Arches National Park- Canyon Lands and The Needles

Leaving the Swell we headed for Horse Thief BLM Campground, a beautiful drive 20 miles from Moab heading towards Canyonlands National park on Hwy 313, eight miles off of Hwy 191. The campground is very beautiful, campsites are nestled in amongst pinon pines and Utah juniper with panoramic views of the upper high dessert.

Sites are large and very private and just $10.00 a night. Amenities are again very clean pit toilets’, fire ring and a camp table. Just 8 miles up the road was Dead Horse S.P. and Canyon Lands N.P. and the Island In The Sky Section. Mountain Biking is abundant and the bike trails are everywhere and amazing. Jeep and side by sides are everywhere, but all trail riding and back road jeeping requires a permit.

We decided to bike from Moab to the Arches visitors center on our Blix Electric Bikes, the bike trail is paved and so much fun. Speed limit was 20 miles per hour, to funny because you could go a lot faster down some of those hills and we might have. It was so much fun we continued down the bike trail all the way to Hwy 313, In all we biked 21 miles and found about 8 geo caches ALONG THE WAY.

Arches N.P. requires you to make reservations to visit during the day time. BUT, if you enter the park at 5pm, you dont need reservations. So that’s what we did and worked well for us, less people and parking was great. Arches is so far in our travels a mind blowing experience of amazing wonders. This is our second time to visit, never gets old.

We spent a day in Canyon Land – The Needles and hiked to Indian ruins and lots of petroglyph’s. Very unique landscape and much different from Arches.

We tried out the Plant Based food in Moab and what a treat. It happened to be our 27th anniversary so we went a little crazy finding the best food ever. We first tried Quesadilla Mobilla and ordered the Vegetarian Quesadilla, no words can describe how good these were and I will be making these at home from now on -YUM. Oh no we aren’t finished, we were advised to try the Rainbowls Food Truck and order The Gold Knob Nachos made with plant based walnut taco meat with cashew cheese sauce, incredible. We were so happy we found such excellent Plant Based food. The finale was The Garage, a hip ice cream store we had visited on our last visit. The owner offered to make us both affogatos with their signature coffee, no words again so darn good. What a great Day! After all of that indulging we headed out to hike some trails and find some geo caches.

NEXT: Due to a weather anomaly (THATS WHAT THE RANGER TOLD US) we headed from the dessert to Blanding, Utah and luckily got a RV site at Blue Mountain RV and Trading Post. The wind advisory was 29 to 60 miles an hour and 20 degrees at night. We tucked in and stayed pretty warm, but our RV was litterly rocking all night long with 40 to 50 miles an hour wind gusts, it was scary.

CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ

NEXT HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT

The San Rafael Swell Utah – BLM camping

Its April 1, 2022 and we are fully loaded, probably overloaded if you know us headed to our first BLM experience at the Swell. We have given ourselves two days to reach the Swell. Stopping at a truck stop in Winnemucca, Nevada for our fist night and our second night at Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin, UT. This was a Harvest Host location and a lot of fun with great ice cream. We woke up early to snow capped mountain views and hurriedly headed to The Bonneville Salt Flats. First impressions, Flat, Vast and super white. Encompassing approx. 40 square miles and 7 miles long, you can drive on the flats as far as you can see. Very unique, you got to visit just once.

The drive from Nevada into Utah is definitely a high dessert experience, rolling hills, sage brush and sand dunes, surrounded by snow topped glacier carved mountains. Its mile after mile of sand and sage yet with this said there is a peaceful beauty. We headed down route 10 to Castle Dale and headed East into the San Rafael Swell. We stayed in a BLM campground named N. Swinging bridge. Amenities were a actual clean pit toilet that didn’t smell and cleaned daily , a picnic table and a fire ring. NO water is available in the whole area and we were twenty eight miles from a paved road. At $3.50 a night not bad, we were very prepared for this and only one other camper in the campground, very peaceful.

The next 2 days we spent exploring petroglyph’s and pictograph’s, hiking through slot canyons and even a dinosaur foot print. The views and the rock formations were incredible. the roads are ruff, wash boarded and dusty. We especially loved the Little Grand Canyon view point.

Next Stop Arches National park

Cheers for Jeff and Liz

PS: Not everything is perfect on the road. We had to buy a new battery for our Honda CRV that we tow, but luckily we were in Santaquin and not in the middle of Swell. Otherwise all systems are working great.

Florence Oregon – 2021 Road Trip Adventure

Our oldest daughter is getting married on June 26, 2021. So what do we do, we make a RV adventure trip out of it. Well we have to drive from Bend, Oregon to Central California right, so why not RV our way to the wedding. We packed our trailer and decided our first stop would be Florence, Oregon, yes right on the beautiful Oregon coast. What I didn’t tell you was that we left 28 days before the wedding so we could explore our way down the Oregon coast to Napa Valley and then to Waterford, California. Hey its a wedding, so lets make it fun, right.

Why not make a travel adventure out of an upcoming family wedding? This idea spurred us into loading up the trailer, and leaving three weeks earlier than the official wedding date. Hey, y’all! This is an adventure and it is time to start having fun again! So, we left home on May 31, 2021 and headed to our first shake down stop in Florence, Oregon for five whole glorious days…….

We are camped at the Elk’s camp ground, just outside Florence, about a mile out of town. Note – must be a member to use their facilities. The camp ground itself is very clean, quiet, and well maintained. The camp hosts are super friendly and helpful. Sites are multi sizes, lots of pull-thru sites and back-in sites for larger rigs. At $25.00 a night its pretty reasonable and includes water, electric and a state of the art dump station. The restrooms are extremely clean, including very nice showers with lots of hot water. Bonus! Each site is separated by greenery and oversized shrubbery, which makes for lots of privacy. I would say its has a very geriatric vibe. Honestly our grand children would be bored here, not much to do for kiddos but the beach is only 1 mile away, so that’s a plus.

Speaking of beach’s, if tide pools are your thing, this is the place. From Seaside, Oregon towards the California border at Brookings there are 27 Oregon Coast Rocky Intertidal Sites to explore. Oh, what fun! I’ll name you a few of our favorites:

Yachats State Recreation Site

Cape Perpetua

Strawberry Hill

Our very favorite is Bob Creek – lots of agates, star fish, crab and sea anemones. Also great for whale watching!

Walking the streets of Florence and the fun shops is a must and I would highly suggest having lunch or dinner at Homegrown for a delightful experience. Everything is made fresh, homemade, local, and organic…so delicious! We ordered the fish tacos and a chia seed burger with a side of the best clam chowder we have ever had, hands down.

Our next stop is Alfred A. Loeb State Park.

Stay tuned for more adventures…

Cheers from Just Around The Bend – Jeff and Liz

STEHEKIN WASHINGTON CAMPING IN OUR BOAT

What if you had an idea to camp in your 19 foot boat, drive 55 miles on Lake Chelan to reach your destination of Stehekin. Only way to get to Stehekin is by a Ferry, your personal boat or I guess swim. A very isolated but magical location well worth the journey.

Stehekin is located at the head of Lake Chelan, there are no roads connecting this tiny community of 75 permanent residents. A fifty mile scenic journey in which you can reach Stehekin only by foot, horseback, your own boat or by passenger ferry boat. We opted to use our own 19 foot boat and boated the fifty miles exploring the shoreline as we traveled. The panorama of stark steep mountains took your breath away. The beauty of this country left us speechless. It actually only took less than 3 hrs to reach our destination and well worth it. A fee of $5.00 a day to dock your boat was a good deal as we were also camping on our boat. Cheap Digs with a view to remember. Fortunately we brought our Blix foldable electric bikes to explore with. Bikes are available to rent or you can bring your own highly recommend for exploring.

First Stop :

The Stehekin Pastry Company and log cabins are located two miles up the Stehekin Valley Road from the boat landing where the Ferries let off passengers. The bakery was built in 1989 and has a homey rustic feel besides the aroma of home baked goods and killer coffee and espresso. Delicious Cinnamon rolls the size of a small dinner plate for $2.25, pastries, cookies, ice cream, I could go on and on. The selections are varied depending on the day you visit, we visited everyday for 6 days, need I say more. The bakery is very considerate of those with special dietary concerns ( low carb and gluten free) are also very delicious. Their from scratch soups, sandwiches and quiches are also delicious with people coming from a far just for the goodness. As we headed back towards the boat dock one more stop a mere mile from the bakery was mandatory. Karl’s Garden!!!

Second stop:

Another hidden gem called THE GARDEN. Owned and fully operated by KARL a BAREFOOTED ORGANIC GARDENER.

Karl is amazing with a fairyland entryway into his garden lined by gorgeous flowers as big as your hand. You immediately feel transformed to another land with the aromas of flowers, goats he raises for yogurt and cheese, to the bees buzzing everywhere which help with his honey harvest. OK lets start with the goats: He raises them for making the most incredible creamy Chevre cheese (plain or herbed) or homemade yogurt flavored with his incredible honey he harvests on site. He uses the goat poop to fertilize his gardens which appears to be on steroids. Everything is on steroids I think even the bees were bigger . His garden is seasonal with homemade cosmetics, holistic medicine to some of his own bakery goods. A bit about Karl, he owned a Organic bakery called the honey hole located in Wenatchee years ago. Get him talking and you can learn some fascinating garden and baking tips. We left with our bike bags overflowing with giant beets, kale, fresh honey, chevre and fresh made goat yogurt. I myself was in organic heaven, Jeff wasn’t to far behind..

Stay Tuned for part Two of our Stehekin Adventures CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

NOTE: We visited Stehekin in early August 2019 beautiful time of year for perfect weather.

CRANE PRAIRIE CAMPGROUND – OREGON

Crane Prairie Reservoir is a man-made lake located about 42 miles southwest of Bend in Deschutes County, Oregon, United States. The reservoir is named for the cranes that thrive in its habitat and for the upper Deschutes River prairie that once covered the area before the dam on the Deschutes was constructed in 1922. One of the most scenic lakes in Central Oregon with amazing fishing and large open campsites.

Cons: Mosquitoes and tree stumps in the lake- good for boat repair shops, bad for your prop.

Crane Prairie is a great place to go if you are wanting to catch large fish, I caught a 22 inch trout myself and many more fish 18 inches and above. The locals call these giant fish cranebows, this year was a very good fishing year for us. We were lucky to reserve site 113 right on the water’s edge which enabled us to scoot are boat right up to the shore line, which saved us having to load it on its trailer everyday. The view from our campsite was poster perfect, with bird life abundant, eagles, asprey and hundreds of white pelicans. The campsite itself is dry camping with a rustic table and an even more rustic fire pit, but lots of room for 2 rigs, a boat trailer and a 25 ft RV. With clean restrooms near and a very nice fish cleaning station you are all set with all of the amenities you need. I especially noticed how quiet it was at night which made for a very relaxing camping experience.

Senior Pass price was $8.00 a night and we stayed a whole week.

Talk to the employees at the lodge as they will help you figure out where the fish are and what they are biting on at that particular time of the year of your visit. Very friendly and helpful staff and they know the fishing tricks for Crane Prairie and have a well stocked store for all of your camping and fishing needs.

CHEERS UNTIL OUR NEXT ADVENTURE JEFF AND LIZ

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Gilbert Ray Campground Arizona

Sometimes on our snow bird explorations we find a hidden gem and Gilbert Ray Campground ticks all of the boxes.

Bordering Saguaro National Park and a mier mile from Old Tucson Movie Studio Theme Park is Tucson Mountain Park which included in that park is Gilbert Ray Campground. Located 13 miles from Tucson, Gilbert Ray has 130 RV sites with individual electric hook-ups and 5 designated tent sites.. Water is available and a RV dump station. NO shower facilities. RESERVATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

The fees are $20.00 a night and a maximum stay of 7 days only. The trick to getting a spot as this is a very popular campground with no reservations accepted is to get there early in the morning, I’d say 7am, yes I said 7 am is best. Its worth it as you will definitely want to stay longer as there is so much to see and do in the surrounding area.

Some of the sites are pretty small, but as you check in they ask the size of your RV and select an appropriate size site for you. No favoritism here you get what they choose.

Tucson Mountain Park has a lot of maintained trails and vista pullouts for spectacular views of the Sonoran desert with plenty of pullouts for vehicles. This particular year was abundant with rainfall and the cactus were blooming profusely. In all of the years we have explored the desert we have never seen so much beauty.

Next Stop The Channel Islands Please Join Us On Our Journey

JUST AROUND THE BEND JEFF AND LIZ

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OLD TUCSON ARIZONA

OLD TUCSON is a theme park and historical film location in Pima County, Arizona. Over 400 movies and television shows were filmed at this location. if you are a fan of old western shows and movies you will probably recognize a lot of the backdrops. Located a mier mile from Gilbert Ray Campground and 4 miles from Saguaro National Park. General Admission is $19.95 and $10.95 for children (4-11) years old. A very large parking lot with plenty of RV room and free. Hours depend on the time of year, check their website as it changes often. Oldtucson.com. Old Tucson is very pet friendly as long as you keep your pet on a leash and your pet is friendly. NOTE: There is water placed for your pets comfort as it can get very hot and beware there is gun fire during part of the days events during stunt and cowboy shows.

Step back in time and plan on spending the entire day as we did enjoying numerous shows, gun fights, saloon musicals, living history and film history tour presentations. Don’t forget to take the train ride and plenty of rides for the kiddos to keep the whole family entertained. A western themed zipline is a very popular attraction located in the middle of the park which is an additional $20.00 a ride or 3 rides for $45.00.

The quality of the performances, whether it was singing, dancing or gunfighting was very, very professional. PERSONAL NOTE: Jeff was very happy as there was excellent BBQ and Good Ice Cream.

Our next adventure in the Tucson Area is The Historic Presidio District

Cheers From Just Around The Bend

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DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK ARIZONA

Another fabulous State Park that is kept in great shape. Clean restrooms that are literally heated, free hot showers and clean, clean, clean. Sites are swept and tables are washed off as soon as it is vacated. The upper loops are $5.00 a night cheaper with great views of the Verde Valley. Quail loop campground was $35.00 a night, the upper loops $30.00 with spectacular views and less trees which make a difference in the warmer weather. Well that’s what the Ranger said anyway. . There are extensive trail systems for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You are miles from Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood, Flagstaff and Clarksville. There is so much to see and do in the surrounding areas this campground makes for a great base camp.

The first day we visited Tuzigoot National Monument – Indian Ruins and Petroglyphs including a spectacular museum.

Montezuma’s Well WAS NEXT ON OUR LIST-more spectacular Indian ruins

Sedona Valley scenic byway was a beautiful drive with views and snow on the ground.

ALL ABOARD A FUN AND INTERACTIVE TRAIN RIDE

Like I said 2 weeks was probably not enough to see it all but we gave it a good try. In addition we visited Jerome and had a fabulous meal in a bordello called THE BORDELLO OF JEROME . The gyros were highly recommended and fantastic. The cook and owner made everything from scratch including the tzatziki sauce, pita bread and amazing feta crumbles, The lamb/beef mixture was non greasy and fantastic. We also roamed the streets of Cottonwood with lovely eclectic shops and a great BBQ restaurant called HOG WILD BBQ, I know the name is wild, ha but the food was outstanding.

Out next adventure takes us to Gilbert Ray Campground near Tucson AZ – see ya there CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ

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LAKE MEAD AND BOULDER CITY ARIZONA AND NEVADA

Boulder City was not what we expected. I thought dry, hot desert, nothing to explore, BORING, well that was not the case. I didn’t realize that a mire 4 miles from Boulder City was Hoover Dam and the expansion bridge which went across The Colorado river was incredible. After the Highway bypass was finished the cities staff went to work revitalizing the town and they did a great job. New bike paths, parks, and a nostalgic downtown with original neon signs. Boulder is one of the few Nevada cities that gambling and prostitution is illegal. This puts a relaxed persona on the town. There was a art and wine tour with live music downtown when we were visiting in February. The park on the way down to Lake Mead has resident Mountain Sheep hanging out in the park for great photo opportunities. We stayed 2 nights at the Elks Lodge RV park with Full hookups for members only. We moved over to Boulder Campground which is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area ran by the National Park Service.The very scenic sites were 10 dollars a night for senior pass holders and 20 dollars for young folks. There is 2 more campgrounds on the Nevada side and more on the Arizona side of the Lake. There is also some dispersed sites on the lake for free BLM camping. A plus to the campground is a 38 mile paved bike loop which goes along the lake, up towards Henderson and loops back to Boulder City. We had fun in the city and the Hoover dam was fascinating. We were reminded of the Selma Hayek movie Fools Rush In. Boulder won our hearts with great people and a fun nostalgic town. We will be back.

Until our next Adventure CHEERS FROM JEFF AND lIZ AT JUSTAROUNDTHEBEND.BLOG

You are probably wondering where are these Nomads headed to next – Well its to DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK SEE YOU THERE!!!!

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DEATH VALLEY CALIFORNIA

DEATH VALLEY 2019 TRAVELS

We sadly departed Alabama Hills BLM Land and headed over Highway 190 through the Panamint pass, with a 8% grade entering Death Valley. At the very top of the pass a turnout called Father Crowley Vista Point is worth a stop. Just about the time we got out of our truck to enjoy the view fighter jets decided to put on a show of a lifetime for us and before our eyes the jets flew deep in the canyon yet so close to us you could almost see the pilots eyes. The canyon wasn’t straight and to witness the skill of the pilots was spectacular, this went on for over 30 minutes.. From this point on make sure your brakes are good and use your gears, as it is 8 miles at a 8 percent grade yet very scenic.

 We have now arrived at the floor of Death Valley, today it is 82 degrees, I can tell you we are not use to heat and it feels so warming and nice. We arrive at Sunrise  Camp ground with no one to check you in at the kiosk, it’s kind of cool you go to a self-check in stations ( which are scattered everywhere)  enter your information, slide your credit card and presto you go find a site anywhere you want as it is first come first serve.  The fees are $7.00 a night golden age and $14.00 regular. Totally dry camping, you do get very clean restrooms, water and free sewer dump.  Generators allowed with regulated operating hours. The camp hosts are amazing so friendly and helpful. In addition while we visited it was quiet, well except for the howling of the coyote’s, we chose camp site L1 with a vista view of the Funeral Mountains.

After settling in, we immediately head to the visitor’s center for maps, weather info and info on ranger talks. There is a lot to see and do from trail hiking, biking, arches to view and miles and miles of salt beds Ninety-one percent of Death Valley is designated wilderness, you must use common sense exploring this vast land. Before setting off on trails or roadways the park recommends one gallon of water, a day per person is required and you must stay on all trails and roadways. There are overly  friendly coyote’s you must not feed, sidewinder rattlesnakes that burrow under the rocks and sand waiting for kangaroo rats and the cutest burrows that bite and love to block traffic.

PS: Texas Spring is another campground with the same amities. Across the roadway is Furnace Creek Camp Ground with full amities if you desire.

The lonely Burrow

Join us on our next adventure to Lake Mead, maybe the weather will let us launch our kayak and do some water exploring.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND – JEFF AND LIZ 

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