Here we are here in Beautiful, Las Vegas, NV. This is the starting place for our much awaited “Up,Up and away” Balloon Festival Caravan, which ends in Albuquerque, NM. in three weeks. We came here a week early so we could see some shows and other sights. One thing that I noticed that was interesting-the street signs are lighted so you can read them at night. I am glad that we did decide to give ourselves an extra week because there is so much more to Las Vegas than just the the gambling. Carol has joined up with her friends from N.Y.! June and I saw three shows and investigated the Las Vegas area in general. We had to check out of our first camp site here at the campground and moved over to where the caravan group of ” Up,Up and away “ are meeting. They have reserved camp sites. ( We had stayed at our first camp site for 7 days and it only cost us, with gambling credits, $85.00 ).
Today we relocated over to a new site assigned to us by our wagon master. After we got set up, we drove over to the Casino to a meeting room where we registered. We have been given #20 for this caravan. There are 24 units in this group. We returned again at 2:30 pm for the orientation meeting and to meet our fellow travelers. The bus picked us up at 5:00pm and took us to the Excalibur Casino where we were treated to; “King Arthur’s Tourament.” with dinner and show. The dinner was served Medieval style – no utensils. A pewter mug & soup bowl. You drank soup from the bowl and ate a Cornish hen & a hunk of bread with your fingers while cheering your favorite knight on to victory in the tournament. The tables were arranged around an arena where the knights on horses competed. We had a great time!
The next day the bus picked us up at 8:15 am for a boat ride on Lake Meade and a tour of Hoover Dam. The bus ride over gave us another chance to get better aqcuainted with our fellow travelers. The bus driver did a great job of keeping us informed about everything from “who owns what in Vegas” to stories about the building of Hoover Dam. (Our driver was an English Gentleman, not American and he did a great job). The boat trip was enjoyable. The Hoover Dam was certainly worth going to. It was started in 1931 and finished in 1935, two years ahead of schedule and one and a half million dollars under budget. (Total cost was 165 million dollars).
Today we are leaving Silverton’s RV Park, Las Vegas, N V. For; Brentwood RV Resort, Hurricane,UT. (You do not travel in a group caravan, but singly or pairs etc ) . We gave the Las Vegas traffic a chance to thin out on I-15 north before we left. There is major construction going on here “to by-pass I-15 out to near the mountains” because here, in Las Vegas, it so loaded down with local traffic. I drove so June could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Virgin River Gorge. We decided that because we only have about 100 miles to drive tomorrow, that we would briefly sight-see Zion Nat’l Park in the morning before we left..We went down to the “before travel meeting”at Pat & Kens RV and got some ideas of what to look for tomorrow at Zion Nat’l Park from some of our group who went this afternoon.
We are leaving Brentwood RV Resort,Hurricane,UT. For; Panguitch KOA Park, Panguitch,UT. We pulled our RV over to an overflow area and dropped it off. We drove 34 miles to Zion Nat’l Park this morning.
Zion Nat'l Park
We got there at 8:45am and the visitors center was open. We toured the center and picked up any infornation we needed and left for the Park. We drove around the Park and it was great.We drove over to the “River Walk”,walking trail just as it started to rain so we returned to the park and picked up our RV. We headed out to our next park. The scenery on the way was outstanding.The Park put on a good ” ice cream get together” at 6:00 pm. We won a coffee cup on one of the drawings, (Everyone won something).
I started to set the alarm for 6:00am, but June talked me into changing it to 7:00am so she could get a little more sleep. At 7:00am I got up, turned on the heater & coffee. There was frost on top of the cars (and we were complaining about the heat just yesterday and running the a/c). We drove into Bryce Canyon Nat’l Park around noon and drove out to the end at Rainbow Point, checked out the visitors center, then drove back, stopping at all of the “Over-looks”, 18 miles at 35 mph (thePark speed limit). All of the overlooks are on the return side of the road
.The views from all of the over-looks were just out-standing. Bryce is not really a canyon, but “14 Amphitheaters of color-eroded limestone pinnacles and spires called Hoodoos”. The Red, Pink and Orange colors of the limestone constantly change with the sun, making the landscape come alive. The Indians called it “Red Rocks Standing Like Men in a Bowl-ShapedCanyon”. Indian legend has it that long ago there lived in the area, animal-like creatures that could change into people. “They were evil so Coyote turned them all into Stone”. On the way back we fueled up. We had a Bar-B-Que at the park. It was very good. We had our travel meeting afterwards. >
We are leaving Panguitch, KOA Park, Panguitch, UT. For; Canyonland Campground, Moab, UT. There can be no question, but that it is cold this morning. 25 degrees F. We were the last ones out of the campground, as usual. My sweet wife did a great job of starting of us out on our trip. She topped the summit at Fishlake Nat’l Park (not our stop), at 7,923 ft. with no problem at all. We chose not to take the senic, by way of Rte-12 & Rte-24, because of the steep grades reported up to 12 % from my Mountain Dictionary- Ken was told that the dictionary was wrong, that there no grades steeper than 8%. The people that did go that way said that we made a good decision, because there were 12% grades that we would have had major problems with. (I,m glad that we have a Mountain Directionary, it sure does come in handy.) We had a very scenic trip going US-89, I-70 & Rte-191. We pulled into an “over-view ” for lunch. The view from there was out-standing. We met some of our group when we fueled up at Green River. We tried to join them, but they ran off and left us. We checked into the campground and set up. Very short sites and kind of cramped with trees. Tomorrow we are going white water rafting on the Colorado River. >
We are up and ready to go White Water Rafting on the Colorado River today.
Jetting the Colorado
The Colorado River
With memories of the White Water Rafting trip that we took several years ago on the Penobscot River in Maine, we were ready when the bus picked us up at 8:00am. We were on the first trip. The other half wanted to see the “Arches”, some 30 miles away. We knew that it wasn’t going to be as exciting as the “Penobscot River” trip when we didn’t get helmets and the guide was the only one with an oar. However, it was fun, with beautiful scenery. Our guide did a excellent job explaining the landscape as we went downriver. ( The only bad thing about the trip was the “Port-a potty”. Man-O-Man, was that “Ripe” ). After the rafting trip was over, we returned to the campground. I think that we have a couple of ”glo-plugs” bad. I have been plugging in the crankcase heater each night and the truck starts on the coldest mornings with no problems.
Today we got up, had breakfast and got ready for our trip down the Colorado River on a Jet Boat. The Bus picked us up at 11:00am and took us down stream about 15 miles from where we went rafting. The canyons in this area are fantastic. When we arrived at the Boat Launch Area, they had a Picknic Table set up under some trees with lunch . After lunch, we boarded the Jet Boats and headed down River. The canyons were unbelivable! Our guide John stopped several times to give us a Geology lessons on the different layers of formations. He appeared to be very knowledgeable and he certainly had our interest. We took a lot of pictures on the trip. On the way we stopped at an area of wall covered with black magnesium oxide. There were some petroglyphs etched through the black into the Red sandstone….when we got back to our campground and got cleaned up, we took our crock- pot over to our groups pot luck dinner. It was good. Today is June’s Birthday. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her and she got a bunch of cards which made her very happy. >
We are leaving Canyanland campground, Moab,UT for:United campground, Duranango,Co. This morning everyone had to take turns pulling out. Because of the short camp sites, the 5th wheel trucks stuck out into the road, so they pulled out first. June was driving the 1st half of the trip. She never got out of 3rd gear for the first 20 minutes. we were climbing from 4,000ft to 6,000ft. It was a pretty much an un-eventful trip. We finally got to the campground and checked in.
We were up at 5:00 am to get ready for our 7:00am Bus trip down to the train station in Durango. From there we take a narrow gauge Railroad train ride to Silverton, Co., up in the mountains. We will return this afternoon by Bus. The train ride itself wasn’t too comfortable, but the scenery was great. It was a 31/2 hour ride on hard narrow straight back seats. Open the window and you get covered with soo. We had 2 1/2 hours to look around Silverton before the bus picked us up for the trip back. There really isn’t much up here but restaurants, Gift Shops and history. June bought presents for our kids. >
We are going to Mesa Verde Nat’l Park. It is about a 45 minute trip to get to the visitors center. We had our own guide on the bus and he was very knowledgeable.
Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers
At Mesa Verde are ancient multistoried dwellings that fill the cliff-rock alcoves that may rise 2,000 ft. above Montezuma valley. The Anasazi (Ancient Ones) began to settle on the top about AD 750. Around 1200 they moved into the recesses in the cliffs. Around 1270 they moved out for unknown reasons.They had a high degree of skills as craftmen. The condition of the dwellings today confirms this. We returned back pretty well worn out. >
We are leaving United Campground, Durango,Co. for; Gouldings Motel & RV Park, Monument Valley,UT. The first 20 miles we stayed in 3rd gear because it was a little hilly. We arrived with only about 1/4 of our fuel left in our tanks. We were driving into a head wind most of the way. (This is why we carry two spare 12 gallon cans of diesel, protected in the back ). The scenery from our campsite overlooking MonumentValley is wonderful.