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I did manage to do a couple of articles for RV West (one on the Connections we’ve made over the years and the other on Travel Medical Insurance) and at least one should be in the November issue and they will both be on my e-column http://rvwest.com/journeys/rvtales/ .
We were told that the border crossings had tightening up and it was strange! They never asked us where we were coming from or if we were Canadian citizens or anything like they usually did but he did ask if we had tobacco, alcohol or firearms (I never could figure out why they would ask Canadians if they were bringing firearms into the States - da) and where we were going. We told him we were going to Death Valley. Then came the question we really didn’t expect “what are you going to do in Death Valley.” We looked at each other – it was so-o tempting - but we both restrained ourselves and did not say DIE.
Then he asked us how much money we were taking down - we'd never been asked that before and had a tough time figuring it out. They’d always asked us if we had over $10,000. Finally we just told him we use our credit cards - that seemed to satisfy him. Then they asked us if we packed the Motor Home ourselves – so who else would have packed it? Anyway, all questions answered and we were on our way.
Again we were reminded how bad the roads and traffic is around Salt Lake City – narrow, narrow lanes, road work signs all over and drivers who always want the spot on the road where you are and get really pissed-off when you won’t give it to them. Again we say – never again – there are better roads we can take.
The way over to Death Valley turned out to have a few stops and detours. We got side-tracked into Zion National Park for a couple of days. Zion is particularly significance for us. On our first trip south, we had to forego our visit to the park to get back to work in Calgary. We decided that if we didn’t start our traveling soon, we may not be able to – thus the beginning of this great adventure we’ve been on.
Zion is in Utah north-west of the Grand Canyon and 2009 marked its 100th year as a National Park. The Grand Canyon is absolutely awesome . . . Zion Canyon feels more intimate . . . up-close and personal. Rather than the spectacular view from the rims of the Canyon (like the Grand Canyon), in Zion, you are in the Canyon looking up at the rims. The Virgin River is to Zion Canyon what the Colorado River is to the Grand Canyon. Again you are reminded of the millions of years of wind, rain and erosion that created the every changing texture from the white lime layers through the multi-coloured Navajo Sandstone strata and at least seven other stratifications down to the Virgin River.
When we were first here (in 2001), we drove up the Canyon road and along the switch back highway towards Mount Carmel. Because of the high volume of traffic, private vehicles are no longer allowed along the Canyon and they have introduced a shuttle bus.
We just happened to have a shuttle driver who was incredibly passionate about the park and shared his knowledge and views with us. The shuttle moves slowly up the canyon stopping at the Human History Museum; various trail heads; and any other special attractions or wildlife the driver deems interesting. At each stop you can get out, explore the area, take a hike or whatever and then catch another shuttle to take you further or back to the visitor center.
Climbing is one of the favourite activities (No, we didn't try!!) and the hiking trails are everywhere. People actually climb mountains like this . . . straight up!
The Court of the Patriarchs are three massive peaks that are just one example of the Mormon influence in the Park.
They saw the canyons as temples where man could worship in safety. The Park was renamed Zion (a Hebrew word) from Mukunuweap National Monument to reflect that perceived sanctity.
Besides the campgrounds, the only place to stay or eat is at the Zion Lodge – a facility built in the 20’s – that also is the trail head for a number of hiking and horse trails.
Each stop offers something special
The varnished walls;
The Narrows along the River Walk at the far end of the Temple of Sinawava Shuttle stop.
Our next stop has been Mesquite, NV. Time to dump, get water, Fred has to make bread and then off westwards towards Overton.