Grand Canyon and 5 Months on the Road

Hello!

Well, let’s start with being on the road for 5 months.  A few days ago we were looking through our website at the albums we’ve put up and Sherry exclaimed, ‘Wow, we really have done a lot in just five months!’.

It really is pretty exciting to look back and realize all that we have seen and accomplished while roaming the country.  It is also shocking for us to think that we are nearly half way through our 1 year plan to be on the road.  Have we talked about our plans after a year?  You betcha!  We are honestly torn between continuing our travels and settling down (according to our original plan).  As we have traveled, we have realized there is so much more to see in so many of the places we have visited.  Despite spending nearly three months in Montana and exploring Glacier NTL Park, we want to go back.  We feel we only scratched the surface.  We barely touched the Badlands or the Grand Canyon….  What a dilemma to have.  LOL.  Well, we will have to see what the next 7 months bring in our direction.  It is so cliché to say this, but the last five months have helped us find ourselves.  We have a deeper appreciation of each other and the great diversity of our nation.

One of the best parts of this journey has been meeting so many people and having some great conversations!  Not just the locals, but fellow tourists from all over the world.  At Old Faithful we met a family from England traveling the country after attending a wedding.  In Montana we met many people from the couple back country camping to the families who are full timers with their children.  Let us not forget all of you in internet land.  Some family and friends, but many more we met since starting this journey through our blogs or yours.  Discovering this full time community has been a fun experience of its own.  Thanks to everyone for your encouragement, funny comments and suggestions, and following our growth as full-timers.  🙂

On to the Grand Canyon.  OK, this was a spot Sherry was dying to get to and she was so excited to be able to ride the train into the Canyon (see the blog before this one for a video of the experience).  When we arrived in Williams, our plan had been to explore, take the train and then rush off to our next stop.  All in about three days.  Well, we changed those plans and decided to take a full week in Williams.  That would allow us to visit the canyon twice and see much more of that beautiful area.

Our first trip into the canyon was by train and was amazing.  The train ride was a blast, check out our video of the trip.  When we arrived at the station, we departed quickly to go to the rim.  The view as we walked up was spectacular.  The weather was cold, partly cloudy with spot showers.  You might think, ‘Yuck’!  No, imagine standing at about 7,000 feet, as you approach the rim the reality of the canyon opens up with each step.  Deeper and vaster than you can really grasp.

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Looking down you realize there are layers and layers of depth and the immensity starts to sink in as clouds stream by below your vantage point. Bringing your eyes up to look across the canyon, the sunlight breaking through the clouds brought out vivid colors, the clouds themselves cast immense shadows and added to the depth. The reality was it gave us some spectacular views as we hiked the rim trail.  The sun breaking through the clouds brought out spectacular colors and shadows.  Words fail and photos simply don’t capture the majesty and immensity of the site.  However, we are trying since we are writing this blog and illustrating it with photos… 🙂

A few days after our first trip, we drove back to hike as much of the rim as possible.  Sherry had packed a lunch of chicken gnocchi soup (she is posting a video about how to make it along with the recipe). We spent the entire day exploring the rim from one end to the other and making use of the excellent shuttle service to make sure we hit all the highlights (Sherry said one day she wants a sticker that says “we hiked rim to rim” and for it to be true because we hiked the whole thing from the inside).    There were many visitors to the park, but we found that once we were off the shuttle stops and hiking, we saw very few fellow hikers.  It gave us great opportunities to stumble across some of the wildlife.  A beautiful day for a hike and a fantastic view no matter where we looked.

Returning to the canyon is a must.  We have set a goal to do a Rim to Rim hike… So, another reason to continue our travels.  🙂

We have truly appreciated the comments and conversation with our online friends.  Visit our YouTube channel and subscribe to our videos.  We will try to post new videos twice per week.  We will cook, share stories, and show life living on the road!

OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Please feel free to send along your thoughts and ideas.  As usual, to see more of our photos please visit our website at:

Lovey Photography

 

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Grand Canyon Train Ride

Hello Friends,

We have been so busy lately but have made some time to edit and post a few videos.  Our plan is to try and stick to a Wednesday and Sunday schedule for posting… WIFI and/or hotspot capability may throw a monkey wrench into that schedule. 🙂

We really appreciate the comments on the videos.  Keep them coming as well as any suggestions for future posts.

So, this video is of our first trip into the Grand Canyon.  We decided… Sherry really wanted to (LOL)… ride the train from Williams to the South Rim of the canyon.  It was a blast.  Enjoy the video and look for our edited photos from this trip and our second trip in our next text post.

 

Cooking in the RV – Butternut Squash Soup

Hello Friends,

This post is our third video.  In it, Sherry will show how easy it is to make a nice hearty Butternut Squash soup while on the road.  If you enjoy the video, please like and share.  : )

We are curious to hear from you.  What sort of meals do you prepare on the road that are ‘just like home’?

Our next video will post on Wednesday and is of our train ride from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon.

Happy Trails!

Lake Mead, Sedona and Flagstaff… Oh My

Hello friends!

Yes, it has been an incredibly busy month of October and promises to continue to be such for us.  We can’t start this entry without thanking everyone for the positive response to our videos.  We had no idea they would be such a hit!  Look for a video update from us each Sunday and Wednesday.  We will do our best to stick to a post each of those days and already have enough to keep us going for a few weeks.  Please subscribe to our channel on YouTube to stay up to date on the videos.  Sherry and Sean’s YouTube Channel We will try to answer questions that have come our way, especially about cooking and life in general in the RV.  Now, on to the blog:

We left Mesquite, Nevada and drove a few hours to get to a camp sight on Lake Mead.  The drive was pleasantly uneventful other than some rough roads and traffic through Las Vegas.  Yes, there were some shorter routes for us to take, but we decided to stick to interstates and keep it simple.

When we arrived at our spot on Lake Mead, we quickly set up, walked the pups and took off for Hoover Dam.  Sean had last visited the area with his grandparents back in the 70’s.  He commented several times how amazed  he was at the low water level.  We knew how tough the drought conditions were, but the sight of the water line marks on the lakes edge and the actual water line were stunning.

Since we only had a day, we tried to make the most of our time.  We started off by heading to the dam and, after passing through a security checkpoint, we stopped at an area were we could take a foot tour up to the new Tillman Bridge and across the bridge to get a bird’s eye view of the dam.  The bridge and dam are both amazing feats of engineering.  Sean remembered taking a tour of the inside of the dam and learning that so much concrete was poured in such a short time that cooling pipes had to be run through the dam to aid in the curing of the cement.  Otherwise, it would have taken decades to finally set.

We did drive down to the dam and park so we could walk across.  A note here.  Don’t bring your spare tanks of gas with you when visiting the dam.  You can’t park anywhere but the open sites due to security. We didn’t think of that when we left as we were rushing to get on with the site seeing.  OH, another note – Sean made too many dam jokes as we took our walking tour.. pun intended.

The day after our visit to the dam we crossed the Tillman Bridge with our home in tow and our next destination of Williams, AZ where we would stay at Railside RV.  Our original plan had us here only a few days but we upped that to a week so we could see all we wanted to see.  Sherry also had her heart set on riding the train into Grand Canyon National Park… Well, that will be the subject of a new blog AND a video!    : ).

The day after we arrived in Williams, we drove into Sedona.  This was a beautiful drive, winding down the mountains on a road that reminded us of the Going to the Sun Road, only a little wider.  We dropped several thousand feet and gained a few degrees.  It is probably worth mentioning that we went from 90 degree temps to 60 degree temps going from Lake Mead to Williams.  Brrrr.  There are several parks along HWY 89A worth stopping at.  One of them, Slide Rock State Park is the home of one of the top ten swimming holes in the country.. or so we heard.

Sedona was amazing, and we enjoyed wandering the small town and visiting many shops.  Sean even found a coffee mug like one used by his favorite ex-late night talk show host Craig Ferguson.

After Sedona, we holed up in the RV for a little R&R… Well, cleaning and laundry.  The weather had really turned on us and was wet and cold.  Perfect to catch up on chores and edit some videos.  The next day was marginally better so we decided to drive into Flagstaff to see the Lowell Observatory.  This was a religious experience for Sean.  Please don’t ask him why Pluto should still be considered a planet.  We toured the old observatory and heard about the conditions the astronomers faced when it was in use like climbing onto the roof to shovel snow and standing around at night in sub zero temps getting frostbite while waiting for a photographic plate to gather an image of the heavens.   Amazing.  We also had our first (but not last) Tarantula sighting along one of the trails at the observatory.  YIKES!!

In our next several blogs we will cover our trips into the Grand Canyon and a few videos on cooking and baking.  One of the upcoming blogs will cover some of the amazing people we have met through blogging and travel since we started this journey.

Our next entry will be a video blog about cooking.  Sherry made a delicious Butternut squash soup.  Yes, we will share the recipe. : )

Please pass along our links to anyone you think would be interested.

Signing off for now!

Click the link below to see more photos of Sedona, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Travel Photo Link

Second Edition – Outside the RV

Hello Friends,

We are back with the much anticipated second edition of the video tour of our RV.  🙂  In this edition, Sean does a tour of the outside features of our Bighorn and gives some information and insights we have gathered since starting this journey.  We thought it would be appropriate to thank our fellow bloggers and full timers.  We’ve learned so much from everyone and have truly enjoyed the process.

We do have two cooking videos we will post in the near future and would love to hear your thoughts and comments.  Do you like the videos?  Any topics you would like to see?

We also have several posts to catch up on with photos from stops at Lake Mead and Sedona.

Our First Video Post

Hello Friends!

We are expanding our blogging to the wonderful world of video and YouTube. In our first video we do a walkthrough of our RV with some of the insights we have gathered since starting our adventure.  We are hopeful that this will be helpful to anyone starting out as full timers, or amusing to you veterans. 🙂

We have also completed a video on the outside of the RV as well as a cooking video.  We would love your suggestions and comments, especially ideas you may want to see or read about in the future.

Happy Travels – Sean and Sherry

Fire and Water

You know when you smell something stinky, but you can’t figure out where it is coming from??  Yeah, so do we.  There has been a growing sour smell in the RV for a while.  Yes, we have two dogs, but they both said they “didn’t do it”.  We thought it was the heat because it is in the 90s here in Nevada and our rig is sitting in the sun.  We thought that it was heating up the pipes and holding tanks and causing the sour smell and we noticed it most when running water… Hmmm, our first clue.  We bought new chemicals for the tanks, emptied them,  added chemicals, filled with water, and thought the smell had dissipated.  It did not.  We thought it was food particles stuck in the drains, or food particles coating the grey water tank and fermenting in the heat.  We dumped and refilled the tanks multiple times.  The smell continued; it got worse.  It was like sour milk and old feet – absolutely awful.  Sean is amazing about doing research and looking up solutions for the problems we encounter (if you have kept up with our blog, you know that we have encountered several issues – like clogged loos and slide out issues).  He saw an article about how hot weather can cause the water in holding tanks and hot water heater tanks to sour and start to smell.  This made sense to us because the worst times of the smell were when we did dishes in the kitchen sink with hot water and when we took showers.  We also realized that we had used our hot water very infrequently over the last month as the tap water on cold was fairly warm, and we even used it that way in the shower.  The smell was not coming UP from drains, but OUT through the taps.  It was the water itself that was stinky.  Even though we drained the water, the tank and lines still had bacteria in them and the smell was coating the water as it passed through and also as it sat in the hot water tank and our fresh water tank.  The solution was to turn off the water heater, drain all tanks, and put a mix of fresh water and bleach into the fresh water holding tank.  After adding the fresh water and bleach, we were to turn on the pumps and run hot water (with the heater turned OFF) through the lines until the water coming out of the faucet started smelling bleachy (bleachy is a highly technical term).  We did all those things and had bleach water coming through the lines.  We probably used more bleach than necessary because the bleach smell was overwhelming, but we felt that at least it was sanitizing the lines.  We left the faucets on one by one to allow for a lot of bleach water to pass through the lines, especially the hot water lines.  Let sit for 24 hours then completely flush the system with fresh water.  We did this process two days ago, and for now the sour smell is completely gone.  The bleach sanitizing method seems like it has worked!  The joys of owning a home on wheels.  Lol.  OH, as a side note, we had ready mixed sanitizer coming out of the faucet to clean floors, counters, etc.

Now, about the FIRE….

No, we didn’t have a fire in the RV.  We visited the Nevada State Park, Valley of Firelow res-2896It was wonderful!  We wrote earlier about Zion and how beautiful it was, but how packed it was with tourists and how hard it was to get in.  We’ve realized we much prefer the parks and areas that are less popular.  Valley of Fire was pleasantly unoccupied.  There were tourists, but very few on the trails, and we had ample parking opportunities at each hiking location.  Interestingly, the Valley of Fire is apparently a popular location for many movie sets.  Sean was especially excited to see that Capt. James T. Kirk of the Star Trek Enterprise had his death scene somewhere in the park.  (Side note: Sean is a geek.)  He may have also mentioned 1 or a thousand times how the landscape looked so ‘alien’.  low res-2909

We really did love this park.  It had canyons, red rock, variations in rock colors, animals, and great trails.  The park was still primitive which is something we really enjoy.  The trails weren’t paved and we could choose from several paths on each hike.  Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy when trails are paved because we love that all people can have access to nature and beauty that way, but we personally enjoy unpaved, primitive hiking trails with more options to explore.  The Valley of Fire state park was that kind of park.

We hiked through canyons with ancient petroglyphs and sandstones of many colors.

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Take plenty of water – don’t let the heat get to you!

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Some sort of desert sheep…

It was a wonderful (but HOT) day in the desert.  We would recommend getting there in the morning if the forecast calls for a hot day.  There isn’t much shade, and it can get sweltering quickly in the red sand.  We drank two bottles of water each, one bottle of Gatorade each, and Sean had a can of soda.  We were only there for about 4 hours.  Moral of the story:  take lots and lots of fluids!  We still felt dehydrated for the rest of the day.  The dry air and sand sucked out any moisture.  The park has two visitor centers, one at each entrance.  They have small gift shops with some food and drinks, and they have displays that explain how the valley was created and creatures in glass tanks to look at before you go out into the park itself.  We didn’t see any scaled, slimy, or slitering critters, but we did see a horned sheep while driving through the main road.  We were able to stop and snap a quick pic.  The park brochure did not list the sheep on the park animal list, so we’re not sure what they really are or how they came to be in the park.

Red sand from our hikes.  Sean had a bunch in both shoes.

Red sand from our hikes. Sean had a bunch in both shoes.

All in all, it was a lovely park and we were glad were heard of it!  If you’re in Vegas for any reason, take a trip less than an hour east and visit the park – it is well worth it!

If you would like to see MANY more pics, visit the gallery of photos on our website:

Valley of Fire Photo Gallery