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Grand Canyon, Arizona—East Rim

Louise Speaks:  Day 10:  As we left Kanab and headed home, we decided to continue with the canyons and go see the greatest canyon of them all, the Grand Canyon.    This is actually the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.

100_8845But first on the way out of town heading east there is an old movie location of Gunsmoke TV Town.  Since that was one of my favorite TV shows we just had to stop.  It is a bit off the main road but on the way.  The directions on finding this TV town is easy but the movie location is nothing like I remember.  Very similar to Little Hollywood it is a run down movie set and nothing like you would ever remember seeing on any TV show…but it is on our list of quirky things to see, so here we are.  It was a very short stop and then we were on the road again.

100_8858Leaving Kanab and heading to the Grand Canyon, turns out we are still in the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Mounument.  This place is huge.  We have now been on three sides of this National Monument and by this time I’m saying, I’m getting pretty tired of looking at rocks.  Truth is, the rock formations have been different on all three sides and very interesting to look at.

2015-10-25 14.26.12As we left Page and Lake Powell it was a quick turn off the main road to head to the Grand Canyon.  Now we have been to the Grand Canyon before but never to the East Rim. By entering the Grand Canyon thru the East Entrance you end up going along the South Rim and seeing the canyon in all it’s glory.  The South Rim is the side that is visited the most and is the most commercialized.  The West Rim is the newest attraction of the Grand Canyon and is where the new Skywalk is located.  The Skywalk is on the Indian Reservation so has different rules and regulations.  The North Rim is the furthest away and the less populated.    I have blogged about each side separately so you’ll have to read all the blogs and then you can decide which side is best for you when you plan your trip to the Grand Canyon.

100_1615Grand Canyon East is most often referred to as “Desert View”.  Although Desert View is part of the South Rim it has its own entrance and self-contained visitor area that includes Desert View Visitor Center, Market Place, Trading Post, Parking Lot, Restrooms, Restaurant, Ranger Station, Gas Station, Picnic Area and even its own campground.

100_1600If you’re the type that prefers a more tranquil visit to the Grand Canyon South Rim without the congestion of large crowds found at Grand Canyon Village, this is the place. Its view points are equally spectacular as those to the west and even easier to get to.  Views, particularly from the top of the Historic Watchtower, which is the highest viewpoint at the South Rim are unbelievable. The Desert View Watchtower, which was built in 1932 incorporates Native American art in it’s decor and has one of the few views of the bottom of the Canyon and the Colorado River…and yes you can walk up to the very top.

2015-10-25 15.27.30The Desert View East Rim is the preferred destination if you only have a limited amount of time but yet want to experience the amazing scenic beauty of a world wonder. Of course, you can spend all the time you want and take the Desert View Scenic Drive, which is a 25-mile drive west along the canyon into Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which is overwhelmingly the most visited portion of the Grand Canyon.  For most tourist, this is what we call the South Rim and the biggest tourist attraction.   It’s amazing to be able to say I have now seen the Grand Canyon from all sides, and still find every angle amazing.

2015-10-25 14.58.58As we were driving out of the park, through the South Rim, we came across several large Elk that were grazing in the bush.  At one point two of them started to fight, and their large rack of horns became entangled.  They kept going back and forth, pulling and shoving, but the 100_1612horns would not unlock.  After several minutes, and people and cars stopping all over the place to watch and take pictures, they were still stuck.  You can see how close to the road they really are.  More were away from the road, but these two really caught our attention.  We left and just have to wonder…how do they get untangled?


Well it’s our last night of this journey, so we are staying in Williams where they have the haunted caboose RV park and then heading home in the morning,  The past 10 days touring southern Utah has been amazing,  Like the other sides of the Grand Canyon, this side gets a rating of an A just like the other sides and Utah is simply a state like no other.  I can’t wait to head to northern Utah  and see the rest of this wonderful state.

Thelma Speaks:


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Kanab, Utah

Louise Speaks:  Day 9:  Well our Utah trip is almost over so we are heading south and heading home.  We did find a few quirky things to see on the way home, but interesting as well.  Turns out Kanab, Utah is a cute town that you could spend a few days in.  But it was the drive to Kanab that we found the “Quirky” things.

100_8821The first stop was the Mysterious Concrete Totem Pole.  It is right along the highway behind a gated fence.  Apparently at one time it was a roadside stop as there is a pull off space off the highway and there are picnic tables behind the fence.  Something must have happened to have it fenced off now.  We actually drove by it the first time, but if you’re looking for it, it is pretty easy to spot.


Just a mile or so up the highway from the Totem Pole is the Moqui Cave.  Moqui Cave is located just five and a half miles north of Kanab on Highway 89, and is a museum of artifacts, fossils and history, depicting life in southern Utah spanning the centuries.  The cave’s history is as interesting as its artifacts.  A cool room in the back once housed a fully operational tavern, where those wanting to imbibe could hide their “devil’s brew” from prohibitionists.  The late Garth and Laura Chamberlain purchased the cave in 1951, rescuing it from years of disuse.  The Chamberlains, along with their five children who helped operate the cave, worked hard at making Moqui Cave a first class tourist attraction. That same goal has been continued today by Garth’s son and daughter-in-law, Lex and Lee Ann Chamberlain who live in Kanab.  Your imagination will be piqued when you enter the cool sandstone cave and see the large collection of dinosaur tracks that once 100_8825inhabited the area.  The cave also boasts one of the largest fluorescent and fossil mineral displays in the U.S.   Moqui Cave also has a gift store in a side sandstone chamber which features items for purchase, including Indian arts and crafts, kachina dolls, rugs, pottery and turquoise. We didn’t pay for the tour but we did visit the gift shop and were able to see the inside of the cave.  We were also told this was the location of many old films, as we found out later, the entire area of Kanab is knick named “Little Hollywood.

100_8831Finally we approached the small, quaint town of Kanab.  Once in town we could tell why Kanab is known as “Little Hollywood”.  It has several spots of actually movie sets.  Our first step was known as “Frontier Movie Town”.  It is a museum and gift shop that continues outside.  Behind the museum were some old movie sets.  When I say old I don’t only mean old movies or TV shows but old sets.  They were not even recognizable.  They were just facades and it looked like an old town or old parts of buildings…not a true movie set.

100_8836Back in town, we had to track down the “Worlds Largest Shopping Cart”.  We were told that it was in the Honey Marketplace parking lot.  It is actually right on the curbside on the street, and it is HUGE!  They turned it into a place to display plants and they set it right next to a normal size shopping cart so that you can see the difference in size.

100_8840While at the store we decided to get a few things and right at the door to the store is a talking truck.  It is so cute.  It looks like out of the movie cars except it talks.  It announces store specials, nutritional facts and it just welcomes you as you enter the store.

We also found the best RV park right in Kanab.  It had the best cable channels and the fastest internet that we had on the whole trip.  They had a community dog that loved to come over and visit Gracie.  Because today was a short day, it was nice to have an early day and be at a great RV park.

All in all I would rate the town of Kanab an A.  It’s a great town with lots to see and lots to do.  I don’t think I could spend a week here but I could definitely spend a few days here and have many things to keep me busy.

Thelma Speaks:

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Zion National Park, Zion, Utah

100_8745Louise Speaks:  Day 8:  We started the day with a few RV problems.  As we parked last night we had the ceiling vent open and it came in contact with a tree and broke off.  So before we left we wanted to have the vent at least taped down so that if it rained it wouldn’t come inside.  First problem, we don’t have a ladder on the back of the RV so getting on top of the roof was going to be a problem.  But, lucky for us, the RV park we stayed at last night is adjacent to the Quality Inn Motel so they have a maintenance dept and the guys were more than willing to help us…and they had a tall enough ladder.  So once the vent was taken care of it was off to Zion.

100_8776Next obstacle, you are not allowed to drive through the park of Zion, you must take the scenic shuttle.  Of course we have Gracie with us and no pets are allowed on the shuttle.  So we have to trust that Gracie will be okay being left in the RV while we take the hour and half scenic shuttle tour.

We board the shuttle to find out there are 8 stops and you can get on an off and stay at each viewpoint as long as you’d like.  The shuttles come by about every 10 minutes.  So off we went.

To me….and it is my opinion, but I was not impressed with Zion.  There were huge rock formations, but they were just rocks.  It was like a huge mountain, but again I’m from Arizona so seeing mountain ranges is not that impressive.  We did stop at all the stops and take our pictures and then it was back on the shuttle.

100_8796The one stop that was interesting was “Angels Landing”.  It is called that because the top is supposed to be so high that only an angel could land there.  What is interesting is that you can actually hike to the top.  And if a hiker is wearing white you can actually see a spot at the top of the mountain.  The trail to Angels Landing is 2.4 miles.  It begins at the Grotto drop off point one of the park’s shuttle stops.  thIt roughly follows the path of the Virgin River for some time, slowly gaining elevation in sandy terrain.  As the trail gets steeper and leaves behind the river, it becomes paved.  After a series of steep switchbacks, the trail goes through the area between Angels Landing and the Zion Canyon that is a gradual ascent.  Walter’s Wiggles, is a serious of 21 steep th1switchbacks, and are the last hurdle before Scout Lookout. Scout Lookout is generally the turnaround point for those who are unwilling to make the final summit push to the top of Angels Landing.  The last half-mile of the trail is strenuous and littered with sharp drop offs and narrow paths.  Chains to grip are provided for portions of the last half-mile to the top th2which tops out at 5,790 feet.  Footing can be slippery even when the rock is dry.  Unevenly surfaced steps are cut into the rock with major cliff drop offs on both sides.   The National Park Service website officially recognizes five fatalities where suspicious activity was involved along Angels Landing, however other deaths have been reported.  I’ve copied the pictures from a web site to give you an idea…there is no way I am doing this hike.

100_8785One of the stops on the shuttle was actually one of the recommended stops in Patricia’s book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die.” the Zion Lodge.  If you are a guest at the lodge you are given a special pass so that you can go to the lodge without having to take the scenic shuttle, but you cannot just drive to the lodge without this pass.  The lodge is literally blended into the mountain.  Very similar to Bryce, the lodge is painted to match and blend into the mountains.  Like with any lodge in the woods it is very rustic with log furniture and of course a huge wood burning fireplace.

100_8792Also inside the lodge and in Patricia’s book is the Red Rock Grill.  The staff was wonderful and the smells coming from the dining room were wonderful.  Turns out the restaurant and the lodge were closing in just 3 days for the winter, but today it was filled with people and the setting was breathtaking.  Eating lunch on the patio with the mountains in the background was just like being in a painting.

100_8759Once we were done with the scenic shuttle it was back to the RV and Gracie and then on with our day.  However, to get out of Zion we still have to be escorted through the tunnel.  Going up the hill to the tunnel seemed much easier and quicker than coming down the hill from the tunnel.  The reason for the escort is because of the height of the RV we have to drive right down the center of the tunnel, where normally it is a two lane road.  Obviously we made it and once we were out of the tunnel our campsite for the night was just outside the park so it was an early day for us.

Like I had said earlier, it’s not that Zion isn’t impressive, it’s just that it wasn’t that impressive to me.  That being said I would give Zion a C rating.  It is impressive, but nothing like Bryce.


Thelma Speaks: