So we are on day #....um....13? I honestly have little idea. It is crazy how such a long and varied trip has completely made me lose all concept of what day it is and what the date is!
We are currently in southern Utah. And HOLY COW. It is about a 100 now....but tomorrow is supposed to be about 108...and then 114...and then 118! And with 3 kids (one of which is Caroline) and one dog AND one A/C that doesn't work while driving (thank GOD it works great while hooked up), we are a little scared about the pending heat wave.
So we decided to high tail it outta here and head north sooner than planned. Thank GOD the campground we were booked at was so gracious to refund us for the "nonrefundable" days we aren't staying.
But, I digress.....and onto a trip recap before I forget all the details!
So we finished our stay in the state of Colorado at beautiful Lake Vallecito. We stayed at a great little wooded campground where we were able to get campsites right next to each other and where the kids could ride bikes and explore. It was really nice.
We spent 3 nights there, but for the most part, were in the Durango area. (And, in hindsight, we should have camped in the Durango area as we ended up taking a 40 minute drive to that area about 3 times in 3 days.)
On the the first day, we took it slow in the morning and then headed into Durango after lunch. Our first stop was the historic Durango-Silverton railroad station where we emptied our wallets and decided to book a day trip on the train for the next day.
The next morning we literally played out a scene from Home Alone. No, we didn't accidentally forget a kid, but we did have an alarm malfunction and literally had about 15 minutes of time to get up and get 5 of us ready - and one dog walked - and get on our way to the train. We were a little disheveled and a LOT stressed...but we made it!!!
The train left about 8:45 and was 3 1/2 hours each way. It is the oldest steam engine in continual operation and has been running since 1881. We meandered through town and then slowly started our way up the mountain into Sliverton. There were breathtaking views the entire ride, especially when we rode on the edge of the mountain and were looking 400 feet down into a gorge with the Animas River rushing below!!!
Caroline did fairly well but got a little tired of the noise, or the swaying, or the sitting or or or.....(who knows!!!???) and she spent the last hour off and on crying until we arrived at Silverton.
Silverton is an old mining town that almost makes you feel like you walked back into time. We had lunch and then a little over an hour of time to walk around and explore before our 3 pm train took off back to Durango. And luckily, Caroline seemed to enjoy the ride back down the mountain much more than she did the ride up.
As an aside, our little pup Dixie was left in our RV during our LOOONNNGGGG day and we were really nervous about how she would do. But other than missing us a LOT, she was fine! She really has been doing so well during this crazy adventure!
The next day we packed up again and made our way southwest. And the landscape quickly changed from lush and cool and beautiful....to arid and sandy and HOT.
We passed the four corners monument and jumped out for a quick picture. Actually it wasn't that "quick' because we first had to pay $5 per person and then we had to stand in line for our chance to take "ONLY THREE" pictures. Luckily it was a midweek so the line wasn't too long, but I can see it being a long stop during busy times. And even though it was sort of "cool" to be there, I wouldn't necessarily recommend going out of your way to make the stop.
And then we continued to make our way west across desolate northern Arizona. UGH. It was in the 90's and our A/C doesn't work in the motorhome for longer than 10 minutes at a time....and we entered a pocket of no cell service, no NOTHING. It was really not fun in any way.
At about dinnertime we arrived at Lake Powell Arizona. It was a beautiful area but very hot, still no cell service and the wifi at the campground was almost nonexistent.
No cell or wifi normally wouldn't be a huge deal at all but we had a few problems.
First off we have been watching the weather and the forecast of "deadly heat" in our area over the next week started to really scare us considering #1, we have a handicapped child and #2, our A/C issue is going to make any travel insanely uncomfortable. And then, to top it off, we have an engine issue, our sink started leaking like crazy and our toilet clogged.
Now being RV newbies, these issues become BIG problems because we have no way to do any research on our options and possible fixes. So we hightailed it to a local McDonalds where we could use wifi and start to make some alternative plans.
We all finally decided that we needed to cut out stay in the southwest short and start going north sooner rather than later. It is a bummer because we aren't going to be able to see as much of southern Utah as we wanted. And we aren't going to get any [much needed] days to relax. But with temperatures forecasted to be about 118? We would rather get moving.
After a couple nights we got up early and went east to Hurricane Utah - the place we planned a long stay but decided to cut to only 2 days. On the way though, we made a detour and stopped at the Grand Canyon North Rim. And all I can say is WOW. I have heard countless times before that you have to see the Grand Canyon in person to truly appreciate it and by golly - they were right!!
It is truly breathtaking - like you literally catch your breath when you see it.
The only "person" who really didn't appreciate, or even care for, the Grand Canyon was Dixie. She was so scared and barked a lot. We felt bad but there was nothing we could do - either take her with us, or just don't go at all.
And then we arrived in Hurricane UT.
The RV park was probably one of the nicest so far. The staff was so sweet, the spots were perfect and their bathrooms are amazing - better than mine at home actually! And they had a handicapped shower which was huge and had a seat and was perfect for Caroline. We only wish the weather would have cooperated as this definitely a place we could have stayed for a while.
The next day we made our way to Zion National Park - about 25 miles from the campground. Unfortunately though - it was Saturday so it was CROWDED. And we had no idea where to go and what to do so we made our way to the information desk for guidance.
I can not say enough about Zion and the way they immediately made it SO easy for us to visit with Caroline. The only way to access most of Zion's points of interest in by a shuttle. But since it was Saturday, the line to the shuttle was seemingly MILES long. The ranger said, however, he can give us a pass for our car so we can drive into all the areas that are restricted only to the shuttle. It was like we were VIPs!
We had Stacia and the kids pile into our car - since we actually had enough room! - and we drove around the park. This park is just gorgeous - HUGE towering red rocks, lots of trees and the river winding its way through. I felt like I couldn't take enough pictures.
We stopped at the end of the road which is where the hiking path to the Narrows is. After a little lunch, we made our way along the path to the Narrows. Luckily the path is also easy for strollers or wheelchairs so we were able to make our way with Caroline! But, unluckily, we made the poor decision to leave our water bottles and NOT bring bathing suits.
It was HOT. It was about a mile walk one way. And they had STUNNING swimming holes!!!!!!!
By the time we got to the end, the kids gave up caring if they got their clothes wet and just jumped in. But we were way too tired and thirsty to stay as long as we would have liked, so we headed back. I wish I could say "next time" we will do it right, but who knows if there will ever be a next time.
So now we are heading north and hoping to escape the worst of the heat. We are also scheduled to get some service done to our RV in hopes of getting the A/C working and possibly getting our engine issue fixed. While I want those things fixed, I am not too jazzed about a delay in our trip, no clue how long this delay may be, what our repair bill will cost or the fact that we probably are going to paying for a hotel room while this is done. But I am trying to stay positive (which is very hard for a negative Nelly like me) and hope that our next destination of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons is all smooth sailing!!!