Parowan UT – Vermillion Castle and County Fair

Iron County Fair, Parowan, Utah Vermillion Castles in First Left Hand Canyon (Yankee Meadows Road), Parowan, Utah

We learned the "Vermillion Castles"

are not man-made

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

A split rail fence lines the reservoir

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

One couple we met ate fresh-caught trout every night

Second Left Hand Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Our epic ride up 2nd Left Hand Rd was challenging

Second Left Hand Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Finally, we made it to the top

Rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

The Iron County Fair had something for everyone

More rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Lots of thrills for young and old

Crafts on display at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Musical performance at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Clowns at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Petting Zoo at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Rodeo Queens at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Mark discovered the Rodeo Royalty

Old folks playing horse shoes at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah is fun for everyone Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah tractor show Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah tractor show Tractor show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Kids get fun rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Nearby, the youngest crowd got to test the

driver's seat for the first time

Antique car show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

The older "kids" showed off the muscle cars of their youth

Tractor show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Parowan, Utah: A Vermillion Castle and County Fair

August 26 - September 5, 2008 - After

visiting Kanab and Alton, UT, on the

eastern side of the mountains, we made the

heart-stopping climb and descent into Cedar

City and went on up the interstate to

Parowan.  We had heard there was great

boondocking somewhere in Parowan

Canyon but I couldn't figure out quite where

it was on the map.  We stopped in the

Visitors Center to get some help, and

discovered the town was hosting the fun-

filled Iron County Fair over Labor Day

weekend in just a few days.  Whie I was busy studying the maps and local photos of the

canyon to get my bearings, I barely noticed Mark saying, "Hey, there's a 5K race on Labor

Day.  Wanna do it?!"  I must have muttered something that sounded like agreement,

because the next thing I knew Mark had filled out the race forms and was reaching in his

wallet for the entry fee.

Part of my confusion about the

Parowan Canyon roads was that I

thought the "Vermillion Castle"

landmark would be a building -- a real castle!  Instead, it was a series of

red rock spires.  Also, we soon learned that although everyone in the

area knew exactly where Second Left Hand Road was located, there

was no road sign to help visitors find its tree limb-shrouded entrance.

We camped at

the top of the

canyon in a

scenic meadow

surrounded by


One day we got the crazy idea to ride our bikes down 3,000 feet

into Parowan on paved First Left Hand Road and then climb back

up on the gravel 4x4 Second Left Hand Road.  The mere 16 miles

took us well over two hours, and we were pooped when we got to

the top.  I kept looking at my bike's odometer and telling myself, "3

mph is a very respectable speed!"  The views of Yankee Meadows

Reservoir at the top were well worth the effort, and we heard from

several sources that the fishing in the reservoir was excellent.

The Iron County Fair was a classic small town fair, and we wished we

had our little granddaughters with us.  As the mayor said to us days later

when we met him walking down Main Street, "It is a little piece of

Americana."  Attendance was much higher than in past years, perhaps

because people were staying home to save gas money.  The rides were

packed, the kettle corn was delicious, and there were events and prizes

for everything imagineable.

There was live

music and a vast display of beautifully crafted artworks, from crocheted

booties, to finely made quilts, to an elegant wedding dress, to Lego pirate

ships built by the kids, to pies, jams and cookies of all types, to

photographs of everything under the sun.  Blue ribbons abounded, and

they were all well deserved.

As we wandered the

fairgrounds, we met all

kinds of characters.

We are learning to be a

little more brazen in

taking photographs of

the fun people we

meet, and Mark

captured the fair's clowns, both two-

legged and four-legged, while I captured

Mark basking in the glow of the Rodeo

princesses, queens and attendants.

The horseshoe championships were hotly contested, with

professionals stepping up to expert throws, and the area was filled

with smiling people of all ages.  The tractor display showed farm

equipment of all types from an earlier age.  Mark spotted one built

when he was born in 1954 while another fellow noted one

built in his birth year, 1939.  We had lunch with the tractor

drivers, learning a little about that hobby while we munched

pizza, and we got to know Red, Basil and Alden, each of

whom we had either seen around town in previous days or

spent time with in the weeks following the fair.

There was a long train for

the toddlers that snaked

endlessly around the

fairgrounds.  The kids

alternated between

grinning with delight and

frowning in concentration

as they turned their

steering wheels around

each corner.  There were

cries everywhere of

"Mommy, can I ride in that?"  Meanwhile, the dads were busy admiring the muscle

cars on display, hoods up, chrome polished, each restored with loving care.

The fair went on for

three days, and we

returned on Labor

Day itself to watch

the parade down

Main Street.  There

were floats, dance

teams, horses, fire

engines, the Rodeo

Royalty on

horseback, local

politicians and candy and toothbrushes

thrown into the crowd.  Parowan is the heart of Mormon Pioneer history, as it was the first

community settled, even before Salt Lake, and several floats made proud reference to

that heritage.

We left the fair contented and smiling.  It had been a perfect day and weekend, the best

Labor Day that either of us could remember.  And -- oh yes -- we each placed 2nd in our

age group in the running race, and paid the price with sore joints for a few days


We recovered from our race in Cedar City where we watched the Great American

Stampede Horse Parade (some pics and notes on our "What's It Like?" page), and then

we made our way on to Pioche, Nevada, which felt to us like the true heart of the Wild

Wild West.
































































Chanute, KS – Tour of NuWa / Hitchhiker RV Factory

Train engine Santa Fe City Park Chanute KS

Train engine in Santa Fe City Park

Chanute, Kansas

Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas

Historic bridge, Santa Fe Park, Chanute

Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas

Waterfall in the park

Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas

Families come to the park every evening

Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas

Goose family: mom, dad,

5 goslings & a nanny

Santa Fe City Park Chanute Kansas World Harmony Run truck Chanute KS

The World Harmony Run RV

NuWa Industries headquarters Chanute, KS

NuWa Industries !!

NeWa fifth wheel trailers

A fifth wheel frame

Holding tank installation

Holding tanks being installed in the frame

vacuum bonded walls NuWa factory

Walls are vacuum bonded Blue Dow

styrofoam and gel-coat fiberglass --

a winning and unique combination

Walls being installed on a fifth wheel NuWa Industries

Walls being installed on a frame

Slide-out room installation NuWa fifth wheel trailer plant

Slide-out walls lined up

A slide-out being built

NuWa Industries Chanute KS

A slideout being installed on a trailer

NuWa Industries Chanute KS

Ceiling/roof trusses lined up

NuWa Industries Chanute KS

Windows lined up

NuWa Industries Chanute KS

Cabinets get assembled

Furniture ready to be installed

End of the line

Hey - we have that exact same wall trim

in our Fleetwood Prowler Lynx !!

NuWa Hitchhiker fifth wheel and Fleetwood Lynx travel trailer

Hitchhiker & Lynx side by side

NuWa Hitchhiker fifth wheel and Fleetwood Lynx travel trailer

Goodbye Little Lynx !!!

We join the other NuWa owners at the Chanute city RV park

Chanute, Kansas

May, 2008 - We had been kicking around the idea of upgrading to a fifth wheel

trailer since our winter months in Quartzsite and Yuma, Arizona.  We loved the

little Lynx and it had taken good care of us.  If we were traveling only part-time, six

to nine months a year, then there would have been no need to change.  A 27'

travel trailer is ideal for skipping around the country seeing the sights if you have a

home to return to.  However, with fulltime travel we found there were periods

where we needed to stop and simply live for a while.  We couldn't keep moving

continuously.  We had to catch our breath, absorb what we'd seen, and simply be:

watch TV, read, talk, write, maintain the rig, etc.  During the cold months, on rainy

days and during long winter nights, we always secretly wished we had just a little

more room.  So we began researching fifth wheels.

By May we had a stack of brochures three inches thick and had been in and

out of hundreds of trailers on maybe 20 different dealer lots across the

country.  We had interviewed anyone and everyone that was in a fifth wheel

to find out what they liked and didn't like about their brand.  We had

narrowed down the search to three prospective manufacturers:  NuWa

(pronounced "New Way" as in "New Way of Camping" coined circa 1965) in

Chanute, Kansas, Alpenlite (Western Recreational Vehicles) in Yakima,

Washington, and Arctic Fox (Northwood Manufacturing) in LaGrande,

Oregon.  We had seen the Arctic Fox plant the previous summer (along with

Fleetwood which has a plant 50 miles away).  When we had planned to go to

Florida we had decided to stop at NuWa in southeastern Kansas on the way

home after passing through the Ozarks.

Chanute is a small city largely supported by the NuWa manufacturing plant and

its companion plants, Young's Manufacturing (which makes trailer frames,

including some for NuWa), and HiLo Manufacturing (which makes trailer furniture

and cabinets, including some for NuWa).  When we signed in at the town's

historical center, of the fifteen people who signed in before us, fourteen were

visiting the NuWa plant and one was looking for a job.

We slipped out of

sightseeing mode as

soon as we arrived in

Chanute.  We were

there to visit the factory

and learn more about their fifth wheel trailers.  While we stayed in the city

park, a pretty park with an area for RVs, we took many afternoon and

evening jaunts around the park, on foot and by bike.  It is a lovely place

with an old train engine you can climb on, a historic bridge and a waterfall

that gushes with amazing force when it rains hard.

There was a family of

Canada geese that we

watched grow up during

our stay: two parents, five goslings

and a nanny.  The nanny was

always with the family, but she (or

he?) wasn't a Canada goose.

Other geese came and went, but

this family, including the nanny,

always stuck together.  There

were ducks at the park too, and

one pair was on eggs.

The city park is well used by the

locals and by all kinds of travelers

too.  Ninety percent of the RVs in

the park were NuWa owners

who were in town for warranty

or other service work on their

trailer.  However we saw

several traveling cyclists come

through with panniers and

tents, and at one point a

carnival came into town and

their trailers filled the park.

One night as we walked we saw some very fit people milling about, and they

turned out to be part of the World Harmony Run, a group that was running relays

around the US all summer.  There were eight runners with them in Chanute, and

they were running about 100 miles a day as a relay.

NuWa opens its doors to

visitors with a formal factory tour every morning.  We took the tour three times,

and each time there were at least 10 people on the tour.  The NuWa employees

were extremely hospitable, and Debbie in HR and Brett in Sales made us feel

right at home.  We mingled at the plant almost daily, saw familiar faces fishing in

the park in the evenings, and bumped into Ed Cox, a sales manager and the city

mayor, repeatedly, all over town.  We became more and more enamored of the

company.  It is well run and tight knit.  We visited the plant at one of the worst

possible times in their 50-year history.  With the US economy slowing and gas

prices skyrocketing, the RV industry was not happy.  While we were in town we

learned that four major high-end RV manufacturers had closed their doors:

Travel Supreme, Western RV (Alpenlite and Alpine Coach), Alpha (See Ya!), and

King of the Road.  These were all direct competitors for NuWa.  In preparation for the downturn, NuWa had consolidated two plants

into one and streamlined their workforce to carry the company forward.

We talked extensively with all the NuWa owners in the RV park.

Most would come in for just three or four days, so we ended up

becoming friendly with quite a few owners during our month in

town.  Many invited us in to see their trailers, and all talked

extensively about their experience with the trailer, their dealer and

the factory.  Everyone was in town with problems to be fixed, but

there was no pattern to the problems.  The only pattern we saw

was that people liked their trailers (many were repeat buyers), and

they seemed very happy with the service they received.

When we arrived in town we thought we might eventually order a

Discover America 333RL, and we peppered everyone who would

listen at NuWa with questions about its various options and what

modifications might be coming up in the future.  By the time we left

we had found there was a 2007 Hitchhiker II LS 34.5 RLTG sitting

in the back lot that had never gone out to a dealer.  It was one of the last 2007's built and it was in the color I liked (which had been

discontinued).  NuWa sells through dealerships exclusively, so we worked out a deal with Russ Herron at NuWa and Carl Fogleman

at H&K Camper Sales in nearby Columbus, Kansas, and suddenly we were the proud owners of a new trailer!


H&K Camper Sales is a fantastic dealership, and they allowed us to park

the two trailers side-by-side in the VFW park in Columbus for a few days while we moved things over and got organized.  The

amount of extra floor space was startling, and the new rig felt very luxurious.  It was a sad day, however, when John from H&K

towed the Lynx away.  But our smiles quickly returned when we set ourselves up in the Santa Fe city park in Chanute, right along

with all the other NuWa owners!

After testing out all the systems in the new trailer and making sure

everything worked properly, we were ready to go back out west

again.  We had been living in Tornado Alley for the peak month of

Tornado Season and had already been evacuated once to the Super

8 motel across the street.  When you're living in a trailer in Kansas

and the cops knock on your door and tell you to evacuate, you do as

you're told!!  Luckily, no tornados came through Chanute, but the day

we were evacuated, Pricher, Oklahoma, 80 miles away, was


A man living in a 1980's vintage Holiday

Rambler travel trailer that ended up in a

million pieces was really interested in

buying the Lynx from H&K.  Hopefully he

worked out a deal and was able to move

in.  Meanwhile we wanted to get to

northern Arizona to install our solar

panels and start our summer travels.