Picturesque Zion National Park


The night before we left St. George for Zion National Park a very scary wind burst roared around our motorhome, sending it rocking. I was sure it was a tornado and wasn’t able to get to sleep until it had passed. Fortunately it lasted only ten or fifteen minutes.

We were aiming to reach Zion before the nine o’clock rush, but didn’t make it. We found a parking lot downtown and hopped onto the free shuttle bus that took us to the Visitors Centre on the mountain. After paying the entrance fee ($35 for the two of us) and looking at the map to see what hiking options were available, we chose to take the park shuttle bus to the end of the line and come back down jumping off at the trails that sounded the most interesting and most easily accessible for a couple of aging seniors.

Our first views as we made our way to the top

Of the three we chose, we managed to get through only two. Apparently I stop too many times to take pictures!

But there is no better way to describe the experience than with pictures, and even then my photography won’t convey all the senses that the sites stimulated. But I’m going to try.

The first trail we took was to the Lower Emerald Pool.

Interesting rock formations and colours along the trail

This trail normally continues to Upper Emerald Pool, but it was closed off due to a recent rock slide.

Centre left is where the rock slide blocked the trail to Upper Emerald Pool

By the time we were back from that hike we were tired and hungry. We took the shuttle to the Zion Lodge, for sustenance.

When we were walking toward our next trail choice, The Riverside Walk,  I saw a man coming our way who was dressed just like Jim – Tilley hat, blue shirt, dark sweater – and I commented about it. As he walked by we heard him say, “Jim?’

We couldn’t believe that it was someone we knew, a member of Jim’s former Bike Club from home, 2500 miles away! He and his wife and brother-in-law were there on a bus tour.

The Riverside Walk

These well-fed little guys were everywhere and completely unafraid

These mule deer were grazing beside the pathway

We had seen a sign telling us that “The Narrows was closed due to flooding, but when we got to the end of the path we were on, we figured we were there and it must have re-opened. But when Jim joined others on the beach area, he was able to take some pictures of what was really the flooded “Narrows.”

Before we knew it, it was 4:00 and we were done. We had planned to stay in St. George for the night again, and then drive to Bryce Canyon in the morning, but for a couple of reasons we opted to just find a place to dry-camp in the Utah desert and drive straight to Salt Lake City the next day, where we would get the motorhome checked out again (it was still missing) and attend a Ukulele Workshop and Concert on Saturday.

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Winter is Over: Heading Home through Northern Arizona, Utah and Then …


Sedona Arizona

We had a busy winter; we had a sad winter. We got to know some new friends better; we lost a few old ones. I played a lot of pickle ball and a little ukulele; Jim played a lot of ukulele and a little pickleball. At the end of last week, that all came to an end, and we said our goodbyes.

Monday was our planned day to be back on the road, hoping to reach Page Arizona before nightfall, but our time was uncertain because we had an early morning appointment to have a spark plug replaced on the motor home and we had no idea how long it would take or how much it would cost. We dropped it off at 8:00 a.m, walked the short distance back to our park, stopping at the little restaurant to have some breakfast. By the time we’d gone to the park office to check out and pay any remaining fees, and chatted with a number of friends and neighbours that we ran into along the way, Jim got a call that the motorhome was done and the cost was only $96! We were off to a good start.

That soon changed when we found ourselves sitting on Highway 17 with many others, including several motorhomes, waiting for an accident way up the road to be cleared. An hour and a half later, we were moving again. We’d taken advantage of the stop to grab some food out of the fridge and cupboard for a light lunch.

It was smooth sailing from then until we were making our way into downtown Sedona where we were in awe of the different view of the red mountains from our previous trips through from another direction.

Suddenly traffic was stopped because of another traffic accident, but that interruption lasted only ten or fifteen minutes. We decided to walk around the upper part of town, joining the many other tourists. We’d never done that before.  It took a while to find a place to park the motor home, and we ended up taking a chance by parking in a fifteen minute parking zone.

We walked both sides of the street and took many pictures before finding a casual little place to have something more to eat before striking out again. It had some humorous signs on the walls.

Outlaw Grill

Curvy Roads

The idea of reaching Page was long gone. We settled in a KOA in Flagstaff instead. We were both tired.

Jim spent some time trying to find us a spot at a campsite near Zion National Park for Tuesday night, the first major stop on our bucket list. He went to bed disappointed. I was disappointed too, not only for that reason, but because the hinge on the kitchen drawer broke completely and now the silver-ware drawer rides on the floor under the table. 🙂

In the morning he had better luck. By 9:30 we were on the road once more, our destination St. George, Utah, just a short drive away from Zion.

We had a good trip and were amazed at the colours and formations of the rocky terrain we witness as we travelled up Hwy 89 and 89A through Arizona and into Utah.

We saw several signs telling of Cliff Dwellers, but this is all we saw:

We stopped for lunch at this quaint little place that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, but it was popular and served us a delicious lunch of homemade soup and chicken wings.

This sign told the truth


And the further north we went, the more interesting the landscape became, right into Utah.

Bridges over Colorado River at Glenn Canyon site of historical Lees Ferry, now gone
People travelling along the river in inflatable boats

Then we were climbing up, up to 8,000 feet or more and began to see the leftover snow on the sides of the tree covered hills.

It was all very exhilarating.

We bypassed Page and went straight into St. George to find the RV Park. Driving through the city was the most tiring part of the day, probably because it had already been a long day. We were happy to find that it was a good spot, although we got the only remaining site and had to choose between being fairly level or being able to connect the sewer hose. We decided we could live without the sewer hose for one more night and chose to be level, unlike the night before when it was very difficult to walk without tipping backwards or sideways.

The next morning we were up early and on the road to Zion National Park.

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!