Bison & Pronghorns & Bears…. Oh, My! Yellowstone May 18-30th

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We made one stop at Deer Lodge, Montana, Indian Creek Campground at $31.34/night, to break up the distance to Island Park, Idaho. We broke camp early on the 19th and headed to Jared’s Wild Rose Ranch, $45.46/night with Good Sam’s, just 20 minutes from Yellowstone National Park and on Henry Lake. What a beautiful place. The park had full hookups but the spaces were very small. That didn’t matter when you saw the view of the lake and the Mountains. We also had eagles visit us right at our campsite each day. I would definitely stay there again. The staff was also very accommodating and while we didn’t fish, the fishermen (and women) were making many big catches of trout.

We spent several days in Yellowstone and made day trips to the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole. Everything was so picturesque and being spring, the wildlife was in full bloom too. Calves, cubs, fawns, etc. You name it, we saw it. All this means is that the Yellowstone blog will be broken in to several parts. This is Day One – Part One… I must have taken a thousand or so photos. If you are interested in avoiding crowds and seeing a lot of wildlife, I recommend going early in the morning or staying later in the evening. It will make for an amazing visit. We did a little of both and slept well at the end of the day. Please respect the wildlife and stay a respectable distance away and please do not feed them. It causes many of the bears,etc to become dangerous and they sometimes are removed but sometimes they are destroyed. RESPECT! A bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run up to 40 miles per hour. Watch for their warning signs and do not get too close. It will keep you safe.

Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the USA, founded by President Ulysses S Grant on March 1, 1872. It is known for it’s abundant wildlife and it’s geothermal features. It is a hotbed of volcanic activity and is absolutely beautiful. Ancestral Native Americans inhabited the area about 11,000 years ago. The Park is 2,219,789 acres, with 96% in the state of Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. The Yellowstone Caldera is known as a “supervolcano” and the largest volcanic system in the USA. It is expected to erupt sometime in the future, which would have devastating effects on the world. Something to look forward to?

The first day we took the route to Madison, Norris, and Canyon Village from the West entrance. It was beautiful. Some of the roads were closed due to late snows but those roads opened in a couple of days. The best way to experience our trip is through pictures, although the pictures cannot capture the beauty. Yellowstone is my very favorite of the national parks that we visited. I want to go again and again. I will!

View of Mountains at Yellowstone River

This concluded day one. Stay tuned for day two and the birth of an elk calf. Phenomenal!!!

Springtime at Glacier National Park and Polebridge Montana! May 15th-18th

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We were off on our capers in and around Glacier National Park. Our base of operations was the lovely and well maintained Columbia Falls RV Resort, $35.83 per night with Passport America. Columbia Falls is the gateway to Glacier National Park. An adult bald eagle and a juvenile entertained us during our stay there and the owners of the Resort were very nice and helpful.

We spent 2 days in Glacier National Park and due to the late snows many roads and trails were impassable and closed. If trails weren’t closed for snow, they were closed for bear activity! Glacier National Park (the Park) is one million acres located on the Canadian border in two sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains. It was formed 170 million years ago by tectonic plate activity and glaciers. In the Mid 19th century there were 150 glaciers in the Park, today there are 25 glaciers remaining.

The Park was inhabited by ancient Native Americans 10,000 years ago. They were ancestors to the Blackfeet, Flathead and Shoshone Native Americans. The Blackfeet ceded the land under duress to the United States Government in 1895. The Blackfeet and Flathead Natives are now on reservations adjacent to the Park.

Glacier National Park receives 2.2 million visitors each year. It is a gorgeous area with many species of wildlife and flora. 95% of the Park is designated wilderness area but as of yet has not received protected status. It has the best preserved Proterozoic Rock in the world and is visited by experts for study. It’s a fascinating place, spanning the continental divide.

One of my favorite places was visiting Polebridge, Montana.It is on the National Registry of Historic places and is half way down a 50 mile dirt and gravel road, Outside North Fork Road, between Canada and West Glacier. Polebridge is the Gateway to the wilderness areas of Glacier National Park, known as the Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake Gateway. All roads in this area are maintained in a primitive state to preserve the wilderness. The speed limit is 20 MPH and the roads can be impassible. We were lucky as the road opened the day before we arrived. There were handmade signs on the road near sparce cabins that read, “Slow Down, People Breathing!” It was a bucket list experience and really and truly “off the grid.”

Polebridge was founded in 1914 by William Adair. Mr. Adair had a reputation for growing huge cabbages, fishing, and drinking. He built a general mercantile, homestead cabin (which is now Northern Lights Saloon), and a barn. Today there are other small cabins there but none, including the saloon and the mercantile, have cell service or electricity. The population is listed as “somewhere between a handful and 90.” The Mercantile is now home to a fabulous bakery and rumor has it that it’s “the best bakery in Montana!” I’d have to say it’s one of the best bakeries anywhere. I had a Chunky Monkey turnover and Ray had a sticky bun. Heavenly! This area is really worth the trip! I got the tee-shirt!

Thanks for reading! Next adventure is the fabulous Yellowstone National Park! Don’t miss it!

Oh, Give Me a Home Where the……. National Bison Range, Montana – May 13-15

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Our next adventure was visiting the National Bison Range in Montana. To break the trip up we spent one night in Cheney, Washington at Ponderosa Falls Resort, $10/night with Coast to Coast points. We broke camp early the next day and headed to our base of operations for the bison caper, St Regis, Montana. We stayed at the St. Regis Campground for $43/night with Good Sam’s. This is a beautiful area in a beautiful state.

After setting up camp we decided to tour the area and then head over to the Bison Range early the next morning. The afternoon local tour was great. The area has Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort on the Clark Fork River, many scenic drives and trails. We really enjoyed the afternoon.

We got an early start the next day and were on the way to the National Bison Range by 8 AM. The Bison Range was dedicated in 1908 as a National Wildlife refuge, the oldest in the United States. It is the top bison research center in the US. A little history about the bison, also known as the buffalo. Bison is the correct word for this majestic creature. Buffalo is also an accepted term but the purist out there may give you a little grief over it. By 1890 the bison were nearing extinction due to the US Government’s efforts to eradicate the bison during the Indian Wars. The plan was to kill off the Native Americans by starvation by getting rid of their major food source, then move the survivors to reservations. It was a land grab by the European settlers, aided and abetted by the US Government. Sad.

The National Bison Range is 18,800 acres in the Lake and Sanders Counties of Montana. It is in the Mission Mountain Range and is located in the area of the Glacial Lake Missoula, a glacial lake formed more than 18,000 years ago. There is a small remnant of the glacial lake in the valley. The valley is spectacular, as are the views, the fauna and the flora. This National treasure only gets 250,000 visitors a year. It’s a little known gem.

We decided to take the Red Sleep Mountain Drive through the bison range. The drive is a 19 mile, one-way dirt road which winds over the mountain and valley. It did not disappoint us! Magnificent! The area was in full spring bloom and we had a great experience there. I highly recommending a day there. You can drive the road through the range in 2.5 hours but if you travel that fast, you’ll miss so much. We spent about 6 hours taking everything in. It was exciting. Ray had a small encounter with a teenage bull. The bull side eyed him, snorted and pawed the ground. Ray slowly and quietly moved inside the open door of the truck. Trouble averted. Please enjoy the following pictures. I had fun taking them.

We enjoyed this area very much. We watched animals interacting with each other. The Pronghorns were nestled for their rest right in the middle of the bison herd. The valley was full of song birds that we sat and listened to as we watched the herds. What a great way to spend a day.

Next up: Glacier National Park. Thanks for reading!

You Can’t Get to Mount Saint Helens From Here…….. Randle, Washington and Late Snows!

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On May 10th we pulled in to Cascade Peaks RV Park at Randle, Washington, $10/night with Coast to Coast. Our stay there was shorter as we had the truck repaired while in Lincoln City, Oregon and lost one day. We only had until the 12th to see the sites. We had been warned of late snows that had closed some of the parks on our itinerary. We did attempt to see Mount St. Helens but we couldn’t get any access. We talked to a park ranger on the roads leading to the park, which were closed. He thought it was very funny when I told him that I thought the barricaded road closed signs were “just a suggestion.” The drive was scenic up to the closure and we got to see it from the opposite direction when we turned around. Mount St. Helens was not in the cards for this trip.

Mount Rainier National Park was open but many roads and trails were closed. It was ironic that the closures were due to late snows and snow was everywhere but the daytime temperature in the lower elevations was 71 degrees. Tee-shirt weather! Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the Cascade Range and stands at 14,411 feet elevation. It is also considered one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world. Mount Rainier is the first mountain in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with 80,000 people in the Puyallup River Valley at risk in an eruption. The Mountain has 26 glaciers and 2 volcanic craters, measuring over 1000 feet each. It’s a stunning sight.

Mount Rainier last erupted in 1894 but continues to have debris flows, which has the consistency of wet concrete with rocks. These flows take down massive trees as it flows down the mountain via the rivers. It makes for a starkly interesting landscape.

I need to mention that humans, ancient Native Americans visited, hunted and camped in this area and have had a presence for at least the last 8,500 years. Please enjoy the pictures below.

We had a large time visiting here. Stay tuned for National Buffalo Range. It was a fun caper too. Thanks for reading!

The Beauty of the Pacific Coast Scenic Highway or 3 Nights in Chinook (Oregon)

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We were sad to leave Crescent City, California but we enjoyed the Pacific Coast Scenic byway, highway 101, from there to Lincoln City, Oregon. Beautiful. We stayed at the Chinook Bend RV Resort, $25.10/night with Passport America. We had planned to stay two nights but the Def System in the truck went wonky and we had to stay for repairs. That was okay as we enjoyed the area very much. The RV Resort was directly on the Siletz River and a three mile boat ride to the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed our stay there.

Exploring the local area was fun, the weather was a little cool and damp but the scenery was fantastic. We went on a caper in Depoe Bay the first day, population less than 1400 and directly on the Pacific Ocean on Highway 101. Depoe Bay was named after Charles “Charley” Depot, a Siletz Indian (originally the Tututni, a historic Native American Tribe) who owned the land by allotment in the 1894 Dawes Act of 1887. The Dawes Act allotted land to Native Americans who wanted to live off the reservation and it allowed those allotted these lands to become American Citizens. The Dawes Act also attempted to remove the Native Americans from their reservations in order to give their land to white settlers. Deviousness.

Depoe Bay is also home of the world’s smallest harbor and is 3365 miles from Boston. The bay is also frequented by whales that can be seen from the sidewalks. It is also prone to have tsunamis and the town has experienced 21 tsunamis from 1854 to 2008, with a major tsunami in 2011 that destroyed the harbor.

We ate some excellent seafood meals while in town, which was expected due to the location and the number of longstanding good restaurants. The following pictures do not do the area justice. It’s a place to go and experience for yourself. Just watch out for the tsunamis and the whales.

We spent a little time in Lincoln City and at at the famous Mo’s Restaurant, right on the water. It was established in 1946 and has the best clam chowder that I’ve ever eaten. The seafood was fresh and tasty, the staff was wonderful. We also spent some time at the campground because of truck problems but that was okay as the area was beautiful. They have a board at the river house where they record catches. One Chinook was posted as 69 lbs. and many posts were 30 to 50 lbs. I’m sure that would be good eating!

I hope you have enjoyed this adventure. It is my pleasure to share these experiences with you. Coming up: The National Buffalo Range. Awesome!

3 Months on the Road and Here We Are – Yosemite & Crescent City, CA

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As of May 2, 2019, we have completed three full months of touring the beautiful USA. We parked our RV at Yosemite Westlake RV Resort, $30/night with Passport America, and began our fun. We took a little tour around the area to get our bearings and planned to head over to Yosemite in the morning.

Due to late season snows many roads and trails throughout Yosemite (the Park) were closed but we decided to make the best of what we could see. The Park is gorgeous but at the time we were there it was very, very crowded. With all the signs around about “Beware of Wildlife,” I believe they should have signs “Beware of Clueless Rubes.” Yep, we interacted with some!

Yosemite National Park was the first area designated as a national park when President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill on June 30, 1864. The 38th Congress passed the bill in both houses, to protect the area from commercial exploitation and preserve the area. The park is 748,436 acres, 95% is wilderness area, and is visited by about 5 million people a year. 9,500 people a year try to climb El Capitan and about half of those make it to the top. Yosemite was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984.

Yosemite is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and was formed over time by volcanoes, plate tectonics, and glaciers. I did enjoy the Park very much but Yosemite is not first on my list of parks that we have seen so far. Maybe it’s because we were limited by trail and road closures, I don’t know. This just means that we need to go back when we can see more.

After leaving Yosemite we headed up to Willets, California where we stayed at Sleepy Hollow RV for $20/night (cash only) with Passport America. This was a stopover to breakup the trip. Next stop: Crescent City, California and it was a great coastal location. We stayed at Sunset Harbor RV Park, $13.50/night (cash only). It was a pretty nice place with harbor views and we could hear the fog horns at night. The people were so friendly, which makes me want to make a trip there (in the summer) and spend some time.

The Crescent City area, with a population of less than 8,000, is also known as Del Norte County and is about 20 miles from the Oregon border. It is still home to the Yurok and Tolowa Nations of indigenous peoples. The topography of the ocean is such that the area is prone to tsunamis. I so enjoyed the Battery Point Lighthouse, the oldest continuously running lighthouse in the US, operating since 1855. You can only tour this lighthouse at low tide. We ate some great seafood at North Coast Grill on the harbor, with a great view which included sea lions. It is a small local’s place where we met two women who had lived in Beaufort, SC. If you go try the mud pie. Good lord, ya’ll. They also had the best calamari that I’ve had in ages and all the seafood was excellent. “As god as my witness, I shall return!”

Well, Crescent City was a great place. I do hope to go back again. I also hope that you have enjoyed this blog. Stay tuned for Oregon adventures. Up soon!

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – Home of Giant Trees and Glacier formed Canyons (April 28-May 2nd)

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We had a one night stopover in Bakersfield, California at Shady Haven RV Resort ($29.50/night with Passport America) then headed to Three Rivers, California. Three Rivers Sequoia RV Park ($51/night with Good Sam’s) was our base camp to capers in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. While spring had arrived and the flowers were blooming, there was still a lot of snow in higher elevations with many roads and trails closed. It was a great visit, with beautiful vistas so all is good. As I always say, get those national park passes as visiting the two parks will cost $70 per car. Those passes pay for themselves in 4 park visits. Well worth it.

84% of both parks are considered wilderness areas. Sequoia covers 404,064 acres and became a national park in 1890. Kings Canyon is 461,901 acres and became a national park in 1890 as General Grant National Park. The name was changed to Kings Canyon in 1940. Of the two I preferred Kings Canyon. It has an ethereal feeling about it and the vistas and waterfalls are spectacular. We spent one and a half days in Kings Canyon and it was well worth it as the pictures will show. Just know that the pictures don’t do it justice. Sequoia and Kings Canyon run contiguous to each other so that was a plus.

Sequoia contains most of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and has Mount Whitney which has the highest elevation in the United States of 14,505 feet above sea level. The giant sequoia trees are a marvel and the park contains 271 caves, some of which are open to the public. All caves were closed due to the late snows. It just means that I’ll have to go back! There is abundant wildlife and while I was resting on a steep climb up on one of the open trails I was visited by a friendly chickaree, a little squirrel like guy. He was interested in my camera pack. I didn’t see him until a couple of people stopped to take pictures. He was within an inch or two of my shoulder. Cute little bugger.

The first group of pictures are Sequoia National Park. The 2,200 year old General Sherman Sequoia was amazing. 275 feet tall, trunk diameter of 36.5 feet and weighs 1,385 tons. Wow!

Kings Canyon National park has great winding roads and steep cliffs so we had to drive with care. We met a few cars on curves who were on our side of the narrow road. Bless their hearts. I really enjoyed this park and would love to go back again. The pictures don’t do it justice.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Stay tuned for Yosemite and Crescent City, California. Thanks for visiting!

Part 2-Pahrump NV- Death Valley Days, Again!

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Welcome to Part two of the Desert adventure. I was remiss in not mentioning (in part 1) that China Ranch has the best date milkshakes on the planet. After traveling in the hot dry air of the desert there is nothing more refreshing than a freshly made China Ranch Date shake. Honestly. Yum!

After the Goldwell Open Air Museum we took a day for Titus Canyon in Death Valley. To see and experience the Canyon you need an early start and a whole day. Titus Canyon is accessed by a 27 mile one way (east to west) gravel, rock and 4 wheel drive road. I love dirt roads so this was an adventure. To top it off, there is a section in Titus Canyon that has PETROGLYPHS which were picked by the Timbisha Shoshone! The Canyon is a deep gorge in the Grapevine Mountain section of the Mojave Desert. The canyon was formed during the Cambrian era 500 million years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the place.

Leadfield is a ghost town we passed through on the east side of Titus Canyon. It was an unincorporated area 4,058 above sea level. The Western Lead Mine Company, particularly CC Julian, promoted a get rich quick scheme through false advertising to get investors. The town formed and boomed to a population of 300 in 1925 and was abandoned in 1927 as the mines closed (not productive). Mr. Julian simply disappeared. Even in the 1920s if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. The only person to make money was Mr. Julian.

We traveled through the Stovepipe Wells settlement on our way to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. When most people think of deserts they think of sand. Death Valley is less than 1% sand dunes. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is expansive and impressive. There are three kinds of dunes there: crescent, linear, and star shaped. It is also a protected wilderness area but they do allow people to go out on the dunes. Very nice. Bring plenty of water!

Next we were off to explore the Harmony Borax Works ruins. It is located at Furnace Creek Springs in Death Valley and it is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Borax was discovered there in 1881 by Aaron and Rosie Winters with William Coleman and Francis Smith obtaining mining rights. They were the original twenty mule team borax folks. The operation began in 1883 and collapsed in 1888.

Manzanar Internment (Concentration) Camp was a very somber experience. It is one of 10 camps where 110,000 Japanese Americans were held from December 1942 to 1945, during World War II. It is now called the Manzanar National Historic Site. This is a sad history of a dark time in our country. Reading and viewing the exhibits was overwhelming. How could this have happened in the United States of America? Can it happen again? We don’t tend to learn from our historical mistakes.

We took a day to experience the Hoover Dam and Lake Meade. The Dam is amazing and it was a great tour. It is on the Colorado River and borders both Nevada and Arizona and was built during the great depression, 1931-1936. It is a marvel, even by today’s standards. One story of interest to me was the Hoover Dam Dog. He was a part lab puppy that was born in 1932 in the crawlspace under the police department of Boulder. One of the workers started bringing him to the dam every day. The pup came and went with the workers each day and the commissary started making lunch for the pup. He carried his lunch bag along with the men. He went to sleep under a truck on February 21, 1941. He was accidentally run over and is buried on site at the dam and was honored with a plaque above his tomb. Hardened construction workers broke down in tears over his death and are responsible for making a place of honor for him at the dam.

The Chicken Ranch! No trip to Pahrump is complete without checking out the Historic Chicken Ranch Brothel, so we did. Got the tee-shirt! It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. We had to be buzzed in and out through the gate and the front door. It was a nice place to have a coke and get some souvenirs. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Lastly, we had a divine lunch at the Pahrump Valley Winery at their Symphony Restaurant. The food was deliciously savory and the ambiance outstanding as was the wait staff. It was a special gift that we gave ourselves. Well worth it. Give it a try if you are in the area.

That wraps up our Pahrump, Nevada adventures. Good fun was had by all! Please stay tuned for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Thanks again for reading.

Death Valley Days-Pahrump, NV April 16-28 (where gambling, weed and prostitution are legal)

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We arrived on April 16 at Preferred RV Resort (Good Sams $18/night), Pahrump, NV, for an adventure that spilled over to Death Valley, California. We stayed until the 28th and enjoyed many days in the desert, which was in full bloom. I never thought about a desert in bloom but let me tell you that it was beautiful. We averaged hiking about 6 miles a day and enjoyed every minute of it. The Furnace Creek area was 102 degrees but no humidity. Just remember to take plenty of water, sunscreen, good hat and walking shoes. We made an obligatory trip over to Las Vegas (haven’t lost anything there), and we enjoyed ghost towns, China Ranch, Manzanar, Hoover Dam and last but not least Chicken Ranch!

Death Valley National Park is Homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone tribe and is on the border of Nevada and California. 91% is wilderness area and the Valley is the hottest, driest place in North America with annual rainfall of 1.5 inches in the basins to 15 inches in the surrounding mountains. We were fortunate to be there in a full blooming spring desert. There were amazing salt flats and Badwater Basin with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level. The Valley encompasses the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert. Elevations vary as does the terrain. Titus Canyon was one of my favorite places, accessed by a one way gravel/dirt/boulder 28 mile road(?). Blooming plants draped many canyon surfaces and looked like hanging baskets. Loved it!

Dante’s View is a scenic terrace overlooking the Valley from 5,476 feet above sea level and on a crest of the black mountains. For the adventurous soul, hiking out to the edges of the terrace is very rewarding in wonderful views.

Zabriski’s Point is part of the Amargosa Range and was formed 5 million years ago when an ancient lake dried up. Erosion and volcanic activity caused the landscape.

Furnace Creek is 192 feet below sea level and has the record of the highest temperature on earth, recorded at 201 degrees on July 15, 1972. It has a population of 24 hardy souls.

Artist Palette Drive is on an alluvial fan and the landscape was created by volcanic activity in the Miocene Period. It is known by the various colorful rocks.

Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level and is so named because the water is inundated by salts from the surrounding area and is undrinkable.

Ashford Mill Ruins is the remnants of a gold mine started in 1914 by the Ashford brothers. It played out around 1938.

China Ranch and Date Farm is another favorite. We stocked up on dates and breads. Delicious and the ranch was an interesting place. It is located in an oasis on the Amargosa River, adjacent to Death Valley. It is family owned and operated and surrounded by abandoned gold mines. The trip in was a “trip!” Some history can be found here:
http://www.chinaranch.com/category_s/25.htm

Rhyolite Ghost Town is on the eastern edge of Death Valley. It was founded as a gold mine by industrialist Charles M Schwab in 1906 and closed in 1911. At it’s peak in 1906 the population was some over 3,000. Next to Rhyolite is the Goldwell Open Air Museum which is wonderfully eclectic.

Goldwell Open Air Museum at Rhyolite is a one room museum with historical pictures and artifacts from the area. Interactive art is on the grounds outside. The museum was started after the death of Albert Szukalski, a Belgian artist who created the first sculpture there, “The Last Supper” in 1984. It is eclectic and wonderful.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this adventure. Titus Canyon, the tragic tale of Manzanar Internment Camp, and more. Thanks for reading!

Four Spiritual Days in Kanab, Utah April 12-16 Bryce Canyon/Zion

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Our base of operations for these adventures was Wheel Inn RV Park ($27/night with Good Sam’s) in Fredonia, Arizona. It was just a few miles from Kanab, Utah and about 3 miles from the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation. The reservation is semi arid with natural springs on a little over 120,000 acres. There are five tribal villages on the reservation.

The owners of Wheel Inn RV Park were great. The husband, Eric, stopped by to talk to us about local roads, some of them dirt lanes, and places to eat. He shared very useful information and we were happy to have it as he told us how to get around to sites, even with road closures. He recommended Houston’s Trails End Restaurant in Kanab, a locals’ favorite. The food was delicious and the waitstaff was outstanding. We were also allowed to modify menu offerings to fit our needs and there was no fuss about it. I recommend eating there but go hungry!

We had planned to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon but due to late snows, the North Rim was closed. Parts of Bryce Canyon National Park was closed at the 11 mile mark at Natural Bridge and many of the trails were closed to hiking. Zion National Park was in full spring blooms. We just altered daily plans and went where we could. This was a wonderful area and we had a blast. Bryce Canyon National Park was cold and snowy, we wore jackets and scarfs. Zion National Park was warm tee-shirt weather. Each day it seems we had extremes in weather. We were prepared.

The first day we traveled on the Highway 12 Scenic Parkway. It is considered one of the most scenic roads in the United States and was named “All American Highway” in 2002. Highway 12 runs through Dixie National Forest and two national parks: Bryce Canyon and Escalante. It’s simply breathtaking. We traveled through Red Canyon, Panguitch and Bryce Canyon National Park. We did some hiking but many trails were closed due to late snow. It was still a great experience.

At Inspiration Point I met a woman from South Carolina who had a finance position at Coastal Carolina University but now lives in Arkansas. I retired from finance at Horry Georgetown Technical College, just across the street. We had a nice long talk. It certainly is a very small world.

At Sunset Point Bryce Canyon

Off to Zion National Park for our next caper. So far, this is the best place I’ve visited on this trip. I can’t explain the feelings and oneness that I felt with nature and the universe while there. Telepathically, I communicated with my dear friend, Liz, who appreciates this place as much as I do. It was simply wondrous! One of my favorite things was sitting on the bank of the Colorado River on a flat rock, reveling in the quiet beauty. Zion was in bloom and gorgeous. I’d like to add that my travel partner has some issues with oxygen at high altitudes. The Park Rangers issued us a pass to drive through the Park so that he wouldn’t have to shuttle on and off the buses with his pack. We had our own private tour and we saw much more of the park and trails. We didn’t know that the National Park Service had this service. What a great bit of information to have.

We visited the reservation (they had the best deal on diesel fuel) and took some scenic drives. It was time to move to a new base and new excursions. Next up: Pahrump, Nevada where weed, prostitution, and gambling are legal. Death Valley/Mom’s Diner/China Ranch/Ghost Towns/Titus Canyon…. Stay tuned!