joysofdickandjune

Posts Tagged ‘National Parks’

Up,Up, and Away!

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2011 at 1:30 am

Las Vegas

MGM Las Vegas

Here  we are here in Beautiful, Las Vegas, NV. This is the starting place for our much awaited “Up,Up and away” Balloon Festival Caravan, which ends in  Albuquerque, NM. in three weeks. We came here a week early so we could see some shows and other sights. One thing that I noticed that was interesting-the street signs are lighted so you can read them at night. I am glad that we did decide to give ourselves an extra week  because there is so much more to Las Vegas than just the the gambling. Carol has joined up with her friends   from N.Y.   June and I saw three shows and investigated the  Las Vegas area in general. We had to check out of our first camp  site here at the campground and moved over to where the caravan group of ” Up,Up and away ” are meeting. They have reserved camp sites. ( We had stayed at our first camp site  for 7 days and it only cost us, with gambling credits, $85.00 ).

*

Today we relocated over to a new site assigned to us by our wagon master. After we got set up, we drove over to the Casino to a meeting room where we registered. We have been given #20 for this caravan. There are 24 units in this group. We returned again at 2:30 pm for the orientation meeting and to meet  our fellow travelers. The bus picked us up at 5:00pm and took us to the Excalibur Casino where we were treated to; “King Arthur’s Tourament.” with dinner and show. The dinner was served Medieval style – no utensils. A pewter mug & soup bowl. You drank soup from the bowl and ate a Cornish hen & a hunk of bread with your fingers while cheering your favorite knight on to victory in the tournament. The tables were arranged around an arena where the knights on horses competed. We had a great time!

*

The next day the bus picked us up at 8:15 am for a boat ride on Lake Meade and a tour of Hoover Dam. The bus ride over gave us another chance to get better aqcuainted with our fellow travelers. The bus driver did a great job of keeping us informed about everything from “who owns what in Vegas” to stories about the building of Hoover Dam. (Our driver was an English Gentleman, not American and he did a great job). The boat trip was enjoyable. The Hoover Dam was certainly worth going to. It was started in 1931 and finished in 1935, two years ahead of schedule and one and a half million dollars under budget. (Total cost was 165 million dollars).

The 17 generators generate over two million Kilowatts—that is a lot of power. After we got back to the campground we had a travel meeting with Pat & Ken (wagon masters). They covered our next trip and what to expect on the road. We are free now until tomorrow. Carol’s friends are here and she is happy.

*

Today  we are leaving Silverton’s  RV Park, Las Vegas, N V. For;    Brentwood RV Resort, Hurricane,UT. (You  do not travel in a group caravan, but singly or pairs etc ) . We gave the Las Vegas traffic a chance to thin out on I-15 north before we left. There is major construction going on here “to by-pass I-15 out to near the mountains” because here, in Las Vegas, it so loaded down with local traffic. I drove so June could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Virgin River Gorge. We decided that because we only have about 100 miles to drive tomorrow, that we would briefly sight-see Zion Nat’l Park in the  morning before we left..We went down to the “before travel meeting”at  Pat & Kens RV and got some ideas of what to look for tomorrow at Zion Nat’l Park from some of our group who went this  afternoon.

*

We are leaving Brentwood RV Resort,Hurricane,UT.  For; Panguitch KOA Park, Panguitch,UT. We pulled our RV over to an overflow area and dropped it off. We drove  34 miles to Zion Nat’l Park this morning.

Zion Nat'l Park

We got there at 8:45am and the visitors center was open. We toured the center and picked up any infornation we needed and left for the Park. We drove around the Park and it was great.We drove over to the “River Walk”,walking trail just as it started to rain so we returned to the park and picked up our RV. We headed out to our next park. The scenery on the way was outstanding.The Park put on a good ” ice cream get together” at 6:00 pm. We won a coffee cup on one of the drawings, (Everyone won something).

I started to set the alarm for 6:00am, but June talked me into changing it to 7:00am so she could get a little more sleep. At 7:00am I got up, turned on the heater & coffee. There was frost on top of the cars (and we were complaining about the heat  just yesterday and running the a/c). We drove into Bryce Canyon Nat’l Park around noon and drove out to the end at Rainbow Point, checked out the visitors center, then drove back,  stopping at all of the “Over-looks”, 18 miles at 35 mph (thePark speed limit). All of the overlooks are on the  return side of the road

Bryce Canyon

.The views from all of the over-looks were just out-standing. Bryce is not really a canyon, but “14 Amphitheaters of color-eroded limestone pinnacles and spires called Hoodoos”. The Red, Pink and Orange colors of the limestone constantly change with the sun, making the landscape come alive. The Indians called it “Red Rocks Standing Like Men in a Bowl-ShapedCanyon”. Indian legend has it that long ago there lived in the area, animal-like creatures that could change into people. “They were evil so Coyote turned them all into Stone”. On the way back we fueled up. We had a Bar-B-Que at the park. It was very good. We had our travel meeting afterwards. >

*

We are leaving Panguitch, KOA Park, Panguitch, UT. For; Canyonland Campground, Moab, UT. There can be no question, but that it is cold this morning. 25 degrees F. We were the last ones out of the campground, as usual. My sweet wife did a great job of starting of us out on our trip. She topped the summit at Fishlake Nat’l Park (not our stop), at 7,923 ft. with no problem at all. We chose not to take the senic, by way of  Rte-12 & Rte-24, because of the steep grades reported  up to 12 % from my  Mountain Dictionary- Ken was told that the dictionary was wrong, that there no grades steeper than 8%. The people that did go that way said that we made a good decision, because there were 12%  grades that we would have had  major problems  with.  (I,m glad that we have a Mountain Directionary, it sure does come in handy.) We had a very scenic trip going US-89, I-70 & Rte-191. We pulled into an “over-view ” for lunch. The view from there was out-standing. We met some of our group when we fueled up at Green River. We tried to join them, but they ran off and left us. We checked into the campground and set up. Very short sites and kind of cramped with trees. Tomorrow we are going white water rafting on the Colorado River. >

*

We are up and ready to go White Water Rafting on the Colorado River today.

Jetting the Colorado

The Colorado River

With memories of the White Water Rafting trip that we took several years ago on the Penobscot River in Maine, we were ready when the bus picked us up at 8:00am. We were on the first trip. The other half wanted to see the “Arches”, some 30 miles away. We knew that it wasn’t going to be as exciting as the “Penobscot River” trip when we didn’t get helmets and the guide was the only one with an oar. However, it was fun, with beautiful scenery. Our  guide did a excellent job explaining the landscape as we went downriver. ( The only bad thing about the trip was the “Port-a potty”. Man-O-Man, was that “Ripe” ). After the rafting trip was over, we returned to the campground. I think that we have a couple of  “glo-plugs” bad. I have been plugging in the crankcase heater each night and the truck starts on the coldest mornings with no problems.

*

Today we got up, had breakfast and got ready for our trip down the Colorado River on a Jet Boat. The Bus picked us up at 11:00am and took us down stream about 15 miles from where we went rafting. The canyons in this area are fantastic. When we arrived at the Boat Launch Area, they had  a Picknic Table set up under some trees with lunch . After lunch, we boarded the  Jet Boats and headed down River. The canyons were unbelivable! Our guide John stopped several times to give us a Geology lessons on the different layers of formations. He appeared to be very knowledgeable and he certainly had our interest. We took a lot of pictures on the trip. On the way we stopped at an area of wall covered with black magnesium oxide. There were some petroglyphs etched through the black into the Red sandstone….when we got back to our campground and got cleaned up, we took our crock- pot over to our groups pot luck dinner. It was good. Today is June’s Birthday. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her and she got a bunch of cards which made her very happy. >

*

We are leaving Canyanland campground, Moab,UT for:United campground, Duranango,Co. This morning everyone had to take turns pulling out. Because of the short camp sites, the 5th wheel trucks stuck out into the road, so they pulled out first. June was driving the 1st half of the trip. She never got out of 3rd gear for the first 20 minutes. we were climbing from 4,000ft to 6,000ft. It was a pretty much an  un-eventful trip. We finally got to the campground and checked in. >

*

We were up at 5:00 am to get ready for our 7:00am Bus trip down to the train station in Durango. From there we take a narrow gauge Railroad train ride to  Silverton, Co., up in the mountains. We will return this afternoon by Bus. The train ride itself wasn’t too comfortable, but the scenery was great. It was a 31/2 hour ride on hard narrow straight back seats. Open the window and you get covered with soo. We had 2 1/2 hours to look around Silverton before the bus  picked us up for the trip back. There really isn’t much up here but restaurants, Gift Shops and history. June bought presents for our kids. >

*

We are going to Mesa Verde Nat’l Park. It is about a 45 minute trip to get to the visitors center.  We had our own guide on the bus and he was very knowledgeable.

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers

At  Mesa Verde are  ancient multistoried dwellings that fill the cliff-rock alcoves that may rise 2,000 ft. above Montezuma valley. The Anasazi (Ancient Ones) began to settle on the top about AD 750. Around 1200 they moved into the recesses in the cliffs. Around 1270 they moved out for unknown reasons.They had a high degree of skills as craftmen. The condition of the dwellings today confirms this. We returned back pretty well worn out. >

*

We are leaving United Campground, Durango,Co. for; Gouldings Motel & RV Park, Monument Valley,UT. The first 20 miles we stayed in 3rd gear because it was a little hilly. We arrived with only about 1/4 of our fuel left in our tanks. We were driving into a head wind most of the way. (This is why we carry two spare 12 gallon cans of diesel, protected in the back ). The scenery from our campsite overlooking MonumentValley is wonderful.

Advertisements

Nat’l Parks Passports–Best Bargain Going

In Information-Usefull, National Parks, postaweek2011, RVing on March 12, 2011 at 2:45 am

My friends, If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you are interested in some thing related to National Parks, Monuments or Campgrounds. That is great, you have come to the right place. There  are so many National Parks and Monuments located throughout these United States that it would be a shame to bring your children up without introducing them to the natural beauty that nature has put right here in our great nation. Get yourself motivated and plan to take your family to at least one National Park or Monument this year. Try it, you may like it. Go on the internet, if you possibly can  first, and look up the State that you wish to visit or to your own State and look up “National Park and Monuments”. Pick one that you would like to visit and look up the history of it so you will know what to look for when you get there.

Buy the “Golden Eagle” passport,  which is good for one year for $50.00.The pass includes every one in your vehicle or if in a group, you and your immediate family.

Great Smoky Mountains

If you are over 62 you can buy the “Golden Age Passport” good for life for $10.00.  Also, in addition to entrance to Parks and Monuments, You can get a 50% discount at the National Forest and the Army Corps of Engineering campgrounds. The Golden Access Passport is for any person who is blind or permanently disabled. It is free of charge and gives you the same benefits as the Golden Age pass.

Acadia-Maine

The government has established the Golden Eagle,GOLDEN AGE and GOLDEN ACCESS PASSPORT that when obtained allow the public to enter fee areas without additional charge. This is very convenient when traveling to several areas that charge an entrance fee…..Please note that the passports are non-transferable.They can not be loaned to someone else.The pass belongs to the person who signs it.

Zion

Golden Eagle Passport–This is an entrance pass to those national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas and national wild life refuges that charge an entrance fee. The golden Eagle passport costs $50 and is valid for one year from date of purchase. You may purchase a Golden Eagle Passport at any NPS entrance fee area or by mail send a $50 check or money order (do not send cash) to: National Park Service 1100 Ohio Drive, SW Room 138 , Washington, DC 20242, Attention: Golden Eagle   Passport

Canyonland

The Golden Eagle Passport admits the passholder and any accompanying passengers in a private vehicle.Where entry is not by private vehicle,the passport admits the passholder, spouse, children, and parents.

The Golden Eagle Passport does not cover or reduce use fees, such as for swimming, camping parking,boat launching,or cave tours. It is valid for entrance fees only.

Mesa Verde

Golden Age Passport–This is a life time entrance pass for those 62 years or older. The Golden Age passport has a one time processing charge of $10.You must purchase a Golden Age Passport in person (it is not available by mail or telephone). This can be done,  at any NPS entrance fee area. At time of purchase you must show proof of age (be 62 years or older) and be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

The golden Age Passport admits the passholder and accompanying passengers in a private vehicle. Where entry is not in a private vehicle, the passport admits the passholder, spouse, children, and parents.

The Golden Age Passport also provides a 50% discount on federal use fees charged for facilities and services such as for camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, or cave tours. It does not cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.

Golden Access Passport–This is a free lifetime entrance pass for persons who are blind or permanently disabled. It is available to citizens or permanent residents of the United States, regardless of age, who have been blind or permanently disabled. You may obtain a Golden Access Passport at any entrance fee area by showing proof of medically determined disability and eligibility for reciving benefits under the federal law.

The Golden Access Passport admits the passholder and accompanying passengers in a private vehicle.Where entry is not in a private vehicle, the passport admits the passholder ,  spouse, children, and parents.

Carlsbad canyon-New Mexio

The Golden Access Passport also provides  a 50% discount for facilities and services such as for camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, or cave tours. It does not cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged.

There you are, my friends, an opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to visit our National Monuments and National Parks throughout this great country of ours, with a small  priced annual  pass-port. There are many National Parks and Army Corps of Engineers areas that have wonderful campgrounds available at a reasonable cost. (Citizens 62 years old and disabled persons get a 50% discount) The majority, if not all Nat’l Parks have a tenting  area. (Most of the A.C.E. campgrounds are on or close to lakes for boating etc).

You only have your children with you for such a short period of time in your lifetime. Don’t blow it. Get out and do things with them while you can. Take plenty of pictures to remind you of what they looked like and the fun you had, when you all get older. You will be glad that you did !

Happy Trails, My Friends, Happy Trails