Well, we did it! My 13yo son Jacob and I went on our 15-day “Epic Roadtrip” around the Western U.S.!
It was everything I’d hoped for and more, and I’m pretty sure Jacob had a fun time, too! I wish my 19yo son Logan could have joined us on this, but he wasn’t able to. I’m hoping I can do something like this again and bring both kids, I know Logan would have really loved it. My favorite stops were Dead Horse Point State Park (Utah) and Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado), but every place we visited was really absolutely beautiful. Jacob’s favorite stops were the locations that had SNOW! 🙂
Day 1, May 26, 2018. We flew to Las Vegas, picked up our Jucy campervan, and after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up the groceries I ordered online earlier that week, we drove straight to the Grand Canyon North Rim campground. Jacob slept through both flights, and then once we were in the car he slept through all of Nevada, all of Utah, and half of Arizona. [scowl]
Our campsite at the Grand Canyon North Rim was really beautiful! We had a site on the outer loop, so it was only forest behind us. The campsites were spaced out far enough that the neighbors didn’t bother us at all.
The big surprise was that it was SOOOOO COLD there! We brought some warm clothes but we weren’t prepared for temperatures below freezing overnight! As soon as we arrived we went to the visitor center for an epic view of the canyon. I didn’t get any good pictures, maybe because it was so cold. 🙂
After a quick overlook of the canyon, we settled into our new adventure vehicle for the night. We started out sleeping in the rooftop tent, but it got very cold and I was worried we were going to die from hypothermia, so in the middle of the night we moved our luggage to the front seats and converted the inside of the van to a bed. We ran the van’s heater on full blast for about 10 minutes and that was enough to keep us nice and toasty until sunrise.
Side note: I did pay extra for a “winter kit” with Jucy which was supposed to include thermal sleeping bags and hand warmers, but they forgot to put the kit in our vehicle. Same holds true for camping chairs, and a few other items. We did get a refund for the rental of those items but it was a major inconvenience because we had to find a store and BUY the items that we didn’t receive. 🙁 We ended up shipping most of it home, but that turned out to be a mistake because postage was about $150 – nearly the total cost of the chairs and sleeping bags.
Day 2, we made oatmeal and hot cocoa for breakfast, Mmmm!
We packed our lunches and went on a little hike around the north rim, where we sat on a log and ate our lunch overlooking the Grand Canyon. This moment was actually kind of surreal for me; it marks the official start of the “epic” part of our Epic Road Trip!
We had a reservation for 2 nights at Grand Canyon but the first night was so incredibly cold that we decided to head to our next destination a day early. Seond day on the Epic Roadtrip and we’re already veering from the plan, haha! OH WELL! As we were driving out there was a long line of traffic waiting to get into the park, so I think we made a wise choice.
That night we ended up staying at Lone Rock Beach Campground in Kane County, Utah, which is just a couple miles past Page, Arizona. According to my research online it’s normally a wonderful place to stay, but this was Memorial Day weekend and it was absolutely packed. Lots of campers, generators running, loud music, 4-wheelers… it’s pretty much the last place on Earth that I wanted to be staying the night, but Jacob was SO incredibly excited about the idea of staying on the beach… I just couldn’t say no.
Day 3 we first headed to Horseshoe Bend. It was very crowded with people, and many of them were hanging right off the edge of the cliff just to get the perfect Instagram photo. It was crazy! Someone fell to their death the day before, and our slot canyon tour guide told us that was the 4th one so far this year (and it’s only May!!!). So tragic. I bet the whole thing will be lined with a Plexiglas wall before Jacob’s able to take his children to see it. 🙁
The hike to get to the viewing point was long and hilly. It was a hot day and Jacob was showing signs of dehydration. By the time we got to the lookout, we snapped one quick photo and immediately headed back to the parking area. I was really put out by the massive crowds of people, and the tourists acting like fools on the edge of the canyon. Jacob was not into it, either, as you can see in this photo.
After Horseshoe Bend we headed back into town for our Antelope Canyon tour. We accidentally arrived an hour earlier than our target due to miscalculating the local time (whoops). The tour was done in a truck with outdoor seating in the back, but we were in the back of the line when it came time to board so we sat in the front part of the truck with the driver. We were a little bummed about this at first (sitting outside seemed like more fun), but once we started driving through the sand dunes we were grateful to not be sand blasted like the other passengers were!
The ride was about 30 minutes, and it was bumpy the whole way. Our tour guide has been giving these tours her entire adult life! She handled the truck well and got us there safely.
Antelope Canyon was really beautiful. It was crowded, like the rest of the Page Arizona attractions, but there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the slot canyons. The guided tours would sort of take turns going through the canyon ‘rooms’ so each group could get photos without people in the way. I registered for the tour that was during the time when sunlight peeps into the canyon – the price was a little higher but it was worth it. It was a partly cloudy day, but we did get several shots of the sun beaming down. This was a great experience; I highly recommend it.
After the slot canyon tour we went to Lake Powell to check out our campground, but ultimately decided to skip this campground altogether – it was packed and the sites were very close together.
Before leaving Page, Arizona we booked a hotel room in Moab, Utah. We needed to get out of this crowded town, and we looked forward to hot showers and soft beds. 🙂 So only 1 of the first 3 nights went as planned/reserved, haha!