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Trip Report: Bryce, Zion and points south
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idahoskier
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Joined: March 30, 2009
Posts: 155
Location: Donnelly, ID
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Trip Report: Bryce, Zion and points south Reply with quote

If you live in the mountains you know that every April you long for spring as your friends that live in warmer reigons are pulling out the bikes and boats. My wife and I are no exception, although I dont think our not quite 2 y.o. daughter cares yet. Still having two feet of snow on the ground at the house we pulled the van (AKA "The Buddha" as he has taught us much about patience) out of hibernation. It was a last minute trip with no destination or timeline other than we had to be back in 10 days.

Not the way to start (OK 500 miles in) a trip:
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Before we got going I changed the oil, installed a new canvas (from Ebay - review to be posted soon), and a new rear heater. I should have added a fuel pump and filter to that list Rolling Eyes Thanks to the good people here on TheSamba I was able to figure out what I blew up diagnosing the pump Embarassed The engine wiring diagram is now back in the van where it belongs and of course shows the fuse I did not know about d'oh!

After our layover in Fillmore UT waiting for a fuel pump and filter to get to NAPA (spares now live under the seat) We headed up to Bryce Canyon on Hwy 12. The best part was upon entering the park we were informed that it was National Parks Week and entry to all National Parks was free for the week! We went on to hit four of em Wink
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In Bryce we saw the hoodoos, drove the entire road and went for a hike around Sunrise Point. There was still snow around on the north aspects which made for some nice contrast against the rocks. From there we moved on to Zion. We followed a Sportsmobile from Bryce through the really impressive tunnel that guides you down into Zion (Amazing that it was built in the 1930s). We both pulled off for the South Campground as did a few others behind us. He took the high road and I the low road. We got the last two spots in the campground Applause He came over later to celebrate our mutual victory and it turns out he used to own a bay and a vanagon and was curious as to why I was able to keep up on the way up to the tunnel Wink This picture does not begin to descibe how many VWs were at the campground. LOTS of EVs, two syncros, at least 5 westys that I counted and even a rialta:
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The next morning we snagged a nicer camp spot next to the Parus Trail and the river with a killer view of the Watchman:
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This ^^ is also the location of my daughters first "handstand" which is something that I am known to do in various setttings around the country Razz

The weather in the canyon was pretty wet so we went down to St. George and Snow Canyon for the day:
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After a few wet hikes (Emerald Pools, Parus, Temple of Sinawava and a few others) with some really cool low clouds over the mountains we decided to go see my parents in Las Vegas and stop by Death Valley since it was in bloom... even if it wasnt a stellar bloom year. After a weekend there we headed north again towards Great Basin. Wheeler Peak (13,068') in the background with camping around 7000'. Did I say something about no snow earlier?
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The Lehman Caves are really cool and one of the most densely populated (feature wise) in the US. You go about 100' underground down to about 6700'. The bonus is that since the water table hasnt been near the cave for a looong time its by far the nicest (esp for a toddler) cave Ive ever been in.

After a REALLY windy drive we stopped by an old tramway in the middle of nowhere:
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I also reccomend checking out a place called Cathedral Canyon. Its like a rest area that has a metal staircase that leads into a mini Bryce Canyon. Its South of Ely, NV on the 6/93/50 route.

All in all it was a good trip. Over 2500 miles. Best fuel economy was 24.6 (even with a top speed of 100 MPH Shocked ) but I had a STIFF tail wind. Worst was 14.9 with the same wind but a change in direction Wink Avg speeds of 70-80 MPH, avg of 20 MPG but Ive had issues with my right foot my whole life. The rockstar of the trip is my new favorite gadget: HTC Droid... GPS, Google Maps, 5 MP camera, Level bubble and I can listen to Pandora on the road! TheSamba helps a lot to make all this possible... Cheers!!!

Sorry there arent more scenic photos. I just found out the hard way that photos of anything without a VW logo or covered in some sort of automotive fluid get deleted very quickly from the gallery Laughing
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Last edited by idahoskier on Thu May 06, 2010 6:21 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Robw_z
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Joined: April 28, 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice trip. I just had the same spring-feeling but went on a much smaller day-trip from Boise down into the Owyhees. I drove by Wheeler Peak last year and if you would've told me it was 13,000 feet I wouldn't have believed you as from the Nevada side it looks tall, but not that tall!

-Rob
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ANGOVAY
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Joined: November 02, 2009
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up and great pictures. My wife and I are taking a similar trip in September-going across Nev, Zion, south Utah, 4 corners, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon and back up 395 home. Looking at your pictures I noticed the cover on your vent. Do you know if you need to vent the fridge when using ac or dc power? I know for sure when using propane but not the others. Thanks.
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ANGOVAY
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to find Cathedral Canyon on my map. Is it on 93 south of 6-50 towards Pioche or you stay on 6-50East to Great Basin? My first choice was to go way south of Ely but we want to go to GB so it's a toss up now.
Thanks again,
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idahoskier
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Location: Donnelly, ID
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several areas refered to as Cathedral Canyon but the area Im talking about is on 93 south of the 6/50 intersection. It really looks like a gazebo on the side of the road for a rest area and has a rather small sign. Heres a pic that hasnt been removed... *yet* Very Happy
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levi
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ANGOVAY wrote:
Nice write up and great pictures.


And nice wheels. Man, those are a great match to your van.
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