The plan almost didn't come together though. Let me explain...
We woke up in Mesquite, Nevada and we were headed northeast into Utah. We wanted to visit Zion National Park on our way through towards Kodachrome State Park where we need to be by Sunday. We have reservations there that day.
Scenery in Northeastern Nevada.
The I-15 goes through a mountain pass.
I had read that the two campgrounds in Zion National Park are really busy and that if you want one of the first come, first serve campsites that you had better be there early. So, we packed up and we were on the road just after 9:00am. It was only about 75 miles (120 kms), so we figured we would get there early enough.
Certainly one of the more scenic sections of Interstate highway that we've done.
But, it was actually pretty slow going, considering we were on an Interstate highway. There was one really pretty mountain section that we had to do, and a little bit of road construction that slowed us down. And, we don't drive any faster than 55 mph (90 km/h) on the Interstate anyhow.
And, we stopped for gas at $2.55 per gallon ($0.87 per litre CAD). Not great, but the best we're going to see for the next while.
Hello Utah! Neither of us have ever been to Utah before!
Then, we stopped at an RV dealership. Sherman's fresh water pump has gone on the fritz again. I've taken it apart and repaired it twice now, so I better bite the bullet and buy a new one. I can buy the one I want for $60 USD on Amazon.com, but I'll have to order it and pick it up down the road. So, I figured I'd see what a dealer wanted for one. Now, I knew from my two seasons running the parts department at an RV dealer that there's a big mark up on this stuff, so I wasn't surprised when the place we stopped at wanted $120 USD for the exact same item. I tried to bargain him down, but the guy behind the counter wasn't very business savvy and wouldn't discount it at all. Not even $5.
I even tried logic. "Isn't it better to make a little bit of profit, than no profit at all?" I asked.
Nope. Just a dumb stare.
Okay, whatever. I'm totally happy to wait a few days and buy it at a reasonable price.
Just outside of Zion National Park.
So, between stopping for gas and stopping at the RV dealer, we probably lost 45 minutes.
That meant that we made it to the entrance gate at Zion National Park at around 12:20pm.
The signs on the gatehouse said "Campground Full".
The girl on the other side of the window said that they had been filled up by 11:00am. There's also a shortage of parking in the park, she explained, and that we would even have a tough time finding somewhere to park to go for a hike.
It turns out that we kind of screwed up. Totally forgot that there's a one hour time change between Nevada and Zion National Park, so really, it was 1:20pm, not 12:20pm!
I paid the bill for the tunnel pass (oversize vehicles need to pay $15 USD to drive through the 1.1 mile, or 1.7 km long tunnel in the park to get out the other side) and figured that we'd simply carry on and try and see Zion another year.
But as we approached the entrance to the campground, I thought to myself "this campground has 125 sites...maybe I should check for myself to see if they're full". So, at the last second, I made a right hand turn into the campground. I pulled over to the side near the entrance, and Ruth stayed with Sherman while I went for a walk.
There was a fold up sign at the registration booth that said "Yes, we really are full!". But above that, it said "Check sites 21 and 104", so I headed off to find those sites.
Sure enough, site 21 was empty. But it was a very sloped site, and Sherman would have had a tough time getting even close to level there. I carried on, walking very quickly, and found site 104. It was fine! And there was no sign of anyone occupying the site! I spent a second or two trying to find the campground host, but figured it was better to occupy the site first, and ask questions later!
So I pretty much ran back to Sherman, hopped in, and quickly drove over and into site 104. Then, I went to the registration booth and picked up a self serve envelope to pay the $16 per night. While I was gone, Ruth turned away someone else who had come over to check it out.
As I was making my way back to the site, the campground host was heading there as well. Yep, it turned out the site was vacant, but had we waited another two minutes it wouldn't have been!
Wow, talk about a lucky break. And to think we almost drove right by.
Sherman, happily parked up for $16 per night in Zion National Park.
So then, it was time to explore the park a little bit.
We got the bikes off the back, and rode them over to the visitor's center, and then the Zion Human History Museum where we watched a 20 minute film.
Out for a bike ride.
The Virgin River carved out the canyons over millions of years.
Free water fill up station. Nice!
The Visitors Center.
I know it looks like there's nobody around, but the place is actually very busy. I was just selective when I took photos. Too many people for my liking, but what are you going to do?
Many of the canyon walls "weep".
Some of these people are hiking to "the narrows". Part of this hike has you waist deep in the cold water. No thanks.
Can you see the guy rock climbing. No? I circled him in red.
And then I zoomed in on him for you. Again, no thanks.
What a beautiful park. We took the free shuttle bus through the canyon, and went for a two mile hike to warm us up for tomorrow.
We rode our bikes to the library this morning to use the internet.
Fantastic deal on a home haircutting kit at Amazon.com
Wahl Color Pro 20 Piece Complete Haircutting Kit
Great Mother's Day deal at Amazon.ca for our Canadian readers...