“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind” – Seneca
When you travel with a lot of guys, you try to plan things that will make guys happy. I have three sons and no daughters, so shopping or spa days have not been part of our family vacation experience. And as our kids were growing up, our budget was somewhat slim, so each trip usually came with one “big event” that went along with our free adventures such as swimming in the ocean or hiking. For example, when we went to Arizona one year, I planned a Pink Jeep tour. The time we went to Cancun (we had free airfare and free hotel), our big-budget item was swimming with dolphins.
Now that our kids are grown and they are helping to pay for all the fun, we can plan more non-free experiences. So, this year, when we were in Utah, we decided to do a couple of guided activities. First, we went canyoneering, which I detailed in my previous post – A Catch in my Throat. Our other big adventure was 4-wheeling. This particular activity was of genuine interest to my youngest son, and probably my oldest as well.
Months before our trip, I had done some research through TripAdvisor, and found that Mild to Wild Rhino Tours had high ratings in the Things to Do category. So, after reading through several reviews, I decided (with consensus from my family) to book a tour. Buddy, the owner, recommended we take a morning tour because it would be cooler and more pleasant.
I’d like to mention that a few years ago when our family went on the Pink Jeep tour in Sedona, I was the only family member that couldn’t go, thanks to a nasty bug I had picked up the day before. So, for this year’s vacation I was bound and determined that I was going to have some fun along with everyone else. I might have been a little crazy with the hand washing for several weeks leading up to our adventure. And it worked. Yay for soap and hand sanitizer!
Back to my story – We had gotten an email with instructions on how to find the office. But I was surprised to find it in a construction zone and even more surprised that it seemed to be a one man show! But Buddy, the owner and also our guide for the day, was very friendly and easy to talk to. He took our money and then gave us bandanas and sunglasses to use and keep. And we were very thankful for them! It was undoubtedly a dusty experience.
When we left the office, we followed Buddy in our vehicle to another location near Gooseberry Mesa and the five of us loaded up into two ATVs while Buddy drove his own. He guided us up a messed-up, washed-out road until we reached a parking area with bathrooms and a sign letting us know we had reached the mesa.
The ATVs we had seemed to be pretty new and were fun to drive.
We had some beautiful scenery all around us!
There had actually been some rain, so the dust wasn’t horrible in most places, but the scarves and sunglasses that Buddy gave us really helped.
Buddy was a very knowledgeable guide and took us to scenic locations and pointed out all of the land forms and landmarks in the distance. He also pointed out plants and gave a history of what native Americans had used some of them for in the past. He told us that the cactus flower called prickly pear developed into a fruit that is used to flavor some locally-made ice cream. I really wanted to try that but didn’t find it before we left.
We loved all of the picture opportunities we had! The sky seemed to go on forever up here!
Buddy took us over some rocky terrain that made me very nervous! I felt like we could tip over at any minute! But after we survived the first one, I relaxed and even enjoyed the ride. It was a hoot!
All in all, it was a great day! The guys got to have their adrenaline rush and everyone had a wonderful time. Another family memory in the books!
After our tour, Buddy told us we should check out Grafton ghost town, an old Mormon settlement, and told us exactly how to get there. So we took his advice and headed over. It was an interesting place to visit, but there wasn’t very much there. And it was hot! Whew! May 22nd in the afternoon. I can’t imagine what July would feel like! We read the signs, took a few pictures and we went on our way.
So, if you’re ever visiting this part of Utah, I would definitely recommend Mild to Wild Rhino Tours. It was entertaining and let us see a part of the countryside we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. 4-Wheelin’ is fun!
Until next time – happy traveling!