At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Campground Full? Not quite...

Lots of fantastic scenery yesterday. Too many pictures to sort through, but you are lucky...you get to see only the best of the bunch!

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.

Fantastic scenery.

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.

Too late.

The signs on the gatehouse said "Campground Full".

Dammit.

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!

Hmph.

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.

Zion.

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?

More scenery.

Kevin.

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...



30 comments:

  1. Wow! It is great things worked out for you. I am glad you held off on buying the water pump. It is great how your attitude won't let you miss opportunities like almost missing Zion. I am glad it worked out like it did. Have a great time in Zion!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Kevin has now ordered it online and it will be delivered to Jackson, Wyoming where we will pick it up on our way through. There was no way we were paying $120US, knowing we could be it for half that price. We can make do until then.

      We are really enjoying our time here in Zion, sure wish we had even more time but there is always next year! :-)

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  2. Enjoy your time there, a stroke of luck for sure.
    We have done that a few times. Campground full but no harm in asking and sure enough we were able to get a site, wanted three nights the one time and said we coul move everyday if need be, no problem.

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    Replies
    1. We will never drive by a campground that we want to stay in again without double checking for ourselves rather than just taking someone else word for it . They have several handicapped sites as well and if by 8pm or so that evening they aren't occupied then they will open all but one of them up so someone can use it for that night only.

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  3. Wow, those pictures are fantastic!!

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    1. Thanks Janis, the scenery is absolutely beautiful!

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  4. I know you don't have much time. Utah is one of my favorite states. If you liked Zion you'll love Bryce and Arches. Hope you get to see them!!

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    Replies
    1. As much as we would love to see these parks I really don't think we will have the time. We are already talking about a return trip to Utah when we will have more time to spend here. There is just way to much to see and do here.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Connie and Barry, and yes we will enjoy it for sure!

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  6. Beautiful park - lots of great pictures!

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  7. Bryce is my favorite. So delicate

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    1. I wish we had the time for Bryce, perhaps on our way out from Kodachrome Basin Park we will be able to squeeze in a night, if not we will certainly be back to this area when we have more time.

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  8. Wow you guys were so lucky to score a site! Good on your for trying to bargain with the guy - you never know when that will pay off.

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    1. Yes, we were very lucky nabbing that site, so glad that we decided to take the time and drive around there ourselves.

      It was their loss that they weren't willing to discount the price of the water pump, instead of getting some money they go NO money.

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  9. Bryce is my favorite too. Love the color of the hoodoos.

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    1. We have seen so many beautiful pictures of Bryce and would love to have more time to see it but it looks like it will have to wait until we return to this area in the future and guaranteed we will! It is a stunning area with LOTS of hiking available.

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  10. Good job getting a spot, it really is spectacular there!

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    Replies
    1. We are certainly happy with ourselves, having been able to snag one of the very last spots available there.

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  11. We've done the same thing in parks, esp national parks, when the sign out front says, "full," we'll drive in (rather than by) and hook one of the (positively!!) last vacant sites. Hey, what have we got to lose, right? You won this time! Great scenic pics.

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    Replies
    1. So very true, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this.

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  12. Utah is one of the few states we haven't visited and while it's been on our bucket list for quite sometime we always seem to decide on other destinations to see first. Viewing your wonderful photos make me realize we'd better hurry up and just do Utah, and re site 104 shows life is just all about serendipity! Glad it all worked out.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. So far Utah is definitely impressing us and we will be back to see more. It has some of the most amazing National Parks in the whole of the U.S. and that is just going by what we have seen already with our own eyes and the rest with pictures that we have seen from other people's blogs. It is a definite DO NOT miss state!

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  13. WOW...as the saying goes...right place; right time.

    The photos are fantastic. That part of the country is outstanding.

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    1. Yep, our timing was perfect!

      Agreed, this part of the country is spectacular, looking forward to seeing more of it.

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  14. No wonder the place is mobbed, it's awesome. Perseverance usually ends up with a lucky outcome.
    Bit of a let down at the RV stealership, but the Dude at the counter probably has his marching orders. No discounts. But then they wonder why their sales are down. It's not a closed market any more Enjoy your day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And this is low season, we wouldn't want to be here during high season. The park is totally stunning.

      Kevin used to work the counter at a RV dealership and he offered a discount if someone questioned a price or was very interested in a product and it meant winning the person over. I think places like this need to have a little flexibility or as you said their sales will go down.

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  15. Wow! Really nice pictures! This must be the best time of the year to visit, do you think?

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    1. Yes, it probably is one of the best times or perhaps in October or early November and even then I think it will be busy but there is no way I would want to be anywhere close to here in the summer time, I think it would be a zoo!

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