I am trying to get myself out of a jam that I myself created.
The last part of our upcoming trip to Utah and Arizona consists of time spent around Lake Powell. The closest town is Page, AZ. The campground of preference is Wahweap Marina.
Though I’ve been looking at campgrounds since November, I could never bring myself to pull the trigger on making a reservation at Wahweap because the campsites with electricity hook ups are $70+ per night.
In hotel money, that’s a good deal. In campground money, it seemed like highway robbery.
However, in retrospect, the campground has a fair cancellation/refund policy, and I could have gone ahead and made the reservations and cancelled at a later date, just to have something in my back pocket.
I am a back pocket sort of person; I like back up plans, contingency plans, and emergency kits. I’m the person carrying the backpack filled with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, cracker packs, bottled water, band aids, sunscreen, things that nine times out of ten we never need or want. I’m a just in case sort of person.
But what happens when contingency planning meets frugality? Apparently, frugality wins. But it also may put you in a bind.
My plan was to stay at a state park in Arizona called Lee’s Ferry. There are no hook-ups for electricity, but it looked really pretty and is situated right on the Colorado River. The campground is first come, first serve, and the general consensus from reviews and Facebook camping groups is that it rarely fills up. I felt pretty confident in availability. However, I realized that it’s a good 45 minutes from the lake so we will have a bit of a daily commute and won’t have all of our stuff handy if we need a change of clothes or a place to take a break.
When I panicked yesterday and asked my FB camping group if they had any ideas on another campground, one woman mentioned this place. What it lacks in beauty it may make up for in air conditioning and showers! I’ll call them today hopefully and see what their reservation/cancellation policy. (UPDATE: I went ahead and booked with them. Better safe than sorry.)
This penchant for saving money when travelling is also why I am officially no longer in charge of making hotel reservations. For years, I’ve been the point man for all things travel except for general automotive readiness. I’ve sat online for way too long reading reviews of hotels and trying to spend the least amount of money possible while still getting a free continental breakfast. This has led to us staying occasionally in places that have made us fear for our lives. One time in Opelika as we were checking out, there was a strong police presence in the parking lot that made the children a little uncomfortable. On another occasion, the hotel I was staying at changed the locks while I was gone and rented my room (with all of my belongings) to another person who refused to open the door so I could at least get my bags out. Not even kidding.
This past Spring Break, Justin was in charge of hotels and talk about fancy! While he certainly is budget-conscious, he also doesn’t mind paying a little bit more money in order to be reasonably confident that there will be no drug busts next door or locked-out-room fiascoes. So maybe he should have also been in charge of this aspect of our trip.
We will stay somewhere near Lake Powell, even if we have to dry camp on a sandy beach. Apparently it will be around 100 degrees in mid-June, so the family’s good attitudes and flexible nature will be tested. I don’t really like being the cause of that. I mean, clearly, I’m not in charge of the weather, but I can plan for it.
We had also planned to take the camper out for a test run this weekend to our local state park, but I’m afraid it’s going to be raining. And we also need to do something about our camper’s awning, which is in fine condition itself, but the zipper bag that it is attached to is failing in a fantastic way. I saw a video that looks promising as a viable fix until we can actually have the bag repaired. I think that will probably happen sometime after our trip Out West at this point!
Part of me wishes I had given myself a bit more of a buffer between the end of the school year and the beginning of this trip, but the other part of me knows that if I had, I would have spent all of that lead up time fiddling with the camper and second-guessing my itinerary and campground reservations.
Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and not worry about every little thing. Even if my family does a whole lot of sweating in southern Utah, they will remember the trip fondly. Or at least be thankful for air conditioning.