We’ve been here before, this well known city on Route 66 in the middle of Northern Arizona. Only this time we’re not heading east to west but north to south. And with some trepidation, as Flagstaff sits at 6900 feet and gets cold and quite a bit of snow and here we are at the tail end of October trying to avoid those very things. Fortunately the Arizona sun held out for the entirety of our 4 night stay keeping things warm in spite of some frosty mornings. We stayed at the KOA which provided a background of mountains and pine trees for taking moonrise shots.
Flagstaff has something we haven’t seen in a while, a historic and vibrant downtown, with shops, restaurants, music, and breweries.
Finally we had a chance to resume our Friday night brewery tradition at the Mother Road Brewing Company. Good beer and good pizza from the next door pizza shop, Pizzicletta.
We must have been suffering from brewery deprivation so after leaving Mother Road we wandered around the corner only to find ourselves at Beaver Street Brewery for another round. Flagstaff is a great place to visit, at least for us when it’s warm and not snowing.
After spending nearly 6 weeks in Utah it was time to head further south. I’ll say this about Utah, the landscapes are incredible and I could spend years there just exploring the wilderness. On the flip side, the national parks are very crowded and outside of that, well, it’s pretty boring. I can’t quite explain it but it felt like living in Utah was a very isolating experience, even in the cities. There just wasn’t a sense of vibrancy, of being something more than just existing to provide a place to live. I’ve come to the conclusion that the cities of Utah are merely there to provide support to the National Parks. And Mormons.
Anyway, on to Arizona. On our way to the Phoenix area we stayed a few nights in Page, home of several famous locations like Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and the ginormous Glen Canyon Dam.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by a double rainbow over the lake to welcome our triumphant return to civilization.
Although Page is a small town, it still felt alive and a world away from the sleepy hamlets of Utah. Ok, I admit it, being able to buy reasonably priced and non-watered down craft beer helped. We were only there for 3 nights so we didn’t have too much time for exploring and we probably spent too much time in the hot tub soaking and rinsing away the red Utah dust that got everywhere. We did make it out to visit the dam and take some photos of the lake.
We did not go to Antelope Canyon as I really have no interest in paying 200 dollars to go in a narrow canyon with a bunch of other people all taking pictures of the same thing. We did make an early morning visit to Horseshoe bend for the sunrise and although the sun failed to make an appearance it was still a nice experience. Partly for the view and partly from the tension of wondering if anybody perched up on the rocks at the very edge would fall off. Yes, it happens, a man had fallen off earlier this year in May, then after we had left a girl fell in December. Kind of hard to show anybody your pictures after that.
Living with me as long as she has, Kendra has acquired a bit of skepticism when it comes to my hiking plans. Can’t say I blame her, as most of my “easy” hikes usually turn into things like an endless slog through sandy deserts,Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah
or up the side of a “small” mountain,Grand Teton Mountain, Grand Teton National Park
or alongside a cliff with 1000 foot drop-offs,Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion National Park
or up 700 vertical feet of switchbacks,Bryce Canyon National Park
and usually in places where things like snakes live. You get the idea. Copperhead, Kentucky
She tends to prefer a more relaxing nature hike, taking in the scenery and looking for interesting plants and non-venomous animals. Whereas I tend to be like “Hey, what’s that over there?” and go tromping off to places unknown, places that were probably last visited by the Donner Party.
Fortunately there’s Zion National Park, which offers plenty for both types of hiking. Our first foray into the park was down the Riverside Walk, a trail on the floor of the canyon. The trail is paved and can get busy but there are plenty of spots to go off trail and explore or just sit and relax alongside the Virgin River.
Although there is wildlife in the park, the only animals you’ll probably see in the heavily trafficked parts are the squirrels. Since feeding the wildlife is prohibited I can only assume that the squirrels are so fat because they eat the remains of people who have fallen off Angel’s Landing.
The canyon is full of things that fascinate us landscape photographers, things like walls with plants growing out of them.
Trees. Big rocks. Rivers. And rivers with big rocks in them.
The Riverside Walk trail leads up to the Narrows, where the canyon walls close in and most of the hiking is in the river itself. We didn’t venture that far as we didn’t have the necessary equipment and I hate wet feet. Besides, I knew our next visit would be one of my “easy” hikes, the aforementioned cliff side hike up to the canyon overlook.
I should add that my so-called easy hikes usually have a well-earned reward in the end. In my wanderings I seem to have an uncanny ability to find a nearby brewery.
Even better, a brewery that didn’t have the typical watered-down Utah beer. And good food too, a rarity in Utah. This was the first brewery we’ve been to since leaving Montana way back in August.
Sixteen states, 44 campgrounds, and over 8,000 towing miles later, here we are. Yesterday marked one year since we said good-bye to our so called normal life and hit the road. Somedays it’s shocking that it’s been a year already but others it feels like we’ve been doing this a long time, we’ve done more in this first year than some will ever do in their lifetime. It’s been quite an experience. As the insurance commercial says, “We’ve seen a thing or two.”
Do we have any regrets? Sure we do. We regret not doing it sooner. Yeah, there’s things we could have planned better and took more time figuring out but to us, that’s all part of the adventure.
Do we miss our house? You mean, the maintenance nightmare? No. Sure we miss things about it, like the washer and dryer, the dishwasher, the fenced in yard for the dogs and of course the beloved Tiki Bar, but those are just things. We loved our house and we made lots of lasting memories there but we felt trapped and were always wanting to be somewhere else, not having to deal with homeowner responsibilities.
Will we ever settle? Yes. I’m sure of that. This lifestyle isn’t always margaritas on the beach or hiking National Parks. It can be stressful and it can be exhausting. We do plan to slow things down, but we have no plans to stop traveling or living in an RV. There’s still too much to see and do but it’s time to focus on us, and getting back to… reality?? We’ve kind of lost track of time, literally and whether we like it or not there’s still responsibilities in this lifestyle. Sometime in the near future we’ll have to look for a source of income.
Twelve months in and if it all ended tomorrow we would forever be grateful for this opportunity to have done what so many only dream of. Fulfilling a dream that once seemed impossible is worth every single uncertainty we may have had. As for you, no matter what your dreams are, I leave you with this quote.
“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~Wayne Dyer
Current Location: Hurricane, Utah (last stop before Arizona)!
On a day trip into St. George we drove past this place and thought it looked interesting.
Although the pictures are a small example of all that’s there it’s quite a big place. At nearly 5 acres there’s so much to see. Streams, a waterfall, tanks with native and endangered fish, plants… even dinosaur tracks that date back 200 million years! The creative Halloween displays were even pretty cool.
This place was a nice break away from the crowds at Zion National Park.
I would recommend this place to anyone visiting the area, it’s wheelchair accessible, has public bathrooms, and even allows dogs. Best of all, it’s FREE!
We’re still here. One more week and we’ll be off to Zion National Park. It’s been a reality check for us and confirmation that we could survive in a really, really small town but not something we’re choosing to do at this point (or ever hopefully). We like our conveniences (and breweries) too much. Oh, and this 4% beer HA! At $12 for a 6pk of 4% beer I think I’ll stick to water! So yeah, that pretty much knocked Utah out of the contenders of places we might like to live.
The scenery is nice though and up until now we’ve had some really great weather. However snow is in the weekend forecast. Yup, it’s time to go!
Just over two weeks ago we arrived in Panguitch, Utah. It was kind of by accident but just what we needed. After all the traveling and back to back National Park visits we were desperate for some down time. Salt Lake City was at the top of our list, unfortunately there were no extended stays available. The Hitch N Post Campground was the next nearest option. It’s a small campground in a small town. By small I mean No Walmart, No McDonalds, No Breweries and ONE tiny grocery store (not open on Sundays.) Surprisingly there is a Hospital and the world’s smallest liquor store, you know, the important stuff. We’ve finally had a chance to catch up on many things that had been neglected… all that stuff you thought we left behind, laundry, bills, groceries, cleaning (like the corn syrup explosion upon arrival)maintenance, travel plans, and job searching. Oh and rest, we got some much needed rest and the dogs are greatly appreciative of that!
So far we haven’t gotten too bored, I mean check this out… cows on the beach! How many times can you say you’ve seen that!?!?! Well, probably more than I have so it was quite a comical site to me.We are about ten minutes to Red Canyon and a half hour to Bryce Canyon National Park. So there’s that, and what a sight THAT is! Stay tuned for pictures from Bryce…
A two night stay in Pocatello, ID led us to this not so little gem of a Museum. Possibly the most entertaining museum visit ever. From the over 400 vacuums on display to the fun, quirky, creations made using cleaning supplies. It was so much more than expected. We even had the pleasure to meet the “man himself” Don Aslett, founder of the museum. Don, is a bit of a celebrity
publishing over 40 books and even appearing on Oprah! Still going strong at 83, and what a character! Oh and if you’re wondering the place was CLEAN!
We thought we were so lucky to get a spot at a campground inside the park and with our National Parks Pass it was a bargain! We knew that our site didn’t have much to offer. No water, no sewer, no electricity. No Problem! We’ll fill up our tanks with water and use the generator for power. Except… before realizing it we passed the water filling station with no way to turn around. Ahh, we’ll get by with the little bit of water left in the tank (It’s only 4 nights.)
Day five, our final day at Yellowstone and it did not disappoint! We left the campground at 6:30 a.m. to make the two hour drive to see Old Faithful. We got a close parking spot and a front row seat. It was quite a sight to see.