Day 7 Zion National Park

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Woke up to get some coffee and take Riley for a walk.  Discovered this hidden gem behind the motel.

Today’s Stats:

IMG_1995After breakfast and a quick meeting we were off to Zion.  Luckily Travis talked to a guy that told him about the drive was not an easy one especially pulling a trailer.  So he drove.

Funny this trip… I am a planner by nature but lately I have been trying to plan less and just go, see what happens. So I stopped over researching, googling everything and really knew nothing about the place I had planned.  I simple went on the app Roadtrippers and added placed that were in a 30 mile radius of our route.

So I had no idea what to expect of Zion National Park.  It was amazing but more of a drive through with scenic vistas.  Where the Grand Canyon we were on top looking down this one we drove through the canyon carved out by Virgin River.  The Mormons first settled the area and called it Zion for the bountiful land that the river fed.

In the 1920’s they built a tunnel. Cars were a lot narrower back then. So the wider ones require a tunnel traffic control.  Luckily we were just under that maximum width. What a crazy experience going through the mountain for 1.1 miles.  Felt a little bit of anxiety and Closter phobic.  Luckily they had 3 or 4 “windows” that opened up to let in light and let us view the canyon walls.

The scenic road took us down several switch backs to the bottom.  Where we exited on the other side.

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Then parked the truck and walked to the visitor center.

IMG_2024Riley was only allowed on one trail.  So we went for a walk.

It was so hot I decided to let him go in the river.  He is such a water dog went right in and laid down. 

Just before we turned around we let him in again.  This time off leash.  He went right in and started getting pushed by the current!  He went over a small rapid and tried to get out about 5 feet downstream from us.  We ran for him as he was struggling to get a grip hold to get out.  I asked Travis to take my hand them put one foot in the water and went down sneaker and all to my thigh.   I grabbed Riley by the scruff and collar and after a small yelp from him handed him to Travis.  Then with Riley safely on solid ground I looked at him and said you’re going to have to pull me out.  Wow what an adrenaline rush.  My heart was pounding after that one.  And Riley is just a happy as can be wagging his tail and shaking off the water. We walked back with one wet sneaker and one dry one.

Got back to the visitor center and sat on a bench to figure out the rest of the trip.  We have a couple of days left and not enough things planned.  I decided that since I bought the national park’s annual pass we should hit as many parks as we can.  So change of plans Hoover dam then on to the National Parks of California.

We started driving and it is getting hotter, in the upper 90’s.  It is feeling like the AC is not working in the truck.  So I found a Ford Dealership in St George, Utah.  They were able to take care of us right away.  So we enjoyed some down time and I got to write yesterday’s blog post.  They were so nice there.  I took up a table, plugged in and use the internet.  Riley was allowed to join us in the waiting room.  He was so good just laid on the cool tiles and accepted love from everyone who stopped to say hi to him.

IMG_2025Just over an hour later we are loving life with cold air coming out of the vents.

One more stop before heading toward Vegas.  Black Bear Diner, one of Travis’ favorites of the western US.  We found a shady spot and parked the truck so Riley wouldn’t get over heated. We asked the hostess if we could sit by the window so we could keep an eye on the truck with the window open.  We told her Riley was in it. After confirming with her manager, she said we could bring him in.  He was so good! Laid under the table and slept while we ate.


Then posed for pictures on our way out.

Back to driving.  Oh look there is Arizona again.

IMG_2032Now Nevada


Passed right through Vegas. Yes that is the space needle on the right.

IMG_2037We drove right past the exit for the Hoover Dam and crossed the Colorado River.  Oh look we are in Arizona again. Off at the first exit and back across the bridge and we are back in Nevada.

IMG_2041We find the exit and head to a security check point where they tell us that we can’t cross the dam because they need to inspect the trailer.  Since it is packed tight they would have to take everything out. So we went to a look out point that overlooked Lake Mead hoping to catch a glimpse of the dam.  No such luck.

Then we decided to cross back into Arizona again and see if we could access the dam from the other side.  The road is closed!  So we go back over the bridge and I am looking out the dam.  Hope to see it but again no can’t see it from the bridge.

Back in Nevada we notice a beautiful sunset and head to the lookout point again quick snap of a photo and back in the truck.

Still on the mission to see the dam we head in to the state park towards the lake again.  But you can’t see it from there either.  Ok we give up, find a hotel to crash for the night.  This one has a hot tub and pool.  So we spent the early part of the night soaking in the hot top looking at the moon through the palm trees.  Seriously you can’t beat this with a stick.




Day 6 Horseshoe bend and Bryce Canyon National Park

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“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.”

– Edward Abbey

The hotel we stayed at was the nicest yet.  We had a ground floor walk out slider to this view.  I worked for about an hour in the with this view. Not too shabby if I say so myself.


This morning’s driving stats and where we are at:

So our first stop was horseshoe bend. We parked in the lot and walked about 1.5 miles to see this:

Next off to Bryce Canyon.  The drive there was amazing the landscape changes so much it is really breath taking.

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We made it to Utah!  The first time we stopped at the state line sign.

Travis has become quite the photographer and getting used to the facebook checkins.  This was him the whole drive to Bryce Canyon.


Next Stop Bryce Canyon!  Seriously each wonder of the world is better than the next.

So many people stopped us to pet and ask about Riley;  Most of them from Europe.  We found out that Flat-Coated Retrievers are very common over there.  Spoke to one couple who had 4 of them.  Riley was just soaking it all in.  We spoke to another couple who used to have a Golden named Riley.  So they got their Riley fix by loving on him.

As we were walking out of Bryce Canyon we stopped at the general store for water. Ended up getting a slice of Pizza and an ice cream sandwich.  It was starting to get chilly so move to a bench in the sun.  Ahh perfect.  Walked back to the truck we started talking about selfies and selfie sticks (which I refuse to buy).  Then Travis told me about the selfie song.  When we got back to the truck and were driving out of the park he played it for me.  So funny! {Video to come when I have better internet}

We started heading to Zion Nation Park, only like an hour away.  Stayed at a motel about 15 minutes away.

Not our best motel but it was convenient.

Across the street was a restaurant where they advertise their Ho’made pies. The Thunderbird restaurant did not let me down I had a strawberry Rhubarb pie.

IMG_1989It was amazing! So the story is that back in the 30’s when this restaurant was first started they ran out of wood for the word HOME, so they shortened it to HO.  And it stuck..

Day 5 Grand Canyon

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This morning driving stats.

Last check we were around 14 hours from Lafayette. So it’s time to see some sights.


We  drove to the Grand Canyon today.

img_1823Our first stop was at the Grand Canyon Visitor center. Parking lot was so full we had to make our own parking spot but it appears we were trend setters as bikes followed our cue.

IMG_1847Wow it was crowded. It was the perfect day for it and tourists from all over the world were there experiencing it with us. There were many tour buses full of international tourists. It kinda took away from the experience, but it was still spectacular

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So beautiful, I was in awe.You could spend hours just staring at it.  Can you imagine being a traveler back in the days of horse pulled wagons traveling across country and come across great big hole in the ground? And you think yourself well how my going to get over there.

Riley again did great. He is such a poser. Many people asked to give him some love; which he gladly accepted. We could not help but laugh when some of the Asian Tourists were scared of him.  They quickly moved out of the one one girl jumped behind her guy so he would act as a shield against the ferocious Riley. But he was not the only wildlife. We saw squirrels, which despite the signs, we saw this one tourist giving nuts. This little guy was taking it right from his hands.

The next stop in the Grand Canyon National Park was the Desert View visitor center. It has an awesome look out tower built in 1932. There is also a memorial to one of the first commercial plane crashes in the US. It happened near by in 1956.

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As we were leaving we noticed a mule deer on the edge of the parking lot.  They are so used to seeing visitors that he didn’t even move as I approached him.

Next we are heading to Horseshoe bend in Page, AZ. Located very close to the Utah boarder.


Day 4 Texas, New Mexico, Arizona

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This morning’s stats.  Showing total driving time and mileage.

IMG_1740.JPGI worked a half day today.  Took two meetings but reception was not as good as yesterday, dropped the call a few times. But still it is pretty cool to be able to work from the road.


Today’s travels took us from the grass lands of Texas, to the barren land of New Mexico.  The rock and mountain shapes and structures are so rugged yet beautiful.  Two more time zones, guess it is time to adjust the clocks.  Playing havoc with our eating and sleeping schedules. Poor Riley didn’t get dinner until 10 pm last night.

The maintenance guy said that if you press No you get shocked.


Just passing into Arizona. What you don’t sing when you drive?

We stopped in Gallup for dinner. Got way too much food but I was craving BBQ. The combo platter seemed like a good idea.

IMG_1764After dinner a guy walks up to the truck and asks us for money. After giving us his spiel, T says no, sorry man.  The guy proceeds to tell us we are members of the KKK and that since we didn’t help him out something bad will happen to us.  We were thinking of staying overnight there but after that we decided to get out of there.


We made it to Flagstaff for our nightly stop.  Luckily the La Quinta takes pets.  Seems like a cool mountain town.