Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Posts Will Slow Down

Now that we are home for the summer the postings will be few and far between.  But we are still here! Catch you when something worth blogging about happens :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Around Home

Odometer  48102
Trip Meter  4

Port Orford, OR
Saturday April 11, 2015

The vistas here are so incredible.  It doesn't hurt that it is a picture perfect day here on the southern Oregon coast.  Okay it could be a few degrees warmer for my thin desert blood, but it's mostly a chilly breeze out of the north and when you duck behind a windbreak the sun is warm and heavenly.

Humbug Mountain looms over the blue Pacific Ocean

We caught up on most of our chores today so we decided to scoot out and take a long walk on a sandy beach.  Where better than Battle Rock beach right here in town.

Battle Rock seamount near downtown Port Orford
The beach is named in memory of a pitched battle between early settlers and the Native Americans who did not appreciate the intrusion.  Captain William Tichenor left 9 men here in 1851 to establish a settlement.  Tichenor had no sooner sailed away to get supplies and provisions when things flared up between the Qua-to-mah natives and the intruders.  The nine would-be settlers retreated to the sea mount pictured above and held off several attempts by the natives to kill or capture them.  The nine finally escaped in the darkness of night.  Port Orford would not be successfully taken by settlers until 6 years later.

Pacific Ocean Beach near Port Orford OR

Today is not about battles and clashes of cultures, the sea and time have washed away old treachery.  The cool breeze at our backs we walk the two miles or so of sandy beach interrupted occasionally by large rocky outcroppings.  The rocks are easily transited at low tide like we have this morning, but we keep a wary eye out for changing tide that could make our return route a hike up hill to the highway above.
An arched rock on Pacific Ocean beach

Joan peers through one of several arch rock tunnels that we encounter in our two miles out and back.  This is a very exciting hike after a Pacific storm, one never knows what will wash ashore.

A knot of four inch diameter rope washed up on the beach

The only thing we find this morning is the enormous heap of 4" diameter hawser, half buried in the sand and hopelessly tangled in a Gordian knot.  I tried to find a loose end to see if I could pull it free- Ha!  It is incredibly heavy- we'll leave it here and see what else is waiting to be found.

Sign Board Tells of the wreck of the schooner Cotteneva
Back at the parking lot where we started our walk this morning, my eye is drawn to a large propeller and shaft.  A sign behind the display explains that it is all that is left of the Schooner Cottoneva.  Port Orford has always been a very difficult port when the weather gets bad, the port offers little protection from the storm.

Harbor scene at the Port of Port Orford

Our current port looks very capable, however looks can be deceiving.  The large gap in the breakwater is storm damage.  A breakwater started privately in 1935 was augmented by the Corps of Engineers in 1968.  

Port Orford docks awash in violent storm October 2014

Severe storms have damaged the breakwater to the point that it is only marginally effective as a wave barrier- however it has the proved to be very effective in creating the perfect water  circulation to effectively silt in the port very quickly.  Without periodic dredging it becomes unuseable due to sand accumulation. 

Boat Launch on Garrison Lake at 12th street

Port Orford is also a city built around a fresh water lake.  Garrison lake was created when sand dunes pushed up by winter  storms blocked the out let to several local streams.  The lake is fairly small at 135 acres, but provides great fishing, swimming, and boating for families that live here.
Can't wait to get my own boat back in the water.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Port Orford, Our Gem on the Oregon Coast

Odometer  48102 miles
Trip Meter  199 miles

Wednesday April 8, 2015

More than a little excitement this morning.  Nearing the end of our 26 day 3,500 mile oddesy from Ajo, Arizona east to Dallas, Texas, then north and west back to Oregon.

We slept in till 8:30 today and got off to a normal (late) start at 10:30 this morning on the last leg of our trek "home" to our summer place on the Oregon coast at Port Orford.

We have two main choices of routes we can take to get from here to Port Orford.  One route is up the freeway to Winston, south of Roseburg, where we could head west to Bandon on the coast and then 25 miles south to Port Orford.

The other route is to jump off I-5 at Grants Pass and head west on US highway 199 which dips south into California along the Smith River reaching the coast at the small town of Smith River, CA where we follow US 101 "The Coast Highway" north to Brookings,OR and eventually to the towns of Gold Beach and Port Orford.

This morning we choose the coastal route.  We pack up and check tire pressures in a light misting rain.  Back out and hook up the car, check lights and auxilliary brakes, before getting onto I-5 heading north.

We have made this trip so many times that the bus seems to know the way.  The scenery,however, will never become boring.  While working the last 27 years of our careers, Joan and I often escaped over this route to weekends and RV vacations along the southern Oregon coast.

There is one mountain pass to climb on the way from the Rogue Valley over the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. Oregon Mountain pass is only 2100 feet high thanks in part to a 575 foot long tunnel near the summit.  The tunnel is high, wide and well lighted.  The Tunnel shortened the road by 3 miles and eliminated 128 turns and 3 switchbacks.  This morning it looked like a light snow had fallen overnight, but the temperature had climbed into the 50s as we stopped at the rest area for lunch.  One encouragement, the skies to the west were showing patches of blue sky and sun.

US 199 is designated a NationalScenic Byway by the Department of Transportation- and it really deserves this accolade.

If you are driving a big rig this route to the coast is not for the faint of heart.  The road surface is very good, however there are many places where there is virtually no shoulder and the edge of the road will drop off down a steep embankment or off into the river below.

Rock outcroppings and Redwood trees can narrow your lane to just 12 feet- no more. This one spot in the road is just north of Patrick's Creek and it is etched in my mind.  Twice before I have had "encounters" in this narrows.  Several years ago I was on the outside lane heading east back to Medford, when I met a semi coming west who was a little over the line on my side.  The guardrail kept me from giving him any more of my lane. At a complete stop we had to "dance" our mirrors past one another, before either of us could continue.  There are only two sections of several hundred feet that are like this, and heavy truck traffic is light- so the risk reward still favors the reward side of the equation.

Smith River gorge near Hiouchi, CaliforniaThe Smith river is only 25 miles long.  It starts and ends in Del Norte county.  It is the largest river system in California that flows freely along its entire course.  The river's rocky streambed tends to keep the water free of suspended silt or organic material.  This accounts for the crystal clear and icy blue color.

Redwoods along California Highway 197

US 199 also know as "The Redwood Highway" has the advantage of passing through one of California's premier Redwood groves.  As we pass through the small town of Hiouchi ( hi-ooch-ee) Hwy 199 enters the Jedediah Smith Redwoods National and State Park.  The park is cooperatively managed by both the US Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

About a mile south of Hiouchi, we come to a junction in the road.  Hwy 199 continues southwest toward the coastal town of Crescent city, however we turn west on highway 197 to stay on the banks of the Smith River.  This "shortcut" will take us to highway 101 about 13 miles north of Crescent city and 5 miles from the Oregon border.  We make a quick stop  at the All Star Liquor Store in Smith River, CA to augment our supplies.  The liquor tax in California on a gallon of spirits is $3.30/ gal whereas over the state line in Oregon the tax is $23.73/ gal- a difference of $20.43 per gallon, or about $4.08 per bottle higher.  We are legally able to import up to 4 liters per trip and our needs are much smaller than that, so we usually take advanatage of this stop on our way into Oregon.

Welcome to Oregon Sign near Brookings, OR

All stocked up, we drive north on Highway 101 four miles to the Oregon border.  We are now a little more than 50 miles from Port Orford.  The towns on the south coast tend to be about 25 miles apart.  The first town we come to in Oregon is Brookings which has a population of  6,400 and makes it the biggest city in Curry County.  25 miles north of Brookings is the city of Gold Beach.  Gold Beach with a population of 2,300 is next largest.  25 miles north of Gold Beach is the city of Port Orford.  Port Orford with its population of 1,192 is still the 3rd largest town in Curry County.

The Pacific Ocean near the Southern Oregon border

Watching the blue Pacific crashing on the rocks to my left as we cruise up 101 is so distracting that I have to mentally force myself break my attention away from the scenery to scan my gauges and keep and eye on our towed vehicle (toad).  I have said it before, and today it is so true; our front windshield becomes a huge HD TV showing the most breath-taking scenery- it's mesmerizing.

Jeff hauls groceries from the motorhome to house
At 4 in the afternoon we arrive at our destination, and begin the process of opeing up our house for the summer and transferring the food and clothing from one living space to the other.  We had called to have the water meter turned back on by the city, but we arrived a day earlier than predicted, so for several hours we were without water in the house.  One of the things I wanted to do before we filled the water heater again, was to lift it up and put the drip pan under it.  Lucky me, Mike Hewitt and Dick Wold just happen to be cruising by and stopped to say hello.  With their help- it's now done.

Joan loads food from motorhome onto pantry shelves of our summer home

We will take it easy and move a little at a time over the next several days, then we'll clean up the motorhome and put it into storage for a few months.  We are lucky to have lots of space to park it, but we are having to save-up before we can build it a garage.
Horst and Alice, our wonderful neighbors, invited us over to their house for cocktails and a chance to catch up with all the local news- we jumped at the chance to quit working and have some fun!   As we were leaving Horst presented us with a large kettle of lentil soup!  This soup is excellent- we are happy not to have to cook for the next couple days- Thank you Horst and Alice!

After dinner and working on the blog, I was happy to fall into bed and fall sound asleep listening to the waves crash on the ocean beach.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Northern California and Oregon

Odometer 47903
Trip Meter  360

Wednesday April 8, 2015

Truck stop sign in Fernley NV

Up early again.  This is becoming a habit with us!  We pull out of the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, NV at 9:08 AM and point the bus west on US 50 towards Sparks.  We don't have a hard destination for today, but we think it may be Susanville, CA- we'll see how we feel by then.  Susanville is 145 miles or about 3 hours, not our average day but close.

Route Marker on US Highway 395 North
We do a confusing set of turns at Fernley that switches us from US 50 to Interstate 80 which will carry us into Reno.  As we are changing from I-80 to US Route 395 in Sparks/Reno Joan finds a Starbucks that we can get to quickly with bus and car in tow.  Sure enough, she deftly guides me to Starbucks right near an off-ramp and it even has a vacant lot next door where I can park the motorhome!  Minutes later, we are flying up 395 toward the California border with hot decaf, soy mochas, and a warm morning bun- that's living!  Is it any wonder that we own stock in the company?

A short while later we are driving along the shores of Honey Lake.  Looks like a very popular summer place with cabins and RV parks. Sadly the lake is nearly dry- only a little water way out in the middle somewhere.  Drives home how serious the the Western drought has become.  California is in the 3rd year of the worst drought of this century. According to an article in USA Today "More of Western North America has been persistently in a drought state during the past 15 years than in any 15 year period since the 1150s and    1160s".

California Highway 44 West

Surprisingly, when we roll into Susanville on Route 36 at 11:30 AM, we both feel like we want to got a bit further for the day.  On to Burney Falls, or McCloud- maybe we'll stay there.  Just west of Susanville we turn off Cal route 36 and onto route 44.   California 44 heads us northwest towards Mt Shasta, where route 36 heads due west to Red Bluff.

California Highway 89 North
One more change-up as we turn off 44 on to 89.  If we stayed on Cal 44 it would take us west to I-5 at Redding whereas 89 will take us northwest to McCloud and Mt Shasta.  Just after we turn onto 89 we see a good paved place to pull over for lunch. We park in turnout with a gorgeous view of alpine forest and heat up some excellent spaghetti leftovers and lightly toasted ciabatta bread.

One of the things Westerners count on is snow pack in the mountains to meter out water in a more or less even flow during the spring and early summer months.  We can remember times when there would have been snow banks lining the road at this time of year.

After a great lunch we are fat and happy, and ready to continue north.  We pass through an area called Hat Creek.  We stayed here one night in November of 2012 on our first voyage as full-timers, recently retired and off to see the USA (Click here to see that post:  BRJ Hat Creek )

Wintry scene on California Highway 89 near Hat Creek

After Hat Creek we begin to see a little snow accumulation beside the road and under the trees.  By the time we get to McArthur-Burney Falls State Park there is 2-3 inches of snow everywhere but the road, and the clouds are sprinkling a dusting of snow- but it doesn't look serious.  This is a beautiful park and well worth stopping- but not for either of us on a day this cold!  By now we know we will continue on to Medford, Oregon.

We join the I-5 freeway at Mt. Shasta and glide down the asphalt ribbon we know so well, through Weed, and Yreka and up the Siskiyou pass.  Siskiyou pass at 4,310 feet is significant, but seems to pale in comparison to two days ago when we climbed 10 passes all over 6,000 feet.  Perspective.

As we near the first city over the border in Oregon- Ashland, I prevail upon Joan to let me visit my old buddies at the home office of Adroit Construction where I used to work.  We stopped out front at 4:30 PM and I went inside to renew friendships.  I worked at Adroit for 20 years and these folks are like a second family.  Travis and Josh greet me warmly and as we are talking I realize it is like time has stood still, and it was only yesterday that we were working together.

Since we never thought we'd travel this far in just one day (360 miles) we had not called ahead for reservations.  The Medford area has too few parks for a metropolitan area of this size and it can be hard to find a good spot.   When you do find a  good place it will be expensive.  Our first choice is usually Holiday RV Park in Phoenix, Oregon, just 7 miles south of Medford.  The Phoenix interchange at I-5 is being replaced and due to the construction, you have to really want to go here to make it worth it- we did.  Holiday RV was full up however, park owner Joyce called over to the Pear Tree RV across the freeway and secured us a pull through site there.  At $46 per night this is the higest price we've paid for an overnight spot this year.  Highway robbery.

We called good friends Doug and Kathy to see if we could get together tomorrow for lunch and as luck would have it, they offered to meet us for dinner tonight!  I met Doug at Adroit Construction and the four of us have been friends for more than 15 years.  We ate and talked until the restaurant closed and only then said our goodbyes.

After an overnight rest, we'll be on the home stretch to the Oregon coast and our summer place.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ten Passes- one Day

Odometer 47543
Trip Meter 390 miles

Sunday April 5, 2015

Unusual day for us today.  Joan has offered to rise early this morning to ensure a 9 AM start, and we both agree to stick to the route.  We intend to put 400 miles behind us by day's end.  Averaging 50 miles an hour (time/ speed reduced for bio-breaks and stuffing in food) that means an 8 hour day on the road.  Not our usual forte.  

Caliente Nevada Train Depot

Breaking the rule within the first several minutes of the trip, I had Joan step out of the bus and snap a photo of the elaborate and well restored train station in Caliente as we rolled through town.  Trains still use the tracks in front of the depot- they just don't stop here any more.

Route marker US Highway 93 NorthWe point the bus north on US Route 93 which will take us to, for us, unexplored parts of Nevada.  This is an ambitious route simply for the elevation gain/loss.  We will ascend and descend 10 mountain passes, all of which are over 6,000 ft elevation and most of which are over 7,000.  Any sane person would choose to go down to Las Vegas and head up US 95 which has 3 mountain passes for the same destination that are all under 6,300 feet.   What's the fun in taking the easy way- we'd never see anything else if we didn't change-it-up once in while.  Besides, we have the perfect motorhome for the job- our 330 hp Caterpillar engine is the perfect power unit for our 26,000 lb rolling home.  The passes will slow us to at most 45 mph if I follow Mike Cody's instructions from my Camp Freightliner class of 2013.  His advice is to shift down to keep the tachometer between 1750 and 1900 rpm for best cooling and engine efficiency while climbing.  Do this and it will never overheat- and he's been right so far.
Panaca Pass Nevada

Our first pass was Panaca Pass at 6,719 feet just up the road from Caliente where we stayed the night, the rest of US 93 was easy sailing all the way to US 50 which would take us west to Fallon where  we will stay overnight.

Sign reading chains required when flashing One thing we did check was the weather forecast- that's one thing that would give me pause- snow.  The mercury got down to below freezing at our resting place in Caliente and it was only at 4,000 something elevation- so any moisture falling overnight would be snow in these elevations for sure.  Instead the passes were clear and the weather was sunny.  We did have a fantastic tail wind that pushed us up 95 this morning.  Unfortunately when we turned to head west at the junction of highway 50, that meant we now had a strong and gusty wind blowing from our port side- not so much fun.
Route 50 The Lonliest Road in America

US Route 50 across Nevada is called the Loneliest Highway in America.  It got this moniker in an article published  in Life Magazine in July of 1986.  It was intended as a slight, but Nevada officials thought it would be a great theme for a marketing campaign.  There are only two highways that traverse Nevada in a "straight" line east-west and this is mostly because the mountain ranges are, for the most part, oriented north- south and to go east-west means traversing most of them.  If you are willing to compromise on the straight here-to-there, you can miss a greater number of mountain crossings.  In our case that meant that if we had dipped down to Las Vegas (some 150 miles behind us and come up US 95 we'd have only one or two passes to climb.  But today's route is labeled a scenic route in our atlas and that settles the question right there.

Lincoln Highway route markerUS Route 50 also follows some of the route of the old Lincoln Highway, and that gives us yet another reason to choose this route.  The Lincoln Highway was the first road across America and the stretch we are on from Ely to Fallon pretty much follows the original route. The highway was the brain child of Carl Fisher back in 1912. Fisher was also the inspiration behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.    Fellow Blogger Brian Butko publishes a fascinating blog on the history of the Lincoln Highway and I urge you to  read at least one of the many stories he has accumulated in his blog by following this link:         The Lincoln Highway News  (the link will open in a new window)  
US 50 is also a part of the original Pony Express route.  How could all this history not persuade us to endure all those mountain passes!
Eureka Nevada historical marker

Two towns we pass though on our way west to Fallon have meaningful names to us.  The first town is  Eureka, NV founded in 1854 by miners who discovered silver and lead deposits here.  My sister and her husband live near Eureka, California and have the local Harley Davidson dealership in Eureka. Click this link Redwood Harley-Davidson    Joan and I have been to Eureka, CA many times.

Downtown Eureka Nevada, US Route 50 in Eureka Nevada

Down town Eureka, NV is a very inviting an well-cared for place.  The preservation of the old downtown is obviously a priority for them.  We mark Eureka, NV as a place we want to visit again, and spend some time.

Austin Nevada

The Second town is Austin, Nevada.  A town that shares Joan's Family name.  The town site is nestled in a valley and closely follows the serpentine highway that winds through it.

Downtown Austin Nevada

Austin, unlike Eureka, has seen better days.  The buildings and homes have not been well preserved and most of the storefronts are empty.  It has the potential to look like Bisbee, Arizona, but that's clearly not their mission.  Austin is billed as a "Living Ghost Town" and we think that fits it well.
Being on the eastern slopes of the Toiyabe National Forest, it has found a niche as a mountain biking mecca.  Is there a future for Chris Austin in Austin, NV?

Salt Flat near NAS Fallon

As we topped one rise we thought what we were seeing was a large lake ahead of us

Salt Flat

Victims of the famous mirage, we were were fooled by heat shimmering off the salt flats below- no water here.

Dust devils on dry lakebed

Instead of water, what we saw mostly were gusts of wind picking up the salt and dust.  Made it look like steaming hot water.

Dust caught in miniture tornado vortex reaches high in the sky

Joan even captured several mini-tornadoes or dust devils, whirling hundreds of feet into the air.  Glad they are over there and not over by the highway.  As we mentioned before, it is very windy today.

Motorhome parked at Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon NV

By 6 PM our time, we rolled into Fallon, NV and Joan has scoped out a spot for us in the Churchill County Fairgrounds for the night.  Water and electric only for only $15/ night for a pull through. Only thing is- we can't find an address and it doesn't come up in any of our web searches.  Luckily Joan remembers that one of the bloggers talked about hearing traffic on Highway 95 so we head down 95 and find it at Scheckler lane and 95.  Home for the night.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Odometer 47153
Trip Meter 198 Miles

Saturday April 4, 2015

Joan and I have been keen on seeing eastern Nevada, and we want to work this into our journey back to our homeport in Oregon.  We left Kanab this morning and headed south actually.  Taking US 89 south across the border into Arizona again lets us do an end-run on the Cougar Mountains and gives us an east to west avenue that doesn't involve going through Zion National Park with our 36 foot long and 102" wide motorhome towing a car.  Not that it can't be done.  You pay a fee and the rangers will close traffic in the tunnel and escort you down the middle in your transit through.  Not for us today, what with spring break and all- we're just as happy to go around.

Red Cliffs on Arizona Route 389
Red Cliffs on Arizona Route 389

Just over the border in Arizona at the small town of Fredonia we take a left turn and head west on Arizona Route 389.  Route 389  is very scenic and has spectacular red cliffs that flank the road on the north side.

Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Pipe Springs National Monument
Sign at Pipe Springs National Monument

As we were rolling along enjoying the scenery we came to a sign announcing the Pipe Spring National Monument.  We'd never heard of it and were interested to see what it was about, so we turned in.

Windsor Castle- Pipe Springs National Monument
Pipe Springs National Monument

Pipe Springs used to be at different times a private ranch, a military outpost, and a Mormon Tithing Center.  The original adobe brick structure is still here and available for tours.  The interesting thing to us is that the structure was built over the spring.  The first settlers were driven out by the Navajos, and it wasn't until an Army outpost was garrisoned here that settlers were able to start farming the land.  We didn't stay long, but enjoyed the tour and the local history.

Arizona 389 loops back up into Utah at Colorado City 33 miles from Fredonia.  Colorado City, AZ is a small town of 4,000 residents.  
Arizona 389 becomes Utah Route 59, continuing on to the small towns of Hilldale, Apple Valley, Hurricane, and La Verkin before ending at Interstate 15 at Toquerville.  La Verkin was a real gem of a town, very pretty, clean and inviting.  We stopped at the Davis supermarket parking lot for a place to fuel up the bus and make ourselves some lunch.   Before lunch we went into the market for a "few things" and came out with 4 bags of groceries.  

Mirror showing dust cloud behind motorhome
Clouds of dust in the mirror
After lunch, we drove 3 miles further north past Toquerville to the I-15 on ramp heading north.  We only needed 13 miles on I-15 to get to our exit to Utah 56.  We spotted a road on the Google Map we were using that would save us from going all the way to Cedar City to catch Utah 56 west, so we jumped off the interstate at exit 51-  Big mistake!
We ended up on a 7 mile long gravel (dirt) road which was potholed and washboard and DUSTY!
If you can imagine your house after a Richter 7 earthquake that lasted 20 minutes you know what out motorhome looked like once we reached pavement again on Utah 56.

Dust on camera lensAfter just a few minutes this was my view in the back camera monitor screen
Dusty Honda CRV towed car
 And this was what the car looked like after finally reaching pavement again.

Border sign at Nevada- Utah state line
Border Sign 21 miles east of  Panaca, NV

Sixty miles of good paved road led west to the Utah- Nevada state line, where the highway changed into even a better road as Nevada 319.

Motorhome at Young's RV Park Caliente, NV
Motorhome at the Young's RV park, Caliente, NV

Nevada 319 took us through rolling hills 21 miles to the tiny town of Panaca where we turned south for 13 miles to get to the delightful town of Caliente, Nevada and the Young's RV Park.  Much to my delight, I was told it would be okay to wash the bus and the car in the park as long as I didn't make "a muddy mess".  In about an hour, Joan and I had the vehicles all scrubbed up and decided to take a walk.  We thought we were walking toward downtown but a mile into our walk on the back roads we ran into a border fence and were unable to find a way through or around it?? Weird!  So we walked back to the bus and made burgers (veggie) and cole slaw and baked asparagus- Yum!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bryce Canyon

Odometer  46948
Trip Meter  (Car) 202 miles

Friday April 3, 2015

Bryce Canyon is about 80 miles north of where we are staying here in Kanab, UT and Zion National Park is only about 41 miles north and west.  It was our plan initially to go to Zion this morning, however as we were loading our lunch and cameras, and jackets into the car we got to talking with our neighbors who had gone to Zion yesterday.  They let us know that Utah schools were having spring break and the parks were very crowded- all the parking lots were full to exclusion, and the shuttles were booked by 10 AM.  They suggested that Bryce seemed to be less crowded, but still very busy.  At least in Bryce Canyon you drive your own car and don't need to cram onto a packed shuttle.

Bryce Zion RV park Glendale UT

Heeding their advice we headed up Route 89 to Bryce Canyon.  As we drove up 89 we found that there is also lots to see outside the National Park.  In Glendale we noticed that the RV Park we called for a reservation yesterday isn't even open for the season yet- but what a backdrop to the park!

Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest

We turned off  Route 89 onto State Highway 12 which heads east into the park.  Even before we got to the visitors center and Bryce Canyon, we started to see a magical landscape of spires and hoo-doos.

Entrance Sign to Bryce Canyon National Park

Once again, the Senior Pass gets us into the park.  You can see from the picture above there was a crowd everywhere we went.  After being mobbed at the first overlook, Joan had a  plan to drive all the way to the end of the canyon and stop at the scenic overlooks on the way back.  It worked beautifully!

Honda CRV parked in Ponderosa Canyon overlook

The Canyon drive is actually on the ridge above the canyon- so you look down on top of the scene below.  The vistas are impossible to capture with a camera, but they are breath-taking!

View from Sunset Point Bryce Canyon

Here is the view from Sunset Point.  At each stop along the canyon road there are trails that one can hike, either along the rim of the canyon or down into the canyon below.

Overlook at Natural Bridge
Joan at Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon

The bitter wind that was blowing yesterday moderated today but at 8,000 plus feet- let's just say the snow wasn't melting very fast.  We ate our picnic lunch in the car with the windows rolled up!
We don't believe for a minute that we can have seen all of this magnificent place, but it is a good first impression!

At 3 in the afternoon we decided to head back to Kanab and our home on wheels.

We know we'll be back to see a lot more of Utah, but tomorrow we are heading out on the next step in our journey towards our summer home in Oregon.  We just don't have the fortitude to join the spring break crowds in Zion.  On to Nevada!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan