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Old 07-01-2015, 12:46 PM   #1
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Utah trip in October - problems to be aware of?

We are planning our second "big" trip in our 2013 AI. The first was to Yellowstone from Texas in August 2 years ago. Wonderful trip. This trip is to see the North Rim Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Moab, Canyonlands and maybe Lake Powell.

We planned this trip for mid-October so we would not have to deal with the heat - but now I'm wondering if the Interstate is OK to camp in when it's below freezing?? At some campgrounds we won't have electrical hookups - do you worry about the tanks freezing? Does the propane heater keep everything from freezing? I think the freezing temperatures would just be at night. And we'll be driving A LOT of the time. This is our first camper - used to be tent campers years ago.

Any thoughts - and suggestions - will be appreciated. Also if you know of a place we shouldn't miss, please let me know!

thank you! Barbara
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:51 PM   #2
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I have been in temps in the teens a number of time, and below freezing dozens of times, and never had pipes freeze.

The furnace does an adequate job when without hookups, a space heater also does well when you have electricity.

The basic rule of thumb...if it is warm enough for you, it is warm enough to protect the pipes.

I would suggest avoiding snow, tho.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:55 PM   #3
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If your TV is a 4x4, then don't miss Dead Horse State Park. Get there early, then exit N off the main entrance, and turn left into the NP. Take the first dirt road on the left after you enter the NP, and take the trail thru the middle of Canyonlands that you just observed from DHSP. If you go slow, it will take about three hours to traverse. There are numerous places along the trail to stop and have lunch overlooking the CO river. I doubt you'll see too many peeps going down the CO river @ that time of year, but ya never know. We had a blast, and you will too!
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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Whoops. My bad. I didn't see that you were in an AI. You can still rent an ATV in Moab and drive the canyonlands on your own. Worth the $ for sure.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:28 PM   #5
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The North Rim of The Grand Canyon closes on Oct 31st so plan accordingly.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:41 PM   #6
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We find that a small cube electric heater works nicely for us when we have hookups and don't want to use our propane. Small, quiet and keeps us toasty warm.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:08 PM   #7
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The North Rim of The Grand Canyon closes on Oct 31st so plan accordingly.
Noting the campground closes soon after our trip made me very nervous about going there - but it sounds like we 'should' be ok. Thank you for your help!
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:43 PM   #8
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It gets snowed in for about 6 months with only a half dozen or so caretakers left behind at the lodge.
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Old 07-01-2015, 06:06 PM   #9
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but now I'm wondering if the Interstate is OK to camp in when it's below freezing??
I've been winter camping in below-freezing temperatures in my Interstate, but there was only one time (New Year's weekend at Poverty Point State Park, Louisiana) when the temperature dropped below freezing and stayed there all day.

I strongly suggest you winterize first— and carefully— before heading out. Un-winterize when you reach the campground, and only to the extent you absolutely need to. The reason being, even though you've got tank heaters that you can use as long as you have a 30-amp electric hookup, there are parts of your plumbing system that are not heated, including:
- the municipal water connection. The check valve could freeze. For winter camping, resign yourself to filling the fresh tank and running the water pump and forget about using the municipal hookup.
- the exterior shower connection. Many people forget to hook up the exterior shower and blow it out while winterizing, and if you've EVER used it since your last winterizing there could be water trapped in it that could freeze.
- the macerator pump. Even if you run it dry, some water remains trapped inside, unless you add a lot of RV antifreeze to your holding tanks and pump them out until pink stuff comes out the hose. Even then, do NOT try to pump out your holding tanks until and unless the temperature has been above freezing for a few hours!
- the discharge hose. Every time you dump your holding tanks, unreel the entire 20-foot hose even if the dump station or sewer hookup is only 3 feet away. Water is trapped in every coil of the hose on the reel otherwise and the hose can freeze.

The furnace is perfectly capable of keeping an Interstate toasty warm as long as you cover the windshield and windows to help retain heat. But if you do get a small electric space heater to supplement the furnace, get a desktop model that has a tip-over switch on the bottom. An Interstate doesn't have stabilizer jacks, and so it can rock in high winds, or even just from you moving around. And since floor space is at a premium, there's always the potential for accidentally kicking over a heater on the floor. It's not like you've got extra countertop space to set it on the galley counter, either…
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:30 PM   #10
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The North Rim of The Grand Canyon closes on Oct 31st so plan accordingly.
Actually it closes down on Oct. 15 as far as the lodge and facilities. It is open for day use until the road closes for snow or Dec 1st. However we have been there after Oct 15 and were allowed to camp but there is no water, bathrooms, or dump.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:34 PM   #11
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We did this trip three years ago and you are in for a real treat! We went in late September and heat was never an issue for us. As a matter of fact we needed to disconnect from the city water in Bryce because it was getting below freezing at night. We stayed at Ruby's at Bryce. great place but they advertise that Zion is not far but it made for a long day to drive, enjoy Zion and go back to Ruby's. If I had to do it again I would reserve a spot in Zion NP.
Don't miss Monument Valley! Bring an old John Wayne movie to watch when you stay there. Mesa Verde NP is a "don't miss" and defiantly visit Durango and do the narrow gauge railroad.
A friend recommended that I hike to Delicate Arch in Arches NP before sunrise and it was spectacular and well worth it.
I asked for some guidance on this trip in the forum before we went and got a lot of recommendations from several people that elevated this trip from great to AWESOME! I suppose you could find that thread. I remember that Len and Jeanne offed some great advice.
Enjoy your trip. We are think of going to Bryce, Zion, and North rim next year.
PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:27 AM   #12
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Thank you all for your help! Although we've had the Interstate for over 2 years, we are still very much newbies. We're looking forward to Gary retiring next year - hopefully we'll get to travel a lot more.

Barbara & Gary
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Old 07-02-2015, 06:58 PM   #13
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Talking Utah trip

I would second the advice to visit Dead Horse state park at the start of Canyonlands on 319.
Being a state park, you are allowed to hike the trails with dogs. In the national parks you are NOT allowed to take dogs on the trails. If you have dogs, there is a great doggy daycare in Rockville, very near Zion that then allows you to hike Angel's Landing, the Narrows and other great hikes there. Of course if the temps are cool enough, you could leave the dogs in the vehicle if you thought it was safe.
Arches is spectacular, the hike to the Delicate arch at sunrise is worth it.
I liked Kodachrome state park near Bryce. Have fun.
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