Monday, October 31, 2011

Watchman Campground, Zion UT

WOW, we have five new followers to mention today!  That might be a record.  A big WELCOME to you all!

Allen and Lolita, who already have a nice looking Class A rig and Jeep and plan to retire in 573 days.  You guys are going to love retirement, especially with an RV to travel to new places whenever you want.  Check out their brand new blog!

Collier Carlton,who doesn't seem to have a blog, but his description says, "Avid Harley rider with 20 foot toyhauler to keep it with me for local touring. Going full time January, 2013 (if I can wait that long!).  Don't worry, Collier, it'll be here before you know it!

Scrappin Stampers - this is not an RV site, but a site for scrapbookers and rubber stampers. Those have been passions of mine in the past.  I sold a lot of my supplies in my estate sale, but brought some with me to "play" when I'm in the mood, so I totally understand your passion, Jamie!

Dayton C, who also doesn't have a blog, but has joined some RV sites as a follower, so...   he already may be an RVer, or... maybe RVing is in his future?

Jool, who is works from home, has many dogs as her "family" and is considering full time RVing in the future - trying to figure out if this is the path she wants to take!  Well, Jool, following and reading RVing blogs will give you a lot of insight into this lifestyle. 

Welcome Aboard to you all, I hope you enjoy following along with Katie and me on our adventures. :)

Saturday morning we packed up, dumped, filled our on-board water and moved a short distance to the Watchman Campground here in Zion.

I was immediately ecstatic about our new campsite.  It's big, open, lots of bushes for a beautiful campsite, but no large trees near us.  During the hot summers this would be the worst campsite, but in the cooler weather, it's the best!  The sun shines on The Palms all day, keeping us warm.  Not hot.  Just perfectly warm.   The electric hookup is heaven after being without electricity for three days.  It was a long three days.  (I've become such a wuss!)  I think my dreams of becoming Senior Pioneer Woman are fading....

Here's our campsite:
 View toward the front

 View toward the rear, out the kitchen window

View toward the couch window side


 Clean, up-to-date restrooms, no showers

 Dish washing station outside restroom

So, anyway, this campground and campsite are more comfortable, and I'm glad we're here.  The views are fabulous in every direction and we're closer to the Visitor Center and the Park Exit, which means we are closer to a small store and other shops. 

The park has FREE shuttle buses that take people through the park on roads that are only for the buses during summer; starting today cars are allowed and the shuttle is done until next May.  There aren't many parking spaces, though, so people wanting to drive through there and park better get there early.  I was lucky to catch the shuttle the last day of the year for these bus tours.   They have various stops along the way, and another bus will be by within seven minutes.  They were available from 9 am to 9 pm.  Really nice for park visitors and campers, and keeps the traffic down.

Katie stayed home; I closed all the curtains and turned on the TV low and she was a good girl while I was gone.

Here are some photos from that tour - I took a ton of photos, as you can imagine.

 Condor in it's favorite tree high up on the mountaintop.
 Right in the middle of the photo is a tree - that's where the Condor hangs out.

 Photo the Ranger had of one of the Condors in the park.

The Condors in the park are tagged like Condor #50 in the Ranger's photo above.  The Ranger said Condors like to hang out in a regular spot, just like people do, and she had her telescope set up to view the Condor on the mountain top tree.  I was able to see it stretching it's wings; according to the Ranger they do that to cool down.  Then he brought his wings in and turned his head so I could see it.  Really cool.  They have such large bodies and wide wingspans and tiny bald heads.  The heads just don't seem to go with their bodies, do they?

The photo above of the Condor in the tree was taken with the zoom lens of my new camera.  Can you believe it?  In the photo below it, you can hardly even see the tree.

The Ranger's telescope, though, brought it so close you could see every feature.  They think it's Condor #99.

 One of the rock climbing mountains.  In one of the crevasses, which you 
can barely see if you click on the photo, are three rock climbers.

Close up of three rock climbers

The young woman sitting next to me on the shuttle was a rock climber, she and her husband are from Switzerland and are here on a two month vacation.  They've visited Joshua Tree, Yosemite, The Giant Sequoias and other parks, I assume doing some rock climbing along the way.  They got off at one point, where there was a mountain they were going to climb. 

 Virgin River

Virgin River

 "This is my Halloween costume - I'm a Ballplayer - outfield because I run fast!"
(The best I could do...)

  Sunset from the park entrance - too many trees and 
mountains to get a good sunset shot from the campground.

From Me and My Dog, have a Spooky Halloween, everyone!  :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our last night in Southern Campground

WELCOME to our newest Follower, Steve!   Steve just started blogging, when I checked in today he had written his first post, and he is thinking again about RVing.  He has three dogs, two bassets and a bloodhound, and wonders if he can travel in an RV with them.  If you want to offer advice, check out his blog and let him know what you think. I love brand new blogs where people are just starting on their RVing adventures, like I did last year.  Welcome aboard, Steve!

This is our last day in the Southern Campground in Zion, tomorrow we move to the Watchman Campground. I'm looking forward to that!!!  Electricity!!!

I was talking to my neighbor this morning about my battery issues.   Last night I kept the heat on, but set the temps very low, just so Katie wouldn't be frozen in the morning.  No Popsicle pups allowed in my rig!  When I got up at 8:00 and tried to start the generator, there was ZERO function, all I got was a CLICK.

I started the truck engine, thank goodness it started, yesterday I needed the generator to get the truck to start, hence our little trip into town to get things working again.  I turned the cab heat to high and took Katie outside to go potty.  That's when I saw my neighbor and told him what was going on.  He said I might have a short somewhere, this shouldn't be happening.  He has a portable generator and said he'd hook it up to my batteries this evening if I needed it.  That was really nice of him.

He also said that when I left the propane heater on, I was draining the battery, because the batteries operate the fans used to push out the heat.  I didn't know that - so now I won't do that again. But still... should that completely drain two batteries?

When we got back inside, it was nice and toasty, and my battery panel said they were charged full (because the truck engine was running), so I was able to start the generator.  And plug in my two space heaters - so now we're warm again, and it is going to be nice and warm again today, so we'll be good until this evening, when we can run the generator again for two hours.

I'll never be able to boon dock if I don't get this figured out, or fixed if something is wrong.  When I'm in Arizona, I'm going to have things checked out and see if there IS something wrong.  I'm also going to check again on solar - I think I'm going to go ahead with that. 

I don't want to need to be hooked up to electricity all the time to live the way I like, and my original plan of doing a lot of dry camping won't work the way I'm set up now.  I like to use my computer on and off all day, and I like the TV on a lot.  If I were on vacation, this would be fine, but this is my home now, and I want to live comfortably. 

Of course, Katie thinks this setup is just fine:

From Me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another beautiful day in Zion National Park

Yesterday afternoon Katie and I walked to the Visitor's center to see what was there.  Katie couldn't come in, so I tethered her outside the building and ran in to get whatever they have in the way of free maps or brochures.  She did just fine, I could see her from the large windows, so I wasn't worried.

 The Virgin River

We walked again this morning for an hour and a half and then another hour this evening.  We are really getting our exercise here!  We walk pretty slow, though, stopping often to look at things or take photos, so we're not burning as many calories as we would if we were moving a little faster.

I've been having battery issues again, so we drove off today into the nearby town, Springdale, and I did a little window shopping and stopped at a liquor store to get more wine.  You can buy beer at the stores here in Utah, but anything else is only sold at liquor stores.

I also drove over to the Watchman Campground, where we'll be on Saturday, and checked out our campsite.  It looks very nice, I definitely like that campground better with an RV.  It looks like it was built for RVs, good flat areas to park and electricity - that will be nice.

When we got back I was talking to my neighbors, and I guess someone drove their RV into my campsite and started moving my leveling blocks, which are ORANGE and were stacked right where I needed them to drive back onto.  Luckily my neighbors walked over and told them the site was taken.  The people said, "There's NO ONE here!"  Even if the site was completely empty, my tag is on the post showing the site is taken.  I wouldn't have had a problem, but the hassle was averted, and I appreciated that.  The site next to me, which had a tent when I arrived, has been empty since yesterday and no one has camped there. It's a nice site, too.

Critter photos from our walks today:

From Me and My Dog, have a great Thursday evening, everyone!  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zion National Park, UT

We made it to Zion around noon, and we're in the South Campground. 

As we neared the turnoff into the campground, I saw some deer on my right, then when we turned into the South campground, these guys were foraging in the grass to my left.  Maybe I'll actually get some animal shots here.  I seem to be pretty good at birds and lizards, as you all know.  I'd like to graduate to larger animals.  :)

Here's the deer photo:

 Close-up of the buck - isn't he pretty?

Luckily we have a campsite for the next four days.  $8 a night with the Senior Pass.  It's a "pull-through" site, although I don't think they call them that.  I was just lucky to drive down the road I did, because the sites in my row have a road on each side.  I took this photo, then I backed The Palms up into the table/BBQ area where it's flatter.  Here's our campsite:

We were in the parking lot of the Hurricane, UT Walmart last night, as I posted in last night's post.  Well, I've gotta tell you - I was up and down from 10:00 until 2:20, when I gave up and got back on the road.  There was another Walmart in Washington, UT, and another in Saint George, UT, and I decided I'd rather get a few hours of good sleep than lie awake worried all night.  There were a few small trees that lost branches, the light post by my rig had it's lights go out.  I moved the rig about 11, trying to get into a better position, but the wind gusts never let up all the time we were there.  I like a little wind and the rocking The Palms does, but this was really bad.  I don't think I've ever been in winds that bad.

This morning I woke up at 9:30, and got right back on the road on the way to Zion.  I didn't want to get here so late that we wouldn't get a campsite like what happened at Bryce. 

As we retraced our steps and drove through the town of Hurricane, past the Walmart, etc., the wind was still howling.  It was super windy all the way up the mountains.  I was praying as I was driving, "Please let Zion be calm."  It's a little breezy, but that's all so far today.

Everywhere you look in this area you see beauty.  This is just along the freeway:

There are strangely shaped and colored rock outcroppings everywhere, and then the beautiful mountains, one after the other, each with another behind it, and another taller one behind that.  And they all look different.  I can see why people love Bryce, Zion, and Utah in general.  I can't imagine there's another place on earth that has this kind of rugged beauty.

These are some of the photos I took while I was driving along the highway on the way to Zion:

As you can imagine, they are unbelievable in person.  Or in mountain.  You know what I mean. :)

And finally, our next door neighbor:

We have no hook-ups here for four days, but the other campground where we have reservations starting Saturday does have electric.  This is the longest we've dry camped, so we'll see how we do.  I've already figured out the coffee - boil a pot of water on the gas stove, cut open three Keurig coffee cups and dump into the water, heat, strain, and pour into coffee cup.  I didn't have time for coffee this morning, and really wanted a cup when we got set up here.  So that's what I did, I made three cups and put two into a thermos for later or tomorrow morning.  Of course, we can use the generator for two hours in the morning and two at night.  I think.  I've got to look up the regs.

Katie and I are going for a walk now, before it gets too cool.

From Me and My Dog, have a great Wednesday evening, everyone!  :)