Beach or bluff: Choosing where to camp at Lone Rock

Sunday, October 19

1-P1010167Bridget and I continue our journey to Arizona.

Only we go east in order to go south, due to the Grand Canyon being in our way.  Highway 89 is two lanes.  It connects Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona, the latter perched at the southern tip of the Glen Canyon Rec Area and the magnificent Lake Powell.

It being Sunday, most of the traffic is oncoming.

Weekenders in their trucks haul their boats or campers westward, most likely from Lake Powell.  The traffic in our eastward lane is light.  It’s a clear day with a bit of a head wind.  Ha!  A head wind is nothing for the mighty and Perfect Tow Vehicle! 

Her eight cylinders push us onward, past the Vermillion Cliffs and over The Cockscomb.  (One sees beautiful red rock cliffs on this route.  I don’t have any photos to share because there aren’t places to pull over; the shoulder is narrow.)

We zip right by Paria.

That will have to wait for another time when we can hike.   A short distance beyond Big Water, we approach a place to stop.  Bridget is awake and howls for a potty break.

“Okay, okay…. I’m pulling over.  Hang on, baby!”

1-P1010165While Bridge has her potty break, I have mine (I know… too much information).  I fix myself a sandwich and while chomping on salami and cheese, I consult my Benchmark atlas.    Hmm . . . It’s noon and we don’t have much further to go.

“C’mon, Bridge.  Let’s go.  We’re almost home.”

I like moves of 100 miles or less.

Often I see people arriving at their new camp near dark.  I can understand weekenders arriving late.  They usually don’t have a choice.  However, I often see retirees showing up shortly before sunset.  They probably were on the road all day.  Why put yourself through grueling days if you don’t have to?  Why arrive at a new camp tired, hungry, possibly accident-prone, and maybe irritable, too?

Make short hops between camps and you can look back on travel days with pleasure, instead of groaning.  Today’s drive from Ponderosa Grove Campground, west of Kanab, to our new camp, west of Page, is approximately 85 miles.  Perfect!

Less than a mile before the Arizona border, we turn left onto Lone Rock Road.

1-P1010168Take a moment to imagine yourself driving the road in the photo above.  You’ve never been on this road before.  You only have a slight idea what to expect from information you found previously on the internet.  You wonder what your new home will be like.  Your anticipation grows . . . . . and then you get your first glimpse .  . .

1-P1010169Gosh, I love approaching a new camp!

On the right side of the photo above you can see a toll booth.  I hang my Lifetime National Parks Senior Pass thingamadoodle on the rear-view mirror as I drive up.  Well, that takes care of the entrance fee.

No one is around the entrance booth.  The sign says $10 for camping PLUS the entrance fee of $15.  At least that’s how I interpret the confusing sign.  Of course, as a senior with a pass I’m only required to pay $5.

Which I’m happy to do, but can’t.

The dang automated teller baffles me.  A young guy pulls up behind me in a red sporty car, wanting to pay for day use.  We fiddle with the machine and together we surmise that it’s broken.

“I’m not sticking my credit card in THAT thing,”  I announce.  The guy concurs.  We drive ahead on our merry way.

Hmm . . . so this is Lone Rock dispersed camping . . . .

1-P1010171-001Nope.  Not for us . . . .

In the distance I spot another camping area, down on the beach!

1-P1010173Before driving down there to investigate, a guy in a pick-up approaches.

I stick my arm out the window in a wave to stop him.

“Hi!  Can you tell me what the deal is on paying to camp?  That toll booth isn’t working.”

“Yeah, it’s a piece of crap,” he responds and then quickly apologizes for his language.  “Don’t worry about it.”

He’s a man with a friendly face, well-tanned, about my age.  We launch into a conversation the way full-timers do, sharing the bond that exists among those who live “on the road.”  His name is Jack.

Mostly Jack and I discuss the camping situation due to my pressing interest in securing a site.

His fifth wheel is up here on the bluff, slightly away from the cluster of RVs (shown in the photo prior to the last one, above).

“What about camping on the beach?”

Jack takes a look at the Best Little Trailer. 

“I wouldn’t take that down there, if I were you,” he responds.  I explain that I like to camp by myself.

“You can pull in over there beyond me, if you want.”

He points to a level, clear area further away from the group.

“Maybe I will.  I want to take a look at the beach first.”

After a while we part ways . . . “Talk to ya’ later, Jack!”  “Okay, Sue!”

I drive down to the day use area that overlooks the beach.

1-P1010172It’s beautiful here! 

Several RVs and various vehicles are camped at the water’s edge.

1-P1010173It’s very appealing to camp on the beach, at least at first glance.

1-P1010175I get out of the PTV and study the situation, specifically the roads leading to the beach.

No, I think I’d rather camp up on the bluff than on the beach.

“What?!  You aren’t going to camp on the beach?!  Why not?!!  Are you crazy?” you ask incredulously.

I’ll show you why.

As the old saying goes . . . “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

1-P1010174Besides the chance of becoming mired halfway to China in deep sand, the beach attracts day use people, coming and going.  And there’s the sound of motor boats and jet skis and OHVs and, lest we forget, all together now —  “Cheap generators!”

One can’t expect things to quiet down once the weekend is over.

For many schools this week is Fall Break.  And, of course, there are the homeschoolers.  “Okay, Timmy, you’re all gassed up.   Go roar up that dune and across the beach for your science segment today.  I’ll ask you questions when you get back in a few hours.”

I take Jack’s advice and follow my own judgment as well.

Here’s our camp on the bluff.

1-P1010183It may not look like much from the photo above.  Believe me, it’s very nice with a view of the lake while sitting on the door side of the BLT.

1-P1010180And there’s also a view of the rocky cliffs . . . .

1-P1010186I can sit in my lounger on the blue mat enjoying a cool breeze and look across miles and miles of empty desert or watch the changing shadows on the rocks . . . .

1-P1010184Jack and the other RVers are nearby, not as close as the photo (below) suggests.

1-P1010181Late in the afternoon, with camp all set-up, I push Bridget in her stroller.

It’s about a half-mile to the day use area.  The half-mile back to camp is a good work-out because it’s all uphill.  A good work-out for me, that is.  Bridget frequently tilts her head back and looks up at me as I push her.

“Are you grinning at me, little girl?  You’ve got yourself quite a deal, haven’t you…”



1-P1010187“Aww, Bridgie-baby.  Come out from under there.  Just one picture, okay?  Pleeeeeezze?”

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