We entered and left Utah
We headed to Zion’s Oct 25. We got all the way to the entrance, and then we were denied. We are over 40 ft long. I really didn’t think we were, but the guy actually came out to measure us. Oh well I guess it is better to be turned away then to get stuck on roads that can’t handle something this big.
Zions National Park, Utah
So we then turned around and went through Colorado City AZ. I showed my family some of the polygamist homes that my sis had taken me by. We finally ended up at Bryce Canyon National Park that evening. We checked out the visitor center and went to our campsite. The kids decided not to do the Jr. Ranger program there as they had done it before and already had the badge. So we road our bikes and had a nice peaceful evening around the campfire. We saw so many stars it was amazing!
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Steve Preparing the bikes for riding
Bryce Canyon area
The next morning we headed for Capital Reef National Park. I would recommend if you have never been to Bryce to plan at least a few days. We have been there a few times and really wanted to get to a few of the parks we’ve never visited before. We took HWY 12 which was beautiful. I think we will come back and spend a lot more time in that area. It was interesting to me that the few tiny towns that we drove through had cool “little” organic markets.
We really fell in love with Capital Reef! It has the big beautiful red rock mountains, but the campground has these huge old oak trees and a nice river that runs through it. There used to be a small Mormon settlement there and they still have the blacksmith shop and little school and bakery there. The bakery is even open and they sell fresh baked breads and pies and all kinds of goodies. There are orchards there that are a “u pick” kind of deal, but we missed that by a wk or 2. They have apple, pear, peach, cherry, and apricot orchards. In season you just pick what you want and pay a small fee. The deer were EVERYWHERE! We rode our bikes all over. There is a great trail from the visitor’s center to the campground and another one along the river. They also had horses there that we stopped to pet for a while and the kids all “named” them. The kids all did the Jr. Ranger thing here and enjoyed it. This is a park we will definitely be visiting again!
Capital Reef National Park
Entrance to Capital Reef
Bryce hiking at Capital Reef
Original School house in Capital Reef
Black Smith shop
Bike ride through Capital Reef
Jr. Ranger program for Capital Reef
Coco and Shelter at Capital Reef
Deer every where at Capital Reef
Our view from the campground
Homemade Cherry pie
We then headed to Mesa Verde CO. On the way we picked up some organic goat cheese and bread from a cool guy with a small organic roadside farm….yummy! Thanks again to our friends Anna & Matt that told us about him! We drove past Lake Powell on the east end. It was beautiful. We stayed that night at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cortez Co because the campground in Mesa Verde was closed for the season and we are just too cheap to pay $45 a night for a parking spot. We spent all of Monday Oct 27 in Mesa Verde. It’s an interesting park as when you get to the fee station, you still have to drive another 20 miles to get to the museum (the visitor center was closed too). It’s a very windy steep drive up the mountains and it’s really not that pretty. But thankfully we found out it was well worth it! We saw a wild horse, that didn’t seem too wild. He stood right in front of the bus in the middle of the road. He wouldn’t move even when we yelled. I’m guessing he knows most tourist will feed him if he stands in the middle of the road. Steve finally got out and yelled and clapped his hands and the horse slowly moved out of the road….too funny! The museum was full of cool stuff from the Anizazi (basket makers). We saw a tarantula on a trail…yikes! We did get to tour a few of the settlements. The ancient architecture is amazing! They had pueblos (houses/ buildings) 3 and 4 stories high. These were built over 1000 yrs ago! They were made from mud, stone and wood. These were all cliff dwellings, built in these alcoves high up on the sides of the mountains, which made it interesting and very difficult to get to. One of the tours we went on, the Ranger said the kids could go as long as they could climb a ladder all on their own. We didn’t realize it was going to be hanging off a cliff! The kids all did a great job and thought it was so cool! They have the Jr. Ranger badges to prove it!
Old pioneer house leaving Capital Reef
We feel this was lake powell before it was filled
going towards Lake powell, Utah
Matt and Anna told us about this place - AWESOME FIND!
Where the bread is baked
East side of Lake Powell, Utah
East side of Lake Powell
The following pics are going to Mesa Verda
This is the entrance to Mesa Verda, Colorado
Bryce atop the fire look-out point at Mesa Verda
Overlooking Cortez, Colorado
Another view from the fire look-out point
This guy crossed our path
Watching the taranchula pass by
The wild horse
Conner and Winston
Kids climbing up to the cliff dwellings
The kids at the cliff dwelling
These are hand and toe holes, where indians use to climb
Bryce climbing out of Dwelling
Steve climbing out of dwelling
The cliff dwelling is down below us
We drove on that night. We got as far as we could and stopped in Santa Fe NM. We stayed in an Albertson’s parking lot. The next morning we found a local pool and had a great swim & hot SHOWERS!!! It was so cheap….less the $6 for all of us to swim. We really liked the town. It has the cool adobe architecture and looked like a place we’d like to explore more. We then drove on ALL day.
We stopped off in Roswell, New Mexico (no UFO sightings!)
Conner’s Big 10!
We got to Guadalupe Mountain National Park and paid our $4 for camping. We made dinner and sat out and looked at the stars. You could see the Milky Way it was so amazing how many stars we could see, more then Lake Powell even! This morning we had a special chocolate chip breakfast for Conner’s b-day! My big boy is 10! He hit the double digits….yikes! We went to the visitor center so the kids could add another badge to their collection! We took a hike and saw some cool plants and found some neat fossils. We then ate lunch had b-day cake and hit the road! It’s an 8 hr drive (according to the ranger) to Austin.
Conner's party at Guadalupe Mnt. National Park in Texas
Conner's b-day breakfast
Lincoln gave Conner his gift (Pokemon!)
Conner and his new game shark.
Bryce and kids at visitor center
Kids being sworn in as Jr. Rangers at Guadalupe
Conner had a Grasshopper jump onto his crotch (how exciting)