Utah, Arizona and Nevada, November 26th until December 7th – 2017
After a last view at the beautiful Goosenecks Canyon we leave Sunday morning November 26th and continue our travels through the always impressive landscape of Monument Valley where red rocks rise high up on the barren plain. We notice that we enter Arizona because the road is significantly worse than in Utah and arrive around 11.30 am in Page, AZ. We do some shopping at Safeway and Walmart before we drive to Glenn Canyon Recreation Area to the RV of Riley and Karen. They are at home, arrived two days ago after a very tiring three day trip out of Africa. They tell us their stories and experiences and we see great pictures. They have seen awesome things on their trip through Namibia and Botswana. After several hours we say goodbye to each other and drive to Wahwaep campground not far from their place.
To find a campground this time of the year is not a problem because there are plenty empty spots. We take a place with magnificent view of Lake Powell. Apparently it’s also the home of a Roadrunner because he only leave the place when Dick park our RV here. Because it is so quiet I can do some laundry before we go to bed, none of the machines is in use. I forget that it quickly gets dark so it’s not easy to find my way back home in the pitch dark, with bags full of clothes. Thanks to our generator I find our RV spot. Ofcourse I had to take the shortest route and did not want to walk along the road. On Monday morning Dick is publishing a new story on the website, while I go back to the laundromat and make applesauce.
In the afternoon we drive to Page, AZ, to vacuum the RV and clean it outside. The trip over dirt roads in the last few days covered the RV inside and outside with dust and fine sand. After the RV looks presentable again we drive back to Riley and Karen. Riley prepares a delicious meal, Pulled Pork with rice and lettuce. Though he himself says, it’s a simple meal, we think it a culinary tour de force and it tastes great. After socializing for some time we leave in the evening for our campground. It’s not really cold, around 50 degrees and we expect no frost, so we will not fix our insulation blanket. After breakfest the next morning we talk briefly to Riley and Karen, who, before getting to work, came to say goodbye to us. Then we drive over the 98 to Utah.
During this trip we criss-cross very regularly trough Utah. But every time we see other places. Unfortunately the German Bakery, near the road to Zion, is closed for the season, like so many restaurants, campgrounds and motels at this time of the year. It makes no sense to stay open for the few tourists passing by. But I loved to have a “Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte” (a Black Forest gateaux).
After taking some pictures, of course, of the beautiful rocks of Red Rock Canyon, rising up in the bright sun against the blue sky, we arrive in Cannonville where the road leads to Kodachrome Basin State Park. Several times already we saw this sign but never went there. We choose a nice spot on the empty campground and look at the great nature around us with rugged and towering rock formations. The reason to go to this place is, of course, a cache of Utah Geo Tour and after we ask the ranger which way we have to go, we take a trail through an enchanting landscape.
The cache place offers us a magnificent view over the surrounding area and after finding our cache we continue the trail to a beautiful Arch. Really this is a State Park worth visiting and walking around. When we are back at the campground the Sun disappear already partially behind the rocks and the temperature directly drops to 41 degrees. The spot we paid for, actually turns out to be to sloping and the RV is tilting to one side. Even Dick does not manage to get the RV leveled. So we move to another spot. No problem if there are only 4 RV’s on the entire campground. Now we are located near the restrooms, with (great) hot showers. We have a clear night at an altitude of 5900 feet, so it is necessary to isolate the windscreen again.
It’s really quiet around us and the stars are shining. When we wake up Wednesday November 29th it’s 39 degrees and there are clouds. Unfortunately because the color of the rocks around us is better when the Sun is shining. However, when we leave the campground, the clouds disappear fast and the blue sky comes in. Over roads without any traffic we drive to Panguitch where we take the Utah-143, a road that leads us high into the mountains. We climb higher and higher and higher. The sky is steel blue and there are no clouds otherwise it wasn’t a wise thing to do this time of year.
10600 Feet is the highest point and nearby is a viewpoint over Cedar Breaks Monument. We stop and enjoy the wonderful view on the colored rocks below of us, partly covered with snow. It’s awesome that we can be here. And again due to a cache hidden in Brian Head. Over quite steep mountain roads (13% downhill) we descend to Brian Head. Thanks to high pressure snow guns, some slopes are already prepared for skiing. In the weekends some ski pistes are undoubtedly opened, but now all the ski lifts are closed so we have ample place on the large car park at the chairlift.
Wading through the snow we walk along the edge of the slopes until we get to the place where the cache is hidden. Oh it is great here in the snow and the Sun. Winter sport time. After enjoying the snow, we even make snowballs, we descend further down to the valley below us. We look at the Petrowan Gap to ancient Petroglyphs on the high rocks and then drive to Cedar City. At the Frontier Homestead Pioneer museum we look around before going to the parking lot of Walmart, to stay overnight. There is an Applebee restaurant, next to the parking lot of Walmart, we cannot resist, so we put our meatloaf in the freezer and have dinner at Applebee. Thursday November 30th after breakfast, we go back to the Frontier Homestead Pioneer museum because we want to find a difficult cache. Yesterday, after 30 minutes of searching we did not find anything and we had to leave because of closing time and now again we try to find the cache but after an hour search we find nothing.
We pull on any single item of the many old machinery in the museum, but nothing, we only find hibernating bees. Fortunately, there is a Ranger who give us some clues, so after an hour we find this very difficult cache (4.5 in difficulty on a scale of 5). Now we can leave Cedar City. Slowly, we drive through the desert, to Iron Town. Here are still remnants of the Coke ovens that were used to make charcoal for the iron industry.
In these Kilns, more the shape of a beehive, Juniper branches and trunks were piled up and a fire was set below it. Through holes in the walls more or less air could circulate. After about 12 days the wood turned into charcoal which could be used to melt iron ore. It is impressive to view everything and we walk around for a long time. In the afternoon we drive to the Walmart in Washington, Utah where we park under the sign “no overnight parking”. We didn’t drive a long distance but we want to stay in Washington, UT, because of the excellent Thai restaurant where we want to have dinner tonight. It gives me time to work on the translation of our website and at 7 pm we walk across the street to the Royal Thai restaurant. Again (last time on Dick’s birthday) we have excellent food. The restaurant got a licence now, so we also have a glass of Singha, a great beer from Thailand.
Friday, December 1st the sky is again steel blue and the Sun heats up quickly. Within a few hours, the temperature goes from 44 to 55 degrees.
On our way south we see a beautiful white Church against the red rocks and we decide to look there. You can see this church from far away so it isn’t hard to find. It is a Mormon Temple, built around 1860 and like all Mormons temples the entrance doors are sealed. A Mormon temple is only used at special occasions such as marriage, special meditation and baptism ceremonies for ancestors. Of course, we take a look at the Visitor Center. The last we might better not, because we have to stay, look around, see a movie, hear stories about the Mormon believe and admire an extensive collection of Christmas stalls around the world.
Late morning we leave and drive to Virgin River Recreation Area. It’s not far away. We stay here the rest of the day, the weather is good and sheltered from the wind, it’s also warm. It heats up so end of the afternoon we can sit outside in short pants. The Sun disappears behind the mountains at 4 pm and directly it’s cool. As we drive further south next morning it’s getting warmer. When we arrive at Roadrunners RV park in Las Vegas-NV, at half past 10 am it is 60 degrees and in the afternoon it is 69 degrees. We did not have this temperatures for a long time. While I go to the laundromat, yes I really have to, Dick clean all our Windows, Interior and exterior, until they shine. At 3 pm I ride my bicycle to the nearby KOA campground at Sam’s Town Casino.
The reception tells me that Mike and Susan just checked in and moments later I find their RV and we hug each other. Although the reason for their visit is not good, the death of Mike’s brother Bill, it is great to see and speak to each other again. I stay some time but around five pm I have to leave because I forgot my light on my bycicle and I want to be back at our campground before it’s really dark outside. Sunday morning December 3rd, we grab our bikes and ride to Mike and Susan.
We agreed to help with the picture board for Bill’s Memorial. Susan, Bill’s wife, also drop by. It’s more practical to paste all the pictures at her home so at 1 pm we drive to Susan’s house. But first, some pictures must be printed at Walmart. After collecting the prints and get some medication for Susan, who got a cold, we drive to Henderson where Susan, Susan and I select pictures and paste them. Mike and Dick examen the cause why Mike’s jeep didn’t want to drive after a start. Around 3 pm they know, the battery of the key was exhausted, and we have three panels with pictures of Bill and of course Susan. Then we go back to the campground.
Mike and Susan have a family dinner and we walk in the evening to Sam’s Town where we enjoy the buffet and as always we (I, Tita) eat too much. Fortunately, we always have a small walk before we are back at our campground. It takes more time than normal because there is a gale and we are almost blown away, but finally we arrive, cold as ice, at our RV. Susan already told us that a cold front was coming in and indeed when we wake up Monday December 4th it’s only 43 degrees. Unfortunately, Auntie Ank shut off her computer so we can’t Skype but we do our administration, drink coffee, look at our mail, although the Wifi is very poor and chat with the RV-park manager. At 2 pm we take the bus to the strip. I like to go to Macy’s to see if they have nice clothes. There is a beautiful black with gold North Face Jacket, but we don’t see anything for Dick. We look around for over an hour but no, nothing that is pretty to wear, so we walk to the exit of the fashion Mall and walk over the Las Vegas boulevard, also called “the Strip”. Along the sidewalk are now high poles.
They prevent cars or trucks to drive into the crowd. It’s quiet on the street. Maybe due to the low temperature, it is only 42 degrees or the low season (I thought it was high season by now), I don’t know. At 4.30 pm it’s dark outside and in several places along the Strip we see colored fountains spraying water on the tones of famous Christmas songs. At 6pm, we walked only one hour over the Strip, we are at Outback where we take our table at the window and enjoy the steaks. They are yummy!! Outback is significantly better than Applebee. The bus back home arrives quick, we don’t need to wait and at 8.30 pm we are back at Road runners RV park.
Monday December 5th Mike and Susan pick us up at 9am and together we drive to the funeral home where the Memorial Service is held for Bill. We are early so we can help putting down the boards with pictures. People are coming in and at 11 am the Chapel is completely occupied, some even have to stay. There are good speeches and many memories are retrieved, Bill was a very likable person and had a lot of hobby’s. One of his former colleagues sings a beautiful song and everybody in the Chapel is quiet. After two hours the service is over. It was an impressive memorial for Bill and the many memories were good to hear. Although it’s a sad occasion when somebody pass away too young, it’s good to celebrate his life in this way. We drive along with Mike and Susan and go to an Irish restaurant where Susan and Bill had dinner regularly. Also other family members, friends and neighbors come to this restaurant. With each other we enjoy a good meal. At 4 pm, after everybody paid, we say goodbye to each other and leave. We stop at Sam’s Town and take a milkshake, walk around in the casino and the courtyard, decorated with a lot of lights and enjoy a laser show, of course with Christmas songs. Then we say goodbye to Mike and Susan. In 10 days we see each other again in Tucson, just before we fly back to the Netherlands.
Wednesday December 6th, again it’s nice but cool weather, the thermometer shows 45 degrees. After doing some shopping at Walmart and saying good bye to the manager of Roadrunner RV park we leave Las Vegas and soon we drive through the Mohave desert in California. Because we have a road through the desert there is no checkpoint for fruit and vegetables. Fortunately because we just bought grapes and apples. We prefer this narrow road through the desert instead of the Interstate. We drive through the great nothing. Apart from Sage brush, chloride and salt winning, sand- and rock slopes there is nothing to see. But after some hour drive we arrive at Twentynine Palms. Here is the northern entrance of Joshua National Park. We stop at the Visitor Center, not only to get a stamp but also to deliver a bunch of keys, Dick found them at Kelso depot, in the Centre of the Mohave. There are some US government keys so it will be a Ranger bunch. In the desert where we found them was no living thing and everything was closed so we couldn’t get rid of them.
Moments later we drive into Joshua National park. Although it is very busy (incomprehensible at this time of year) we find a camping spot at Jumbo Rocks campground. The sun is shining but it’s really to cold to sit outside so we stay in our RV with a book.
Also Thursday, December 7th, it’s still cold, only 43 degrees with bright sun and a steel blue sky. We really need to refuel so we drive through the park to the west side of Joshua Tree. It gives us the ability to look around in the park. As always it’s a beautiful park with all those Joshua trees with their branches reaching upwards to the sky. Unfortunately it stay freezing cold and after a little walk, we decide to drive back to Jumbo Rocks, Hidden Valley campground has no place and better suit for tents and small vehicles. The rest of the afternoon we are inside our RV. I write for the website, we read and chat. But sitting outside is really not possible, to cold.