Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Utah - 3 stops Salina/Long Valley Junction/Nephi

Warning: Because we wanted to finish up Utah this blog is a little long - but it does contain some cool pics! 


August 4, 2017 was moving day to Salina. This was a three night stop to break up the trip to southern Utah.
We stayed at the Butch Cassidy Campground. The camp is a mix of permanent trailers, RV and tent sites. It is very well maintained. We were in site 22, a gravel pull through with full hook ups and level. It was plenty long enough and nice and wide. The WiFi only worked in the office area, our Verizon signal was okay. We paid $38.59 a night with our Good Sam discount.

There were a number of Roadside Oddities around and even a grocery store with our name. We had a tasty breakfast at Famous Mom's Cafe. The Indian was standing guard outside the Mexican restuarant where we had dinner.

The Guard Tower is in front of a memorial to the German POW's who were killed here by a US solider who went a little crazy. The Coke Cans used to be Pepsi until the Wendy's they sit outside of changed to Coke products. The Truck on a pole is outside of an auto repair shop.

Freemont Indian State Park is filled with artifacts, petroglyphs and pictorgraphs left behind by the Fremont Indians. This rare piece of history was discovered while current progress was being made. During construction of I-70 the largest known Freemont Indian Village was stumbled upon.
Museum Trail
Top L-R: Warrior and Deer
Bottom L-R: Creation story and Carrot Men
The Visitor Center has a museum filled with artifacts.
There are a number of trails from short paved ones that are handicap accessible to long strenuous ones. You drive from spot to spot, park and then hike. They offer information sheets on each location at the Visitor Center. We enjoyed the Museum Trail (the paved one) and then took a moderate hike to the Cave of 100 Hands, which takes you under the expressway and along side the river.
Surveying the area
Some of the petroglyphs are hard to find and some like the ones in the Sheep Shelter you see through a mirror. The "selfie" mode on the camera came in handy here.

The Indian Blanket is viewed through a metal tube. Nancy tried taking a picture but the first one all she got was a face in the rock. The one of the blanket is a little blurry. According to legend, a group of Paiute Indians passed through here on the way to their winter camping area. A newborn baby died here and was buried. The mother worried all winter about her baby being alone in the cold, so come spring she returned and drew the blanket on the wall to keep the baby warm. The pictograph is 16-feet wide and 4-feet high. It was created using minerals found in the rocks.

Long Valley Junction

On August 7, 2017 we headed south on Hwy 89 to Long Valley Junction. Don't look for it on a map! There really is nothing here except a gas station, the camp ground and a road maintenance yard.
Crazy road
When we turned on the road that GPS was telling us to turn on we thought for sure it was wrong. Luckily there was a sign for the camp. We followed a two mile dirt and gravel road, up and down, twisting and turning till we reached the Lutherwood Campground.
As you can probably imagine it is very quiet here. The campground is a part of the Lutheran Camping Association of the Southwest, Nancy was feeling her roots here. It is a mix of full hook up RV sites to primitive tent sites and cabins. The sites are very large, both long and wide. We were in site 12, gravel with grass and a picnic table.
WiFi is very weak unless you are by the office. We paid $17.10 a night with a combination of a Passport America discount and weekly rate. Mule Deer visited every morning and night.

Once again there is so much to see and do here it was a very busy week. This location put us half way between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, plus much more.

Bryce Canyon National Park was first on the to-do list. There is only one trail that you can take a dog on which we had planned to do but discovered that we could see so much from all of the overlooks that we chose to go that route instead. Nancy was fighting a summer cold so hiking really wasn't what she wanted to do anyways!
Inspiration Point can be a hike all on its own. You have a choice of three viewing spots. One is a short paved walk, but the other two are a climb up a sandy path with the top level being quite a hike up.
You look out over the Silent City and the valley floor. The many many towers and Hoo Doos are quite spectacular. The tree growing right on the rim was inspiring in its self.

The Natural Bridge was our favorite.

There was a high-rise and a bobble head at the Agua Canyon Overlook.

The view from Ponderosa Point was filled with pine trees - one can only guess that they may be Ponderosa's! We watched the birds fly over Black Birch Canyon.

L: Ponderosa Point ~~~~ C & R: Black Birch Canyon
Fairyland Overlook is a little off the beaten path and the formations were exactly what you would think of in fairyland.

While waiting for people to cross the road we saw this girl engrossed in her book and she tugged at our heartstrings as she reminded us of Katrina.

The drive on Highway 12 to Bryce Canyon is breathtaking as the road cuts through Red Canyon, which is part of the Dixie National Forest. You don't even know which way to look as both sides of the road are filled with enormous red rocks. In fact you drive through two of them. Tunnels have been cut through the rock and it is quite the sight to see as you come around the corner. There are four trails that are interconnected, with the trail head for the first one off of the Visitor Center parking lot.
Our hike started with the Pink Ledges Trail then went onto the Hoo Doo Trail which connects with the Birdseye Trail. It was about a 2.5 mile loop all together.
The whole thing is gravel and very hilly with some places being very narrow and steep. The views from the Birdseye Trail are certainly why it is called this. 
Top L-R: The opening at the top looked like a bird
~ Keeping dry
Bottom L-R: Our view  and our climb
We started off with blue skies and sunshine but about half way through the walk we had to take shelter from a thunder storm in a small cave area. Getting up to it was a struggle, coming down was even better - Nancy did it on her butt!

Not only were we treated to wonderful rock formations but the trees that have fallen where so beautiful.

Nancy and her sister Linda share a history with Smokey the Bear. The story that has been told for almost 60 years is that Linda had a much loved stuffed Smokey and Nancy bit the nose off of it. So whenever we are around a Smoky with an intact nose Nancy has to get a picture.

Cedar Breaks National Monument was a straight shot down Highway 14 from our campground. Well, okay straight may not be the right word unless you are talking as the crow flies! Highway 14 twists and curves and climbs its way to Cedar City with Cedar Breaks along the way.
The scenic drive through the park is only six miles long but don't let the short length fool you.

There are four overlooks to stop at and the view from each is spectacular.

While the Grand Canyon North Rim wasn't exactly close by, the 2 hour drive was so worth it. We visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon in November 2016, but seeing it is 200+ miles to the North Rim we didn't go. This time it was just over 100 miles and an easy straight shot down Highway 89.
The road ends at the North Rim Lodge, which has a Visitor Center that is surrounded by cabins. If you ever go there you need to stay in cabin 306 - it has the best view.

Nancy walked out to the end of Bright Angel Point, leaving Les and Mielikki resting in the shade. The path is paved all the way but very steep in some places and pretty narrow in others.

The views made the few heart stopping moments along the way worth it.

We then drove out to Cape Royal and caught a balancing rock in the rear view mirror.

Colorado River      ~~~~~   Angels Window 

A stop at the Angels Window Overlook gave us a peak at the Colorado River. There are actually people standing on top of the window rock. This view made our picnic dinner even more special.

We took turns going out to the overlook and Nancy caught a picture of Les taking this picture of the canyon.

Zion National Park has stolen our hearts and has become our favorite so far.
 The soaring windswept mountains in a rainbow of colors boggles the mind from the moment you enter the park. Gray checkerboards, pink ripples, purple alcoves greet you from the start.

There are two tunnels carved through the mountains. The first one is short and wide enough for all traffic.

Top - going into the park
Bottom - heading out of the park

The second one, completed in 1930 is 1.1 miles long. When this one was built they were not anticipating today's large buses and RV's. To drive one of these through you have to pay an escort fee of $15 and approaching traffic is stopped as you have to drive straight down the center in order to not hit the walls. We watched a bus enter the tunnel and it was a tight squeeze. As you exit the 2nd tunnel the road starts its descent into the valley. There are openings through out the tunnel - we assume to let in air and light. Nancy got a few pics while driving past them.

We were happy to see the Big Horn Sheep, even if they were pretty small.

Once you get to the Visitor Center if you are lucky you can park there for the shuttle bus that takes you through the park. If not you can park in Springdale, which boarders the west edge of the park and take a free shuttle to the Visitor Center. This is what we had to do.
L: View from front seat of trailer
T-R: view from ceiling vents
The shuttle buses run every 7-15 minutes. These are the only way you can get into the park, as private cars are prohibited. You can hop on and off at any of the stops and overlooks and stay at each one as long as you want before picking up another shuttle.
We suggest that you get a forward facing seat if possible so you can see a little better, or the first row of the trailer car.  Some of our trip was spent standing in the center row hanging onto the overhead straps. All the shuttles are handicap accessible.
The Narrows
We rode all the way to the end to the Temple of Sinawava.
There you can hike out to the Narrows, which is what we did. This is where the river cuts through the mountains and to continue the hike you have to wade through the river. We did not do this. The path out to the Narrows is paved but covered in sand in places. Wheelchairs and strollers are allowed but it is a little steep in places.
The path runs along the Virgin River and there is access to the river in places. Some of the walls are covered in hanging gardens, as there is a constant stream of water running down the sides.

There are plenty of places to stop and rest, which Nancy appreciated as she was still struggling with her stupid summer cold and the altitude wasn't helping much. We will definitely be coming back to this park to explore more one day.
The Giant White Throne

The place was filled with 100's
of model cars
We made a pit stop on the way to the Grand Canyon at the Thunderbird Restaurant - The Home of the Ho-made Pies.
We learned about it on the Roadside Oddities website and the name gave us such a chuckle we had to stop. The pie was delicious. Their catch phrase was created after WWII when lumber was hard to come by. They didn't have enough wood to write out the whole word "Homemade" so they shortened it. Of course this was long before the word Ho took on the meaning it has today. When times changed they decided to embrace their slogan and it seems to be working just fine for them.

Besides the Ho-Made Pies we found a few other Oddities.
The Rock Shop in Orderville is trying very hard to look like a rock. This Totem Pole sits on private property along side a building built into a cave. The Rodeo Horse and Large Shopping Cart are in Kanab. The Landlock Lighthouse stands guard over Cedar City.


August 14, 2017 found us moving to Nephi. With "move-in" weekend at Brigham University and the Solar Eclipse we had a hard time finding a place to stay by Salt Lake City.
The original plan was to stay three days but with no openings any where else and Nancy's cold at it's peak we extended our stay for a week.
We stayed at Jones High Country RV Park. Your basic park, all gravel with very narrow sites. We were in Site 12 with full hook-ups and luckily no one was next to us. WiFi was weak, Verizon signal strong. We paid $30.00 a night with our Good Sam discount. We never once spoke to or saw the owners, everything was done via voicemail and a drop box on the office door.
Even with a few days of rest we still got a chance to see some sites. Roadside Oddities of course. We found the Utah Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian. Chief Wasatch sits at the entrance to a park in Murray just south of Salt Lake. He is the 52nd carving on the Trail of Whispering Giants. He was carved in 1985 and stands 23 feet tall.

Others that we found were replicas of Mount Rushmore and Stonehenge along with a Krishna Temple.

The Gilgal Sculpture Garden is in downtown Salt Lake. It is a small place nestled behind houses and apartment buildings. There are 12 sculptures and over 70 engraved stones. You can take a virtual tour on the web site.

While the Mormon Temple isn't really a roadside we did get a picture of it. It stands in the center of Temple Square.

Top: Young Living ~~~ Bottom: doTERRA  

We made a stop at two Essential Oil companies. doTERRA is just outside of Salt Lake. Our friend Connie sells these oils. Young Living has a number of locations. We stopped at the Lavender Farm in Mona. Our friend Jan sells these oils. Both have beautiful grounds

A little nature is always on the agenda for us. Bridal Veil Falls in the Provo Canyon were so pretty and an easy walk to get to on a paved path. Mielikki is getting braver every time, she actually got into the water this time.

Up next is Idaho, Oregon and Washington as we work our way to our Alaskan cruise!

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Pace yourself
Okay as you all know we never really follow this advice, which of course is why this blog post is so ridiculously long. When there is so much to do and we want to share all of it with you this is what happens. So, thank you for your patience and putting up with us rambling on and thanks for following along and encouraging us to keep moving.  


  1. Wow all places are just amazing, especially those horsetail and ponytail falls. By road I visited so many places with my family and I enjoy road trip always rather than by plane. Through your blog i just got ideas for traveling that where should i spend my upcoming holidays with my family. Thank you.

  2. I am glad our blog has given you some ideas of where to visit - there is an endless supply of places in this beautiful country!