Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Flagstaff to Wahweap on Lake Powell

We've just completed our two week stay at Bonito NF Campground in the Coconino

National Forest just north of Flagstaff, Az.

It's a great campground with the added benefit of no cell service.   

So thanks to all of you who left comments and emails on our last post but we were not able to reply to your comments - but rest assured that we love to hear from you.

Our first few days were a tad on the warmer side - but nowhere near like Tucson.
Temps in the low 90's gave way to cooler temps in the 80's and then the Thunderstorms came which immediately dropped the temps into the refreshing 60's!

Hail during the daily Thunderstorms in Bonito Campground

As I mentioned in the last post - the area is covered with black cinders from the nearby Sunset Crater

closeup of cinders covering the ground

The Sunset Crater is really a "Cinder Cone"   a built up area of cinder that piles up around a volcanic vent.
There are several cinder cones in the immediate vicinity

The Sunset Crater last erupted around 1185 - about the time that William the Conqueror
was living out his last days raping and pillaging the Saxons in England.

Lava flow and cinder cone in the background

A view of the Sunset Crater from the West.
I took this photo several years ago.

A view of the crater from the north

And a view of the area from higher up on a nearby mountain.
 (Sunset crater is right of center by lighter area) 

We've been testing using our Sous Vide cooker while boondocking.   
It turned out to be a very efficient way to cook as the Annova Sous Vide device uses only about 50w once the water is pre-heated and then the pot is insulated with our Wonder Bag
We heat the water on the stove first to save battery power, then start to Sous Vide.

Our Sous Vide setup on the picnic table

We cooked a skirt steak (5hrs) and a couple of Filets (3hrs) then finished them off with a quick sear on the Solaire Anywhere Radiant Grill for a minute or two per side.

While in Bonito we took a couple of day drives on the endless ribbons of forest service roads that criss cross all thru the nearby forest and the San Francisco Peaks area.

One particularly nice drive was a loop - first on Shultz Pass Rd (very light 4wd in spots) and then back on FR 418 which is doable in any passenger car.

If you would like to see a map or the exact route taken, you can look at the spotwalla
map (where are we now link on upper right) and adjust the time frame displayed on the map
to account for whenever you are viewing this post.

If you don't know how to do that - leave a comment and I'll explain there.

View of the painted desert far in the distance from FR 418

FR 418 Coconino NF

One trip took us up to the Lockett Meadow Campground.
The road up is steep and narrow at spots.  Definitely not PartyBus territory.
Perhaps a Class B would be suitable but even Class C's would be an annoyance to others
as tight spots.    This is tent camper territory.

A beautiful valley at about 8,200' - the campground is nestled up in the trees ahead.
Located in Pines and Aspens - it must be beautiful in the fall.
Lockett Meadow - Coconino National Forest

On the Shultz Pass road - we passed thru a burn area as the afternoon thunderheads started to build.

Later the road took us thru an area where the trees were making a comeback, and finally
back into the forest.

Shultz Pass Rd Coconino National Forest Az

Looping back east on FR 218 we circle the northern side of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness area and 
Humphreys Peak - the highest point (12,637' ) in Arizona.

The road took us thru stands of White Birch - normally seen in locations much further north.

Below we entered a clearing where we had a panoramic view of the Painted Desert about
40 miles away and several thousand feet lower.
The colors in person just cant be shown in a picture.

Shameless self promotion.

Monday morning we packed up after our 14 day stay and headed north to 
Wahweap Campground on Lake Powell near Page, Az.

This is a view of where we hooked up just outside the campground - the San Francisco Peaks
rising in the background.

The drive up to Page is varied and beautiful.
One 60 mile stretch parallels the Echo Cliffs - a prominent monocline that runs 70 miles north/south.

This is a geologists wonderland. 
I've been contemplating taking a Geology course or two to better appreciate my surroundings. 

The colors in the rocks denote certain rock formations that you
can see in numerous places throughout the west - especially in the layers of the Grand Canyon.

Echo Cliffs near Tuba, City Navajo Nation Arizona

About 25 miles south of Page - just past the 89A junction that would take you to the North
Rim of Grand Canyon - US 89 climbs about 1,000' up onto a plateau.
It's a beautiful climb with amazing scenery off to the west.
This stretch of highway is known locally as "The Cut"

"The Cut"  US 89 Az.

In February 2013 a 1,200' stretch of the cut shifted downward and caused extensive damage to
the highway, closing this stretch of road for over 2 years.
The detour added 25 miles and 1 hour to the trip.

Picture of US 89 damage in "The Cut"

Before the road could be repaired an extensive geological study need to understand what took place 
and how to best prevent any further occurrences.

Once the study was complete - 1 million cu yards of the mountainside was relocated to form
a buttress below the slide area and the roadway was relocated 60' into what was once the mountain.

At the top of the climb the roadway enters the cut

Passing thru the cut.

After a quick fuel stop to top off - we arrived at our destination for 2 nights.
Wahweap Campground in the Lake Powell National Recreation Area.

The view from the cab

Wahweap is one of our favorite stops - although we've never stayed more than a few days at a time.
Full hookups with 50 amps and a great view from every site.

Our site - Loop A  #2

We are here for just 2 nights.   
A chance to dump tanks and take on fresh water after 16 days of boondocking.

We also did some loads of laundry -  I tied a clothes line from the bus to the truck.

By the time I would get to the end of the clothes line - the laundry at the starting end
was already dry due to the low humidity and fresh breeze.

T shirts and socks were drying in 5 minutes.   Cargo shorts took about 10.
Much faster than using our dryer - and no heat generated inside the bus.

Our day was capped off with the waxing "Corn Moon"
Almost full - it will be tomorrow - Sept 2nd.

La Luna Bella

Tomorrow we head off to Utah.

Our initial destination will be Red Canyon NF Campground and we'll stay there if I can find one of the sites that we prefer.   If not - I have 2 nights reservations at Singletree NF campground about 2 hrs further down UT route 12 in Dixie National Forest.

We've been to both before.
Red Canyon a couple of times including last year enroute to Alaska.

Singletree is at 8,200' and lies on Boulder Mountain above Capital Reef NP and affords
a great view from some of the sites of the Waterpocket Fold several thousand feet below.

Either way - our plan is to hunker down for the Labor Day weekend - then on Monday
we have 4 days reserved at J Robb State Park in Fruita, Colorado just outside of
Grand Junction.

There are a number of fires burning in Colorado and smoke has been bad in
the Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs area so we need to keep and eye on that
and might have to change plans.    We had enough smoke last year in Alaska to last a lifetime.

I've been asked about traveling in the age of Covid.
A lot of folks in the RV crowd are high risk.
We are fortunate that we live where most of the grocery stores have curbside pickup and
between that and Amazon, we've been able to  shop since March
 without having to walk inside a store.

As a matter of fact - in the last 6 months, since March 2nd,  I've only been inside a store briefly - twice.

And I've discovered that I have a talent for hairstyling.
I've been cutting Kates hair since March - and those of you who know her well, know
how she is about her hair....   And she LOVES my work!
Go figure!

Likewise - while traveling - I'm searching out stores like Walmart, where I can order online
and pickup in the parking lot.    We did just that in Flagstaff on Saturday.
I even found a drive thru Liquor Store where we picked up some essential spirits.

My thought is the less times I risk exposing us - the less chance of getting sick.
We want to stick around so that we can pick up where we left off when this is over.

See you down the road somewhere.


  1. Hey John, hope you both are well. Just had that last piece of Rockfish the other day. Yum!

  2. Thanks for the updates on your travels in such beautiful and interesting places! We went to Lake Powell several times with my family. So incredible! Your Covid lifestyle modifications are sensible and glad to Kate's haircuts make her happy. When Hayden cuts mine, we say I am going to Salon Hay-don, so it rhymes. Haha!

  3. Looks super peaceful! I took a couple of geology courses in college. I bet you'll enjoy that!


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