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 > TR: Utah, parks, friends and a few weeks with my wife

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Reality Check

North Bend

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Joined: 08/29/2007

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Posted: 01/18/21 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wife and I had a decent year despite the stupid stuff going on. Had several trips, this one this past fall. I had an undetermined amount of time available in front of us, waiting on a commitment from a city utility for a job we were on. At the time, we couldn’t get a start time for their portion of the next stage of work… Anyhow, we knew we had 2, 3, maybe even 5 or 6 weeks available. So we left.

Headed to an open State. We have traveled enough this year to know that hanging around a bunch of people who’s version of reality was different than ours, was not fun. So, no big cities, and limited time in National Parks (tend to draw city folks who’ve been locked up for far too long).

Loaded up the camper and trailer. Stuffed with fish, steaks, produce and water. Took only one motorcycle..her’s had just hit the shop. Headed south via Ontario, eastern Oregon and to the Salt flats. Camping was on the side of the road..or wherever.

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Hit an ‘open’ museum in Winnemucca. It was nice to find something not shut down just because. I have a dozen stories about how stupid some of this is, the complete lack of common sense at parks, museums, points of interest. LOL, last summer we were camping outside of Crater Lake in a Sno Park; the bathrooms were shut due to Covid and safety because of cleaning. And then they had sani cans delivered instead. Oh yea, that makes sense…

West of Elko..nice camp spot. How we so often do, take a less traveled road and find something acceptable and park. After darkness fell, we had exactly two vehicles pass by the rest of the night. And the price was right;

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Quick drive to the flats. Arrived to find that speed week, the “World Finals” was in progress. We of course bought our ticket and drove out. Who would have thought it was so blindlingly bright? Lol, sunglasses and sun screen under your chin. Watched a couple of 300mph passes while we were there. Spent several hours walking around, getting the wife wedged into a motorcycle rocket…she wasn’t to keen on the seat and confined quarters. Oh well, so much for her speed career.

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A relaxed day we had for sure, and then we headed up the hill from the flats and found a gravel pit to park in for the night. Just beautiful, warm, and quiet.

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I had noticed that the engine temperature was fluctuating more than normal, so we made the call to head towards a dealer and get the truck looked at. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on. We really weren’t that heavy (26k total) and the outside temps were not high..just didn’t make sense to me. I found a small county campground outside of Grantsville (west of Salt Lake area). We dropped the camper and took the truck in the next day. Left it and toured on the bike.

Saw a museum on the way in and swung back to look. Hours of operation: Friday and Saturday, 11-4, or something similar. Doors were locked. Hmmmm, I thought as I checked my watch, knowing it was Friday. A phone call was made. LOL, guy answers, says “yep, it’s open, I’m just not there. Go to ‘this door’ over there and go on in”. Love this part of our country. Spent a few hours looking around, reading, the entire place to ourselves, and eventually meeting the man in charge and talking. Great place.

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Turns out the coolant cap was not holding pressure. Needs to hold 22psi I believe, and ours was down at 12-14. Picked up the truck, paid my $80 bill and headed to the camp site. Which by the way, has quiet hours from 10pm -6am, no genny’s. But, when in Rome.. much to our amusement, the campground filled up completely with locals, every spot filled. This was not a spread out campground, this was 4 circles and parking pads around each one, probably 32 + spots in a 2 acre spot. I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones that didn’t run our genny all night. It was clearly an acceptable practice. Kinda like sleeping at an interstate rest spot..only louder.

Headed south, ended up staying with some new friends in Goshen..that’s a story by itself for sure! Open bar in that neighborhood garage for sure… Rode the bike into Nebo Canyon. Wow, absolutely beautiful.

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There is dry camping all over the route. Goes up to about 9000 ft, lots of horse areas, hiking trails and awesome views and colors (fall…great time to travel). We returned the next day and went on a couple of hikes. File the area under a place to return to for further exploration and time to sit.

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Headed south towards Zion, as the wife had never been there. A few good camp spots along the way and outside of the park..

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And of course, Zion. Beautiful as always and crowded. A couple of hikes on regular trails, and then a “had enough of the crowds, let’s do the ‘3 miles, turn left’ plan”. Works everytime:

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We don’t fit through the tunnel, about 2 feet to long or something. So we pulled in each day to the main parking, unloaded the bike and went about out business. It’s a better plan for sure, as parking is never an issue with the bike. The only part that was not bad or good, when it was time to head out, we had to drop south to go around the park (into AZ, then back north). If you were short on time, it would matter.

After coming up through Kanab, we found a great spot right off the hwy at the junction to the east entrance of Zion. Something about it made it really fun. The group next to us perhaps, the view and proximity to the junction and facilities (had a dump there at the gas station too), and the price. BLM and us get along great.

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We meandered up to Bryce, where we met up with my BIL and his wife who were coming back from eastern Wyoming. Red Canyon deserved more time. The colors were so vibrant, similar to the drastic effects at Zion. We would have parked and stayed, but had agreed to meet.

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'16 F550 CC, 4x4 with Link Ultraride air suspension, '18 AF 1150. Just so we can play with our snowmobiles, dirt bikes and fishing boat. And new 20' tag along...kayaks, bikes, mc's and extra water and food!!


Reality Check

North Bend

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Joined: 08/29/2007

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Posted: 01/18/21 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two nights at an equestrian campground, where family and the neighbors joined us for some great evenings at the campfire. We didn’t have horses, but the neighbors were accepting anyhow…lol. Exchanged numbers. Second group of the trip that we’ll make efforts to keep in touch with.

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Moved on towards Escalante and Boulder. Turn right and went looking for a camp spot. Found it!

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What a fantastic evening and morning. Views, quiet and good company.
Headed east, enjoying a fairly quiet road. It’s paved mostly, until you hit the park, then it turns to gravel. Into Capitol Reef we went;

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Everything was fun and games until we started heading north through the park. I’ve been on wash board at least a couple of times in my life. Some really bad. Nothing like this.. It was 20 plus miles of seriously slow (idle speed much of the time). The trailer would start to bounce from the oscillation…to the point that it was brutal. Just had to go slow. Usually don’t mind slowing down, but it was over 4 hours on the worse part. 6 hours from the bottom to the exit at the north. Met a Ranger on the road..she was politely trying to tell me that many drivers were idiots and that the drainage cuts were at times difficult or impassable. I thanked her, stated we understood and asked it the ones ahead were worse than the two behind me. They weren’t. Point is though, someone with a long trailer, MH, etc, and who didn’t understand the basics…would easily wedge in the ‘V’. I think the best part of the whole little journey was when we were at the wye at the bottom of the switch backs and met up with a couple heading up with a little truck and pop up camp trailer. Her eyes were about 6” in diameter after noting that we’d come down the hill. She looked at her husband and said “Ok, I think we can do this”.

Side note, I’m not sure I would choose to go up the switch backs with heavy trailer combo’s. Completely doable, but the uphill sharp turns are pretty bumped out from people spinning. We’re a lot heavier than average, but the lighter trucks, etc, have rutted it out severely making one seriously bumpy ride going up. One of those situations where a light truck dragging an anchor would have to keep some speed to make it around the corner, but in doing so, compounds the problem. Food for thought for those that tow.

Ended up near Hanksville for a quiet night. Really, really quiet.

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Our freezers were full of Ling Cod, steaks, hamburger, Sea Bass and along with some kielbasa, really good hot dogs, etc. Some nights, I just wasn’t sure what to make; here was an odd surprise; apples, sauerkraut, kiebasa, potato’s and seasoning. Call it a wild hair at times, but fun and this was pretty simple and good.

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Then back south along 95 towards Blanding. Hands down, one of the top areas we need to go back to and park and explore. Stunningly beautiful canyon areas. We weren’t in a hurry, but we did have a deadline now to be back home which led us to not explore the way we wanted. Blanding and then North to Moab. Ugh.

Hit Moab and realized I’m getting older. It’s different; too metro, too invaded, too much like other areas that become ‘popular’. Uptight and no fun anymore. I know, it’s just one opinion, but I don’t dwell on it, just move on to the next. We drove out of town east for 30 miles to get off BLM land (the area near Arches/Moab has restrictions on camping, as in designated areas only). Passed the last campground, cross the bridge, turned left and parked by ourselves. Mucho better.

In the morning we hit Arches. Unloaded the bike and viewed and hiked. Wonderful hikes. And again, a win for the parking. Place was crowded, cars looping around and around looking for a spot. It’s a shame, and I’m also not one to want to jump to limiting. Not sure if there is an answer other than one has to plan better, as I want people to enjoy and see the wonders. But the crowds at the popular spots can be brutal.

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From Arches, we drove north up 191, making time, and went through Flaming Gorge Rec area and then into Wyoming. Found a nice little camp site in the middle of a little field. It wasn’t bum-f-egypt, but you could see it from there..

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Through Rock Springs and into Jackson Hole. Another town that has lost most of it’s charm. Pandemic and packed with tourists doesn’t help. Beautiful area for sure. Fun fact: almost the entire town closes up and vacations after Thanksgiving. Get there the first week or so of December, and the town is open, but deserted. An absolute treat. Didn’t get that this time unfortunately. Wife shopped a bit and we took off. Outside of town and east, off park land, found another great camp spot. We were eating dinner when a local herd of beef wandered by the camper…we were all quite content at staring at each other. They ate grass, we ate their cousin..

Through the Grand Teton park and into Yellowstone. Snow on the ground, we enjoyed the drive and pulled into the lodge at Old Faithful. Good day for a hike…we skipped hanging out for Faithful..honestly, it’s not that exciting. But the hike out through the boardwalks is wonderful.

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Here’s the stuff that just cracks me up and should frustrate you all. Typical at the parks, they close the lodges and bathrooms. For safety of course. Then they install these;

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Yea, that makes sense. No doubt it’s so much safer to clean. Never mind they’re bunching all the people together in one line and toilet facility. Don’t read me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the bathroom, just the logic and extra money they spend in the farce of doing the right thing. And the dumbest part? Can’t have the visitor centers open, but we sure can open the shops.. don’t get me going on how stupid we’ve allowed everything to get.

To West Yellowstone, some shopping and out of town to the west. Took 287 and passed a lake that just didn’t make sense to me. Was commenting to the wife that it didn’t make a lick of sense to build a dam and not cut all the trees first. Why would they do that….? Lol, around the bend, a sign, I pulled over, and got another history lesson. A natural tragedy in the 50’s, Earthquake Lake. That explained why the trees were still sticking up in the middle of the lake.

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To Ennis, then a bit more backroad to Virginia City, zigged down to Dillon, then shot up to 90 and worked our way home. Stopped and had dinner with friends in Coeur d’Alene, checked out some property north of Spokane.

One of the last quiet camp spots was about 6 miles up a valley road in Montana off 41 (I think we were near Silver Star). Had a ranch hand pass by earlier…told him we were looking for the bar. I didn’t think it was that funny, but he sure did. I can only imagine his though process, from lost city folk idiots in way over their heads to, sweet, having fun, looks like a good time.. About 9pm, we hear a truck coming down the road..three honks, a big wave and off he went. Nothing more than letting us know he was passing through.

We don’t go four wheeling, looking to get lost, stuck, or otherwise screwed up and in trouble; never been up anything I couldn’t back out of. But we get off the beaten track for sure. It’s really not hard to determine if a road is used enough that it heads somewhere, and I’m always looking to see if I can determine if it’s graded or not. A grader takes a decent amount of space to turn around. If he can, I can. The new apps (Maprika, others similar) are fantastic for showing roads, trails, BLM, National Forest land, etc. Makes it really easy to keep pushing. Neat thing about them, they work even without signal. I’ll download a section of the map prior to being in an area (a big chunk of the state or states) and the GPS location works regardless of signal. So, the map works.

We took a trip to the Red Woods and what not earlier this summer. I’m going to try and put something together for that too. Lot’s of good sights for sure.

Cheers….

BradW

Mayor of Flat Rock

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Joined: 10/29/2001

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Posted: 01/18/21 07:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip. You mentioned the crowds at Zion. We were there in October two years ago. It was so crowded that we never found a single place to park. It was bad.


Wake Up America
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specta

utah

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Joined: 06/18/2001

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Posted: 01/18/21 08:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome vacation, awesome pictures and awesome story.

Did I miss where the fire truck museum was??


Kenny
2011 Chevy 2500 HD 6.0L 4wd
1995 Lance 945 Onan QG 2500 LP
Regular cab. The best looking trucks.


pnichols

The Other California

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Joined: 04/26/2005

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Posted: 01/18/21 11:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dave (the OP) ... a nice post and great photos!!

We've beening RVing for around 40 years - mostly in the Western U.S. - and I thoroughly get what you're hinting at regarding "things not being the same" anymore when trying to get away from it all on trips. There's just too many people out and about in too many vehicles using too much Internet telling them where to go.

We specifically try to get way out there in our small Class C MH - usually because we're rockhounds looking for rocks. Our worst yet was 25 miles each way traveling to/from a remote spot in the Oregon outback on extreme wash-board traveling 7-10 MPH. But was it ever spectacular camping out there under the stars with a shower, air conditioning, a furnace, cold drinks, a BBQ grill, and queen beds!


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

hotjag1

Lake Chelan, Wa/Lake Havasu, Az.

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Posted: 01/18/21 12:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm guessing you live in WA...haha. Awesome vacation. We have been to several of the places you traveled and enjoyed them too. We agreed that Moab, Zion, and Jackson have gotten too crowded for us.

We would have loved being at the Salt Flats during Speed week. You really lucked out on that!
Thanks for the great pics!


hotjag1
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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 01/18/21 03:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m glad you had a great trip. It won’t be long until it’s Spring again. Nice photos.


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Toyo M655 225/19.5 Gs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 01/18/21 04:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report! We've done most of that, but some in separate trips and not that museum. Happened upon the land speed trials by accident one year while boondocking at the flats. We were invited to join one crew for dinner. It was a great experience.


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notsobigjoe

southeast

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Posted: 01/18/21 06:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report, I was wondering from a novice point of view as to what kind of animals do you run into during the day and night out there in the middle of nowhere? I'm from the North east and live in central Florida now. Very different type of wild animals in both places. Just curious, Thanks

SteveAE

Bend, Oregon

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Posted: 01/18/21 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report. Thanks for sharing.

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