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New, wide eyed, and excited for our first houseboating intergenerational trip next month

peachyfoo

New Member
Hi everyone,

We're a military family, been posted to Luke AFB the past two odd years now, and will be making our first ever houseboat trip first week November. Researching places, distances and time has taken a lot more work than I'd anticipated and I'm really thankful to have stumbled onto the community here.

We've rented the 46 Expedition (from Wahweap marina) for 4 days starting 1 November. I'm currently debating between buying an inflatable 5 man boat, or 3x 2 man kayak. We have my parents with us, and our 3 kids, the oldest being 4 years old.

I have one main question, which hopefully y'all can help with! - any advice regarding Rock Creek Bay?

The idea is to have the houseboat parked at a sandy area where the kids can play, yet be close enough to reach the Double Arch. I understand water levels are low this year, which I take to mean that the Double Arch will be visible and accessible? I'm just not sure if it's accessible by houseboat, or a 5 man inflatable boat, or how long it'd take... (or even which one of the three arms of Rock Creek Bay it's at, although I found GPS coordinates for it online).

Also, Dangling Rope Marina is out of order; I think my houseboat holds 110 gallons of fuel- this should be enough to go from Wahweap up to Rock Creek Bay and back, methinks?

Would be super grateful for any knowledge/+experience regarding these! If there's somewhere else I should post that's more appropriate, please let me know too.

Thanks everyone!
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone,

We're a military family, been posted to Luke AFB the past two odd years now, and will be making our first ever houseboat trip first week November. Researching places, distances and time has taken a lot more work than I'd anticipated and I'm really thankful to have stumbled onto the community here.

We've rented the 46 Expedition (from Wahweap marina) for 4 days starting 1 November. I'm currently debating between buying an inflatable 5 man boat, or 3x 2 man kayak. We have my parents with us, and our 3 kids, the oldest being 4 years old.

I have one main question, which hopefully y'all can help with! - any advice regarding Rock Creek Bay?

The idea is to have the houseboat parked at a sandy area where the kids can play, yet be close enough to reach the Double Arch. I understand water levels are low this year, which I take to mean that the Double Arch will be visible and accessible? I'm just not sure if it's accessible by houseboat, or a 5 man inflatable boat, or how long it'd take... (or even which one of the three arms of Rock Creek Bay it's at, although I found GPS coordinates for it online).

Also, Dangling Rope Marina is out of order; I think my houseboat holds 110 gallons of fuel- this should be enough to go from Wahweap up to Rock Creek Bay and back, methinks?

Would be super grateful for any knowledge/+experience regarding these! If there's somewhere else I should post that's more appropriate, please let me know too.

Thanks everyone!
We just rented the 46’ Expedition out of Wahweap. You’ll have more than enough fuel for the round trip to Rock Creek so no worries there.

For more info on the houseboat here’s a detailed link: 46’ Expedition Houseboat - Wahweap Model

We usually venture up near San Juan or Escalante so can’t help with Rock Creek questions.

Dress warm, it can turn chilly in November.

Have a great trip!!
 

Dougie

Well-Known Member
Yep not sure little tiny kids will be playing in the sand at water’s edge in November. Could happen but it almost snowed at Page 2 days ago, and frosted the peaks all around the lake. Some years in the afternoons it could reach 65 in early November, but other years it could be 40-45 and rainy/windy. This year it seems the fall is coming early.
 

peachyfoo

New Member
Ahh thanks guys! I had not taken into account weather (what a noob). Maybe I'll wrap them up in layers before letting them explore then, rather than playing with/around water.

By the way, I realised what I'd called Double Arch is also known as the Toilet Bowl, and Hole in the Roof - any experience with a houseboat to Rock Creek Bay, then checking out Double Arch/Toilet Bowl/Hole in the Roof? Would you recommend it? I'm thinking now with weather, I might need to re-research; this time for a place that allows for my kids to run around and play on land rather than by the lake; not sure if Rock Creek Bay has such spaces. Prior to this, I was looking at Face Canyon.

P.S Another noob question - do houseboats come with heaters?
 

JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
Houseboats come with heaters. Check.

And Rock Creek is doable, where you should have no trouble finding a good beach... Dry Rock Creek (first fork on the right) usually has something decent, but honestly, you'll have no trouble finding a good beach in November in lots of places in Rock Creek Bay. Not much competition for spots that time of year.

The double arch (Hole in the Roof) will be visible and fully accessible with a houseboat (although easier in a smaller boat), but if the weather's cold and the water's cold, you might not want to spend that much time there. Nice place to see for a few minutes, totally cool, then you'll want to move on.

I like the idea of a November houseboat trip. With small kids, I'm not entirely sure how that's going to go if the weather's bad, but if it's sunny, and you've got a nice place to run around on the shore, it could be a lot of fun.

Face Canyon is a nice place too, but my guess is that in general, you'll have more decent campsites in Rock Creek, although the mouth of Face Canyon might have some sunny beaches. Others who've been there at low lake levels might know better.

My main concern is 7 people in the 46-footer, even if (maybe especially if) three of them are small kids. It's going to be a little cramped. It's only got one stateroom (double bed), then it's designed to sleep 4 more (two more double beds) in the front cabin (where the kitchen and living room are). The 7th person (likely a kid) is going to have to sleep on the floor (bring a blowup mattress), or if somebody is really brave, they can sleep outside on the roof where it's going to be cold. (Fun though.)

But of course, you're a military family (my dad was in the Air Force too), so you already know what it's like to improvise your living situation, especially cramped temporary situations. You'll be fine.

Have fun!
 

Gem Morris

Escalante-Class Member
If it matters to you the Park Service has requested you don’t go past mile 25 when going upstream from the dam and the entrance to Rock Creek is about 38 miles upstream - well past their recommendation.

Going clear to Rock Creek is quite ambitious for your first time ever - you’ll pass plenty of sandy beaches on your way there both in Warm Creek Bay and Padre Bay and frankly right in the main channel. Usually I don’t ever beach the boat and camp in the main channel and would still hesitate to do that (especially if the tour boat is still operating and taking people past where I would be camping) but the lake will be very quiet in November - you could almost say deserted.

Please be very careful with that age of kiddos and make sure they are wearing life jackets constantly. House boats are not very maneuverable and if someone went overboard while underway it would not be easy to get turned around and pick them up.

Padre Bay vistas are stunning - as is much of lake powell. Something around the cookie jar would be very nice - that’s at about 22 miles upstream. I’d choose a beach with as much sun as possible (south facing with no tall cliffs to the east or west) for a November trip. With that in mind Warm Creek Bay might actually offer more open beaches with more sunshine.
 

peachyfoo

New Member
Thank you so so much! I really appreciate your replies and concern for us.

@JFRCalifornia - You're absolutely right about the sleeping situation; thankfully, my two little boys consider it a treat to sleep with/smother their dad, so it's likely he'll have to put up with their feet in his face for the time we're there.

@Gem Morris - I hear you loud and clear! I guess I was excited by the photos I saw online of Hole in the Roof- but since it's just worth a few minutes, I'll stick to Padre bay. Will start looking up Cookie Jar and Warm Creek Bay.
 

Gem Morris

Escalante-Class Member
Another thought - before you leave the dock make sure you’re completely familiar with the marine radio operation especially the squelch function. You may or may not be in cell phone reception and that radio can be a lot of help. Other boaters should be monitoring ch 16 and the park service does as well. If you’re in warm creek or Padre bay Wahweap marina will likely be able to hear you. I’m not sure what channel they monitor? But they can help you over the radio for mechanical issues sometimes or even send out a repair boat
 

cfulton

Well-Known Member
Our first trip to Powell was when I was stationed at Luke also (1983). I've survived and so will you. We go twice a year now. Our first trip was in a 50'er that did not run well but that just leaves you with more stories. I agree with the location suggestions you have gotten from above. One thing I'd add is to try to find a beach such that the houseboat is parked facing the southwest (into the predominate wind) and where the boat will receive as much sun as possible. Don't let the boat's side be exposed to open water(waves) and direct wind. The sun will be getting lower and you'll enjoy the warmth. Try to park so that wind as as little access to the sides of the houseboat as possible. Into the wind is best. As rookies we got blown off a number of beaches because we did not understand the wind issues or how to anchor......Main Rock Creek has several well protected and open to the sun beaches. There's also a herd of Desert Bighorns that reside there if you are lucky enough to see them. Have a great trip!! Chuck Fulton
 

Rainbowbridge

Well-Known Member
If it matters to you the Park Service has requested you don’t go past mile 25 when going upstream from the dam and the entrance to Rock Creek is about 38 miles upstream - well past their recommendation.

Going clear to Rock Creek is quite ambitious for your first time ever - you’ll pass plenty of sandy beaches on your way there both in Warm Creek Bay and Padre Bay and frankly right in the main channel. Usually I don’t ever beach the boat and camp in the main channel and would still hesitate to do that (especially if the tour boat is still operating and taking people past where I would be camping) but the lake will be very quiet in November - you could almost say deserted.

Please be very careful with that age of kiddos and make sure they are wearing life jackets constantly. House boats are not very maneuverable and if someone went overboard while underway it would not be easy to get turned around and pick them up.

Padre Bay vistas are stunning - as is much of lake powell. Something around the cookie jar would be very nice - that’s at about 22 miles upstream. I’d choose a beach with as much sun as possible (south facing with no tall cliffs to the east or west) for a November trip. With that in mind Warm Creek Bay might actually offer more open beaches with more sunshine.
Much sage advice in your post, Gem. I'd just like to add that a couple of years ago I was in Rock Creek the first week of November and it got down into the 30s at night....a heater is a must...and I'd definitively pack a little carbon monoxide alarm....cheap enough at home depot.

These houseboats are not well maintained, the heaters aren't used much or checked often.

A $20 alarm could save your life, and would give you piece of mind.

Wishing you a happy safe time......(y)
 

Dougie

Well-Known Member
FYI here are temps from Page Airport from last year Halloween through Nov 9
Below that are the 2019 results for the same period of time

As you can see, 2020 started off warmer than normal and went cold
2019 started off colder than normal and went warm (the reverse)

This year? Who knows?


7044
7048
7252
7248
7247
6850
7239
5133
4533
4829


5329
5832
6134
6436
6540
6241
6540
6440
6338
6340
 

peachyfoo

New Member
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your valuable input; there's so much to learn.

I've spent time today reading up more on Padre Bay; keeping in mind that I'm now trying to find the sunniest areas there - Gem Morris said "south facing with no tall cliffs to the east or west" + also trying to figure out what it means to park into the wind. I can visually understand the wisdom of not letting the wind hit the sides of the boat, but then the next step of knowing which conditions fulfil parking into the wind is somewhat beyond me - am I looking for a south facing beach/sandy bay that has rock/walls on my left and right to block the wind?

Also, would either Kane Wash around Cookie Jar or someplace in Labyrinth Canyon be sunnier? Is that even the right question to ask, given that conditions are so dynamic? I feel like my head is growing bigger with all these questions hahah thank you!
 

John P Funk

Escalante-Class Member
Try not to overthink it too much. You're going to have a great time, and it will make more sense with more experience. The winds are typically more predictable in the fall as they are the result of low pressure cold fronts moving through the area. Winds are typically north-south in direction so you'll want to align as much as possible along that line. As stated before, a late fall trip will give you access to a much larger number of beaches than in the prime season. Chances are that you'll find a great spot in a place that you hadn't previously considered. Use your common sense and you'll be fine.
 

T.kidd

Active Member
Luv. November , bring board games , cards , enjoy fam. time. have done many Thanksgivings on a H. B.
bury a turkey , or small piggy , and cook for a long time. it was always a challenge to see how many would jump in the lake for a cold shower.
always anchor like there is no tomorrow . and have fun. safety first.ENJOY.
B.T.W. there have been many good comments on this.
 

Skibum

Active Member
One thought that comes to mind is my first experience with a 4 day HB rental years ago was a four day rental really was two days of use after subtracting how late you get onto the water the first day and how early in the AM the boat had to be returned on the fourth day. Point is….You don’t want to spend all your time driving. The area on the S part of Padre has many sheltered beaches and the hills are low lying to permit sun exposure and easy hikes. I
The toilet bowl is a float in, enjoy, take a picture, hang for a few and then move on, but with a four day rental, IMHO I agree it’s too far and uses too much time unless you’re also bringing another boat. There were many boats moored in main rock Ck 2 wks ago. Nov usually turns into “see ya next year” for tourism and you’ll see very few people…most glad to see another boat and will likely even wave 😎
 

Lake Bum

Well-Known Member
If this is your first trip EVER, save a little time, and enjoy all of Padre Bay. You will be amazed at the beauty, and the privacy that November offers. Keep in mind, weather can be a pretty big factor during that time of year. There are incredible days, and there are some bone chilling cold ones. Dress accordingly, and it won't affect you nearly as bad. You'll get pick of the litter on campsites in November, so don't get too fixated on Rock Creek......especially since this is your first trip ever.
 
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