Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our Journey. Don retired October 2011 so hopefully the travelling part will increase! When we are not vacationing check in for updates about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Alberta Bound

Well as I write this we have crossed the US/Alberta border.  I will not deny that getting home will be welcome, however Don and I always miss our one on one time that we enjoy over the 2 months on the road.

We spent our first night in Dillon, and braved the cold to visit a local saloon, enjoy some prime burgers and beer, and watch a little hockey.

Last night we stayed at a familiar RV park – Dicks RV – in Great Falls.  It has easy access for travellers, and allows a final opportunity to purchase all those American treats.  What are they?  Well Whipped Yogurt, Flonase, etc.  LOL

It has been a trip of memories.

But visit us once in  awhile over the next few months, as we enjoy life at home.  We actually won’t be home much but you know what I mean.

Four weddings, a family reunion, numerous camping trips with our girls and their families, and some work thrown in there!

We are SO excited to see our family – I just know the kids will seem to have grown inches and inches.

Take care and enjoy your spring.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Favourite City

Well actually one of many!  But our next stop – Salt Lake City – is definitely high on the list.  A city should be easy to navigate, have several clean shopping options, great eating places, and an adjacent campground.  Add some great architecture, friendly people, and pretty fabulous weather, and you are talking Salt Lake.
Bless Don’s heart, as a lot of time in Salt Lake is typically spent driving me to stores I have researched on the internet, and decided to shop at; or stores I already know the location of.  Trust me ladies – if you ever want t a clean get-a-way, this is your place.
But the other fantastic fact about this area is yet another amazing Utah State Park – Utah Lake.  Because of it’s close urban vicinity the price is a little higher, but the amenities are worth it.  Walking trails lead you though urban and rural development for miles, alongside rivers and streams.
We have never taken the time to drive the west side of the city and surrounding communities.  We found many small quaint towns, and a historic Pony Express Station.  It is said the horsemen rode 100 miles a d ay, and as you stand here observing the west distances and open land, you can almost hear the pounding hooves.
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We were so lucky that our friends Pat and Walter joined us for a few nights on their way home to Canada (and with satellite TV to watch Calgary play hockey).  We spent our days visiting and shopping.  You have to love that we live 4 hours apart but go 21 hours to visit!
One of the greatest buildings in Salt Lake is the Mormon Conference Centre.  Any direction you approach it from is majestic.
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One small difference in this trip for us was that we travelled less distance and stayed longer in most spots.  That has made it a very relaxing holiday, with more emphasis on keeping active, walking and hiking.  And of course my workouts and yoga.
So after 6 nights in Salt Lake City we start the real trek home.  Our date of arrival is April 28 for a Co-op meeting I have.  Over the next few days you will see whether we rush or relax that final leg.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Onward Upward

Now that’s a great statement, except you need to remember that upward at this time of year in this geographic location means getting colder.  There I said that 4 letter word – COLD!

I know I promised you one more spectacular hike in Moab prior to our departure, but I simply wimped out.  We spent our last day there just being lazy tourists – eating out and walking.  Honestly there is a possibility we were spent.

So as the title says we moved upward, north it was.  We watched the weather closely and were incensed to see cold in the forecast, no matter where we parked the fifth.  So we decided to put an end to boon docking and find services that allowed us to enjoy the more “luxurious” compliments of the trailer – that being electricity to run the fireplace.

We chose Huntington State Park, and what a jewel it was.  Located just minutes from Huntington and other small Utah communities, it was a clean, well organized and spacious campground.  And although we only expected power, we had full services, since they had completed upgrades just this spring.

Every day we set out to discover the area but we were a bit limited by the weather.  On one particular trip up a “scenic drive” highway, the high elevation and the cold temperatures combined to create some rather pretty ice formations on the irrigation systems.

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The weather finally improved enough for us to set out and discover the San Rafael Swell or Little Grand Canyon area, as the locals called it.

We have been to the Grand Canyon and this is aptly named, as it is just as awe inspiring as the Grand Canyon.

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We travelled down some pretty unique county roads, that at home we would call paths, but here were numbered local roads, maintained by the municipalities.

The next destination was Buckhorn Wash area.  This stop boasted pictographs spanning 160 feet.  Our photos aren’t as clear as they could be, as the sun was blaring directly on them.  Now you know I am often tired of all these Indian paintings, but these were so plentiful and quite a bit more skilled than most we have visited.  It is estimated they are over 2,000 years old.

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Our last stop on this tour was the San Rafael Bridge.  This swinging bridge was built in 1935, and gave vehicle access to areas of the Swell that had never been explored by tire.  It was adjacent to a great campground/picnic area, and as is most of the areas we have visited in Utah, frequented by many many ATV’s.

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So although we were “escaping” the bad weather, this stop turned into five days of enjoyment and exploring.  Now you can’t ask for better than that!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Arches National Park

This was it!  The trip has been great and there is no where we have been that we would not go back to, but Arches National Park is THE destination.

Upon passing through the park’s gate, you’re immediately on a steep switchback road and about to fall in love with one of the most beautiful national parks we have had the luxury of visiting.  Pictures cannot do justice to the grandeur of the rocks, the over 76,000 acres of sandstone formations called arches, or the soaring pinnacles and spires of rocks. Whether you choose to hike or drive, the arches present themselves for viewing upon every turn you take.  Of course some are sneaky, and hiking is the only way.  Even then you don’t often see them until they are literally in front of you.  Mother Nature as many tricks up her sleeve in this park!

Although we have been here over a week, our hiking isn’t over here yet, but tomorrow's adventure will be our longest  hike yet, so I wanted to save that for an individual post.

Most hiking days find us with over 15,000 steps.  My FitBit app states that hiking burns 3 – 4 times as many calories as regular walking, and believe me that’s how you feel here.  There is no walk that is even, that is not over slickrock or deep sand, and traverses canyons and shrubs. A pack loaded with lunch and water is not a treat, but a necessity.  And don’t forget dry socks.

Challenging? Yes Worth it? A thousand times over…

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Canyonlands National Park

The area that surrounds Moab that attracted us was Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  The reason behind travelling to this area was motivation from other people’s blogs and stories and especially pictures.  We have spent days and days driving, exploring and hiking. 

I won’t tell you how many pictures we have taken, but I will say you are probably lucky the days of slide shows are over.  I remember as a young girl people travelling and then inviting everyone over for the slide shows, with commentary.  Well sit down with your own pot luck dish and enjoy these photos, because they are all you will get!

Canyonlands is first described in park literature as a wilderness of rock.  After being here I have to say that sums it up quite nicely.

I do not create history lessons in our blog, but feel free to checkout the park “propaganda” on their website if the history and formation are your interest.

Otherwise drive along with us and see the sights that captured us…

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Four States in One Day!

As we were reviewing photos (which is the easiest way to keep track of where you’ve been) I realized I had yet to tell you about the day we visited 4 Corners.

Situated within the Navajo Nation, the Four Corners Monument marks the only place in the United States where 4 states share a corner - Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

It was worth the drive to see this monument, and to have some Indian Fry Bread for lunch!

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So from the four corners I say – talk to you later…

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lives Long Ago

I have missed telling you about one of our hikes in Natural Bridges National Monument, but after another day I have yet another to tell you about – Hovenweep National Monument.

Butler Wash Ruins is actually not in Natural Bridges, but on BLM land just east of the Monument.

In a quest to always meet our 12,00 daily steps, this seemed like the perfect stop.  When the road sign advertised Indian Ruins we thought why not.  Signage promised a gentle 2 mile walk to see them.

We have observed these dwellings in past travels, but their architecture up close is stunning and awe inspiring.  You have to really consider how the people were able to build these structures with their limited resources.

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We had one more National monument to visit in this region, and it was well worth the stop.

Hovenweep National Monument dates back to approximately  900 AD, and it is believed at least 2,500 people lived in the community by the late 1200’s.  The rough trail leads down, up, and around the ruins.  This is the best and closest we have been to buildings of this sort.  Viewing these masters of design from all directions gives one an appreciation again for the builders and community.

We were pleased with our hiking abilities today.  The air didn’t seem as thin and we motored around quite easily!  The elevation of 7-8,000 feet has been playing havoc with us.

Here is your pictorial hike with us (lots of photos but only a small assortment of the 120 a day we take), soak in the sunshine as we have, and talk to you soon!

PS – Although I don’t like to do food reviews and note restaurants, I have to say thank you to today’s wifi supplier and procurer of the best cappuccino and dessert in Bluff, Comb Ridge.  It was a pleasure to spend our evening at your establishment!

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