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The gap between blogs is ridiculous, I know. This leg of the trip was months ago! We’ve never claimed to be good bloggers! But we’re here now, so let’s catch everyone up at where we’ve been.
After we left Glacier NP we headed south toward Yellowstone National Park and stopped in Deer Lodge, MT for a couple days to wait for the smoke to clear out (it didn’t) and do some laundry. We stayed at Indian Creek campground in Deer Lodge and it was a great couple days stay. It has everything you would need and the other travelers there were great to chat with and gave us some advice about Yellowstone. (Go in really early!)
We decided to boondock outside of Yellowstone after Covid got our reservations canceled at the Fishing Bridge campground inside the park (Covid slowed down the park renovations, now it doesn’t open til Fall 2021). We found a nice spot about 20 minutes south of the West Entrance, it even let us test out the solar a bit. It didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, we were getting around half of the power we should be. Is something wrong or is the clouds and heavy smoke blocking the sun that much? Not to mention the hills and trees were making our solar producing hours fairly short. We’ll worry about this later, for now it’s good enough. (Most of the pictures are from the few days the smoke actually cleared out after it rained a couple days.)
This place made a great base camp for touring Yellowstone, we were camped on Bootjack drive near Island Park, ID. During our stay, the smoke varied from not too bad to downright horrible. Inside the park smelled of a mix of sulfur and wildfire smoke, it wasn’t pleasant. But, the views we amazing!
I heard a grizzly bear killed a bull elk so we went to see if anything was left a couple days later. Apparently, it takes them awhile to get there fill.
We went into the park for 8 of the 12 days we were there. It seemed like a marathon of driving, it takes forever to get anywhere inside the park. There is just so much to see also, you could spend months trying to see everything.
We were planning on heading to the Tetons after Yellowstone but the smoke was just too thick and a snow storm was approaching. Time to head south into Utah for some warmer weather and smoke free air.
We stopped in Rexburg, ID for 2 days to dump/flush tanks, fill with water, and load up on groceries before heading toward Moab. We decided to make the long haul from Rexburg to a spot 20 minutes north of Moab. After around an 8 hour drive, we made it, although definitely a longer drive than we typically like. But, the air was clear and sun was shining!
We were in the Moab area for about 20 days! This was longer than we anticipated but the weather was great, the views are amazing, and we were really enjoying our time visiting Arches and Canyonlands. Although, I would say Canyonlands was my favorite of the two. This area ended up being a bit warmer than we had anticipated, but it cooled off nicely at night.
Testing the Solar
After getting to Moab where the sun was shining all day and the air was clean, we still weren’t getting near the solar numbers we should have. Time to inspect and test the system. I found a problem with one of the MC4 connectors, it would click when the ends connected, but a stiff pull would disconnect it. I just replaced both connectors, after that the connection was solid. Once that was fixed, we were getting the full solar array working as it should. It started pulling in 1200 watts and the batteries were topped off by about 1pm. We’ve barely ran the generator since Moab back in late September. I really hated running the generator everyday.
Heading to Valley of the Gods!
This place is amazing! Also, make sure to visit Goosenecks State Park! But don’t plan on having any cell service, it seems to be a giant dead zone. This didn’t work very well for us due to poor planning on our part. We needed internet in a couple days so our stay was short, but we’ll be back!
Heading toward Flagstaff through Monument Valley.
This was our first time through Monument Valley and it didn’t disappoint. It really is quite a site to see. It’s too bad we weren’t able to stay awhile and tour the area. But, we kept moving south toward Flagstaff. We ended up staying 15-20 minutes south of Flagstaff in a heavily treed area. Not much for solar there, but a nice place for some boondocking. With a winter storm rolling in and the temps heading down into the teens with a few inches of snow, we were only here for 3-4 days. Time to find lower elevation and some warmer weather.
One of our favorite parks we’ve found. Saguaro SKP Co-op is part of the Escapees club network of parks. We arrived here just before Halloween and have been here since. We will be leaving here shortly to meet some friends out in the desert for some boondocking.