Tuesday, October 23, 2012

St. George

St. George with its Mormon temple
St. George is a town in the southwest corner of Utah that is the financial center of Washington County. The area is nicknamed the "Dixie of Utah" and the city of St. George lies just south of the Dixie National Forest. Why Dixie you ask? Because it was supposed to be the Mormons' cotton capital.

At the start of the Civil War, Brigham Young was concerned that cotton supplies from the Southeast would become unavailable, so he sent a contingency of 300 volunteer families south from Salt Lake City to establish cotton plantations around the Virgin River. Of course, most of the families had no idea they were volunteers until their names were read from the pulpit at the announcement of the project, but who was going to argue with Brigham?  The "St. George" of the town's name, by the way, was not a dragonslayer. He was George Smith, an apostle of The Church who led the expedition. They did manage to grow some cotton but because of the arid conditions it was difficult and prohibitively expensive. It was never produced at competitive market rates and the project was eventually abandoned.

Snow Canyon
I had always considered St. George to be a place that you drive through in order to get someplace else more interesting, but it turns out there are some nice areas around the city. Just north of town, for example, is Snow Canyon State Park. Don't expect to see much of the white stuff here, the canyon is actually named after early Mormon settlers Lorenzo and Erastus Snow and hardly ever gets any fluffy precipitation. It is carved out of the red and white Navajo sandstone that makes up so much of the area. There is a single campground that accommodates RVs with water and electric hookups and a central dump station. We did not stay here but we drove through the campground and it looks reasonably nice.

Red & white Navajo sandstone
Pine Valley group campground
A little farther north, you run into the aforementioned Dixie National Forest. It contains the tiny community of Pine Valley and just beyond lies the Pine Valley Recreation Area. This turned out to be a small valley filled with beautiful pine forest. I don't know how far you would have to drive to find another pine forest in this area, which is mostly red rock desert. The recreation area is quite beautiful and has about 50 RV campsites up to 60 feet long. There are no hookups but the camping areas are recently renovated and quite nice. There is a small reservoir with fishing available. We did not see anyone with any actual fish, but that's the way I prefer my fishing. It seems like a perfect place to dry camp for a few days if you're in the area and at $12 a night it's a bargain.
Campers going through the motions of fishing

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to live in 300+ square feet, part one

First you need to have slide outs so it adds additional square footage. One nice feature of our Allegro is that both of the slide outs are on the driver side of the RV.  The passenger side constitutes the outdoor living space in most RV parks.  Our previous RV, a Fleetwood Bounder, had the bedroom slide out on the the passenger side.  At the end of one tourist day I was walking to the door from my car with a hat on. I was also looking down.  Suddenly I collided with the slide out, bent my glasses and bruised my face (Yes I had a shiner.)  So now with our Allegro my clumsiness will hopefully have less negative consequences.

One advantage of RVs is that they have built in furniture.  However, we don't always use it as intended.  The dinette makes a good surface to do my beading, sewing, etc.  It also now contains the dog kennel where Ziva and Abby, our 10 and 12 pound Schnoodles sleep.  Yes, they are coming with us full timing.  Under the table we store our 2 portable tables, a fold out chair and the dog toys.

So where do we eat?  Roger and I got into the habit of eating in front of the TV when we got our giant HDTV.  We intend to do that in our RV.  Roger's place is the Lazy Boy recliner we moved in from our home and mine is the couch.  We do all of our computer work there, as well.

 There's a lot of counter space to prepare food on until we need to use the sink or the stove.  That's why we bring portable tables.

We bought a set of RV/boat stackable pots and pans because of the reduced amount of storage space.  They're heavy and for every bit of weight you add you lose gas mileage.  So to make up for that we got silicone bake ware. 

In part 2 we'll discuss the bedroom, bathrooms, basement, and oh, don't forget the 3 TV's.