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Day 1: Prescott, AZ to Goosenecks, UT

Picked up Mom and Dad in Prescott and headed for Utah, staying the night at Goosenecks State Park, just like last year.

Day 2: Goosenecks to Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Ate breakfast, packed, and headed up Highway 261 to Natural Bridges.  Going via 261 meant going up the Moki Dugway, a 3-mile dirt road made of switchbacks built into a cliffside.  Upon rounding a corner about half way up, a motorhome was seen headed down.  Since the road was only a lane-and-a-half wide, I pulled into the turnout to let them get by easily.  Only two other vehicles were on the road, fortunately, making it a relatively pleasant drive up.  Old Blue had zero problems.

At Natural Bridges, we checked in at the ranger station, just barely getting a camp site.  After lunch, we set out on the mountain bikes to ride the nine-mile loop around the park, stopping at all of the bridge vistas to soak in the unique landscape.  Being relatively out of shape, the almost all uphill climb back to the van was rather grueling!

After dinner, we walked up to the ranger station to partake in an astronomy lesson.  If it hadn't been for a near full moon, the sky would have been pitch black, making for grand views of stars and planets.  Despite the bright moonlight, we were able to see the rings of Saturn, among other wonders of the galaxy.

Day 3: Natural Bridges to Moab, UT

We arrived in Moab relatively early.  After filling the water tank near the river, we drove up to the campground, which was nearly empty.

Day 4: Sight-seeing

In the afternoon, we went out to Deadhorse State Park to do some mountain biking and sight-seeing.

Day 5: Day trip

A group of vans gathered in the morning to take a trip down the Shafer Trail.  Old Blue's brakes weren't up to the task, but Bob S. offered to give Dad a ride in his Subaru-powered Syncro.  Mom and I drove out the overlook to get photos of the group going down.  After the group left the fork in the road, we decided to go down to the end of the trail to meet them.

After lunch, the group split up: Some went back to camp, some went into town, some went swimming, and we went up into the LaSals, where it rained once up at the top.  It was suggested that we return back to town via the Sand Flat dirt road, which we did since the inclement weather was staying up top and the road looked pretty good.

The brakes were getting hot, so we pulled off at a popular trailhead.  In doing so, I heard a <click-click-click-click>… fridge was trying auto re-ignite, but wasn't able to.  Turned the fridge over to DC mode, stretched the legs for a bit, and motored onward.

Upon arriving back at camp, I immediately tried relighting the fridge on propane, but it was a no-go.  I then tried lighting the stove: Wimpy little flame, even on "high".  Thinking the tank was empty (which would have been odd given that it started out full), we rushed down to the Shell/RV park to get a refill.  Problem: Attendant said that the tank was still full.  Hmm.  We bought a 1-pound can of propane/butane for the emergency camp stove kept in the cabinet, just in case.  Back at camp, tools were borrowed so that Dad could remove the tank regulator, which he attempted to clean out.  After reinstalling the regulator, everything was back to working as normal.

Day 5: Moab to Kanab, UT

Packed up, said goodbye, and hit the road, taking the long way home via highway 70 and down to Kanab.  In Kanab, we stayed overnight at a friend's place.

Day 6: Kanab, UT to Valley of Fire, NV

After breakfast and taking measurements of our friends' wood boats (for a future build), we left Kanab for Zion National Park, a place we had not been to for a couple of decades.  Our first stop were the campgrounds, which were booked solid.  We parked and hopped the tram, riding it to the very end, where we hiked the trail along the Virgin River.  Zion is a gorgeous place; would have loved to have spent more time there, but, alas, too many people!




We drove onward, stopping for the night at Valley of the Fire State Park, another picturesque place we had not been to in many, many years.

Day 7: Valley of Fire, NV to Willow Beach, AZ

After a leisurely breakfast, we spent the morning touring the park.

En route to Grandma's house in Henderson, we took a detour down to Echo Bay on Lake Mead to see what remained of the now-closed marina.  The place was a near ghost-town as a result of the marina closing due to low water levels.  However, in typical government fashion, brand-spanking new pavement had just been laid down on the road going into Echo Bay.  Garmin has not kept up with the declining lake level, thus showing the Bus vehicle icon sitting in the middle of the bay, when in reality we were parked at the end of the boat ramp.  One nice thing Nevada has done in that region is to create a desert tortoise preserve, complete with tortoise road signs.

We stopped at Taco Bell to pick up some high-quality food and delivered it to Grandma's house.  After lunch and a nice visit with Grandma, it was getting dark so we motored onward to the newly constructed campground down at Willow Beach along the Colorado River.  The following day, we ventured home, ending another fabulous adventure.

Total miles: 1,570

Avg. MPG: 16.41

Adventure 12: Syncro Solstice III / Moab                                                                         May 14-24, 2013