ADVENTURES WITH FREE CAMPSITES – SOME FUNNY AND SPOOKY STORIES

There are lots of options for free campsites when on a road trip in the States (or Canada for that matter).  The obvious ones are the WalMart and Cracker Barrel parking lots, and we had our fair share of those.  However there were several others that popped up that have interesting stories attached to them.

One of the biggest camping uncertainties that we face on the many times we’ve done this trip is, “Where do we camp on the two nights before our decent into the Grand Canyon?”  Typically on the first of these nights we arrive fairly late in the evening, having made the drive from Page.  It would be hopeless to get a campsite in the Mather campground of the main village.  You have a chance if you show up early on the second morning, and that’s what we’ve done successfully on the last few trips.  This puts you close to your early morning bus rendez-vous on the morning you start hiking.  But that first night is always a crap shoot and you never know what to expect.  This time around we arrived at the Desert View campground, 40 miles east of the main village hoping that a site or two would be open as has been the case in the past.  No luck this time, though.

My strategy with full campgrounds is always go in, drive around and look for the “host”.  If you talk to them we’ve always been able to salvage some kind of site.  At times they have emergency sites put aside for people in the situation of arriving late and having nowhere to go.  That wasn’t the case this time.  However the host ranger came through, pointing out something that should have been obvious, but I’ve never thought of before.  He said that if we took one of the southerly roads, we would in a few miles end up exiting the park and entering the National Forest.  The policy is that you can camp anywhere on most National Forest areas, and the one surrounding the Grand Canyon was no exception.  There usually aren’t facilities or water, but there are often very amenable sites for tents or trailers.  He was kind enough to give us specific directions to a nearby road that led to very adequate camping.  There was even a washroom at this site as it was the intersection of several hiking trails.  So off we went, following his directions, and found an area where a dozen or so people were already camped, but there was plenty of room for more campers.  What a find!!  Never again do we need to approach that first night wondering where we will have to camp.  This is a great resource.

I won’t post the exact directions here as I don’t want to swamp the area, but if you are seriously in need it is not too hard to figure it out with a minimal amount of research.

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A week or so later we found ourselves in the Grand Tetons, near Yellowstone, and in the same situation.  This time, all of the local campsites of all description were full to over capacity because of the eclipse.  This was a prime viewing area, which, of course, is why we were there.  Once again I went into a campground with a “No Vacancy” sign in order to ask questions.  The first answers are always like, “We’re full.  We can’t help you.”  But you just keep asking and saying you don’t know what you’re going to do.  As usual, this time the ranger gave me directions to an information tent set up down a lonely road in order to help with the overflow of visitors.  Even there the initial response was, “We can’t help you,” but eventually they mentioned that there was a gravel quarry several miles down a side road that had been set up for overflow camping.  It even had port-o-potties set up.  We made our way there and found just over two dozen campers already set up, but lots of room to spare.  As the day went on, more showed up and it got a little more crowded, but not to an uncomfortable degree.  We were able to drive up to Yellowstone in order to see a few of the attractions there.  (Old Faithful was a bit of an anticlimax.)  We got back late at night because of a traffic stop on the way back to the campsite on account of a car having hit a buffalo.  Not much left of the car and the buffalo was dead on the road, probably having been shot by the rangers because of its injuries.

Anyway, the next morning we witnessed the eclipse from our gravel pit campsite.  And it was a fine place to do so, surrounded by the mountains of the Grand Tetons.  I don’t think I could have asked for a better situation.

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The night after we were led to another odd campground.  Of course the overflow from the eclipse viewers was still an issue and even though we were trying to make tracks eastward towards Nebraska, that was also the path of the eclipse and the crowds didn’t dissipate.  I thought some would start home that day and the campgrounds would thin out a bit, but that didn’t happen.  We got as far as Douglas, Wyoming and checked the nearby KOA.  No luck, but again with persistent questioning the owner mentioned that the town had a city park where they allowed overnight free camping.  I had read about these, so it didn’t seem so far fetched, and off we went.  It wasn’t too hard to locate and when we got there it was basically a donut shaped parking lot with about six other campers, including some trailers and tents.  We dropped the trailer at about 7 p.m. and went in search of food.

Finding a restaurant was a challenge, and we actually encountered another group who had followed their GPS to a dead end.  There were also a large number of police patrolling the area and doing something that resembled a “raid” at one of the restaurants that we found.  We ended up passing on that one.  We ended up at a Chinese restaurant (-The Four Seasons – which I originally thought was connected to a hotel-) owned by a really nice but somewhat strange guy.  It was just him and his wife running the place.  He served and she cooked.  He seemed to have a habit of not clearing tables until they were needed, so the place was full of dirty dishes when we first got there.  When we said we needed a table for eight he proceeded to clear and wash one large table, leaving all of the others.  Our conversation with him was a little too enthusiastic on his part and a touch weird.  But the food was excellent and surprisingly cheap and definitely worth a good recommendation.  The service wasn’t quick, so it was later in the evening when we left and went back to our “campsite” in the park.

When we got there, we found the place was deserted except for our trailer and one new tent.  Everyone else had cleared out.  It’s important to explain here that we had no doubt that this was a park set up for overnight camping.  It had restrooms, showers and even a small dump station for RVs.  Then we noticed a sign that we’d missed when we first arrived, that there was no camping during the days surrounding the eclipse.  We were very confused.  We could understand why local campsites and the chamber of commerce might object to free camping normally, but to do it during a period where all of the campgrounds were overflowing in capacity just didn’t make sense.

Anyway, it was after 11 p.m. and we weren’t about to move unless forced to.  We had nowhere to go and if those who had left had been told another place to go, we didn’t have that information.  We expected to find a note on the trailer, but there was nothing.

I recommended to the boys that they just sleep on the grass as it was lush (-another clue that we missed-) and there was no call for rain.  That way if we were rousted in the middle of the night it would be easier to move out.  The police or whoever never returned to evict us, but it seems that we missed a part of the sign.

Several hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, as I was sleeping in the trailer, all of a sudden I heard a torrent of rain fall on the roof.  I immediately woke and thought, “Oh damn, the guys are outside in the rain.”  Then as quickly as it started it stopped.  About a minute later it came back for about 10 seconds, then stopped again.  A sprinkler system!  I knew that this would be an unwelcome surprise for the boys, but thought that perhaps they had positioned themselves outside the radius of the water and would be OK.  I figured that if they were in trouble they’d come to the trailer.  A few hours late I got up and went outside to find several  of the boys up and the rest sleeping in the parking lot between the trailer and the car.  The sprinklers hadn’t hit them when I originally woke, but did a few hours later.  They were on some kind of rotating system.  So they got a rather nasty surprise when water suddenly erupted around them and they had to run to get away from it.  Closer examination of the sign in the morning showed that it did mention the sprinklers in small print.

So that was our rather strange night in Douglas, Wyoming.  It really all felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone, and we were anxious to get on our way the next morning.

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Speaking of episodes of the Twilight Zone, there’s one more campsite that deserves mention.

On the second last day before our return we were determined to make good time and put ourselves in striking distance for an afternoon arrival.  We made our target the Michigan town of Battle Creek, thinking that it was big enough to have several campgrounds we could use.  And, in fact, our research showed at least two possibilities.

We got to Battle Creek a little later than we’d anticipated, and put the first campground into the GPS.  It took us to a dead end.  Not only that, but the GPS had strange symbols and colouring on it, like we were entering a top secret facility or something.  I couldn’t imagine there being a secret facility in Battle Creek, the home of Kellogg’s.  So we tried for the second campground.  Same result.  Finally, using a laptop and the old Streets and Trips program we found another campground.

We entered it and realized quickly that it was more a residential RV park than a campground, although one resident did point to an area where there was space for trailers and said that it was the campground.  We went there and set up without too much trouble, but quickly realized that there were no facilities at all, including restrooms.  The whole place had a strange vibe, with people driving in and out, and one car coming over to investigate what we were doing.  Since we’d arrived late, there was no chance to pay for our site, and there was no sign of any office.  Eventually someone walked over, explained that, yes, we were in the campsites, there was no restroom and, looking at our tents, said that tents were not allowed “because of the trees”.  I asked him what he meant, and he said he didn’t know; that’s just what they’d told him.  But he didn’t seem like he was going to stop us, and we didn’t have much choice, so we finished our set up and had a decent night’s sleep, always wondering if someone was going to rap on the trailer door in the middle of the night.  Nobody did.

In the morning, we still couldn’t find an office, so we packed up early and got on our way.  I didn’t feel too bad about not paying as I genuinely didn’t know how, and the campsite was just a patch of grass by the road.  The whole thing was a bit spooky and we felt like we needed to get out of there.  It got us an early start on the morning.

 

When you’re winging your itinerary, as we most definitely were, it is sometimes challenging to find a campsite.  Occasionally it leads to some odd places. But when no sites seem obvious, there are almost always options.

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THE “GRAND” EXPERIENCE!

I’m going to save the story of our arrival and being turned away from Desert View Campgrounds for the next installment, which will be about some of our more unusual campground experiences.  By our second night in the Grand Canyon area we were fortunate enough to get a spot at the campground right in the Village.  (We’d learned the trick at Zion.  Get there early, early in the morning and you’re likely to get one just as it’s being vacated.)

Our first day was spent, of course, viewing the Canyon from the lookouts, checking in with the Backcountry Office to be sure that everything was OK and getting our food and equipment packed for the early departure the next morning.  We had to drive to the Backcountry parking lot and catch the 5:00 a.m. bus to the Kaibab Trailhead the next morning.

Click on thumbnails for larger pictures.

Our departure was frigid.  Dressed for a hot hike, we weren’t as prepared as we could be for the overcast skies and cold winds the next morning.  But once half an hour down into the canyon and things changed.  Our hike down was spectacular and otherwise uneventful (compared to our trip up) and took about five hours.  I swear the ruts and steps made by the mules have gotten deeper every year, but generally it was a pleasant hike.

Once at the bottom we settled into our group campsite.  The temperature didn’t disappoint, going up to about 120 degrees.  The boys spent a lot of time in the creek, damning it up with stones to make it deeper.  We hadn’t brought any tents, so boys slept on picnic tables or on the ground, braving the scorpions.  Some had a better night’s sleep than others.

On our second day at the bottom we took a short side hike to Phantom Creek, were we found a great little waterfall.

Late that afternoon we had to begin our hike to the second night campsite at Indian Gardens.  We waited as long as possible to avoid the heat of the day, but ended up doing the last half an hour of the hike with headlamps and having to locate our campsite in the dark.  Not a big problem, even though someone else had crashed in our site.  It was quite big, so we just let him stay.  We were mostly sleeping on the picnic tables anyways, not having any tents.  Except for Richard, who was braving the ground again in shorts and a t-shirt.  Unfortunately he got his wish to see a scorpion when one stung him in the middle of the night.  He darted up off the ground and Greg put a bit of salve on it.  It stung and was numb, but otherwise he was in OK shape.   I didn’t interfere with his ability to hike the next morning, although nobody got much sleep afterwards.

The last leg of the hike was quite a challenge for me, but we all got up and headed to a well deserved meal at the top.  Soon we were on our way to showers, clean clothes and a few slow days at a nice KOA campsite in Flagstaff.

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ANTELOPE CANYON

The second last location that I want to chronicle here is our short visit to Page, Arizona.  This town sits at the outflow of Lake Powell, stopped by the Glen Canyon Dam.  We were a bit rushed in our visit here as we had to get to the Grand Canyon by a specific date, but we had two full days.  Our hoped for wifi at the Page/L. Powell Campground proved to be ineffective, meaning that the blog would not be updated until after our Grand Canyon Hike.  I seem to recall having the same thing happen last time we stopped at this campground.

On the first day the boys wanted to go swimming, -understandable when the opportunity presents itself on a desert road trip.  The best swimming is only accessible by boat, but there is pretty good swimming up the shore from the boat launches.  (Close to the marinas should be avoided.)  So we went to the launch close to Antelope Canyon and just walked along the shore to find a good swim spot.  The weather was cloudy with threatening rain, but still very warm.

Click on pictures for full size. 

On the second day we managed to get on a tour for Antelope Canyon.  Everything was telling us that it wasn’t possible and they were all sold out, but going to the actual site rather than going through one of the tour arrangers in town proved to be cheaper and was successful.  We were learning that when things were “fully booked”, there were always other options if you just prod the situation enough.  Antelope Canyon is a Mecca for photographers and causes even those less likely to take pictures to bring out there cameras.  I had been there many times before, but I was glad to see the boys get into it, and Greg certainly was in paradise.

After our Antelope Canyon tour we had to hit the road for the Grand Canyon.  Leaving late in the afternoon, it was going to be inevitable that we’d reach any campsite at our destination very late, and that they would likely be full.

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ZION

Zion National Park in Utah is one of the crown jewels in the South-West.  While the Grand Canyon is the most immense, Zion is easily the most majestic.  There’s a story about Samuel Dellenbaugh who painted the canyons and cliffs of Zion and displayed them at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.  People didn’t believe that his paintings were a real place.  Just driving through it on the main highway, negotiating tunnels and switchbacks, one is presented with towering rock cliffs on both sides of this beautiful valley.

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Zion has many sides.  We chose to take on two well travelled hikes.  The first was The Narrows, which is a hike into a broad, deep canyon.  It is necessary to wade along the creek for much of this hike.

We were accompanied my many fellow hikers, and it is valid to say that the hike was a bit crowded on the day we took it.  That detracts a bit from it, but is still a great hike.  On the way out we noticed a commotion where one female hiker had fallen and either sprained or broken her ankle.  On  the way back we encountered her on the trail returning to the shuttle stop as there was a group taking turns carrying her.  She was in a lot of pain.  Our boys stepped in to lend a hand and helped get her to the bus stop.  The rangers that were there were reluctant to get involved as I’m sure there was some kind of complicated liability situation going on.  When we got to the terminal, a stretcher appeared and other people took over.  A fully equipped rescue team was just getting organized there and we thought it might have been for her, but it turns out that they were on their way to what they described as a much more serious problem.

The second hike we tackled was Angel’s Landing, possibly one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done.  Angel’s Landing involves a long stretch of switchbacks leading to the bottom of a steep column of rock.  At the top of that column is the Landing, and the way up is a scramble up the side, often with sheer drops on both sides of a narrow trail with chains set into the rocks to help protect you.  The sign at the bottom talks about the 7 people who have died on the trail over the years.  It’s a trail where you have to concentrate on what you are doing, so needless to say I didn’t take many pictures en route.  The ones below are Brandon’s, showing the steepness and the precariousness of the trail.  Surprisingly there were a lot of people doing the hike, meaning bottlenecks at various places on the climbs where people going  in both directions would have to wait for a clear, safe route.

It was a great hike with lots of magnificent views at the top.  Yes, it’s all about the views.

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Bryce Canyon

Eventually our stay in Moab came to an end and it was time to move on.  There were several other hikes in that area not mentioned here, including on to Corona Arch, known for the arch swingers video.  We were content to sit underneath it.

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Our trip across the Escalante Grand Staircase was not uneventful.  Late on the first night of this leg we hit a deer on a totally deserted stretch of highway.  Fortunately for us, the damage to the car was minimal, not preventing us from driving at all.  We were only shaken up, but the deer didn’t fare as well, crawling to the edge of the road and eventually dying.  We all felt really bad, but were lucky that it hadn’t turned out worse than it was.

After a brief stopover in Kodachrome State Park, we arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park, where we were determined to do one of the major hike into the amazing canyon.

Click on thumbnails for larger picture.

Bryce is another of the flavours of rock formations that are fascinating within the “Grand Staircase” which runs from Moab’s Canyonlands to the Grand Canyon.  Progressive layers of rock eroded by eons of water and wind produce displays of strange shapes and varied colours.

Our hike into Bryce Canyon was another good rehearsal for our Grand Canyon trek, the end winding up hundreds of  feet in altitude along dozens of switchbacks.

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GOBLINS

I really think that one of the things that attract me to the South-West is the shapes in the landscape.  It’s a wonderful play of chaos theory over form and shape, in a vast variety of styles and colours.  The arches, mesas, buttes, canyons and hoodoos are a play of water and wind on strata of rock, with remarkable, beautiful results.

Nowhere is this more evident than in a small Utah state park called Goblin Valley.  We discovered it by mistake several trips ago, looking for a western entrance to Canyonlands.  Not finding it, we ended up at Goblin and were blown away.  And it’s not just the goblins; there are also some great, easy access slot canyons in the area.

Our goal was to spend the morning in Goblin Valley and to hike Kicking Horse Canyon in the afternoon.  The weather prevented the latter, but we got a second chance several days later when our route took us through the park again.

The goblins are small hoodoos which have a unique appearance.  The state park lets you hike through them, climb on them and jump from one to another.  It’s very interactive, and just great fun.  It’s kind of like a big playground.  I find it a paradise for shooting pictures, as did Greg when we brought him back on the second visit.

On our second visit we chanced Kicking Horse Canyon even though there was a chance of rain and flash floods.  It was a small chance and we knew we didn’t have time to venture very far.  Surprisingly we found sections of it flooded with sometimes knee and even waist deep water.  I’ve never seen that before on previous treks, so it slowed us down a bit.

These are Brandon’s pictures as I stupidly didn’t have a memory card in my camera.

The farther into this canyon you go, the more interesting it becomes.  At the end we (or at least some of us) found ourselves waist deep in a narrow slot.  That’s when we turned back but a hiker coming the other way told us that the best was ahead.

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OUR GREAT STAY IN MOAB

Pre Moab tends to be a warm up.  Moab is where it really gets happening.

We were in Moab for several days as Greg had to fly back to Toronto to attend a wedding.  That left us with only one car, so we stayed at the great Canyonlands RV Campground practically in the middle of town.  It was hard to book campsites for the extended period, but we solved the problem by splurging on a cabin for the boys over the weekend involved.  They didn’t mind that as it had air conditioning and it was pretty hot.  Everything was handy and we were able to fit everyone into one car for the many short excursions that were available around town.

On the first day there we were determined to get Greg into some of the best Moab had to offer before he had to drive to Salt Lake City that evening, so we did the hike to Delicate Arch.  It’s only 3 miles round trip, but it was our first difficult hike, being mostly uphill on the way there and with the temperature exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  There isn’t much shade on the hike.  During the afternoon there was a ranger at the trail head warning hikers setting out and making sure they were properly prepared.  There were still quite a few people on the trail as it is one of the area’s most well known and popular.  In fact Delicate Arch acts as the symbol for the area.  (Click on thumbnails for larger pictures.)

On the second day we went in to Poison Spider Cycles to arrange for the day of mountain biking, and settled on doing it the following day.  Then we went to one of my favorite hikes in the area.  I was pretty sure I knew where the trailhead was, although we had trouble finding it.  Turns out they’d changed the name.  What has always been “Negro Bill Canyon” was changed to “Grandstaff Canyon”, causing some confusion.  (A little research shows that it also caused a lot of controversy when they did it.)  It is a two mile walk in to Morning Glory Arch covering a spring and little shaded oasis.  It is a wonderful destination for a relatively simple and level hike following a creek.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.  Just don’t be fooled by the level terrain and take lots of water on a super hot day like what we had.

On our third day in Moab the boys did their mountain biking, being shuttled to a location with lots of trails of varying difficulty located several miles north of town.  I’m not a mountain biker, my helmeted head having had one too many close encounters with the ground in the past.  The boys were fine and I was in contact with them by cell phone several times.  I brought them water part way through the day.  When they were finished with the trails they could ride back to town on a fantastic paved bike path that makes its way through the desert for miles.  Mostly downhill, too.  They could ride right back to the store and return their bikes.  Many of them said that this day was one of the main highlights of the trip.

While in Moab we had the means to make our own meals with food from the grocery store just a block down the street, but we also had a chance to sample a few of the eateries in town.  If you are ever visiting, we can strongly recommend the Moab Diner for basic food, and also the Moab Brewery for better food, but still at very reasonable prices.  We also tried a place in town called Spokes, which had good food and service, but which seemed a little overpriced.

On our fourth day we took the two hour drive to Goblin State Park, on the west side of Canyonlands.  I’ll continue with that in the next post.

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On the way to Moab

After Sand Dunes we were scheduled to head for Durango and a stay with Greg’s in-laws, Willie and Susan.  Their hospitality was great and very fortuitous.

On the trip west we had a misfortune in a gas station when another car backed into our trailer.  It wasn’t much of an impact and it looked like the only damage was to the other car, so we just let it all go.  Shortly after that, we started to hear a rumble and for a few days we were afraid that something had happened to the trailer’s wheel alignment.  We inspected it, tested it, walked beside it while driving, and did everything we could to be sure that there wasn’t a problem.  Then as we entered Durango, the car got a flat tire.

The boys tried to change it but the bolts were on too tight, so I had to call AAA.  When they showed up the driver was also stymied trying to remove the tire, actually destroying several tools in order to loosen the bolts.  He finally managed to get the tire off after an hour of struggling with it, and when the tire came off we discovered the source of the rumble we had heard.  We had inspected the car tires as well on the chance that it was the car, not the trailer, making the noise, but had not seen anything.  However the inside tread of the tire, invisible to scrutiny, was worn bear in one small patch.  The rest of the tire looked fine, but that small part was worn right down to nothing.  The AAA driver was amazed saying he’d never seen anything like it.  He figured it had to be a fault in the belt of the tire.

However, we were very lucky with the blowout happening in a Denny’s parking lot rather than a mountain road.  Willie just happened to have a buddy who owned a tire shop, so we had great help solving our problem.  The tire mechanic agreed with the AAA driver and also said that I should have a serious talk with my dealership who had inspected the tires just before the trip, both because of the state of the tire and because they’d put the bolts on so tightly.

It’s kind of spooky lucky.  The mishap with the trailer caused us to pay attention to the tires and it waited until a safe location to blow.  Could have been much worse.

We used our extra day in Durango to visit Mesa Verde.  There are a few pictures earlier in the blog that were posted on the road.  We ended up being forced to take a guided tour rather than the usual unguided one because one of the sites was closed due to falling rocks.  The guided tour, which I’d never taken before, was pretty informative and I think that the boys got a lot more out of it.  I have a pretty good knowledge of the history of the area, but it’s always good to have a third party presenting.

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So after leaving Durango with our tire problems solved, we headed north along the ‘Million Dollar Highway’ to Silverton, Ouray and then west towards Moab.  Silverton is an old west town with a lot of ambiance, including a great saloon/restaurant where we had lunch.  The main street was a strange mixture of old style buildings and off road vehicles that were used to go up into the mountain trails.  I’ve driven some of them before, but our schedule didn’t allow for that this time around.  There was also a display of street musical instruments.

After, we made our way west through the mountains and stopped briefly for some impromptu gold panning.  Didn’t have much time for it.  Real gold panning requires an big investment of time, but can yield valuable results.  The place we stopped was by a small lake with a view of Red Mountain which is one of my favorite spots to photograph.

We ended up at a free campsite on National Forest land, but had the problem of being in the middle of nowhere at night without having though of food.  Trying to beat the clock, we dropped the trailer and hurried to a small town down the road which we just hoped had a grocery store.  We were lucky and got there just a few minutes before it closed. It was basic food, but at least we didn’t go to bed that night thirsty or with empty stomachs.  you’d think that we would have learned our lesson, but that story ended up being repeated several more times as the trip continued.  Sometimes you just find yourself in the middle of nowhere after dark.  Then breakfast becomes something to look forward to.

The next morning we set out for Moab, -one of the highlights of our trip.

 

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South-West Trip 2017 A Journey

I’m going to try to provide an overview of the trip here, with pictures and some interesting stories.

The beginning and the end of these extended trips to the SW USA always consist of marathon drives.  On the way west, I try to be in Denver by noon of the third day, often stopping at WalMart parking lots to take advantage of their tolerant camping policy.  WalMarts are very handy places to stop and we often joined half a dozen campers and or trucks in the back of the lot.  They have good security, restrooms, and a good selection for a quick breakfast.  The only problem for us was fitting eight people into one trailer and two cars.  A little creativity made that work adequately.  On our first night, though, we were woken up at two in the morning and asked to move because unluckily they were repainting the lines in the lot that evening.  Bad luck.  We just had to shift to a part they’d already painted.

There’s an excellent resource for finding free rv campsites in North America.
https://www.overnightrvparking.com/index.php
It’s behind a paywall, but well worth it if the information is useful to you.  The sample page gives you a good idea of what is provided.  We used it a lot.

After a day in Boulder and Denver, we stayed at a WalMart up in the mountains on the third night as well (opting for a regular campground on the second night so we could grab showers –one thing that is unavailable at WalMart).  That was followed by a day of driving through the mountains, enjoying the great scenery.

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And then we headed for the first of the many National Parks that we would visit on the trip, traveling though spectacular Rocky Mountain Scenery.  We arrived at Sand Dunes National Park just after a rain storm, showing us a side of the dunes that I’d never seen before.

Those dunes are pretty high, and our guys went right to the top.

 

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Zion

The other place I want to post about is Zion N.P., which we visited last week.  We did two major hikes there, including the spectacular Angel’s Landing hike, which was a first for me and a check mark on the old bucket list.  It was pretty strenuous and not for the feint of heart with the trail often dropping off on both sides.  I had to concentrate on the hiking and so didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked, but the boys did and I hope to gather some for later posting.

The other hike was the most popular in the park, the Narrows which is a walk upstream into a slot canyon.  (We did another hike into a slot canyon at Goblin, but that’s for another post.)

So we are currently in Flagstaff taking it easy after our strenuous Grand Canyon hike.  We’ll be visiting Sedona tomorrow and possibly the Slick Rock natural water slide if the boys are up to it.  Too cold for me.  After that we’re starting the long trek home via Yellowstone to see the eclipse.

Will keep you posted when we have proper wifi.

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