Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire reminded us very much of some of the places we visited in Namibia in 2013: big red sandstone rock formations, petroglyphs, tucked-away individual camping spots between the rocks etc….

After a night of glorious generator-free peace and quiet in our own private little campsite, we set off to explore this small State Park starting with the rock scratchings….

The on-site museum provided a handy initial guide to the basic timeline:

Gypsum People (2000BC-200AD), nomadic hunter gatherers, lived in caves, ate bighorn sheep, nuts, seeds etc, died out due to drying climate

Basket makers (50BC-500AD), started cultivating food crops, later developed pit houses. Known for basket making (really?), dryness of climate still a big problem

Anasazi (500AD-1150AD), known for the bow and arrow, lived in villages of pit houses, lived from a combination of cultivated crops and hunting

Having acquired a rudimentary education, we did some more exploring…

We took advantage of an empty RV dump station with no-one in sight for miles around to have a first go at filling and (more importantly) emptying the tanks. American RVs have one big difference to the motor homes we know and love back home: a built-in black tank (which Mark has been calling K.A.C.’s “17 gallon bum” since we read all the specs a few months ago prior to booking). Emptying the tank was interesting. You basically take a cap off a waste pipe at the rear of the van and attach what looks like a long extractor hose, the other end of which just gets rammed into the waste pipe on the ground. Then it’s “chocks away” with the black tank emptying valve. So many possibilities for complete disaster…… ¬†Assuming you manage that bit ok, you then deploy the grey tank valve, and the grey water rinses the inside of the hose. Why does all this conjure up images of Baldrick in my mind?

We managed without major mishap, but there’s one thing I still don’t get. The vans all have two great big valves on their rear end, left for poo, right for shower water. Anyone can get their hands on them. Next time some pensioner fires up their generator at 6am I may be hard pressed to stop myself going over and giving a quick tug on that left hand lever. That’d make getting the cover off the waste pipe and attaching the hose real fun! If we had valves like that back home you’d be wanting some kind of locking mechanism. Maybe Americans just don’t have the kinds of evil thoughts that I do…..

Overall, Valley of Fire was a fantastic little State Park, but time waits for no dosser, so we reluctantly fired up K.A.C. and resumed our journey North towards Zion National Park….