Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Zion Thanksgiving with a Snow Canyon Kicker......

One of the biggest changes for us in this lifestyle is the lack of routine or the changing of annual traditions we have done for years. Christmas and Thanksgiving with my family, spending time with friends at deer camp and 4th of July celebrations at the lake. These are all things we have done for years and truly miss.
But for every door closed another one opens right? So with this new opportunity we are trying to start new traditions. This was our second Thanksgiving on the road and the second one we have been able to spend with the kids. This year we all traveled 4 hours south of Salt Lake to Watchman Campground in Zion National Park. Although it was a little cold there this year, it is a tradition I hope we can continue each year.

Each of the kids brought their own trailers (the maiden voyage for each) and we were able to set up fairly close to each other. Zion is a packed during this week but the ever-thinking Barb went on line and got our reservation last May.
Recognize this spot? It is the same site we stayed in last year!

After getting set up Barb, Daisy and I went for a long walk. The mule deer were plentiful and the views close to the campground incredible!

I may only have 1 antler but I still have a girlfriend!
The following afternoon Jessica and Shane with Dylan and baby Kendall arrived. (Forrest and Somer had to work on Wednesday and will be arriving tomorrow). We were excited to show them the sights of Zion.

After they got set up we went for a walk around the campground. Kendall was a trooper running around with a stumble/run that made you wonder how a 19 month little girl was able to stay on her feet. Dylan, like most 6 year olds was full of energy and was excited to see the deer. He did not understand why you could not pet and feed the deer like he did back home at the petting zoo. I thought he was going to find out when he got too close to a doe and she pinned her ears back like she was going to smack him on the head with her hoof! He learned more lessons that day like falling off your scooter on the pavement does damage to your palms and knees as well as running full speed through cactus infested brush is not a good idea. Ah, to have the energy of a 6 year old again!

Forrest, Somer and Lily arrived about noon on Thursday. After getting set up it was time to start cooking the turkey! We built a fire outside our rig, tuned the outdoor TV to the football game and had a great afternoon. We were going to deep fry two 12 pound birds as we wanted lots of left overs. This was our first time deep frying a bird, a quick review of google showed numerous opinions on what temperature to do it at. In the end we decided on 3 minutes/pound @350. At this temperature the bird was a little over cooked and the wings were like jerky but the skin was super crispy and was like eating bacon. We quickly dropped the next bird using the same method but at 250 instead of 350. The bird took a little longer and the skin did not crisp up but the entire bird was edible.

The rest of the day was spent doing dishes, watching football while sitting by the fire eating pie with a random hike up the hillside thrown in. Although the temps got down into the 30's we stuck it out until 1/2 time of the Packers/Bears game, watched them unveil Farve's number and called it a night.
Forrest and Somer getting ready to fry the bird
Friday was Somer's birthday and we celebrated that night by grilling some awesome ribeyes and a night by the fire. Over the next couple of days we hiked, visited and walked through town. None of them were as intense as our Angel's Landing hike last year. That is still the best and most intense hike we have done to date. If you have not seen our video from that hike, here is the link. This year we stuck to the "family friendly" hikes. Due to the busy holiday weekend everything was busy. The shuttles were packed, the hiking trails were like conga lines and town was crazy as there was an art festival going on. We only did one organized hike which was the Emerald Springs trail. Touted as an easy 2 mile family friendly hike it led to some hidden springs way and back at the end of a canyon. I think everyone else with kids had the same idea but we had a good time nonetheless.
The canyon walls were incredible!

Now, I love my grandkids but anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat of a germaphobe. Who knows what form of hazards these little ones are carrying. Runny noses were constant dangers and no tissue needed they just use the palm of their hands. It is going to take several canisters of Clorox wipes and a case of Lysol spray to get the rig sanitized again. I think the cell phone, ipad and TV remotes suffered permanent damage.  
But those were not the scariest moments of the trip, as with any trip with small children you are bound to have a close call or two. It happened one morning as we were just finishing breakfast. Forrest and I were sitting on the couch and I was bouncing baby Kendall on my knee while she was chewing on a piece of waffle. Now, most of you probably already know what happened next, she started chocking right? Wrong, it was much much worse. It was a moment that I relive in my mind over and over again, it was like it happened in slow motion…..she sneezed! The projectile waffle/baby-goo was like a shotgun blast headed straight at Forrest and I. We both dove for cover and I think I was on the other side of the trailer before Kendall hit the ground. When she did hit the ground, she looked over at me confused and fired another round! Luckily the aim of a 1 ½ year old is not that good and I was able to dodge that one as well. It was a close call but thankfully Forrest and I got away unscathed.

She may look sweet and innocent but be afraid, be very afraid.........
 One another hike we found these boxes in the tent only area. We were able to convince the kids that they were "timeout boxes" for kids who misbehaved.
Mean Grandma!
The kids departed Sunday morning so while Barb disinfected the trailer I watched football and worked on the blog.
The next day we drove two hours west to Snow Canyon State Park just outside of St. George. They have a nice campground there but only two sites that would fit our rig and one of them was already taken. Be warned, there is a dip in one of the loops where the back end of a longer rigs is going to do some serious scrapping! We avoided this by driving out the wrong way when no one was looking.

Site #18 was one of two big rig friendly sites
We had heard about this park from our friends Steve & Joan and is known for it's red rock, white rock and lava hills. There is some absolutely beautiful scenery and good hiking. The first hike we went on was called Cinder Cone Trail which leads to one of two volcanic craters in the park. It is described as a difficult hike with steep slopes and loose lava rock. The hike up was not too bad, it was cool and we took several rest stops. On the way down we took "the alternate route"  lesser used trail that went pretty much went straight down. Would not have been a problem if it were not for the "loose lava rock" in the description. We ended up on our butts several times doing controlled (sometimes uncontrolled) slides. One time Barb went down so hard the water bottle in her back pocket exploded!
It was a good water bottle, it lived a good life but it was just no match......

The crater is 600' across and 100' deep
The water bottle survived this incident, next time......not so much
We also went on another hike where there were some pioneer names written on a rock wall with axle grease. Unfortunately someone else feels the need to put modern dates and names on it. There were some really cool formation in this area as well.
The perfect picture frame!

Trees will find the smallest crevice to grow

Pioneer Names on the Rock Wall

Every time you turn around there is such beautiful scenery. Forrest, Shane and I spent a lot of time taking pictures and have each submitted our favorites for your vote. The winner gets bragging rights over the other two so please vote for your favorite of the three pictures below through our comments.
Picture #1

Picture #2
Picture #3

You will notice a new link on the sidebar of our blog (email subscribers have to go to our actual website to see). Like many fulltime RV’er we have become affiliate members with Amazon so if you are an Amazon customer we would really appreciate you using our link for your searching and purchases! One other thing we have been thinking of doing is putting a “Donate Here” link on our blog. A couple of Barb’s friends ask how they could get her a gift card or buy her a cup of coffee (actually it was a Dairy Queen). There is a link we could create to do this but it seems a little self-serving/begging and are struggling with that. So for now, Barb will have to go without her DQ! 




  1. I wished I had known you were going to Zion over Thanksgiving. There are some great places to just hike the slickrock on the east side and there is never anyone around and you don't have to take the shuttle! The kids would have enjoyed it. But it looks like you had a great time. The red rocks are so gorgeous and bright in your photos:) Love that family photo...a real keeper:) I am very thankful you could only observe those beautiful deer:) I could resist!!

    Snow Canyon is a neat place. Lots of great color!

    I vote for #3!!

    1. We will have to try the slickrock next year, it would be nice to avoid the shuttle experience baby Kendall was not in the best of moods when we were on it last time.

  2. Awesome new tradition!! Love it!! #3 on the photos for me!!

  3. After much debate, I picked #3 and so did Karen.

  4. Very good blog. I laughed really hard with the waffle incident. That was funny. Why did you sell yourself out to Amazon. Why? Don't you care about us? Picture #2. Although Daisy in the rock hole is pretty good. She has a look of disgust or something.

    1. The waffle incident was traumatizing! That was the first vote for picture #2 but I must say you have an eye for first class photography.

  5. #3 gets my vote.
    I laughed so much at the "diving for cover" happy you were not in harm's
    Love post...
    Family and being together is really what it is all about. Carry on!

  6. #3 gets my vote too. Miss you guys since you left ND. Dylan got his buck with the muzzle loader Friday. Safe travels and enjoy. This is my first ever comment on a blog!

  7. Hey, I was thinking about you guys today! We left Salt Lake today and are now in Arizona where we will be for the next few months. Got too cold up there. Congrats on your first blog comment (don't let it be your last!) Say hi to Deanne for us and have a good Christmas!