The Last Legs Home


After we left Zion National Park, we drove north through Hurricane until we found the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) open area where boon-docking is permitted. It took a bit of time to figure where we were allowed, but we found some other Canadians who assured us it was fine to park across from them. We found the most level spot we could, where we wouldn’t be blocking pathways or encroaching on the privacy of others, then went for a walk to see what was around us before the sun set.

Sun Beginning to Set
Our Site/Our neighbours
Where does this road lead?
A locked gate

A bush beginning to bud
My favourite Shot

The sun went down and we could see millions of stars. We watched a campfire (metal ringed fire-pits were the only amenities) burning up on a hill. We read for a while, and then snuggled under the covers to enjoy the quietest and most peaceful night’s sleep we’d had in years. No noise; no lights.

Salt Lake City

Early the next morning we were on the road heading to Salt Lake City. We could see snow-covered mountains off in the distance, shadows from clouds overhead creating the effect of oil paintings.

These were the only interesting things on the drive.

At 4:00 pm we reached our destination – the KOA in Salt Lake City, after stopping at the local Ford Dealer to get an appointment to have the motorhome issue checked out. Hot showers and great internet connection were much appreciated, but we didn’t have the luxury of quiet darkness for sleeping. There is always a trade-off.

While the motorhome was being thoroughly examined for most of the next day, we toured the mall, had coffee and cinnamon buns, and later lunch, before finding a table in the sun of the courtyard, still waiting to hear from the Ford man.

We arrived at City Creek Centre before the stores opened
Looking down and across the creek from the second floor
The outside Courtyard, with the Mormon Chapel in the background
Mid-morning energy boast
Looking down to the street from the Upper Floor Causeway between the Mall Sections
Children were fascinated with this Infinity Pool
At certain intervals music began to play and the fountains danced

He finally checked in  with the news that they could find nothing wrong other than the flawed spark plug that we’d had replaced in Mesa. With Jim’s permission they would replace all ten spark plugs. We had another couple of hours to kill so we left the mall and walked downtown, ultimately ending up at the IMAX Theatre in the Planetarium, where we watched the 3D movie “Super Dogs.” That was amazing!

At 4:30 the call came: the motorhome was finished and running well. $760 later we were back at the KOA. I have to say that we were impressed with this dealership. They were very courteous; they had an Uber at the door to take us wherever we wanted to go while we waited, at their expense, and another to pick us up downtown to return us to the dealership. They showed us the cracked spark plug, and a few examples of how badly warn and rusted the others were. They explained all the other testing they’d done and how they’d found the problem.

The following day we journeyed to the suburb of Cottonwood to join many other ukulele players, in a small non-denominational church, for a ukulele workshop and concert lead by a master of ukulele, Stuart Fuchs. It was an uplifting and inspiring way to end our stay in Utah.

Stuart Fusch tuning his ukulele
Love is the theme of the Unitarian Universalist Society where the ukulele workshop took place

The next morning we left the KOA.

The Final 1,966 Miles

The last five days were spent just driving, trying to keep ahead of the predicted rain and snow along the way.

Tunnel Through the Mountain near Grand River, Utah

The first night we parked at Western Hills Campground, high on a hill outside Rawlins, Wyoming and were again rocked to sleep by high winds. We had a good breakfast at Cappy’s, a restaurant located part way down the hill.

Western Hills Campground, Rawlins, Wyoming

Back on I-80 the winds were still blowing and the elevation reached 8800 feet. Overhead signs warned that there could be wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph and high profile, light-weight vehicles should turn off. That was us, but where were we to go? We carried on, out of Wyoming and half-way through Nebraska to Lexington, where we found a Walmart that night.

Steep Climb to 8800 feet

At Sleepy Hallow Good Sam Campground, in Oxford Iowa the next night, more high winds, thunder and heavy rain disturbed out sleep. At 6:00 am the roaring winds had me up and dressed, ready to escape what sounded like a tornado, but it settled down enough for us to have breakfast before we left. Getting out of our spot was tricky though. The sites were built along the side of a hill and the narrow, up-hill roads between them were partially washed out in places, requiring a sharp left turn to get onto them. We got stuck in the wet grass beside us. After a couple of tries, Jim managed to get purchase on the gravel and gunned it up the hill. I was so glad to get out of there. It’s a very pretty spot, but the access roads and parking sites need a lot of work. That was our last campground stay.

This will be a pretty Campground in the spring and summer, but the roads need work

We got the rest of the way through Iowa, and all the way through Illinois, still on I-80, and to Elkhart, Indiana the next day. The Cracker Barrel was ours for dinner, the night, and breakfast. We would have gotten further if it hadn’t been for a tanker roll over in Illinois that caused a two-hour delay.

The following day we continued to fight the winds and we decided to turn north at Michigan instead of continuing on to Pennsylvania and New York state, where we usually cross the border at Niagara Falls. We were hoping the winds would be lighter. They weren’t.

Trucks lined up at Border
Flags blowing Straight out at the Enroute Travelers Centre

After we crossed into Canada at Detroit (where we got lost trying to find our way to the bridge) they got even worse! We were ready to stop for the night at Tilbury, west of Toronto, but snowy predictions for the next morning and the continued winds, pushed us on home. We arrived at 9:15 pm. Home was a beautiful sight, even though it was cold!

Salt Lake City


Day 15 – Thurs.

Today started out as an uneventful travelling day. It ended a little differently.

We left the campground at 10:00 am and within two miles we were in Idaho. Travelling along Hwy 15, there wasn’t much to see.  It’s mostly fields of wheat and potatoes, or pastures for cows and horses.  There was one small section, about five miles long maybe, which looked like the badlands – black rocks tumble weeds and scrub brush. By mid-afternoon the colourful mountain ranges of Utah began to appear on the horizon. Through the open window I could smell rain, and looking towards the east we saw the black cloud of rain emptying over the mountain. The valleys could have used some of it.  There were many sprawling ranches where the huge irrigation systems were working full time.

At 4:15 we crossed into Utah and we were only an hour away from our day’s planned destination, Salt Lake City. We stopped at the Information Centre to get a list of campgrounds and left with two good options, The Pony Express RV Resort which was new and a ten minute drive out of the city, or the KOA which was inside the city. Both sounded good.  That’s when our day began to change.

As we got closer to the city the traffic got crazy. I was trying to enter the address of The Pony Express into the GPS while Jim was occupied with the traffic.  The GPS couldn’t even find the street! I finally gave up so I could watch for the highway exits shown on the little map on the back of the brochure. We found Hwy 215, and then watched for exit 28. We saw exit 27 and thought the next one must be 28, but the numbers went down! We saw the RV park as we passed over it, so we turned around. By then we’d decided that this one was too far from downtown so we stopped and entered the address for the KOA into the GPS. It took us off the highway at exit 27 and right past The Pony Express RV Resort!

We arrived at the KOA at about 6:30 and our very friendly site guide told us about the many things that were available in the park, including a shuttle bus that would take us to the Mormon Tabernacle to listen to the choir rehearse. It only happens on Thursday nights, and the shuttle bus was leaving at 7:10. We hadn’t had any dinner yet so it didn’t look like we could make it. While I made dinner, Jim looked up the directions to the Tabernacle and also found that the practice was from 8:00 to 9:30 and visitors could come and go at any time.  It was only ten blocks or so away.  We could bicycle. (Jim hadn’t had time to find out what ailed the Virago yet.) After we ate we threw the dirty dishes into the sink and hopped onto the bikes.  It was already 8 o’clock but it should take us only about twenty minutes to get there, right?  Wrong!  The direction map that the RV park had given us showed a route that seemed longer than necessary. The Tabernacle was on the same street as the KOA, so Jim figured that part of it must be a one-way street, making it necessary to go a few blocks around if going by car. Riding bicycles on the sidewalk (there doesn’t seem to be a law against it here) should be no problem.

After riding several blocks, we learned the real reason for the round-about directions.  The bridge was out! We had to find the way around after all. We were told we should cut through the Gateway Mall, which was two very long blocks away. I think that we’d ridden close to the ten blocks already!  After the first block Jim discovered that his bike had a flat tire. We were forced to walk the bikes the last five or six blocks and finally arrived at the Mormon Tabernacle at nearly nine o’clock. Was I glad to see the drinking fountain in the court yard! I wasn’t feeling great by then.

Inside the Tabernacle we marvelled at the beauty, but there was no choir rehearsing. We were told that that was happening at the Convention Centre, door twelve, a block further away. We left the bikes where we’d locked them and walked to the Convention Centre. It took a few wrong turns before we found door twelve, but we soon heard the soothing sounds of orchestra and choir. The comfortable seats were a bonus. We could listen only for about twenty minutes before making our way back to KOA. At least it was a nice night for walking.

All along the way Jim kept an eye out for an air pump. He even asked other bicyclists that we encountered if they had one with them. About three blocks from our destination he found one at a service station, so we were able to ride the rest of the way. We were doing fine until we noticed the clouds of water up ahead.  The lawn sprinklers that had been hitting only the edge of the sidewalk the first time we’d passed were now aimed directly across our path. The road was under construction and traffic was heavy so that didn’t seem to be a safe option.  I was in the lead.  I took a deep breath and peddled for all I was worth, through the water. My glasses soon became so spotted I couldn’t see through them.  I pulled them down over my nose and pushed on past four, five, six sprinklers.  Jim was right behind me.  We blindly made it through and stopped to wipe our glasses. We were a little wet.  By the time we got back to the KOA parking lot, Jim’s bike tire was flat again! We walked to our RV site, having some difficulty finding it amongst the 200 that were there.

We had such a good time that we’ve decided to stay here two more nights – to enjoy the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in all their splendour, at the church service on Sunday.  We’ll be ready to catch the shuttle bus this time!