Today we accomplished a goal! We have always wanted to visit the Utah National Parks, and Canyonlands is on today's itinerary! No wait at the entrance, and blue sky and a clear road make it perfect! Mesa Arch is maybe the most visited and photographed attraction in this park, so we did take the short hike to see it. And we understand why it attracts attention! But, there are many other totally worthy stops along the road and we tried to see them all! Buck Canyon Overlook and Grand View Point Overlook were 2 of the stops we made, just taking some time to relax and enjoy these amazing places. We've waited a long time to get here, so we are seeing all that we can. Having pictures to remember our trip is wonderful, but nothing like being there in person. I wish these photos would convey the feeling of being there yourself, but not even Apple has come up with a way to do that yet!
Bob took a short hike on his own to Murphy Point, and we stopped at the visitor center before leaving the park. I collect the Passport Stamps from the parks we visit, so that draws us into the visitor center. If you're not familiar with the Passports, it's a program from the National Parks (as well as other Public Lands) that offers a hand-stamped dated insignia to anyone interested. In addition, I like to purchase a small sticker or magnet or postcard from each park to add to our traveling scrapbook. No big souvenirs allowed due to space considerations, and truly, I prefer fiber souvenirs now!
We got back to Moab in time for an early supper and beer sample at Moab Brewery. A lot of the activity around Moab involves bicycling and off-road vehicles, and the brewery does a good job of promoting that in their decor and cuisine. Stop in for a taste when you get to Moab, it's easy to find!
We both slept in this morning, even with the road noise, it was a comfortable spot. It was partly sunny and a little breezy. Because we were slow to get going, we put off our trip into Arches National Park because we didn't feel like waiting in line to enter. Starting earlier would have been the right time. There's a webcam at the entrance so we can tune in and see what the situation was. So, we spent some time doing laundry at the campground and eating lunch before setting out on a drive. At the recommendation of our campground owner, we drove the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. It started near the campground and circled through the mountains to the east and then north back into Moab. It was a quiet, scenic road, shared with only a few people and cattle! Yesterday's snow was still present as we gained elevation. We took our time and stopped often for views and photos.
After our drive, we needed to get on some more reliable cellular service than what we could get at the campground. Sometimes, we rely on the internet more than we realize! In this case, we had finances to take care of back home, which can all be done online but not when we only have 1 bar! So, we often seek out the city library. In Moab, it was very near closing time, but just by parking there we could get the service we needed.
We wanted to try out a dinner spot that would be popular with the locals. In the main area of Moab, there are lots of bars and restaurants, and they seem to get pretty active and crowded in the evening. We wanted something a little more on the quiet side, and I had noticed Susie's Branding Iron Restaurant near the campground. The parking lot was pretty busy with trucks and I could tell they were local because they proudly wore a coat of red dirt and looked well-used! So, even though our pickup wasn't as dirty as some, we still did have some red dirt, so we pulled in. We had to wait about 15 minutes to be shown a table, but after that point the service was friendly and timely.
Our pickup reached a milestone today! It's the first time we have filled up and paid more than $100 for a tank of gas!
It was a bit chilly this morning, somewhere in the 30's. While we were out getting ready to go, we chatted with the campground host for a bit. He said something that really caught me off-guard and no, it's not political! He was speaking to Bob and said he could see that Bob was a wealthy man! Because we own an Airstream! We would never consider ourselves wealthy, just 2 people who have worked hard to achieve a long-term dream. There must be some Airstream stereotype that is going on. Really, the Airstream was way more expensive than a comparable size RV of just about any other brand. But there are so many RV's now that cost 2 to 3 times more than ours cost. They are usually bigger, but we're not proponents of "bigger is better". We found a size and a style that fits our needs, so don't jump to any conclusions about us! I hope that if you are looking for an RV for yourself, that you, too, will find the one that fits your needs, and that you have fun!
After we left the campground, we knew we had to drive through a good chunk of Salt Lake City to get to where we needed to go. Really no good way around it, so we forged our way ahead. It was not a nice drive! Very rough roads, construction, traffic, rain, twists and turns. Bob was driving (thank goodness!) and after we were clear of most of the problems we needed to stop and take a moment. Luckily, I knew just the place to stop! Corn Wagon Quilt Shop in Springville! I had heard that this shop had a good reputation, so it was on my list to visit. It was a good chance for me to browse around while Bob took a short walk. The shop actually has 2 buildings. The newer building is called the Mercantile, and offers cool and interesting gifty items for sale. Beyond the store there was a large classroom and a group of ladies were gathered to do various types of hand stitching. If only I had a couple hours I would have joined them! They also have 2 day retreat rooms to rent for groups. So, I give this shop the mark of "would go out of my way to visit again", which is the highest mark other than "I'm moving in".
We continued south with alternating rain, snow and sun! There was some beautiful scenery and fall colors when we could see it through the mist.
We left I-15 south of Provo and drove on 191 the rest of the way to Moab. We had reserved a spot for a few days at St. Dane's Campground on the south side of Moab. We were happy to arrive even though it was raining at the time! We just pulled into our site and hung out in the trailer until the weather improved. Leveling proved to be a challenge once again, but we prevailed in the end! We were treated with beautiful views of canyon walls around us. It was getting dark soon, and we just felt like staying in for supper and another episode of Centennial. When making these reservations, we thought the location of this campground on an easily accessible road was a bonus. What we didn't know was that Hwy 191 is a heavily traveled roadway for vehicles of all kinds, including big trucks, at all times of the day! My earplugs were moved out of storage and into use that night!
The forecast proved to be right for last night, with rain on the roof while we were sleeping. It really doesn't wake me up, but Bob always seem to wake up for it! After a little breakfast, we packed up and headed south again. We did have to scout out a place to get some propane in our tanks, but we have an app for that! The Campendium app shows propane stations if you set the search for that. We had reserved a campsite for the night at the Great Salt Lake State Park, so we plugged that into our GPS and headed that way. It's right on the south shore of the lake, just west of the city.
This is always a crap shoot to reserve a spot in a place sight unseen. We use Campendium app, along with AllStays and recreation.gov to try to weed out the worst places and find the best places. But we are always relying on online reviews and photos, and we all know that you might get a distorted view from that. We also use the satellite views on maps to get a better feel for the place. We weren't sure of what to expect for this State Park because the views left us a little puzzled. Well, we soon found out that this is not your standard campground. We took the designated exit off I-80 and found ourselves on a partially paved road along a narrow strip of land between the lake and the interstate. We had a lot of bumps so it was a slow go to keep the trailer from rebounding onto the shoreline! We reached the end of the road, and found a parking lot and visitor center right along the road by our campsite #1. I think there are only 5 sites and they are all in use. We are overlooking a section of the lakeshore, which is quite different than most lakes! There is a large island, Antelope Island, within view, and if you turn around to look to the south you will see the interstate, mountains and a large, very large, copper mine.
Since we arrived fairly early in the day, we took off to go downtown to the Mormon Tabernacle. It was a little late to be getting in before it closed, but we still looked around a bit. There was some scaffolding set up so the grand view was obscured. Instead, we went across the street to the Mormon History Museum and the Family History Center. Both are beautiful buildings with very kind and attentive individuals working there. We didn't know what to expect at the Family History Center, because we are not well-versed in geneology searches. But it was so welcoming and friendly, with our own volunteer to get us logged onto the computers and begin the basic search. It was really kind of fun to see what already exists in their data base from public records and the research of other family members. If you haven't visited there, it's worth a stop. We didn't have very long before closing, but the work can be continued on our own if we want.
We wandered a little bit off course to find groceries and gas on the way back to the trailer, probably driving twice as far as we needed to!
I think that this campsite might rank high in our list of unusual places! The landscape is so alien, the wind blows a lot, the only lifeforms we see are seagulls and the occasional person! You need to come here!
We thought it would be fun to spend a day in this little town with a funny name. We took a drive around part of the city, looking for the historic downtown that was suggested as a great option for tourists, but we found a very deserted street. Well, it's Sunday, after all.
So, we found a hike on the AllTrails app that was nearby and easy, so we headed out there. It was at the Edson Fichter Nature Area.
We had a very easy-going afternoon, just hanging out. We looked at the weather forecast and saw that some more rain was heading our way, so we packed up any of the outside things except for the electric cord. It will just make it easier in the morning to pick things up when it's not wet and rainy. So it's a pretty short story today!
Today we saw Montana in the rearview camera! It's been a good run, but time to move ahead. We left our campground at a good time, we are not speed demons in the mornings when it comes to travel! We drove south on Hwy 287 and then Hwy 20. We planned this route so we could see the Idaho side of Grand Teton National Park, but it was misty and rainy so we saw nothing! We used I-15 for the last bit to get to Pocatello, ID. This was a drive of 256 miles, which is a good length for us. Most drive days we aim for 250-350 miles.
We picked a kind of odd place to camp tonight, mostly for the sake of convenience. At the Bannock County Fairgrounds on the outskirts of Pocatello there is a maintained campground, and that's our spot tonight. Nothing glamorous, but practical. There was a large livestock/horse show arena next to the campground, and there were a bunch of trucks and animal trailers loading up over there. For some reason, I was finding myself in a very cranky mood when it came time to set up the trailer. The first spot that we pulled into was not satisfactory because there was horse poop in my way! The second spot was better, but not level. So I needed to pull out the leveling blocks. Usually, I do this while Bob backs up the trailer onto the blocks. It had rained recently, so the gravel was soft and a bit muddy. After the first attempt resulted in the blocks sinking into the mud, I was disenchanted with the whole concept of camping! Bob pulled ahead and I got out more blocks. Bob backed up, and they partially sank in the mud. Now I check the level and determine whether we are on the level. Really, we weren't, but I was so over this! I told Bob there would be no more messing around with those blocks in the mud! It was lightly raining by now, so my tears of frustration were just part of the weather! Bob, to his credit, stepped away, unhooked the truck, told me he would finish up the outside work, and sent me inside. Sometimes you just need a good cry! No pictures to share of this!
We spent the night in and made a good supper of pasta with pesto, chicken, olives and tomatoes. We watched an episode of an old TV series called Centennial on DVD. I think it was a mini-series from the 70's, based on the book by James Michener. It's definitely showing its age, but the story line is both entertaining and informing.
And with our travel through the west, the story of early settlers is very appropriate. I've also just finished a book titled The Indifferent Stars Above about the Donner Party tragedy. It causes me to look around at these mountains and wonder how people could ever journey across them with whole families in wagons pulled by oxen. They had a lot of courage!
Strange things were happening this morning. It sounded like the pitter patter of some rain on the roof, but it wasn’t raining. I peered up at the skylight and stared straight into some beady little bird eyes! For some reason, there are dozens of robins attracted to our trailer! And leaving behind the stuff that birds do. Hoping for a rain now!
We drove into Bozeman this morning just to have a look around. This was a spot that Bob and I had considered moving to about 40 years ago, seriously enough that we looked into employment at one of the hospitals and were given a tour there. This was when Brita was just a baby. We had friends living in West Yellowstone at the time and visited them and loved the area. Even though we ended up on a different path, I still was intrigued by Bozeman. We went there today to see if anything has changed.
The answer is an emphatic YES! It has become even better! We made our way to the old Main Street area (hwy 191) and found that it is thriving and well. New stores in old storefronts, old stores, too, and lots of dining choices. Lots of people out and about. I had a plan in mind to go to a couple shops I had heard of or read about. Main Street Quilting was a good shop, and even though I’m not in desperate need of anything, I did manage to find a couple things that interested me. It reminded me a lot of Bear Patch Quilting because it's in a really old building with creaky floors! I keep a document to store names of places that I want to go to, sites to see, recommended campgrounds and restaurants, and always quilt and yarn shops. The Bozeman list also included Stix Yarn and Wild Crumb Bakery. So we found those places and then Target for some supplies before heading back to the peace and quiet at the campground.
A few wonderful pieces to add to the stash! It always sparks creativity to mingle with the knitting and fabric goodies! Some of the fabrics I choose now are with the idea of using bits of it in a fabric collage, so I only need ¼ yard of those. Easy to pack into the trailer! Before we left home, Bob and Leisl installed some new drawers under the bed. Bob uses his for clothes but I use mine for treasures!
Today was a travel day, and this was an easy start because we had not unhooked the trailer last night. If we get into a campsite that is pretty level, and we know we’re only staying overnight, we can leave the truck and trailer hitched up. That eliminates most of the usual things we do to unhitch and hookup. If we know that we won’t be rolling off the bed because we’re tipped too far one way, we can handle little bits of non-level living overnight.
On the recommendation of our neighbors, we drove into Darby to the Montana Cafe for breakfast. Good choice! Huge blueberry pancake that was more than I could eat plus scrumptious thick bacon! There were 2 brothers running it, one in the kitchen and one in front.
The most interesting part of Darby, to me, is that the TV show Yellowstone is filmed near here. There is a big white barn off the road that we’re told was the barn shown on the Sutton Ranch. And all around are the sweeping views of the Sutton land. We also were told that some of the people from the film crew and cast have built homes here.
From there we continued south on hwy 93 to 43 eastbound. Beautiful country, uncluttered by over population. We did have a long pause along the road for construction work. The crews were working on replacing the posts and guardrails after a wildfire earlier this year. Lots of blackened and fallen trees.
We eventually met up with I-15 north and I-90 east to take us over to Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. This is another out-of-the-way spot. The drive and visitors center at the caverns is closed for the year. There are still trails for hiking to it. We found a site and settled in. We finished up that whole tire change thing by mounting the original tire back on the trailer and putting away the spare in its storage place under the trailer. It’s in a rather awkward position up near the tongue, and the best way to get it shoved up into the right spot is to have Bob steering it into place and me sitting on the ground and shoving it with my feet! It gets the job done!
I'm trying to keep a bouquet of wedding flowers, mostly Brita's bridesmaid bouquet, looking good in the trailer. I found a way to stow them when we're driving and they haven't been spilled or crushed yet!
I'm working on keeping it positive here (not covid positive!). Today Bob and I, as well as other family members, are leaving Montana. We even had to set an alarm to make sure we were up early enough to do the airport shuttle run for mom. We seldom set an alarm anymore! And that feels so good!
But, this morning we have some stuff to do! First, the airport run and making sure mom could handle everything for her trip home. She did have a box of stuff that made her suitcase heavy, so we will be taking that along with us. She prefers to just take a carry on, having learned after years of international travel that it's best to keep your belongings close by. If she has any trouble reaching to put her bag in the overhead bin, she plays the "little old lady" card and in a second she has someone lifting that bag for her! I don't worry much about her getting around on her own!
We did some more running around, picking up and dropping off food, flowers, extra clothes, etc., between Brita and Dan's places. I think we will be stocked for awhile from leftovers! We had to say goodbyes to all of them and get back to our trailer to pack it up, too! We were able to get on our way about 11:30. It takes about 45 minutes or so to get everything ready to roll. Bob takes care of electricity, water and sewer hook-ups, as well as anything else exterior. I work on putting away everything inside so it doesn't roll around or break or spill. Someday I should make a little video about our process, we have a good routine and maybe it would help someone else, sometime.
We headed south along the road less traveled on the east side of Flathead Lake. The majority of the traffic uses the multilane highway on the west side of the lake. We followed our own path along the scenic (and bumpy) 2 lane road. Partway along the road, we got an alarm from our Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which has never happened before. This is an electronic sensor system, attached to the valve stem of the trailer tires, to sense changes in pressure and/or temperature in the tire. The numbers are communicated via bluetooth to a monitor in the truck cab. So, finding a wide spot in the road, we pulled over to check. Although the tire that alarmed looked pretty close to normal, when Bob checked with his trusty old-fashioned non-electric non-bluetooth silver wand, we did indeed have a low tire. We have a little Viair portable air compressor, so Bob got that hooked up to add some air. It runs on the trailer battery. When we pumped up the air to a better level, we drove on ahead to a safer spot to take off the tire and put the spare on. Just getting the spare out of it's storage place was good aerobic exercise! Eventually, we moved along to the town of Polson and got the tire fixed, it was just a valve stem leak.
Now, we drove along highway 93 south through the beautiful Bitterroot valley to the little town of Darby and the Trapper Peak Winery for overnight. This winery is part of the Harvest Hosts network, which has been a good option for us several times. Take a look at their website to understand how it works. Sadly, there was no wine available at the vineyard. They are part of a family vineyard in California, and the grapes were ruined by smoke from wildfires this year. We had a quiet spot to spend the night, and visited with the family of 4 that also stayed there. Our supper tonight was chips and salsa, pie and champagne! Wedding leftovers that must cover a couple food groups, don't you think?!
In knitting news, I cast on for a new stocking cap made with some lovely yarn from Polka Dot Sheep in Whitefish. It's some especially nice yarn and maybe this hat will be for myself. I've been knitting some stocking caps recently for Hats For Sailors. I've been using more utilitarian yarn and a generic easy pattern for those. For this new hat, I'm using a new pattern called Picture Chutes by Polka Dot Sheep. When this is finished, I'll go back to hats for sailors!
Just for fun, here are some more pictures from the wedding. Still waiting for the professional pictures, so these are just our own snapshots.
So... Super pinky promise... Top secret information...
This morning I got to do something fun with the boys! In Whitefish, there is a business named Stumptown Art Studio. I have checked it out on earlier trips and today I took those 3 little guys and mom to make something for Christmas gifts for their mom and dad! There are a lot of options there, and they are used to working with kids. They have a workbench set up for making fused glass objects, and it doesn't take real long, so that was a winning combo. First, they got a little instruction, a chance to look at completed projects and learning about how this artform works. Then they each sat down to use their imagination to make a small project. Because this involves leaving the project there to be fired in the kiln, then mailed to them, I helped control the sizes of what was practical. Other than that, they had their pick of colors, textures and design. I wanted these gifts to be something practical for mom and dad to always be able to use. We ended up with a nightlight cover, a pendant and a window sparkler! Can't wait to see the finished products!
Bob and I also took a run down to Kalispell to get Covid-19 testing. Even though we are feeling normal, it was a good chance to verify our status before we continue our travels. Dan's most recent result is still positive, and Loti is hanging in there with negative!
This morning we had a worrisome moment when we were driving into Whitefish and saw some smoke plumes rising up from the slopes nearby. We soon learned that it was a prescribed burn of some areas that had accumulated too much fuel to be safe.
Back at the campground, we got some laundry and cleaning up done, and then had mom, Brita, Ian, Jack, Leo, Mary, Jarry, Dan and Loti over for grilling and supper at the trailer. It was a great evening to sit outside and enjoy another night together. Dan and Loti kept some distance, but close enough to enjoy some stories and laughs. Loti is a second grade teacher and has been figuring out what the rules for going back to work, there are district guidelines for people who are exposed, vaccinated, negative and symptom free. Those kids will be happy to have Ms. Hansen back in class!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the time you have taken to look for and read my story. I hope you find something that you like!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!