Lake Mead – Echo Bay

Best Christmas Present Ever!

The Vegas/Lake Mead area was the ultimate destination target for this winter trip. We’d never been to the area, but knew there were many opportunities for camping and we wanted to scope it out. We watched weather reports closely and had backup plans with hookups at The Hitchin’ Post RV Park, in downtown Vegas, in case overnight temperatures dipped too low. But conditions aligned, along with the stars, so that we got to meet up with a very dear friend in Echo Bay.

Now that’s service – traveling a couple thousand miles for a delivery photo

It’s funny for me to talk about Safari Condo with anyone not familiar with the company. Yeah sure, they manufactured our Dory, but they are so much more. We have become friends with our sales reps, as well as the founders of the company. They were 100% there for us when we lost Dory1. Not only did they put the build of Dory2 at the front of a 2 year line, but Francois our sales rep for Dory2, co-conspired to have the exact same “Just keep swimming” decal placed on our new trailer as the one that was lost in the crash. Understand, this meant our BFF Linda ordered it in the US, shipped it to Quebec to get mounted in precisely the right spot, where it then made the journey back to Durango, CO. Those are some outstandingly good people, and seriously great friends. Plus, Francois was the one who arranged the photo shoot with stuffed Dory during the build process. So when we caught wind that Francois was out in the US southwest, we would have gone well out of our way to find him and give him a great big hug.

Kit Fox says, “Got anything for me?”

We kept touch while he was whirl-winding his way all over the place and found that the Las Vegas area would work for a meet up. This was not all that easy, since he is kind of crazy and dives like 8-10 hours in a day in his fancy Safari Condo van. He had been traveling with some guys from Quebec, one of whom is a well established travel blogger. They picked up another nomad from Quebec along their way, from a random meeting in a park. Meeting up with people on the road is the coolest part of traveling. The guys had peeled off to head back to Quebec, but Karine, a remote fitness coach, showed up in her van along with Francois. We had a wonderful dinner at the picnic table all together that night, sharing stories of travel and life. As we chatted and drank, a little Kit Fox kept coming right up to us, looking for a handout perhaps, or berries on the ground under our table. 

Bighorn Sheep says, “Chill your jets. This is my road.”

We spent the next day in Valley of Fire State Park, while our Quebecois friends went into Las Vegas to get gifts and shopping. Richard rode all the way into the park from the campground and I did a quick spin through the state park campgrounds up there. Those are also first come, first serve and we weren’t sure how busy it got at Christmas. There were some sites open, but ultimately we decided to stay where we were because there is no cell service in the park. It would have been way too hard to transfer over and communicate with our friends, so we moved on to get gas and a few groceries in the town of Overton. On the way, we spotted lots of boondock areas, like Snowbird Mesa and Poverty Flats. Those could also have been backup plans, if necessary.

If anyone had been in the information booths, we totally would have asked.

On Christmas Eve day, Karine had to move along. We got to spend the whole day with Francois. We had never seen Hoover Dam, so we all drove out together. My Grandpa George always told stories of there being bodies buried in the concrete during the construction of the dam, and I’d always assumed that was his own crazy tale. It turns out this is the number one question asked by tourists: How many bodies are buried in the Hoover Dam. The answer of course is zero, but the fact that it continues to be rumor is kind of amazing. After taking some photos and some selfies, we left the crowds and found the Owl Canyon Trail over at the western edge of the reservoir. This is a 2 mile, out and back trail. through a slot canyon that is apparently home to many owls. We saw evidence of nests and some concentrations of bird poop, but no birds. They could easily have been hiding in any of the wind carved holes in the rock walls, but we didn’t see them.

Owl Canyon

Christmas Eve was simply the best. Francois came over and we hung out in Dory. We drank and talked, while I made Ham and Swiss crescent rolls in the Omnia, with a few asparagus spears stuffed inside to make them “elevated.” We laughed a lot and shared stories. It was one of the best Christmases I can remember. All that was missing was Linda with dogs, but we raised a few glasses to her. For our evening movie entertainment, we watched “Return of the Jedi.” Because Christmas. Our son texted from Oregon to share his “Die Hard” joy (and get the Vudu password), dissing our nerdy ways. I simply replied, “Yub yub motherf…” He responded, “Now I have a lightsaber. Ho ho ho.” Good times.

Safe travels Francois!

On Christmas morning, Francois needed to hit the road again, and we were pleased to learn he was able to hook up with Mike and Ele, the owners of Four Corners RV in Durango, for Christmas night. What an adventure he is having! Meanwhile, we took advantage of the good weather and decided at the last minute to try a crazy plan and bring Dory to Valley of Fire to see if we could get a site. Spoiler: we did, and that will be the next post.

Couldn’t ask for better weather

I was surprised by how beautiful the area is around Lake Mead. I simply had no idea. All the variations in rock colors that you see in the other national parks, like Zion and Grand Canyon, are also here in Lake Mead. It makes sense if you think of this as the lowest level of the whole Laramide Erogeny event, which is responsible for the geology along the Grand Staircase. You can totally tell that the rock layers were once underwater and the the beautiful rainbow effect is just the process of revelation due to erosion over time. I was also surprised at how uncrowded and remote it felt once we left the westernmost resort areas. It’s also huge. It takes about an hour to get from Echo Bay to the entry point near Henderson. What a beautiful drive though. It seems very much like a national park road is well maintained. We mostly even had service.

Love you dude ♥️

It was wonderful to add a new area to our repertoire, but more than that, it was so special to get to share Christmas with Francois. When people ask, and we have to lead with something defining, like, “He’s our trailer sales rep,” we will finish by saying, “who has become family.” Cheers, Francois, wherever you are.

Total miles: 187.0 from Hole in the Wall, 17.5 mpg, 4 hours 21 min. Site 142 in the Upper Loop campground. We checked out Lower Loop and were unimpressed. Also, no service down there. About half the campground is closed, no idea why. There was hardly anyone there though, so lots of open sites. $20 per night. Good service for both. Water and good dump. RV campground across street with full hookups.

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