RVing THE SOUTHWEST ON THE CHEAP
Touring Yosemite, Zion National Park, and the Grand Canyon
In early September we loaded our 31 foot Coachman Mirada with our gear, food and necessities, along with our mixed breed travel mate, Foxy, who does not know she is a dog, and headed into the sunset from Denver, Colorado. Our mission? To visit Yosemite and Zion National Parks and the Grand Canyon, on a limited budget. We headed into the Rocky Mountains for our first afternoon of travel, the leaves were turning into their fall colors of incredible reds, yellows and gold, and the day was full of sunshine.
We stopped every hour or so to chew up the scenery and allow Foxy some alone time. Our only time schedule for the day was to arrive at a Walmart early enough to get a good camping spot, as they refuse to take reservations for overnight R V ers. All types of recreational vehicles are welcome to park in most Walmart parking lots overnight. Of course we bought most of our food and necessities by simply walking across the parking lot. Campers have included folks with a simple topper over the bed of a pickup truck, all the way to a diesel pusher worth a few times more than our home. But, we all had the common thread of being recreational vehicle enthusiasts.
After six hours of driving through Vail, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, we asked Alice, our GPS unit, to find our camping/parking lot. We had cocktails, dinner and a good night’s rest, along with a dozen other campers traveling on the cheap.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
ZION NATIONAL PARK
We spent one incredible day driving through Zion National Park. An indescribable destination. The extremely narrow roads and construction work made it difficult for the driver to take in the view of the deep ravines and valleys along with the amazing mountain peaks. Plan to stop when possible and even take some short hikes along the way. We found no RV camping in the park, so we headed off toward our next destination – the Grand Canyon.
THE GRAND CANYON
Recreational vehicles are welcome at the Grand Canyon National Park, with plenty of parking and a great campground. Again, the camping fee is eighteen dollars (nine dollars with our Golden Access Passport) with no electricity but potable water accessible nearby and a dump station. There is no way to describe the Grand Canyon, and photos just do not catch the reality of the beauty. But, you will never see a sunset like one over the Canyon. We parked our RV and walked to the North rim where Sue sketched the view. After a couple of hours, we made it to the campground located minutes away from where we viewed the canyon. We had a great pull thru site, on a large lot; in fact, we did not see any sites that were not pull thru and large. We wandered around until sunset. As it grew cold, we had dinner and a glass of wine and wondered why we waited so long to take this trip.
We had been told about an incredible Navajo Taco at a trading post in Cameron, Arizona, but it would be a twenty -eight mile round trip from our route back to Denver. We had plenty of time to complete our ten-day tour, so we decided to go for the taco. We were not disappointed. The Indian fry bread covered the plate and the fry bread was covered with all the ingredients of a great taco. We could only eat half of each taco so we had it for dinner that evening as well.
After lunch at the trading post we hopped onto highway 287 and headed home. The leaves were entering the final stage of fall colors but were still amazing. We reminisced over a glass of wine that evening at our home and started planning our next odyssey.