pre-covid they had ranger led tours, now you are on your own. After walking down the 733 feet below the surface is a rest area with a lunchroom, that of course was closed because of Covid. We did the walk down and then went into the balance of the cave. We highly recommend the walk down as it was just as beautiful as the rest of the caverns. After about 2 hours we got in line to take the elevator back up to the surface. Because of Covid it is only one party at a time, which I imagine pre-covid the elevators would have held at least a dozen or so people. The visitors center and exhibits were open. After returning home the peace and quiet of the campground was great, until the evening when all the other folks were returning to the campground or coming in. This would be the time for me to say how grateful we are to have solar on our rig. We still have not even started our generator yet. Honestly, I am not sure what people need to run at night that their house batteries wouldn’t be ok, but a schoolie pulled in on the one side and another travel trailer on the other. The schoolies’ fumes were coming right into our rig, even with closing the windows. They were outside, I asked if they could turn it off as the fumes were killing us and they apologized and did. The other folks kept theirs on for a while but the other guy who ran it all night the first night, ran it again the second. Solar and Battleborns…way to go. The following morning we got up and went to Guadalupe Mountains National Park on our way out of the area and heading to El Paso for some needed stores, Cabelas and grocery story. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is amazing and the hiking mecca. Of course we were just passing through and decided to see if there were any hikes that we could do with the dog. Only two were to be had, one to the campground and one on a nature trail. We did both. Guadalupe Mountain National Park as the park states: “preserves the rugged spirt and remote wilderness of the American West. The views were amazing and I believe that was the first and second (first-heading to Carlesbad and second leaving Carlesbad) mountain passes I did towing the rig. Heck maybe ever. They had pull offs and honestly the best place to get a picture of El Capitan is from the rest area. The visitor center was open as were the displays. After doing our short hikes we headed on the road to El Paso. Cabela’s was waiting for us. It was a semi-quick stop. Then we hit the road again and made it as far as Deming, New Mexico, where we stayed a Harvest Host for the evening. D.H. Lescombes Winery, where we had some delicious wines (I had a beer) and a charcuterie tray and purchased a bottle of wine for the road. After a serene and quiet night we got up and headed to Tuscon, where we planned on staying a couple of nights at another unique Harvest Host. El Pais Motel and Campground is a Mid Centruy themed Motel and Campground featuring vintage trailers, airstreams with a pool, (it was cold so we did not use) a clubhouse with all kinds of vintage items in it and chickens. We paid to stay here as we wanted full hookups. While visiting Tuscon (which again had everything we needed and then some, including an REI) we went to check out Catalina State Park. Very beautiful. We arrived later in the day, so we were only able to get in one short hike. The big thing we did was go to Saguaro National Park which is on the outskirts of Tuscon and is a small part of the Sonaran Desert The park has two distinct parts that are bascially split by Tuscon. We went to both sides in one day. A lot of driving but so worth it. As we couldn’t really go on any of the trails (no dogs) we did the scenic drives on both sides. My suggestion is, if a scenic drive is offered take it. They have pull offs and you never know what you are going to see. Both vistor’s centers were open and we were able to get our passport stamped. I think the Saguaro is my favorite cactus. After spending a few days in Tuscon it was time for us to move on…catch us next week as we talk about Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Yuma, Arizon.

Walkway down to the cave
Chosa
El Capitan
At El Pais

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Until next week have a great week…

Hope

Loma Paloma RV Park in Presidio, Texas and Big Bend Ranch State Park

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After we spent a glorious 5 days boondocking in Amistad National Recreation Area we were due for some clean laundry and some a/c, even though now as I sit here writing this in Tucson, Arizona I have a heater down by my feet. But that was then and this is now.  We headed down US 90 from Amistad a little sad to be leaving that beautiful area, but the drive on 90 did not disappoint with the views either. 

 We made it down to Presidio after a long drive to a wonderful welcoming campground called Loma Paloma. For $22.00 a night it comes with free wifi, and full hookups.  Just an FYI they only take cash.  Their address is 17138 FM170 Presidio, Texas, their phone number is 432/229-2992. We were invited to happy hour which started shortly after us checking in. The laundry room has  3 machines of each washer and dryer and it is $1.50 each. Also, this is paid in cash in a honor system. This was a perfect place to get into Big Bend Ranch State Park and for the more ambitious you can drive through it and get to the west side of Big Bend National Park. We were told to take the beautiful ride through the State park and don’t underestimate it. Beautiful sunsets were a daily occurance.  

Presidio itself is a quant border town.  Doesn’t really have much of anything but it is cute nonetheless.  

We were at the Visitor’s Center of the State Park at 8:30 in the morning. Fort Leaton State Historic Site/Visitor Center, where we paid our entry money to get in the park and we went through the Fort and our daily pass gave us access to all the hikes we wanted to do. The reconstructed  Fort served as a trading post in the old Chihuahua Trail from 1848 to 1884.  It was interesting.   

We have a dog, so that limited us to the hikes we could do, but honestly the four we did do was enough.  We did not feel like we missed anything.  We did the short nature hike at the visitor’s center and then got in the car to drive the scenic road through the park and stop and see what we wanted to see.  We did a slot canyon hike and a hoodoo hike, which was a first for all of us. The Hoodos Trail is a 1.1 mile loop trail.  Has some elevation but not too terrible.  We got down the Rio Grande where the moutains on the other side were in Mexico.  Eris got to drink water out of the Rio Grande.  The Closed Canyon Trail (slot canyon) is about 1.4 miles long (round-trip).  It is a narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Mesa in two. The Colorado Mesa was created about 28 million years ago.  The canyon leads to the Rio Grande but is unpassable without climbing gear. I had a hard enough time trying to climb over the boulders so when a sign said end of trail, I was good, I did not need to see what was beyond the sign.  If here be sure to do the Hoodoos trail first as it is exposed and the Closed Canyon is cool due to the canyon walls.  

The views on the scenic road were truly amazing.  This road is one of the scenic drives in the US and should not be missed if in the area.  Of course I was extremely grateful that it was just us and our truck, I would not want to have been towing the camper.   We did the short nature trail on the other side at the other Visitor’s Center and decided to head back through because the thought of driving the scenic drive at night was not overly thrilling.  We saw a moutain goat and some deer.  By the time we returned home it was after 7:00 p.m.  

So if you are in the area and can’t get into Big Bend National Park don’t underestimate Big Bend Ranch State Park it is so very much worth it and should not be overlooked.  

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us as we travel on to our next destination, Carlesbad, New Mexico.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

 

Our Adventure’s in Amistad National Recreation Area 

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Amistad National Recreation Area has changed my opinion of Texas. It is beautiful in an undescripable way.  The rocky coast, the miles of terraces that were once the bottom of the water, the blue/tourquise water that was at the base of the rocky terraces, were a beauty that must be seen to describe it. 

Our campsite that we chose was Governors Landing, on a reservor of the Rio Grande.  While it is right off US 90 is still gets quiet at night. The view cannot be beat. It was the more expensive campsite at $10.00 per night. The other sites ranged from $6.00-$8.00 a night. It was so worth money.  Originally we were going to stay 2 nights and we quickly added an additional 3 on, only because we want to try to beat the heat further outwest, otherwise we would have stayed longer.  You are able to stay there for up to 14 days in each of the camping areas.  There is a total of 5 camping areas. All the areas  have a covered table, a grill and fire pit and trash cans available.  Ours not only had that but access to potable water and was close to Diablo East which has a marina and some great little hikes but also most importantly a free dump.  Honestly, if these make it to your bucket list places you can’t really go wrong with any of the campgrounds.  

Amistad means friendship in Spanish.  Amistad lies between the United States and Mexico border.  The park offers hiking, water sports, fishing, birding , canoeing, kyacking and bow hunting in season.  The reservior was created by the Amistad Dam  in 1969 for flood ontrol, water storage and power generation as well as recreational use.  There are two bronze eagles symoblizing the cooperation between the US and Mexico in building and managing the dam. We did not make it over to see the eagles but maybe next time.  Also, when not Covid times they give dam tours but well as we all know things are a little different right now.  So hopefully we will be able to do it next time.  

There are miles of hikes, all beautiful.  Diablo East has three short easy trails and the Sunrise Trail and Figueroa Trail.  We did all the ones at the main area but did not do the Sunrise nor the Figueroa trials.  We need to safe something for the next time.  Plus we only have a 3 mile dog.  But what we did do was go to Seminole Canyon State Park.  What a really great place.  They have miles and miles of hikes but again we have a  3 mile dog so pushing it with our about 4.5 miles was more than enough for her.  We highly recommend that you do this park if in the area.  All the trails we were on in the area are dog friendly. 

Connectivity (Verizon) was amazing while in all of the Amistad area, however when we went to Seminole Canyon it did not exist and we even received a text (when our service came back) welcoming us to Mexico.  

We met some super nice people, some heading east and some heading west.  Hoping our paths will cross again sometime.  

We had to move on, so next weeks blog will find us at Persidio, Texas.  

Until then, remember to like this blog, and considering following as we continue to head to the west.  

Take care and safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris (the lowrider camping hound)