The $49 Million Mile x 17 & Does She Love Me?

12th – Days 61-63, Apr 1-4, 2021, Solstice Motorcoach Resort, Mesquite, NV.

Friday, 04/02/21 The forecast for the West is to break records this coming weekend. At home it is suppose to hit the 80s. Kevin and I headed south for the weekend. For the first 3 hours, the drive was great. A lot less traffic than we have had before. I was surprised because this is Easter weekend/Spring break. When we got to Cedar City, we saw a highway patrol car with lights flashing and the officer was slowing traffic down. We looked it up online and the left lane was closed 5 miles in front of us! We were stopped more than we moved. It took us 35 minutes to go one mile. One poor guy I saw was really upset. He was in the car next to us. He was all dressed up and definitely had a place he needed to be. He was texting and I was afraid the guy would rear-end someone. Thankfully, he didn’t. The delays set us back almost an hour but we didn’t worry at all. We are open and don’t have anywhere we need to be. We went to the storage spot and picked up HOWE (Home On Wheels, our travel trailer) and boy, it was hot outside. Temperature said 90. Then we headed south. We marvel each time at how the sun, at different times of the day and different times in the year, make the landscape look different.

Looking across the valley of Mesquite, NV April 3-5, 2021

Always intriguing. As we pulled up to the registration at Solstice RV Resort in Mesquite, NV, the lady came out and said, “Hi Dolans!” Kevin asked her how she knew it was us and she said we were the last ones to arrive for the day. HAHA I guess no “incoming!!!” (we say this when an RV pulls into the campground) for us because we WERE the incoming. 🙂

Kevin made the wood sign, Charla made the quilt piece and friends gave us the sign.

Got set up in the 94 degree heat. The shade was completely comfortable. Off we went to town to our favorite restaurant in Mesquite (the only one we know off), Los Lupes, 312 W Mesquite. We ate outside. We were entertained by several birds and doves. Kevin said they were talking a lot and with a different tone of voice than what he is used to hearing. (I am deaf and can’t hear the sounds but Kevin is nice to tell me about them.)We decided to share our meals: chicken chimichanga and carne Asda nachos. Delicious! Even though the temp was 90, it wasn’t too hot at all. We had a nice shaded table. The humidity is 7% so maybe that makes it feel cooler. After dinner, we headed to HOWE and sat outside until 11:00 pm. The weather was so comfortable, the stars bright, and the city lights beautiful. I read some more of the book I am reading (1999 pages!) Called Truth, Lies and O-rings. So good!

Saturday 04/3/21 Why in the world is it that both of us sleep amazing in HOWE?! Such a peaceful and restful sleep. Breakfast at McDonald’s drive through and then we headed to Hurricane (yes, a real town name in Utah). On the way down yesterday, I was really interested in the story of Virgin River and the highway from St George, UT to Littlefield, AZ. This morning I looked it up and wow, oh wow! The highway, called Virgin River Gorge was started in 1962 and wasn’t completed until 1973. It ended up costing $49 million dollars  a mile (according to rates in 2007)!!! We figured out the 17 miles cost a billion dollars. It was the most costly highway in the entire country. Look it up! The history is mind blowing. All to cut 12 miles off of going around the old way on Old Hwy 91. We headed to the annual Hurricane Rotary Easter Car Show. Kevin will tell you about it in the next post.

We decided to drive back to Mesquite on the Old Hwy 91. We remembered part of it as it is on the Indian Reservation when we went to Gunlock. We saw a few old buildings and foundations pretty close together. I wonder if they were a gas station and a restaurant catering to the travelers before I-15 came along. We pulled off so I could take a picture. My photography class said to always turn around and as I did, oh, the scene was splendid. Red rocks and cliffs in front of the mountain with trees (Kevin calls it “Charla’s Mountain”).

Old Hwy 91 Utah/ Nevada April 3-5, 2021

Down the road a bit we saw a sign and stopped to read it. We learned this path was the Old Spanish Trail. It followed the Native American’s route for trading and hunting. Curious, we see the map shows people from New Mexico going up north, then west, then back to LA. I want to know why they didn’t just cut across New Mexico and Phoenix. Hum…..

She loves me…
She loves me not…
She loves ME!

We stopped along the road for me to take some pictures of the wildflowers. Kevin picked a lovely yellow one and started “she loves me, she loves me not.” Turns out, she loves him. Whew!

Then he put a flower on the windshield, under the wiper blade. It looked so pretty and had itself open to the sun. As we started driving, the poor thing was all closed up with the wind. Kevin said he was going to turn on the windshield wiper and I told him he better not! That flower hung on through Beaver Dam, AZ, Scenic, AZ and Mesquite, NV, all the way to Snip and Scrap fabric store. It tried to open up but looked like a bad, windy hair day. HAHA I told Kevin the flower needs a drink and he said he wondered if diet coke would help it.

Hanging in there!

Inside the fabric store, the very nice owner recognized us  (we were here in Nov). She is extremely helpful and so kind. She said she wants to learn American Sign Language and I find that so kind. I found some dark blue material to go on the backing of a quilt I am making for Ronald McDonald house. Oh boy, there were so many cute fabrics!

Back to HOWE and nap time for Kevin. At the fabric store Kevin asked for recommendations for dinner. She offered a greek place and a sushi place. When it was time for dinner, we wanted Mexican food again and went back to the same last as yesterday! HAHA Even at 4:30, there was a long wait but since we wanted to eat outside, we got right in. Another beautiful evening, delicious food, and great visiting. After dinner it was back to the campground and we sat outside and relaxed. The sun setting on the mountains and mesa is just stunning.

Sunday 04/04/21 We took HOWE back to the storage site in St George and then headed home.

Need an Oven Stretcher! Deaf & Hiking. A Blog is Born.

11th – Days 58-60, Mar 19-21, 2021, Zion River RV Resort, site 118

Friday 03/19/21 A year ago today I lost 100% of my hearing. It has kind of been a day of reflecting for me.

Camping, Zion River RV, Virgin, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

It was a beautiful drive, with outside temps 64-73. The traffic was lighter today, until we got past Cedar City. Then we had slow trucks passing slow trucks and it really bogged the traffic down. That is okay, though, because our only hurry was just the excitement to get to camp. Kevin knew we would need to air up at least one tire on HOWE when we picked it up at storage. It went pretty fast. Got to Zion River RV Resort and found our site. Due to Covid, the campground emails you the site and a map. It works out fine. Right behind our site is the Virgin River. It is still winter, and everything is dry. Of course, it is the desert too, but no leaves out yet. Kevin started setting up camp outside but the water wouldn’t hook up right. We got a new part from the campground office but it didn’t fix it. Kevin informed them at the office and they radioed someone who was at the campsite before we could even walk back. Took two people but they eventually got it working.

Nap time, Zion River RV, Virgin, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

Kevin, in the meantime, had a nice nap in his chair in the shade of the awning. We took a walk-about. Everyone is always so friendly and waves.

Facebook group RV Quilters sticker

Kevin put two stickers on HOWE for me – RV Quilters. We also have Escapees stickers but we can’t find them. Must have left them at home. We hadn’t eaten lunch, just some snacks on the drive down and we were getting hungry. So Kevin started a fire. Now mind you, it was fully daylight still. But we were hungry. We roasted hot dogs and they were delicious. We were afraid we would burn through all our wood before it was even dark! But alas, we still had fire when it got dark. Whew! HAHA

Saturday 03/20/21 Why do we sleep so well in HOWE? I don’t know, but we do. Breakfast was mini crumb cakes. Kevin still enjoys percolating his coffee every morning. For today, we thought about going on a hike. Before we came, we looked up some hiking trails on the app “All Trails”. We found one called “North Rim Trail” (7 miles) just south of Virgin. But this morning, as Kevin was reading up about it, he saw that it is a walking and bike trail. He was concerned, and rightly so, about me being deaf and how not to get run over! Apparently, bikers will announce they are coming up behind you and they expect you to get out of the way. Well, how does that work if you are deaf? Yikes, I shudder to think about it. Instead, Kevin found some hikes in Zion. We quickly looked up online to see if we could get a shuttle ticket. There was one ticket available…hum, who should take it. Just kidding. No worries, we would drive through and see if we could get a parking spot for a hike. Springdale, the town just outside of Zion National Park was a bit busier than we have seen the last few months. Lots of cars were parked outside of Zion with signs saying the parking lots in Zion were full and to take a city shuttle. We didn’t mind just driving through so went on through to the Visitor’s Center. The parking lot was completely full with vehicles driving up and down the lanes. We couldn’t believe that in the farthest lane, we found an empty parking spot! So thankful. Parking was so full that people would follow other people walking to cars and ask if they were leaving. Then they would stand in the parking spot until their vehicle got over there.

Watchman Trail, Zion National Park, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

We looked at the map and decided on The Watchman Trail. This is listed as moderate 3.3 miles out and back. Armed with our walking sticks we took off. The trail was sand/dirt and started off along Virgin River. The hike was enjoyable. The trail is sand/rock/dirt and is narrow, two people can’t walk side by side. There were some switchbacks which make it fun to look at people right below you. It was quite a busy trail.

Watchman Trail, Zion National Park, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

The end of the trail wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be. There wasn’t dramatic views of drops down the canyon or high walls of cliffs. In fact, it wasn’t any different than when we drive through Zion, but we are glad we took the hike. Speaking of hiking on a single path trail, Kevin walks in front of me. This is opposite and not normal to us because he would usually have me walk first so he can watch and protect me. Being deaf has changed that. If I am in front of him, I can’t hear him if he says stop to see the view or stop because someone wants to pass us. With him in front of me, I know that when he moves to the edge of the path, I need to move to the edge as well. Then I can look around and see why this move was needed. 🙂 See, we are getting this deaf-thing down. Incidentally, we get passed a lot when we walk. Kevin says we are “strollers” and just strolling along. 🙂 We take in the view and the journey. Hiking to us isn’t about the destination, it is the journey along the way.

Zion National Park, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

After the hike we ate our lunch of peanut butter sandwiches, chips, and cookies in the truck. The wind had started up and there was quite a bit of red dust blowing everywhere. We never get tired of driving Zion past the tunnel and back. So we did the drive again. As we went around a hairpin turn, we saw a lady standing in the other lane of the road, no seriously, IN the road, trying to take a picture of a group on the other side. She was stopping traffic because they couldn’t go around her with her in the middle of the lane. There were already 4 vehicles completely stopped as we passed. Take about laughing!! It took us a long time to get over that! We don’t know if she knew she was stopping traffic but didn’t care because she needed her picture, or if she was total oblivious. Either way, too funny. We drove back to our campsite.

I love to cook and it is especially fun in HOWE. I wanted a flat stone to put in the oven. I “LOVE” Pampered Chef and have a lot of their products at home and in HOWE. I bought a small pizza stone from Pampered Chef. I went to put it in and…oh no. Kevin said, ” We need an oven stretcher!”

We need to stretch the oven so the pizza stone fits! Mar 19-21, 2021

Talk about falling on the floor laughing! Yes, we need to stretch the oven so the pizza stone will fit in it. Of course, Faith Hayes, my Pampered Chef consultant, was great and texted me immediately on options of what to do. I appreciated her laughter and ideas. If you want/need anything from Pampered Chef, contact her: Faith Hayes, Pampered Chef

In texting with our sister-in-law, she mentioned how her and her husband would like to come down here and do they have cabins. We went to the office and asked and were able to book a cabin from them and a campsite for us right across the road. It will be Sept 23-26, 2021. The cancelation policy is $5.00 if we cancel within a week. Not bad at all.

Travel Means Life is born. The past few days, Kevin and I started talking about doing a blog over our travels. Several people have recommended it to us. We thought, why not? It would be fun. So after Kevin’s nap, we sat around the table and tried to come up with a cute fun name that would encompass us and who we are. We played with names for over an hour, typing them in to Word Press blog to find a name that hasn’t been taken. We liked the idea of have it a website with .com so that took even more time to find a name. travelmeanslife.com is what we decided and we are very excited about it.

I fixed spaghetti for supper. I had to cut the garlic bread in half to fit in the oven. HAHA It was still very windy outside so we ate inside. After supper the wind died down so we went outside and enjoyed the sun. As it got dark, Kevin made a fire. I never cease to marvel at how watching a fire can be so relaxing.

Relaxing campfire, Zion River RV, Virgin, UT Mar 19-21, 2021

Sunday 03/21/21 Disembarkment day. We didn’t want to think about having to leaving. We ate our crumb cakes for breakfast and learned more about blogs. 🙂 Since check out is at 11:00, we started getting packed up at 10:00. After putting HOWE in storage, I drove home while Kevin set up the blog. We are pretty exciting about it and hope people enjoy it.

1 year And What Did We Do?

One year ago today we picked up our 26 ft 2020 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer and 2019 Ram truck. We didn’t know how much we would use it but definitely didn’t want to only use it 2 or 3 weekends a year. Well, THAT didn’t happen! 🙂

In one year:

*134 days camping

*26 trips

*7 states

*17,550 miles on the truck

From mountain lakes in Glacier National Park…

To stunning red rocks in the desert Southwest…

From wildfires in Montana…

To the aftermath of forest fires…

From watching our first horse race…

To the exhilarating thrill of stock car racing…

From camping with friends…

To being by ourselves, thinking, enjoying the rain…

From “someone” thinking he is Lewis & Clark on the trail…

To him thinking he owns a yacht…

From Utah mountain rivers…

To beauty that takes your breath away…

From food that always tastes better cooked outside…

To steaks as big as my head…

From the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Mountains at 11, 949 ft in elevation…

To watching the sun set over the water…

From broken windows along the way…

To adventures I would never trade.

We aren’t stopping! Our travels continue. Thank you for reading our blog. We love sharing our travels with you.

There are more places to GO, things to SEE, adventures to DO, and life to EXPERIENCE.

Just Hanging Out

10th – Days 55-57, Mar 5-7, 2021, Southern Utah RV Resort

A man on top of his motorhome looking at the gorgeous sunset. St George, UT Mar 5-7, 2021

Kevin signed up for the online RV Fulltime conference from Escapees this weekend. We decided to just hang out at the campground this weekend so he can watch the conference. 

A beautiful, sunny day, with temps in the 50-71 as we drove to St George. We stopped at Maverick for gas, drinks, and ice. This is the first time I have used a cooler. With the warmer temps out side, I thought this is a safer way to get some food, instead of going to the store in St George. That way we wouldn’t have a lot leftover, since it is a short trip.

Kevin said it is fun to work on HOWE. He got new o-rings for the water at Harbor Freight. We ate pasta salad outside on the picnic table. Evening was spent outside enjoying the lovely evening. Oh, the day got to 81 here (it is March).

All day Kevin was watching the RV Fulltime conference. He really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I spent the time binge watching movies. I was outside and inside (sun got bright on the computer screen later). Breakfast was Blueberry muffins I made at home. Lunch was BBQ chicken sandwiches. Dessert is homemade molasses cookies. Supper Kevin made Smash Cheeseburgers on the Blackstone griddle. So delicious! Added stuffing on the side.

Kevin: The remote work virtual conference was really great! There is a RV club called Escapees. They have several sub-groups, and one of them is called Xscapers. This group is primarily people that work from their RV or want to work remotely. The conference was all about how to do that. There were sessions on internet connectivity, how to find remote jobs, challenges with being remote, etc. They finished off the days with some kind of social activity. They did very well at setting up the conference. I will attend another one if they do it. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming: (Charla)

At home, I put mayo, mustard, bbq sauce, and ketchup in little round containers, then put it in a Food Saver container that took the air out. It worked great. Our campsite has a very large green grass area right out our slide window. It is the dog park. HAHA I am quite entertained by watching big, burly men, scrawny little old ladies, and all in between pick up poop. Disgusting and funny.

Fun at Southern Utah RV Resort, St George, UT Mar 5-7, 2021

Tonight the campground had “Music on the Patio” and we were able to watch from the back of our campsite. It turned out to be singers with canned music but it looked like a lot of people were there dancing to the country music. It started at 7:00 and was still going past 11:00! So fun. I can imagine how fun it will be after Covid. Even though I am a deaf, I still enjoyed watching people enjoy the music.

Watching the set up for music at the campground. St George, UT Mar 5-7, 2021

Disembarkment Day. Breakfast of Blueberry muffins. We decided to take our time leaving. We talked about it and we don’t ever want to leave so we weren’t going to hurry up and leave. We waited until the last possible second to go. 🙂

Zion in February Rain

9th – Days 51-54, Feb 12-15, 2021, Zion River RV Resort

Zion National Park, Temple of Sinawava, Feb 12-15,2021

We have HOWE (pronounced, Howie, Home On Wheels) our travel trailer stored in St George, UT, for the winter. It is much warmer there from where our home is in the mountains. It is very easy to drive a few hours, pick it up from the storage site and go out camping. (As you can see, we are doing that at least once a month during the winter months.) When we went to hook HOWE up to the truck, the batteries wouldn’t work to raise the hitch. Thankfully, I have a smart honey who knew to plug HOWE into the truck tail and that used the power to raise it.  He noticed that everything in the storage compartment was sticky with an oily substance. Oh dear. It turns out it was cooking oil from a bottle that had leaked. We stopped at Tractor Supply Store in Hurricane where Kevin bought the blue shop disposable towels and more propane. He installed the magnet-thingy on the tanks that tell his iPhone how much propane is in the tank. (See post Do we have gas? for more information.) Everything else looks good and we got hooked up quickly. We headed to Zion River RV Resort in Virgin, UT which is very close to Zion National Park. This campground is rated as one of the top in the entire country for RV resorts. A few months ago when we drove past it, I thought it looked like a neat place to stay. When we saw our site, oh goodness, it looks small and it is a blindside back in. I got out to help Kevin back in. We saw across the narrow road, a lot of people sitting around. Kevin said to them, “Enjoy the show!HAHA” and several guys got up and asked if they could help. Yes, Kevin said, my wife is deaf so you would be a great help. They had a low trailer sticking out a little ways into the road so I think they felt bad and wanted to help. They were so helpful!!!! Kevin got it right where it needed to be with their help. The weather is low 60s and sunny. On the website I saw you can have campfires and I was pretty excited. But guess what…our site is within 25 ft of the propane tank so the fire pit is filled with cement. It is fine, later it was just a bit too chilly to have one, for me. 

As I was setting up the trailer, putting out the fresh towels, washcloths, making the bed and putting out the food, I realized that I took the entire 6 pack of paper towels home with us last time. (I am very careful when putting HOWE in storage to not to leave food, paper goods, etc out for mice.) Didn’t have a single one here. HAHA I am so glad that Kevin bought the BIG roll of blue shop towels. Those were our napkins for the week. 🙂

Looking towards Zion NP. Zion River RV Resort, Virgin, UT Feb 12-15,2021

Lots of people have had fires going every night. I fixed hamburger patties for supper. I thought there was green beans in Howe, but nope. HA So I added back beans. We ate outside on the picnic table.

Virgin River, Zion River RV Resort, Virgin, UT Feb 12-15,2021

We didn’t have any plans specifically to do for this trip. This morning, Kevin wanted to drive through Zion National Park again. I decided to check the Zion shuttle for tickets. Lo and behold they had some available! Kevin bought some ($1 each) for noon. It was overcast so we took coats. On the few miles from our campground to the entrance of Zion, we passed an older motorhome. Well, when we got to the entrance, of course we were in the slow lane and they passed us in the other lane. We laughed and laughed how they got into the park before us.

The Narrows in Zion National Park Feb 12-15,2021

As we rode up the canyon, it was raining. It made for stunning scenery!  So many of the black rocks were shining with slippery-ness. Even the red rocks, soaked with rain and wet, looked different than when dry, as in a deeper color of red/orange. We took the shuttle to the end and got off. It was raining but we had coats and hats. I had my cruise hat that is made of straw like material and would you believe, my glasses didn’t get a speck of rain on them. We walked the paved trail, more than a mile each way, to the end of the path where the Narrows start. This is the spot that you have to walk in the river to go farther.

Zion National Park Feb 12-15,2021

There are alerts for dangerous algae and posted signs not to get in the water. The walk is gorgeous with the rocks going straight up next to us. So tall, I couldn’t get it all in a picture. There was lots of red mud on the path but we didn’t slip or anything. We were able to skirt around all the water puddles…until the very last one. There was no way to go around it and so both feet got wet. That made us laugh because our feet had been dry the entire hour walking in the rain. 🙂 We jumped on the shuttle and went back to the visitor center.

Kevin: On the shuttle I was signing with Charla, and noticed a young family watching us. The Mom then said their children had a deaf student in class, with an interpreter. They knew a little bit of sign language. We tried to “talk” (sign) with them, but they were pretty shy. It is fun encountering people that have a desire to reach out and communicate.

Kevin had read about an old LDS church that had been converted into a pizza shop there in Springdale. Having only had sausage and eggs for breakfast, and cheese and nuts for snacks, we decided to go there for a late lunch. It was 2:30 PM; the sign on the door said it opened at 4:00 PM. Then we checked a steak restaurant and it didn’t open until 5:00 PM. Everywhere we went, it was closed. This was a surprise to us because there were people around who would eat. HA On the way out of Springdale I saw Stage Coach Grill & Saloon. We checked and it opened at 3:00 PM. We decided to wait in the truck for 1/2 hour til it opened. It was a disappointment, I rated my chicken fried steak at 3 stars; Kevin rated his “prime” steak at 2 stars.

View of Zion National Park from Stage Coach Grill, Springdale, UT Feb 12-15,2021

Back to the campground and boy, we enjoyed an afternoon walk. I spent about 3 hours booking places for us to camp from now until end of June. I enjoyed researching and finding places. Of course a lot of the state parks are fully booked out the 4 months.

Kevin worked on the batteries; it seems a cable was loose. The evening was spent doing what we do at home, watching movies and videos, playing games, read, visiting, etc. Absolutely perfect.

President’s Day. Disembarkment Day. 😦 We took our time getting up and around, but we sleep so well there that we wake up early some days. Kevin started on the outside and I did the inside. When we were backing the trailer into the storage spot, I did the usual thing where I FaceTime Kevin and then talk to him through that. Of course, I am deaf so he can’t talk to me but he can sign ASL. I asked if he could hear me and he signed yes. Backing him up, I said, “Driver’s side” pause “driver’s side” pause, then I started pointing to the side I wanted him to turn to. It turns out I was saying it wrong! I was suppose to be saying “passenger side”!  Poor Kevin was so confused and wondered if the mirror was flipped around since I was pointing the opposite way I was saying. We doubled over laughing. Then I said, “Back seat driver’s side!” Finally I just throw up my hands and said, “Come on back, you are doing it perfect.” ROFL Thankfully, the spot is nice and wide and there was no danger.

We talked later at how “off” things were this weekend. Not with us, not one bit, but it seemed more like first time out camper problems. 🙂 However, the scenery was gorgeous and we love being together. Thankfully the drive home was uneventful and the big snow that was warned about didn’t happen. Dry roads most of the way.

Checking out Arizona, Our Thoughts

Superior, AZ January 2021

I mean, wow, right?! The rocks, the clouds, the sun, the light all work together to make my jaw drop in awe. This is Superior, AZ.

Superior, AZ January 2021

The desert sun illuminating the rugged rocks with blue sky and clouds around took our breath away. We didn’t want to leave.

Tucson, AZ January 2021

We took a whole day and explored around Tucson. Here you see the old and the new. We will definitely go back and discover more of the history in this place. (Some things were closed due to Covid.)

Tucson, AZ January 2021

You know Kevin and I drive around a lot. 🙂 We found a road on a map that looked interesting. We followed it this way and that way and at times it was going the “wrong” direction from where we thought it should go. But after a while we started up the road to Mt Lemmon. This picture is towards the bottom of the drive and you can see Tucson down below.

Mt Lemmon, AZ January 2021

There is a ski resort at the top of Mt Lemmon and a cute, small village. We even saw some snow on the top of the trees. The views all around have you seeing flat land and then this tall mountain.

Arizona “Check it out” trip. Jan 15-24, 2021

Desert sunsets are stunning. Add a few palm trees and wow.

Our thoughts on Arizona (written by Kevin):

We had a great time discovering Arizona. My perception would have been it would only be saguaro cactuses and sand. This could not be farther from the truth. There were mountains, trees, and diversity everywhere. It was great to check out the history of the towns in the area. I am sure we visited at the perfect time of year (January) but I could really see this as a winter “home base” in the future. 🙂

Checking out Arizona, part 3

Driving along and suddenly red rocks reaching for the sky. Sedona, AZ January 2021

Have you been to Sedona, Arizona? We have heard friends and family talk about this place but we hadn’t been there before this trip in January. It is a very beautiful place.

Our hike at Fay Canyon, Sedona, AZ January 2021

We drove through the town and finally found the visitor’s center. The gentleman gave us a good map, highlighted a plan for us, and gave a suggestion for lunch when we asked. We drove west to Fay Canyon and took the hike. The path was easy to follow and ended up in a box canyon. It was a beautiful hike with greenery, trees, red rocks and steep cliffs above us.

Fried ice cream! Sedona, AZ January 2021

El Rincon Restaurant, ” Arizona Style Mexican Cuisine” in the old Tiaquepaque Village was what the gentleman at the visitor’s center recommended. He was right on, it was delicious. We finished up with fried ice cream. Doesn’t get much better than that! 🙂

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ January 2021
Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ January 2021

This beautiful chapel has a great story of why and how it became this place. Check it out: Chapel of the Holy Cross

Sedona, AZ January 2021

Sedona definitely left a great impression on us and we can’t wait to go back.

Checking out Arizona, part 2

Outside of Flagstaff, AZ. January 2021

One day we drove from Phoenix to Flagstaff. The drive goes through all sorts of different landscapes. From cactus, to evergreens, from flatland to mountains. Kevin and I like it all.

The famous Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ. January 2021

We drove directly to the old downtown area. This is a favorite thing for us to do as you can see and learn history there. Here is Kevin (with mask on) standing on the Route. Behind him is a train depot with a small museum. Trains still use this track.

Best authentic Shepherd’s Pie, ever! January 2021

When we travel, we like to stay away from the food-chain restaurants and eat at local places. It took us quite a while to find a place open because 1. this wasn’t their busy season someone told us and 2. Covid had a lot of places closed. We found this place and we were delighted. The food was over the top of what we expected.

Shepherd’s Pie at Collins…I am ready to go there again! January 2021

Hang on, as I pause to remember this delicious, mouth-watered dish! Okay, moving on….

Arizona “Check it out” trip. Jan 15-24,2021

We like to learn the history of old towns and are always glad to see signs on the buildings describing their history. The Babbitt Brothers came from Ohio in 1886. They bought some land near Flagstaff (a wild and rowdy town of 600 people) and put some cattle and sheep on their land. They were very successful. The two brothers convinced the other 3 brothers to move there and they all started this mercantile store. Inside, you can see the tile on the ceilings and the floor is warped with time and use. Here is a link for more information on the Babbitt brothers:

Babbitt Brothers Information

We continued our walk and saw the Pinecone Hotel, the old opera house and many other buildings

Kevin shouts “A Maverick!” Camp Verde, AZ. January 2021

If you know Kevin at all, you know he “loves” his Diet Coke. And this convenient/gas station is his favorite. He was thrilled (translation: squealed like a kid at Christmas!) when we saw this Maverick Store along the road. Of course, we had to stop. And, he made me take his picture so that he can remember this good find. HAHA

Checking out Arizona, part 1

Kevin and I have been wanting to go to Arizona to check it out and see if we would like to have a place there for our home base. We decided to fly there during January for a weekend. Then, why not go for two weekends and work during the week. Then it changed to let’s take off work and go there for 10 days. HAHA This is what we did. I didn’t write about this trip in my travel journey because I was thinking the travel journal would be for trips in HOWE (our Home on Wheels travel trailer). Now I know I should have but I have tons of pictures that are equal to a journal. 🙂 Don’t worry, I want overload you with all of them. I am going to share with you several of the places we visits.

Steamboat Dolly, Apache Junction, AZ January 2021

Steamboat Dolly was a very enjoyable excursion. Our tickets included a delicious catered dinner of steak, chicken, veggies, rolls, and desserts. The boat goes up a very wide river which is part of Canyon Lake.

Gorgeous views on Steamboat Dolly on Canyon Lake, AZ January 2021

The boat ride lasted through the evening to dark.

More of our Arizona trip in the next blog.

A New Year: Cathedral Gorge & Valley of Fire

8th trip – Days 34-50, Dec 18-2020-Jan 3, 2021. St George, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (continued)

Reflection off trailer. Camping Southern Utah RV Resort, St George, UT Dec 18, 2020-Jan 3, 2021

During the day it was raining. It was a very light rain and not too cold. When it was done, the air felt and smelled like spring.

Quilting while camping. Dec 18, 2020-Jan 3, 2021

Tuesday, I sewed all day. Making cute snowmen table runner and placemats. Kevin worked during the day. When we were done, we went to Main Street Quilt Cottage in Hurricane. Of course, found it from Traveler’s Quilt Guide book. It is a tiny store with not really a large selection of fabric to amount to anything. They had patterns, kits, and wool. I bought a beautiful blue fabric that is darker on top and goes to light at the bottom and has gold circles. On the way back we stopped at Walmart for command strips to hang the National Park map that my parents gave us for Christmas.

National Park Map. Gift from my parents.

I was texting with my sewing friend, Sandra, this week. Her and her husband wanted to camp and asked where we are. I told her. The next thing I know, she says they are coming down to camp and are staying in the same campground! So fun. That evening, they knocked on our door. It was nice to meet her husband and introduce them to Kevin.

Wednesday, repeat from yesterday during the day. I sewed and Kevin worked. We are love, love, loving living out of HOWE (our Home on Wheels). After Kevin’s work, we drove to Santa Clara to a quilt shop. It is called Clover Patch Quilt and is in Traveler’s Quilt Guide book. So, of course, I just “had” to buy something. HAHA Ended up buying some pretty pink batiks and Kevin wanted some cute camping fabric that has an old Ford pickup on it.

Got KFC and took it home. Then we went over to see Sandra. Their trailer is 6 months old and is a great floor plan. Kevin and I really like the layout. Sandra and I sewed while the guys visited.

Thursday, New Year’s Eve. Sandra and her husband left this morning to go home. Now, when Kevin and I first booked with this campground, we were replacing our cruise, Dec 18-28, which was canceled due to Covid. Then we thought, why go home then? So we had looked to extend our time. Over several weeks, we kept checking but the entire campground was booked. Then one day, we found that 1 slot had opened. We took it. That would extend until Dec 31. We kept watching and soon another slot opened up for Dec 31-Jan 3, exactly what we wanted. So, we had 3 bookings. HAHA When we checked in, they told Kevin that we had missed one day (the check out day we didn’t check in that day and it happens all the time). She made some changes and they had 1 opening. It turns out, we would only have to move sites one time. Pretty cool!

OH, the site we moved to? Was the spot Sandra and her husband were in. That made me laugh. We teased them last night about “get out of our spot!” As soon as they left, we moved over. It was between two long term looking places, one being the AT&T truck. It didn’t have the same feeling as Row E8 and E9 where we have stayed before. But it was fine.

Kevin worked until noon and then everyone was off. After that we went to Sally’s Beauty Supply. You see, I realized something very important. We are camping so much and my Gelish nails (a nail polish that stays on great!) aren’t lasting quite as long since I am hand washing dishes every day. So of course, I need a Gelish kit to keep in the trailer. HA Of course, Sally’s was out of most everything, including the kit. Thankfully I was able to piece together all the parts needed. Back to HOWE and I did my nails. Ah, what a nice feeling. 🙂

In researching things happening in the area, I found that Washington City was having fireworks at 10:00 pm on New Year’s Eve. I think that was a great idea. Kevin and I stood outside and watched them. Our new site looks south and over the whole valley. There were a lot of fireworks and they were fun to see. It was a little bit cold but nothing a jacket didn’t fix. Off to bed we went. One benefit of being deaf? I didn’t hear anything all night. Kevin heard fireworks throughout the night.

Friday, New Year’s Day. This morning we drove through Santa Clara and then north on Hwy 18. We could see Snow Canyon, Dammeron Valley offered gorgeous photos of snow on the cedar trees and ground.

Stunning Dammeron Valley, UT Dec 18, 2020-Jan 3, 2021

We continued to Beryl Junction and turned left onto Hwy 56. The valley there is very flat and reminds us that it is a dry lakebed. We crossed the state line into Nevada and the road name changed to 319. Up and over the mountains and into snow clouds. The roads were dry and the clouds on the mountains gave the feeling of being the only ones on the earth. A quick stop at Panaca and then we turned north. A few miles and we were at Cathedral Gorge State Park.

Cathedral Gorge State Park a place unlike anything we have seen before.

We thought the Cathedrals would be as tall as Zion but they weren’t. However, they were like something we hadn’t seen before. Unlike Utah, where formations are made from soft sandstone and erosion, this was hard as cement. In fact, I kept saying how I thought someone had just made it with a concrete truck.  HAHA Of course, that isn’t true. When you touch the structures, they were hard as cement but you can see all the erosion over time. It fact, some is eroded so much that it made slot canyons. We walked up several.

Charla standing in a Slot Canyon.

There was a little skiff of snow on the ground, but the temp was 52. Kevin made the profound statement: “Who knew Erosion was such as Artist.” Right on.

Kevin looking in awe at the beauty of this place.

We are so very glad we went but it is probably a one time visit. We continued home a different way, taking Hwy 93 to just east of Mesquite. This round about way showed us all sorts of landscapes: from the mountains and cedar trees, to flat desserts and Joshua Trees. Back at HOWE, we planned out our next couple of trips: Arizona. We want to look around and see if we like it. We thought we would fly there for a long weekend (MLK Day) but then, why not work the week there and stay ten days, and then, “why don’t I” (Kevin)” just take vacation days”. Sounds good to me! We booked flights, hotel and car.

Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see!

Saturday, Valley of Fire State Park in Arizona. We had seen signs for this place and when we researched for Gold Butte. Today we drove there. It was another perfect day with sun and high 50s. We are close to the headway of Lake Mead and saw quite a few campers boondocking. Valley of Fire is a lot of red rocks, similar to Zion in color and texture. We stopped at the three cabins, which were used for travelers years ago. They are smaller than our trailer! 🙂 Behind the cabins we saw more petroglyphs. Down the road we stopped at Rainbow and took a hike. It was a mile out and back. I was surprised that the ground was all red sand. Makes sense, that it is from the red sandstone but I hadn’t thought about it before. It was like walking on a beach. Beautiful and the rocks were so close we could touch them. The parking lots were full and we were lucky to find a place to park the truck. Kevin said this was one of his favorite places.

“End of trail” indeed! The drop off behind Kevin is crazy far.

As we drove out of the park, we were again stunned at how different the landscape is: it just rolls along as a desert and a few hills and then all of sudden, these red rocks jet up. Really neat.

Sunday, disembarkment day. Also so sad. Kevin winterized the trailer as I put things away.

It helps my heart that we have plans for upcoming trips.