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Woo, we had hard frost on our car windshields yesterday morning! And a cool day, with highs only in the 50’s.  Last night was really decent though, with a low around 42. At that temperature, we can be fairly comfortable sleeping without any heat. We are having high winds for the next two or three days, but it’s sunny.

My friends have really taken to boondocking! The free aspect is very appealing, of course, and we’ve had our struggles with keeping their camper batteries charged up. We got a tip that the TV antenna booster sucks battery power so we turned those off and that seems to have really helped. Right now I’ve got my old solar panel with the broken glass hooked up to Jeanne’s camper but we have to keep an eye on it since there’s no charge controller, and it also can’t be allowed to get damp or wet or it’ll short out the electronics.

We are all very happy that the weather is cooperating and it’s not going to be super-hot in Moab….so we were able to cancel our expensive ($42 a night) campsite at the RV park. Four nights, that’ll save us $168!!  Yee Haw! We’ll find a nice boondocking site in the national forest, or there are a few NF campgrounds near Moab for under $10 a night. We have also decided not to go to Monument Valley, with it’s $54 a night campsite fees.  Sheesh, all that money just to get electricity……talk about a high power bill!  So now we’ll have a free day between Moab and Canyon de Chelly; we may end up at either Goosenecks State Park or Valley of the Gods. I’m leaning more towards Valley of the Gods because it’s free camping, plus it’s sort of a mini-Monument Valley. If that’s the case, we’ll have spent only $59 for campsites on this whole 5 week period of time! Not as good as my previous record, but still pretty darned good. And we’ve had gorgeous campsites without sacrificing too much comfort!!   I am patting myself on the back for being such a good Scout/Wagon Master.

I hate to admit it but with the high price of groceries lately, we are desperate for a Wal-Mart run! But there aren’t any around here, or anywhere that we’re going until early June when we get to Durango. Yesterday on the park shuttle bus Deb said “Does this bus stop at Wal-Mart?” LOL! Jeanne is going to St. George to pick up her sister Joanne tomorrow though, and has offered to shop for us at the Wal-Mart there! Yayyy!  Joanne will be with us for the next 10 days, then Jeanne & Joanne head to Kansas and Deb & I head to Durango.

I found a great rockhounding place about 20 miles from here. The info said it was an entire hill of agate, and of course we were skeptical. But it really WAS a whole hill of agate; it was terrible!!  What to take, what to leave??!  I brought home probably at least 50# of rocks and now will have to lay them all out and see which ones are the real “keepers”, and toss the rest. (Then pretty soon someone will report this location as a “hill full of agate”!!)  Here’s my best one, it’s a big one, about 5×8″.    Agate

To find the agate hill, from Bryce Canyon City take Hwy. 12 West and turn right onto Hwy. 89. Go about 2 miles & turn right on Casto Canyon Road. (my GPS found the road).From the pavement, go exactly 2.4 miles to hill on left.

 

 

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Bryce Canyon Day 3

We went to the two grocery stores in Bryce Canyon City, Ruby’s and also Foster’s on Hwy. 12. BOY they sure are proud of their groceries….unbelievable prices!  $8 for a box of cereal, $8 for those 1# propane cylinders, $8 for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, $1.99 for a soft drink.  Definitely a good idea to bring everything you need with you to visit the national parks! Trouble is, we’re on our 3rd park in a row and we are running low on some stuff.

Hey have you seen the new Bounty paper towels with Dawn detergent embedded in them? It’s water-activated…great for washing dishes while camping! It’s quite expensive though, I saw a pack of 3 rolls at a “normal” grocery store back in Sedona for around $8.  It wouldn’t be too bad if you could split the pack with a couple friends, it sure looks handy.

There is a big bad black cloud right over our heads, and it’s starting to thunder. Poor Princess Roxie hates that! She is snuggling with me on my bed….she only gets on the bed when she’s really scared.

Deb’s mouse and his wife have gone to a better place. We hope they haven’t left any children behind!

We took the park shuttle today to finish up seeing the points we missed yesterday.  I loved this twisted old tree!  tree

On the way back to camp we saw a pronghorn by the side of the road. With no pronghorns.  He looked pretty scruffy, I think he’s shedding his winter coat.

 

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Bryce Canyon

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It’s a sunny/rainy day, can’t seem to make up it’s mind! Jeanne and I went into Bryce this morning and saw part of the park before it started raining really hard. The highest point is over 9100′ in elevation and it was COLD up there!  The photo colors change with the sun or rain on them, I see. It’s interesting, you can walk just a few feet along one of the scenic lookouts and see completely different scenery!  I really like this park a lot; it’s my favorite so far! We have Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands to go, plus Canyon de Chelly so we’ll see if it’ll hold it’s top spot.

At one scenic turnout this big raven flew up and landed on the wall and didn’t mind people coming right up to it for photos!  A few days ago in Zion I saw one that was the same way, I went right up to it and chatted awhile and he turned his head this way and that but wasn’t a bit afraid!  DSCN5842

It was quite cold last night, around 35 degrees. It’s supposed to be much nicer for the next 3 days of our stay here, sunny and around 70/40. The town of Bryce Canyon City is very cute but very expensive!  We checked out the little rock shop, which was awesome! They had big piles of cool rocks outside that were $2.50 to $10 a pound. I picked up a few really small ones, due to my space AND money restrictions! I got five pretty rocks for $4.  This is the best one, it’s “Crazy Lace Agate” about 2″ x 2″.   I guess it must have cost me about $1! DSCN5866

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Bryce Canyon Campsite

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Tee hee, I did it again! Found us a really pretty free campsite in the Dixie National Forest, less than 2 miles from the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park! And only about 1 mile to the little town, with 3G Verizon and 4G ATT signals! Whip Hop!!!  It is .7 mile from the pavement on a little one-lane dirt road but it’s a decent road. It’s not the site I was aiming for; that one was down a pretty muddy road and we opted not to chance getting stuck.

We had a rainy ride here but now it’s sunny and beautiful, though chilly. We’re in for some cold nights, in the low to mid-30’s.  We came through a bit of the same rock formations as inside the park and I was so excited to see the hoodoos! Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! This is Jeanne’s favorite park and I think it could be mine too.

Here are some other views from our camp:

And here’s a better photo of that flourite rock I bought, it’s so gorgeous with green and purple, yesterday photograph (or today’s either for that matter) doesn’t do it justice.  DSCN5792

Deb has gone to town for some groceries and a mousetrap. She’s had a little hitchhiker for a while….the other day she dug around in the closet and found her shoes stuffed full of dog food!!!  Mousie Must Go.

Finding This Campsite: Forest Road 090 is just 100 ft north of the ‘Welcome to Bryce Canyon National Park’ sign on Highway 63, about a mile north of the actual entry gates and pay station.  The road will be on the west side of the Highway (and may be unmarked until you get further down the road, there is a cattleguard about 100 yds down this road). You actually turn into the scenic pullout parking lot and the little dirt road goes back into the woods from that. To our site:  About .7 miles straight back on that little dirt road, N37.66698 W112.17327   Elevation 7772′   Another good site closer to the highway: N37.6579⁰  W112.16799⁰