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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 2 - Bryce Canyon

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7:55 am - Sunday - October 22nd - Bryce Canyon - 25º F, humidity 60%, wind 5 mph out of the west....feels - CALM.  Forecast high for Bryce Canyon this day is 64º F with sunny skies......PERFECT!

It was quite cold Saturday morning, and we did not leave the coach to go hiking until after 11 am.......it is recommended by management that one turns their water 'OFF' at night to avoid the faucet freezing......while I was using my heated hose, it does nothing for the faucet, so we complied by turning it off around 11 pm, and using the fresh water in our fresh water tank via the water pump.  Sure enough, that faucet was frozen solid Saturday morning until after we left to go hiking.

We chose a nice beginning hike called the 'Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop' which combines two trails about 3.6 miles in total length.  As might be expected, the park was quite busy at 11 am on a Saturday even with the very, very cold temps....the high for Saturday was 50º F....I don't know if it actually got that high.  At any rate, we had a little difficulty finding a parking spot, but finally secured a spot about 2/10's of a mile from the Queen's Garden trailhead.......


......both TLE and I were 'layered' up.....me with three layers....as we began our trek into the bowels of Bryce Canyon.......


......one feels compelled to stop every 90 seconds to take more pictures......the lighting in the morning on this trail really brings out the colors in the 'hoo doos'......


 There are a 1/2 dozen of these little tunnels carved in the 'hoo doos' to allow the trail to continue

.....the pictures I have chosen to upload for this latest missive are just a fraction of the ones I actually recorded.  I am really happy with the quality of the shots I captured on my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 phone camera.  Finally we came to the end of the 'Queen's Garden' trail, at which time I chose to remove one of my 3 layers........


 Queen Victoria




.....we continued on connecting to the Navajo Loop/Wall Street trail......I had no idea why it was called 'Wall Street' until we began the almost 600' vertical climb to Sunset Point.......

 The beginning of 'Wall Street'....essentially a vertical slot canyon with dozens of short switchbacks built by wonderful trail architects many years ago

 Beginning the climb




Looking down....about 1/2 way up at this point


......at last we reached Sunset Point, and what a spectacular view it is!  We took a few minutes to enjoy the view, then began our trek back to Sunrise Point, and our car utilizing the 'Rim Trail', which, as one might suspect, follows the rim of the canyon.....




.....as we walked along the 'Rim Trail' we passed a number of these log benches, which looked remarkably familiar to me.......


....why do they look familiar to me?  Well, in 1953 my parents took my sister and I on our first RV trip, and one of the places we stopped was Bryce Canyon.....


......I was convinced we were going to fall over the cliff into Bryce Canyon...........I am the one with my head buried in my hands......I was only 4 years old, but I remember that instance!

As I often do when we hike I turned on my 'Strava' program on my phone and recorded our hike.....we averaged 21 minutes and 6 seconds per mile for 3.6 miles......


.....while this is a short hike compared to our Yellowstone hikes, we have not hiked at altitude in over a month, and we are at over 8,000' elevation, so this was the perfect hike to get us on the road to acclimation.  We'll set out again Sunday (today) on a little more ambitious hike....stayed tuned!

We watched game 7 of the MLB ALCS (American League Championship Series) between the Yankees and Astros.....it was a close game for 5 innings, but then the Astros began to chip away ultimately scoring 4 runs to zero by the Yankees, and won the right to join the Dodgers in the World Series, which begins Tuesday.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Into Bryce......

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8:09 am - Saturday - October 21st - Bryce Canyon, UT - 23º F, 71% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the west by northwest.....seems calm where I am!  Sunny skies with NO clouds.  Elevation - 7,664'.....forecast high for our location today is a chilly 50º F, but the outlook for the next few days is 60's and 70's!

We awoke to temps in the 40's Friday....a nice change, for sure.  We had a lovely sunrise, which I shared with you in yesterday's entry, and were on our way south on US-89 to Panguitch, UT by 10:30 am with plans to stop off at the local supermarket to stock up on less expensive supplies than we are likely to find in Bryce Canyon City.  Once we stowed our groceries we had just 23 miles to cover into Bryce Canyon NP.  There are several RV parks just outside the entrance to Bryce and we chose Ruby's Inn RV Park.....they had a special going since their season will be over in less than 2 weeks, and we were able to get 5 nights of full hookups (50 amp) for $187.....would have been closer to $300 without the discounts!

We arrived at Ruby's around 12:15 pm, and were promptly checked into site 114, which is a 100' pull through site, but is, unfortunately, surrounded by tall pine trees making it impossible for us to aim our satellite dish successfully.  We went back to the office to see if they had any sites with a clear view of the southern sky and found they had one left.....site 56, and we were successful in dialing in our DirecTV.....there are baseball playoffs to be watched, as well as the first game of the World Series before our tenure expires here, so being able to get our DirecTV dialed in is important to us.

Once we were set up we hopped in the Beetle and headed into the park using our Golden Age pass to enter without charge.  We then spent about 15 minutes at the Visitors Center getting information about the park, and buying a nice map.  

It was quite windy on our drive into Bryce, and that wind continued during our initial tour of the various viewpoints throughout the park, so we decided not to do any hiking, but just get an overview by visiting as many of the viewpoints as we could before sundown (sundown is 6:30 pm, give, or take a few minutes).  The following is a pictorial review of what we saw......

 
Sunrise Point video






 



 










Rainbow Point video

.......to say the least about our 3 hours of just barely scratching the surface of Bryce Canyon NP we were stunned by the beauty and grandeur of what we saw.  We reached the highest point in the park, Rainbow Point (sits at 9,115' elevation) around 5:50 pm.  It was getting very cold, so we decided we were finished for the day and headed back to the Newell, some 20 miles away around 6 pm.  There are a number of hikes we are going to take over the next few days, and we are full of anticipation!

We were home just before sundown and turning on game 6 between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros in Houston.  Initially it was a scoreless game, but the Astros finally broke through in the 5th inning scoring three runs......the ultimately won the game 7-1 and will live to play game 7 on Saturday.  The winner of game 7 will determine who the Dodgers play in the World Series which begins in Los Angeles on Tuesday.  

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Friday, October 20, 2017

New views, new roads, new adventures........

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7:08 am - Friday - October 20th - Panguitch, UT - 44º F, humidity 54%, wind 9 mph out of the south.......feels CALM.  Forecast high for today is 65º F here in Panguitch, and 60º F in Bryce Canyon, where we are headed today.

Good morning Panguitch!

Around 7:30 am my brother, Dwyer, rang our door bell (yes we do have a door bell) to say his 'until next times'.....he was headed off to work, and we were headed south.  It never gets any easier, and this time was no different.  Soon, he was in his truck heading off to a job, and we were putting things away inside the Newell in preparation for our mid morning departure.  I was able to utilize the 'Trailer Valet' once again to move the trailer forward and drop the tongue on the hitch.....I have to say once again that the acquisition of the 'Valet' is one of the smartest purchases I have ever made.....it just simplifies the difficult!

Originally, we had planned to visit the local Smith's Fuel Station to top off our 180 gallon diesel tank at $2.78/gallon, but I really did not like their steep driveways......I have to be very careful going in and out of driveways pulling the trailer as it is very easy to ground the hitch.  So, I did some more research and found a Texaco station about 72 miles south in Nephi, UT that had diesel for $2.75/gallon, and it was a truck stop, so the driveways would be pretty flat.  That one decision saved us driving through town in rush hour traffic, and 30 minutes of our time, at least.

We were merging on to I-15 southbound around 10:50 am in mildly heavy traffic.....it took us at least 30 miles to escape the vortex of the Salt Lake City-Provo corridor traffic.  Our total driving distance for Thursday was 221 miles....a longish travel day for us.  There just weren't any places to stop with the 'IT' factor.  The place I ultimately chose to stop overnight was a relatively new RV park with a magnificent, panoramic view of the local valley and mountains, hence the long driving day.  We pulled into the Texaco truck stop after 90 minutes of travel, took on 105 gallons, and were back on the road within 25 minutes.  It was less than 20 miles later that we hit traffic.....apparently there was an accident about 4 miles ahead, and that combined with a construction zone requiring us to merge into one lane cost us about 20 minutes, but at least we never stopped....we just moved along about 10-20 mph for 4-5 miles before we got past the bottleneck. 

We exited I-15 at SR-20 at the 201 mile mark with just 20 miles to go, but what a 20 miles that was......first we had to climb an 11 mile, 8% grade which saw us grinding along at 28-30 mph in 2nd gear for that entire distance.....the engine, tranny and oil temps where the highest I have seen for a long time at 210º.  Finally we crested the summit of the climb at over 7,800' elevation and began the rapid descent on a very windy, twisty 8% grade.....again, in 2nd gear all the way down.


At last we arrived at Bear Valley RV Park right at the intersection of SR-20 and US-89 a little after 4 pm.  We quickly paid for our overnight site, moved over to Site #1 (a pull through site) where I quickly connected our electric, water and sewer.  Within minutes we were both relaxing and watching the lighting change the appearance of the land across Bear Valley......


......then came a magnificent sunset.....now do you know what I mean by the 'IT' factor?



So, we have now covered a little over 800 miles of our drive south to the Grand Canyon....we have just over 200 miles left to go, and can now slow down a little, enjoy the warmer climate, and a just a 'few' new views!

Game 5 of the Cubs/Dodgers best of 7 MLB NLCS began at 6:08 pm, Mountain Time.....I was hoping the Dodgers would get off to a quick start, and put the game away early, and that is exactly what they did......by the end of the 4th inning it was 7-0, and by the last out of the game it was 11-1.  This will be the first time since 1988 that the Dodgers have made it back to the World Series.....there have been so many disappointments over the years, but alas they have made it back to the Fall Classic!



Kike Hernandez hit three home runs including a grand slam accounting for 7 of the 11 runs....he was a one man wrecking crew, and single-handedly wrecked the Cubs' hopes to return for the second year in a row to the World Series.  If you were a Dodger fan, or a Cub hater it was a wonderful game!

We were off to dreamland by 11:30 pm thinking about the adventures awaiting at Bryce Canyon National Park.....are we ever stoked!

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Shop 'til ya drop!

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8:17 am - Thursday - October 19th - South Jordan, UT - 42º F, humidity 41%, wind 5 mph out of the south by southwest.....partly cloudy skies with a forecast high of 74º F.....today is moving day.....heading ever southward.....next stop Bryce Canyon National Park!

Wednesday was a very busy day....I was up before 7 writing my daily blog entry, and by 10 am we were in the VW embarking upon a very ambitious day of shopping......in all we visited four local thrift stores......Savers, Goodwill, Calvary and Deseret (owned by the LDS folk).....we found a number of things we were looking for.....snow boots for TLE, another pair of pants for moi, some sweaters for TLE, a black sweatshirt for moi, a long, ankle length wool coat for TLE, some gloves and thermal socks for both of us......we will be spending the winter at the Grand Canyon at just over 7,400' elevation after all and it's time to round out our winter weather wardrobe, right?

Of course, there was a required stop at the local In 'N Out Burgers for lunch (#2 combo for me), then stops at Trader Joe's, COSTCO, the Utah State Liquor store, and finally a stop at a local fuel station to top off the VW tank......we paid the cheapest per gallon cost for premium unleaded ever.....$2.29/gallon!

We arrived back at the Newell with our plunder about 4 pm after 6 straight hours of shopping.....after putting things away I took a much needed nap.  I think 6 hours of shopping is a new world record for me.....and I got to spend all that time with The Lovely Elaine!

Around 6 pm we went inside Dwyer and Lori's home for our second dinner in as many nights.  I think I mentioned in a prior post that it had been maybe two years since we had visited them here in Utah, but it has actually been 4 years!  It doesn't seem that long ago.  We had another lovely evening of good food and conversation (my sister-in-law, Lori, is a wonderful cook!).  Since Dwyer is still in the 'workaday' world he needed to get to bed, so we bid our good evenings around 9:30 pm and headed back to our home parked at their curb.

It has been a quick two days here in South Jordan, UT, and I wish we had more time with Dwyer and Lori, as I always do.  There will be a next time, and this time we won't wait four more years!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

SLC.......

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6:46 am - Wednesday - October 18th - South Jordan, UT - 37º F, humidity 60%, wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast......forecast high for South Jordan, UT today is 71º F with clear blue skies.....suweet!

Our Jello goal for departing Downata Hot Springs was 10 am.....we rolled out the gate about 10:15 am.....not bad!  We were on I-15 southbound within 10 minutes, then it was just a matter of setting the cruise control, then hang on to the steering wheel and enjoy the view........and what a nice view it was.

Our total driving distance at the beginning of our day was around 144 miles which would take us into the urban bowels of Salt Lake City traffic.  To be fair, traffic in downtown SLC does not even come close to the quagmire of traffic congestion that SoCal is, but when you spend 95% of your life living in rural America where there is often not even a traffic signal, and perhaps maybe only 1, or 2 stop signs, venturing into any area with any kind of traffic is disconcerting at best.

As we drifted ever southward at 60 mph the amount of traffic slowly increased, and as we entered the Ogden, UT corridor on I-15 additional new southbound lanes began to appear until we hit 6 lanes in downtown SLC.  Suddenly you go from seeing one vehicle in your side view mirrors a mile, or so back to being surrounded by dozens of vehicles all changing lanes back and forth in front of you.  The collar on your shirt seems to be shrinking, your left foot begins to tap out a nervous staccato rhythm, and you feel your right eye beginning to twitch.....yup...welcome back to urban life Clarke!  As we continue to ooze into the ever increasing congestion I begin looking for every opportunity to keep moving my 38,000 pounds and 62 feet of metal to each new lane which keeps appearing to my right.....every time I think I'm as far right as I can be another new lane is added.  I know from past experience that at the point where we exit the Interstate for my brother's home it is 7, or 8 lanes wide, which includes the two 'EXIT ONLY' lanes.  My right blinker is on, but the vehicles to my right are not yielding.....I've got less than 1/2 mile before I pass the exit.....I finally slow down to let traffic pass me, and squeeze in front of an oncoming semi just in time to make the exit....whew!

I breath a brief sigh of relief....the palms of my hands are sweaty, and that deodorant I applied just a couple of hours before has given up the ghost.  Within a mile we have pulled to the side of the road to unload the VW before we enter the very narrow streets of my brother's neighborhood.  He lives on a culdesac and it is impossible for me to make the u-turn in the culdesac required to park in front of his home, so I must turn right away from his home and then back up about 100 yards into his culdesac, and then position the coach and trailer in front of his home in such as a way as not to block local neighborhood traffic.  We've done this maneuver about 7, or 8 times over the years, but it never gets easier.  Sometimes we get it first try, and sometimes it takes several tries before we are positioned correctly.

Of course, this time we have a tool we didn't have the other half dozen+ times we have come here.....we have the 'Trailer Valet'.  The hardest part about parking in front of my brother's home is getting the trailer bent around the corner and out of the middle of the street.  This time, once we got the trailer close to where we wanted it, we dropped the trailer, pulled the Newell forward a little, then maneuvered the trailer into its parking spot.....so much easier!  Then we adjusted the position of the Newell, and we were done.....by this time it was closing in on 3 pm.  I got busy running about 70' of 50 amp extension cords into my brother's garage where we plug into a 20 amp receptacle....this means we won't be rocking 4 electric heaters for a couple of days.....maybe one at a time.  Fortunately the overnight lows will be in the 40's the next two days so our water bay is safe from freezing.  Once that was done I was ready for a nap, and that is exactly what I did.





My brother, Dwyer, was home from work around 5 pm, at which time we went inside to spend the evening with he and his wife, Lori. It happened to be 'Taco Tuesday', replete with Margaritas.  We had a wonderful evening laughing, and talking......hard to believe it has been four years since we were last here!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - It has been a while since I asked those of my readers who are not yet 'FOLLOWERS' of my blog to take the time to do just that.  Just to the right of today's missive you will see the word 'FOLLOWERS'.....just below the pictures of my followers is the BLUE  'FOLLOW' button.  Just click that button and become a follower.  Let's see if we can get to 160 today!


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

She shore looks purty!

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8:30 am - Tuesday - October 17th - 31º F, 69% humidity, wind 4 mph out of  the southeast......clear blue skies.....forecast high for today at Downata Hot Springs is 67º F, and in South Jordan, UT, where we are headed, 72º F!  Things are looking up temperature wise!

We walked over to the park office Monday morning around 10 am to extend our stay one more day so we could soak in their hot pools again.  After paying for another day, and for hot pool tickets (the swimming pool, and hot pools are a separate charge here at Downata), we found out the pools don't open until 6 pm Monday through Friday.....winter schedule.  Oh well, that gave me time to do something I haven't done for 6 months......wash and dry the Newell exterior!  Over those six months I had used my waterless  cleaning system, Firecoat My Truck, to clean and wax the Newell exterior 2, or 3 times, so when I actually wash it the dirt comes off easily, and the paint shines like it is brand new.  I just used water in a shallow Rubbermaid dish pan,  an RV brush, and an old towel to dry it.  In all it took me about two hours to work my magic, and then I was done.......




.......I think she turned out well, what do you think?  She shore does look purty!

I forgot to mention in yesterday's missive that I spent about an hour Sunday checking the air pressure of all 10 tires.  I usually check the tires before we roll our wheels when we haven't moved for a few months, and usually there is maybe one, or two tires that need a few pounds of air, but this time all 10 needed anywhere from 5-20 psi added.  All 4 trailer tires were exactly 5 psi low, and 5 of the 6 Newell tires were 10 psi low, with one inside dualie tire 20 psi low....I'm going to have to watch that one!  No doubt the extremely cold temps the last 6 weeks contributed somewhat to the reduction in air pressure.

There was one more thing both TLE and I needed to do and that was inventory our clothing and thin out the herd a little.  This took me about 15 minutes, but TLE spent the better part of the afternoon going through her clothing and shoes.  The result?  Two large trash bags of clothing to donate.......


......there were a few t-shirts and short pants with which I really, really did not want to part, but in the end I was brave and said goodbye to some good friends.  I really wasn't wearing them, so now they will have a new chance at at good life.

Around 6 pm we walked over to the hot pools and took a good soak for about an hour.......




......we had the entire facility to ourselves, for which we had hoped.  

When we returned to the Newell the MLB ALCS game between the Asros and Yankees was in the fourth inning with the Yankees leading 3-0.....by the end of that never ending inning the Yankees had extended the lead to 8-0, and ultimately won 8-1.  It was not a very good game to watch so we spent some time watching more recorded shows (NCIS: LA, and NCIS: New Orleans) until about 10:30 when we called it a day.  Tuesday we will move another 140+ miles south to visit with my brother and his wife.....haven't seen them in a couple of years.

Thanks for stopping by!


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