FUNNIES TO START: 1) Sign on a business in McCall, Idaho – “We guarantee fast service no matter how long it takes.” 2) Sign on the back of a pump truck in Ely, Nevada – “You Make It, We Take It.” 3) Sign in Kooskia, Idaho – “I thought the dryer shrank my clothes. Turns out it was the refrigerator.” 4) Sign in front of business in New Meadows, Idaho – “Cops Hide Behind Sign”. The owner may have a beef with the local authorities. 5) Slogan for Kanab, Utah, which is near Bryce and Zion – “The Greatest Earth on Show”. 6) There is a town in Utah named Browse.

On Tuesday, July 5, we finally left the noise of the holiday weekend campground. The neighbors behind us that had been so noisy wished us safe travels, and the grandma apologized for being so loud. We thanked them for the well wishes, but wondered…if you are sorry for something, doesn’t that mean you knew what you were doing at the time? The party crowd on the other side of our site was amazingly quiet in the morning. I wondered how grouchy they’d be if I banged a couple of pans together? Hmmmm. The urge was almost overwhelming, but then that would make me as rude as them. So, we got hooked up quietly and hit the road. Then our first order of business was to put a call into the birthday girl, my Mom. Mr. Wonderful (MW) immediately ratted me out, because I forgot to get him to sign her card. I was just in a hurry! He told her what he would have written, and she was like, “Awwww, my sweet boy!” SUCK UP! Our route backtracked up US-93, then followed US-93 Alt over White Horse Pass (6,010′) and up to West Wendover/Wendover, which surprised us. There were quite a few large hotels and casinos on the Nevada side (West) and more hotels/motels on the Utah side. While the landscape was all desert or scrub, after going over the pass, we dropped into the western edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert. It is really cool to look across the landscape and see all of that white.

After filling up the tank, we headed over to our first stop for the day and one of my bucket list items, Bonneville Salt Flats. I was pretty excited, although MW put a damper on things by not letting me open up the Brutus and Petunia combo to see what we really had. Just kidding. The effort to clean the salt from the undercarriage of the whole rig would keep me from doing that, but if we weren’t towing, Brutus would have been out there for sure. There were several people out walking around, and one guy in a pickup actually floored it for a mile or two and then did a few donuts. Awesome! The surface really is very hard and relatively smooth. I found a spot that had been cracked up a bit, and the top crust was about 3/8″ thick. When it rains, I’m sure any broken areas are crusted over again. After walking around a little and getting some pics, we hit the road again heading east on I-80.

The salt flats are home to the world famous Bonneville Speedway and its “measured mile”, a course that is 80′ wide and 5 to 10 miles long with a black stripe down the middle. On the National Register of Historic Places, the track has been used since 1912 as a proving ground of sorts for speed demons. Over the years, more than 38 land speed records have been set and broken in everything from stock cars and motorcycles to custom jobs designed for speed and even electric vehicles. A couple of examples: 1) In 2016 the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3, driven by Roger Schroer, hit 341.4 mph and became the fastest electric vehicle. 2) In 2009, Chris Carr hit 367.382 mph on the BUB Seven streamliner motorcycle. 3) In 1963 the Sonic 1, driven by Craig Breedlove, went 600.601 mph. He was also the first man to go faster than 400 and 500 mph. 4) Craig’s record was broken in 1970 by Gary Gabelich, who drove Blue Flame to 622.407 mph! How do they record those times? They are an average of two runs within an hour, one in each direction, over the measured mile, recorded electronically. Sadly, the perfect, made-for-speed surface has suffered from deterioration over the years. The once 3′ deep salt layer has been measured at less than 2″ in some places at the speedway. It is believed that salt mining, leaching into a saltwater aquifer, and mud flowing onto the flats from the nearby mountains are all culprits. In recent years annual festivals such as Speed Week have been cancelled, and speed test events are limited. I, for one, will be sad when we can no longer see some crazy person in a bullet flying across the flats in search of a record.

At the Bonneville rest area, we pulled in and had tuna sandwiches for lunch. Then continued east on I-80 over to the Great Salt Lake State Park just west of Salt Lake City, Utah. The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and Sevier Lake (which only occasionally has water) are all that is left of ancient Lake Bonneville, which covered 20,000 square miles and was more than 1,000′ deep! We drove through here years ago and saw this one in the distance, but I didn’t get to touch it or taste it or smell it. On this day, I did all of that. It was awesome, too! The water was cool, but not cold; extremely salty, like putting salt from the shaker right on your tongue; and smelled a little shrimpy. That’s because the only thing that lives in the Great Salt Lake is brine shrimp. (Yes, those little things we used to get in packages advertised as sea monkeys.) The salt water lake is the largest in the Western Hemisphere at an area of between 950 and 3,300 square miles, depending on water level. Oh, and the average water level is…16′. No, that’s not a typo. Fed by four rivers, over a million tons of minerals are deposited into the lake each year. It is the eighth largest endorheic (wow, I got to use that word in two consecutive posts!) or terminal lake in the world, which means it only loses water to evaporation and all of the minerals just keep collecting there. That, my friends, is why the lake is so salty and dense. The latter is what makes you feel like you are floating when you swim in it. It is also the 8th saltiest. Yes, there are seven more salty bodies, and aside from the Dead Sea, which ranks at number 7, you’ve probably never heard of any of them. At least I hadn’t. Finally, the Great Salt Lake is large enough to create lake-effect snow just like the Great Lakes in the northeast, which is why average snowfall in the Salt Lake City area can rival that of Minneapolis. At the park we checked out the Visitors Center, then walked out to the water so I could do my thing. It was hot (91°) and very windy. Out on all that white, I could just feel my skin puckering up. After checking out a little more information at the overlook deck, we headed back to the rig. Our final leg was zig-zagging through the southwestern Salt Lake City area to our home for the next two nights, Mountain Shadows RV Park. After settling in, MW found a place that had “country cooking” for supper…Sauce Boss Country Kitchen. He has been craving fried chicken for weeks, plus Guy Fieri paid this place a visit and that usually means delicious! It was, too. On the way back, we stopped in at the See’s Candy store. For you west coast folks, that won’t mean a thing. You southeasterners, though, are going “THEY. HAVE. A. STORE!” We only get See’s pop-up stores in a few locations during the holidays back home. When I was younger, my Mom carried their candy in the Lockheed-Martin store at the plant in Marietta, Georgia. Once you’ve tasted it, you just can’t go back to the others. MW’s grandmother would sometimes get boxes as gifts from Buddy in Seattle, which she would hide in her bedroom to keep from sharing. LOL. Back at the campground it was very loud thanks to the proximity of the interstate, so it was definitely an a/c blower on all night deal. Despite that, we were awakened later by fireworks either in the full-time resident section at the back or the apartments behind that. Ugh! Seemed like it had been ages since I had a night without being woken up.

Salt Lake City sits between the southern part of the Great Salt Lake and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west and the Wasatch Mountains to the east. It really is a beautiful area, but hemmed in. The valley is very crowded, not unlike the Seattle area. The last time we drove through was south on the interstate straight through the valley. It felt like you hit the city north of Ogden and didn’t get out of it until south of Provo. MW and I almost transferred here in 2011. Well, it was one of three choices, the other two being South Florida (weren’t doing that again) and Phoenix. We chose Phoenix over Salt Lake because the housing in Salt Lake was MUCH more expensive. It was during the housing bust, but I don’t think it hit that part of Utah as much as it did Phoenix. (Plus, when we found out that tidbit on the average snowfall, it became HARD NO for him.) We took a house-hunting trip to Phoenix, but then MW was offered a different job that let him stay in Greensboro and work from home. On the one hand, great! My kids, grandkids, and bonus family BFF Tina and crew were all in Greensboro, and when you’ve lived somewhere for 16 years, you have a lot of ties. On the other hand, bummer. The flip side of living somewhere for 16 years is that you’ve pretty much exhausted things to see for road trips. The move would have given us a clean slate on destinations. Plus, the kids all said they would LOVE to visit out west. It all turns out the way it’s supposed to, though. When we finally did sell the house, our daughter’s crew moved to Tennessee, our son’s crew moved to Georgia, and Tina’s crew moved down to Lexington.

Wednesday I got back onto my normal laundry schedule. Well, actually I did a couple of loads the night before at the park laundry while writing. Then got up early and got the rest done, plus some work. I was alone at first, but then a full-time resident of the park showed up with LOTS of loads. She was rambling about having to get the clothes washed and her car vacuumed, and asked if I was going to be there the whole time. I said “until my clothes are done”. She said she didn’t want to leave her stuff up there for theft purposes, and would I keep an eye on it while she went to the car wash. I repeated “Sure. I’m here until my clothes are done.” At that point, they weren’t even in the dryer, so it was going to be an hour or so. However, by the time she unloaded everything and got all of it started, mine had been in the dryer for 10 minutes or so. Then she heads for the door, thanks me for watching her stuff, and says something to the effect of: I should be back in time, but it may be 5 or 10 minutes after. For the third time, I said “I’m here until my stuff is done.” She totally ignored me and walked out. Wow! Manipulation seemed to be her tool. I was finishing up the last of the folding and preparing to leave when she came back. I had somewhere to be and don’t like games. As I headed out the door, which accesses the bathrooms, spa, and laundry and requires a key card, several kids were milling about outside. I said hello, and headed down the sidewalk, then glanced back to see that two boys weren’t there anymore. Back inside, I found them coming out of the laundry. “Do you have a keycard for the door?” Mumbling. “Out you go.” Mumbling. They weren’t happy. Wonder what they were planning?

After getting the chores done, we headed out for a visit I’d really been looking forward to. It started with brunch at the home of long-time friends John and Linda Hanks. I met John in 1987 or ’88 when I worked at FAA headquarters in Washington. He was the FAA public relations guru and headed up the FAA Chorale, in which I sang. He also is the creator of the FAA Anthem, which I believe is still used in headquarters today. (In the article’s top pic, I’m 4th from the right. In the pic near the bottom, I’m the one on the mic. Apparently the writer of the article thought my husband was Han.) The Hanks are truly special people, and we’ve kept in touch off and on over the years. We had a feast that included Linda’s famous wheat pancakes. Yum! Afterwards there was a bit of singing with John at the piano, videos of the old group, and a lot of gabbing. It was so good to catch up. MW and I had to leave for a little bit in the afternoon to take care of an errand, but we would meet up again later.

Back at Petunia, we were surprised to find most of the main road coming in and running right behind our RV being bulldozed up. Apparently they were taking it up completely before repaving. It was dusty, reeked of diesel, and was terribly noisy as the dozer dumped the giant asphalt slabs into the dump truck. Seems like that being on the schedule would be something to pass along to the folks who were coming in to stay there. Thankfully, we were just there to pick up packages and head back out, and would be leaving the park early in the morning before the stench of paving began. After dropping by the post office, we headed back to the Hanks abode.

John voices e-books and has a recording studio in his home office. He showed us the setup for his readings, and we played around with some music, which was truly bad. There is a difference in a 27-year-old, well-oiled voice and a 60-year-old, very rusty one doing Bonnie Tyler! It was fun, though, and a lot of laughs. Linda also showed us how to play the cello, and gave us a mini concert. For supper we had Vietnamese takeout from Cafe Trang Bistro (delicious), then they took us on a little tour of the area, including Copperton (created by the mining company for its workers way back). Finally, we went up to an overlook of the entire valley. It was really beautiful, and there were some amazing houses up there, too. The time passed too quickly, so we will definitely plan another visit. One of the best things about traveling around the country is connecting with friends and family.

We got home later than usual and hit the bed. At about 11:30 PM, I was awakened by men’s voices right outside our bedroom window. OH. MY. FLIPPIN’. GOSH!!! I got up immediately and opened the door to at least FIVE men around OUR picnic table talking in the dark. Me: “Quiet hours started a long time ago! Stop talking!” (I’ll admit, I was VERY GROUCHY.) One of the men responded: “It’s okay. No one’s in trouble here.” Me (confused): “What??!!” That’s when I saw the badges…on four of them. Me: “Oh! You’re the police.” (I guess maybe they weren’t aware of who they were and needed reminding??) I closed the door and got back into the bed, but you know darned well there was not going to be any sleep until whatever was going on out there was resolved. So…I went to the living room and pulled up the shade to watch. Yes, you can just call me Gladys. The pass-through storage on the RV next door was open and things were pulled out onto the ground. The RV door was open, and an officer was shining a light in and looking at stuff without touching anything or going in. (Guess he was looking for probable cause. I watch TV!) The detainee was repeatedly begging them not to take him in. Finally, they told him to put the stuff back in the storage, closed up the RV, and locked it all up with padlocks. The man was still begging as they walked up the road to the police cars, but I never did figure out exactly what the issue was. I think that’s a full week of consecutive nights!

Mountain Shadows RV Park in Draper, Utah, is not bad if you need to be in the Salt Lake valley. Well, that is assuming the police showing up is not a regular event. It is a combo RV and trailer park, but the sections are separated, and the trailer park area is neat. Amenities include a store, game room, indoor spa, pool, dog park, pavilion, playground, volleyball and basketball courts, and a large laundry room with 8 washers and 10 dryers. They also have a dump station and propane sales onsite. The facilities are well-maintained, and the campground is easy to maneuver through. We weren’t fans of the side-by-side pull-throughs designed for opposite direction, making the doors facing. (That’s why the cops were at our picnic table.) All of the short-term RV sites are pull-through with full hookup. The bathhouse was clean and well-maintained, and required a keycard for entry. There was great cell coverage on Verizon and AT&T, and we had way too many over-the-air tv stations to choose from. We would definitely stay again when in the area. For this visit in July 2022 we paid $159.02 for 2 nights, much more than we usually pay, but it is right in town. Oh, and in all of the visiting…no pics. Sorry!

Thursday we headed out early for a long, but beautiful, driving day. Linda had given MW the lowdown on the beautiful route south, so we started out heading west over to UT-68. There we turned south and skirted the edge of Utah Lake down to Elberta, where we side-stepped over to Goshen. Then it was south past Mona and through Nephi to UT-28. At Gunnison, we hit US-89 south and stopped in Richfield, Utah, to walk around a bit at Tractor Supply. Then it was time for lunch at the Ideal Dairy, because who wouldn’t want to give that a try. It turned out to be a combination dairy store, restaurant, and ice cream shop. Their sandwich twist was that the paninis were on bagels, and that is a delicious idea. On the way out, we both got a little dairy treat to take with us. MW said his chocolate malt was waaayyyy too thick (can there be such a thing?), but my sundae was perfect.

Back on the road, we continued south on US-89 past the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort and through Circleville to our next stop, the boyhood home of Robert Parker.

A few miles north of Panguitch, Utah, there is a stop on the west side of US-89 with a small cabin, barn, and outbuilding. They are set against a backdrop of trees and a hillside, and you can picture the peaceful 1880s farm as it once was. According to the 1880 census, young Robert Leroy Parker lived here as a teenager and remained until ~1884 with his parents and 5 of his 12 siblings. By accounts from the time, he was a fun kid who worked hard and loved to read, dance, and race horses. After leaving the ranch, he worked as a cowboy and miner before things changed. In 1896, Robert, who had begun using the name George Parker, had already served time at the Wyoming State penitentiary in Laramie for grand larceny and was pardoned. (We toured there last year, and he is one of their most famous tenants.) By eight years later, Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency and several other law enforcement agencies had posted rewards for George and his partner, Harry Longbaugh aka “The Sundance Kid”. By that time the sweet young Robert was widely known as Butch Cassidy and was wanted in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Nevada. Along with the Wild Bunch, they had stolen the equivalent of millions in today’s dollars from the railroad and banks. While several members of the gang were quick to shoot down opponents, there is no evidence that Butch or Sundance ever killed anyone. In fact, Butch once talked other gang members out of killing a bank clerk during a robbery. After fleeing to South America, it is said that the two friends died in Bolivia while attempting to steal a payroll. There were plenty of folks back then, though, that didn’t think it was true. We checked out all of the information and looked around, then continued south to Hatch, Utah, and our home for the next few days, The Riverside Ranch.

Friday we were up super early and left before sunrise, headed over to Zion. Our route for the day was going to be a BIG circle, beginning south on US-89, then west on UT-9 over to the park. There wasn’t a lot to see in the dark, but we did get up close and personal with a deer. She was standing on the pavement to the right side, and MW caught sight of her at the last possible moment. Thankfully, she did not bolt into our path, which was a little miracle. The big miracle was that I didn’t drive that morning. MW swerved just slightly left, missing the doe, but remaining in our lane. I’m certain that I would have gone further, which would have been really bad. On a road that was almost empty of cars, there happened to be a truck RIGHT THERE. It was almost an upholstery cleaning event…seriously! It probably was for the folks in the truck, too! Blessings all around.

Zion National Park was originally named Mukuntuweap National Monument, which is the Paiute name for the area, in 1909 by President Taft. The non-native Utah residents were not pleased, having chosen the name Zion. After 9 years of grievances, the assistant director of the recently-formed National Park Service changed the name to Zion National Monument. There was a bit of controversy at the time, as the assistant director made the change when the acting director was on leave. (Hmmm…payoff???) A year later, in 1919, “Monument” was replaced with “Park”. It truly has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. As the sun rises in the east, it first lights up the tops of the beautiful peaks, making them appear to glow. Then the light travels further down the side of the mountains and the colors of the layers are revealed. It is truly spectacular, and you can understand why it is the first location selected as a national park in Utah. It is part of the middle section of an area called the Grand Staircase. Water from the Colorado Plateau to the northeast passes through Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalente National Monument at the top, then down through Zion, and on to the Grand Canyon at the bottom. Thanks to the work of the water and a lack of glacial activity, more layers of rock and fossils have been naturally uncovered throughout the area than anywhere else in the world. It is interesting to think that the same water that shaped the hoodoos in Bryce carved the rocks of Zion and the walls of the Grand Canyon. It continues its work today, with flash flooding in the desert areas, frozen water in crevices breaking off boulders, and rivers making small changes to the canyon walls that are imperceptible now, but will be big down the road. A couple of things to know before you go: 1) During the busy season, you can only drive into the park if you are staying there. Shuttles run from the Visitor Center, with stops all through the park. They are very frequent, though, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. You can ride bikes on the roads through the park, though. 2) Giant rigs and vehicles cannot fit through the tunnel at the eastern entrance, which was built in 1920s. They do allow some larger-sized stuff, but it requires a traffic controller to block the oncoming flow and will cost you a little fee. Be sure to check their website before you go. 3) If you want to avoid the crowds, show up in time to catch the first shuttle. The peaks are beautiful as the sun comes up, and while you won’t be alone, you won’t be hiking in a crowd either. 4) There are plenty of trails to hike, but be sure to pay attention to the warnings. Flash flooding in the area can be sudden and deadly in the summer months.

We caught the first shuttle up to The Grotto (stop 6), then hiked the Kayenta Trail to the Upper Emerald Pool and back. It was a few miles, and steep and rocky at times. My heart and lungs definitely got a good workout. On the trip back down, we passed a lot of folks headed up…the masses had arrived.

On the way down, we passed a couple standing on the trail while their two tween-looking kids were climbing a boulder on the left. On the right, there was a steep drop-off down to the river. Any sane person looking at that situation would realize the danger. I said to the mom, “Just one slip, and they are over that ledge.” Her response: “I know. I told them not to, but they just won’t listen.” WHAT??!! So as a parent you stand there smiling and watching while your not-yet-teenage children risk death??? What is happening to this world??!!

We caught the shuttle back to the Visitor Center and looked around there for a few minutes. It was VERY crowded by that time, so we were glad to be on the way out.

We continued west on UT-9 through Springdale looking for somewhere for lunch. Places were either not open yet or pretty crowded, so we kept on going over to La Verkin and stopped at the Stagecoach Grille. It was a good choice…MW had a breakfast scramble and I had French toast. They also have some cool decor including a metal sculpture of a stagecoach complete with driver, shotgun guard, and attacker.

Next we headed north on I-15, where MW saw a sign for the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park. It was a 5-mile drive with overlooks that ended up at a parking area and trailhead. We checked out the overlooks and took a bathroom break at the top. The vault toilet had a sign on the door…”Beware Recent Rattlesnake Sightings in Bathroom”. Hmmmmm. How bad did I actually need to go?? Unfortunately, there wasn’t an option, so I went in and looked around, checking every possible hiding spot. No snake, but you can bet I didn’t linger! LOL

We returned to I-15 and headed up to Cedar City, then east on UT-14 and north on UT-148 to our second flag of the day. Cedar Breaks National Monument was so designated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. Those early visitors came in by train or car to Cedar City, then were taken on a bus circuit that include this park, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion national parks. Wouldn’t that have been cool!? Although the scenery is similar to Zion, the drive through the park is along the eastern edge of the plateau, so for most of it you are looking down on where the land breaks away (hence the name). This area is higher, cooler, and wetter than parts of the plateau further east, and the wind can be fierce. Bristlecone Pines dot the edges of the valley, and lots of animals inhabit the meadows and woods. The drive through shows you beautiful mountain meadows teeming with wildflowers and animals on one side, and the gaping depths of the breaks on the other. There are miles of hiking trails in the park, but having already done our trek for the day, we drove the Rim Road, stopping at the overlooks. If you are in the area in the heat of summer, don’t miss this one. It was almost 30 degrees cooler at the top and windy…heavenly. The park is only open from late May to mid-October, because in the winter, those same conditions become hellish. LOL

Saturday I’ll just tell you flat out…I was sore. MW wanted to go do some more hiking, but my butt was not interested in climbing anything. He headed to Red Canyon a few miles up the road and did about 5 miles on the Thunder Mountain trail. He would probably never say it, but I know he enjoys going by himself sometimes because he naturally hikes faster than me. While he was gone, I walked around the park and down the road to Hatch and back, getting in about 1-1/2 miles. That was totally enough. Back at Petunia, I got cleaned up and worked on some bookkeeping. After MW made it back, we headed down to the Hatch Station Motel for lunch and sat outside enjoying the breeze and our sandwiches. When we got back to the park, I set up my base of operations outside and worked there until the afternoon wind became too much for me. The picnic table is my favorite office!

Sunday we once again left early to enjoy a good morning hike, this time at Bryce Canyon National Park. Located on the northeast side of the Grand Staircase, like Cedar Breaks, this park has you looking down into the canyon from the top. The Visitor Center was closed when we arrived, but we picked up a map from the outdoor display and headed in. There were signs near the entrance to be careful of prairie dogs, but oddly, we didn’t see any. Those things are usually like roaches…if you see one, there are thousands more. Our first stop was at the Sunset Point overlook. It’s hard to describe first seeing the canyon. Hoodoos exist all over the world, but this is the only place you will see them in this concentration, and it really is amazing. While water has and continues to play a significant role in the shaping of the canyon, it is different than the others. River water carved out a valley in the landscape, but the most significant erosion in Bryce Canyon has been from mechanical weathering. For more than half of the year, the temperature in the canyon rises above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. That creates a constant freeze/thaw cycle, which means water is constantly freezing in the cracks and breaking apart the rock. The hoodoos are a result of that cycle. Standing there just as the sun is coming up with the colors changing and the landscape brightening is awe-inspiring. While Zion and Cedar Breaks are both beautiful, this place adds an extra quality of uniqueness that makes it just a bit better. It was time to get on the trail, so we drove to Inspiration Point. The weather was perfect for a walk in the woods, cool and breezy (even windy in spots). There also weren’t too many people there yet, so once we were away from the overlooks on both ends, we didn’t pass anyone else. It’s a bonus when you have nice trails all to yourself. We skirted the edge of the canyon on the Rim Trail out to Bryce Point, a total of about 3 miles round trip. (There are lots of trail options, and if we ever come back, we’d like to walk the trails in the bottom of the canyon around the bases of the hoodoos.) The only animals we saw were chipmunks, ground squirrels, and birds, except on the way back out when we did actually see a prairie dog. After a good couple of hours, we were back at the car. We drove the main road to the end, stopping at both the Natural Bridge and Rainbow Point overlooks. Our last stop was checking out the Visitor Center on the way back, which was pretty crowded by that time.

SIDE NOTE: From the bathroom at Inspiration Point…whoever you are, you are very clever but totally NOT COOL!

On the way home we stopped in at Bryce Canyon Pines. The sandwiches were good, but the pie they talked us into taking home was better. (They didn’t have to work too hard to convince us. MW had Sour Cream Raisin, and mine was Boysenberry ala mode later that night for dessert. Yum!) Oh, and MW had a porter from Wasatch Brewery called Polygamy. On the back of the can it said, “Why have just one? Polygamy Porter is a smooth, chocolatey, easy-drinkin’ brown porter that’s more than a little naughty. Take some home to the wives!” LOL. MW says, “Who in the world could handle more than one!?” Took a few pics of Red Canyon on the way back. Back at the campground I did some more work outside while enjoying the weather, then watched a bit of tv before turning in.

The Riverside Ranch is a pretty nice little RV park. It is just north of Hatch, which has a couple of restaurants and gas stations. The larger town, Panguitch, is about 12 miles north. Located in a little valley with red cliff views and the Sevier River, it is amazingly peaceful. (US-89 is right there, but you really don’t hear it.) Fishermen can try their luck on rainbow and German brown trout in the river. The graveled sites are spaced nicely, and there are a dozen that back up right to the river. Amenities include free wifi, laundry, community fire pit, volleyball and basketball courts, swing, corn hole, and a ranch hall. The campground includes a group camp area, 5 tent sites, and 35 RV sites. The bathhouse was nice and very clean. We had coverage on both Verizon and AT&T, and there was plenty of over-the-air tv. MW and I both really enjoyed this one. For this stay in July 2022 we paid $221.12 for 4 nights.

Oh, I almost forgot…although the daytime temps had been getting into the mid- to upper-80s, it dropped fast as the sun went down. After the really hot weather in Salt Lake, we had been enjoying wide open windows and lots of breeze at night for our stay by the river. Our site was one of the only ones with a tree, which had been nice for shade in the daytime and rustling leaves at night. Now, do you know the sound they use in movies or tv shows whenever anyone encounters a mountain lion? That angry, big cat growl/roar??? Well, about 2:30 AM, MW and I were both jolted out of sound sleep to THAT! RIGHT. OUTSIDE. OUR. WINDOW!! Although I couldn’t tell what was there, I could see the entire top of that tree wagging about. There was big cat growling, hissing, roaring, and shrieking…seriously!! After a minute or so it stopped and sounded like one of the combatants was climbing down the tree, making that low, deep throat growl. I watched for a while, but never saw anything jump out. Finally the sandman was getting the best of me, and I laid back down. Before dozing off, I could hear the sound of claws in bark as something worked its way down. First thing in the morning I was out there looking for tracks. The area around the tree was mostly grass with a little bit of sand in it. This is all I found. I also added a video that has some of the sounds we heard (just the first 20-30 seconds). MW said he thought the pitch was a tad higher, though. It definitely wasn’t a house cat.

Another week bites the dust! Next up…back to Arizona and on to New Mexico. See you on the path!


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