Wrapping it up

We don’t wanna go back home!
This was truly a wonderful trip. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to share this time together and travel the country for a whopping 6 weeks! Being married is awesome because you have this best friend that is stuck with you forever and the best part is that we like to do the same things which makes traveling so much better. During this whole trip we were only away from each for a few hours. You know, it’s funny the #1 thing people told us before this trip, and the last, is that it’s too much time together, are you worried you will get tired of each other? Uh, nope. Why would I agree to spend the rest of my life with someone I didn’t enjoy spending my life with? Of course we didn’t get tired of each other, that’s nonsense LOL.

So many new experiences.
During this trip we have seen so many things for the first time since both of us have not been to most of these places. The only place we had both been was Colorado and, of course, Houston but that doesn’t count LOL. I had been to the Denver, including Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park. Jacob had been to Breckenridge for skiing. And that’s it, those are the only places that we traveled before on this side of the country!

Every time we arrived in a new location I would say, “we are so lucky!” At the end we were talking about our favorite things and places. Every place was amazing, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. Jacob’s absolute favorite place was Glenwood Springs. He loved the scenery, white water rafting, and the hot springs pool. My favorite was, uh…..I honestly don’t have a favorite, I loved them all so much and I want to go back to every single place again on individual vacations to spend more time. I LOVE Colorado, that state has everything you could ask for, I LOVE it! But then I also loved Zion, Sequoia, Yosemite, White Sands, and every other place except San Francisco. I really didn’t like San Francisco because we had been to so many beautiful places in wildness before that it was hard to get myself in the city-mood. I’m sure if we would have experienced San Fran in a different setting and stayed in a better location it would have been a much better trip. It is a beautiful city with much to offer for a tourist. I was in a different state of mind, a serene appreciation for nature and all it’s wonder and I wasn’t prepared for a city. On the last trip we had city after city, nothing but cities but on this trip it was mostly National Park after National Park and a city just didn’t fit into the mix.

The Last 2 stops before HOME.
It’s so sad going home. Going home means life has to go back to normal. Jacob must leave and reality must resume. Taking a vacation this long allows you to forget that you actually have a job, bills to pay, a house to clean, and other obligations. The great thing about going home is seeing family after being away so long and spending time with them. Another great thing is we can reminisce all the great memories we created through pictures and this blog.

The second to last stop was in Junction, TX. This is hill country, the landscape here is beautiful. We stayed the night at North Junction Campground. This was a great place to stay for the night, it would have been a great place to stay for a week. There is a river along the side of the campground for canoeing, fishing, and swimming. All of the sites are pull-thru that are very level and many of them have nice patio areas with fire-rings. They also have a playground, pool, laundry, and nice restrooms with showers.

20140716-091110-33070081.jpg

20140716-091235-33155366.jpg

Our last stop was in Houston. On the way we stopped in San Antonio for BBQ. Jacob was looking forward to this stop the entire trip, seriously. When he worked in Corpus Christi he raved about this place, on a daily basis, and vowed to visit the original location. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as what he remembered down in Corpus and he was bummed out. So now we have to go there for him to get his fix. I think his cooking on the Green egg is the best I’ve ever had, but he says Rudy’s is better just not this time.

20140716-092750-34070730.jpg
After lunch we drove on to the campground. We stayed the night at East Lake Houston RV Resort, near the Kingwood area. This is a great place to stay while in Houston and there are multiple locations all over the Houston area. On our last trip, we stayed at West Lake Houston RV Resort which was near Katy, TX and loved it. There are great amenities including a big brand-new pool, cooking stations with gas grills, refridgerators, ice makers, and gas fire-pits, a rec-room with a gym and pool table, amazing showers, and equally amazing laundry. To everyone that lives in Houston that we didn’t visit, we didn’t visit anyone. We knew that we would be exhausted and would not get to the campground until the afternoon. We really wanted to visit but we didn’t schedule enough time. We still love you all, and we are not avoiding you LOL.

20140716-093459-34499981.jpg
I saw this picture on facebook, it completely nails every fire we have ever had at any location!

20140716-093637-34597300.jpg

HOME
Driving from Texas, you know when you hit Louisiana because the road changes. It’s horrible, you can’t really tell in a car, but in a truck, and you’re especially lucky with a trailer, because it’s a rough ride! The truck goes into gallop-mode, a steady nauseating jerking motion that is so annoying! Talking becomes a hilarious challenge! I, kind of, love it because it means we’re home! To get into the louisiana-mood we listened to cajun and zydeco the rest of the drive. We stopped for a quick lunch in cajun-country with Jacob’s dad and sister. Then it was back on the road to finish it up!

20140716-095337-35617982.jpg

Being back home is bitter sweet. I am most excited to have a bath tub again but least excited to clean the truck and camper. The absolute worst of all is that Jacob has to leave.

20140716-095408-35648794.jpg

Adieu, until our next vacation!

Advertisements

Zion Canyon Campground and Zion National Park in Springdale, UT

The drive was, of course, AMAZING! To get to Springdale, UT we had to drive through Zion National Park. It’s a very windy road with a lot of switchbacks and 2 tunnels. The pavement, which was just black-top driving up to the park, was red inside the park, which we thought was cool. What we thought was not cool was the addition charge for our vehicle to pass through the tunnel. We missed the cutoff by 4 inches, Com’on man! The charge was for a “Ranger escort through the tunnel” however they only allow one side of traffic at a time, regardless of size, so what was the point of the charge? No clue…because we didn’t get a “Ranger escort.” 20140621-161618-58578733.jpg

20140621-161620-58580773.jpg

20140621-161619-58579712.jpg

20140621-161622-58582636.jpg

20140621-161621-58581725.jpg

20140621-161623-58583628.jpg

20140621-162802-59282751.jpg

20140621-162804-59284593.jpg

20140621-162801-59281832.jpg

20140621-162806-59286423.jpg

20140621-162805-59285512.jpg

20140621-162803-59283673.jpg
The first thing we did after we setup the camper was go to the IMAX movie about Zion for $5. The movie was filmed in the 90’s and could really use an update. The colors were horrible and the picture was fuzzy. I expect more from an IMAX movie, like at the IMAX in the Aquarium…everything I have seen there has been spectacular. On a positive note, the movie gave insight about the history of the area’s discovery by humans many moons ago. Basically just the stories Native Americans have been telling for years and how not to disrespect the land because it is haunted.

After the movie we hopped on the shuttle to get in a hike before dark. We hiked upper and lower pool and the Grotto. There is no parking lots in the park, you take a shuttle in from town, then you take a park shuttle to everywhere you need to go. It’s pretty awesome! The shuttles run constantly, we never had to wait more than 5 minutes. Because of traffic issues a propane-powered shuttle bus service was added in 2000.

Zion is considered the Disney World of the National Parks and it is absolutely freaking gorgeous! It is a wonderful park for kids with a lot of paved trails, shuttle service so you can’t get lost, and a river to splash around.

Zion, first established in 1919, gets its name from Mormon pioneers who considered it a sanctuary where travelers could experience feelings of awe, immensity, and eternity. Zion is a Hebrew word that means ‘a place of peace and relaxation.

Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone was deposited in an ancient sandy desert, like the Sahara of today. The desert winds blew the sand into dunes 2,000 feet deep, you see the direction of the winds on the canyon walls. Here you can see some of the largest fossilized sand dunes in the world!

Humans have been living in the park for at least 8,000 years. There are abandoned cliff houses and rock art left behind by the Anasazi people 800 to 1,500 years ago.

There is an underground spring in the park. The water takes 1,000 years to make its way through the rock surfaces. We took pictures of it percolating through the rock.

In 1909, it was named a National Monument by President Taft to protect the canyon and became a National Park in 1919.

Back to hiking around the park….
Lower Emerald Pool Trail is an easy trail of 1.2 miles. It is a paved trail with minor drop-offs that connects to the Upper Emerald Pool Trail.

The Upper Emerald Pool Trail is rated moderate and it is 1.0 mile. The trail changes from rocky to very sandy with some steep inclines. It’s not fun walking up-slope in soft sand, but it was beautiful and I can’t wait to go back! The lower pool was barely a pool with a sprinkle of a waterfall above. The upper pool was much larger but looked in need of a good hard rain.

We then walked the Grotto Trail which is an easy trail of 1.0 mile back to a shuttle stop. This trail connects Zion Lodge to the Grotto and combines the Pool trails and Kayenta to form a 2.5 mile loop.

20140621-164123-60083764.jpg

20140621-164223-60143771.jpg

20140621-164237-60157711.jpg

20140621-164309-60189317.jpg

20140621-164336-60216505.jpg

20140621-164401-60241591.jpg

20140621-164433-60273362.jpg

20140621-164443-60283336.jpg

The next day we headed to the Zion Human History Museum which had a lovely movie about the history of the park, it was better than the IMAX and it was FREE! The Riverside Walk was 2.2 miles of paved trails the follow the Virgin River along the bottom of the canyon

Then we drove to Kolob Canyon and reservoir. It was a beautiful drive with a landscape different from Zion yet only an hour away.

20140621-164532-60332604.jpg

20140621-165019-60619749.jpg

20140621-165020-60620859.jpg

20140621-165029-60629607.jpg

20140621-213014-77414844.jpg

20140621-213013-77413903.jpg

20140621-213016-77416642.jpg

20140621-213012-77412992.jpg

To finish our day we had dinner in Springdale at Oscar’s Cafe. It was very good but the view was spectacular! Springdale is an adorable town we didn’t really have time to wander around but I would have liked to. There are a variety of restaurants and shops all within walking distance from the entrance of the park.

20140621-165459-60899624.jpg

20140621-213752-77872763.jpg
Next stop Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Parks.

Ron’s Pack Creek Campground and Arches National Park in Moab, UT

20140612-222702-80822192.jpg

This was another gorgeous drive. It was crazy to see the landscape change so much the past few days. We are in red rock desert lands now with canyons surrounding us. We drove in on Scenic Byway Highway 128, which follows the Colorado River into Moab. It was so beautiful and we felt so small looking up at the canyon walls while driving along side of the river.

20140612-222805-80885482.jpg

20140612-222823-80903435.jpg

20140612-222851-80931331.jpg

20140612-222920-80960413.jpg

20140612-222943-80983863.jpg

20140612-223140-81100799.jpg
Once we got into Utah the rocks turned a deeper shade of red. The Colorado River looks like cherry flavored chocolate milk, that sounds good chocolate covered cherry milk! It’s moving a ton of sediment, it’s tick-tick!
Roux was loving it, hanging out the window watching the scenery go by.

20140613-090958-32998418.jpg

20140613-090956-32996629.jpg

20140613-090959-32999405.jpg

20140613-091000-33000335.jpg

20140613-091001-33001262.jpg

20140613-090957-32997523.jpg

20140613-091002-33002190.jpg
The campground was nice, but no T.V. channels if your into that, but the wifi was good enough to stream netflix. The sites were covered in soft powdery pink sand. No shoes required, my feet loved it!

20140613-091819-33499381.jpg
It was chilly at night and hot-hot during the day. The morning was nice and cool so headed to Arches early to see as much as we could before we couldn’t bare the heat any longer.

20140613-103414-38054504.jpg

20140613-103600-38160349.jpg

20140613-103556-38156200.jpg

20140613-103558-38158068.jpg

20140613-103554-38154176.jpg

20140613-103601-38161351.jpg

20140613-103555-38155061.jpg

20140613-103553-38153268.jpg

20140613-103603-38163564.jpg

20140613-103557-38157153.jpg

20140613-103602-38162265.jpg

It didn’t actually turn unbearably hot, it was slightly windy and in the shade it was wonderful. There was a nice shaded picnic area inside the park that we stopped to have a quick bite.

After wandering around the park, we went back to the camper for a nappy-nap. Then we walked around town that evening. The visitors center in Moab is very nice with loads of information, history, a movie, and even books for purchase. As we walked around town we mostly window shopped and popped in and out of various shops. We popped into a book store and wouldn’t ya know they were playing Cajun music! So far from home, it’s nice to hear others appreciate our music. Jacob talked to the owner about the music. She reminisced of nights spent dancing at Whiskey River in Henderson and Rock-N-Bowl in New Orleans.

The town was cute, a bit touristy, but lovely. We really enjoyed our walk around.
Back at the campground, we finally had a chance to make a fire. So we feasted on hotdogs. I saw on Buzzfeed that roasting Starburst are delicious. Curiosity got the best of me so I gave it a go. It is extremely dangerous, not something I would tell children to do, it’s like molten lava on a stick. Aside from the danger, if you stick it directly in the flame, cooking it quickly, the outside forms a crunchy outer crust like a thin jolly rancher shell with a ooey gooey center. I freaking loved it!

20140613-104036-38436217.jpg

20140613-104339-38619961.jpg

We’ll be driving to Page, AZ in the a.m. TTFN (means Ta Ta For Now, Tigger says it on Winnie the Pooh) Jacob had to be schooled.