10 Tips to SURVIVING Lake Powell with Groups

Lake Powell

I’ve been to Lake Powell with large groups a few different times. One trip had 7 house boats and over 120 people and 8 speed boats. I’ve also gone with groups as small as one house boat and tent camping. Either way, this list will help you plan no matter the size. Pick and choose what makes sense for your group and make sure to PLAN AHEAD!

  1. Make sure meals are planned well in advance. Here are some suggestions:
    • Split into 3 teams and each team cooks breakfast and dinner on Thu/Fri/Sat + clean-up. Lunch is on your own. Each team buys water and alcohol for their team.
    • Everyone provides 1 person with money to buy meals for entire boat
    • Split into 4 teams and cook dinner each night for the boat. All other meals are on your own
  2.  Collect $600-800 for fuel and ice in advance so that you don’t need to worry about collecting funds during the trip or after
    • Note: You will need to refuel the House Boat (HB) upon return which cost $258 in 2011
  3. Arrive at the Marina on time (SPECIFY TIME).  The house boat departs on time and you will be left behind if you miss it. Each person will be responsible to stay and empty the HB and prepare it for inspection. No exceptions. No arriving mid-trip or departing early. We will not be near the marina and late pick-ups and drop-offs take up precious time on the speedboats. If you are unable to attend and have made a deposit / full-payment than you are personally responsible to sell your spot.
  4. Freeze ice bottles and pre-made food to help with ice needs
  5. Each boat should bring 1-2 shade tents for the beach.
  6. Each HB should bring at least 8 bundles of wood for the bonfire on the beach at night
  7. Each HB will have 12 deck chairs. You may choose to bring 2-3 additional chairs for the beach.
  8. ATTENTION Speed Boat owners. Here are some things to think about and discuss with your HB:
    • What equipment do you have?
    • Do you have enough life jackets for everyone on your boat?
    • Will you allow others to drive your speed boat?
    • What rules do other drivers need to be aware of?
    • What insurance coverage do you have?
    • Do other drivers need to be insured?
    • Do you have back-up gas tanks so that fewer trips to the marina are needed?
    • How much time will you be on the water?
      • How much time will each person on your boat be able to be on the water
  9. NO ONE is allowed to drive the boats or wave runners while drinking. We’ll leave the drinking for the bonfire’s.
  10. Most people will want to sleep on the deck of the HB at night. Be courteous and bring small mats vs. large air mattresses so that everyone can fit.

Lake Powell Checklist for each HB:

  • BYOB and meals for 4 days
  • Small sleeping mats for each person
  • Koozies
  • Frozen bottles of water (used to keep food cold the first day or two)
  • Large Coolers (combine coolers once onboard and return unused coolers to your vehicle)
  • Wool blankets to cover coolers to keep ice longer
  • Red solo cups + black marker
  • Paper plates
  • iPods for music for the day
  • Firewood
  • Extra gas tanks filled a the gas stations in Page, AZ
  • Tubes for lounging in the water around the boat
  • Costumes for the theme night
  • Sleeping bags / Pillows
  • Games – Frisbee, Football, Ping Pong Balls for Beer Pong, cards, water guns
  • Sunblock
  • Bathroom sprays
  • Hiking shoes
  • Towel
  • Camera
  • Rectangular 3” bucket for the entrance to your boat in which folks can wash their feet before going onto the boat.
  • Small air mattress or sleeping pad
  • Camelback
  • Bug Spray
  • Coffee
  • Party attitude


 Create Theme Nights

Rules of Conduct:

Be it known throughout the 7 seas that the Captains and intrepid crews of the hereby consent and agree to the following rules of conduct, or suffer the consequences!

  1.  Smoking – There is a single designated smoking area on each houseboat – the top deck (always downwind of others enjoying the view). No smoking in any other areas of the houseboats at any time.
  2. Ahem… “Smokin” – Off the boat only. Your business, we are all adults. Just be sure to take it outside.
  3. Nudity – Each boat will set its own policy on nudity. However, there will be absolutely no recording of said nudity – not even a charcoal sketch. Violators will have their recording medium and quite possibly one of their kidneys confiscated.
  4. Public “displays of affection” – Again, we’re all adults. If you simply must have your happy time in any of the public areas of the boats, don’t be surprised if others wander up to critique your technique. Each boat captain will make an effort for everyone to have access to private cabins often enough to satisfy your carnal lusts.
  5. Drunk / Obnoxious behavior – If you’re making an ass of yourself and making the trip less fun for others, you’ll be asked to step off your boat for a while to cool off. If the negative behavior persists, well – be sure to bring a tent. If you don’t step off the boat when asked nicely by the Captain… I’m sure you can figure it out.
  6. Visiting other boats – Bottom line, each houseboat is the living space of the people that paid for that boat, and having a horde of visitors wandering around in your living space isn’t what Fodor’s would consider “Rest and relaxation personified”. This being the case we are designating the foredeck (the deck on the front of each boat) as a public area, and anything beyond that is by invitation from a member of that boat.
  7. Visitors from other boats – Welcome on the boat until the start of evening “quiet time”, which is 1am. Visitors on board for the purpose of “public displays of affection” are the responsibility of their “host”. Visitors at all times will respect this set of rules of conduct or risk a long walk off of a short plank, if you know what I mean.
  8. Quiet time on the boat is from 1am to 9am. If you want to be loud, there’s a lovely beach just off the boat a short ways. Cooking activities are officially exempt from quiet time rules – if someone’s cooking food for us, they can be as noisy as they like.
  9. Speedboat access – After much consideration by the Captains, we determined that there really isn’t a good way to share access to speed boats outside of specific houseboats because of balancing fuel costs. We’ve made an effort to make sure there is at least one speed boat available per houseboat, so please stick to the speed boats associated with your houseboat.
  10. Speedboats – Regarding the individual speed boats, the owners are the final authority on what goes for each boat. They will determine who can drive the boat other than themselves and alcohol policy on their boat. Each houseboat crew agrees to pay the insurance deductible for any mishaps with their speed boats (with one exception). There will be no evening/nighttime boating for anything other than an emergency unless the speed boat owner decides otherwise. In the event that an accident occurs during evening boating, the owner will bear the responsibility of paying the insurance deductible.
  11. Sharing our location – With a group this big it is inevitable that others not part of the event will wander by. We don’t want to discourage visitors, but at the same time everyone on this trip has paid a considerable amount of money to participate. You are welcome to invite non-event visitors to come by and join in for the beach fun, but make sure they understand that the houseboats and speedboats are for event participants only.
  12. Costume and theme nights – You are not required to participate in the theme night activities, nor are you required to show up in appropriate costume for same.
  13. Cleaning up – Everyone is responsible for keeping their own areas clean. It is inevitable that there is going to be a bit of mess after each of the theme nights, so it is the responsibility of the boat that hosted the theme party of the previous evening to clean up the common area the following morning. We’ll provide a few big garbage cans in the common area during the theme parties to keep the mess to a minimum. Remember – the more mess you make for another crew, the more it’s going to come back to haunt you when it’s your boat’s turn.
  14. Leaving Lake Powell – Keep in mind that you’re not free to leave as soon as the house boat returns to the marina on Sunday afternoon. After returning there will be a period of time for offloading possessions, and then a final inspection of the boat. We will be asking everyone to remain with their boats until the final inspection is complete and our deposits are returned. It is inevitable that we’ll want some sort of group picture as well, so be prepared for that too.
  15. Peacekeeping – For the overall group, each boat will provide a designated “Sheriff” on their theme night. The role of the Sheriff is to keep the peace, make sure nobody dies, etc. Individual boat Captains will take on the responsibility of keeping the peace on their respective boats. In the unlikely event that peacekeeping intervention is required, the Sheriff / Captain will take appropriate action with assistance from the rest of the crew as needed. Be aware that having to do actual peacekeeping will most likely make the Sheriff/Captain quite grumpy, so don’t be that guy.
  16. No balloons allowed. We had balloon fights in the past, but balloons and lake water do not mix so let’s leave the balloons at home. Let’s throw rocks instead.
  17. People causing issues / problems – Every year the House Boat captain will have the ability to approve each of his/her crew. Those that cause issues will have a hard time getting on a boat in future years.
  18. You are in charge of your own happiness and entertainment.

Top 25 Songs

Flogging Molly 2011 at Mandalay Bay

I know this is a travel blog, but music is a big part of travel to me. Most of the songs below remind me of a specific vacation or Road Trip.

Click Here to see photos from my 2010 Concerts!

  1. Depeche Mode – Somebody Click Here (The only song I can play on the piano)
  2. Sheryl Crow – Strong Enough Click Here
  3. Mindy Smith – One Moment More Click Here
  4. Zac Brown Band – FREE Click Here (My personal theme song)
  5. Nickelback – Savin Me Click Here
  6. Flogging Molly – If I Ever Leave This World Alive Click Here
  7. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are Click Here
  8. Mumford and Suns – Little Lion Man Click Here
  9. Bryan Adams – Everything I Do Click Here
  10. Alanis Morisette – Ironic Click Here
  11. Kid Rock – All Summer Long Click Here
  12. Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You  Click Here
  13. Kenny Chesney – Better as a Memory Click Here
  14. Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone Click Here
  15. Bob Marley – Redemption Song Click Here
  16. Xavier Rudd – My Missing Click Here
  17. Boyz II Men – End of the Road Click Here
  18. Amos Lee – Arms of a Woman Click Here
  19. Pink – F*** Perfect Click Here
  20. Eminem & Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie Click Here
  21. Donavon Frankenreiter – It Don’t Matter Click Here
  22. Eminem – Not Afraid Click Here
  23. Joshua James – Mother Mary Click Here
  24. The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine Click Here
  25. Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts Click Here (Its sad when my 7 year old son knows all the words to this song.)
  26. BONUS: Stephanie Mabey (Smith) – Fragile Sometimes Click Here

My Bucket List

1)      Visit Sydney, Australia

2)      Visit Scotland

3)      Visit the North Island of New Zealand

4)      Visit Costa Rica

5)      Humanitarian project in South Africa

6)      Ride a double black diamond

7)      Run a marathon

8)      Run a triathlon

9)      Ride in the MS150

10)   Run the Wasatch Back Relay

11)   Make sure Aidan gets his college degree

12)   Pay off a home/condo

13)   Take 3 months off to travel through Europe

14)   Walk along the Great Wall of China

15)   Get Scuba Certified

16)   Take an Alaskan Cruise

17)   Play a round of golf

18)   Run a 5k with Aidan

19)   Quit drinking caffeine (energy drinks) for a year

20)   Spend an entire night watching a meteor shower

11-Day New

I just returned from the most amazing trip of my life. I visited the South Island of New Zealand for 11 days on a Contiki All-Ages Travel Agent FAM Trip. It was life changing and the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to. New Zealand is the Worlds Adventure Capital of the World. The scenery is breathtaking. The excursions are heart-stopping excitement. The people are unbelievably friendly and the accents are adorable. I kept asking the locals to read the menu for me just so I could hear them speak. 🙂 (Thanks Kev)

I went on the Contiki Scenic Southern (Anti-clockwise) 11-Day Tour. You can CLICK HERE to see the exact itinerary. My photos are not in order. I had to start with the most exciting!

I took over 1100 pictures, and here are just a few of my favorites.

Only 29 hours in the airport.
At the time I didn’t realize it would be worth every minute.
(Salt Lake to LA to Auckland to Christchurch)
Can’t believe I am actually going to sky dive in New Zealand
Here I am with my tandem master Chris from NZone in Queenstown 

Holy ……


Landing is the hard part! 🙂

Okay…let’s do that again!

Diana and I about to jump at AJ Hackets Kaurau Bridge near Queenstown

First commercial bungy jump in the world
43 Meters (151 ft I think) 

I don’t even look nervous!
However, I’m completely shaking and can’t breathe.

Super Woman!

Okay…I think I’m going to hang here for a while.

That was awesome!!!!!

Hanging out at Minus 5
Ice Bar in Queenstown where its -8 degrees Celsius
$27 to get in
Holds about 20 people
$12 per drink 

Even the cups are made of ice and are broken when you exit.
Gotta see at least one Haka Dance
This is the Haka Kiwi at the Skyline Restaurant
Top of the TRAM in Queenstown 

We even got a chance to learn a little of the Maori dancing.
View from the top of the Skyline TRAM in Queenstown

We spent the night on the Milford Wanderer

Middle of the Milford Sound

63 Passenger ships

The Gang
JT’s face makes me smile in this shot!

Melissa and I going kayaking in the Milford Sound
Yeah, we’re nuts.

Yeah, I’m surrounded by snow capped mountains. So??

I’m wearing a cap.

Okay….we thought kayaking was crazy!
Casey taking a dip… 

Hanging out on the boat playing Rummy with back-packers from around the world.

Sitting next to Nick from the U.K.
Can you tell I’ve had a long day? 🙂 

Quad Occupancy Never Looked so GOOD!

8 AM Rise and Shine
The hunt for Penguins, Dolphins, and Seals begins.

Fjordland Crested Penguins

Milford Sound is amazing!! Very memorable and a MUST DO!

Selecting Jade, and avoiding the Jade Carvers
Jade needs to be gifted. Thanks Melissa! 

My roomie Jen and I wearing our Jade. 🙂

New Zealand Traffic Jam

Glacier Pool at the base of Fox Glacier

800 Steps leading up to Fox Glacier
1/2 Day Hike
Matt our Fox Glacier Guide
1/2 Way Point to Fox Glacier

Queen of Fox Glacier

The gang on top of Fox Glacier 

Lake Hawea Lookout

Santino and I at Lake Hawea Lookout

Our only view of the New Zealand Coastline in 11-days
Who needs the ocean when you’ve got crystal blue lakes?
View of the Remarkable Mountains from the Aspen Hotel.
Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
Entrance to Skipper’s Pass
Site of scenes from Lord of the Rings Films 

View from the Aspen Hotel

Shotover River Bridge
YA!! We are in New Zealand!
Waterfall along the side of the road.
The scenery just driving from point to point was breathtaking! 

Air Safari’s of New Zealand
Most photographed church in New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Bridge of Remembrance for those New Zealanders that died on 9/11

Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch

Okay….who is joining me on my next trip to New Zealand? Email me at aochoa@morrismurdock.com if you are interested in New Zealand in November of 2010.

Looking for my next adventure.

Safe Travels!

Fall Getaway to Philadelphia

I had the chance to spend 2 nights in Philly over the weekend, and what a beautiful weekend it was! A friend called me from Philly the day before I arrived and told me to dress warm because it was raining and cold. Well, 24 hours later and by the time I arrived, there was nothing but sunshine and more sunshine. Philly in October is the perfect time to visit. The trees were changing colors, and the weather was a perfect 70 degrees.

I was in town for a conference, so I was limited to only a few hours for site seeing, but I hit some highlights, and now I’m ready to go back for more next year.

I stayed at the Lowes Philadelphia, which was on 1200 Market Street in downtown Philly. It was a great location for site seeing to Independence National Historical Park, which was only about 4 blocks away. I was also able to eat the perfect Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich at Jim’s Steak on 4th and South Street. ($8)

Standard Room at the Lowes Philadelphia

View from my room (1012)

Buggy Ride in front of Independence Hall

Liberty Bell Tower
Located behind Independence Hall
(Free Tours Available)

The Declaration of Independence was signed in the building at the far left. (white door)

Statue of Commodore John Barry, the man who created the US Navy.

Liberty Bell
Much smaller than I imagined.
(Free Tours)

Jim’s Steak
4th and South Street
Make sure to order it with provolone instead of cheese whiz. Yummy!!!!
They are about $8 ea, and they do NOT accept credit cards.

Yes, that’s me sitting on the 2nd floor and over looking the 4th street shopping area.

Safe Travels,
PS. Next up is New Zealand…check back soon!

Headed to Philly

I’m headed to Philly tomorrow. I’ve never been, so I’m excited to visit a new city and check-out all the sites. So, far I’ve been told to run the stairs like Rocky, try a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, and visit the Liberty Bell. I’ll upload pics as soon as I get back.

Safe Travels!

The Canyons

My family has a condo at the Canyons Resort in Park City, UT. Though Park City is only a 30 minute drive from home, its the perfect family staycation!!

My favorite pics…


A friend of mine just sent me this great info on Bermuda that I wanted to share with everyone.


I just returned from a fabulous trip to Bermuda and was there for two days to attend a wedding. It was a thrill to experience this very unique destination and even more thrilling to have this as a brand new destination to talk about! I boarded the plane thinking this would be similar to a Bahamian island trip…not so! This very UPSCALE destination and has lots to offer. It will be very important to sell this as a HUGE value for guests as this is a wildly expensive island to holiday on. The largest selling point VALUE VALUE VALUE! The option to use our ship as a hotel will be amazing for clients as they can stroll off the ship and be in downtown Hamilton or St George to shop and enjoy the nightlife if they choose. Scooter rentals are available right at the pier (would only recommend to the brave hearts of the group…this is a VERY hazardous activity…sounds romantic and fun, but the roads are treacherously winding and BUSY!) and deep sea fishing, golf excursions and city tours are easy to arrange. St. George is the seat of Bermuda history this island is 400 years old this year with lots of great celebrations going on … a wonderful historic and architecturally great old city. Great site seeing with the old forts and churches steeped in history!

A few things to know….


Bermudian $$ is on par with the USD if you leave the island with Bermudian money, it is not accepted anywhere and will not be exchanged at most banks you can use USD anywhere and it is a better bargaining tool for shopping.

Leave half your clothes and bring lots more money with you breakfast at our hotel was an average of $50 60 USD, dinner was easily $150.00 without going crazy on wine.

Our passengers will be in a great position to be able to eat on board and avoid the high cost of imported EVERYTHING.



MUST be pre arranged courses are absolutely the most scenic and pristine I have seen! All of them run along the ocean and are beautiful…any golf groups will be amazed at the quality and consistency of these courses. Golf groups will know to pre book and having the 3 days in Bermuda gives ample opportunity for tournaments.

Water sports

Should also be booked early Jet skiing is very popular, but you are on a guided tour with an escort and are not free to Jet Ski on your own in the ocean!

Deep Sea fishing and Diving

Amazing here water is crystal clear and clean again, bring your money belt….


Best part of the island!!! CLEAN and powdery soft sand pink sand is not everywhere only a few beaches have the pink overtone from the coral, but they are all magnificent sunning and swimming…the undertow is strong not good for little ones on all beaches.


Excellent food very British in style with the Moroccan/East Med overtones – great seafood and better pub food! Spotlessly clean everywhere no vendors on land or even beach to sell you anything! Drinks are expensive local fun drink is DARK AND STORMY….spiced rum with ginger beer!

*Reservations MUST be made at any good restaurant they are all small and not easy to get into for evenings.

I found the entire Colonial atmosphere of Bermuda lovely and it was like stepping back in time with the locals in their pink shorts and formal attire for business! This is a fairly “serious” island lots of banking/insurance types walking around due to the t ax havens here. There is no gambling anywhere and it is very traditional in all respects. Very British “colony” feeling with a touch of stuffiness…just perfect for our guests! They will be safe as there is very little crime here, especially towards tourists. IT is almost a corporate feel to the island and tourism is a necessity….not their first thought!

The locals are very happy that HAL is returning they are all very aware of who is “from the outside” and who is staying….the protectionism of their island is very apparent and has done very well for them. There are very proud of being BERMUDIAN…an elite group for certain!

For many years I have had agents and consumers ask me if they can cruise to an island, stay for a day or two and then sail again…we are finally offering this and I will be telling agents the great opportunity for them to have our product to sell this way! The other cruise lines are docked SO far away and their clients have to deal with water taxis (huge waste of time on VERY choppy waters). They will absolutely NOT have the same experience as we will offer them!

Weirdest Travel Agent Requests

I just found this article in Travel+Leisure. It made me laugh because these requests are a little far fetched, but similar things have happened to me. 🙂

“From finding rabbi-impersonating Elvis impersonators to arranging air-conditioned camping in the Sahara—here are some of the crazy things travelers ask of travel agents.”

From Travel+Leisure April 2009

By Joshua Pramis
Traveling to Chihuahua, Mexico is a perfectly common request for a travel agent. Traveling with one’s Chihuahua? That’s easy, too. But taking the Chihuahua to Chihuahua, Mexico so he can “discover his roots”?


Carnival’s Splendor of the Seas Inaugural