are embarking on a trip with some of our long time
friends from the Ramblin’ Recs, the RV group from my previous church,
original plan was to go to the Valley of Fire State Park
in Nevada, about 50 miles north of Las Vegas for 3 nights, then to
for 3 nights, then to BLM land to dry camp near the Paria Plateau,
again for 3
nights, then on to Page, AZ for 4 nights before heading home.The trip was originally
planned by Floyd, and our wagon masters for the trip were Floyd and
Doug (I won’t use last names in this report for privacy reasons.)
ran into a couple of complications shortly before the
took ill and was
later admitted to the hospital for several days.After several days of insisting he would join
us as soon as he was released, he was finally convinced that he would
able to participate in this trip.This
was a major disappointment to him, as he has been planning this trip
and it was also a major disappointment for us!.We miss you Floyd and Ruthie! This is your
trip and we are taking it without you.
The other glitch was
that in talking to the rangers at Valley
it seemed that we had a 0
percent chance of getting into the park when scheduled.The park is a first come first
served park and is very busy at this time of the year, especially since
Spring Break for Utah
Floyd insisted that we go ahead with the trip as planned, Doug took
over the sole wagon master slot.We
then decided to just cancel the Valley
portion and to start the
trip 3 days later so the balance of the trip would continue on schedule.The Escondido
members drove to a campground in Las
to stay overnight and then continued on their way to Kanab Monday.Rosemarie and I left Prescott
on Monday morning and met the group in our campground in Kanab.
to take so long to tell you that 4 coaches from
Escondido and we (from Prescott) are starting about a 10 day trip in
pretty much a “plan as we go” trip,
so timing and even destinations could change before we are done.
On this trip are
Doug and Janet, Ray and Kathy, Tom and
Marilyn, Dick and Alice along with their daughter Suzanne, and
Rosemarie and Dick
(that’s me), and their 5 rigs.
Monday April 17, 2012
We left home at
passing through Flagstaff
prior to reaching Kanab.We
after remembering that Utah
is an hour ahead of AZ this time of year.We were sure we would be last, as we had about 100
miles farther to
drive today than the others.About
they all arrived and parked in the 4
sites down from us. They
had stopped in
St. George and talked to the BLM officials about our dry camping plans,
managed to spend almost 3 hours in St. George.It was a day for an early bedtime and we made it by
about .(This was AZ time!)
our rigs at our Kanab RV park.
Tuesday April 18
This morning we all
went over to the local Visitor’s Center
and got maps and information on area attractions and nearby points of
there we went to a movie
museum which had a number of actual sets from movies on display.There were a lot of
movies, mostly westerns,
shot in the Kanab area, and many of the sets had been moved to their
showed where other
sets could be found nearby, including the set from the TV show Gunsmoke.Unfortunately, many of
these sets are on private land
and the owners appear to have no interest in keeping them up, so they
continuously deteriorating and the owners will not let people in to see
them.As we would
only be able to see
them from a public road some distance away, and they are in poor shape,
skipped that one.What
we did see was
sets at the movie museum were all actual sets used to film movies.
Most of the buildings had a tag identifying the movie and the
is the jail, one of several adobe buildings. When I asked the
lady inside how they moved these buildings, she said to look closely.
The "adobe" was really a siding. When I looked
door where some calking had come out, I could see that it was about 1/8
thick and looked almost like paper mache. You can never tell
After arriving back
at camp, one of the couples mentioned
having reservations to take a tour of an animal sanctuary nearby.It included a 90 minute
narrated bus ride
around their facilities. It
interesting, so they called and were able to make reservations for the
tour was for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.It was a wonderful tour describing a truly
sanctuary is the
largest in the country and covers 3700 acres that it owns and another
acres leased from the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM).They have many, many
buildings, all of which
are for specialized functions.Just
in the dog section, they have
buildings for young puppies (Puppy Preschool), for injured dogs, for
needs dogs. They
have building for
socializing dogs, for medical care of dogs, and of course many for just
facilities for cats, smaller ones for bunnies, burros, goats and pot
many horses and even some
non-profit organization is dedicated to no-kill care for
life if the animals are not adopted, or if an adoption doesn’t work out.They adopt out about 75 %
of their cats and
dogs.In all they
have about 17,000
animals at any given time. It
runs on a
40 million dollar budget per year.Most
of the money is raised by contributions, with most of them being less
each.It is an
amazing facility and was
an amazing tour.
we were on the bus tour at Best Friends, we saw a number of horses,
some with physical or mental problems.
the entrance to the dog area we passed by this gate which was made by
one of their volunteer artists. At first glance is is some
interesting leaves, but as you look at it, you can see a number of dog
heads. It's too bad the background is so busy, as it makes it
hard to see some of the heads.
The dog area was massive with a
great many buildings, most of which were octaginal, as they decided
this was the most efficient. They have 8 pens around a
area, and all can be checked from this area. They appear to
2 or 3 dogs in each pen, sometimes in their crates.
All these buildings are surrounded by dog runs for the dogs to get
their exercise and sunshine.
Marilyn, Janet and Doug are looking at
one of the rooms in one
of the 13 cat buildings. All buildings have many places for
cats to climb and snuggle. Every room has cat doors to let
cats out the their outer pens.
After we left the
gift shop at Best Friends, we went about a
mile down the road to the MoquiCave.The cave was bought in
1951 by Garth
Chamberlain and his wife who undid the damage of years of neglect and
houses a museum of many
Indian artifacts and the largest collection of fossils and minerals
prohibition, there was a fully functioning tavern in the back “cool
the prohibitionists could not find it.The bar and stools are still there.There was also a gift shop in the cave.It was very interesting.
we see Kathy, Ray, Janet, Rosemarie, Marilyn, Doug, and Tom looking at
artifacts. Dick is behind the camera.
cave contains a couple of rooms in the back. This is the
containing Indian artifacts, dinosaur foot print fossils, and other
relics of the area.
In another back room was a massive display
of minerals which fluoresce.
That room was so dark with just the
glowing rocks, that I was unable to get any pictures other than
museum room contains the prohibition era tavern. You can see
of the bars and the stools near the center of the picture.
other bar is just out of the picture to the lower right, but you can
see several of the stools.
This evening the 8
of us went out to dinner.The
place we had picked turned out to be open
Thursday through Monday.This
about a block down the
street and had a wonderful dinner at Houston’s
Wednesday, April 18
Today most of us
loaded into 3 cars and headed for the Coral
Pink Sands State Park, which is only about 20 miles from Kanab.The sand dunes consist of
very fine coral
you pick up a handful
of sand and let it out slowly, it almost looks like a mist.This is a Utah
state park and consists of about 1200 acres.About 90% of the park is open to OHV (off highway
mostly of 4 wheel ATV’s and dune buggies).They have a very nice campground with a special exit
road for OHV access
to the dunes.There
is a beautiful
observation platform which is elevated above the desert floor and has a
bleachers and a sun/wind barrier.It was
a most beautiful and interesting stop.
number of our group are on the observation deck viewing the dunes at
the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
The dunes are a bright salmon color
and extend almost as far as you can see to each side.
observation deck is amazing. There is a very sturdy aluminum
railing all the way up the path and around the deck. This set
bleachers with its protective screen was nothing I would expect.
sand is interesting to walk on. There is just some extra
resistance on level areas, but on slopes your feet sink in and slide
down some. It almost feels like they will be burried in the
From there we
traveled about 30 miles, including a couple
stretches of dirt road to the PipeSpringNational
Monument.Here early Mormon settlers were directed by
Brigham Young to build a fort to protect from Indian raids.They build a fort called WindsorCastle
directly over the main
spring to ensure the continued availability of the water.
We toured WindsorCastle
guided by a very knowledgeable Native American.
is the fort (Windsor Castle) from the outside. The massive
lead into the courtyard and the little structure on the top is the
members of our tour group are listening to the history of the fort as
told by our guide. The fort contained living quarters for
few people including a kitchen and a water cooled pantry.
kitchen included a beautiful wood stove, and a couple dining
were several bedrooms. This one has gun ports along the top
the 18 inch thick walls, and a climb hole to the observation tower.
None of these were ever actually used as the Indian raids had
pretty well quit by the time the fort was completed.
In the fields around the fort they built up a very large herd of
cattle. Texas Longhorns did very well in this area.
fort was the location of the first telegraph station in the territory.
It was operated by a woman at this table.
The fort was originally thought to be in Utah, but a later survey
showed it to be just inside the Arizona boundary.
Tonight we all
participated in a pot luck dinner and no one
we will leave this beautiful campground and head to
some BLM land on House Rock Road in preparation to 4 wheel off road
the Paria Plateau. We have decided that 2 nights here should
enough. We will only do the back roads for one day.
decided to stay at Page for 3 nights, instead of 4 we had originally
Thursday, April 19
We got up, ate a
leisurely breakfast and got ready to
leave.We said our
sad farewells to
Dick, Alice, and Suzanne as they were heading for home this morning.After several of us fueled
up, we departed
for our next stop near House Rock Road and US89A.This is near where we will start our off road
adventure on the
Paria Plateau tomorrow.As
approached the area, we all pulled off in a large scenic view parking
un-hooked Doug’s Jeep, and the 4 of us guys went exploring for a good
stay.There is a
lot of BLM and
forestry land around here and we can stay, within guidelines, almost
that is flat and already disturbed.We
cannot be the first disturber.
drove to a small flat area just off US89A where the ranger in the
Forestry office had suggested. It contained a sign "No
Parking". We assumed the sign trumped the ranger.
a site that could work, but was not ideal, right along 89A.
then drove up House Rock Road, a fairly major unpaved road which
extends from US89 in Utah down to US89A in Arizona. It is
road that our route will start. We were told we could park
anywhere along this road, past the initial ranch, using the same
guidelines. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no place
the shoulder and brush would allow an RV to park, and there were no
Doug and Janet had
made notes of appropriate camping places as we
had been approaching, so we picked up our RV’s and backtracked to a
place among the Pine trees at about 7500 foot elevation where a couple
forest roads joined US89A.
site we found was in the pines and was beautiful. At 7500
feet, the nights were below freezing.
Friday, April 20
This morning Ray
came over and told me that he and Kathy
were heading to Page shortly, as he was having an electrical problem
were having some problem with the altitude.We will meet them there tomorrow.
About 8:30 the
remaining 6 of us left camp in our 4x4
discovered that one of
the roads leaving our “camping clearing” connected with House Rock Road
somewhat north of our turnoff, so we went that route.Our plan was to follow forest and BLM roads to the
top of the
Paria Plateau and out to the end.There
are some tremendous views from the end.The drive, once we reach the junction of House Rock
Road and the
entrance to the Plateau is about 30 miles in and another 30 miles back
out over the same route.As
we drove through the forests and down to
the junction was about another 15 miles of dirt roads, and after we
it was about 10 miles down to US89A.We
drove about 85 miles on unpaved roads today on a route that took us a
over 8 hours.I
think we all felt the
results when we returned to our rigs!
The roads ranged, as
Doug put it from “super highways” to
"not so good".There
was a lot of sand
along the route, much more than the reports had indicated.Early on, I thought I had
mechanical failure when the car made a loud thump and then would just
move at full throttle.It
that I was in deep sand, and had apparently hit or dropped off a rock
as I hit
the deep sand.Once
I plowed my way for
about 20 or 30 feet all was well, and I began to suspect that it had
the drag of the sand.I
all of this.
forestry road out of our "campground" was quite nice. It was
about a 15 mile drive to our starting point on House Rock Road.
have just reached our turn off onto the plateau and are starting toward
the overlook at the end.
road varied greatly. We found a number of places where the
rock strata was projecting out of the sand.
I am following Tom and Marilyn for the first half as we head out.
road was no better.
it got downright horrible!
two miles from the end, we reached the overlook to Marble
Canyon. It was just gorgeous!
we approached the end of the plateau we were getting more and more
NO! About a half mile from the end, we came to barricades and
What a disappointment!
the end of our
road, we could see the Paria Needle. We had hoped to drive
to the other side of this for a panoramic view of the Page - Lake
we had a picnic!
We then turned
around and started for home. Things were going well until
about a third of the way back I
approached Doug, who had been out of sight for a bit.He was stopped half way up a sandy slope.He was stuck!Tom and I helped him dig
sand out from under his tires, put
rocks, buried in the sand under his front wheels, put mats under his
wheels, and after several false starts, with the aid of Tom and me
eased his way up to harder ground.
Next it was my turn.I backed up from where I
stopped and tried going up.I
just mushed slower and slower until I
could not move – forward or backward.We dug sand from behind my wheels and with a little
push I was able to
back down to solid ground.I
even further then, giving it everything my Jeep has, I hit the sand at
speed and bounced my way to the top with no problem.Tom did pretty much the same thing and made it to
the top.Whew!We didn’t need to “air
down” our tires or have to tow each other,
although we were prepared to do either.
The rest of the trip
was uneventful, but I now had a lot of
respect for the uphill sections of sand!
getting stuck in the sand, we didn't have any more problems.
am following Doug and Janet over a relatively flat section of sandy
lot more of the road was sand than had been reported in the information
we researched prior to the trip.
yet more sand!
last we reach the
Rock House Freeway! This is a well maintained gravel
In the distance you can see the dust cloud from Doug's car as we head
for highway 89A and smooth blacktop the rest of the way back!
were very happy to
see that our rigs were just as we left them at our camp site.
This picture shows the large clearing which is the transition to two
different forest roads.
campsite, most of the thick layer of dust had blown off the rear of my
Jeep. It could still use a car wash.
Saturday, April 21
We had a leisurely
get-up and breakfast this morning.I worked on this report and my photos
went exploring to see
if they could see House Rock.There
a forestry road across the highway that is supposed to have a view of
it.After a while
we secured everything and
proceeded to Page.I
wanted to get into
an Urgent Care center and see if I could get a Cortisone shot for my
which has been acting up.
It was only about 75
miles to Page.We
pulled into the park and were given the
space which backed up to Ray and Kathy.After I returned from getting my shot, Tom &
Marilyn and Doug &
Janet were in the spots next to our two rigs.
campground was very nice and we all were parked together. Our
and Doug and Janets are on this row. Ray and Kathy's and Tom
Marilyn's are in the row behind us and are harder to see from here.
This evening we all
went into town and had a great Mexican
Sunday, April 22
I had made
reservations for 6 of us (Ray and Kathy
couldn't go) to take a rafting trip on the Colorado River from the Glen
Dam down about 15 miles to Lee's Ferry.
drove to the tour company's office and boarded a bus. We
couple of miles toward the dam, but turned off well before reaching
it. We went through an electric gate and drove down a road to
tunnel. The tunnel is 2 miles long and drops at an 8%
grade. It was created during the dam construction to allow
vehicles to get down to the base of the dam. Every 1/4 mile
there is a side tunnel to the left out the cliff. This
little light and some ventilation. At the end of the tunnel
were almost down to the river level, and directly under the 700 foot
high bridge across the canyon. Because we were under the
we were required to wear hard hats.
We walked down a ramp to the boat dock where we turned in our hard hats
and boarded a raft. The rafts consist of 4 rubber pontoons
3 feet in diameter and 18
feet long. They are strapped together, 2 on each side with a
type structure in between. There are padded seats around the
edges of this box and the pilot's console in the rear. There
tread-plate front for boarding. It has a powerful outboard
to move the raft when it is not drifting with the current. The inner
pontoons are located under the seats of the
box, so you can slide outward from the seat to the top of the outer
pontoon to ride. We stayed inside.
The trip was wonderful! We sometimes putted slowly, sometimes
just floated with the engine off, and sometimes went quite fast, on a
full plane. Enroute we were under cliffs that started at about 700 feet
high. As we progressed, the cliffs got higher and higher,
reaching over 1500 feet. The cliffs had the typical desert
varnish that so typifies the Lake Powell region.
I'll let the
pictures tell the rest of the story:
We rode a
large tour type bus from the downtown office to the base of the dam.
The 2 mile
long tunnel is really dark inside! The camera is seeing the
tunnel much better than my eyes did.
When we boarded the raft we said "This is Floyd's trip, we wish he were
here!" so we clicked our heels 3 times and repeated "We want Floyd, We
want Floyd, We want Floyd",
we looked up and there were Floyd and Ruthie!
(Actually this is a picture from our October 2000 trip. Floyd
Ruth were with us on our current trip only in our hearts.)
driver / guide was a college student who is doing this part
time. She was very good.
forward on the raft we can see Janet, Doug, and Marilyn.
left are Rosemarie and Tom.
distance, the dam and bridge don't look quite as imposing as they do
our 15 mile trip, we saw several kayaks. Here you can just
one of the campers on the ledge above the shore. We also saw
several power boats and several personal rafts.
way, we beached the rafts and got off. Most people hiked up
the trail and ate their lunches here.
the end of about a 1/4 mile trail is a wall with a number of
petroglyphs. Here Janet, Marilyn, and Doug are enjoying it.
it was quite hot, our guide placed a bucket of lake water on the raft
behind where I was sitting. People could dunk their hats in
water to cool off. Actually, I dunked most of the hats for
Here at the beach, people had the opportunity to dunk as much as they
wanted. Several people waded well out into the
guide submersed herself. The water here is 42 degrees year
approached Lee's Ferry, our surroundings went from high rock walls to
much lower desert terrain.
are just pulling into the dock at Lee's Ferry. We were happy
get on the air conditioned bus that was waiting to take us home.
When we returned to
camp, Ray and Kathy were gone.I
had not realized they were moving on to
their next stop today. (The others were aware of it.)I am sorry we did not get to say our proper
Monday, April 23
Today, we have
reservations to take a Navajo led tour of the
gorgeous Antelope Canyon. This
is a "slot canyon", cut through the rock by the action of the
occasional flood waters which result from distant
They flood several times a year, for maybe a total of 2 hours a year on
the average. This has resulted in a very deep cut of
approximately the same width for its entire depth. The Grand
Canyon was cut as a slot canyon. The river etched its way down as a
constant width cut. It was the action of the elements which
started eroding the sides above the water level. Landslides,
grinding of the walls by airborne grit particles, and the effects of
rain and freezing all contributed to the gradual failures of sections
of the side walls resulting in the very wide, very beautiful Grand
For reasons I am unclear about, the slot canyons fail to start this
erosion process on the side walls and remain basically parallel (on the
average, but certainly not at any specific point).
Antelope Canyon is spectacularly beautiful, consisting of a slot about
120 feet deep with a width of typically 4 to 6 feet, with occasional
spots at maybe several times that. It is about 1/4 mile
long. The two ends of the canyon are sheer walls of stone,
the floor of the canyon about at the ground level, making entrance very
Its walls meander and swirl with an amazing variety of colors and
textures caused by the varying angles and amount of sunlight that
penetrates the canyon, and the different flow patterns of water during
the flood times. Areas of the canyon are almost totally dark with no
visible sky, and sidewalls illuminated only way above you.
areas are very brightly lighted with several large patches of sky
This canyon is unique among the many slot canyons in the area due to
its flat floor. It is a common trait of slot canyons to have
large steps in the level as the water flows through. Usually
these steps are 10 feet or more of sheer drop, numerous places through
the canyon. The level floor here makes it accessible to us
We met at the tour
office, were loaded onto seats in the
back of an open truck, and driven out to the canyon.The last part of the drive was over a large area of
Our guide was great!As he was describing the
canyon and pointing out features, he would
point his flashlight to a specific spot on the floor and say "Stand
put your shoulder against here, point your camera there", and it would
always be a great shot!
These pictures don't
really do the canyon justice, but do
show some of the beauty that we saw. Once we get into the
canyon I won't try to comment on each picture.
On our way
out to the canyon, we drove right by our campground.
we bounced our way over the sand, not unlike what we did on the Paria
Plateau, Doug confessed it was a lot more fun when he was driving!
to Antelope Canyon is really just a wide expanse of sand for about the
last mile or so.
was full coming out. Here we see just our group after
way through the canyon, our guide picked up a handful of sand and
tossed it onto this ledge. He said he did this to show us how
fine the sand is. It poured down in this stream for about 30
we had the exit of the canyon in sight the guide asked me for my
camera. He called out and asked people to move away from the
opening, carefully aimed my camera and took this picture shaped like a
bear. (Hint, squint a little.)
and Rosemarie are walking out the end of the canyon.
we finished our guided tour through the canyon, we lounged a little
outside the end, then on our own walked back through to the entrance,
our truck. The tour was about and hour and a half.Afterwards we went to
breakfast at a great
little cafe in Page. I then spent much of the rest of the day
working on this report.
and went to Denny's for breakfast. This is the 2nd breakfast
there since we got to Page. For $2 I had a biscuit and gravy
hash browns. It was just the right amount of food for me, and
can't beat the price.
back to camp, packed up the motorhome, said our goodbye's to Tom,
Marilyn, Janet, and Doug and headed for home. We were the
pull out, but just out of town we passed Doug and Janet pulled over to
take pictures. A few miles later, we passed Tom and Marilyn
the highway. I had promised Rosemarie that we could stop at
Cameron Trading Post on the way home. Shortly after parking
there, in pulled Tom and Marilyn.
drive home was uneventful and we got here about mid afternoon.
It was a wonderful trip with wonderful
friends. We missed you Floyd and Ruth!
June 3, 2012, Floyd passed away. We will miss you Floyd!