Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Day 61 - Page, AZ

We drove ~150 miles today to Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell. Really nice view from our campsite (second picture). And the only sites available were at the full hookup loop which happened to be the ones nearest the lake. We headed down to the resort and marina in the early afternoon. According to the website, the level of the lake is 88’ down from full.

We are glamping here with Dom, Martha, John (Martha’s cousin) and Renee. Really nice RV park. It looks brand new. It’s almost 80°F right now and the forecast has a low of 51°F. Just about ideal. We spent the afternoon in the sun working on Don’s trailer lights and at the resort bar.

Now we are resting until sunset which is at 5:48 PST. n.b. Arizona is one of the few enlightened states that dumped daylight time. Then we are heading into Page for dinner. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Day 60 - Zion National Park

Today's adventure in Zion National Park was the Overlook Trail. It started next to the eastern entrance to the mile-long tunnel. The trail was about a mile long with only 165' of elevation gain. And was classified as a "moderate" trail. I think what made it moderate was the steep drop-offs adjacent to the trail.

In a couple of places, you can see where there used to be anchors bolted to the rocks for chains to hold onto while traversing some of these narrow sections. This nice shady overhang was just past a section where boards and railing were bolted to the side of the cliff.

At the end of the trail, you are rewarded with a great view of the valley from the edge of a near-vertical dropoff. The overlook should be visible from the road climbing up to the long tunnel west entrance. Tunnel windows may be visible on the left side as I was able to see them from this vantage point.

Dom and Martha took a couple of scenic side trails but at least they found the main trail to the overlook. There were so many paths and trails that it was easy to get diverted.

Here is a view of the wooden bridge hanging off the side of the cliff in the middle of the picture. There were a few other narrow sections but they were still at least a foot wide. Loose sand and some water on some of the rocky surfaces added to the feeling of slipping.

Here is Bridget at the end of the trail which are steps cut into the rock. I think that coming down the steps may be the most challenging part of the trail (for me) as it's difficult to see the steps clearly with bifocals. All in all, this was a great walk and the view from the overlook is worth the short walk in.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Day 59 - Zion National Park

Today, we drove into the park around 8:30am. Being a Monday, it was a lot less crowded than when we were here a few weeks ago. I believe that was a Sunday. We met up with Dom & Martha along with her relatives John and Renee at the South Campground. When I had looked at the online reservations for this campground, it said very limited space for large RVs. It looks like we would fit into most of the sites though getting level would have been challenging.

Around 9 we got onto the shuttle bus and rode it to the end of the line to go along the River Trail towards the Narrows. We had no plans on hiking the Narrows as the entire trail is in the water. Someone mentioned that the water was 38°F and is about 30" deep along the trail. Not doing that. As it was, there was a cold breeze and the sun was not shining in the canyon.

We then took the shuttle bus to the Grotto which is also the start of the trail to Angel's Landing. One of these days I'll take that hike. We took the Grotto trail which led down to the lodge at the next shuttle bus stop.

This was also the beginning of the trail to the Lower Emerald Pools. This was another paved trail to an overhang with water dripping down onto the trail. There were some decent views up the canyon along the trail but the emerald pools themselves were a little disappointing. Not very scenic.

The water dripping off of the cliff was looked pretty cool and reminded me of Weeping Rock here at Zion. The trail to Weeping Rock was closed probably for maintenance. It is another paved trail and has some pretty steep sections.

We ended up walking just under six miles for the morning. We headed back to the RV park to check up on the dogs and have lunch. Maybe it's also time to visit the hot tub again.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Day 58 - Virgin, UT

Really “glamping” at the Zion River RV Resort. The pool and hot tub are behind me and the sites are concrete and level. There is grass on the door side. Right now behind me, they are serving home-made ice cream. Pretty nice. We are here for several days and plan on going into Zion tomorrow and Tuesday.

I took advantage of the level concrete pad to install the Snap-Pads. You put some liquid dish soap along the top edge and manually lower the leveling jacks onto them. They then snap onto the feet of the jack. They add an inch to the jacks and are made from recycled tires. They look to be pretty well made. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Day 57 - Downtown Las Vegas, NV - TT

At 4:00pm, it was 79°F. No wind, clear blue sky in a packed RV park. And the swimming pool was completely empty (except for me). Am I missing something?

Today’s adventure was grocery shopping at Walmart. Later in the afternoon, we went to Fremont Street.

Pretty crowded. We stayed for one of the light shows and walked the length of the Fremont Street Experience. In the next picture, you can see a couple of people on the zip line that runs over Fremont Street.

I read on the Internet that the Paradise Buffet was the best on Fremont Street. It was steak night and it was the first properly prepared steak I’ve had in any restaurant on this trip. They had maybe half a dozen kinds of sushi and good lox plus the other fare at any Las Vegas buffet. Decent enough for the $15.99 price. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Day 55, 56 - Las Vegas, NV - TT

Thursday - After all those days of 90°+, today’s high of 68°F was nice. Though it was also pretty windy. We got a lot of small tasks done such as replacing a broken string in one of the day/night blinds, putting up more command hooks, fixing several drawer latches, replaced six of the 10w bulbs with 1.2w LED bulbs, and probably a couple more things that I don’t remember. One oddity was four of the 10w bulbs were  controlled by a dimmer. If I replaced all four of the bulbs, the dimmer wouldn’t pass current. So I had to leave one incandescent bulb so that the dimmer would work. It’s a start. There are six fluorescent fixtures each with two F15T8 12v bulbs. On Amazon, the LED replacements are about $11 each. May I’ll wait until next month for those. The Snap-Pads arrived today but I’m thinking of waiting until the next RV park to install them. The instructions say to have a level surface. I also picked up some leveling blocks as the last couple of sites were unlevel enough that tires were off the ground. Not good. I would the manually adjust the jacks to put weight back on the tires. BTW, these were the rear tires.

Friday - A few more maintenance tasks today. I had noticed that the tire shop in Albany didn’t air up the front tires as much as I would have preferred so I dug out the little 12v compressor that I used on our first trip. Airing the tires from 100psi to 110psi took about 15 minutes per tire but I had the time. 110psi seems to be about the max for that little compressor. But that’s probably fine as the max pressure for the G rated rear tires is 110psi cold. The right inside rear tire was also low but that was my fault whom I installed the tire pressure sensor. I didn’t know that there was an extension on the valve stem.

I finally started looking at installing the Progressive Dynamics EMS today. This is a surge protector that also does an analysis of the quality of the shore power. I prefer the wired in units as I may forget the units that plug into the pedestal. To install this between the power spool for the 50amp cable and the generator auto transfer switch, I need to remove the whole spool assembly to get sufficient access. It’ll get installed though probably not today. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Day 54 - Las Vegas, NV - TT

A quiet day hanging around the RV park. I’ve been to the pool/hot tub the last few evenings but this is the first time in the afternoon. The weather app says 90°F. Quite a change from the Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many people at the pool.

Right after noon, several huge fifth wheels pulled in and they provided some entertainment as they maneuvered into their sites in this very crowded park. We are taking full advantage of the 50 amp power running both A/C units (as well as the water heater, refrigerator, induction cooktop, Instant Pot, washer/dryer, etc.)

This evening, we are meeting up with a former colleague Scotty and his wife for dinner at a local restaurant, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Apparently it’s a chain but I had never heard of it before. But the food was fabulous as was the company.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Day 53 - Las Vegas, NV - TT

Some may recognize where we are today. We stopped here after being treated to a wonderful lunch by my cousin, Jane, whom we last saw last March at the mini reunion.. She just happened to be in Las Vegas visiting with a long time friend from Hawaii. We went to a fabulous Japanese restaurant, Osaka Japanese Bistro. Jane mentioned that they just gone to Ikea and so it became our afternoon tourist destination.

Here is a picture of us in front of the restaurant. Pretty non-descript entrance complete with triple locks on the front door. But nice Japanese style tables with tatami mats and all. It was a great visit and a surprise.

My son and his girlfriend headed out early this morning for the 20+ hour drive back home. It was wonderful to see him and meet her. I think it’s been almost five years since I last saw him. He seems to be doing good! I was thinking of posting a picture but I neglected to ask.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Day 52 - Las Vegas, NV - TT

This morning, we headed into Las Vegas where we are staying at the local Thousand Trails RV park. It is one of those “pack as many” into the limited real estate. We had a week before heading back to Zion and since it’s a Thousand Trails property, the cost is covered by our membership.

We met up with Scotty, a good friend from my university days. We had recently talked to him about his used RV purchase experience on the phone. He had many excellent suggestions. Some that we weren’t able to follow due to dealer policy.

Our rig is roughly in the middle. We are especially crowded due to the two vehicles. Plus we aren’t quite level due to a slight slope of the site. This is the second time that it’s the drivers rear corner that’s too low. Maybe the Snap-Pads will help. They are due to be delivered on Thursday. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Day 51 - Zion National Park

Today, we ventured into Zion National Park. By 10am, the parking lots were all full according to the signs. We drove through the park and found parking near some short trails near the east entrance. These were pretty quiet but not desolate. No matter where you went, there were people. This canyon was at the end of one of the trails. The pano below, was taken on the other side of the road.

Zion is a beautiful location but oh so many people! We gave up looking for parking inside of the park and found parallel parking in Springdale. We weren’t shopping for anything specific but just wandering through town. When we were leaving, we got a text message from Dom aka, indicating that he was near the town of Virgin, UT. We had just drove through that town so we turned around and headed to his location for a short visit.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Day 50 - Snow Canyon, UT

Today’s trip was to Snow Canyon State Park just north of St. George, UT. The initial attraction was a short hike into a slot canyon called Jenny’s Trail. The first two pictures were taken in the narrow canyon. We then drove further though the park towards the lava flows. The second picture is the wall in the canyon.

There were a number of lava tubes along the trail but I did not venture into them. Those that did were equipped appropriately complete with helmets and head lamps. The park was somewhat of a surprise as I had just saw pictures of the slot canyon. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Day 49 - Victron Battery Monitor - Leeds, UT

I took advantage of a slow day to install the Victron battery monitor into the DC system. A 500 amp shunt (shown below) is installed in series with the negative side of the battery bank. All current in or out of the battery is measured as well as the voltage. The system also allows you to measure the voltage of a secondary battery which, in our case, is the starting battery. This battery monitor is similar to the Trimetric monitor I installed on the 5th wheel with the added benefit of Bluetooth.

Since I can monitor this using my phone, I just left the battery monitor itself in the battery compartment. May I’ll install it onto a wall later but for now, I’ll just use the phone app. All of the configuration and monitoring can be done through the app. I should’ve installed this a month ago. Who knows how low I’ve been running these batteries.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Day 48 - Leeds, UT

Temperatures in the low 80s today here in southern Utah. The small town of Leeds is surrounded by rock ledges and fairly barren landscape but the town itself has a lot of green. I picked up some groceries at the local market. It felt very “small town” until I was able to pay using my watch.

I dug into the battery compartment of the RV to figure out where to install the shunt for the Victron battery monitor. I also saw a couple of other things that need fixing in there. I’ll work on it sometime when I can shut all power down.

We dug out the bikes and rode them around town. It’s a very clean place with some beautiful homes. There is another RV here at the RV park from Alaska. They recently sold their home on the Kenai Peninsula and are now trying to figure out the full-time lifestyle in their 5th wheel. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Day 47 - Leeds, UT

A modest 90 miles today to a small RV park in Leeds, UT. I didn’t call them initially due to the modest size and the listing on AllStays mentioned “seasonal” sites combined with a modest rate. But they had an opening large enough for us plus a couple of cars. It’s very nice with plenty of shade though our site isn’t very flat. The rear of the coach a needed to be raised enough that I couldn’t get the car off of the tow dolly. We are here for five days. We have moved everyday since last Friday. Way too much driving.

Off to do some errands in St. George which is about 15 miles south of Leeds. All of the RV parks in St. George were over 60% more expensive. Having full hookups is convenient to do laundry and not use the propane furnace. The last two nights with temperatures near or below freezing used quite a bit of propane. The water heater and refrigerator also use propane but minimal compared to the furnace. There is a nice Harvest Host site in St. George but we needed to do laundry. And with the warmer temperatures, the A/C may actually get some use.

If anyone is interested in Harvest Hosts, here is a referral link for 15% off. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Day 46 - Milford, UT

We drove a couple of hours south and stopped at the Milford Lions Club Campground. Free dry camping with a dump station next door at the park and a couple of water spigots to refill your fresh water tank. We are at around 5000’ elevation and it’s supposed to drop below freezing tonight. Not ideal. But the generator has been starting reliably so I should be able to run the block heater tomorrow morning.I did run the generator this evening after cooking dinner for about 45 minutes to charge up the batteries for the night. Running the propane furnaces (yes, two of them) uses a lot of battery power.

It’s not very fancy but the price is right. Between the Thousand Trails, Harvest Hosts, lot-docking and community campgrounds like this, our average nightly rate has been reasonable. The free days will help this coming month with a glamping stay near Zion planned. The front leveling jacks are at their limit in this relatively flat campsite. A definite drawback of a long wheelbase (252”).

Starting tomorrow, we will also be staying near Zion and have family coming by to visit! We are looking forward to that.