Salt Lake City, Utah

We settled into our spot at Great Salt Lake State Park for $20.00 a night, which included power, water, and awesome Wi-Fi. Our space is not what you would expect for a state park, we are camped along the shores of Great Salt Lake in one of five RV spots at the marina.

Our spot among a few RV’s and sailboats.

We had a great view of Antelope Island from our site! See tomorrow’s blog.

However for what we are getting for our $20.00 we are not complaining. Great Salt Lake is a remnant of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered more than 20,000 square miles. Today the lake is around 75 miles long and 35 miles wide and averages 13 feet deep, although in areas it can be up to 35 feet deep. It is the largest lake between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.

Four rivers and many streams empty into the Great Salt Lake but the lake has no outlet, which causes a high concentration of salt when the water evaporates. Water evaporates at almost the same rate as water comes into the lake, which allows the lake to remain at 4,200 feet above sea level most of the time. The Dead Sea has a salt level of 33%, north Great Salt Lake has a salt level of 25% and south Great Salt Lake has a salt level of 14%, the ocean only has a salt level of 3.5%.

Fish cannot tolerate the high saline levels in Great Salt Lake but brine shrimp, brine fly larvae, and algae thrive in the lake and provide a good food source for many species of birds.

After lunch we took a drive into Salt Lake City with a population of 191,180 (2013) in the city and 1,153,340 (2014) in the entire metropolitan area. Salt Lake City is Utah’s state capital and is bordered by the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range.

Pretty impressive building that sits atop a hill overlooking Downtown Salt Lake City.

The State Capital building

Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of the Mormon Church with is located downtown on the 10-acre Temple Square which is also home to the 19th-century Salt Lake Temple. The well known Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs in the square’s domed Tabernacle. We tried to find a parking spot so that we could walk around Temple Square but didn’t have any luck … perhaps next time. We were able to find a parking spot in front of Salt Lake City’s City Hall, which was also very impressive.

Until next time …

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Utah Highways

We are really impressed with the roads in Utah so far. Today’s trip took us up I-15 and it was smooth with only a few gentle hills. This is pretty unusual for most of the interstates we have travelled; they are normally very rough and sometimes hard on Maxx’s innards.

I-15 … not really happy about all the snow on the hills 😦

The roads in Zion National Park are a pretty red.

Although the speed limit on I-15 is 80mi, 130km, an hour we sure saw a lot of vehicles pulled over by highway patrol!

We spent last night at Camp Walmart in Springville, Utah and it turned out to have an added bonus, there was a Mongolian Grill within walking distance and hubby and I love a good Mongolian Grill!

Lot’s of snow!

Today we are headed into Salt Lake City where we plan to spend two nights at a State Park on Great Salt Lake.

Until next time …

Hurricane, Utah

We enjoyed our time at Zion National Park but unfortunately we could only get a campsite for three nights so we decided to spend a night in Hurricane, Utah.

A very pretty drive!

Hurricane is a half hour south west of the national park and a short drive to St. George, Utah where there is a Costco. Along with free Wi-Fi and close proximity to shopping, Hurricane was the logical choice. We chose to stay at the Willow Wind RV Park but it wasn’t cheap, $45.00 a night with our Good Sam Discount, and we had to sign a two page, small print, contract! The park was decent with lots of trees and great Wi-Fi but not much room between sites. I don’t think we will be back here again.

Our day was spent picking up groceries and planning stops for the rest of our trip home which is why we needed good Wi-Fi. Looking at the weather forecasts for our future stops I think today maybe one of the last day’s I will be able to wear shorts, but no fear, the flip flops are not coming off!

We had planned on spending another thirteen days to travel home but after looking at the weather we have decided to cut out some stops and arrive home around March 18th.

Until next time …

Zion National Park, Utah

Again the weather has cooperated and we were able to head to Zion National Park to do some more hiking. Last month when I checked for space at the campsites in the park there was lots of room but now spring break has hit for school children and the park quickly filled up. We took a chance and drove up to Watchman Campsite, which takes reservations and has power hookup, in the hopes that maybe someone didn’t show up for their reservation … and we were in luck! We manage to get a site for three nights.

Just after we entered the park from Springdale, Utah.

Our first order of business was to drive through the 1.1 mile tunnel. Our trip from Page, Arizona to Zion National Park would have been much shorter if we took the more direct route, which would take us through the tunnel and down a road with six hairpin turns and a severe descent. It didn’t take much thought before we decided to take a slightly longer route and avoid the tunnel, but we did want to see it.

The roads are red and fit in well with the landscape ☺

 

The trip through the tunnel was interesting; it is very dark and occasionally punctuated with windows.

Once we came through the tunnel we were lucky enough to find a parking spot near the trailhead of the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Tunnel opening at the east end from the Canyon Overlook Trail.

The beginning of the trail has stairs going up the hill.

 

Most of the trail has railings along the steep canyon side but there are areas that have a sharp drop into the canyon below. I was too busy watching my footing to take pictures of those areas 🙂

This was the one area where they have built a wooden bridge around a large rock outcrop so that hikers could continue further up the trail.

View from the Canyon Outlook of the road up to the tunnel.

  

As we turned a corner on our way back down the trail we saw a group of three mountain sheep climb up the sheer rock walls, it was amazing to see and way more interesting to watch than take pictures. I was lucky enough to get a picture of mama sheep looking down at me from an outcrop above our heads.

Hubby hiked back up the trail and got this great shot of mama and baby looking for daddy sheep 🙂

At the top of the stairs down to the road we could see a bus heading through the tunnel. Units 11 feet 4 inches tall or 7 feet 10 inches wide can go through the tunnel but they have to wait for the rangers to close the tunnel down and then they drive right through the middle. There is a $15.00 fee to do this.

There is not a lot of room at the top of that bus!

Until next time …

Happy Birthday Maxx

Maxx is three years old today and he is spending his birthday at Watchman Campground in Zion National Park.

Maxx sunning himself at Watchman Campground in Zion National Park, Utah 🙂

I think he looks as good today as he did the day we brought him home 🙂

During his three years Maxx has travelled over 41,000mi, 66,000km, through three provinces and thirteen states.

Over the three years we have made a few additions:

  • Increased his batteries from a single 12-volt battery to six 6-volt batteries.
  • Mounted four solar panels on his roof.
  • Installed a 2000-watt inverter with transfer switch.
  • Mounted a Wi-Fi extender to his TV antenna.
  • Installed a three-stage water filtration system.
  • Installed a Bluetooth audio system.
  • Installed wiring for a back-up camera (although we still haven’t installed the camera, that’s a job hubby has planned for when we return home).
  • Put two furniture-moving disks under the bed to help it slide without damaging the carpet.
  • Put a collapsible shoe holder, meant to hang in your cupboard, along side the bed where it is out of sight but holds a lot of flip-flops J.
  • Installed an LED light strip under the awning.
  • Placed a side table that we found at a Fred Myers, between our two chairs.
  • Hung a 32 inch 12-volt TV in the bedroom.

Of course with two and a half years of living in Maxx full time he has needed a few repairs and some general upkeep:

  • We gave him two new shoes last summer and will probably replace his other two this summer.
  • Replaced the kitchen faucet because of calcium build-up. We replaced the old faucet with a Moen, which has a life time quarantine … we will see how that works out for us.
  • Replaced the shut-off gate on the black-water tank.
  • Regreased wheel bearings, several times as general maintenance.
  • Replaced the lighting under Maxx’s lower kitchen cabinets and under our stair treads with LED lights.
  • Replaced the shelves in Maxx’s pantry with heavier shelving.
  • Beefed up the drawer under the couch so that it could hold more weight.
  • Replaced the upper and lower bearing blocks on one side of the bedroom slide.

And that’s about it, not bad for living in Maxx full time!

Other than the bedroom slide problem, all our other maintenance has been routine and done when we have had the time. The bedroom slide became an issue as I was putting it in after a weekend camping trip with our daughter and her family. We were at a BC Provincial Park, which has a checkout time of 11:00 a.m. and we certainly didn’t make that! Fortunately it was still early in the season so people weren’t waiting for our site. Hubby and our son-in-law had some struggles trying to get the slide in so that we could get home and at one point we had to send in one of our grandson’s, through a small passage, to unlock the emergency window so that hubby could climb into the bedroom. It took some time, and more than a few choice words, but they got the slide in and we headed back to our daughter’s place, were the slide worked perfectly when we put it back out. Once hubby had the new parts in hand it didn’t take him long to get the slide back in perfect running order.

The other part of the slide story is that we do have an extended warranty and I thought we should just have someone come and fix the slide, but as hubby pointed out, they probably would not have come out to the campsite right away and would most likely want us to bring the unit into the shop so that they could work on it. When you are living in your unit full time it is hard to move out so that someone can work on it, so I am very happy that I am married to someone who is able to fix these problems on his own.

Although we do look at new units and different layouts we have no plans to replace Maxx. He has served us well and we still love our full-time lifestyle J

Until next time …

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

All hubby and I can say about this adventure is WOW!!! We didn’t realize when we arrived in Page, AZ that the only way you can visit Antelope Canyon is through a guided tour, and we almost passed when we found this out, but Antelope Canyon is on hubby’s bucket list so we decided to do a tour.

Antelope Canyon includes two slot canyons, the Upper Antelope Canyon also known as The Crack, and Antelope Canyon also know as The Corkscrew. We visited the Upper Antelope Canyon whose Navajo name is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks”.

There are several tour companies in Page and after a little research on Trip Advisor we decided to go with Antelope Slot Canyon Tours. We chose the 8:30 a.m. tour, which is $10.00 cheaper than tours later in the day, $48.00 per person rather than $58.00 per person. The reason for the discount is because the light is not as good earlier in the day but the weather forecast called for clouds and rain later in the day so the light wasn’t going to be any better for the later tours either.

We loaded into the back of a canopy-covered pickup and drove for fifteen minutes to the entrance of the .25 mile Slot Canyon. Our guided tour took us through The Crack and back again for a total of .50 miles. There is nothing I can write that will convey our experience or the beauty of the canyon. All I can do is provide you with some pictures and strongly recommend you visit the canyon and see the beauty for yourself!

The way the light from above hits the canyon walls is so amazing and just so much fun to photograph 🙂

Canyon entrance.

 

  

Arizona Sunset

Shark!

Waves

 

Fire!

Lava Bed

Close-up of the canyon wall.

 

We highly recommend Antelope Slot Canyon Tours and our guide Irene. Irene provided us with invaluable camera tips and she was familiar with every brand of camera our group had, including cell phone cameras. Irene also pointed out the best photo locations, but really I don’t think you can take a bad picture of The Crack, just have fun and click away 🙂

Until next time …

Grand Canyon – Sunset and Sunrise

When we decided that the weather was going to cooperate and we would be able to visit the Grand Canyon we made the decision to stay at the RV Park inside the South Rim. Staying at Trailer Village allowed us to make the quick one mile walk or bike ride to the edge of the canyon and not worry about finding parking or allowing drive time, and I knew that I wanted to see, and photograph, the canyon at different times of the day.

Yesterday’s blog showed daytime pictures of the canyon; today’s blog is all about sunset and sunrise pictures. During our time at the Grand Canyon we never really had the sunset and sunrise I was hoping for but we did enjoy watching them and it gives us something to look forward to on future trips. 🙂

We rode up to the east end of the Rim Trail to take sunset pictures.

Not a great sunset, but the canyon was still pretty.

 It was too cold to ride our bikes up to the canyon for sunrise photos so we drove up to the Visitor Centre.

    

During our stay in Sedona we drank our morning coffee while watching balloons land, in the Grand Canyon we drank our morning coffee watching the mule deer graze on grass around the RV Park.

 

We had an adventure packed trip that included many hours and miles walking the canyon, white water rafting and a helicopter ride! Okay only the walking was actually accomplished by us, the rafting and helicopter ride were experienced through the IMAX movie at the visitor center in Tusayan … well worth the $12.50 admittance fee.

Our three days here went fast and only served to wet our appetite for the Grand Canyon, hopefully next year we can get to the North Rim.

Until next time …