Circling Utah

We didn’t plan it this way…we planned to spend the winter in Park City and then head down to the Grand Canyon. Our wanderlust pushed us out of the Wasatch in early April, basically right after we had decided to come back next year. If you’re already coming back then it’s time to move on, right?

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We headed over to Moab, never having been there, not knowing what to expect or where we would stay.  The AT&T coverage maps were optimistic about service. This was mostly true. There was no service when the whole town lost power for two hours and there was noticeable degradation when the weather was poor. My coworkers dealt with a few calls where there was clearly lots of espresso being made in the background.
 
We coated ourselves in red Moab dirt for a few weeks. We boondocked at Ken’s Lake and Behind the Rocks. We drove and hiked all over. We tasted, bought bottles and consumed the local wine. The Manti-La Sal mountain range greeted us with an epic sunrise every morning. We drove through and surprised ourselves with some scary mud (the truck needed new tires). I drove a bunch of it, then switched off and didn’t look at one point, I trusted Shawn to drive and he was nice enough to pretend he wasn’t concerned. I don’t like being a passenger in sketch.
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We did some RV work. We got our first solar panel and set it up, it doesn’t take much to have a huge impact. Just a 120w panel and another battery. Shawn created a custom battery box for two that vents that dangerous hydrogen gas produced by charging batteries the same as before.  We ripped out the factory CO2 alarms and replaced them with two battery operated ones in better locations. We debugged the propane thermostat on the fridge and ordered a new one that is currently riding the post office around the country after us. We tested our abilities to avoid showering to conserve water.  🙂
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The area is breathtaking and again we decided we will come back, and we moved on. The forecast for Utah was rain for the week, all over. We headed to Cedar City on a whim. I usually do a bit more route planning. This could have been bad. About 100 miles from Moab we threw a tread, middle tire, driver side. It ripped the tarp and insulation in the trailer wheel well. The RV is only 8 months old now and we hadn’t had to change a tire yet. This is when we learned that Grand Design hadn’t drilled a hole for the spare tire lowering crank in the side. We needed to open the slide and there was no where flat enough to do so. We started driving at 25 mph looking for a spot. We found one 5 miles later.
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We got it changed by stopping in the middle of the highway in one of those authorized vehicle spots. It was flat-ISH and there were no services for 100 miles (no authorized vehicles showed themselves either). We learned some I-70 trivia that day that you probably don’t want to know unless you plan to drive this section.  There was so little traffic we backed right back onto the interstate to continue our trip. Then there was snow and thousands feet elevation changes. Oops, didn’t plan for that. Forgot to check elevations on the route. Drove slower to be safe. The newly ripped underside got soaked. When we fueled up we dried and duct taped it. The duct tape is still there and on the to do list. We had doubts about moving on into the storm or staying the night. Red bull and adrenaline, we kept going.
 
Cedar City was rainy as expected. French pastries (reason #1 for the trip) were immediately acquired and eaten. Showers were taken, long and hot. Moab red continued to flake out of everything. Centro pizza was devoured (reason #2 for the trip), twice, with local wine.  Mostly we did our WFH thing that pays the bills.
 
Shawn arranged for the purchase and installation of 13 new tires from Good Year. 6 for the truck and 7 for the trailer. Total about $3,000. We didn’t get new tires in Moab because everything there costs at least 40% more. The trailer tires were still the cheap factory shit. Had about 5,000 estimated miles. The way the tread separated we are sure they were retreads. They hadn’t been balanced, were wearing poorly, and had already had a failure. The truck tires took three tries to get right. First time they hadn’t balanced them either, second time they put the rims on the wrong spots and we couldn’t get to the dual rear valve stems. They weren’t filled to pressure, but this is normal of new tires, seems service never fill them properly. We had to fill one of the trailer tires, too.  Eventually all tires were balanced, and at pressure. We did spend the first 200 miles stopping regularly to torque they trailer as required. It always reminds me of the country song “stopping every 100 miles, calling Baton Rouge” to which I change the words to “stopping every 50 miles, twerking tires”. It is a leg workout.
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We only had one non-working day in Cedar City so we drove to Kolob Canyon, part of Zion national park. Amazing geological formations.  The 12 mile up and down drive took us 3 hours because we stopped a lot. We made plans to go back and see other parks of Zion, Brian Head for snowboarding, Bryce, etc.
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My sister is getting married next week and my ticket is booked out of Salt Lake City so we are returning to the city for my flight in and out. While there, the mail should catch up to us. I’m looking forward to a new smart phone and a desk chair. The truck has an appointment to get a new heavy duty Warn bumper and Smittybilt winch. This appointment and flight were booked a month ago.  Shawn and Kat will look for sites in Bountiful north of SLC to boondock until mid-May when we drive to the east coast for the summer and fall. There is still red Moab sand in my running shoes and all over truck and trailer.  Utah, Wasatch, Moab desert, we will see you again in November.
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