Then this happened…

 

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” ~ Robin Sharma

One thing you can count on in life is change. RVing and change go hand in hand, especially as in “change of plans.” Basically, when someone “signs” up for a nomadic life they need to be open to all sorts of change, some are exciting and somewhat more comfortable and others are a bit more stressful.

As I have recently shared, my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip requiring surgery. Scott went to be with her in Texas. I did the solo RV thing for a while. Then Scott flew back late one night and his mother passed away suddenly the next day. It has been a sad stressful time for our family.  As we were preparing for him to fly back to Texas to bury his mother, this happened…

Without any notice they sprayed a chemical on the roads in the RV park we were staying at…being chemically sensitive this is somewhat of a nightmare for me. Even those who are not sensitive had some reactions to this spray…wheezing, coughing, eyes tearing, headaches, etc. Thankfully, we became aware of it through a phone call and I never had to personally be around it. We waited until the spray had settled for a couple hours and then Scott went in to see if he thought I could be around it. He had reactions to it, hooked up our Shasta and moved it out of the RV  park. Which left us scrambling to find a new place to stay about 7 P.M. the night before we had to leave at 2 A.M. to fly to bury his mother. Not the best situation. We had planned to stay at this RV park for a month. In fact, the first time we had ever planned to stay anywhere in our RV for a month. Anyways, we ended up at a state park that had two nights available and got settled around 10 P.M. Scott took the car at 2 A.M. and headed to airport. I stayed with our RV without a car at a state park.

After he returned we were thrilled to learn that some of our camping friends were boondocking up near Snoqualmie Pass. We joined them up there for a much needed weekend of friendship, laughter, good food, nature, and getting away from RV parks!

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Bridge near Tinkham Road

 

 

Upper Teton View

Upper Teton View

This is one of best boondocking sites in the United States! The views are totally amazing!! Add to that meeting up with some fun friends we had met in Moab and many new friends and it all equals an incredible experience! Not to mention this camping area is right next to Grand Teton National Park with scenic wonders and wildlife that go on for miles and miles!! You can even use this site as a base camp to explore Yellowstone and the Jackson Hole area! Life is good!!

Oh, and this happened…

 

If you plan to boondock in this area, here are some things we found helpful…

Signal Mountain Campground inside of Grand Teton National Park has a dump station, water, public showers, recycle bins, and laundry. The shower rooms are clean and have some of the best water pressure we have experienced in months!

There are water filling stations throughout the park, look for the moose sign. At these you can refill water bottles and containers. The water filling station we went to was at the gas station/store on the way to Colter Bay.

We had a yummy breakfast at Buffalo Valley Cafe in Moran, which is probably the closest place to have breakfast in the area. Every morning about 7:30 (time may change depending on season) they let about 70 horses out…amazing to watch! Plus, if you drive further down Buffalo Valley Road you will find some amazing photo opportunities and even another place to dry camp.

The pizza is surprisingly good at Leek’s Pizza inside of Grand Teton National Park. It is located near Leek’s Marina, so you can eat outside and have a water and mountain view! Go around dusk, see wild life and eat pizza (they even have gluten-free)! They do also have salads, sandwiches, beer, wine, and ice cream.

There are many wonderful hikes around the camping area and in the park. We especially enjoyed hiking around Jenny Lake!

Be sure and enjoy the sunsets and fire rings at Upper Teton View!

We enjoyed our time there so much we are heading back in a couple days!!

Places to camp around Zion

WingsZionCanyonRV

Our campsite on the river at Zion Canyon Campground

We had some different needs this week than we normally do when picking out a place to stay. While we prefer to boondock (or dry camp), this week we stayed in two RV parks. However, we did spend a couple hours driving around checking out boondocking sites for future reference. 😉 These places are all close to the West Entrance to Zion.

Let’s start with the RV Parks. We stayed at Zion River Resort and Zion Canyon Campground. Both were fairly clean and typical of a basic RV park aka the sites are rather close together. Here are the differences:
Zion River Resort has a heated pool, laundry area, and path to walk along the Virgin River. We paid extra for a river site, BUT it had NO view of the river…just a wall of rocks (yes, I was extremely disappointed). It is about 14 miles to the entrance of Zion National Park. We had little or no cell reception with Verizon and T-Mobile. Their WiFi was mostly down while we were there. When it was working, it was decent.
Zion Canyon Campground will not guarantee you a river front site, but you can request one and we got one!! Yay!! The river front sites only have water and electric. The campgrounds are a bit more rustic than Zion River Resort. The entrance to Zion National Park is about a mile away and you can walk to most of Springdale. The one surprise here was when one of those Rotel (Rolling Hotel) buses showed up. They parked the bus next to the bathroom and it was hard to get into the bathrooms or showers without waiting and after they left there was no toilet paper left and the bathrooms needed cleaning. The people from the bus also would walk onto our campsite to look at the river. Thankfully, they were just there one night. As for cell reception, it varied, but overall it was rather good…2 bars of LTE on Verizon and 4G T-Mobile. During the day the Wifi was enough to work, at least most of the time. At nights, like most busy RV parks, you can forgot about trying to use it.
For me, even though I love heated pools, if I came back to stay at an RV park in the area, I’d go with Zion Canyon Campground. It cost less, has river views, better cell reception and Internet, is walking distance to town, and super close to Zion.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the amazing canyon views!
ZionCanyonRV

Zion Canyon Camground

Now for the boondocking…
La Verkin Overlook Road ~ We found this by accident. We were on a mission to take pictures of the sunset and ended up here. Only to discover tents and RVs at various places off the road. Most sites have 180-360 degree views! It was difficult to find very much information about this area online, perhaps you’ll have better luck than I did. I believe it is land trust land. There are at least five areas you could park RVs well and even more places for tents. Two of the areas are large enough a big RV or two or three could park. Did I mention the views?! Good Verizon cell signal, too! The Maverick in La Verkin has free dumping and water. This camping area is about 20 minutes to the entrance of Zion. I plan on coming back here someday!
laverkinsunset

Sunset from La Verkin Overlook Road

Some others:
Kolob Terrace Road ~ Lots of tents and smaller RVs.  About 2 miles up the Kolob Terrace Road, you will see a camping area with a sign saying “use by donation.” We also saw people camping other areas off this road.
Disclaimer: This is only based on the few places we have stayed and personally visited. Please check websites like Campendium.com and Freecampsites.net to see if details have changed before you attempt to camp at the “free” sites. Also, always check the weather and road conditions!