September 28, 2009

Sin City, here we come!

After being pampered at the Page RV park (fast WiFi, indoor pool & spa), we were in for a contrast when we camped at Lake Powell's Lone Rock area: Pay ten bucks and park anywhere you like on the beach. Turned out that our spot was preferred by tons of German speakers. At least three neighbors on the left and right were either from Germany or Austria: "Hehe, ve camped in ze German row". Some of them we had met before, others we were about to meet again. Small world. But the beach was nice: Beautiful sand (easy to get an RV stuck in it though) and a straight walk into the water. And sun, of course. Lots of sun.

The next three nights were spent at the Grand Canyon North Rim. After realizing that it was 14 miles and 6000 vertical feet to the bottom, we (E & J) scrapped plans to hike down and overnight there, and opted for a more modest hiking regimen down the North Kaibab Trail, which was very nice.

The next day brought an impromptu stop at the Pipe Springs National Monument. The night was spent at the Sandy Hollow State Park in Utah. This is one of those "recreation areas" which is basically a playground for adult gasoline-junkies: Sand buggies, ATVs, jet skis, power boats and BBQ grills. Not really enjoyable, but we made the best of it. It was really quiet at night and the stars were spectacular. Also, since it is a man-made reservoir, it has nice cliffs where one can jump off boulders into the clear water. I goaded/bullied/teased Elias into jumping off of one that was standing at least 12 feet above the water. Awesome.

On the way back to the highway we drove by a development that had all the streets, trees, parks, even cast-iron benches and old-fashioned street lights, as well as dorky anglo-phile street names such as "Abbey Road", "Canterbury Street", "Windsor Parkway" etc. The only catch? Not a single house was yet built, save for the lonely "model home" on one corner. So we decided to have a little fun and drove through it as if we were visiting someone. We even tried out our fake British accents (which Amos is getting pretty good at) and got lost a little bit. We thought of renaming the neighborhood "The Stock Market Downs" or the "Recession Estates" or putting a $1 bid on a lot.

Anyway, our next target was Las Vegas, but before we got there, we visited the "Lost City" State Museum for yet more Anasazi history and archaeology, and drove through the "Valley Of Fire" State Park. Pretty.

Vegas is Vegas. Ah well. Exciting for an evening or two, and then we want to move to saner territory again. Yesterday we toured the "Circus Circus" complex, stumbled into the Adventure Dome, and each of the kids got to blow a quarter on a mindless game of chance. I hope they got the point. Today we're hounding again for FREE thrills such as the MGM Grand's lion habitat. More on that later. Perhaps with pics, but don't hold your breath. WiFi is atrociously sluggish again.

September 22, 2009

shopping and more

after dinner we decided that the time has come to go shopping for a to parts in regards to our shasta's plumbing. o yes and the fridge and pantry were almost exhausted.
i could not belief it but the time has come for a walmart shopping tour. it was the first time in my life to step into such a store. and o well, we found over one hour of entertainment! walking out with lots of yummie food and one of the needed plumbing parts.
everyone was allowed a treat, naomi picked half a gallon of "shamrock's" chocolate milk, amos a bag of sun chips "great mulitgrain taste", elias was totally certain of his choice being the best, a bag of jelly beans. joel picked some whole grain,good looking granola and i could not resist a bar of dark chocolate...
and o well i also got a monkey tripod, one of those really fun looking once, yeah!
this all after a drive through monument valley, long stretches of nothingness and a visit in shonto at their trading post. the shonto stop was fun as well as strange. it was at the outskirts of the town and had an oasis feel to it. sand all over, parking on a sand dune and the kids stumbling out of the shasta into the playground... of course sand all over, digging, throwing, watching, and to my surprise not that much complaining about sand in the hair, mouth, eyes etc...
anyway, i was able to send off the last five library books... yes no more ties to the JP library. a last good by note was stuffed in the packet with the books. thank you librarians for helping us to learn from books, love books and be a community.
as for today, we will be swimming in lake powell and are not sure yet if we also take a trip into antelope canyon...
right now, the older three kids are swimming in the pool of the rv park, joel reading some more barth and i should be preparing breakfast, thea just tasted a green felt marker, which she found in our "house", of course not just the taste, but also it's colour left "a mark".

September 16, 2009

at Sandy creek

i'm sitting on top of our shasta....

yes on it's roof, because of a quicker internet connection. joel has been playing the flute at the same time serving as a jungle gym for thea. the other three found a pile of boulders behind the rv park and seem to be content with all kinds of fort building efforts.

the view from up here is superb, a setting sun and the capital reef on my right. this is a big reward for an hour of bickering kids in the car... yes it was not an easy ride over here from boulder. but well worth the quiet moments now. at boulder we visited the anasazi state park, which was pretty interesting. not just ancient pueblo artifacts but also lots of fun to watch the anteater craters...
o and i almost forgot, we got lunch served for free!

there was a set up for cyclist's on their 10 day tour through utah and the chef invited us to cheese sandwiches, minestrone, bananas, apples, cookies and gatorade! a big hit with the kids. so, it's really getting dark and naomi needs some attention....

September 15, 2009

I'm hunched over my laptop on a laundry machine in the Cannonville KOA just south of Bryce Canyon NP. This has proven to be the spot with the strongest WiFi signal. We are sooo enslaved by our tech gadgets ...

On the brighter side, our RV battery has held up for a record 6 nights without recharging - a major bonus when staying at state and national park campgrounds, which tend to be "primitive" (meaning no hookups available). But it also means no blogging, and stealth late night trips to the bathroom outlets to recharge camera batteries and make backups.

So we've "seen" Salt Lake City, meaning that we took a guided tour of the Mormon Temple Square, which made for some interesting conversations with our kids. Stopped at the Yuba Reservoir state park for one night, then drove to Zion NP where we stayed for three nights and did lots of hiking. Two nights at Bryce Canyon NP, where Elias & Joel went on a 2-day, 20 mile backcountry hike. Now we're on our way to Escalante National Monument.

Oh yes, the pics:
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September 8, 2009

heading south

It's been more than a week since our last internet access, hence the blogging hiatus. We've arrived at Salt Lake City after an awesome time at the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Making use of a somewhat decent connection at the SLC KOA, we have a fresh batch of pics available, so I'll just let them tell the tale:

At Rocky Mountain NP:
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Driving from Colorado to Wyoming:
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At Grand Teton NP:
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At Yellowstone NP:
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As always, you'd do well to view the pics at