Majestic Towers, HooDoos and flat tires

Trip Start Sep 21, 2012
Trip End Nov 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hitch -N-Post campground

Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, found your intrepid travelers leaving Mesquite, Nevada, driving through the very northwest corner of Arizona and heading into Utah. Linda had been to Zion National Park in 1996, but Walt hadn't been there, and we were in the neighborhood, so why not? Have I mentioned that we purchased the travel trailer instead of driving a motorhome across the country so that we wouldn't have to drive the big rig on twisty mountain roads with no guardrails? Well, I just wanted to remind you of that, because the road through Zion is twisty and steep, has itsy bitsy brick walls instead of guardrails and has the added attraction of two tunnels, one of them more than a mile long. Although we carefully measured our trailer and found it to be within the allowed dimensions, the park ranger at the entrance gate insisted that, no, we were over the size allowed through the tunnels without a special escort. 

Said escort cost $15 and was comprised of a park ranger getting on her radio to her counterpart at the other end of the tunnel and telling him to stop traffic.  When the tunnel was clear, she told him we were coming through, and he held the traffic at the other end so we could drive down the middle of the tunnel.

Whatever the drawbacks, the views were worth it.  Zion is a land of giant rock towers, a combination of creamy almost whites, yellows and stunning oranges.  There were even a few trees that had their red fall outfits on and some bright gold aspens to complete the picture. We were amazed at the very thin layers visible in some of the rock formations. From a distance, they looked as thin as paper. With many stops for pictures, but not taking the side road into the canyon, the trip through the park took about 2 hours. Then on we went toward Bryce.

About three o'clock Monday afternoon (except that it was actually 4, since we had passed back into the Mountain time zone without noticing), we made a very good decision. Instead of turning east on route 12 just south of Panguitch and heading toward Bryce Canyon for a "quick" look, we drove on until we found a campground. The plan was to register, unhitch and head back to Bryce. Maybe we could get some good sunset photos.

That plan was thrown out when the owner of the campground pointed out that one of the trailer's tires was nearly flat. Further review showed that all four were showing serious wear. He told Walt some harrowing stories about how nasty a blowout on a trailer tire can be and recommended a place across the street that could probably help us out. By this time, we both realized we were tired, and the sun was going down, anyway, so we decided to call it a day and deal with tires and Bryce in the morning.

This morning (Tuesday), Walt went across to the auto repair shop and described the tire issue to the proprietor, who thought it was likely that our axll was bent and might need to be replaced. He recommended a welder down the street. Walt described the problem to the welder, who said he'd call us in about an hour to bring the trailer down so he could take a look at it. In the meantime, we went back to the first place and asked if he could get us four new tires.

Cutting to the chase, it turns out that all we needed were the tires -- we think. While we waited for them to be delivered, we parked the camper back in the campground and went to explore Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon deserves a whole entry of its own, but it's not going to get it. I will insert pictures.
Then the photos will explain "hoodoos" better than more words here.

When I was out this way with my good friend Barbara in 1996, she and I hiked a bit in Bryce. It has remained my second-favorite national park -- second only to the Grand Canyon, well, or maybe Yosemite, or.....Anyway, it is spectacular and completely different from the many other parks we've seen, but I'm not up to trying to describe it. I'm so glad we had almost three hours to explore it (and I even did a couple of hikes!) while we waited for tires to be delivered. There will be pictures!!

Tomorrow morning, new tires installed and us $500 poorer, we will stop at the welder's one more time so he can see if he thinks he needs to adjust the camber on one of the wheels. After that, we're making a bee-line for Louisville, Colorado, and three days of fellowship with good friends before pushing further eastward.

But before we leave... a plug for the HitchNPost RV campground and its owners, Randy and Jody. They run a fine campground (but what would you expect of refugees from the corporate ratrace -- and Minnesotta).  We also owe thanks and kudos to the good folks at Royal Express (AutoCare) and at R&R welding. Each went 'the extra step' and help us get back on the road... safely.

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