Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two days rest

The storm passed through London, Ontario yesterday while we were there. The winds were pretty severe; made me glad we decided not to travel any farther than the Flying J because we had thought we'd go all the way to the campground south of Hamilton. We never would have made it in time and would have been caught up in the weather. Thank goodness!

There was a lightning strike right on top of us and it knocked the gas pumps out at the gas station. They still didn't have them fixed by the time we left the next morning. While we were there we started thinking about the cost of fuel and concluded that, with the cost of exchange, the price of diesel fuel in Canada was just about the same as the U.S. Last year there was a benefit to us while we were in the states as our dollar was closer to par so the cheaper (relatively) fuel there did save us some money.

Today we travelled to Fifty Point Campground. It only took about an hour and a half. What a treat after the last few days. Our mileage since getting past the Rockies has been very good, about 9.5 miles per gallon. For a 40 foot diesel pusher that's not bad.

We'll stay here now until Tuesday when we have an appointment at Sicard RV to get some work done. Then, if all goes well, it's off to Ottawa. Perhaps we will be there by Wednesday? Who knows.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 20 to 25, 2009

Finally, back on line! We got our satellite dish replaced which was nice. All because of a broken bushing! The guys worked on it all day Tuesday in Salt Lake City. We had spent the previous night in their parking lot so we could be ready for them without having to fight morning traffic. Once we had the dish working we then had to get back on the right satellite. The Moto Sat guys didn't do that; that would be our original installer. It was complicated by technical problems with our browser - Internet Explorer. It took a few days to figure out a fix and we finally got recommissioned on our satellite last night. So, here we are :-)

On Monday we travelled from St. George (we were sad to leave such a beautiful place) to Salt Lake City. We went from about 4300 feet elevation to over 7000 feet by the time we reached SLC. As a result our gas mileage was only about 6 1/2 miles per gallon. But the views were great, as usual, and we have some pictures as proof:-)

Still in the valley out of St. George

Starting to see some snow up high

Up in the high country

our rig with mountains as a backdrop

After we left Salt Lake City we travelled about 450 miles a day. Our first stop was Rock Springs, Wyoming. We stayed at a Flying J Travel Centre that night. No problem but trucks with motors running make for poor sleeping arrangements. On the way to Rock Springs we reached elevations over 10,000 feet before starting to drop down out of the Rocky Mountains.

This is a picture from the high country

We stopped at North Platte, Nebraska on Wednesday and stayed at a RV campground there. Not much to report - just a long day on the road. On Thursday we stopped at Newton, Iowa at a campground there (Rolling Acres Campground). After checking in we heard someone welcoming us Canadians to the park. We thought it was just someone else from Canada but it turned out to be Don and Lola Teater from our winter park in Apache Junction. What a coincidence! They are working there for the summer. We visited with them for a bit and got caught up on each others' news. It was great to see them. It is just amazing how often you can run across people you know in this life style.

Yesterday we stopped at Holland, Michigan. That is definitely a place we'd like to visit again. Lots of Dutch history and it seems to be a vacation paradise. We had to pass just south of Chicago. That was very stressful. Traffic was very busy and there were loads of trucks on the road. We needed a rest break after passing through that area.

Looks busy, doesn't it?We made it all the way to Canada today. We are spending the evening at a Flying J in London, Ontario. It is very windy and a storm is just about upon us. So I'll get this posted before we lose our signal.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

This is about the third day we have woken up around 7:30. We don't seem to have gotten used to the time change yet. Breakfast at Denny's today. We like to eat out about once a week and Denny's is pretty good. The weather is warm and sunny again, with a high in the low 80s. We took our bikes down to the Virgin River and found a trailhead where we could bike along the river. It was a paved path and didn't have too many people on it. We only biked about 15 miles but that was enough. After lunch we drove about a bit seeing the sites of St. George and then headed through Snow Valley State Park.

We headed back home at 4:00 and did our laundry for the week and had another light supper. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Salt Lake City, a distance of about 300 miles, where we hope to get our satellite dish repaired. I think we'd better set the alarm clock :-)

St. George has been a neat town to visit; it seems quite affluent and there don't seem to be many houses for sale - not like in other cities we've visited. There is lots to do here and in the surrounding area. We would like to come back this way again and take more time to explore the area, particularly the National Parks nearby.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today is picture day

Today we got up early and had a quick breakfast so we could head out to Zion National Park again. We thought we would beat the crowds but the parking lot was nearly full again, and we were at least an hour earlier. Must be because it's the weekend.

After perusing the information sheets and assessing the hiking possibilities for hikes we thought we could do, we decided on Angel's Landing - a strenuous hike, about 5 miles round trip and 4 hours walking time. We weren't too sure about it, especially when the writeup indicated: 'long drop-offs and narrow trail, and not for anyone fearful of heights. At any rate we decided to try it and go as far as we could. The elevation change was listed as 1488 feet.

The trail up to the Scout Lookout was wide and easy to walk up, but it was very steep and had many switch backs. When we got to the top of the first ridge we had a look at the next part, which was about .5 miles long and decided that was enough for us. There were a lot of people on this hike - some continued on but many decided as we did and made that their turnaround spot.

Looking back on the trail from part way up the mountain.
Looking south down Zion Canyon from our stopping point
A different angle! Does that give you a good idea of how high we were
This is the final leg up to Angel's Landing. It's pretty narrow
After our hike we took the shuttle back down to the Court of the Patriarchs. It is a mountain range consisting of three majestic white mountains given Old Testament names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They best represent the majesty of the mountains we've been travelling through in the Park.
The Court of the Patriarchs
We took a little drive up Hwy 9 to see and drive through the mile-long tunnel we'd heard about. This feature looked a lot like a bridge.

By the time we'd done all this it was almost 4:00 and we had to head back home for supper. There's a grocery store close to the campground so we headed over to buy some items for supper and called it a day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Zion Canyon

Today has been another great day! We didn't get up early, as we had planned; I think it was because of the time change. So, after a leisurely breakfast and time spent making snacks for our trip, we headed out to Zion National Park. It was about 40 miles away. The scenery in this State is fantastic, a beautiful vista whichever way you look. We took pictures but we've only posted this first one. This was taken as we were driving down Highway 9 toward the Park.
We arrived at the Park a little after 10:00 am. For a Friday morning, and the fact that it is still early in the season, there were lots of people heading in the same direction as us. There were a lot of familes and every family seemed to have at least 4 kids. What's up with that? The parking lot was pretty well full when we arrived. The park entry fee is $25.00 per car and is good for 7 days. Naturally we'll be coming back at least once more before we head to Salt Lake City :-)
The Zion Canyon road can only be traversed by shuttle bus, but that's a great way to get around. We took the shuttle to the far end of the road, a distance of about 8 miles. The shuttle is free and you can get on and off at any of the designated stops, which are usually coordinated with trailheads or viewpoints.
The views were breathtaking and I hope some of our pictures can do it justice and give you a flavour of the size and variety of formations.
Underneath a waterfall on the way to the Emerald Pools
The upper Emerald Pool
I couldn't get a picture that would pan all the way up the rock face and still keep Lise in the picture - someday that slab will break away This is at a wider part of the Canyon
We went on two moderate hikes on this trip. We are planning on going back tomorrow and trying a harder hike - Angels Landing. It is 5 miles roundtrip and takes about 4 hours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 7 to 16, 2009

Last week at this time we were happily getting ready for a leisurely trip back to Ottawa, following I-40 and heading in a fairly direct easterly routing. Unfortunately, that was not to be. We were having some problems with our satellite dish and found that the only way to get it fixed was to visit the head office of Moto Sat in Salt Lake City, Utah, directly north of Phoenix about 650 miles. So here we are tonight in St. George, Utah where we'll be spending the next 4 or 5 days as we can't get an appointment at the company until next Tuesday.

We spent last night at Sam's Town RV Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a fairly windy day and the road had lots of elevation changes so I'm sure we didn't get great mileage. It was about 6:30 when we arrived. It's a good thing we got into town when we did as it got dark quickly after that. I don't like having to set up in a strange park at night. As it was it was too late to make supper in the rig so we visited the Casino next door and had supper there.

Today we only travelled 120 miles but we went through some pretty country. We passed through Virgin River Canyon as we travelled through Nevada, Arizona and Utah in about a 30 mile stretch. The Canyon was a remarkable combination of nature and engineering skill.

Really, this seems like a bit of a downer but we are actually pretty pleased how everything has worked out. We are about 30 miles from Zion National Park and expect to visit it at least two of the next four days. We had hoped to visit parts of Utah this winter and decided we couldn't afford it. Well, here we are! Also, there are great bike trails in St. George and we'll likely try those out as well. Every cloud has a silver lining :-)

This is a picture of the highway between Las Vegas, Nevada as we were heading towards St. George. There was some pretty extreme weather around Salt Lake City and this was the southern edge of that system.
When we were going through this Pass (Virgin River Canyon) it looked like we were heading right into the mountain.The view out of our front window at the RV park in St. George. A Mormon Temple framed by snow covered mountains.

Monday, April 6, 2009

March 30 to April 6, 2009

We're still here. Our days are much quieter lately. We've been out biking, playing golf and Lise went out hiking one last time. They heard, but didn't see, a rattlesnake when they were on the way back so now, for sure, the hiking season is over - at least here! The following pictures are from the hike.
standing among typical Arizona desert vegetation
A motley crew (n'est-ce, pas?)
There was a well-attended happy hour in the north end of the park on Monday. There must have been over 60 people sitting in lawn chairs enjoying food and camaraderie in the last big event of the season. The food was great too, people really outdid themselves for this event.
We travelled to Payson on Sunday, about 70 miles north of Phoenix and the route we're going to be travelling when we leave next week. It was a nice day and we were just looking for something to do. There are lots of hills on this road; it reminds me of travelling in B.C. on some of the highways there, particularly north of Hope.
We keep looking for things to put away but it's really too early to do too much. I guess we're getting anxious to leave, since we've been watching all our friends leave over the last few weeks. Really, though, it's still too cold in the north so we just have to be patient. We'll be wearing long pants and sweaters or jackets before too long now :-)