Aerosinusitis or Sinus Squeeze

Last time you flew did your ears pop? Did you get a sharp pain behind you eye and experience a headache? That is exactly what happened to my husband on his last trip and this is what I discovered about what the problem and how to treat it:

Reblogged from

Did you experience a headache or sharp sinus pains?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to one, or all of the above, you are not alone. This post is about a reaction that is uncommonly common during flights called Aerosinusitis. Unfortunately, it can happen to any of us when flying… even yourself.

What is Aerosinusitis?

Diane A. Safer, PhD of the NYU Langone Medical Center defines Aerosinusitis (also known as Barotrauma) as a “pain or discomfort that is felt with a difference in air or water pressure between the outside environment and the inside of the body.” Meaning, any part of the body where air passes through (ie: nose, ears, lungs) can be affected. If there becomes an imbalance in air pressure, or there’s a blockage in the body’s air passages, your sinuses and any affected body part(s) will shrink or swell resulting in sharp, and discomforting pain. In more extreme cases, damages can be severe enough to require surgery.

Image source: Wikipedia
Location of sinus cavities (Wikipedia)

My Encounters with Aerosinusitis

The flight from Vancouver to Toronto started off much like any other flight I’ve been on. No delays, smooth takeoff, minimal turbulence, and I had my fair share of in-flight refreshments and entertainment. The descent, however, was anything but normal (for myself at least). After nearly five hours of flying, the captain alerted passengers to prepare for the final approach. Seat-belt buckled? Check. My ears inevitably popped as always, and I felt the plane gradually lose altitude. It was during this time that something I never thought would ever happen to me happened.

What began as a slight tickle and mild headache quickly evolved into sharp, piercing pain that I’ve never before felt in my life. My forehead, cheek bones, nasal passages were all experiencing the same pain simultaneously. I’ve been stitched-up, banged-up, and I’d argue that I have a very high pain threshold, but nothing prepared me for this pain. The pain escalated as we continued our descent. The discomfort I felt was much like sharp daggers relentlessly jabbing at my face. I began to sweat profusely. Vivian looked over to me and noticed something was horribly wrong. Not only was I tearing up from the pain and gripping the armrests tightly, I also turned completely red and struggled to breathe. The last thing I wanted was attention or a panicked cabin, so I kept myself turned away from other passengers and all flight attendants. The pain slowly diminished after we landed, but I was spent.

Was it over? Not quite. The flight from Vancouver to Toronto was only a two-hour layover. Since that was the first time aerosinusitis has ever occurred to me, I had no idea why my body reacted that way. Had I known, I would have followed the tips I’ve listed below, but because I didn’t, the pain returned on an elevated level during our next flight’s descent from Toronto to Montréal.

How to Treat and/or Prevent Aerosinusitis

If the above scenario sounds like something you’ve experienced before, or if you want to avoid this from happening to you, here are some useful steps to help! Note that your chances of experiencing said symptoms is more likely to occur if you have a cold and your air passages (especially nasal) are stuffed.

  • Chew Gum. Chewing gum on a flight – especially during takeoff and landing – will help to open enough room in your ear to allow air to pass through. Yawning and swallowing also works.
  • Saline Nasal Spray. These can be purchased over the counter from any pharmacy. They come in bottles small enough to be permitted on flights and act as a mini humidifier. One single spray will help keep your nose moisturized for a good length of time.
  • Water. Drink lots of it. This all-natural medicine doesn’t just help clean out toxins; it also helps prevent any mucus from thickening.
  • Blow Your Nose. Do this frequently especially when you know the plane is nearing its destination. Assuming your have a cold and your nose is stuffed, always keep some tissues handy and keep your nasal passages clear!
  • Sinus Relief Pills. Conveniently found in general stores at airports, these pills work fast and are effective for hours. I bought a small box of Tylenol Severe Sinus and it worked like magic.

CityGirl in Italy 2018

I didn’t sleep for long the night before I journeyed to Italy. I never do. The anticipation always causes me, a resolute non-morning person, to awaken long before the alarm rings with a smile on my face. Along with that anticipation, I also have a fear of being 5,000 miles from home and without having packed just the right things. Or having left something important off my pared down list of items to bring. So, inevitably the night before I begin adding “just in case” items to my luggage; An umbrella, a cute peacock blue wrap dress, a pair of dressy sandals just in case it’s warmer than I expected, an extra scarf. Maybe it’s also a fear of not having an elegant enough wardrobe to fit in with the Italians, who even bicycle in heels.

At any rate, I was also likely antsy because I love Italy. After my first trip to Verona with a friend for a month in 2006 I was so enamored with the Veneto, Tuscany, Lazio, and Lombardy that I vowed to return as often as possible. So far I have done so almost every year, expanding my horizons to the amazing Emilia-Romagna where I usually base myself and take train trips to nearby provinces. Why Italy? It reminds me of home in south Louisiana. Serious food for home cooking foodies, laissez-fare attitude about wine, and a certain focus on joie-de-vivre I didn’t expect to be so strong anywhere other than New Orleans.

This trip, once again, satisfied my need to be on the peninsula. I racked up the miles on the train and in my rented Fiat 500 visiting Venice, Ferrara, Imola, Forli, Castrocaro Terme, Terra Del Sole, and Argenta. I had great food at new (to me) eateries in Cassana, Comacchio, and Pomposa. I learned that my favorite server for the past three years at La Postierla was expecting a baby and would not be working when I come again next September. I felt at once ecstatic for her and also like I was losing an old friend when she told me the news. She plans to name the girl Aurora.

Next year will be a new adventure, and perhaps I will even make new friends. I’m on the plane now from Venice to Frankfurt to the US. I spent my last night in Venice having dinner of shrimp risotto using a kilo we bought that morning at the ancient Minuto Fish Market with old friends and a new one visiting Venice alone from Korea that we met that afternoon while having a spritz at Gran Caffe Quadri in Piazza San Marco.

Ci vediamo, Italia. I will be back as soon as I am able.


The Waters Hotel in Hot Springs Arkansas

The Waters Hotel is in the middle of Hot Springs National Park on Central Avenue. A multimillion-dollar historic renovation of this revered building on Bathhouse Row has yielded a boutique hotel with vintage details and up-to-date comforts and amenities. Each of the 62 rooms are unique and true to the building’s history.

Image result for waters hotel hot springs

Chris, the sales manager, answered the email I sent within hours and told me he would meet with me when I arrived if I needed to get into any special areas for photos. He offered to make my reservations at the Quapaw Bathhouse and had the confirmation waiting for me at the front desk when I checked in. The Waters Hotel is partnered with the Quapaw Bathhouse and all guests get 20% off any spa services there. He even called the room later to make sure we were settled in just fine.

Parking staff was fantastic. Ashley, the valet manager made sure our truck and airstream had space to pull in, arranged further cars to ensure we’d have space to pull out, and even allowed my husband to park his own rig (because it’s his baby and he didn’t want anyone else driving it). We could even see the Airstream from our room.


It wasn’t just the managers that were professional and welcoming. The whole staff from the valet drivers, front desk clerks, Avenue bar, to the cleaning staff were a delight. The Avenue Restaurant, attached to the hotel, was PHENOMENAL. There is even a boutique attached to the hotel called Blushed Beauty that had the cutest beauty products and a fantastic, attentive, owner on hand to answer all your questions and help you sample the items.


The Room

We stayed in a City View corner room that had a great panoramic view of Bathhouse Row. All the rooms are filled with art and products from local artists and companies to further immerse guests in the flavor and charm of Hot Springs.


We were there when the leaves were changing so that added a great layer of color to the typically green spaces around the historic bathhouses.


Before I even realized how great the views were I was impressed by the clean lines and detailed touches in the room itself. We had a king size bed flanked by plenty of outlets and USB ports on both nightstands for our phones and tablets, which is always a struggle.


There was a Keurig coffee maker with a selection of pods, a mini-fridge, flat screen tv, plush chair, and full-length mirror (all things I love to have in my hotel rooms). On top of that the bathroom has a spacious shower with a fantastic rain-like shower head, a separate lighted makeup mirror, locally handmade soap, and plant-based lotion made without parabens.

One more time, I have to say that the staff, views, and room were great! I wholeheartedly recommend The Waters Hotel for your stay in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The Avenue Restaurant

Being a foodie with a house in New Orleans for the past 10 years has been fabulous. When we decided to visit Hot Springs we were focused on the thermal waters and didn’t expect to find such a fantastic restaurant in our hotel on Bathhouse Row.

Image result for avenue restaurant hot springs

The Avenue is a full-service restaurant and a lounge which offers southern artisan- style cuisine using locally-sourced food.


It was so good we ate there two nights in a row. The first night we had the pork belly wontons with sambal sauce, cold smoked filet, shrimp & grits, and a couple wines for their fantastic selection. They do have vegetarian and vegan selections and their chef is committed to excellence so I wouldn’t hesitate to try anything on the menus.


The next night we returned, determined to order and devour the “shareable” 32oz Wagyu Tomahawk steak. We still ordered a couple of small plates to start because we had to have the pork belly wontons again and wanted to try their smoked white bean soup. We gave the steak our best shot but had to take leftovers up to the room. We did share some of it with our Cane Corso, Titan 🙂


The Boutique

Blushed Beauty Boutique is onsite to enhance your experience for the ultimate in convenience. They have a makeup artist, high-quality beauty products, cute gifts and handy items like hair accessories and lashes.

Image result for waters hotel hot springs blushed beauty

The Bathhouses

So, when you stay at The Waters Hotel you are just steps away from the major attractions of Hot Springs National Park; the thermal water bathhouses! The National Park Visitor’s Center in Fordyce Bathhouse is just across the street to the right. Next to that are the Quawpaw Bathhouse and Buckstaff Bathhouse. You can be in any of these places within 20 seconds of walking out of the hotel front door.


The Quapaw Bathhouse & Spa is partnered with The Waters Hotel and you received 20% off of the services there. It’s undergone a recent renovation but has retained the feel of a historical thermal bath. There are four pools that you can rotate in and out of range from 94-104 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a cafe in the pool area so you can have a bite to eat while taking a break from the water. We also booked a private Microsilk bubble bath with Kneipp essential oils. Next time we will visit the steam cave and also book massages. Be sure to book well in advance because most services fill up 2 weeks ahead of time.

The Buckstaff Bathhouse is more traditional with a series of services that mirror what was done at the turn of the century. There are no cell phones or cameras allowed. It’s an experience that I am glad to have had, although Quapaw is more my style.

In Vino Veritas

Part of travel for me is getting to experience new places, landscapes, food culture, and WINE. I try to visit Italy yearly and there my favorite wine regions are Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Lombardy. My favorite wine from Italy is Lambrusco (secco/dry) and when I arrived in Anacortes, Washington I found a few bottles at Compass Wines, THE local wine merchant. I was instantly enamored with the great staff there and the fact that they are so knowledgeable and helpful.

I’ve looked for dry Lambrusco in every state we pass through and it is a very hard wine to find. I had one wine merchant tell me he had never heard of anything but dolce/sweet Lambrusco (ew!) and that I’d have to go to Italy to find the secco type. The fact that Doug at Compass Wines knows his Lambrusco and carries it is one reason I wanted to return to Anacortes. Every Wednesday they have a tasting and I get to experience new wines from Pacific Northwest wineries and expand my palate. I’ve also gotten to know a few French wines that I love.

Apparently, Pinot Noir (I’ve never met one that I didn’t like) is the grape varietal that Vin de Bourgogne (Burgundy Wine) is made from. I had occasion to try one, so I did a little research and learned that the reason Chambolle-Musigny doesn’t have Pinot Noir on the label is because of the Domaine.

Pinot Noir offers a very varied palette of aromas which are a direct consequence of the terroir on which it is grown. That is why the name of the varietal is rarely mentioned on the label of a bottle of Bourgogne wine, which gives preference to its place of production.

Now, I’m more partial to Italian wines than French, but I’m open to new things. So when I visited Compass Wines one Wednesday for their tasting I tried a few wines from… one of which I really liked and was a Bordeaux-style wine. It was the Avennia 2015 Sestina Red (Columbia Valley (WA)).

Sestina celebrates old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the Red Willow and Bacchus vineyards. The initial punch and power gives way to a wine with sharp acidity and somewhat constrained, leafy fruit flavors. For those who crave old-vine complexity and embrace the herbal side of Cabernet, this wine will be a revelation. Tight and focused, it responds well to several hours of decanting.

And then…from a case in the back of the store Doug brought out a 2011 of the same wine. The Avennia 2011 Sestina Red blend is made from some of the oldest vines in the PNW, and the extra years of aging mellowed out the sharpness leaving me with well-rounded fruit flavors lingering on my tongue long after the sip. I had to purchase a bottle. I got in line to initiate the transaction when something else amazing happened.

This was my IG post about the experience:

“Yesterday I went to @compasswines and had the chance to taste two amazing wines [that another customer had purchased and opened]: a 1964 Domaine Clair Dau Musigny Grand Cru and a 2010 Dom Clair-Dau Musigny. They were both fantastic Pinot Noir bottles with the ‘64 showing a mature color, raisin/jam notes, and a lovely lingering smoky fruit finish. The 2010 was great on the palate with a rich fruit (berry/cherry) profile. It was a phenomenal experience! Thanks, Doug! #compasswines #domaineclairdau #cbcgblog #citygirltravels #Airstream #airstreamliving #liveriveted #airstreamlife #rvlife #naarva #girlcamper #glamping #rvingwomen #travelista #unlikelyhikers #blackpeoplehike #blackcamper #snowbird #nolagirl #anacortes #pnw #ptsdwife #armywife #wanderlust #loveisgreaterthanptsd #bourgeoisie #bornbourgie”

This is what RV life has brought to me; the wild outdoors at my doorstep, luxe travel accommodations from our “stream of air” travel trailer named Silver Belle, experiences across America that would never happen if I was anchored to one location in a home all year, and opportunities to connect with people and places in a way that a short vacation somewhere would never give me.

So, I was in just the right place at the right time and got to expand my wine experience a little more. I’m now just a little bit obsessed with Domaine Clair-Daü Vin De Bourgogne. I plan to research and buy another vintage that is more in my price range. It’s not everyday you get to taste $1000 bottle of wine. My 15th wedding anniversary is coming up though so….

Airstream Decor 101

The first thing I decided to plan when we decided to get an Airstream was the decor 🙂

I started out looking for inspiration, and found lots of different style ideas that I saved on my ‘Airstream Flying Cloud’ Pinterest board. I was really drawn to colors that are calming and peaceful, which (to me) accentuate the light and airy interior of the Flying Cloud models. My first bit of inspiration were these palettes of blues, greens, and corals.

I found a lot of home decor and accents are being made in these colors right now. Including this duvet and cute prints on Etsy:

Floral Bedding in Comforter or Duvet Best Selling Navy Coral Gray and Aqua Dahlia Flower Design    TRIBAL Girl Nursery Decor Arrows Tribal Nursery Art by Tessyla

So I decided to delve into the Navy, Aqua, Coral, and Grey color scheme.

Aqua, coral, navy, white, grey spring palette

I wanted to see examples of people using these colors in an RV, because I am not a Johanna Gaines type HGTV diva.  Most of the examples where from the International Signature & Serenity lines, which have darker cabinets than the Flying Cloud.

These two are photos from Monica Bennett over at ( I love her blog on Airstream RVing! ). Her scheme has red accents.

 2016 Interior Design Trends - Geometric Wall Decor (4 of 5)2016 Interior Design Trends - Geometric Wall Decor (2 of 5)

Here is an example, again of darker cabinets, from

Finally I started seeing the lighter Flying Cloud cabinets, mostly on stock photos.

The Flying Cloud travel trailer from Airstream combines comfort and luxury, and includes several interior decor options to find the look that's right you.
I also found DIXIE the Airstream photos that have an art deco theme:
Art Deco lavatory Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB

I’m kind of over red, and silver is too monochrome for me at this time. I think I’ll stick with my coral/blue/green palette. My initial shopping list for decor is:

  • Clock(s)
  • Accent Pillows (navy and aqua)
  • Placemats (silver or grey)
  • Ikea Magnetic Knife Bar
  • Magnetic Spice Jars
  • Soap dispenser and Soap Dish (seaglass aqua)
  • Hall Rug (suitable for my mastiff)

A few commenters on the Airstream Addicts Facebook group suggested these as ways to fix things to the counters and walls without damage:

  • Velcro
  • 3M VHB Double-Sided Tape
  • Comand Hooks (silver)

Color Palette:



Travel Beauty Tips

RVing and flying can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. Here are my top 10 tips for self-care on the road. #TravelBeauty for the win!

My favorite #travelbeauty line, Vapour Organic Beauty

1. Hydrate

It’s important to keep your body and skin hydrated because the air at high altitudes is very dry. There’s nothing worse than showing up to your destination with flaky skin and a tired, dull complexion.

Flying and road travel through climate zones can seriously dehydrate you AND your skin/hair. Traveling for long periods of time doesn’t do our hair any favors. For us, it usually always results in the same thing—a big flat spot on the back of our head. The most ideal situation? Apply a hair mask right before travel and throw your hair up in a top knot to keep it out of the way.

2. Multi-task

Use products that do more than one thing. The last thing you’re going to want on a trip is an overflow of products crowding your space. Instead, pack multi-purpose products. I never leave the house without Weleda Skin Food. It’s great for sunburns, smoothing hair, and dry spots, and you can use it on eyelids as a gloss or on cheeks as a highlighter.” I make sure I take my Tarte Frxxxtion Stick Exfoliating Cleanser because it’s a cleanser, exfoliator, and mask in one. Plus, it’s a solid—no spills—and small, so it’s easy to travel with. The Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator is my workhorse. It takes the place of my blush, lipstick, and highlighter.

3. Exfoliate

Sloughing off dead skin is super important.

4. Keep it Classic

Don’t overdo. It’s a hassle to bring a ton of products and the best beauty tip is to accentuate your own features, not cover them up.

This filter is what over-doing looks like!

5. Refresh

I use rose water to fresh my face on hot days. It’s also a skin tonic and astringent.

6. Calm Inflammation

Make sure to include 1 percent hydrocortisone cream in your travel bag. Think of it as a safety net. It can reduce inflammation in everything from a pimple to an allergic reaction to a bugbite. Whenever a pimple pops up on vacation, I ask room service for some honey. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, so it will help take down the inflammation and clear out any bad stuff. And remember to drink a lot of water and herbal tea, as pimples are usually a sign of imbalance internally.

7. Organic

Non-toxic, plant based, and cruelty-free is a must.

8. Compact

I use travel bottles with labels to take only the amount of product I need. I put them into zip loc bags to protects my clothes from spills. First, I decant everything into smaller bottles—save space in your luggage for souvenirs. One of my favorite things to decant is perfume, and I use these cute perfume rollers to carry around my favorite fragrances

I travel with my #evanhealy skincare in a ziploc bag

9. Him, too

These tips apply to all humans.

10. KISS

Keep it super simple. Make a list so you don’t overpack and stick as closely to your usual beauty routine as possible.

Clean, clear skin is the best beauty asset!

Extras from beauty experts:

“The airplane bathroom is the best place ever to tweeze your eyebrows! The lighting is the most unforgiving ever, so you see everything and then some.”

Experts say to drink at least 8 ounces per hour while traveling.

” I multitask by smoothing on a hydrating face mask while I’m packing. It makes the process a little more fun and helps lock in moisture so your skin is in good condition no matter where you’re off to.”—Dr. Gohara

“Since humidity is low on airplanes, slather on a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. It acts like a sponge to hold on to water and keep skin hydrated. It’s best applied to damp skin or with wet fingertips. Use a glass of water from your flight attendant.” —Dr. Zeichner

“I like to add a pinch of salt to my water when I’m traveling; it helps your body absorb the water.” —Julie Clark, founder of Provinc

“Also, the Ponaris Nasal Emollient has been a secret weapon of mine for years when I travel. It used to be included in astronauts’ medical space kits. I can’t remember how I learned about it, but I’ve been using it for over a decade every time I fly. It keeps the nasal passages moist when you’re traveling so you don’t get tiny fissures in the membranes, helping prevent viruses from getting in. It’s totally liquid gold.”

“I take an awful lot of flax oil when I travel…sometimes I even break [a capsule] open and put it on my hands and my face. Flax is a super, super powerful nutrient for your digestion, skin, and brain that I learned about in Sweden when my mom and I did this homeopathic seminar weekend together. So I don’t take two, I take like eight or 10 a day.”

Why we decided to buy an AIRSTREAM!

So… funny thing happened on the way to Washington State.

Zion National Park in Utah

For a year we were CERTAIN that the R-Pod 180 was all we needed – minimum space, easier to tow with a small SUV, and the most like a cozy, vintage home for the road.

But there we were, discussing what we would do differently if we had to buy an RV for snowbirding in the PNW all over again. We talked about the things we loved and the things we didn’t love in our RV, about our road trip style, about our steps to the end goal of part-timing. When the husband asked what my dream travel trailer would be if we didn’t have the R-Pod I answered without pause, “An Airstream”. He asked if we had ever been in one together, perhaps at an RV show. I thought about it and told him, no, we had seen a Class B Airstream at one show but that I’d never taken him into an Airstream travel trailer. Come to think of it, I hadn’t been in a new one. I went into a refurbished vintage one in Oregon in the early 2000s and fell in love with the style.

Who wouldn’t want to RV in this???

Living simply means different things to different people. For us, living simply in a 19′ space for 6 months with our 90-lb Cane Corso was becoming a concern. So we brainstormed a little more on what a more ideal #RVlife for us would look like and decided that when we got to Portland, OR we would stop in an see what the newer Airstreams look like. I didn’t know if I could really see myself paying the price that Airstreams cost.

Then I saw my first new Airstream in person. Classic, shiny exterior. Sleek, clean interior spaces. Made in Jackson, Ohio. I loved them. I also loved the brand aesthetics, durability, and value retention.

Ultimate glamping!

We spent that night delving into the Airstream online world. We found a lot of information on Facebook groups, blogs, forums, and dealer websites. We looked at prices, value retention, accessories, floor plans, and made a list of pros and cons. By the time we drove away from Portland towards Olympia, WA we had the information we needed. Enough information to make an executive decision:

We are buying an AIRSTREAM.

We next visited the dealership in Seattle, Airstream Adventures NW and fawned over the different models before deciding on choosing a model larger than our current 19′ but smaller than 27′ so we could visit all the National Parks and National Forests without worrying about site space.

Our dealership!

Then we narrowed down to the right Airstream line for us. Remodeling an older one was out of the question. We travel 8,000 miles a year and need something to take across the continental divide with the least chance of problems. So new or 1-2 years old was what we wanted. We toyed with the idea of a used one, but since we wanted to buy one within the week, before heading north to the San Juan Islands, we didn’t have time to search/ vet/ wait. Of all the current lines we felt the Flying Cloud was the best bang for our buck. Even within a line there are a lot to choose from! We decided these were the must-haves:

  • New 2018 or 2017 (if any were still on the lot from last year)
  • Queen bed
  • Maximum floor space
  • Separate couch and dinette
  • Solar ready (we have a Zamp 200-watt system)
  • Backup camera (husband is a back-up expert, but this would made life easier)

We ended up choosing the Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB model. We like the longer lounge, separate dinette, walk-around bed, and separate freezer/fridge combo. We found one with the optional window awnings, backup camera, and convection microwave oven.

Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB Queen

We purchased our Flying Cloud throughAirstream Adventures NW  from Jocelyn, an advisor who I highly recommend. Their willingness to negotiate (unlike the Portland store), communication-style, transparency, and stock (the largest in the US) made our experience seamless. It’s some of the best customer service you’ll experience.

3 Days in Zion National Park

This has been my FAVORITE National Park so far. There is a lot to see and a lot to do. Here are our suggestions for an amazing 3 days in Zion NP.

FYI Utah Drinking and Eating Fact: In order to drink alcohol at a restaurant, you’ll need to order food. It’s a real law. You’re unfortunately not able to walk into a place and buy a beer or order a glass of wine without ordering some form of food.


We stayed in Zion NP at the Watchman Campground. It’s right next to the Visitor Center and is electric hookups for RVs. It was the perfect location for us and our R-Pod 180 HRE named Bandit. Others option include the South Campground which has no hookups but great location near the Virgin River. There is also the town of Springdale right outside the gates where several RV parks and hotels have lodging. There is a Springdale shuttle that goes from various stops in town to Zion NP.

Day 1

Stop at Zion NP Visitor Center and get your naps, advice on trails, shuttle schedules, and hop on the shuttle for a nice ride to get an overview of the park. The Zion Canyon shuttle will take you from the Visitor Center 6.6 miles down Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to the Temple of Sinawava stop and back in about 1.5 hours. On the way you’ll also see the major geographic formations along the Canyon walls: Court of the Patriarchs, the Watchman, Angel’s Landing, and the Great White Throne.

View from the canyon floor

Be sure to stop at the Human History Museum and watch the park orientation video. It’s only 22 minutes and gives you basic information on the park’s natural and human history. While you’re out, get off the shuttle at stop 5 to make reservations for your day 3 trailride on horseback and day 3 dinner at the Zion Lodge.

At the end of your first day you can take a drive down the Zion-Mt Carmel Hwy (Hwy 9) through the tunnel and to the park’s eastern boundary. On this route you can see the Checkerboard Mesa and Canyon Overlook.

A short drive up from Canyon Junction (Shuttle Stop 2) lies Zion Mount Carmel Highway. Proceed up the highway East along the winding roads. Eventually, you’ll hit your first tunnel carved directly through the sandstone. Drivers are required to turn their headlights on as there is no lighting inside the tunnel. It takes about 2 minutes to go through. When you come out, you’ll soon go through one last dark, but much shorter tunnel. At the end you’ll pass a ranger post that doesn’t require a stop.

Now, get ready to experience a true feeling of freedom. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever take. The roads will continue to wind in switchback style through the pink canyons and rock structures. There are plenty of small alcoves where you can park your car on the side of the road to get out and explore by foot (highly recommended!). One highlight includes Checkboard Mesa near the park exit. You’ll understand the name once you see it.

Day 2

Zion Canyon is starting point for Zion’s most popular hikes, including the easy Riverside Walk and Weeping Rock trails, and the more demanding Watchman, Angel’s Landing, and The Narrows Trail. The box below gives a few tips on the Angel’s Landing hike.

Angel’s Landing is rated one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world. That’s because after a strenuous 2 mile uphill climb (though mostly paved), you now have less than a half a mile to the “summit”. It’s not until this point that the hike begins to get difficult. If you made it this far, you’re sitting on a sandy plateau catching your breath and drinking some water.

But you’re not done. Now, you get to traverse sandstone rock structures that will make your hair stand on end. And they should. For the next half mile, your conditioning, foot placement and hand placement may determine whether or not your survive the next hour of your life. You’re going to have to leave behind the well manicured, paved trail and trade it for sheer cliff.

Luckily, much of the remaining trail now has well-positioned chains that allow for an easier climb through the difficult and dangerous junctures. A signifiant number of people were dying on a yearly basis until these were put in place. Now that the chains are there, it’s been over 5 years since there’s been a death. Note, however, that you are NOT tethered, so your safety really relies on how much you “grab, grab, grab.” Try not to look down, and take it one step at a time.

After conquering Angel’s Landing (the peak in the background)

I would suggest alternating a strenuous or moderate hike in the morning (6-8am) with a few easy hikes after lunch. You can ride your bike to the trailhead at at daybreak and be done before the heat of the day sets in. There is a quick grill and a sit-down restaurant that are both open for lunch at the Zion Lodge which is shuttle stop 5. On especially hot days be sure to include a hike that takes you along the Virgin River for a quick dip. It’s recommended that in the semi-arid climate you drink a gallon of water daily.

The Virgin River

At the end of this day I suggest you take a trip into Springdale for dinner at one of their several restaurant choices. My favorites are Switchback Grill and the Thai Palace.

Day 3

For this final day I would fill in with the hikes you didn’t accomplish on day 2. Plan any strenuous ones for the early morning. Stop with a packed lunch along the Virgin River in a shady spot. Finish out your day getting the last photos of the amazing scenery and take a trail ride on horseback from the Zion Lodge (shuttle stop 5). Reserve a dinner table at the Zion Lodge and watch the sunset as you enjoy the views of ancient cottonwood trees and striated Canyon walls.

View from Zion Lodge’s restuarant

What To Pack For Hiking


  • Insulated, light jacket or fleece for the mornings and evenings
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • T shirts
  • • Pair of shorts
  • • Pairs of pants
  • • Long sleeve shirts (to layer if needed)
  • • Bathing suit
  • • Hiking Boots
  • • Sneakers
  • •Water shoes / sandals
  • • Neoprene socks
  • • Dry pants
  • • Walking stick
  • • Dry bag
  • •Camelbak or Water Bottle


  • Windbreaker
  • T shirts
  • Shorts
  • Bathing suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking sandals
  • Pair of light pants
  • Walking stick
  • Dry bag
  • Camelbak or Water Bottle


  • Fleece or insulated wind breaker
  • T shirts
  • Shorts
  • Bathing suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking sandals
  • Pairs of pants
  • Walking stick
  • Dry bag
  • Camelbak or Water Bottle

I’ll definitely be back to Zion NP soon!


Zion National Park Brochures and website

WineTraveler Blog at

So You Want To Buy An Airstream

For those thinking about buying an Airstream I wanted to share some links that I found helpful when I began my search. I read these articles and joined these groups before going to my first dealership so I could arm myself with as much information as possible.

I have successfully negotiated prices on vehicles before, my mother sold cars for many years and I understand how that process works. I’ve never negotatied for an RV. I usually just pay sticker price (horrible, I know) because I have no idea of the markup percentage or the prices paid by actual buyers. Thankfully, the internet came to my rescue!

First, this article explains the markup and negotiation strategies for new and used Airstreams. “Buying an Airstream: Getting the best deal” is a great source of information on buying from a dealer or a private seller. Here is a preview of a bit of their advice:

Buying an Airstream can be a big purchase. They are one of the most expensive travel trailers you can buy and they hold their value better than all other brands. Making sure you get the best price possible could save you quite a bit of money. Typically you are going to buy from a dealer or an individual seller. Each has rather different strategies…

Head over to the Airstream website to find out what the MSRP is for the models you looked at. Keep in mind options can change prices a fair bit. Google for other’s selling the same trailer and see what they list it for. If you are dealer shopping, stick to dealer offers for comparison. Make note of the best prices you find and where they are offered. The rule of thumb is you are looking to get from 20%-30% off the MSRP. Pretty much no dealer is listing their bottom price on the trailer sticker or online.

Next, join the online Airstream communities on Facebook and the web. Search for and join the Facebook groups Airstream Addicts and Airstream Hunter to see discussions and ask questions – they are an invaluable interactive resource. Search for the website Airstream Classifieds to see what prices vintage, used, and new units are going for. Finally, I recommend joining the forum at for user information on vintage/remodeled, used, and new products.

Happy Hunting!!

Navajo National Monument

After driving through Four Corners we headed for the Navajo National Monument. We had heard there were free campgrounds there so that was our initial reason for stopping. It was the halfway point between Pagosa Springs, CO and Zion National Park. I’m so glad we stopped there because it was such a great experience that we would have missed.

The free campgrounds are Canyon View Campground and Sunset View Campground. There are no RV hookups at these sites. Sunset View has spaces for small RVs, but no RVs longer than 28′ are allowed because there is limited turnaround space. Our truck and r-pod fit in the pull through space perfectly.

Road view of our campsite

The views at this campground are lovely. The campground also has flush toilets, a potable water station, and picnic tables/grills at each campsite. It was well maintained and very clean. It was also super peaceful and serenely quiet.

Canyon side view of our campsite, with wild Chianti growing out of the rocks

We walked to the visitor center to view the videos on the Anasazi and Dineh (Navajo) people. There are 3 videos that cycle through and take about 45 minutes. We did a little shopping, too, picking up a hat with 50 SPF shade for hiking and a few medicinal balms.

The medicinal balms are made by Navajo healers and contain natural botanical ingredients from the flora of the area to treat things like insect bites, sore muscles, sunburn, eczema, dry lips, and dry skin. I bought several and can’t wait to try them all. They are the “Medicine of the People” brand.

On the way to Aspen Trail

Next we walked the trails. There are three short trails that originate at the visitor center and take you to different views of the canyon and of the 13th-century Betatakin alcove dwellings of the Anasazi. There are two longer hikes that are lead by a ranger. The first is a 5-mile hike to the Betatakin dwellings that takes 3-4 hours. The second is a 17-mile hike to the Keet Seel archaeological site that can be an overnight trek.

Perhaps in the future when I’m in better shape I can take the longer hikes. We definitely plan to return to the Navajo National Monument when RVing through this area.