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An Influx of Unique Motorhomes

Over the years we've noticed an increase in the number of unique motorhomes on the road.

The demographics of RVers and their choice of RVs is changing. Since our first trip thirteen years ago, we've see some trends. For instance, a few years ago we saw only one of this type, however, on this trip we have seen about a dozen of what I call "converted tanks" - boxy, army-style motorhomes that look like they could go almost anywhere.

European imported unique motorhomes

This green motorhome is one of the "smaller" versions we sighted this winter.

Without fail, every one of them has European plates - German, Dutch, and Danish are the most common. Their owners must have deemed it was worth-while to ship their motorhome overseas. They certainly couldn't buy or rent anything comparable here. A Dutch couple we met told us they were on year three of an "around the world" tour in their big, yellow "tank". They had visited almost every continent with North and South America as their final destinations (by the way, seldom paying for camping).

At first, I thought it a bit strange since most motorhomes I've ever encountered in Europe are much smaller than the American standard. In fact, it's interesting that the North American RV rental market has FINALLY picked up on the demand for smaller rental models. Thirteen years ago, it was impossible to rent a 20-foot RV and until a few years ago, I got several enquiries per year for advice on where to find them. Now they are everywhere.

This past week, we encountered two more "species" of unique motorhomes

Juicy RV

Juicy is a bare-minimum RV (but with a sense of humor). We've seen Escape rentals (a similar company) more often.

If you have ever wished you could invite all your family and friends to come along on your travels, here's the motorhome for you:


Motorhome or rolling hotel? Sleeps 26. I wonder where they park overnight and how often they need to find an RV dump?

Bryce Canyon

Interestingly, that red bus had Alaska plates. We saw both the Juicy RV and Das Rollende Hotel while we were at Bryce Canyon National Park, our first stop last week and, as it turned out, the last place we would have an Internet signal for many days to come.

I'll never forget my first introduction to Bryce - it was in a photo - before we left on our first trip. My sister, Lucy, pulled out a magazine article she had seen, and told me, "You've got to go here!".

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce is even more jaw-dropping in person and remains my favorite National Park.

Upper Escalante Staircase National Monument

We left Bryce Canyon for deeper and more remote parts of Utah. The northern section of Escalante National Monument was the last part of the United States to be mapped and to receive road access of any kind. Even now, there's a real scarcity of paved roads.

I should have anticipated there was little chance my Verizon broadband device would pick up a signal in this vast remote sandstone wilderness. I'm predictting this will be the case until we reach Moab - which won't be for another couple of weeks. I'm writing this blog, but who knows when you'll actually read it? Southern Utah - remote but oh, so beautiful! Now for a quick photo glimpse of our week:

Grosvenor Arch - a double arch

A first for us, we visited Grosvener Arch, south of Cannonville - a double sandstone arch.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

At Kodachrome Basin State Park, we hiked two trails.These tall sandstone spires are unique - they were once hollow "straws" that later filled with sand which cemented over time. The inner white/gray is revealed as the outer layer of red sandstone recedes with time. The reason these straws exist only in this small area and how they were created is still a geologic mystery.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Chimney Rock, Kodachrome Basin State Park

Chimney Rock at Kodachrome Basin

Kodachrome Basin is colorful but I think it doesn't quite live up to its name which would indicate even more brilliant colors. Or maybe, after visiting so many stunning parks, we're just a bit spoiled.

We're also spoiled with views like this one from ring-side seats while boondocking near Head of Rocks Overlook. We enjoyed one of our "relationship saver" days here (I stayed behind while Randy hiked into the canyon alone).

Escalante Canyon View at Head of Rocks

Escalante Canyon near Head of Rocks

Later, seeing his photos (like the above), I sort of wished I'd gone with him.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

We've been trying to do only new (to us) hikes but couldn't resist repeating this favorite:

Upper Calf Creek Falls

The hike to Upper Calf Creek Falls is amazing every step of the way.

Fremont Pictograph along Upper Calf Creek Falls

Fremont pictographs along the hike. Up-close, these are huge figures.

The Burr Trail - and a Surprise!

We had driven only part of the Burr Trail on a previous trip so, this time, thought we'd drive it the entire 30 miles - just to where the pavement ends - at the Capital Reef National Park boundary.

Burr Trail, Escalante N.M.

Along Burr Trail

Burr Trail, Escalante N.M.

Another Burr Trail view

After that, the road is gravel with extremely steep switchbacks descending to the east side of the Water Pocket Fold. This could be a short-cut to our next destination, Capital Reef National Park's main visitor center, but our information was that it is best-suited to four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicles only. We hadn't checked on the current road conditions so we certainly had no plans of continuing farther. In fact, it was late in the day and we had already chosen our campsite in beautiful Long Canyon. We would turn around and go back those few miles to camp there for the night. I didn't even take photos in Long Canyon - I would get them later. But that was not to happen.

The views along the last twelve miles of pavement were quite ordinary and, in fact, disappointing. The road crosses a green juniper-tree mesa. But then...... just where the pavement ends, we got this view:

Burr Trail, Escalante N.M.

Burr Trail at the boundary of Capital Reef National Park

This is our third visit but we've never been in this more-remote southern part of the park.

Randy, generally a careful man to a fault, threw all caution to the wind. "We've got to keep going!"... What? But the road - the steep gravel switchbacks and then 27 miles on Notom-Bullfrog - a dirt road - current condition unknown. I'm not so sure we should risk it but... Too late. My heart in my throat, I admit I was also secretly admiring this new side of Randy - his adventurous nature overriding his practical side. He confidently eased the RV down the Burr Trail switchbacks. Notom-Bullfrog Rd had heavy washboard and a few sandy spots but nothing that our Roadtrek "tank" couldn't handle.

An added bonus was that we were driving later in the day than usual and had lovely low sunlight. Perhaps we should add evening drives more often.

Notom Bullfrog Rd, Capital Reef

Stupendous scenery continued along Notom-Bullfrog Rd.

Utah Dirt

Returning to the topic of unique motorhomes, another trend we've seen in recent years is that more companies are making high-clearance, 4X4, boondocker-friendly models. In Utah there is a additional reason for these: roads like the Notam Bullfrog. No RVer would ever (I hope) consider the Burr Trail route we took with a trailer or large motorhome and at some times, not even with a Roadtrek. After that drive, here's a view of our camper that's not so unique in this territory.

Desert back country road dirt

Red dirt - the badge of honor on any vehicle in Utah

In this state, it sets apart the adventurous from the highway drivers. We can park Sweet Surrender with pride beside the dustiest Jeeps and ATVs. The amount of dust INSIDE our camper is another story. But, c'est la vie.

Days on the road on current trip: 111

Total camping costs to date: $133.00

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