Saturday, September 14, 2019

More Misses and Changed Changes

August 30 - September 6, 2019
Ogden & Kanab, Utah - Anthem, Arizona

Two years ago we went south to Ogden, Utah, to see Bill's family. We were early because of the smoke and missed Trish and her family. Aunt Nancy hadn't moved there yet. Fortunately we got to see Cousin Penny and her family.

Last year we went north to Ogden and the morning we were supposed to arrive we received devastating news that kept us from seeing Trish and her family. We did get to see Aunt Nancy and Penny for a quick visit.

Leaving the Tetons, we have plans to finally see all of the family. It's a long-for-us moving day of 245 miles, but it's a nice combination of pretty views and easy interstate. We again set up at Wasatch View Estates (view yes, estate no), where we turn on both ACs in the high temps. 

Unbelievably, I get a message from Penny that Aunt Nancy is in the hospital!! While she gets better over the weekend, she's not up to a visit. We again miss seeing Trish and her family.

Sunday we get to see Penny and her family. It's always a great time getting caught up with them. And now there's a new addition - Rafferty is six months old.

Raffy discovering pickles.

Lemons are even better!

Katy, Rafferty, Jesse, Desmond, Tessa, Bill and Penny
We agree that next time we're going to sneak into town.

It's too hot to enjoy being outdoors. We take a short drive into higher elevations to the little towns of Huntsville, Eden and Liberty. Lots of folks enjoying the water of Pineville Reservoir. Mostly we hang out at home in the air conditioning.

Our last evening we drive south to Salt Lake City to meet up with Bill's good friend Nik. He surprises Bill with another friend, Bernard, who he hasn't seen in years. Along with their family members, we have a great meal and tasty brews at Wasatch Brew Pub. (Sorry Pam, we didn't have a Polygamy Porter this time.)

Fun times!
Tuesday morning we continue south on I-15. The city seems to go on forever, but eventually we return to beautiful golden plains. Utah really is stunning in so many ways. Big puffy clouds dress up the bright blue skies.

We spend a single night in the little town of Fillmore, and on Wednesday we arrive at J&J RV Park in Kanab, Utah. So glad John and Pam (ohtheplacestheygo) found this nice new park! For such a popular destination, Kanab has the worst RV parks. There's no shade, but it's clean with level,  good sized FHU sites. 

En route we hear from our friends Jim and Maggie who are also making their way south. They're going to be in Monument Valley on Friday so after making some changes, we're reserved for a few days in one of my favorite places. It will be great to meet up with them, and see the beautiful monuments. 

Thursday we head out to Angel and Hog Canyons. It's wonderful to be back in the red rocks. Best Friends is a well-known animal rescue sanctuary in Angel Canyon, but until we drive through I had no idea it's so huge. In addition to being the largest in the country, Best Friends has facilities in Houston, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Atlanta. We don't stop, I can't be trusted.

Angel Canyon

Hog Canyon

You know you're living a wonderful life when it's mid-day and you can say "Hey, let's run over to Zion for a couple hours!" And then you do and have a great time :-))

We didn't see any in the national parks, so it's fun to see this domestic Bison herd on the way.

It's not as crowded as it was during our late October visit, so we're able to stop and see a lot more. But the Visitor Center parking lot is overflowing because it includes those taking the shuttle to the rest of the park. It would be nice if they had separate lots so you can enjoy the visitor center if you don't want to take a shuttle. Rather than making a loop again, this time we return the way we came. We see even more incredible natural beauty.

A short wait to enter the long tunnel. On the way back, they've opened it for two-way traffic.

Not only long, the tunnel is very dark.

The dark square is one of three "windows" in the tunnel.

Looking out the same window.

Outside the park the views continue.
Friday morning we're up early and ready to head out. But our slides aren't :-(

The large one comes in all but a couple inches and stops. Nothing from the switch. The other two - nothing. Great!

Troubleshooting with the manufacturer confirms we don't have a simple issue. Bill finds a local mobile tech who is able to send someone out right away. He assures that although the guy he's sending looks young, he knows his stuff.

Lance looks 15, seriously I can't believe he's old enough to drive. While I'm at the post office he finds the problem and is able to get all three slides in. But they aren't fixed. We'll have to get to a shop to have the wire behind the breaker replaced. 

Soooo, for the third time in a couple weeks, we miss a meet up we were really looking forward to. We cancel Monument Valley and at 1:30 we head south to see how far we can get. Bill is able to make an appointment at Camping World for Monday, and we let our Tombstone friends know we'll now be there even earlier.

At sunset we grab a pull-through at Pioneer RV Resort north of Phoenix and spend a very snug night with all the slides in.

We're fortunate we were close enough to our planned destination to just make our way there. 

Our goal in Tombstone is to find a property for our winter base. I've made an appointment to see one place, there's a couple more I want to look at, and our friends sent us one a couple months ago that's still available.

Will we find one we can call home?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Peaks and Valleys, Whispers, Roars and Ripples

August 25 - 29, 2019
Victor, Idaho

Our last evening in Ennis, Montana
We've been here separately many years ago. We've wanted to visit together since we started traveling. We were going to miss it again, until I did the reroute.

So now we're finally here for a few days - the Grand Tetons!!

In addition to near perfect weather all summer, we've also been blessed with calm driving days. Sunday's drive back into Idaho changes that - we have sustained 25 mph winds the whole way. Not too bad, but hitting us from the side on narrow country roads, it adds a little excitement :-)

The Teton Valley RV Resort in Victor, Idaho, is a medium size park that stretches the title a bit. After our last beautiful stop, it's a let down. Our pull-through gravel site has green space that is 90% weeds with a dilapidated picnic table. The sites are between two curbs so parking the Jeep means having to drop the front end into a hole. It's very strange. We'll find another place next visit.

The national park is only 30 miles away, but that 10% Teton Pass in between is quite the drive! We have friends who have done it in their RV, but not something I'm excited about ever doing.

Of course the rewards of getting to the other side are well worth it.

Stunning against perfect blue skies.

Beauty finding a beautiful background.

Our first look at the glaciers.

Mount Moran over Jackson Lake
On previous routes we entered Yellowstone from the east, west and north. We want to see the corner we've missed, and this is our best opportunity. Ends up being 140 miles round trip on Hwy 191 from Jackson, but it's hard to beat the natural beauty of our surroundings.

South Entrance

The last Monday before Labor Day.
It's a lot of forest, less diversity than the other areas of the park. Still, it's a lovely drive. We're glad we did it. 

Back in Grand Tetons National Park we take the park road through Jackson. It's dark when we get home in Victor, what a great day!

Lewis Falls

Snake River

Lewis Lake
Long vistas from Signal Mountain Summit.
Not hikers, bikers or kayakers, we still see a lot of gorgeous places in this country. And I read the blogs of friends who take me to the places that hiking, biking and kayaking take them. In between their more energetic adventures, these friends also explore places I look forward to seeing. Joe and Gay's (good-times-rollin') recent blog post on their Grand Tetons' visit not only inspired me to finally route us here, but gave me several fabulous places to see.

One of the most unique is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. The final 1,106 acre parcel of the Rockefeller ranch was donated to the park by Laurance in 2001 with a specific vision for its use. Starting with the removal of all ranch structures and reseeding of grazed lands, the preserve provides trails through meadows, forests and riparian habitats.

Parking is limited, and there's a line for a space. Bill and Tessa wait, giving me more time to explore before they join me. 

I could spend hours just in the simple visitor center. A purposely peaceful place where the appreciation of nature is key. Four videos of park flora and fauna play simultaneously showing the changing seasons. The well stocked library has views of the surrounding mountains. There's even a round meditation room with wonderful soft music and sounds of nature playing around you. I love this place!

Open space filled with the natural sounds of the park provide a unique opportunity to watch the changing scenes.

A picture made of photos.

A quiet, comfy spot to read. Must be wonderful on a cold day with the fire going.
Well maintained, winding trails find surprises that whisper and roar. We don't see any wildlife, birdsong teases from the thick brush.

Falls roar with power.

Creek water whispers over and around the rocks.
Late summer blooms and delicate parachutes waiting for a breeze.
No matter our specific destination, those giant mountain peaks are always there to distract us! We must say Wow! a dozen times just seeing them from a slightly different distance and location. I probably took 20 pics of them :-)

Bill got this pic with his peak identifying app. So cool!
With the snow gone, the glaciers are visible. 

These cars are all squeezed in before getting to the full trailhead parking lotIt's not that we're lazy and out of shape, we don't hike because you have to get up too early to access the trailheads. Toooo many people on the trails. Yep, let's go with that excuse. 
Jenny Lake - the one place my boys and I saw in the park 25 years ago. Still beautiful.

And thankfully still clear and pristine.

Entering the Gros Ventre (grow-vaunt) River area, we learn about the historic slide.

Almost 95 years later, the slide scar stands out from the surrounding forest.
 Scalloped lake edges.

Red air-brushed hills above Gros Ventre Lake.

A peak peeks out from the Aspens (see this Janis??).

Mormon Row was a hardy community living in brutal winters with outstanding views.

Just a little duct tape and this cute pink cottage would be perfect!

Old barns and rugged peaks.
Thistle blooms all on the same plant.
Wednesday we stay on the Idaho side of the pass. The Teton Valley is a different kind of beautiful, the peaks more subtle. The cute little towns of Victor, Driggs and Teton Valley include large ranches and farms. No crowds, it's a more laid back day of exploration.

The drive up Grand Targhee.

Teton Valley

Teton Creek ripples through narrow meanders.
The natural art of long grass under water.

Protected salamander habitat.
Valley farms.

Processing field gold.
I sleep late on our last day so we again stay in our little valley. Dear friends Steven and Linda (The Chouters) have a beautiful property known to many of us as Lot 5 (very cleverly from the number of the lot......) Linda let's us know where to find it so we take a drive to check it out. 

Wonderful views from Lot 5.

The Big Eddy has not only great boondocking spots, but also the most fish we've seen anywhere this summer. Bill makes sure I put it on the list for our next visit!

Farm art.

This stunning hawk poses for a his photo op.

We missed most of Idaho again, but are so glad we made the time to see this amazing area. We're already planning to come back!

Next we continue south to try, and fail, to see all of Bill's family in Ogden.