As we headed west from CO, the bus engine started making a noise. Paul spent some time checking it out and determined that we were able to continue to our stop for the night, about 2 hours away in Northern Utah.
We made it to our stop and fortunately it was at the house of a Florida friend who was kind enough to let us park there for a week while we figured out what was going on. Paul had a hunch about the noise and ordered a few parts to replace. Over the course of that week, it took ordering a few parts to figure out, that we needed to get the bus to a shop. By that time it was Friday so we made an appointment for first thing Monday in Salt Lake City.
During that week, in between waiting for and installing parts, we got to explore the area a little. We went on a few hikes at a local memorial and went into Park City and Salt Lake a few days to explore and also shop around for cars. Our plan was always to get one once we got out to Cedar City and that unplanned week in N Utah was the perfect opportunity for us to look. When we realized that the engine noise wasn’t going to be a quick fix we cut Washington state and California out of our trip for the sake of timing.
We ended up finding a car in Salt Lake, so the Monday of our appointment we left with the bus and the car to head into the city to see the mechanic. Turns out the fan pulley burned out. Paul had replaced some of those parts the week prior which meant there was actually not a lot the mechanic had to do but it was still nice to get another set of eyes on things. We were very thankful that the noise wasn’t coming from a bigger issue!
From Salt Lake City we headed south with our next stop in Rush Valley, UT at a Harvest Host farm called Starry Hollow Ranch. The farm was in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and was also an animal sanctuary for goats and alpacas. It had been really dry in UT at that point in the summer and the night we were there they had rain for the first time in weeks! The owners were excited about the rain but nervous about the lightning that was also happening since the land was so dry. We stayed for one night before heading onto Santaquin, UT.
The drive from Rush Valley to Santaquin was through a beautiful valley. As we started getting closer to the little town of Santaquin, probably 10 minutes away from our stop for the night (another Harvest Host), when we realized there was a cop following us. At least that’s what it seemed like. We tried to figure out why he might be following us; then we missed our turn and had to go a little further to turn around at a gas station. The cop followed us the whole time! We made our way a quarter of a mile back up the road to our stop and pulled into the parking lot. Paul was parking the bus and I was the car waiting for him to get situated when the cop rolls up beside me and rolls down his window. “Is that your skoolie?” he said. So we invited him in for a tour! Turns out he’s been following the tiny home movement and is looking into the option of a skoolie once he retires. We had a nice conversation and then he went on his way.
The next day we got on the road to head a few hours south. Our time traveling in Utah was quite the change from the rest of the trip when we were trying to drive 400+ miles in a day. We may have mentioned it in a previous post but we average 55mph on the highway. So doing more short distance travel was really nice!
Our next stop for several nights was in a campground at Fishlake National Forest. This place was awesome! A huge lake, mountains to hike and beautiful aspen trees all over. The campground was pretty quiet with only a few other rigs parked there. We spent time hiking around the lake and checking out the aspen trees. Apparently the cluster of aspen trees in the park has about 47K trees with one root system. Its also said to be one of the oldest known organisms.
Our next stop, once leaving the park, was just north of Cedar City. We had a Bureau of Land Management area scoped out that we planned to park at for a few nights until our spot in town was available. This was our first experience utilizing BLM land, and prior to being on the road we had anticipated parking on BLM land often. Honestly after our experience finding a suitable BLM spot for our set up, it seems a little over rated. Even though there are apps and maps online that can help you find free land, it still takes time to actually find an area of the land that’ll work for your rig, i.e. a spot that’s big enough for your vehicle and level. Especially with our bus being on the bigger side made it a little challenging. That said, BLM land is a great option for many and one we’ll try out again in the future.
After four nights on the BLM land, we moved the bus in town and parked in the driveway of some family friends before settling into an RV park; which is where we are now. Since being in and near Cedar, we have spent time exploring the town and surrounding areas. There are lots of hiking and biking trails all over!
As we’ve been in the bus longer we’ve started making minor upgrades/additions as we have a better idea of what works in the space and what we need.
If you’ve read this far – thank you! We hope this post finds you well and healthy! We’ll be posting again soon about the steps we’re taking to get the bus ready for winter.