Last weekend, eight of us did what any red-blooded American has to do at some point in life. We piled into an RV for a sauced-up road trip. Shirley had never been on an RV trip, so Jer promised her one as her birthday present. A Brandi Carlile show in Flagstaff was the perfect excuse for an adventure.
We left Friday afternoon for the
five seven hour drive to FLG. Our route on the way took us across SR 9 through Hurricane and Colorado City (heyyyy, Warren!) to Fredonia. From there we headed south/southeast on the US 89 bypass via Jacob’s Lake. I’m always amazed how quickly Southern Utah’s scenery can change. One minute were driving through parched desert surrounded by painted red rock cliffs, and the next we’re in a high alpine forest with lakes and streams. Blink and you’re back in the sandy lowlands.
From Jacob’s lake we continued east and made a stop at Lee’s Ferry. My iPhone said it was only 94 degrees, but it felt much hotter…well over 100, so I think the weather app was asleep on the job. We took a few minutes to soak our feet in the Colorado and watch in envy as a large group prepared to put out on what must have been a 10 day river run. The water was surprisingly cold and it turns out the temperature never even reaches 60 degrees at this point of the river.
We arrived into Flagstaff, picked up a rental car to get around town and hooked up the RV at Black Bart’s Truck Stop, RV Camp and Steakhouse. AKA Flagstaff’s ghetto. Jer was finally able to crack a beer and start catching up with the rest of us who had been drinking since Hurricane. The ninth member of the group (who drove up alone after work) arrived, officially transitioning the RV from motorhome to motorhomo based on our numbers.
Dinner that night was culled from Jeanne’s Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives research: Salsa Brava. The food was great and the salsa bar was a lot of fun. Afterward, several of us headed into the downtown area to check out some of the bars. The Friday nightlife in FLG is wild. The streets were full of people barhopping and partying and for a moment it almost felt like New Orleans. The bars were packed and the music was loud, but we had fun hanging out on the second floor balcony of Charly’s, which is in the historic (and supposedly haunted) Weatherford Hotel. As usual, we went out the gate on the first night of our trip like a group that just released from years of lockup. It made for a rough Saturday morning, but we didn’t care since we were headed to see Brandi later that night.
We spent most of Saturday checking out downtown. A late lunch at another DD&D hotspot, Brandy’s Restaurant, proved a good choice. It’s Monsoon in the southwest deserts right now, so an afternoon deluge passed quickly and we headed back to the RV to get ready for the concert. We got in line around 5:30 PM for a 7:00 PM door opening and were about 20 spots back. The girl at the front of the line had been there since 11:00 AM, which didn’t seem like a great rate of return in my book. We met a mom and daughter duo in line and had a great time talking with them, so the time passed quickly and we headed into the Orpheum Theater for the show.
Andy Hull, lead singer for Manchester Orchestra (although Haley had been telling people it was the Flagstaff Orchestra) opened. Brandi and the band went on about 9:15 PM and rocked the house for more than two hours. It was a great mix of songs from all her albums, including six off the new Bear Creek album. I’ve always said Brandi is one of the best live performers I’ve seen, and she didn’t disappoint this time. It’s fun to see this band evolve and get better and better each time with a stage presence that makes it impossible to not be up on your feet singing along. Just as in SLC last month, the band covered Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which really got this crowd going. Two encores later the show was finally over, and even though we were all sore from standing for hours we were sad it was over.
A quiet night back at Black Bart’s led to a relatively early morning rise on Sunday. We fueled up the RV, dropped off the rental car and got back on the road to head home. Our route back kept us on US 89 through Page and across the Glenn Canyon Dam at Lake Powell. We stopped at the dam for a bathroom break and photo op before making the last leg back into Hurricane and St. George.
Filling the propane and dumping the shitter proved problematic on a Sunday evening in zion. After cruising around for 45 minutes, we finally found a mobile home park with an unprotected dump station. While WE had a rule nobody would do #2 in the RV, the people who rented it before us did not subscribe to our philosophy. When I reached in to pull the dump hose from the storage in the bumper, my hand came out covered in what can only be described as…poop. Good thing I’d been drinking since noon AND good thing Lisa and Col forced me to down a couple shots as part of that. So, I didn’t really care and we got our “cargo” offloaded quickly.
Great trip overall, although I dont’ think any one of us was sad to see the end of the RV time. It’s definitely a fun way to travel with friends, although the one who has to drive kind of gets screwed a little.
Here is the photoset for this trip: Flagstaff RV trip – August 2012