April 17 – 25, 2011
As we were planning the trip across Utah we had our eye on St. George as our final stop. Ever since we had our first overheating issue coming out of New Mexico we knew we wanted to reach civilization at some point in order to get that resolved. St. George boasts a few CAT repair facilities and as a bonus also has a Costco. The plan however changed a bit when Kodachrome did their best to fry Horton. Since St. George also had a couple of RV shops in town we headed straight there when we left Kodachrome. It was a Sunday when we headed over so we didn’t know if we would be able to get in or not but figured we didn’t really have a lot of other options. The drive over was pretty uneventful, a couple of passes to climb through, one past Bryce and then one more to reach the Interstate, both of which required some stopping and cool down time. Once we made it to the Interstate we pulled into a truck stop that had a tire repair shop and got a faulty valve extender fixed, something that had been on our list for a long time.
We arrived in the early afternoon and pulled ourselves into the local Super Wal-Mart, little did we know we would stay there for four nights that week and one more night when we left Zion. Wal-Mart camping, while certainly not ideal, is surprisingly not that bad either. This Wal-Mart in particular was pretty decent. There was lots of space to park and along the side the lot was actually elevated up above the surrounding neighborhood. In our favorite spot in the lot we were off by ourselves with very little parking lot traffic, our drivers sides slides out and facing the drop off to a empty lot and nursery. The combination made for a quiet, comfortable and private spot.
First thing Monday morning we called up Desert Coach and found that they could get us in that afternoon. Then we called a couple of CAT places and found one that could get us in Tuesday morning. Surprised at our good fortune we ran a few errands to burn some time until heading over. Desert Coach turned out to be a small but nice shop with great people. They took care of us in one afternoon and even stayed late so that we would be able to sleep in Horton that night. Pretty awesome, honest folks. We even took Horton back later in the week and had them take care of a couple of other things that we had outstanding.
Tuesday, we loaded up early and headed over to the Kenworth Sales and Service to see about our cooling issue. The shop does mostly warranty work on big rig commercial trucks but their service manager came from Freightliner, our chassis manufacturer, and had some experience dealing with coaches like ours. He immediately suspected our problems were due to a dirty radiator and suggested that after they verify the problem we let them pull the radiator out and give it a good cleaning. It ended up taking two days for them to finish the work. We spent one night in Vegas and one night at a hotel back in St. George. The Vegas stay was a bit of a disaster since Foster was freaked out by all the sounds and getting Derby out to go to the bathroom required carrying him for half a mile through a casino and then out to the “pet relief” area.
Once we got Horton back we headed back to our favorite spot at Wal-Mart so that we could get our remaining work done at Desert Coach the next day. We got that done, stayed at Wally World once again and then headed just up the road to Hurricane to stay at an RV park for two nights before heading into Zion. The park, Cottam’s Willowind turned out to be the nicest RV park we’ve been in. Spots were tight and packed together as always but the pads were concrete and there was grass between every one of them. At a monthly rate of $300 we would definitely consider making a stay here sometime in the future.
So, a productive week in the end. The electrical work was unexpected but its nice to have our cooling issues resolved. We also got to enjoy St. George and the surrounding area. We found an awesome frozen custard shop, Nielsons, had excellent pho twice at Ah’sya, enjoyed a lunch at our first ever Hawaiian restaurant, stocked up on our favorites at Costco, finally bought C some new hiking boots and even managed to get replacement vacuum bags for our on board vacuum. Not bad. Next up, Zion.