You couldn’t ask for a more perfect view at Mountain Valley RV Resort located in Heber City, Utah. The resort has two areas one designed for families with children, while the other for adults only. Both have beautifully furnished clubhouse, pool, hot tub, kitchen, restrooms and showers. There is also a small area for tent camping.
We took a little ride to Sundance. Robert Redford bought the land known as Sundance back in 1969. It is 5,000 acres of wilderness now protected, situated at the base of Mt. Timpanogos towering at 12,000 feet. The community is committed to the arts, nature and outdoor activities as evident by the ski resort, hiking trails and shops.
The next morning was spent exploring Rock Cliff Nature Center and Jordanelle State Park. What’s an adventure without something to eat, so we stopped at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. Their happy herd of 250 Holstein’s allow them to make award-winning handcrafted cheese and ice cream! The have been awarded Best of State in Utah for innovation and creativity for the past five years.
On the way back to the resort we admired the homes in Midway and the beautiful snow-capped Wasatch Mountains.
Pulled into ACT Campground located in Moab, Utah. Again, the first item on the agenda was to gather information at the Arches National Park Visitor’s Center. One thing for sure this community caters to people who love to bicycle and go off-road 4×4. The beautifully paved bike trails go for miles and miles. In the evening we took the opportunity to walk along the Colorado River at Lions Park Trail Hub.
The following morning, we took the drive through Arches National Park. The beauty of the clear blue skies against the red rocks towering above as you drive through or hike just has us in awe of God’s magnificent creation. Balanced Rock and Double Arch are a couple of our favorites.
Thursday we were off to Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah’s Grand Canyon, and views of the Colorado River. State Parks can be hidden gems! Legend has it, in the late 1800’s cowboys used Dead Horse Point to roundup wild horses. Sheer cliffs and a narrow 30-foot-wide entrance they found that it was a perfect horse trap! There are wonderful picnic and camping facilities!
Dead Horse Point State Park
Since we are checking off our National Parks list, Canyonlands was next. It was a short drive from Moab and the scenery was breath taking. We walked out to the Mesa Arch for a spectacular view of the canyon through the arch!
Moab, interesting name, several thoughts exist. The name Moab is found many times in the Bible referring to a dry, mountainous area located on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Others believe its origin is Paiute meaning mosquito. Mosquitoes could be abundant around the Colorado River. Whatever version, Moab is a lovely town with lots to see and do!
If you are wondering why we are traveling this route and at such a pace? Well, most of you may or may not know that we are on a timeline to begin workamping on Monday, May 7th at Yellowstone Holiday RV Park located on Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone, Montana. The reason for traveling this route has to do with the Spring weather and the potential for storms. We needed that update to our rig as we discussed in a previous blog entry traveling to Elkhart, IN. We went South from there to avoid a possible snowstorm. We are glad we did since Nebraska had blizzard conditions when we were heading to Oklahoma. We were figuring on coming into West Yellowstone from Southeast Idaho just West of the Grand Tetons. Yes, we just retired, but have decided to supplement our income and enjoy an area for a longer period of time by workamping in that area. Where did we come up with such an idea? Our very first encounter relating to workamping was at the Bryce Canyon Visitors Center. A high-spirited lady in her 70’s who traveled in a fifth wheel with her companion was working at the information booth. When asked what she pulled her fifth wheel with, she said “Well with a Big Ass Truck!” She shared her experience of workamping at Yellowstone for 5 years and now at Bryce the last 3 years. She was a wealth of information about the area and how she went about getting a workamping job. We are looking forward to meeting our new workamping family and making new friends! For those of you who may be interested in workamping or volunteering, here are some websites to get started.
Two lengthy travel days on Friday and Saturday, April 20th and 21st, with an overnight at each stop. First day we traveled to Elk City/Clinton KOA near Elk City, Oklahoma. The following day to High Desert RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Both stops were very nice. In the evening at Elk City, we had a chance to hike to Foss Lake nearby and enjoyed photographing a flock of about 25 Cedar Waxwings. If you haven’t noticed by now, one of our favorite pastimes is birding and adding new birds to our life list. High Desert RV Park was a time to restock some essentials. There is so much to see in New Mexico, but it will have to be next time around.
On to “Green Table” which means “Mesa Verde” National Park. We arrived Sunday, April 22nd at Mesa Verde RV Resort, Mancos, Colorado. As soon as we had set up, we were off to the Mesa Verde Visitor Center only ½ mile away. Dave Nighteagle was very helpful explaining in full detail The Balcony House Tour. The Balcony House Tour was the only tour open at this time of the season. The tour provides a look at the builders known as Ancestral Pueblo people, 13th -century cliff dwellers. There was some apprehension on our part, from fear of heights, crawling through very small dark tunnels and physical exertion at 6,700 feet above sea level. Dave explained, as our palms became sweaty, a guide would take us to the entrance and let us in, locking the gate behind us. A short hike to the 32-foot, 3 story ladder, a 12” opening into a tunnel and finally ending with two 12’ ladders and a climb on the cliff face over the canyon. You have the option to chicken out at the 32-foot ladder and wait at the locked entrance until the guide opens it for the next tour. He also stressed that once you start the 32-foot ladder climb there would be no turning back. We bought the tickets for the 1:00 p.m. tour the next day saying to ourselves “If we don’t go, it’s a donation to the park.”
The next morning, we started out early on the 15-mile ride from the entrance to The Balcony House. The road was an uphill climb with switch backs and scenic overlooks along the way. One stop many people miss was the Far View Sites where many villages have been identified from A.D. 900 to A.D. 1300. These homes were on top of the Mesa.
The Pueblo people around A.D. 1200 chose to build their homes in cliff-side alcoves. Our question was “Why?” We arrived at The Balcony House for the tour about a ½ hour early. We mustered up the courage to start the tour after listening to the tour guide describe the adventure. Down the hill we walked, along the side of the cliff, and began the climb up the ladder. We are glad we did, learned about their way of life and wouldn’t have wanted to miss it!
After the tour, we headed to Soda Canyon Overlook to view Balcony House from the other side of the canyon. This link will download and then you can open in Word The Balcony House Route of the Tour. Balcony House Route of Tour
Next stop was Cliff Palace, which was not open at this time of the season, but the site is visible just a short hike to an overlook on Mesa Top Loop. This is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. It contains more than 150 rooms with a population around 100.
Our last stop was the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum which contains wonderful artifacts from the Pueblo people. Some of our favorites were the sandals they wore and ropes for climbing that they made from the yucca plants.
We topped off our adventure with a delicious dinner at a cute little authentic Mexican restaurant called La Casita.
Monday, April 23 we took a little trip to Four Corners Monument, San Juan County, New Mexico. It is the only place in the United States where you can stand in four states at the same time. The area States where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona connect.
Next stop was McPhee Recreation Complex located on the south shore of the McPhee Reservoir near the town of Dolores, Colorado. The reservoir is the second largest in Colorado with 50 miles of shoreline.
We departed Tuesday, April 24th, but not without stopping for some goodies to hold us over at Absolute Bakery & Café located in Mancos, Colorado, known for their homemade cinnamon rolls.
Actually, both are acceptable according to St. Louis lingo.
We arrived at Branson Shenanigans RV Park, Missouri, to our coldest night so far! Although some of the hills look intimidating, the RV sites are level, gravel, and well kept. The owners were very helpful in getting us parked in Lot 3 and then filling us in on some of the shows and good places to eat.
After setting up and relaxing a bit, we were off to see “Raiding the Country Vault” at The Starlite Theatre. This musical group is made up of country artists who have played with and written music for Shania Twain, Dierks Bentley, Hank Williams, Jr., Kenny Chesney, Travis Tritt and many more. It gives the history of country music while performing country classics from Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rodgers, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, John Denver, Garth Brooks to name a few. It was a fantastic show!
The next day we opted for an outdoor activity since it had warmed up a bit. We decided on Table Rock State Park and Table Rock Dam. We wanted to check out the State Park Campground for future reference and found that campground loop 2 was very nice and suitable for our rig. They had full hook ups and level concrete pads. We’ll keep that in mind for later. It was great to get out and photograph some birds and landscape.
Once again, we had worked up an appetite and headed over to the recommended Farm House Restaurant specifically for dinner and dessert, The apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream, Two Thumbs Up!One last show we went to was Samson at Sight and Sound, yes the same Sight and Sound as in Lancaster, PA! All we can say is “WOW”! We also need to give a shout out for Pinegar Chevrolet Buick GMC of Branson for giving us such quick service, ride to and from service center to replace the DEF tank heater and the NOx/O2 sensor both under warranty. It was nice to have time to set a spell and now on to the next stop but…
Thanks to the maps from our good friends Bill and Linda, we arrived Wednesday, April 11th at MORryde, Elkhart, Indiana without any incidents. There were three main reasons for coming to MORryde: 1. Increase bed rail clearance between the RV and truck bed rails; 2. Repack the greased bearings, alignment check, brake, independent suspension and pin box inspections 3. All new tires mounted, balanced and installed on the RV including the spare.
In the parking lot Gary Wheeler greeted us and immediately jockeyed a rig around so we would have a place to park with electric for the night. Rob Kolean went over the work to begin bright and early at 6:00 a.m. Measurements forward and aft of the frame were taken to see if the RV was being towed level and the rig at that point was level. The big issue remains having only 2 ½” bed rail clearance resulting in problems as in the picture from our rig.
Rob recommended and went along with us to Dans Service Center to look at raising our existing hitch. Unfortunately, the hitch could not be raised to give us bed rail clearance. A new hitch would have to be installed. The new hitch will be 5 inches higher so now the RV would have to be raised three inches above the axles to continue to tow level. This was precisely why we came to MoRryde to resolve these issues. Ryan and Nate from Dans Service Center were extremely helpful and informative, even offering us a car to use while they worked on our truck installing the new hitch.
That gave us the opportunity to take a tour of the DRV plant in Howe, Indiana the next day. A small group of people took a two-hour tour to see the assembling of a DRV from start to finish. One couple in our group actually got to see the DRV they purchased being assembled!
The tour was very informative and again reaffirmed some of the reasons why we love our DRV. Only 10-12 DRV’s are manufactured a week.
Next was a stop at Lambright Comfort Chairs in Topeka, just outside of Shipshewana Indiana, to check out their quality furniture perfect for an RV. And of course, we worked up an appetite to sample and purchase goodies at the Rise n Roll Bakery and Deli, known for their doughnuts! Our hearts (and stomachs) will always love the Dutch country. While living in Florida for five years, we found a little niche of our hometown Pennsylvania Dutch cooking at Yoders and Der Dutchman in Sarasota FL. To our surprise for dinner, is a sister restaurant Das Dutchman in Middlebury, Indiana which is owned by the same people. At this restaurant there is also a quaint village with a bakery, gift shop and much more.
We cannot express our gratitude enough to Rob and Gary at MORryde, Ryan and Nate at Dan’s Service Center and the countless gracious people we met in Indiana. Some of the locals said “Have you stopped by Jo-Jo’s pretzels and Yoder’s Meat and Cheese Market?” For now it’s time to be on the road again, but we’ll be sure to check these out on our next visit to Indiana!
As most of you know, we are fairly new at this RV thing and especially moving from one place to another. Before leaving Florida, someone wise said to us “You’ll be nervous when you first start out, but after a few days you will settle in to the open road.” We are thankful for the safe travels thus far, with the exception of a few minor bumps, scrapes, and mud to the RV. Most of which we attributed to the learning process, issues with bed rail clearance, and sprinter (spring not letting go of winter). The last week and a half we have been visiting with family in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The campgrounds have been adequate. For the last year, we were spoiled at Cypress Trail RV Resort. Now we are adapting to no sewer hookups at times, running on 30-amp electric service, mud, gravel and lots of trees to maneuver around. The moving around has given us practice, practice, practice! We are more conscientious of trees, big rocks, turns, signs and uneven campsites. If possible, we check out the area before attempting to take the rig in, and even then, we “crawl”. In Pennsylvania we stayed at the Madison KOA and Sills Campground. Trap Pond State Park was a pretty setting in Delaware.
Madison KOA, PA
Trap Pond State Park, DE
One of our learning experiences happened after leaving Delaware, about one mile before going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. A sound was coming from the driver side rear of the RV. Looking into the side mirror it became apparent something was flopping near the driver side coach rear fender. Fortunately, the road was wide enough that we could pull over right away. We discovered the forward left side RV tire started to shred apart but never lost air pressure. A testament to the highly talked about Goodyear G114 H-rated tires. First time for everything, changing a tire on an RV.
Five brand new Goodyear tires were already ordered and waiting for us at Elkhart, Indiana, since we knew they were near end of life, and now we just needed to limp along with no spare. An overnighter at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio was planned on the way to Elkhart, Indiana, but because of our delay it was very dark when we arrived. The next morning when we could actually see, it looked like a very nice State Park. Next stop Elkhart, Indiana, can’t come too soon! Be sure to check out the RV Parks tab which has the link to Campgrounds and State Parks that have our stamp of approval. Thanks for following along with us!