The Landscape Keeps Changing

As we travel north to Montana, we are constantly blessed by the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Kathy and I were born and raised in the midwest and the beauty we saw there was in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan shoreline along northwestern Michigan. If you haven’t spent any time in Michigan, you must do yourself a favor and take a driving tour along Michigan’s northwest coast.

But the scenery we’ve been exposed to these last few months has been so colorful, so impressive and awe-inspiring that I just had to share a few pictures here.

This is a short video showing the landscape up RT 89 north of Congress AZ where we spent our first night at the Escapees North Ranch RV Park.

An overlook of Congress, AZ just across from the Yarnell Memorial to the Granite Mountain HotShots – Nineteen men who lost their lives on June 30, 2013

Our second stop wasn’t really “natural” but man-made. When you take in how massive this project is and what man created here … that alone is beauty in it’s own right.

Hoover Dam is an arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Hoover Dam is 726 feet high. It is 650 feet thick at the bottom and 45 feet thick at the top. The purpose of the Hoover Dam is for power, silt and flood control, irrigation, and water for both industrial and domestic use. When Hoover Dam was finished in 1936 it was the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. The four intake towers (penstocks) on the north side of the dam take in water from Lake Mead and feed up to 91,000 gallons (each) of water per SECOND to feed the two banks of seventeen hydroelectric generators that produce over 2,000 megawatts of capacity and produce a yearly average generation of 4.5 billion kilowatt hours to serve the annual electrical needs of nearly 8 million people in Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada.

One of the most interesting facts I learned about Hoover Dam (originally called Boulder Dam) is that the design included a HUGE refrigeration plant to cool the concrete as it cured. We were told during our tour that had they not provided artificial cooling to the concrete it could have taken a hundred years or more to cool and cure correctly so as to avoid premature cracking and failure.

Here’s a few pictures of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam showing how much lower the water level is than it was in the past. (It’s gone down 75′ in the last twenty years)

Remember, clicking on any of the individual images below will open a larger view.

Here’s a view from one of the overlooks at Lake Mead showing the marina. You can see how much lower the lake has become in recent years.

As we headed north from Boulder City Nevada and Hoover Dam, our next stop was Zion National Park.

We actually parked the coach at Ruby’s Campground at Bryce Canyon and then took the car to visit Zion National Park and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab Utah.

Unfortunately, we were unaware that you had to call ahead and make reservations for a tour at Best Friends, so all we were able to do is visit the Visitor Center and take a drive through part of the grounds and see a few horses. They have tens of thousands of acres and lead tours in small vans – something we’d still like to do but just ran out of time (and daylight) the day we were there. Click on the video below of a waterfall in Zion — it’ll zoom right in on the source.

A waterfall at Zion National Park

We came back to the coach, spent a second night at Ruby’s and then went on to visit Bryce Canyon National Park the next day. We could take the main road about 12 miles into the park after which the path was closed due to roads blocked by the snow. It would take a few more days/weeks of nice weather to get to the point that the park would be totally open to visitors.

But what we were able to see was Oh So Impressive! (click on any pix for a larger view)

Click on the video below

Panoramic view from Inspiration Point overlooking the hoodoo’s

After visiting Bryce, we took a drive over to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

The next morning we hooked up the car to the back of the coach and left Bryce continuing our trek north. We decided not to stop at Salt Lake City, but instead continue on to Rock Springs, Wyoming where we new there was a county fair grounds and event center with 1200 full hook-up sites (water, sewer, electric) and we knew there was a pretty hefty winter storm coming our way. We knew we could hook up and “hunker down” at Rock Springs if we needed to for a few days.

The “Toad” and the bikes on the back of the coach

We’ll tell you more about that in our next post. ’til then …. thanks so much for riding along. I just wanted to share with you some of the amazing beauty we’re seeing out west.

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8 thoughts on “The Landscape Keeps Changing

  1. We take that road you were on overlooking Congress, AZ, back from Prescott. Which means we go down the hill. I’m thinking you must have gone UP the hill, correct? That’s quite the grade. How did your rig handle that??

    1. Actually no, we left the rig at our Escapee RV Club park “North Ranch” (Congress) and took the trip in the car. We then went on up to Jerome and had lunch at Haunted Hamburger. We traveled that area quite a bit back in ’16 when we Workamped at a small RV park at Camp Verde. By the way, next time you are up that way looking for lunch or dinner, stop in to Nichols West just west of the RR tracks at Congress. A true diamond in the rough! Thanks for contributing.

    2. Boy that is beautiful country. We just finished a stay for a month in Hurricane and badly miss the area now in N.C., even in the month there wasn’t enough time to see things. Safe Travels!!!!😁

      1. Understood Mike, sometimes a month just isn’t long enough, but then again … there’s SO much to see and do out there, if we stay a month everywhere — we’ll be 130 years old and still not see it all! You say you’re now in NC … has Karen been able to find temp work where you travel? Is that what’s taken you to NC?

  2. Well, not sure what happened to my first post but wanted you to know we have been to those parks…..and absolutely fell in love with Bryce Canyon. We went to Moab first, went over Hogsback mountain (a heart stopper) (and not with an RV), Zion and lastly Bryce Canyon. Actually, we have been to all the places you mentioned except for that animal place. Arizona is a very diversified place with mountains and dry desert. We even stayed in Congress for a couple of days.

    Since we are sitting still, right now, awaiting our next job….we are enjoying travelling through your blog and seeing new places and revisiting places we’ve been. Hope to cross your paths again one of these days.

  3. Oh be still my heart!!! f Bryce Canyon….one of my all time favorites to visit. We also have been to Moab, Zion, Escalante and Canyon lands in November of 2012….but Bryce was by far our absolute favorite. We also went across Hogsback mountain…on hwy 12 (Not with the RV though). OH MY!!!! Talk about a heart stopper. I want to go back to Bryce Canyon and stay at Ruby Village, only this time with our RV and we won’t be going on Hwy 12 this time…LOL

  4. I noticed the sign in Bryce saying to not leave your valuables in the car. Is that why you let Kath out ?

    1. Yuk Yuk 🙂 Guess crime is everywhere … even when you would think everyone there is “on vacation” … but I guess the crooks are willing to spend $35 to get into the park so they can steal other’s phones, laptops, GPS’s and more … sad state of affairs (but we had a good time!)

I'm curious ... what are your thoughts on this?