Panguitch, Utah – Little Britches & Big Horses in the City Park

June 2022 – We’d been driving north through glorious Utah red rock landscapes for a while, and Mark suddenly said, “I’d really like to go to a nice city park with some lush green grass so Buddy can stretch his legs!”

Well, gosh. I wasn’t sure I could produce such a thing out here in this dry craggy landscape, but I did a quickie search and suddenly found just the thing. And it was only a few miles ahead to boot: Panguitch City Park.

We pulled in and parked by the lush green grass. As we looked around, we discovered the fairground behind the park was filled with horses and horse trailers!

Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah City Park

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Horses were standing around tied to their trailers, resting between events. No doubt they were analyzing their performance and thinking of ways they could improve next time.

Horse waits for the Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

A horse waits for his next event.

Cowboys and cowgirls were doing the same thing, but they weren’t tied to their trailers!

Quiet time between events at Panguitch Utah Little Britches Rodeo

Young riders discuss the day’s events.

Downtime between events at Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

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We wandered closer to the action and saw a line of horses tied up outside the arena. There were lots of trailers parked back there too. We’d arrived just in the nick of time — yet we’d stopped here just to give Buddy a break from driving!

Horses wait their turns at Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

Horses were lined up outside the arena.

Suddenly two young women riders came out and circled around in front of us. One had a lasso in her hand and she was expertly swinging it around above her head.

Two riders in Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah warm up for their event

Two gals warm up, one swinging a lasso!

Other riders came out and took a spin around in front of us to warm up before heading into the arena to compete.

Rider warms up for Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

Two riders in Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah warm up for their event

We found out this event was part of the National Little Britches Rodeo, and it was the tail end of the second day of events. These young riders were the very last to compete!

Horse waits behind dummy roping steer

Roping was a big part of today’s events and there were practice bullhorns by each horse and trailer.

Beyond the fairgrounds there was a dramatic view of red rocks in the distance. What a place to ride a horse!

Red rock views in Panguitch Utah

The view beyond the fairground — stunning!

Down at our feet we noticed some yellow wildflowers blooming.

Spring wildflower in Panguitch Utah

Spring was springing!

As we strolled back to the lush green grass of the city park, we admired the many types and styles of horse trailers that were here for the rodeo. It was a multi-day event and lots of people stayed in their horse trailers.

Horse trailers are really different than fifth wheel RVs, though. Besides having a gooseneck hitch and shorter overall height, the trailer axles are placed at the far back end of the trailer. This is because of the heavy weight of the horses standing in the rear end of the trailer. This axle placement is similar to a semi tractor trailer.

Horse trailer

A triple axle horse trailer has the axles way at the back of the rig.

In contrast, the axles on a fifth wheel RV are placed quite close to the midline of the trailer because there isn’t all that much weight in the far back.

Genesis Supreme 28CRT Toy Hauler

Our fifth wheel toy hauler has its tandem axles closer to the middle of the trailer

You’d think that a toy hauler might be something like a horse trailer in terms of weight distribution since the toy goes in the far back, but our RZR weighs only 1,250 lbs, and even if it were 2,000 lbs., our toy hauler can carry 15,000 lbs, so it’s not that large a percentage of the total. So, fifth wheel toy haulers are built like regular fifth wheels with the axles placed just a smidge further towards the rear end of the trailer.

When turning a fifth wheel trailer, the back end swings quite wide because so much of the trailer is located behind the axles. Whereas with a horse trailer or tractor trailer you don’t have to worry so much about smacking something out with your wildly swinging rear end since very little of the trailer extends beyond the trailer’s axles.

Back at the lush green grassy park, we noticed that a woman with two Australian shepherd dogs was letting them run free and play. Buddy couldn’t resist and he ran over to introduce himself. For a split second they all huddled face to face. After that, of course, it was all about sniffing each other…at the other end!!

Playful dogs meet at Panguitch City Park

Buddy meets some new friends!

We strolled around this pretty park enjoying the shade of the tall, full trees.

Panguitch City Park serenity

This is a lovely park

Buddy absolutely loved running and prancing in the soft, moist grass. This was quite a contrast to the red rock desert we’d just traveled through.

Playful pup prances in the grass at Panguitch City Park

Weeeeeeee!

Off to one side we came across a very old log cabin. A plaque explained that it was built for Kate Alexander by her son in 1890. It is a tiny structure that is around 12′ x 15′ in size, the size of many modern day bedrooms!

Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah

Kate Alexander’s son built this home for her in 1890.

There was a little knothole in the front door and we peeped in. Inside there was a small bed, a cupboard, a pot belly stove and a fireplace.

Keyhole interior view Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah

Peaking in the front door knothole, it looked like life had been simple in this house.

There were doors on three sides of the house (a door on each wall except the wall with the fireplace). There were two windows, one by the front door and one by the back door.

It is very hard to imagine living in a house like that—a space much smaller than a typical RV used for full-time living!—but the homes from that era in this area are all about that size.

A quilt had been placed over the exteriorwall with the fireplace. We were puzzled at first and then we noticed a sign advertising the Panguitch Quilt Walk festival on June 8-11, 2022. Another quilt was draped near the sign too.

Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah Quilt

A quilt hung on the outside of house.

Panguitch Quilt Walk Utah

Another quilt was hung nearby.

The original Panguitch Quilt Walk was an extraordinary event that took place in the dead of winter in 1863. The devout Mormons living in Panguitch (then called Fairview) began to run out of food and they decided to send their strongest men on foot up and over the towering mountain that was buried in snow to get some sacks of flour from the town of Parawan 45 miles away..

As they ascended the mountain and the snow deepened, the men couldn’t make any progress, so they threw down a quilt and kneeled on it to pray. Suddenly, they realized the quilt was keeping them from sinking into the snow.

So, for the entire mountain pass, the men threw down a quilt ahead of them, traversed it, and then picked it up and threw it down ahead of them. It was painfully slow going, but they made it.

I can’t even imagine a trip like that over a steep mountain simply walking on a road, nevermind crawling across quilts in deep snow. On the way back, the men were loaded down with sacks of flour for the town. And for the entire trip they had to supply themselves with food as well!

In downtown Panguitch there is a memorial that honors these intrepid men, and the town celebrates the memory with an annual Quilt Walk.

This all made for a very fulfilling stop in our travels. When we first went to Panguitch City Park, we thought we were just taking a break from driving to walk the dog for a little while. Instead, we ended up spending several very happy hours in a pretty city park that we’d blindly driven past many times before!

Happy puppy in tall lush grass

Traveling with a dog changes your travel style, but we’d never have seen any of this without our special boy.

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A previous visit to Panguitch a while back

Rodeos and horseback riding events we’ve seen:

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We’re Alive and Well and Camping in Arizona!

Life is good on Arizona’s hiking trails!

Hi there! Long time no see!!

And a warm welcome all of our new subscribers — we’re so glad you’re here!

I took a blogging vacation starting in early November, and over the winter it morphed into a full fledged Blogging Sabbatical.

Holy smokes! I had no idea when I signed off on my last post about vacationing in Hawaii that it would be June before I got back to my keyboard to put together a new blog post for you.

Another gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Many people have contacted me to find out if we had fallen off the planet and to ask if we were okay.

I can’t thank you all enough for the incredible warmth, affection and concern expressed in those emails and messages.

We were both blown away by how much this blog has meant to some of you, how much it has inspired you and how much you missed it.

Thank you!

Saguaro cactus at dawn.

The funny thing is I think the personality on our blog that everyone missed the most was Buddy.

He continues to be a true delight every single day, and one of the most common phrases we say to each other is, “What an amazing dog!”

While I relaxed and recharged and enjoyed my blogging vacation, I suspect Buddy missed his celebrity status. He kept nudging me when a really great photo of him turned up on our cameras. “Write something!” he’d say.

Actually, Mark began saying that a few months ago too. “You could write about this,” he’d say. Or “Your readers would love to hear about that,” or “Just write something short so they know we haven’t perished out here!”

Desert sunset

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He even threatened to start his own blog at one point. But blogging is a ton of work and he was having way too much fun processing his many beautiful photos (which takes many hours too!).

Morning reflections.

Every photo in this post is his, by the way, because I let my cameras gather dust while I took many long deep breaths and waited for inspiration to strike.

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We met some interesting folks during our time off. They came from all walks of life. And some walked on all fours.

Wild burros check us out.

We also did some fun sightseeing.

The fountain in Fountain Hills

But mostly we laid around and relaxed.

Nothing to do and all day to do it…!!!

I just LOVE that hammock, by the way, and I use these straps to hang it between any trees that are handy.

It’s a dog’s life.

We have been in various parts of Arizona since late October, and we’ve moved with the seasons as it got colder at first and then got warmer as the months rolled by.

On May 22nd we celebrated 13 years of traveling full-time. Wow! What a spectacular life and magnificent opportunity it has been!!

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Arizona has lots of boats and boaters!

Arizona is a very diverse state with several different major ecosystems ranging from low desert studded with saguaro cactus to high desert filled with ponderosa pine trees. And over the last eight months we’ve seen a lot of it.

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When the pandemic hit and everyone stayed home for a month or two, we did too.

Fortunately, Arizona was one of the least restrictive states. Employees were laid off or had to work from home, and all but “essential” businesses were shuttered for a month or so, but we weren’t prevented from going outside and no one was forced to wear a mask or risk a fine if they didn’t, as was the case in other places.

Life for us didn’t really change, and we lived pretty much as we always do.

Trail scout.

Buddy’s private digs (for naps with dad).

The major change we experienced was the shortage of goods at the store and the shock of seeing places like downtown Mesa completely devoid of people and all the storefronts closed.

Morning dew…

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However, once we got home to our trailer after running errands, life was the same as always.

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I gave Mark a macro lens for Christmas, and when the wildflowers began to bloom and the bees started to do their thing, he had a ball taking flower and insect shots with it. What fabulous photos he took of dew on the flower petals and pollen caked onto bees’ legs.

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Loaded with pollen!

I’ve seen many thoughts expressed online about RVing as it relates to pandemics and situations where you want to keep a little distance from your friends and neighbors for a while.

One couple who had been RVing full-time for three years decided that now was the time to buy some land rather than be forced to rely on campgrounds or dispersed campsites that might close. At one point Campendium.com had a notice on their home page that 42% of the RV campsites they have listed on their website were closed.

Other folks trapped at home seemed to feel that traveling in an RV would be the ideal way to have some fun while practicing social distancing. They seemed to long for a life on wheels.

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The leaders of the RV industry at Thor and Camping World have been reporting that they are seeing the RV market exploding lately.

How exciting that RV sales are up!

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For those that are curious about what we’ve witnessed as full-time boondockers living through a pandemic and an accompanying economic shutdown, our experience over the last few months falls somewhere in between “RVing is ideal for pandemics” and “An RV is not at all the place to be during a pandemic situation.”

Getting away from it all on public land was a little harder than normal because once all the RV parks and public campgrounds had closed, everyone who wanted to run off in an RV for a while ended up boondocking.

Boondocking campsites that might ordinarily support 3 RVs suddenly had 12.

People who ordinarily would have been going to work while their kids were in school suddenly took off in their RV to “work from home” with their kids and dogs in tow, and they headed out to the boondocks because that’s all that was available.

What a fabulous idea and great way to bond as a family.

However, it was not the isolated experience people usually think of with RV boondicking. At one point we were surrounded by a big group of families and friends from Gunnison, Colorado, as they escaped the more severe outbreak of the disease in Colorado to spend a few weeks in Arizona where there were far fewer cases.

Cactus flowers.

A heron rests by the shore

Also, since an RV has limited holding tank capacity and boondockers have to to remain on the move (there are 14 day stay limits in most places), we had to make periodic trips to some very busy RV dump stations. What a shock it was to find that some RV dump stations were closed!

In addition, in a world where other people’s bodily fluids had suddenly become absolutely terrifying, RV dump stations took on a whole new look.

But as I said, in most respects our lives over the last few months have been pretty much the same as they always have been. And when Spring arrived it was beautiful.

In one campsite we had a cardinal as a neighbor. He sang and sang, and even though he never attracted a mate during our stay, he did develop quite a relationship with his reflection in our truck mirror. For hours on end we would see him hanging on for dear life with his toes as he pecked away at the mirror.

This guy was a hoot. He pecked at his reflection in the mirror for hours!

Buddy worked on his hunting skills and blossomed from the last phases of puppyhood into A Very Responsible Adult Dog. Hunting lizards is now his all-day-long passion. He even catches one every so often!

In between hunting exploits, he guards our little rolling casa with the utmost vigilance.

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I hope you have stayed well and have navigated these recent months with spirit. As I’ve always said, there’s a beautiful world out there, and it is still beautiful and it is still out there today.

2020 has been epic for the entire world so far, and along with everyone else, our little family has had some extraordinary, life affirming and life altering experiences that I will write about someday.

It’s a beautiful world out there!

In the meantime, enjoy your travels and keep dreaming great dreams!

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A Hawaii Vacation!

October 2019 – Sometimes we get a little busy in our full-time traveling lives, and not all of our adventures make it onto the pages of this website. That’s how it was in the spring of 2017 when we were still posting our photos of our mind-blowing trip to Thailand and Cambodia even as we hopped on a plane to Hawaii.

Hawaii Vacation on Oahu

A wonderful tropical vacation on Oahu!

Once we got back to the mainland after reveling in the Hawaiian tropics for a week, we dashed off in our RV in such a flurry of excitement that we never even mentioned our Hawaii trip on this blog (although we did later publish an article about it in the Nov/Dec 2018 issue of Escapees Magazine!).

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Oahu Hawaii-min

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head on Oahu

So, this week, as we embark on a little blogging vacation, it seemed fitting to share our pics and stories from this classic vacation destination!

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Oahu Hawaii-min

Waikiki

We stayed on Oahu right in the thick of it all next to Waikiki Beach. There is nothing like getting off of a long plane ride and moments later strolling along a tropical beach!

Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii-min

Waikiki Beach is a short trip from the airport!

Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii-min

Waikiki Beach.

Our hotel room at the Sheraton was just steps away from the beach, many stories up in the air, with a balcony that hung out over the inviting pool far below.

Swimming pool Waikiki Oahu Hawaii-min

A palm tree’s shadow fills the water in the pool below our balcony

Waikiki is a bustling tourist city of high rises. There is a special beauty along the waterfront at night, and we discovered wonderful pockets of tranquility tucked away in quiet corners during the day.

Waikiki at night

Night lights.

Palm trees at sunset in Waikiki

Palm trees and volleyball at sunset.

Hawaii palm trees-min

Relaxing.

On other parts of Oahu, away from the urban hustle and bustle, we found remote beaches that were pounded by wild seas. As we strolled along the water’s edge, the seething surf crashed so hard the ocean had dug deep valleys in the sand.

Surf on Oahu in Hawaii

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Surf's up in Hawaii

Surf’s up!

Beautiful beach north side of Oahu Hawaii-min

Vivid turquoise waves carved patterns in the sand.

Everything about Hawaii is tropical, from exotic flowers to familiar birds dressed in fabulously outrageous outfits.

Flower Oahu Hawaii-min

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Red crested cardinal Oahu Hawaii-min

A red crested cardinal

A hike up Diamond Head gave us incredible views of the city and a wonderful glimpse of Diamond Head Lighthouse far below.

Diamond Head Lighthouse Oahu Hawaii-min

Looking down on Diamond Head Lighthouse

Our favorite spot was Hanauma Bay State Park where a crescent bay embraced a vibrant reef system soaked in warm, shallow turquoise water.

Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

Hanauma Bay State Park

Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

The brown patches are a coral reef that’s teeming with tropical fish

We rented some snorkeling gear and waded in from the beach!

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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We had done a lot of snorkeling on our sailing cruise of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and we’ve both snorkeled quite a bit in the Caribbean on various bareboat charters and commercial cruises. We also had a great snorkeling adventure in Thailand. But the variety of fish here at Hanauma Bay may have been the best of all!

Fish light Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Reef fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Tropical fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-2-min

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Colorful fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Spotted fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Tropical fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Many of the fish swam alone, but when we turned a corner around a coral head, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge school of fish!

Reef fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Years ago when we were sailing Mexico’s Costalegre (which cruisers have nicknamed the Gold Coast), we’d visited the aptly named (and little visited) Paraiso anchorage and seen a school of tiny fish that was so massive we thought it was some sort of rock or sea grass darkening the sandy bottom. At the time, we were scouting out spots to drop the anchor, so what a shock it was when this huge dark patch on the sand moved away!!

Back in Hanauma Bay, once the wall of fish parted and let us through, we saw a parrot fish hanging out with his pretty little orange buddy.

Hawaii Parrot fish and friend Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu-min

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Parrot fish and friend Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

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Parrot fish and friend Hawaii Hanauma State Park-min

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Hawaii is one of those “you can’t go wrong” types of destinations. This wasn’t our first trip and it won’t be our last, but every visit is utterly unique. A trip to any part of Hawaii is a wonderful way to spend a week immersed in tropical beauty.

Hawaii 2017

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This website has been home to our travel stories and the tips we’ve learned about the sailing and RV lifestyles since we first created it while camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon back in the summer of 2008. Not only was that some 165,000 truck miles (or so) ago, but it was also long before we bought a sailboat and cast off the lines to cruise the Pacific coast of Mexico!

Sailboat in Hawaii sunset-min

Hawaiian sunset.

We’ve had a lot of fun posting articles here ever since, producing new articles anywhere from 3 to 12 times a month. In the process we’ve created a travelogue and travel lifestyle resource for RVers and sailors of around 1,000 articles!

At long last we’ve decided to take a little blogging vacation. Among other things, during this time we’re going to revisit some of our older articles on here that are still read hundreds of times a day (even though they were first published as much as 10 years ago) to make sure they remain up to date.

If you’re on your way to the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Arizona with your RV for the winter, that’s where we’ll be. You’ll find dozens of articles on this site to give you ideas for places to go, things to do and sights to see in this rich desert landscape.

Click here for an index of all our Arizona travel articles.

Thanks for reading. Happy travels. Back soon!

RV under the Milky Way-min

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Tropical and Subtropical Destinations in Mexico
Tropical cruising – What to expect! and How to plan!

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Williams, Arizona – Home of the Grand Canyon Railway!

October 2019 – We have spent a lot of time in the neighborhood of Grand Canyon National Park this year, and in recent days while traveling with our RV along I-40, we paid a visit to Williams, Arizona, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Williams Arizona Gateway to the Grand Canyon-min

Welcome to Williams!

Williams lies at the junction of I-40 and the road that leads to the popular South Rim of the Grand Canyon, so its “gateway” claim is well deserved. But it is also a Route 66 town and was the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40.

But perhaps it is most well known and beloved for the Grand Canyon Railway, a train ride that starts in Williams and goes through ponderosa pine forests before arriving at Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

Trains cars on the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams Arizona-min

Williams is the home of the Grand Canyon Railway

Mark and I took this delightful train ride nearly 20 years ago as a weekend getaway and loved every minute of it. So, on this trip we wandered down to the train depot to see the train off one morning.

Railroad crossing Williamd Arizona 2-min

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The trees were changing color and the daytime temps were pretty cool. Overnight temps in the area were in the low to mid 20s, and we were glad to have our trusty blue flame heater keeping us warm in our rig.

Fall colors in Williams Arizona-min

Fall was in the air!

The Grand Canyon Railway ride is a great family outing, and the train trip is popular in every season. The ride is especially popular with kids, and there are tons of family amusements all around the depot to keep everyone entertained while waiting for the 9:30 departure each morning.

With Halloween around the corner, the whole area was decorated with pumpkins and ghoulish goodies.

Ticket booth in Williams Arizona at Grand Canyon Railway-min

The ticket booth was decorated for Halloween!

We had fun taking photos of each other with the many props.

Corpse in a coffin at Grand Canyon Railway on Halloween-min

There are all kinds of fun things to keep passengers entertained while they wait for the train!

Pumpkin man and puppy-min

Buddy checks out Mr. Pumpkinhead!

Buddy saw Mark posing as Mr. Pumpkinhead and he wanted to join in the fun too. He spotted a circus lion cutout and wanted to poke his nose through!

Puppy dreams of being a lion-min

Puppy chow!

Suddenly we heard the distant rumble of a train and we looked up to see a Grand Canyon Railway train rumbling down the tracks.

Grand Canyon Railway train arrives in Williams AZ-min

The train arrives at the depot

The train essentially backed into place with the conductor at one end and the engineer at the other. The engineer gave us a wave and then climbed down out of the train.

Train engineer on Grand Canyon Railway Williams Arizona-min

The train’s engineer waves to us.

Train engineer climbs out of Grand Canyon Railway train car-min

It’s a long way down!

The Grand Canyon Railway has been in operation for all but 20 years since 1901. Back when it opened, the fare was $3.95 which was a whole lot cheaper than the alternative $15 stagecoach ride to the South Rim from Flagstaff. It was probably a whole lot more comfortable too!

Sunset Cafe train car on Grand Canyon Railway in Williams Arizona-min

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We walked along the train cars and were astonished to count twelve of them. Could that many people be taking the train to the Grand Canyon on a Tuesday morning in October? We sure didn’t see that many people around.

There were lots of fun references to train travel around the depot grounds, and we noticed a park bench made from two train wheels. After staring at the park bench we had to check out the real wheels on the train cars. Who’d ever think of recycling old train wheels to be park benches? Very cool!

Park bench made from train wheels Williams Arizona-min

This fun park bench was made from train wheels…

Train undercarriage Grand Canyon Railway-min

…so we had to run back and see what the train wheels look like when they’re on the train!

Suddenly we heard a loud train horn blast. Buddy jumped and so did we!

Horns on train car 239 Williams Arizona Grand Canyon Railway-min

Those horns could really let out a blast!

As we walked along the train platform we noticed a large group of people gathered at the far end. As we got closer we realized they were gathered on the edge of an old western town.

Crowd gathers at old west gunfight-min

There was a crowd gathered by a mock-up of an old frontier town.

We stood on our tiptoes and peeked between everyone. To our surprise a midget cowboy was expertly twirling a rope getting ready to lasso someone or something.

Roping

He could really make it spin!

Then we heard a shot, and the midget was on the ground!

Gunfight at the saloon in Williams AZ-min

Uh oh… it’s a shoot out!

We noticed a cowboy reaching for his gun and then there were some more shots and some more cowboys fell to the ground.

Reaching for his gun-min

Watch out!

Old west gunfight Williams AZ 2-min

Two down…

Old west gunfight Williams AZ 3-min

Oh dear, now they’re all dead.

The crowd laughed and applauded and then slowly made its way to the waiting train. A gal walking next to me said, “That was fun to see here, but I hope they don’t do it on the train!”

I just smiled. Back when Mark and I had taken this train all those years ago there was a holdup in the middle of the woods, complete with horseback riders rushing the train and forcing it to stop. The cowboys had jumped off their horses and run through the train cars making quite a commotion!

Tourists line up to take the train at Grand Canyon Railway in Williams Arizona-min

Everyone made their way to the train platform.

As the passengers filed onto the train we chatted a little bit with the conductor, Bernie. He said today’s train was a small one with only about 500 or so passengers on it. On busy summer days the train would be about twice as long with 1,000 passengers on it.

Taking tickets at Grand Canyon Railway in Williams Arizona-min

.Lots of folks take overnight bags and spend a night at the rim.

During the holidays, from November 8th to January 4th this year, the Grand Canyon Railway runs the Polar Express train. Bernie said about 100,000 people, mostly kids of course, take that ride each year. Wow!!

In no time the train was full. As it pulled away from the depot, a small group of us on the platform waved and the people on the train waved back. We were all grinning. It might all sound a little hokey, but it was all a lot of fun even though we didn’t get on the train this time around.

Grand Canyon Railway train departs from Williams Arizona-min

The train heads off on its two hour journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

As we walked through the Grand Canyon Railway yard back into town we noticed a funny looking little train car on display. It was a Cog Railway train car that was used on the Pike’s Peak cog railway in Colorado.

It was tilted forward because it was designed to crawl straight up the mountain.

A few years ago we took the Mt. Washington Cog Railway train ride in New Hampshire up to the blustery tippy top of Mt. Washington in the White Mountains. It was a blast. Ever since then, the Pike’s Peak cog railway ride has been on our bucket list!

Cog railway car from Pike's Peak on display at Grand Canyon Railway in Williams Arizona-min

One of the old cog railway train cars from Pike’s Peak in Colorado.

After all this train excitement, Buddy said he wanted to go to the coffee shop. We’d been going to a really nice place on the main drag called Brewed Awakenings during our stay, and he excitedly led us right up to the back door.

Ready for a puppaccino at Brewed Awakenings in Williams Arizona-min

Buddy led us right to the back door of Brewed Awakenings.

Before my latte order had even been made, Buddy was quickly devouring his puppaccino (whipped cream in a bowl). Yum!

Puppy eats a puppaccino 2-min

Is there anything better than a puppaccino??

If you are traveling to the Grand Canyon and want to go to the heart of the South Rim’s historic Grand Canyon Village, the Grand Canyon Railway is a great way to go. Revived in 1989 after shutting down in 1968, the train has reduced the number of cars visiting the Grand Canyon by some 50,000 since it reopened!

Even if you don’t take the train ride, if your RV travels take you along I-40 in Arizona and you have a hankering to walk the pretty main street of a Route 66 town and join the excitement of the train’s daily departure, Williams makes a great stop!

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Drag Boat Races in AZ – Top Speed FUN on the Colorado River!

October 2019 – We took our RV to the Colorado River area near the town of Parker in the northwestern part of Arizona and just happened to hit the river on the right day. The Arizona Drag Boat Association was holding a weekend of drag boat races!

Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker Arizona-min

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We could hear the noise of the drag boat engines long before we saw them, and we quickly ran down to the water to catch the action.

Boat 506 Arizona DragBoat Association Race in Parker-min

Racing drag boats in the Arizona desert.

There was a line of drag boats on trailers in the parking lot, and one by one they were being launched at the boat ramp. From there they were towed out to the starting line by people on jetskis.

Boat tow to the start line Arizona DragBoat Association Race in Parker-min

Getting a tow to the start.

The race was a “liquid” quarter mile, and they raced it in pairs with the winner of each race advancing to face another challenger in another race.

Arizona Drag Boat Association Race at Blue Water Casino on Lake Havasu-min

High speed fun!

Each drag boat leaped into action and then flew past us. One guy got such a fast start that he was knocked right off his feet in his boat. Luckily he was okay and his safety tether stopped the boat engine so it didn’t fly off with no one in control.

Driver falls in ADBA dragboat race at Blue Water Casino-min

Oops!

The sound of the engines and the speed of these drag boats was astonishing. To capture the motion we played with slowing the shutter speeds on our cameras and panning the action so we could blur the background but keep the boats in focus.

Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker AZ-min

Weeeee!

Arizona Drag Boat Association Race Blue Water Casino Parker AZ-min

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It was an absolutely perfect day to hang out on the grass and watch these exotic drag boats fly by. Even though it was mid-October it felt like summertime!

Spectators at Arizona Drag Boat Association Race at Blue Water Casino Parker AZ-min

A beautiful sunny day on the Colorado River.

Fun at Lake Havasu Arizona-min

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Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker AZ at Blue Water Casino-min

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Up in the air a helicopter flew around, hovering over the drag boats at the starting line.

Helicopter surveys the starting line of Arizona Drag Boat Association Race at Blue Water Casino-min

A helicopter hovered over the start line.

As each boat leaped into action it popped a wheelie. What fun!

Popping a wheelie at the start line of Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker AZ-min

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Drag boat racing on Lake Havasu Arizona-min

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Hole shot at Blue Water Casino drag boat race-min

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Some of the drag boats came clear out of the water!

Flying high on Lake Havasu in drag boat race-min

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Out of the water Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker AZ-min

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On shore, some people were so inspired by all this racing action that they couldn’t help but fly off the ground in a full sprint too!

Puppy leaps for joy-min

Leaping for joy!

Above it all, the helicopter chased after each pair of racing drag boats to the finish line and then circled back to the start. When things got quiet between races it flew up and down the river close to the shore.

Helicopter chases two drag boats at the ADBA drag races on Lake Havasu-min

Getting a bird’s eye view of the finish line.

Blue Water Casino hosts Arizona Drag Boat Association Race in Parker-min

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Blue Water Casino island ADBA drag boat rades-min

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They were taking pics of us as we were taking pics of them!

Flying helicopter at ADBA races Blue Water Casino Parker AZ-min

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Not all the water action was dragboat racing. This section of the Colorado River was closed to through traffic for the day, but periodically they had to pause the racing to let some boats cruising the river pass through.

Inside the marina a fellow played on practice wakeboard that was tied to a cable system spanning the calm water.

Water play Blue Water Casino Parker Arizona-min

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And in between heats of drag boat races a few jetskis took to the race course to see how fast they could go.

Jetski flies on Lake Havasu in Arizona-min

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But drag boat racing was the game of the day, and the spray was flying. Many races were neck-and-neck to the finish.

Speedboat drag boat race in Parker Arizona on Lake Havasu-min

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Racing drag boat on Lake Havasu Arizona-min

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Neck and neck drag boat race at Blue Water Casino Park Arizona-min

She got him in the end!

Most drag boats had huge towering engines, but one yellow boat had an outboard. When he lost his race Mark caught an image of him behind a fantastic wall of spray left by the winner.

Drag boat with outboard motor Lake Havasu Arizona-min

How will the outboard do?

Through the spray in a drag boat race-min

Well, he was left behind in the spray!

We were about to leave and started walking back to the parking lot when Mark noticed some truly exotic drag boats being backed down the boat ramp. These drag boats had covers that flipped down to protect the driver.

When the first boat got into the water and revved its engine we could feel the rumble in our chests. We asked one of the people helping roll the drag boats into the water what racing class this was and she said it was the top level group called “Pro-Outlaw.”

OMG. We couldn’t leave now!

Closeup of drag boat engine-min

Raw power!

Pro-Outlaw class of drag boats at ADBA race in Lake Havasu Arizona-min

The Pro Outlaws line up to race.

The drag boats sat at the starting line and rumbled for a while. Then we saw two boats lower their hoods. And off they went!

Pro-Outlaw drag boat racing at ADBA Lake Havasu race-min

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These Pro-Outlaw boats were hitting over 190 mph. Holy smokes!!

Pro-Outlaw class ADBA drag boat races Lake Havasu-min

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Drag boat race on Lake Havasu in Parker Arizona-min

190+ mph!

Pro-Outlaw qualifier race Arizona Drag Boat Association Lake Havasu-min

Pro Outlaws.

The Colorado River and Lake Havasu area in northwestern Arizona always seems to have something going on, and we’ve enjoyed several stays there.

From an unexpected and really fun “timeshare tour” of an RV park timeshare program to balloons rising over Lake Havasu to a VW microbus rally to a close encounter with burros on the California side of the river, we’ve bumped into some fabulous thrills in this water-filled part of the Arizona desert!

Drag boat race on Lake Havasu in Parker Arizona-min

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Seligman, Arizona – Birthplace of Route 66!

October 2019 – Back in the early- to mid-1900s, Route 66 was the main highway — the ONLY highway — between Chicago and Los Angeles, and looking back (with not quite 20-20 vision), it seems like it was 2,448 miles of sheer fun.

Earlier this week we stopped in for a visit at Seligman, Arizona, which we found out was the birthplace of Route 66!

Seligman Arizona Birthplace of Route 66

Seligman Arizona – Birthplace of Route 66

Sometimes it’s not easy to trace historical roots accurately, so we’ve since found that Springfield, Missouri, is also considered to be the birthplace of Route 66…!

Either way, the little town of Seligman, Arizona, has just a few stores lining both sides of the main drag, and every single one is dolled up with decorations celebrating Route 66 history. Everywhere we looked we found another fabulous photo op!

Mural in Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Lots of buildings in Seligman Arizona have fabulous murals.

route 66 memorabilia Seligman Arizona-min

Seligman Arizona offers a total immersion in all things Route 66 and early 20th century!

Murals Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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This place is a memorabilia lover’s paradise and a great place to find gifts for loved ones.

Let's all go to the gift shop Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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Back in the day, Seligman was an important stop for motorists to gas up, and there were several gas stations in town. Nowadays, these gas stations have found new life as boutique gift shops, but the original architecture remains.

Old car and gift shop Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

The old gas stations in town are now gift shots, but the architecture remains as it was.

Old gas station Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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Old car and Texaco sign Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Visions of another era

There were lots of vintage cars parked here and there, and Mark even found a motorcycle like the one James Dean rode!

Posing with James Dean motorcycle Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Mark found James Dean’s motorcycle!

Then he found James Dean himself. He was having a smoke outside a store.

Posing with James Dean Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Tough guys.

Betty Boop was in town too, wearing a hot outfit and roller skates and serving burgers and drinks.

Betty Boop Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Betty Boop!

It seemed that every square inch of town offered a glimpse into times past. Music from the 50s played in the gift shop doorways, and relics from the early 1900s were all over the place.

Looking at our photos later, we even found an original Good Sam Club poster with Sam himself looking quite different than he does today!

Funky Route 66 art Seligman Arizona-min

Good Sam was in his red circle but looked older and less sporty!

Route 66 store front Seligman Arizona-min

You can’t get lost here — you’re on Route 66!

Snow Cap and old cop car Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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Of course, there was plenty of history in this area long before Route 66 was built. This was the Wild West, after all!

We turned a corner and suddenly saw a classic old western storefront with a cowboy standing in a doorway on the porch and a few ladies of the night luring visitors to sit with them by the front door.

Old west store fronts Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

A nod to the old Wild West… Seligman BEFORE Route 66!

Obviously, Seligman is 100% a tourist town, and some might call it a tourist trap. But we loved it. And we weren’t the only ones. Several tour buses came in and disgorged groups of people looking for a souvenir and a photo of themselves eating a burger at a classic 1950s diner.

Tour buses Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Lots of tour buses stop by Seligman!

Tour buses and RVs aren’t the only way to get here, though! People come to Seligman in all kinds of vehicles.

As we admired various antiques in one shop, we noticed that all the tourists in the shop were decked out in black Harley Davidson logo motorcycle gear: black leather jackets, black t-shirts, black pants and boots with black leather chaps. And black bandanas on their heads. They’d ridden in on motorcycles and their bikes were parked out front.

We overheard them chatting among themselves, and it sounded like German. But Mark noticed a French flag on one of the bikes. I asked one of the fellows where they were from. “Europe!” he said. I kinda smirked, and he laughed and said, “Europe’s big. We’re from Holland.”

Motorcycles Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

A line of Harleys (all rentals with Montana plates!)

Well, Mark and I hadn’t been too far off! Dutch sounds a lot like German from a distance, and the Dutch flag looks much like the French flag flown sideways and with the colors reversed.

He told me his group of friends rides motorcycles together in Holland. They were on a two week loop tour going from the west coast to the Grand Canyon and back, hitting many fabulous stops along the way and doing it all on wonderfully scenic and swoopy roads ideal for motorcycle riding.

“Are your wives with you?” I asked, since I hadn’t seen a single Harley mama anywhere.

The fellow guffawed and winked at me.

This was definitely a two week trip these guys had dreamed of for a long time, and it had a boyhood sign all over it: “No girlz aloud.”

Foreign tourists traveling between the great American national parks stop in Seligman, Arizona, often, and one gift shop had a colorful spray of foreign currency under glass at the checkout counter. How totally cool was that!

International currencies at gift shop Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

People from all over the world come to Seligman!

We wandered the streets and poked our heads in the stores for a while longer. What a fun spot.

Historic Sundries Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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Route 66 relics Seligman AZ-min

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Antique truck and gas pump Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

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Gravestone Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Don’t touch that Edsel!

Life is short Seligman Arizona on Route 66-min

Good reminder!

Seligman is an easy town to visit while traveling east-west on I-40 in Arizona.

There is an I-40 exit on either end of town, so you can pull off the interstate at one end of town, cruise into town on Route 66, park, walk around and have lunch, and then drive out on I-40 at the other end of town.

Route 66 goes right through the heart of Seligman, so you can also venture down the historic highway a ways, either east or west, and imagine what it was like for Americans travelers crossing the country on this skinny strip of road back in the early 1900s.

Route 66 sign Seligman Arizona-min

Seligman is definitely worth a stop.

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Heavenly Theatrics in Utah’s Red Rocks

September 2019 – We spent a lot of time roaming around in the backcountry of Utah in recent weeks, and some of our best days were when we the skies grew gloomy or when the sun and clouds chased each other across the beautiful vistas.

FB 1200 Light and Shadow in the red rocks of Utah

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Some of the trails and two-track roads we ventured out on started out simply enough.

Backcountry trail in Utah-min

Red rocks beckon in the distance.

And then within a few minutes we’d find ourselves staring at the most amazing view from up on a plateau.

Red rock vista Utah-min

What a view!

Sometimes storm clouds would gather, and we’d notice the patterns they formed in the heavens complemented the patterns of the rock formations on the ground.

Red rocks and clouds Utah-min

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As we would gawk at the mysterious wonder of the beauty before us, Buddy would keep it real and look for chipmunks in the bushes!

Puppy in red rocks Utah-min

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There are vast networks of trails and two track roads through all the Utah National Forests, and the possibility of discovery lured us down one trail after another.

Red rock view from a Polaris RZR in Utah-min

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Cloud formations and red rocks in Utah-min

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On some excursions the dramatic views changed with every turn in the road or trail. Our little Trail Scout would lead the way, but sometimes he’d have to run back to us to see what was taking so long (we’d be busy with our cameras!).

Red rock trail in Utah-min

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Puppy on the trail in the Utah red rocks-min

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Running on a red rock trail in Utah-min

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Shades of orange and red dominated many landscapes, but we found the most curious patch of yellow rocks mixed in with the orange ones in one spot.

Yellow patches in the Utah red rocks-min

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The cloud patterns were astonishing and everchanging. One day, we watched one group of clouds that looked like space ships moving across the sky. It was amazing how these clouds and others seemed to mirror the shapes of the rock formations below.

Crazy clouds in the Utah red rocks-min

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Wild cloud pattern over red rocks in Utah-min

Wow!

Beautiful red rocks in Utah-min

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One afternoon the sun came out and chased the big fluffy clouds all over the sky. The sun spread warmth and light across the hills only to have the clouds sweep everything into darkness for a brief moment. Then the sun would return and embrace the land once again.

Dramatic sky and red rocks in Utah-min

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Light and shadow on red rocks in Utah-min

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Red rocks in Utah light and shadow-min

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Utah red rock cliffs and clouds-min

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Afternoon sun in the Utah red rocks-min

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Utah continues to be our favorite state, and it’s easy to see why: breathtaking views like these are all over the place. It’s no wonder that lots of folks say Utah’s most minor destinations would likely be National Parks if they were located somewhere else!

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A Utah Backcountry Adventure!

September 2019 – We enjoyed several trips into the backcountry area near Capitol Reef National Park during our Utah RV trip.

View from one of the many backcountry roads in Utah.

On each excursion we just loved the sudden transition that came after riding our Polaris RZR through the woods of Fish Lake National Forest when the thick trees cleared and the red rock views of Capitol Reef National Park far below began to come into view.

Running the trails on Thousand Lake Mountain Utah-min

A backcountry road crosses a meadow in Fish Lake National Forest

Near the top of the woodsy mountains it was very cold, and we all bundled up in winter jackets, even our pup Buddy!

View of Capitol Reef National Park from Thousand Lake Mountain Utah-min

It’s coooold up here. But between shivers, what a view!

While we drove in our side-by-side behind him, Buddy zoomed down the twisting road ahead of us as the incredible views grew ever larger all around.

Running free near Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

The descent had some fabulous views.

Overlook at Capitol Reef National Park from Thousand Lake Mountain Utah-min

View from an overlook.

Storm clouds were brewing overhead, giving the astonishing views a really dramatic flair. As we descended towards the valley floor, we hoped the clouds would clear once we got free of the mountains and out into the red rock desert.

Red rock views looking down at Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

An exhilarating run — with views!

Capitol Reef National Park Utah views during run on Thousand Lake Mountain-min

A new view with every turn.

Running above Capitol Reef National Park Utah Red rock views-min

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Storm and rain over Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Light and shadow.

By the time we got to the bottom, though, the sun had come out and the air had warmed up at least 20 degrees. Buddy shed his jacket but Mark and I hadn’t been running like he had, so we kept our hats, jackets and gloves on a while longer!

Taking a break-min

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The backcountry roads in and around this area go on forever with lots of little off-shoots and detours and diversions along the way. There were signs pointing out different destinations, but we just followed the roads that looked intriguing without a particular destination in mind.

RZR ride in Capitol Reef National Park-min

There are dozens of roads and just as many great destinations.

Lots of rain all summer long had left the valley unusually green. The lush verdant carpet of vegetation around the base of the red rock pinnacles and cliff walls was just wonderful. One especially prominent pinnacle was Solomon’s Temple.

Capitol Reef National Park view-min

First glimpse of Solomon’s Temple.

Pinnacle in Capitol Reef National Park-min

Solomon’s Temple.

As we walked around taking photos, the storm on the horizon seemed to intensify.

Photographing Capitol Reef National Park during backcountry drive-min

This whole area was wonderful for taking photos, especially as the storm rolled in!

Storm in Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Rain was falling in the distance.

The backcountry road weaved and twisted and turned as it ran between the pink sandstone hills.

Backcountry road in Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

The gravel road was very squiggly!

Pink sandstone hills in Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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There were storm clouds in every direction by now, and we began to feel droplets of rain here and there. We wanted to keep going, but the clouds were becoming really threatening.

Storm clouds Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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Storm threatens RZR ride in the red rocks-min

Hmmm… those clouds were getting very dark.

Storm clouds descend in Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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Storm clouds Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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We began to head back towards the mountain we’d come over hours earlier, but we noticed that a huge storm was pelting the very place where our road went. Yikes!

As we watched the thick rain cloud gathering steam over the distant hills, we realized it was headed our way.

Arriving storm

A particularly threatening storm cloud hung over the mountain we were returning to.

We looked around and noticed a group of ranch buildings and barns nearby. We ducked into a three sided barn for quick shelter. Luckily, the three walls around and behind us protected us from the approaching tempest.

Waiting out a storm-min

We hid out for cover for a few minutes

While we huddled inside waiting for the storm to blow over, Buddy noticed some rabbits zipping around. He could hear and smell them on the other side of the barn wall. Gosh, did he go crazy over that!

Puppy hears rabbits behind barn wall-min

Buddy passed the time eavesdropping on the rabbits on the other side of the wall

A bunch of old, used horseshoes had been hung on a half wall that formed a pen for smaller animals. How cool!

Horseshoes

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Fortunately, the worst of the storm missed us, and before long the sun had come out again. We made our way back up the switchbacks and over the mountain just in time to see a rainbow crossing our fifth wheel.

Rainbow over fifth wheel RV-min

A beautiful rainbow filled the sky after the storm passed.

The network of backcountry roads around the outside Capitol Reef National Park and in Fish Lake National Forest surrounding the Park is immense, and there are all kinds of interesting things to be seen, whether by 4×4 vehicle, side-by-side, mountain bike or horse!

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Capitol Reef NP – Cathedral Valley – A Stunning Backcountry Drive in Utah!

September 2019 – One day, while enjoying the beautiful lakes and woods of central Utah, we took our RZR up and over a mountain and found ourselves staring down into a world of stunning red rocks: Capitol Reef National Park’s spectacular Cathedral Valley.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah

We took our RZR for a ride in sensational Cathedral Valley — WOW!

The road wound around through the mountain woods and passed a few small ponds and meadows and then branched off on a spur to an overlook. What a fabulous view!

View from a RZR Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

The red rock towers of Cathedral Valley beckoned from a distance.

Lookout at Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Buddy looks out at the astonishing view.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Cathedral Valley lay far below us.

In the distance we could see a dirt road crossing the valley floor heading off towards the towering red rock cathedrals.

Road to Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

A road through Cathedral Valley wound towards the pinnacles.

Towers in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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The road descended quickly and made some sharp switch-back turns.

First glimpse Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

We got down towards the level of the valley floor.

We stopped on a little promontory and wandered around on a narrow sandy trail. Such views!

View of Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Exotic stone towers seemed to jut up from the desert floor.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah views-min

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We rounded one final hairpin switchback turn and then the view widened. The towering cathedral pinnacles seemed within arm’s reach.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah view-min

“Cathedral Valley” is the perfect name for this place.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah pinnacle framed by tree-min

View through the branches of an old dead tree.

Some of the rock formations were sharp and jagged, while others had a more rounded and softer appearance.

Sandstone towers Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Some rock towers had knife-like edges. Others were softly rounded.

Striped sandstone formations Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Horizontal stripes and undulations

Pinnacles Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Varying shapes and layers.

Once we got down to the valley floor, our little canine trail scout, Buddy, insisted on showing us the way.

Puppy runs in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

The views made Buddy want to run run run!

Puppy runs in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

What a place!

We were all alone in a fantastic and desolate land. The sun was warm on our skin and there were exotic red rock cliffs and pinnacles in every direction around us.

RZR side-by-side ride in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Moon unit in a moonscape!

We hopped out of the RZR onto the sandy trail, and down at our feet we noticed that even though we felt like we were alone, there were lots of other creatures enjoying this beautiful place along with us.

Footprints in the desert sand-min

We were not alone out here!

Further down the road a thin wall of pinnacles rose up on one side of us.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

Some pinnacle walls were very sheer.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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At one spot there was a a U-shaped window in the thin wall.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

The razor’s edge of the cliff wall can be seen in this unique window

Window Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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A little further down the road we saw an old dead tree permanently arched as if blown by a persistent wind.

Old tree in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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As we progressed down the road we had to stop every 100 yards or so to get a closer look. Such beauty absolutely everywhere — it was breathtaking!

RZR side-by-side ride in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

We hopped in and out of the RZR a lot. There was just so much to see up close on foot!

Pinnacle peaks Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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The name “Cathedral Valley” is perfect for this area. One formation in particular seemed to have buttresses along the flanks of the cathedral and a steeply pitched roof.

Cathedral buttresses and roofline Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

All it needed was a tall steeple at the far left end!

While Nature has created these fabulous rock formations, ranchers have put their imprint on the land as well. We came across a small wooden building that was used by the cowboys of yesteryear when they brought their cattle to this valley for summer grazing.

There was a hitching post out front and a small corral for their horses off to the side. Inside was a table and set of shelves that held many of the relics that have been found around the property: rusty cans and utensils, bits of pottery, cookware and some leather straps and buckles.

There was a row of hooks on the wall for coats and cowboy hats.

Old cabin and hitching post Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

We found an old cabin cowboys used to use in the summertime.

Window view old cabin Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

It was ultra-simple living out here in this remote land, but I’m sure the cowboys loved it.

Back on the road we savored the views in every direction. While we snapped endless photos, Buddy pranced along on his own four paws.

Pinnacle in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

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Puppy runs in Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah-min

These glorious open spaces make some people want to grab their cameras and other people want to run!

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah puppy on the trail-min

Working up a thirst!

Water break

Ahhh! A cool water break in the shade!

The back roads through Capitol Reef National Park are open to highway licensed vehicles, bikes, horses and hikers, and they are drivable with a 4×4 passenger vehicle if you take it slowly.

Some parts are narrow, steep, twisty and washboarded, and in a few places the road was covered with fairly deep sand, but we did see a pickup go by. We loved driving in our “little tank” because it is open air, it floats over the bumps and is so easy to hop in and out of.

Side-by-side RZR ride Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park Utah

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This remote back side of Capitol Reef National Park is gorgeous. As with all the National Parks, though, we recommend that first time visitors check out the sights by the front door of the Park at the outset.

After all, visitors centers and major overlooks are always located at the most spectacular spots, and there is much to see along the truly eye-popping Highway 24 “All American Scenic Drive” as it goes through the main part of Capitol Reef National Park before venturing into the Park via this more rough hewn back door!

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Fish Lake Utah – Fun Things To Do in the Lakes and Mountains

September 2019 – The area around Fish Lake is a wonderfully remote corner of Utah that we’ve enjoyed exploring, and the tiny spot that is at the heart of this place is the Fish Lake Lodge.

Fish Lake and Forsyth Reservoir Natural Beauty in Utah

The Fish Lake area of Utah is remote and full of Nature’s wondrous beauty

Fish Lake Lodge is open only during the summer, and we arrived late enough in the season that the fantastic dining room in this decades old log lodge was closed. But we were able to tip-toe into the dining room and take a peak. Wow!

Fireplace in dining room at Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

Fish Lake Lodge has an inviting dining room and very cozy fireplace.

The dining room has a wall of windows that face the lake. Talk about dining with a view!

Dining room in Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

Dinner with a view at Fish Lake Lodge

FIsh Lake reflects in the dining room windows at Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

Outside on the deck, the wall of windows reflects the image of Fish Lake

Built between 1928 and 1933, this historic lodge made from locally harvested spruce logs has hosted travelers for nearly 90 years. Modern day travelers can rent charming lakefront cabins on the property, and RVers can set up camp with full hookups in the RV park.

The deck at Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

Fish Lake Lodge

Exterior of Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

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As we wandered around the outside of the building, we came across an absolutely fabulous old door.

Cool doorway at Fish Lake Lodge Utah-min

What a cool door!

There are lots of trails for hiking, walking and slow strolling in the area around Fish Lake, and every morning Mark took our pup Buddy out for a run.

Running with puppy

Buddy leaps into action — all four paws off the ground — at the start of his morning run with Mark

Buddy just loves his morning run, but his fast pace makes it tough for two footed runners to hang with him.

He likes to start his runs with a steady four minute mile pace, and he doesn’t throttle it back to a five minute mile pace until he’s gotten a mile or two under his belt. Yikes!

Running with puppy-min

Four short legs are a lot faster than two long ones!

My absolute favorite trail in the Fish Lake area is the portion of the miles-long Lakeshore Trail that goes southwest from the Fish Lake Lodge. It winds along the water’s edge for a mostly shady mile or two.

Lakeshore trail through aspen grove Fish Lake Utah-min

Lakeshore Trail heading southwest from Fish Lake Lodge was my favorite.

Buddy loves this trail too. It goes through a beautiful grove of aspen trees and is just wide enough to walk, run or bike comfortably yet stil feel intimate as you progress under the canopy of trees.

Aspen grove on Lakeshore Trail at Fish Lake Utah-min

Some folks run this trail and then have to wait for their slower companions to catch up

Puppy leads the way on Lakeshore Trail at Fish Lake Utah-min

The trail winds along the lake

Along the Lakeshore Trail there are lots of places where you can get down to the edge of the lake. We zipped up and down these short paths, and at one point we found a few aspen trees that beavers had gnawed on. One was even toppled over and had a huge pile of small wood chips next to it!

Beaver chewed aspen tree at Fish Lake Utah-min

Beavers had been busy!

In the middle of the aspen grove, the trees suddenly parted and the trail opened up to the sky. Looking down at our feet we found a wonderful area of rocks, wildflowers and deep puddles where Mother Nature had done some exquisite landscaping.

Mother Nature's landscaping at Fish Lake Utah-min

Beautifully casual landscape designs by Mother Nature

Flowers at Fish Lake Utah-min

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The Lakeshore Trail wanders all along the shores of Fish Lake both north and south of the Fish Lake Lodge, and it is a truly delightful walk.

Pretty view at Fish Lake Utah-min

A nice spot to rest a spell…

Fishing at Fish Lake Utah-min

Pretty in Pink!

Forest shoreline Lakeshore Trail Fish Lake Utah-min

Shoreside view of Fish Lake

In addition to hiking and biking trails, there are also lots of two track motor vehicle trails, and we took our RZR on one two track trail that took us way up into the hills where we got a beautiful view of Fish Lake.

Fish Lake Utah-min

View from a bluff in the hills on a brilliant sunny day which made the water a vivid blue

Horseback riding is very popular around Fish Lake, and there are lots of horse-friendly trails.

Horses preparing for a ride near Fish Lake Utah-min

Horseback riders prepare for a trail ride.

One of the many US Forest Service campgrounds in the area is an equestrian-only campground. This unique campground has solid, well built horse stalls right next to each campsite. Some are single stalls and one can hold four horses! Most of the stalls are well shaded.

However, you can only stay at this campground if you have a horse with you!

Horseback riders near Fish Lake Utah-min

Riding at dawn

There are lots of smaller lakes in the area, and we spent some time at nearby Forsyth Reservoir, both walking and riding the RZR on the wide trails that criss-cross the area.

Forsyth Reservoir Utah-min

Forsyth Reservoir

Trail at Forsyth Reservoir Utah-min

Our little trail scout leads the way down the trail at Forsyth Reservoir

Forsyth Reservoir Utah-min

Our RZR took us high above the lake

Buddy absolutely loves water (but only wading…no swimming!), and he drank freely from a spring that flowed down to the reservoir.

Something about the fresh air, fresh water, and the little beach area brought out his inner puppy, and before we knew it he was doing high jumps!

Puppy jumping-min

Buddy jumps for joy…

Puppy jumps for a stick at the lake-min

…and throws in some dance moves!

Since this is a mountainous area, the weather was highly unpredictable and ranged from really hot to really cold to crystal clear skies to fabulous storm clouds.

Light and shadow with storm clouds Forsyth Reservoir Utah-min

Light and shadow play on the land at Forsyth Reservoir

Rainbow

After the storm…

Puppy watches storm clouds-min

Saying goodnight to the clouds at sunset

RV under stormy skies at sunset-min

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Late one afternoon we were surprised to see an almost full moon rising. We took note of the time, and the next day, about an hour later and a few degrees to the left of where the moon had risen the day before, we watched the full moon rise out of the trees on a distant hillside.

Full moon rises above the trees-min

The moon rises behind the trees on a distant hillside

Full moon rising behind the trees-min (1)

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Full moon rises from the trees-min

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Full moon rises from trees-min

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Full moon at night-min

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We’ve really enjoyed exploring this quiet part of Utah where it’s not uncommon to see deer crossing the highway and herons stalking fish in the lakes. We even had a troop of five elk walked right by our campsite one evening! If your travels take you to central Utah, Fish Lake is worth a detour to see.

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