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My First "Real" RV Trip
Old 10-10-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
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My First "Real" RV Trip

We got back from our long RV trip a few days ago, but I have been too lazy to sort through the photos to find something to entertain ya'all. But I promised (threatened?) in an earlier post to tell about this, so I have to keep my words.

Well, I call this our first "real" RV trip because of the past taunts from "you know who", who made fun of my maiden 2-night 400-mi round-trip after I bought this used class C earlier this year.

Heck, it was hot here in the summer, and it took me a long time to prep my RV for "real" travel. I also had to spend some time to look for a suitable used car to use as a "toad" (a car flat-towed behind the motorhome), then to prepare it for towing with towing brackets and tow wiring. It would be quicker to write a check, but you are looking at a die-hard DIY and frugal guy here.

OK, so where did we go?

Initially, I planned on making a clockwise trip, which would take us through California, Oregon, Washington, then Idaho and Utah, before coming back to Arizona. I had no definite plans, other than knowing that I wanted to spend time on the Oregon coast, the Olympic Peninsula, Coeur d'Alene, Zion and Bryce National Parks. We have been to CA, OR, and WA states numerous times, but all of these trips were to the large cities, with day trips to the countryside. This time, we want stay out more in the "wilderness".

As it turned out, my aunt, whom I wanted to visit to see her big and newly-built home in the LA area, was not home as we prepared to start our trip. So, I changed the trip to a counter-clockwise direction, which took us to Zion and Bryce NP first.

The places that we went were not all that exotic, in fact very popular with tourists, and even European travelers too, but we had not been to these before. So, the following photos (to be posted) may be more entertaining to people who are not familiar with these places.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:02 PM   #2
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The first night of the trip was spent boondocked at a Walmart in Northern Arizona after a drive of 300 mi. When we left home at noon that day, I drove the RV with the toad towed behind it for the very first time. In fact, I just finished wiring up the toad for towing the night before.

The drive was not without a lot of apprehension. In fact, even after a month on the road, every time I got behind the wheel, I never let my guard down, and always pay much attention to the road and the traffic around me.

The next day, we only had a short drive of 100mi to an RV park about 20mi east of Zion NP. Later, we learned that most visitors entered the NP from the west side. A very high percentage of tourists, I would say 50% or more, was European or specifically German. It appeared to me most of them were with a tour, which would combine their NP visit with a stop in Las Vegas, and a visit to Grand Canyon. And their tours most likely started from LAX, hence the popularity of the west side entrance vs. the east side that we took.

Having lived for more than 30 years only 500 mi from this NP, I couldn't explain why it didn't occur to me to visit this park, while Europeans have to spend a few thousand dollars to come here. Hey, the grass close to home is fairly green too, if one just knows where to look.

I was fortunate to have bought for myself a new Canon camera, an SX210, the day before this trip. What turned me on was that this pocket point-and-shoot camera had an unprecedented 14X optical zoom, which was equivalent to a 400mm lens on the 35-mm camera of yore. Also, Canon finally caught up with Olympus and now had the optical stabilization feature. Without this feature, such a zoom lens would be unuseable with hand-held shots. My wife retained the use of the older Olympus. Hey, that was her 4th camera, so this SX210 was mine ;-)

This camera zoom lens allowed me to snap the following shot of two rock climbers, who were about 1/3 up a cliff face that the ranger told me was 2000 ft. These two were barely visible with naked eyes, and I would not know they were there if it weren't for the ranger pointing out to me.



There are many trails through the NP, some more popular than others. Our acrophobia would not allow us to tackle the "Angels Landing" trail, so I do not have a picture of that to share. There are plenty pictures of that on the Web for preview, if you plan to take that hike.

However, everyone could, and nearly all tourists did, do "the Narrows", wading through a canyon cut by the Virgin river. We did not go as far upstream as we wanted to, for the simple reason that the water was cold. The air temperature ranged from the high 80s to the mid 90s in the park, and felt uncomfortably hot at times, but that water felt too cold to my feet.



On the drive to the park from its eastside entrance, a family of mountain goats happened to cross in front of our car, and the following was a frame that I caught through the car windshield.



I had wanted to visit Kolob Canyons (part of Zion NP), but had to save that for the next time we pass through this area. That we certainly will, in our future trips to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, etc...
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:19 PM   #3
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We stayed at an RV park outside Zion for 2 nights, because the campgrounds inside the park were full.

Our next stop was Bryce Canyon NP. Here, we also stayed 2 nights, but at the park campground. There were many trails for hiking, and we chose a 2.6-mi one. It took us down this canyon,




to a spot called Wall Street, where there were trees growing through the narrow slot.





Bryce Canyon was crowded with French tourists. It might just be coincidental that perhaps some big tour groups just arrived. My French was fairly rusty, but I was able to overhear a middle-aged woman turning back from a trail, exclaiming to her friends who did not even attempt to descend down: "C'est si loin!" (It's very far!). Hey, we were middle-aged too, but we pushed on.

Later, we chatted with an American couple, who did not tackle the entire trail either, blaming high altitude. OK, perhaps we did better due to the conditioning we got from spending time at our 7,000-ft 2nd home in the boonies. The elevation at Bryce NP was higher than Zion NP, and the air was cool. It was even cold at night.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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We had the time to visit the less-popular Southern part of Bryce Canyon, where I snapped photos of some famous "hoodoos".

This one is "Elmer Fudd",



and this one is "Snoopy Dog" resting on his dog house.

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:28 PM   #5
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Nice! I love Bryce and Zion, and your picture of the tree growing up through the slot is cool. The people walking up the river look as if they are escaping something. The only time I was a Zion it was in the 30s and the river was not really walkable. I went in my rubber boots up a ways but the going was too tough. On the upside, not many people were around.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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Leaving Bryce NP, I took Utah SR12 going north. This was called an "All American Highway" because of its scenery. The road was very well maintained, but its windings through the mountains raised my blood pressure and kept my eyes fixed on the road. Hence I could only see the vista in my peripheral vision. There was no spot to pull off to take pictures either. My wife was too scared to take any picture at the really "exciting" spots. Besides, we would not know how to capture the views either, and the photos would not look that good.

I had to drive down some slopes in 2nd gear, and still had to tap the brake as the motorhome sped up to 50mph. I will admit that, at times, I was too worried about burning out the brakes to enjoy the drive, and just wished for us to get to Torrey asap.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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At least part of Bryce gets closed down for winter, but Zion stays opened year round. A woman at the Zion lodge told us that they were taking reservations for the Xmas and New Year buffets now, and the seats were going fast. These buffets were open to local people too, not just guests of the lodge.

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Nice! I love Bryce and Zion, and your picture of the tree growing up through the slot is cool. The people walking up the river look as if they are escaping something. The only time I was a Zion it was in the 30s and the river was not really walkable. I went in my rubber boots up a ways but the going was too tough. On the upside, not many people were around.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:50 PM   #8
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Nice pics. But an RV trip report w/o a picture of the RV itself?
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:53 PM   #9
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Don't you know! NW-Bound can't post a photo of his RV, because you might recognize him! LOL!

Great pics! Awesome place (that I haven't yet visited). I'll be back to read the details later.

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:56 PM   #10
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Nice pics. But an RV trip report w/o a picture of the RV itself?
Then other Rvers on the board might be able to identify him on the road. I've read that there is a poster (A+++++1?) that lets the air out of the RV tires of forum members.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:00 PM   #11
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Don't you know! NW-Bound can't post a photo of his RV, because you might recognize him! LOL!
Oops! Sorry I asked. Am I supposed to understand this? I must be missing something.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:03 PM   #12
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Then other Rvers on the board might be able to identify him on the road. I've read that there is a poster (A+++++1?) that lets the air out of the RV tires of forum members.
Really! I did not know about this! I am just shy.

But if someone messes with me, well, better I do not catch him in the act!
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:09 PM   #13
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Well, I call this our first "real" RV trip because of the past taunts from "you know who", who made fun of my maiden 2-night 400-mi round-trip after I bought this used class C earlier this year.
NW, you should report any taunting to the mods and let them take care of cleaning up those ugly posts for you. No reason to put up with that sort of treatment around here.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:20 PM   #14
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Utah SR-12 passed through some lesser-known and less popular spots to visit, which we had to drive by and pass up. It takes a heck of a lot of time for sightseeing, and again, I had to save them for the "next" time.

Traffic on the aforementioned SR12 was very light. Now, it could be that we were late in the travel season. However, I saw many motorcyclists traveling in the reverse direction, flying some foreign flags on their bikes. After seeing so many Europeans at Zion and Bryce, I had to assume that they were also foreigners.

Anyway, we pushed on to spend the night at Orem, Utah, in a nice state-run campground. The next day, as I sat around a picnic bench, an fellow RV'er walked by, seeing a Canada logo on my T-shirt - I often put on tourist's T-shirts we bought without even thinking about what is on them - asked me if I was Canadian. Well, I had a foreign non-American accent, but there are of course immigrant non-native Canadians too, no?

We chatted for a half-hour. He said he was from Alberta, and working his way south. I told him to take his time, as temperature down in Phoenix was still in the 100s. Of course he knew this already. When I said my plan next year was to go to Alaska, he said I better make it a 2-month trip. After this trip, now I totally agree. There are a lot of things to see on the road, and one does not want to rush it. Time, lots of it, is the main ingredient to turn one from a tourist into a traveler.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:21 PM   #15
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NW, you should report any taunting to the mods and let them take care of cleaning up those ugly posts for you. No reason to put up with that sort of treatment around here.
Nah! I have never reported anything ever to the mods. I can take care of matters myself.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:25 PM   #16
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Nah! I have never reported anything ever to the mods. I can take care of matters myself.
Talk softly and carry a big gun bat?
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:27 PM   #17
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Talk softly and carry a biggun bat?
No to that too!

Verbal abuse shall be paid in kind, with verbal abuse.

No need for unnecessary violence.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:42 PM   #18
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We had not been to the state of Utah, so used the occasion to tour Salt Lake City. Here's a photo of the Capitol as proof.



The state-run campground where we stayed was nice, but I wanted to get more boondocking experience on my belt, so we headed for a Walmart north of Salt Lake City to stay another night before driving into Idaho.

OK, OK, we got chintzy and my wife said that if our fresh tank was full, and the waste tanks were empty, and we went to bed early without watching TV or use the computers (meaning needing little electricity) why not drive a bit up north and stay for free to boot? I agreed, and off we went.

Here's a picture of that Walmart lot. See how scenic it was? That view was a lot nicer than offered by some other states' campgrounds that charged $35 a night for drycamping. More on this later.



From the comfort of my RV, I did a bit of people watching, well, other RV'ers actually.



Hey, that's a RoadTrek. Is that the same model as RonBoyd? Nah, he never mentioned pulling a cargo trailer.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:04 PM   #19
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Oops! Sorry I asked. Am I supposed to understand this? I must be missing something.
NW-Bound refuses to post pictures of his house, because someone on the forum might figure out where he lives!
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:10 PM   #20
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Oh, ok. Thanks Audrey.

NW-Bound, do you have someone you don't like? Post pictures of his/her house instead. One stone, two birds! Just kidding.
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