Are you Ready for An RV Trip of a Lifetime? Enter the Travel Channel Sweepstakes!

This website often brings us intriguing correspondence.  We were recently contacted by the Travel Channel asking if we would let you know about a sweepstakes contest they are running.  We’re always a little skeptical about these things, but we’ve gone back and forth with them quite a bit, and it is legit and sounds like fun.  This is the way their website describes the prize:

Travel Channel and Go RVing are giving away the ultimate Arizona adventure. One lucky winner and a guest will be flown to Phoenix, where they’ll climb on board a Type A Luxury RV and spend an amazing 7 days and 6 nights touring the Sedona Red Stones, Oak Creek Canyon, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. The highlight of the trip will be a 9-hour tour of the Grand Canyon, from Flagstaff through the Navajo Nation, and an unforgettable sunset dinner.”

Pretty awesome!!  (Although most RVers, and those familiar with Arizona, may smile at the description).

We’ve never heard the phrase “Type A RV”, although we’ve seen quite a few Type A RVers on the road flying past us at breakneck speeds on the highway.  The Travel Channel is surely referring to a Class A motorhome, which would be an awesome platform for a 7 day vacation.

And the last time we were in Sedona, those big red monolithic formations were locally referred to as “red rocks,” not “red stones.”  But they are so glorious that it doesn’t really matter what they’re called — they are a “must see,” and what a way to see them!

All you need to do to win this cool prize is to know a bit about travel and the Travel Channel itself, as the contest involves answering multiple choice questions about travel and the Travel Channel.  So, if you’re feeling lucky, click here to enter.

Travel Channel Sweepstakes RV Arizona

Arizona is an awesome area for RVing, and we have really enjoyed our travels there.  Even if you don’t win this trip, it is a wonderful place to visit by whatever means.  Among our favorite places are:

Grand Canyon North Rim Imperial Point

Grand Canyon – North Rim

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Only 10% of travelers to the Grand Canyon go to the jaw-dropping North Rim, because it is a 250 mile drive around the famous chasm to get there.  The North Rim is stunningly beautiful.  It has few tourists, fabulous hiking and great cycling.

Walking the gorgeous little paved paths that wind along the rim between the flowers will take your breath away — literally — as the rim sits at almost 9,000 feet elevation, a significant altitude 1,000 feet higher than the more famous South Rim.


Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim

Picnic area outside the Lodge

If you have a small RV, a stay at the North Rim Campground perched on the rim itself is unforgettable.  The Grand Canyon view is right out your window.  We were able to squeeze our 52′ truck and fifth wheel combo into the RV dump station there — just barely!!! — but we were too big to fit into any of the sites.  A 30′ fifth wheel or 25′ travel trailer or 35′ or shorter motorhome would probably fit fine.  Reserve your site early!

If you go there by car, the Grand Canyon Lodge — and the cute little cabins all around it — is a historic landmark unto itself.  Dine indoors or out with that inspiring view as a backdrop…


Navajo Nation – Window Rock – Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly

The enormous Navajo Nation takes up the entire northeast corner of Arizona.  The town of Window Rock is the tribal headquarters, and they have a wonderful memorial for the Navajo Code Talkers who played such a vital role in the Allied victory in the Pacific Theater in Word War II.

Window Rock Code Talkers

Window Rock Code Talker Memorial

Nearby is one of the most amazing canyons in the southwest: Canyon de Chelly.  Full of soaring cliffs and vast flat lands that snake between them a thousand feet below, you can spot cliff dwellings tucked into these sheer walls way up in the air.  Huge petroglyphs can be seen from across the canyon.



Sunset Crater National Monument

Sunset Crater National Monument

Flagstaff & Nearby National Monuments

Flagstaff is a wonderful college town that is full of history.  There is no boondocking within an easy bike ride of the town, but Bonito Campground, about 18 miles north of town, is our all-time favorite campground.

Bonito Campground is on the way into Sunset Crater & Wupatki National Monument.  These two jewels in the National Park System are worthy of a visit.  Sunset Crater is a volcano that blew its top about 1,000 years ago, shocking the locals inhabitants of the time.  What is shocking about it today is that the lake-like cinder fields and craggy lava flow looks like the volcano erupted yesterday.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

The nearby Wupatki ruins were built by the “Sinagua” (“without water”) people a century after Sunset Crater blew its top, when they arrived in the area and discovered the thick layer of ash was good for growing crops.  The collection of pueblo ruins on the 50-mile scenic drive are all fascinating, and the loop road makes a fabulous bike ride.

There is boondocking in the woods across the highway from Bonito and also in the cinders nearby.  It can get dusty, though, especially from ATVs on weekends!




Fish Lake Scenic Byway

Fish Lake Scenic Byway, UtahWhile visiting central Utah on a recent summer day, my husband and I drove the Fish Lake Scenic Byway, one of the state’s many beautiful highways and byways that are officially (and rightfully) designated as “scenic.”  This road, Utah Route 25 between Loa and Fish Lake, weaves and curves through pine tree studded hills and into thick aspen groves.  A bike trail runs alongside the lake and we quickly unloaded our bikes to ride this waterfront path.  We soon found ourselves jumping on and off our bikes to take in the views, smell the fragrant air and check out the thick carpets of wildflowers that rolled down to the shore.

Fish Lake Lodge is the centerpiece of the Fish Lake community.  It is a wonderful old building made of logs and filled inside with trophy heads, an inviting fireplace and a large dining room that looks out over the lake.  We were there in summertime, but the fireplace looked like it would be perfect for snowy winter evenings too.

Of course the main activity at Fish Lake is fishing, and it seemed everyone we saw was carFish Lake Lodgerying a fishing pole or a tackle box.  A large family huddled around one of the fish cleaning stations near the Lodge, and two men busily carved up the day’s catch.  The kids watched in fascination as one of the men sliced open the belly of a fish and then explained it was a female as he pulled out a fistful of eggs.  The little girl scrunched up her face and squealed, “Gross!” while the boy next to her grinned, “That’s cool, Dad!”

The Fish Lake Scenic Drive lived up to its billing and each view around every bend was better than the last.  The aspen shivered and shimmied their brilliant green leaves while the pointy dark green pines seemed to pierce the sky.  First inhabited by mammoth hunters some 9,000 years ago, people have traveled through this area for a long time.  A portion of the Old Spanish Trail, used by Utes and cowboys alike, wanders along the western side of the lake.  Out of the corners of our eyes we both thought we spotted a train of horseback riders, but on second glance we saw it was a memorial sculpture in the middle of a field commemorating the Utes and settlers who traversed the Old Spanish Trail.

butterflyNotes from Kit Carson in 1848 described the shallow streams in the area as “swarming with fish.”  Using just “an old bayonet fastened to a stick” he caught five dozen fish at sunrise in the icy water one morning.  We didn’t see quite such plentiful fish, but we found the flower-strewn banks of the lake and streams teeming with butterflies.  The warm summer air buzzed with busy insects, and seagulls cried in the distance.

Trading our bikes and helmets for our hiking shoes and camera gear, we strolled along the shore, watching the cormorants fishing and seagulls soaring overhead.  The sun glinted freely off the glittering lake and the sun was hot on our backs.  In contrast to all the activity of the creatures around the lake, the campgrounds along the shore were quiet and had plenty of vacancies.

Our refreshing mid-summer’s trip to this bucolic spot reminded us yet again that Utah’s scenic byways are always worthy of a detour.