Monday, March 27, 2017

The 2017 Finale!

Once we left Brenda, we had intended to stay at Verde Valley Thousand Trails but it was "full" ( 75 sites were offline needing repair ) so we stayed on public land about two miles from the resort so we could still use the facility for water and trash. It actually worked out to our benefit.

I was finally motivated enough to start learning how to engrave leather. I really enjoyed playing around with the different tools. Eventually I want to engrave a belt that shows our journey.

After 10 days of dry camping near Cottonwood AZ we had visited most of the attractions we had hoped for and started prepping the coach for travel again.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon was breath taking!

After spending a few hours at the rim, we headed north again, stopping at roadside shops and views periodically when parking space allowed pull through maneuvering.

Using our Ultimate Campgrounds app, we found this jewel of a spot called Lone Rock State Park just over the border in Utah. Situated on Lake Powell with beautiful soft sand beaches with just enough packed sand to park a large coach with confidence within 200 feet of the water.

Probably one of the top 2 places we visited this year. Lone Rock State Park was perfect!

We stayed 4 days. 3 days longer than we had intended because it was that good. 

Very interesting people live here. We had a great time just chatting and sailing and four wheeling around this awesome park.

When we finally tore ourselves away from heaven, it was a hard push north into the heart of Utah. 

Red Canyon/Bryce Canyon was stunningly gorgeous but as we made it farther up the scenic 12 , it became very clear that we lacked the needed horsepower for the extremely steep grades and our naturally aspirated Detroit 8V71 was in serious need of more oxygen as we approached the 10000 foot elevation mark. At some points, we were slowed to a one mile per hour crawl with smoke bellowing and fingers crossed but she made it up and over and through every scary, beautiful, treacherous and fantastic feature.

Once we were off the scenic 12, we found Torrey Utah. A nice place to park, a pizza joint and we unwound via pitchers of beer, dinner and a well earned nights sleep. The remainder of our trip home was familiar ground through Ely Nevada and north through Jackpot NV and on through the base of Idaho then meandering west into Oregon eventually. Once in Oregon it was time to hold the pedal down and finish what we started. After a total of over 4100 miles, we pulled into our little Eastern WA town and were joyously greeted by friends and family. All in all, with seven states completed, the first season was a huge success. The lessons learned were many. The character building hardships and challenges made us different people today. I can truly say, it's not what we saw on the trip but what the trip saw in us. Now it's time to buckle down, go back to work and prepare for the 2018 season of travel when we head through MT, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, WY, and CO!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bye Bye Brenda AZ

As much as we have thoroughly enjoyed our "extended stay" in Brenda AZ, the time to head for a new destination north had to be March. To be honest, we were way too comfortable here and as good as that may sound, comfort has not much in common with self improvement and adventure. I find myself lying around getting fat and complacent when things get too easy!

Our new Suzuki has proven to be an excellent exploration tool. We have not been gentle with it but we have fixed almost all the little things until it's just about perfect now minus all the mud and weed scratches but hey, that's what it's for! 
We also upgraded from 6 seven gallon aqua-tainers to 9 giving us 63 gallon capacity on water runs which are only a couple miles each way and the little Zuki handles the weight pretty well.
Our battery bank has also increased in size from five group 27 RV units to eight! In the winter, amount of time between sunset and when we actually go to bed is about 4 hours so if we didn't want to have to run the little Honda EU1000 for a couple evening hours to maintain our 95% to 100% capacity needed for overnight fridge and furnace operation, we needed a few hundred extra amp hours to make up for the slack time. This bank size is working flawlessly and we have no need to run any generator unless it's overcast all day.
 Our friend Dana had us over to enjoy the pool at his park and we were hooked.
We were even treated to a visit from Jess's Dad Paul and our Son Colton from Washington State for a couple days and they were kind enough to drive our trusty Volkswagon Jetta home after enjoying some sun and desert fun.
True to our word we did finally tear ourselves away from paradise and head north.
About 200 miles northeast, our new spot is a little more remote but so far has proven to be a great place to explore for the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more!