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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Zion National Park - East Side - Saturday, 3/26/16 (Day 83)

It's Saturday after driving over from morning hike at Bryce Canyon.

Welcome to the east side of Zion.  Many never get to see this side of the park as it is separated by a tunnel and switchback road.  See previous post on  parts of Zion NP.

Here hills and mountains are all rock.  This tree makes for a great picture as it looks like it is planted on a stone planter.

A hike up on this hillside brought me to artwork out of stone or is it graffiti?

People left their mark by drawing this heart testifying their love.

Then there is this whimsical face graffiti.

My friend Blaize who has a blog I follow recently did a story on love locks she captured in photos.  
Here blog on love rocks is here.

I'm now capturing rock graffiti.

The rocks clinked like they were fired like clay pots.

This longhorn sheep visited while I was there.  I could hear the hoofs on the bare Rock. 

This flower on the hill gave off its bright red colors for folks daring to climb off trail to see.


Prius Hot Water Heater / RoadPro Hot Pot Replacement

I bought my first RoadPro 12 volt water heater for my Prius Hot Water Heater for my first Prius Travels in 2015.

I have heavy duty wiring and fuse on my Prius 12 volt battery system to power this water heater for my Prius.  I only use the RoadPro with the Prius in "Ready Mode" to not stress the Prius battery as the AGM battery in "Ready Mode" is fed from the Prius high-voltage battery and the engine keeps that charged in "Ready Mode".  Therefore, I don't drain my Prius 12 volt battery.  Note: The Prius 12 volt battery does not start the Prius engine, so it is relatively small, since it is designed to power the Prius electronics.

My RoadPro hot water heater died just before meeting with family on my travels to Utah.  This unexpected death of my hot water heater boil water with my stove.

I find the RoadPro Hot Pot handy to heat small quantities of water rather than getting a pot and stove out to heat water.  If in cooking dinner, then the pot and stove is fine.

For my last leg of my 2016 Travels I stopped at a Pilot Truckstop and I bought a new RoadPro water heater.  They cost around $24.00.

Obviously, I would not buy another one if I wasn't happy with its functionality. I use it hand and hand with my 24 hour Thermos  to store the hot water until the next day.

If you are considering a 12 volt hot water heater the RoadPro is a good choice as long as you know it can't be put in water and there it is plastic.  Also you should have a dedicated heavy duty 12 volt outlet like what Blue Seas sells with heavy dedicated wiring & run you vehicle while using.

If I had my stove set up for use all the time then the RoadPro would not be as necessary.

It takes about 20 minutes to rapidly boil water with the RoadPro.


March Blog

March Blog Views

The following are the blog views by country for the month of March 2016.

There are other countries but the blog site only gives the views for the top countries.


These are the top posts that have been viewed for the month of March 2016

Thank you to all the followers.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bryce Canyon NP - Mossy Cave Hike

On Saturday, 3/26/16 (Day 83) the temperature was in the teens and there was a coating of snow.

The drive up into Bryce Canyon National Park was slippery and even going slow to approach the manned gate at the park the Prius slipped as I tried to stop.

The goal this morning before heading over to The fifth and final of the 5 national parks in Utah was to take this relatively short hike to Mossy Cave on the east slop of the plateau rise.  This is in the park but outside the fee area.

This is a short hike from the roadside parking.

The hike does give you the opportunity to see some interesting views.

Here is the Mossy Cave with left over ice from the winter.

This is one of the more interesting formations on the hike but you need to get a bit off trail to get the best picture.

The views of Bryce Canyon are ever changing.


National Atomic Testing Museum

My visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum was a first for me.  I have been to Las Vegas many many times and was not aware of this museum.  The visit here was a nice change to all the touring of the Utah National Parks.

As the name suggests, the museum focuses on atomic testing in the USA with highlights of the Cold War and the Navada testing areas north of Las Vegas as well as Pacific islands.

The museum takes visitors through the development of the Atonic Bomb.

The nuclear testing above and below ground.  These craters are from the numerous underground testings of the Hydrogen Bomb in Navada.  Hoes were drilled in the earth and when the detonation occurs the land caves in.

This is a Hydrogen Bomb or what is referred to as a thermal nuclear bomb, so much more powerful than the Atom Bomb. 

Of course there is a lot more to see and learn in this well designed and layed out museum.  In a city with so much glitz and glitter, here is a museum well suited for a visit about a mile off the strip.

I wish I had know about this museum sooner.


Queens Garden Trail Hike - Hike Into Bryce Canyon

This post will take you into the canyon at Bryce.  You can see a lot of the park in a half of a day when you do your own deriving.  Once May comes and you need to take the shuttle to see the same things may take a whole day.

After touring the park from the rim Friday afternoon on 3/25/16 (Day 82), it was a hike down Queens Garden Trail to Queen Victoria down from the rim.

Please! Please! Do not hike with poor gripping shoes.  Hiking shoes low or high are best due to the steep angle of the trail and loose gravel.  One woman had flat shoes with closed toes and heal straps and she got down but had a lot of difficulty getting back up.

The picture above is from the rim edge.  If you like horse rides this is also the location near the lodge where you take horse rides into the canyon.

Here I'm looking out to where I'm going down into the canyon.  I'm already some distance below the rim.

Looking over at the rock formations called hoodoos.

Well down into the canyon and it's a different world down here than just seeing the park from the rim.

I met a young woman from Detroit at the RTR in Quartzsite and she primarily likes to take pictures of dead or decaying things and since meeting her when I see things like this line dead tree above I now look to take the picture.

There are so many opportunities to take a great pucture.  Almost every turn is another great view.  Although this was 3 to 4 pm and on the east slope we had great light for the hike with lots of other people.

Because of the popularity of this area of the rim and this and a couple other trails I parked at a parking lot that was at a little distance near the lodge.

Above is the actual hike and at the top a trip to the restrooms before defending making this nearly 3 miles and 500 ft elevation change.  

Remember that this is between 8 & 9 thousand ft elevation and I was acclimated to the elevation.  So if you are not prepared you may feel out of breath.  Even though it was cool ales ways bring at least 1 Ltr of water for a 3 mile trip. 

I'm down in the canyon here and it was sunny and warm.  As soon as I got back at the rim I got chilled quickly.

Can you believe how blue the sky is.


Prius Living - Buying Things On The Road

Before I took this year's Travels I went to a seminar at REI on hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Although I didn't hike the trail I wanted to know their packing list.  

If they could live out of a backpack, living out of my Prius should be easy with a lot of room.

Ok. I want to have more than one tee shirt and 2 underwear but my thought was I would like to have a reference point for what minimal things I should bring for my second year of Prius Travels.

I didn't learn any magic tricks that I hadent already figured out the year before.  What I did learn was that if it isn't absolutely necessary leave it home.

My only problem is that I had to bring clothes for winter, spring and summer weather.  Backpackers don't do this.

A winter coat takes up too much space!  Although I absolutely needed it getting through Texas, campfire sitting at night, and my Park City family gathering.  The rest of the time it was in the way.

When I head out on my travels I have very little room in my Prius for anything extra.  When I'm asked to carry something for someone I kind of cringe thinking of where I will put it.

On the other hand, I did bring things I didn't need and would not bring again.

I will cover the things that I carried that I may not bring again in other blog posts.

To free up some space in my Prius I did send a couple boxes home with things that I no longer needed.

The key to living in a very small space like a Prius is being organized.  My Small car friends all talk about the importance of being organized.

My way of traveling in my Prius is everything has a place and it has to have has a purpose.  If I have something that no longer has a purpose then it gets given away or sent home.

I buy very few things on my travels as I have no room.  The things I buy must bring me some kind of happiness, or hsppiness to someone else, if a gift.

My photo above is one thing I bought on my travels at the Mesa, AZ flea market.  One pair of my sunglasses broke so I decided to get these clip-on's for $5.00 so I can read in the sun.

Like the mini camping shovel I bought at the Havasu City Swap Meet, they improved my life on the road.

If you are looking to travel living out of your car,  bring only what you need.  It must bring you happiness in some way.  If it doesn't it will consume living space and the reduced space doesn't make your travels easier.


Las Vegas - Monday & Tuesday 3/28&29/26 (Day 85 & 86)

From my previous posts you know that I have used Las Vegas as a stopping off point for my trips into Utah.

I do this for a couple of reasons.

1. I15 provides easy access into UT


2. It's just a fun place to spend a night or two.  I don't gamble but like the sights.

When I finished my 2 weeks into Northern Arazona and Utah Las Vegas also provides a good place to layover again.

My trip back to Las Vegas after visiting Zion National Park 3/28/16 wasn't uneventful.  There was a strong low pressure system bringing in winter weather to northern NV and UT and it produced very strong damaging winds on I15 all the way from Staint George, Utah.

Winds reached as high as 78 mph causing damage.

(NWS Las Vegas Tweet Photo)

See the following news story:

The winds caused tractor trailers to dance around on the highway near me and my Prius would jump over in the lane even with both hands on the steering wheel.

By evening the winds were strong still but the high gusts has subsided, so a walk on the strip was in order. 

I got to see this wonderful show Mystere at Treasure Island.  It is well worth looking for tickets at the discount ticket booth by the M&M store for some significant savings on shows.

The only problem is that you buy the coupon for tickets so you need to get to the show box office to turn in your coupon for the actual seat.  The earlier the better for the best seats.

Take the city bus and if you are there for 24 hours like I was get the 24 hour bus ticket.

The next day it was a visit to the Atomic Testing Museum for the first time!

The second night I took in a second show, The Austrailian Bee Gees at the Excalibur.

This was also was a good show but with a start they was a bit draggy.  I was glad it picked up and they got the crowd going.

( website photo)

After the Bee Gees show I did what I usually do by going to New Your New York and sitting street side, across from this bar that has live music, and getting a beer from the bar and sitting on the street watching people.

This year's people watching was fun.  There was a couple sitting at the bar on stools side by side and as time went on they got a lot more intimate.  So much that they needed a room as legs, arms, and necks were entwined.  I was laughing so much at their public display.  

The band asked if anyone was in town to get married and they both raised their hands.  This place is always good for an after show show!

Well Las Vegas was a turning point for my trip with over 15K miles for my 2016 travels completed, since I left my house in January, and I start making my way east tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Zion National Park - Northern Hike

On Monday 3/28/16 (Day 85) I visited the northern visitor area for Zion National Park for a hike before bad weather sets in. (Snow)

The La Verkin Creek hike was chosen with the belief that there would be a spur to connect to the carved out rock formation below. 

As you can see the sky is overcast and it was very windy.  Hiking down into this valley did block the majority of the wind.

Here is the carved out rock formation that was the objective of the hike.  Although the AllTrails App above didn't have distance and elevation the hike was about 4 miles round trip with about 500 foot elevation change.

There were some people hiking out that had stayed in the wilderness the night before.  After reaching the valley floor where the dry riverbed was and found out there was no side trail, it was time to start the drive to Las Vegas.  As I was leaving the park rain was approaching.

In the visitors center they sell a map of hiking trails in Zion, that in retrospect I should have purchased and I would recommend for others that may wish to do some serious hiking hike.

Come to Zion and take a hike.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Zion National Park - Emerald Pools Hike

Zion is the fifth of the 5 National Parks in Utah, but in no way are they the only sights you should see in Utah.

I hiked the Emerald Pools last year and I think it is one of the more popular hikes in the park as there are three levels of where water comes down the Zion Cliffs to form pools.  Each pool is consecutively higher in elevation.

Zion Park was carved out by a river over thousands of years, but the river remains as does many of the tributaries like the now trickling water that forms the pools.

After crossing the main river the trail starts to climb but eventually levels out.

You arrive at the lower pools formed from dripping water on the path.  If you don't cover your head you should expect to get a bit wet.

After passing the first level the trail sharply climbs to directly above the lower pools to the middle pools that run off the ledge to the lower pools.

Still more get yo the middle pools and don't climb to the upper pools.

The last section is the steepest climbing much more than the climb from the lower to the middle.

You arrive at the upper pools and you face a sheer cliff with the water coming down its face. No wading is allowed!

Here is the upper part of the cliff where the water originates and falls to form the upper pools.

Looking at the AllTrails map above you can see the starting point and ending point of the hike were in two different locations.  They were two different bus stops of the Zion Valley Bus Route.

If you get to go to Zion this is a great family hike.  As with all hikes bring drinking water.