Checkerboard Mesa

1st Stop on the Caravan

After a relaxing week in Idaho we got to Port Angeles and started getting caught up  on the cleaning, repairing, and settling back into full-time RVing.  It is beautiful here on the Olympic Peninsula … fall is in full swing and we are enjoying the amazing colors as the trees are at their peak saturation. We have gotten out on several hikes and are exploring all the OP has to offer. Today we are taking a break from sightseeing to get the blog caught up and to start posting about the month long caravan.

As we stated before, the RV’ers signed up for the tour met in St. George, UT at the McArthur’s Temple View RV Park.  Eighteen RVs plus two staff coaches with a total of 39 participants.  The first few days we spent getting to know the other participants and had the first of many socials and meeting we had during the month.  We took a bus tour of beautiful Old Town St. George spending the afternoon at Brigham Young’s Home where we learned about the Mormons settling of the area and what life was like for them on the frontier.

The next morning we took a bus tour of Zion National Park.  We stopped at the Checkerboard Mesa and drove through the Zion Tunnel.  After a boxed lunch on the lawn in front of the Visitor Center we got a few hours to explore the park on our own.  We chose the Emerald Pond Pools Trail, a short 3-mile round trip hike with a 200 ft ascent to climb up to see the lower and middle ponds and the waterfall.  The trail wove up the side of the peak with beautiful views of the Navajo sandstone cliffs. Unfortunately, it hadn’t rained in quite a while so the waterfall was barely flowing but Jon got a really nice shot as we climbed up behind the fall and he was able to get the sunlight on the droplets falling over the cliff.

After the quick climb we jumped on the shuttle (they no longer allow cars to drive through the park) and got a hurried view of the rest of the slot canyon.  We then returned to the tour bus to head back to the campground for our first potluck dinner and travel brief.  The briefs were suppose to give us all the information we needed to make it to the next stop on the tour.  We were told where there we gas stations big enough for our rigs, where there might be construction, and where the en route stops would be happening. In the Trip Log they even had it broken down to how many miles it was to each turn.  Some of the information was very helpful but we found the miles didn’t necessarily match our odometer and the suggested stops tended to be too crowded for the number of RV’s traveling the route.

There are two major companies that do RV Caravans, ours – Adventure Caravans and Fantasy Tours.  It turned out that both companies had the same tour itinerary set for the same time period so many times we were competing with Fantasy’s 20 RV’s for the same limited large parking spaces at the same attractions and campgrounds.  It made it difficult to impossible to get into some places and, as we will later detail, costly!

We ended our stay in St. George with the first of two critter races.  This was something new to both of us.  The staff had a table with lanes drawn down the length creating a race course for the toy animals – lion, tigers, and elephants Oh My!  We then placed quarter bets on which animal would win the race.  Each person who placed bets was then given a turn to roll the dice to move the animals down the lane.  Whomever place the bet on the winning animal then got a share of the pot.  Between the two of us we won some and lost some of the races but came out ahead in the end!

Next up – Jacob Lake and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Till Then,

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