By Thursday we were ready to move on to our next region, and we ran into a bit of a snag. Originally I wanted to head straight to Bryce Canyon from Zion, but the weather forecast was for below 50 degrees every day, down in the 20’s and 30’s at night, and even worse, very windy. So we changed our plan and were going to head to Page AZ, but I really wanted to find a place to stay closer to Kanab. Lee was concerned there wouldn’t be enough in Kanab proper to warrant staying there and then moving on to Page, so I called Cori and confirmed there was plenty to do from there. We’ve been “cheating off her paper” since we started this trip, but I also wanted to have the flexibility to explore options on my own as well. The trouble was when I strike out on my own, I have to figure out where to stay, and once again I was getting conflicting reviews from Campendium. There were lots of spots along Hancock Road near the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, but one of the reviews said they were too sandy for big rigs and another said it was fine as long as you stopped on the road and walked the site before pulling in. We decided to check it out for ourselves, especially since it was only a couple of hours from Zion, and headed to Kanab.
First we had to dump our black and grey tanks, and fill our fresh water, so we stopped at a Chevron on 59 East that we had seen when we went to Gooseberry Mesa. This was the first time I have ever had to find a place to dump and take on fresh water, and despite having several apps to help me it still was more difficult than I thought it would be. The Chevron charged $7 to dump, which was fine, but then told us the water was not potable. I am not 100% sure that was true after seeing their brand spanking new setup, but it wasn’t worth the risk for us. They also had bulk propane, which we needed, but not surprisingly there was no one there who could fill it. This happens to us all the time. Even at truck stops that have RV lanes there is often bulk propane for sale, but nobody there trained to dispense it. By this time it was 12:30pm so we ate a quick lunch in their very large parking lot, and then got back on the road.
Along the way, near Pipe Springs Monument, we stopped at another Chevron, this one owned and operated by the local reservation. Even though it didn’t show on any of my apps, they were fine with us filling up with water and had a nice big area on the north side of the building that we could use. It took about a half an hour to fill the tank, because the flow rate was low, but we both felt better having water in the tank. Now we could stop anywhere and stay, so we headed to Hancock road.
The road itself was paved, and very big-rig friendly, and the views along the way of the coral colored sand dunes were really pretty. I wasn’t nervous going down the road, because I saw it ended at the State campground and knew if nothing else we would be able to turn around there if we needed to. Almost from the beginning there were lots of places to boondock. Some of the sand roads went back pretty far, and we saw several RV’s tucked back in the trees. The views were pretty as well and I was getting pretty excited about the spot, but every time we stopped and got out and looked we could see relatively deep ruts in the sand roads.
Lee was getting concerned that I would try to push this issue, but I reassured him that I wouldn’t ask him to pull into anywhere he wasn’t comfortable with. Unfortunately that ended up being in none of the spots, and we spent a frustrating hour stopping, getting out and looking, and then continuing to drive. Soft sand, unlike hard packed dirt, can be a real problem with RV’s, and since we didn’t have four-wheel drive and there was no cell signal on the road, it just wasn’t worth the risk. There was one big spot that would probably have worked near the intersection of Hancock and County Road 43, but it was full of RV’s with ATV’s and wasn’t really what we were looking for. The only cool thing about the drive is we got hit by a pink whirling dervish of sand that was at least 30 feet across. That surprised both of us, and was really cool. The rest of the time was just frustrating though, especially because the location was perfect for what we wanted to do.
Ultimately we ended up driving all the way to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Campground and because of a cancellation they did have a spot available. Unfortunately it was just a big parking lot, more designed for people looking to use ATVs in the park, and since we didn’t have an ATV, at $28 a night wasn’t a good bargain for us. They were doing construction at the park, and it looked like they were putting in several rows of “proper” RV sites, with pedetals and spigots, so that’s a good sign for the future. It was pretty and I loved the coral colored sand, and I would highly recommend it if you have an ATV, but since we didn’t have one and it was around 3pm we decided to keep moving and headed towards Page.
Once we got on 89 the road was absolutely beautiful. We crossed through the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, The Vermillion Cliffs Monument, and the south end of Glen Canyon along the way. It was rough driving right by that stuff without stopping to take pictures and explore, but it was getting later and I was trying to find out more about the Stateline Campground. This is a small (and free) BLM campground right in the middle between Kanab and Page. Unfortunately it is down a 10 mile road and once I saw how steep it was (plus dirt) I decided to not even chance it. If we got there and the sites were too small for us, it would be a long drive back to the main road and then towards Page.
Finally we made it to Lone Rock Primitive Beach campground, and we were pretty stressed from the day. What should have been a really mellow 3 hour drive, turned into an all day trip and neither one of us was very happy about it. When we got into the campground we took a moment to get our bearings, and both realized we weren’t exactly sure how to proceed. It was after 5pm, so the entrance shack was unmanned, but there was a pay station that took credit cards. The campground has fresh water, trash dumpsters, and an RV dump station near the entrance, but not clearly designated camping spots. We paid for one night, and then drove in and after looking at the sign that read “Deep Sand-Proceed At Your Own Risk” we headed down to the beach. There were lots of big rigs there, and a place to park higher up if you weren’t comfortable going down, but since there were several roads leading down to the beach area, we weren’t sure which way to go. Ultimately we picked a path that looked a little rockier and more solid than soft sand, and was to the north and made it down successfully. I am glad we went that way, because later Lee took the truck alone up a different path on the south end and almost got stuck in the softer sand.
We went down, and most of the spots right along the water were taken, but we found a spot just a little higher up that was right across from the lone rock. It took us a while to place ourselves just right, and to get our RV level, but when it was done we both took a breath because the spot was absolutely beautiful.
I will say, to be completely transparent, that someone had left a pair of shorts and some toilet paper directly in front of our site, but I put on some gloves and put it in a trashbag and then it was perfect. Despite the amount of people it was very quiet, so quiet I could even hear the beating of a crows wings in the morning. And at night the sky was a “bowl full of stars” that completely came down to the horizon. Breathtaking.
So we are here and not sure how long we will stay because this area requires some research. Unlike a National Park where the information center has everything you need, this area will require a little more time to make sure we see everything. As of this writing Lee has gone into town and is getting propane and trying to get some information about the area. I am using this time to get caught up on the blogging so I can clear my mind of Zion and start fresh in this area.
Not surprisingly I am finding it hard to keep up, because of the amount of pictures we are taking. I am taking Lee’s advice and going to write the narrative first, while it’s fresh in my mind, and then fill in the pictures later. It’s not so much that I feel pressure to blog in a timely manner as I find that the more time that passes the less I can remember about the experience. I can only hold so much in that aging brain of mine and want to capture the moment as completely as I can. I don’t want to spend the daylight hours on that so I am taking time in the mornings and evening as I can to chip away at it. Thankfully our solar system is working wonderfully, and I have more than enough power to use the computer anytime I want.
Speaking of that, I want to take a moment and thank Greg of RV Solar Solutions for designing the perfect system for us. We could never stay in places like this without our solar and I am beyond happy with the system that we have. They are a great company and provide a great product, and yes, they are friends of ours, but I am a tough customer. I would do it again without a second of hesitation, and highly recommend them if you want to stay in places with a view like this, for free, or nearly free.
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