Day 29 – Hurricane to Big Bear Lake

Overland Camping Roadtrip Blog

Travel Day 29:

Total km driven to date: 6756km

Total km walked to date: 231.56km

Hurricane, UT – Big Bear Lake, CA

750km drive

0.78km on foot

                Well today was an interesting and very long day of travel. I started off my morning outside of Hurricane, UT. It was hot, already 28* in my camper by 8am so I packed up and took the 1/2hr drive to Zion National Park. As the highway gets closer to Zion you end up in a sort of Oasis with lots of trees and shade in the walls of the canyons. Zion Canyon the town is much like Moab in a way, lots of tourists around and neat little shops and adventure themed business’s lining the road. Its surprising to find because all the way there it is desert landscape and you turn a corner and are in a nice green little town with towering cliffs on either side. We got into the park thanks to our annual pass again (cost without the pass is $30, my pass has finally started to pay off and every park from here on out will be “free”). I wish I had known a little bit more about the park before I came because you can only see about half of the park from your own vehicle, for the rest of the park you need to cram onto a packed shuttle to take you up the canyon, considering I wasn’t going to leave my co-pilot in the truck for hours I saw what I could see. Keep that in mind if you are bringing your dog, they aren’t allowed on the shuttle and you miss out on a lot, makes sense why I saw doggy daycares in town. What we did get to see was very impressive though, canyon walls climbing thousands of feet on either side and you can drive up the windy switchbacks and through a very small but 1mile long tunnel through the mountain. Once on the otherside you are essentially in a different world, out of the canyon and up on the hot dry desert again.

                After driving to the end and turning back around and heading down I decided it was time to hightail it to Nevada with the plan of swimming and camping at Lake Mead for 2 nights and then spending the 4th down on the Las Vegas Strip. I found a used book store on the way and bought 5 used books….considering I’ve already read 4 books in the past 30 days this should last me another month or so, I’ll have quite the mobile library by the time I get home. Onto the I-15 which ends up heading south and briefly though Arizona, you drop down through some huge canyons and its amazing that I was at 10,000ft just yesterday because I got down to 1300ft on I-15. It was super hot and proper desert on the sides of the road all thought Arizona and into Southern Nevada. I took the turn for Overton which follows the north side of Lake Meade. It was 40* in the shade and just baking so it was time for a swim. I can tell you that Lake Meade was much like Lake Powell, an extremely disappointing and depressing ghost town. The water has dropped so much that most of the beaches and boat launches are just closed with gates blocking the road, the few that are open are so far from the water there is nobody around. The campsites that were clearly waterfront are in some cases now over a km to the water. Marina’s pushed down down down and now just sitting dry on the  ground, new gravel roads ploughed down but empty and forlorn. We found a spot that we could get to the water and took a very amazing and refreshing swim in the turquoise water, as I lay on the beach half in the water and half out I honestly could over the course of an hour not moving feel the water get lower, like the tide was going out. It was slight but noticeable….over an HOUR. The white “bathtub ring” can be seen 100ft above your head. I made some lunch in the camper and it was 43.5* and I decided there was no way we were going to stay for 2 nights at Lake Meade, so plan Las Vegas was scrapped and I decided to do the long haul all the way to Californina, San Bernardino is only 34* which is cool compared to 43*. We went through southern Las Vegas and what a zoo, big cities are not my thing and I was happy to see it in my rearview. As you leave town on I-15 you see some huge solar farms south of the city, very cool. After that it was 3hrs at 70mph final destination Big Bear Lake, CA. Its only an hour from the race and I’ve got a week to kill but such is life, it will be cooler up in the mountains and it will bring my fuel costs down by not moving far for a week. The turnoff to climb up to Big Bear is only 1/2hr from Johnson Valley so I may head down there and see if there is any wheeling going on I can film. We climbed up the switchbacks to Big Bear racing the setting sun trying to find a place to camp before it got fully dark. I found a suitable spot about 10km from town and set up for the night and maybe the week, I will ride my bike into town tomorrow to see if the Lake is still there (I’m having bad luck with lakes in the drought stricken SouthWest) and to see if I can find a camping spot closer to town. Time for some BBQ chicken, cream corn and salad, at least at the end of a long day I can eat well, and thankfully at 10pm its only 20*, feels lovely for #Canada, sorry Nevada you were too hot for my canadian blood!

Day 28 - Escalante to Hurricane
Day 30 - Big Bear Lake

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