Retracing my route through Bryce National Park, I took a little time to walk one of the trails near the highway since the weather had warmed up a bit.
Rather than going home the way we had come out, I went north on Hwy. 89, then taking route 20 through the mountains which follows the Old Spanish Trail. There were some steep grades, 12% at times, but I took it slow since traffic was light and there were two lanes in each direction should anyone want to pass. This beautiful drive was over all to soon and we were dumped onto the interstate highway which was quite busy and FAST. The speed limit was 80 mph in places and I never saw any restrictions on autos towing trailers, so I kicked my own speed up to 65, just in self-defense. The laws of physics don’t change with posted speed limits, so I remained alert, knowing that any sudden maneuvers would be risky.
Just north of St. George is a little town called Leeds. I had done some Google research thinking it would be a good place to stop for the night and I’d found an RV park and a good restaurant. Pulling into Leed’s RV resort, I felt like I’d just been moved from business class to coach. The park was populated by mostly full-time residents who had personalized their own space. One woman had an expansive outdoor cat run and another had a pet that appeared to have the freedom to roam the park.
Overall, the park was neat and the residents were quiet. My site was about as far away from the restroom as one could park and still be within the property, but at least it wasn’t cold so the hike was pleasant enough.
Once our camp was set up and the trailer disconnected, we set out to explore our neighborhood. The Silver Reef Museum was nearby so we headed up the road that Google said was the way to go. We never spotted the museum but we did find a nicely graded dirt road that led to a lovely little hike. Just what my aching hips needed! The girls enjoyed the freedom of BLM land and my distraction of a phone call from home.
After we had worked up an appetite, we drove to Tequilana where the food was as good as it had been reported on Google. There was a brand new, Covid inspired patio, where the girls could join me. The waiter kindly brought them a to-go container which he tore into two parts to fill with water. Sadie, impatient with his service began to drink out of his pitcher. I don’t think the people at the next table noticed.
To say it wasn’t a great day would only indicate my feeling of loss at parting with Tam and leaving the comforts of Yonder. I went straight to bed and actually slept pretty well, despite the drone of the nearby freeway traffic, or maybe because of it. But, of course, I was awake by 4:00 A.M.
Feeling the end-of-vacation blues, I debated whether to just drive the 8 hours home, rather than detour from the freeway through Valley of Fire again. I was on the road by 5 A.M. and thought I’d see how I felt by the time I reached the VoF off ramp. The eastern sky was just starting to lighten when I came to the exit and I was growing very sleepy, having left camp without coffee. Thankfully, Mike called just after I left the freeway and talked to me most of the way to the park.
I walked through the campground looking at tags to see if anyone was vacating that day and found two sites. The couple from Idaho in the site I preferred, was in no hurry to leave so I told them I’d go pay for the site and amuse myself until check-out time. The Atlatl campground has hookups and showers so I went up there to take a shower and then parked in a day-use picnic area and made myself a much-needed cup of coffee and some breakfast.
That was all it took to get my vacation mojo back. Refueled, the ambivalence of the morning evaporated. By the time I headed to my campsite, the Idahoans were leaving the campground and I waived merrily to them. But now I worried because they had said they wouldn’t be leaving for a few hours, and now my campsite was sitting vacant. Would-be campers were circling the campground like vultures, prowling for a site, as I had been earlier. Sure enough, by the time I made my way through the campground someone had parked in my spot. It was a handsome, young man who moved out without argument, saying he didn’t know how the system worked. His girlfriend was walking down to the entrance to pay the fee and I hoped she hadn’t already put her money in the slot. At any rate, I suggested he try the app Campendium.com to locate a place to camp outside the park.
I set up the trailer and considered a hike but somehow the idea of a nap won out. The camp was quiet, the air was warm, and I had several good books. A sunset hike seemed like a more reasonable option. So, just before dusk I loaded the girls into the back of the car and went in search of a cell signal so I could let Mike know that I wasn’t coming home that night.
The woman in the campsite next to me turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Almost my age and caring for an aging mother, we had things in common. She had a fascinating history, having traveled extensively and she was an avid bibliophile. We could have talked for days but darkness fell and we both had miles to travel the next day.
And then the adventure was over except for the unpacking, the laundry, washing the trailer and car, and preparing for work on Monday. Reliving it through this blog is almost as fun as planning the trip.