Grand Canyon to St George

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Monday, March 19, 2012

Our trip to St George was one the most scenic drives.  We visited Lees Ferry, & sat on the edge of the Colorado River to have coffee & take photos.  The day started off warm & sunny,  but as we ascended further into the mountainous region, going from 3000ft to 8000 ft elevation,  we could feel the drop in temperature, even though it was a clear cloudless sky. The Cummins 350 HP Turbo Diesel, made easy work of these steep roads, as we effortlessly drove up and onwards, winding our way through the mountains.  There was quite a bit of snow around, making the ever contrasting scenery even more beautiful.  We are continually going from the flat plateaus & desert outlooks to the extremely rocky mountainous peaks with the colors changing as the sun reflects off the glistening snow. 

This is the part Mike has been looking forward to: We were off to the big USA Air Show at St George where for the first time in 12 months an F22 Raptor fighter jet worth $150 million dollars would do its “stuff” as well as the world famous Blue Angels in 6 x FA18 hornets doing the most amazing stunts imaginable. ... We did not book into an RV park because it is about 15 miles away from where this air show was being held .... We wanted to  “Dry Camp” (basically means park somewhere and use battery or generator).

Mike called the Air Show manager who told us the closest area would be at least 4 miles (7kms) away on a dirt road just into Arizona.   We drove there, a huge  treeless, dusty area, parked the RV, (the only lonely RV here)  unhooked the car, and went for a drive to see where the air show was being held.  Unbeknown to me, Mike was thinking that maybe we could find somewhere closer.  

About half a mile from the airport we came across an area where there were a couple of tents and an information booth.....  Mike asked if we could  park our RV on this site for the duration of the show.  It was set aside for 500 boy scouts & Leaders who were volunteers at the show, and were going to camp here, so unfortunately it was not possible.  No sooner had we got back to the RV, Mike informed me "We are moving, follow me in the car".  Off we went,
onto the freeway, (he almost ran off the road, trying to watch the Blue Angels who were practicing overhead)  and drove within 200 metres of the Scout camp ... there was a paved area with cement barriers that said “road closed ahead".....Mike pulled the RV straight in front of the barrier... set up the jacks and relaxed.  We were not blocking any road, or anyone, and we were less than one mile away from the air show.   Mike was happy!  
He actually suggested we ride our bikes to the show, as he knew there would be a lot of  traffic.... It was the first of this type of event for St George.  The thought of somehow carrying our folding chairs, and backpack with cameras, lunch etc, and riding along the freeway looking like a flying fowlhouse is not my thing, so I managed to talk him into driving,  get a park & then maybe riding bikes, if it was a long way to walk.  (I was hoping not to use the bikes at all!!) Also the weather forecast was for wind, rain and possibly snow, so a good reason NOT to ride
bikes. 

On Saturday morning, we got up all ready to go to the show, and as we left the RV, some
men were putting up barriers, ready for the traffic, and they informed us that we would be fined, and maybe towed, or have our wheels clamped if the RV stayed there.  They were very nice, but  just gave us the info from the police.  To just up & move from this place, would be quite a feat, considering all the bumper to bumper traffic heading to the showSo....You know who - came up with an amazing reason why we had to stay.   He told these workmen that he has a long standing international association with the scouts, and we didn't want to park the RV on the dirt with them, because if it rained, we would never get out.  They told him he would have to
inform the police.  Mike had already put a sign in the window of the van, giving his phone number to ring, as well as saying the van had an alarm!! (it does, just not connected to anywhere)   He had an Australian cap on with a 'crown & anchor' badge from the Caribbean cruise ship & pointed it out to the council workers as if it was a 'scout badge', and then rang 'Constable Jace ' of the Logistics Utah Police department, gave our rego & phone number and
let him know why we were parking there. Hmmmmm so far so good!! 
Then of course we don't go on the road that 50,000 others are using to get to the air-show as there was a huge line up.....we get in line with the scouts, and follow them up to the show....a police officer was stopping each of the cars in front of us, and when it came to us he said, 'You don't look like you're with the scouts', ... once again Mike points to his hat
badge, and said that we are following the scouts, (not a lie, as that was exactly what we were doing) and asked for directions to the carparkMike talks so loud & friendly, using the
typical Australian terms, no worries Mate, Cobber & talks about the weather, the days events, asks how his mother is,  & whether he has a cat or dog, and chats like a long lost friend, so in the end we were waved through, even though I think the police officer did have doubts, seeing our bikes on the back of car, & Mike with no scout uniform on.   THEN....it doesnt finish there, ... just in case anyone rings him about the RV,  Mike put a message on his phone stating that he was at an event which involved the international scout assoc, and may not be able to hear his phone as he is at the air show.  The funny thing is that radio 5AA rang him for an interview, and as we had no phone signal they would have received this odd message .... and must have thought ... “What else is this guy into!!! “
 
Now before you all jump to conclusions & think that Mike told some big whoppers, let me tell you how his mind works......

Back in 1969 when Michael  was just 11 years old he went to 2 Scout meetings with a
school friend and distinctly remembers that the Scout Master said that Scouts are a worldwide organisation where you are invited for life to be a part of any function anywhere in the world ... this is the special bond that Scouts have. (Michael cant even remember what happened last week, let alone 43 years ago!!) But in his ever colourful mind he has now re-entered the world as a “Scout” ... he only knows two knots mind you ... The “granny’s knot”  & his shoelace!! And he does remember the special scout handshake!   So now we were going to be international guests of the scouts without them officially knowing it! All because of what was said at those meetings all those years ago, and to add to that, his dearly beloved mother-in-law, his most favorite, was a 'Brownie' with the Girl Guides, when she was young, and he knew if all else failed she would get him out of trouble!!

Anyway, no-one rang, our wheels weren't clamped, we didn't receive a fine, and we had 3 nights of free parking. 

 Now a bit about the show itself, for you guys who love the sound of jets, engines, etc.  

The Yanks really know how to put on a show, we have been to some airshows before, but nothing like this. As always, being very patriotic, they started with the national anthem, and everyone stood with hand on their heart & sang loud

The roar of engines, (& it was loud!!)  the skill of the pilots, as they performed the stunts, near misses, fast & slow fly by's,  and flying the jets straight up, till they almost disappeared into the clouds was amazing. Mike just revelled in the sounds, the tank battles, and the non-stop
action, and he also enjoyed chatting to some of the pilots.  As always, he started talking about Israel, asking one of the crack USA pilot’s if it was true that the Israeli pilots are among the most elite.   Although  this American pilot didn't like to admit it, he had to say "They are the best in the world".  I have to say, that I also enjoyed the day, even though it was bitterly cold, and we could see it snowing on the mountains.  

We also witnessed a lady who went up on a bi-plane, and was strapped to the wing, as it did stunts, flips, rolls and all manner of manoeuvres.  She is known as a professional wing walker, and it was something I thought I could do as a part time job, when I get back.  We got some
photos & films of Boofie & Dummar on a tank and with a couple of army sergeants.  

The only negative about the day was that NO-ONE sold any hot drinks. No latte's, hot chocolates, just soft drinks!!   Couldn't believe it, we were told that it probably was because we were in UTAH, which is mainly Mormons, who don't drink coffee.  

Anyway hope you enjoy the photos & film clips of our time in St George. 

Next blog - Zion National Park - One of our favourite places in USA.   

Anyway thats all, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and for your comments,   keep safe
and well,  God bless....Miss you all.  
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Comments

David on

The Arizona Boy Scouts regional scout master called, he has the badge you earned for "innovative dry camping"............

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