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Fire Rocks (October 4th - October 12th, 2019)

We left off on October 4th, where I had just finished a fabulous Zumba class in Salt Lake City, UT. We spent the rest of the evening getting ready to roll the next morning. Saturday, October 5th we headed to Orem, UT for a drive around the Alpine Loop, lunch with one of Ted's Army Buddies and his lovely family, and the rest of our trip to our Boondocking point, the Chevron in Cove Fort, UT. The Alpine Loop Drive was phenomenal! It was a winding road through mountains and forests, one of the largest Birch Forests we had ever seen with leaves shining bright yellow in the autumn sun. Totally worth the motion sickness! Lunch was at Mo'Bettahs Hawaiian Style...OMG how we LOVE Hawaiian Food Plates - the Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and Mac Salad & Steak Plate with Rice and Tossed Salad were on the money! I totally surpassed a comfortable eating amount and suffered the swollen tummy syndrome instead. After lunch (and unbuttoning that top button of my jeans), we hit the road and rolled into the Chevron at Cove Fort. Right outside our backdoor was a field perfect for shooting arrows. Azlan loves archery and despite his 5 years, he's really good and responsible so we got him real arrows instead of just foam. We only allow him to play with these under our supervision, which means we get to play too! Ted and Azlan spent a good hour practicing before I joined them. It was a fun way to end our day on the road.

October 6th, Sunday, we had a slow morning of bacon and eggs before arriving at Cove Fort for a tour of the old traveling quarters. Cove Fort was built by the Latter-day Saints in the 1800's to offer protection and refreshment to the traveler with a convenient location at the confluence of major roads, now Interstates 70 & 15. The Fort is beautifully kept and has the interior rooms furnished and decorated with well-maintained pieces from the time of it's most popular use. Our tour guide revealed some neat artifacts and sayings that were part of daily life in the 1800's - complete with a tapping telegraph machine that brought news to this remote location. We saw the contraptions they used to gather hay and shoe ox, tried our hand at hoop rolling, and took a picture next to the original #glamper - the covered wagon! This place was a little gem, we had a great time and learned some new things. It's worth the stop if you are close by. The rest of our journey to the Zion River Resort was smooth with only a few Stealthy Switches in two travel days. In case you are wondering what a Stealthy Switch is, I'll tell you: A Stealthy Switch is when you slow the RV down to 55 or 60, with the cruise control activated, on a straight away with no one passing you and no curves ahead. The driver steps out of his seat holding the wheel while the passenger slips into the seat grabbing onto the same wheel. Once the position is secure, the previous driver releases the wheel and shortly thereafter releases his pee. Then you switch back. It might sound like a very dangerous thing to do, but as long as the utmost care is taken, it can be done safely. Once we are all hooked up at our new site, Ted, Azlan and I jump in the Jeep towards Zion National Park to get some maps and ask about hikes. Zion is the first park we have been to that you can't drive through, at least you can't drive more than half way in the main entrance (near Rockville) on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. They offer a free shuttle in the park that takes you through 9 points on the route though. We mapped out the next few days based on weather...because holy cow, the desert! The last time we had a big problem with weather was back in March in Oklahoma - the title of that blog is even "Burrrrrrrrrrrrr..."! The weather dipped below 32 and the pipes froze in the Glamper. $600 later, a new water pump and a night in a hotel, we survived it. Now, with an additional 6 months of experience under our belts, we revised our plans accordingly so we wouldn't have to hotel it. Considering we are out in the middle on nowhere Utah, our next stop in 2 days is Bryce Canyon boasting 11 Degrees Fahrenheit, we decided to stay an extra night at the lovely Zion River Resort and just drive out to Bryce Canyon for a day. Thank goodness they had availability! This is what our itinerary looked like originally:


  • Fri, Oct 4th - Salt Lake City, UT

  • Sat, Oct 5th - Depart SLC, Drive to Orem for Alpine Loop and Lunch w/ Friend. Boonedock in Cove Fort (3.5 hours on road not counting 2 hours in the Alpine Loop via Jeep - total vehicle hours 5.5)

  • Sun, Oct 6th - Depart Cove Fort and drive to Zion River Resort Reserved for 3 nights (2 hours on road)

  • Mon, Oct 7th - Explore Zion NP

  • Tues, Oct 8th - Explore Zion NP

  • Wed, Oct 9th - Move to Ruby's Inn RV & Campground at Bryce Canyon (2 hours on road)

  • Thurs, Oct 10th - Explore Bryce Canyon NP

  • Fri, Oct 11th - Depart Bryce, Boonedock near Valley of Fire State Park (3.5 hours on road)

  • Sat, Oct 12th - Explore Valley of Fire SP, Move to Ft. Irwin, CA (2 hours to explore, 3.5 hours on road)

This is what we changed it to:

  • Fri, Oct 4th - Salt Lake City, UT

  • Sat, Oct 5th - Depart SLC, Drive to Orem for Alpine Loop and Lunch w/ Friend. Boonedock in Cove Fort (3.5 hours on road not counting 2 hours in the Alpine Loop via Jeep - total vehicle hours 5.5)

  • Sun, Oct 6th - Depart Cove Fort and drive to Zion River Resort Reserved for 3 nights (2 hours on road)

  • Mon, Oct 7th - Explore Zion NP, reserve extra night at Zion River Resort and cancel Ruby's Inn

  • Tues, Oct 8th - Drive to Bryce for just one day (4 hours round trip)

  • Wed, Oct 9th - Explore Zion NP

  • Thurs, Oct 10th - Depart Zion River Resort and Drive to Palm Creek RV Park in Moapa, NV (2 hours on road)

  • Fri, Oct 11th - Drive to Valley of Fire State Park (2 hours round trip)

  • Sat, Oct 12th - Depart Palm Creek RV and Move to Ft. Irwin, CA (4 hours on road)

We try to make sure we have a full hook up as often as we can, that means sewer, water and electric connections for the Glamper. I do not want to get caught with a full black tank or an empty fresh tank ever again if I can help it. What can I say, I like my comforts...and yes, having power to run a microwave, enough water to shower with, and a functioning toilet are comforts! It takes some intensive bursts of intricate planning to make this trip happen - and happen with a low stress level at that! One day, I will write a blog entry on planning and the types of questions we ask ourselves to ensure a tight plan that's still able to be massaged when necessary.

Back to our first day at Zion National Park, we jump on the shuttle around 8am for our first hike, Lower Emerald Pool Trail. This was a lovely walk to a pool with a trickling water fall...I think it should be rated a little harder than easy but a little less than moderate. Either way, it was pretty but I think it would max out my parents if they were to do that hike...lots of ups and downs. A few shuttle stops away, we ventured to The Narrows. There is a Riverside Walk at stop 9 that meanders next to the river, has some stopping points and leads to the mouth of The Narrows (a 4 hour hike through water...up stream). Despite us bringing a change of clothes, I was not prepared to wade through cold-ass water for an hour, much less 8 hours. Ted and Azlan settled on putting their feet in the Virgin River on our way back out. We jumped on the next packed shuttle heading back to the Jeep. It was difficult to see out the windows of a packed shuttle and it made me feel sort of disconnected from the red and pink canyon walls. Monday evening we made campfire soup, my very first, and ate a plethora of S'mores and drank wine before hitting the hay. Oh, by the way, do you know where the term "hitting the hay" comes from? Back in the day when mattresses were made from bunches of hay stuffed into a sewn cotton bag, people used a rolling-pin like tool that unattached from the bed frame to beat the hay mattress so all the bed bugs would scatter...that's right - "don't let the bed bugs bite" comes from the same situation! Next time you say "Let's hit the hay", I bet you will be thinking of bed bugs, tee hee!

Tuesday morning, after some delicious pancakes, we took a 2 hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. The Queens Garden and Wall Street Loop hike was something special. We aimed to get there mid/late morning so we didn't freeze our butts off. The constant sun certainly helped as we strolled down into the canyon, marveling at the giant fiery rocks formed into fairy towers. We scampered back up a neat switch back at the end and were pretty happy we did the route clockwise. Ted would have popped a knee trying to go down the steep zigzags. After that fantastic excursion, we drove the rest of the park road for about an hour and then headed back to the Zion River Resort. I have to hand it to them, they had everything you needed in the desert, a nice pool, lush grass, free wine once a week and much more! This place gets a thumbs up from us. We rolled in way too late for a nap or a swim, no worries, we don't have to move tomorrow since our plans changed! Wednesday morning we went back to Zion National Park, but this time we did the Northwestern part of the park, Kolob Canyons, which is only accessible from a different entrance to the park. We got to drive the Jeep all the way in this time, and took the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. This was a moderate trail over a rocky ridge, 1.1 miles out and back. For some reason or another, we thought it was supposed to be a super easy hike, well surprise! The good news is that it was short. We loved it regardless, Azlan climbed, we stood perilously on the edge of a cliff for a family photo, and we sketched while Ted took a nap! An all-in-all win! This time we get back early enough for a swim and to watch the end of Bambi (I totally forgot how that one ended).

Thursday morning we moved out of Zion River Resort (sniff sniff) and into the Palm Creek RV Park in Moapa, NV. This was a tight fit...and by tight, we had to drop the Jeep, park the trailer snug against the bushes, back into our site, and oh, by the way, move the RV left about 2 inches so we could open our bedroom up all the way without hitting the container pod next to us. We had a full hook up, so guess who was happy?!?!?! And what's that they say? Happy Wife, Happy Life? True, True...just ask Ted! The next morning we piled in the Jeep and drove an hour to the Valley of Fire State Park. We have a list of places that have been recommended to us from fellow travelers along our way. When we have our intense bursts of intricate planning, we pull out this list and see if we can make a place or two fit from one stop to another...massaging the plan a bit so we can see some cool things on our journey. This was one of those places. I'm really glad we went, if for nothing else, the first hike was EPIC! White Domes Trail is rated as Easy on Alltrails but I would disagree, to me it was moderate. As a family, we had a whole lot of fun with this one. Lots of places to climb and explore different views from. The color contrast of the red rocks against the blue skies is gorgeous...I am seriously thinking of painting the trim on our future home this fire rock color I have been seeing this past week. CRACK! WaaaaaWaaaaaWAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Azlan fell and smacked his head on the stone. Shit! He's OK! Wheeeeew! This nice lady was taking our family picture next to a cool opening in the rock and when Ted stood up, Azlan lost balance and ate it. The nice lady's husband shows up, Azlan's crying, I awkwardly take their picture, and double check that Azlan is ok. It was more a scare than anything else (thank God), we fixed it with a cold snack baggie of grapes. The next hike was not as spectacular but by this point we were more worn out than expected too. It was noon, we were walking through sand with no shade. If it weren't for the cool air, I think we would have been in real trouble. The weather in the desert is nuts. Temperature changes of over 30 Degrees Fahrenheit can certainly catch you off guard if you are not prepared. Luckily we are pretty prepared people and usually have what we need on hand. By the time we made it about a mile in and reached a peak on the Fire Wave Trail, we opted to sit for a few minutes, munch on a PB&J, and take in the scenery. At that point we decided it best for all our moods to get back to the Jeep and head home. It was a good decision even though I dislike leaving a hike unfinished. Cranky pants started coming out and I can't blame him. We've hiked 3 days in a row with no naps...mom and dad were cranky too! Conveniently, the wonderful team at the State Park's Visitor Center had given Azlan a lollipop, as big as his fist, and he happily munched on that the whole hour home.

Finally, a nap! We woke up refreshed, put on our swim suits and headed out to the river behind the Palm Creek Ranch with beers in hand. Our intention had been to wade in the river which was about 80 Degrees Fahrenheit, last we checked the previous afternoon. Well, to me it was cold so I opted to sit this one out, again, and watched as Ted and Azlan played in the water. Once they had their fill, we went home to clean up and make our own pizzas. A cozy family night at home was just what we needed (one option we threw around was to drive an hour out to Las Vegas and eat dinner there...I'm so glad we didn't do this). This morning we woke up all refreshed and ready for our moving day. We reconnected all the pieces back to our rig and hit the road before 10am. Most of the drive was uneventful...the rest of the drive was even more uneventful. Azlan and I tried to play Interstate Bingo and only got through one game in over an hour....we are rolling through some remote places lately. Hello, Fort Irwin!!! I think Ted spent his career avoiding this place and, Voila! Now we are here by choice (insert sadistic chuckle here). We are super excited to reunite with friends tomorrow and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to travel coast to coast and see so many wonderful people and unforgettable landscapes.


Stay tuned for our next blog post!


Love,

Daisa, Ted and Azlan


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