July 15 thru 16, 2018 It rained through the night. I only woke once, for a prolonged time, from the sound of heavy-footed beasts running outside my tent; definitely sounded bigger than coyotes. The morning sky was overcast; generously fending off heat rays. After my stretch ritual, potty and coffee, I packed the cot and bedding, then used big rocks and shrubs to spread wet tent, to get the drying process going. It wasn’t long before the clouds rolled out and the heat intensified. Gorgeous day!
Strolled over to the guys’ site. They were cooking up a storm! James was head chef and Jim the assistant, busy chopping vegetables. Kenneth was happy on the sideline. Listening to their banter made me laugh.
I jumped on their breakfast burrito offer – fantastic! Ate half and saved 1-1/2 for later. Helped wrap remaining burritos (that was my contribution). James’ jeep setup, with built-in awning, interior lighting and organization of supplies was incredible. I’m seriously considering a similar style tent setup for my truck.
Gear dried out, so packed up and exchanged info with the guys before heading out. Not sure if they were for real or just being kind, but was told they’d be glad to have me along on a future adventure; I’ll need a 4-WD. Meeting them added so much to my adventure!🤗
Drove back to the Visitor Center to walk a couple trails. This one, the Dinosaur Fossil Discovery Trail, started out as unremarkable for about the first 1/2 mile. After that, I found it definitely worth my time!
I was so damn hot, but the petroglyphs under this massive cliff rock, evidence of the Fremont people who lived in this area about 1,000 years ago, inspired me to carry on. The earth was super dry, with big cracks. There are a few markers along the way that I stopped to read. The stone pathways throughout were like works of art.
The stone steps along the wall of the Morrison Formation, Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock, were fairly steep, but totally worth the climb. There are fossils in the rock wall that aren’t very clearly marked, but I took my time and found several.
After the hikes, lots of water and potty break, I was ready to head out. I took scenic (far off the beaten path) roads like 3500 (E. Brush Creek Rd) to Sunshine Bench Rd where I passed farmland with cows and sheep, then these areas with ore concentration.
Got on E500N (odd) and drove into Vernal. At this point, I was about 175 miles east of Salt Lake City, 20 miles west of the Colorado border and less than 25 miles from the Dinosaur Monument. Main Street had lots of pretty flowers along the sidewalks and in hangers; very pink.
I pulled into B&B Car Wash to rinse off a few layers of muck; didn’t happen. I ended up paying $2 for a measly trickle of water. Treated myself to a raspberry mocha with white chocolate at Spoofs. Took a break from the truck at one of their tables and updated my journal. I was already missing company again. Aargh!
A search through my bank site for fee-free locations for cash landed me at 7-11, where I also grabbed beef ‘n cheese sticks to offset the upset tummy caused, once again, by fru-fru java on empty stomach. I’ll learn eventually, maybe.
Out of Vernal, on scenic 191N, I stopped several times. Absolutely stunning views like this one as a rest area where you can see Vernal, Steinaker and Red Fleet Reservoirs, and the Ashley Valley.Driving up, down and around steep areas through the mountains, I used lower gears and disengaged OD to preserve brakes as possible. At a vault toilet stop (finally!), these guys were heading out for a day trip in the mountains.
In the distance, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir Bridge, also called the Cart Creek Bridge, is just visible. The view from here was impressive!I was walking around the bridge parking lot snapping photos, when I noticed the boats hanging out below the bridge and could hear laughter. Crossed the road and went down to cliff level, under the bridge. A man was helping a little girl with a swing rope connected to bridge support. The water was super clear! He said I could jump if interested and my heart freaked, thumping hard. Simultaneously, my brain went into overdrive; freaked about the height, no medical insurance and possibility of another shot to do it. Without further analyzing, I dropped my shorts (swimsuit on the ready underneath) and stuff next to theirs, the guy helped me grab the top handle, stepped to the ledge, then defied my brain and swung. My heart beat so fucking hard, before and after I hit the cold-ass water. It was amazing and I felt amazing!
After climbing back up the hill, I took a few minutes to reflect as I sat on the tailgate. I was super proud of myself! My next stop was the Flaming Gorge Visitor Center, where I got details about campgrounds and a map.
Checked out campgrounds several miles north of Dutch John before I landed a $25 site off Forest Road 184 at Mustang Ridge Campground (#23). They had showers, flushable and non-flushable toilets, and drinking water. It was hot as hell! Set up tent, then more than ready for a dip in the very blue, Green River. The area is surrounded by dense pinyon pine and juniper forest, which helps with privacy between sites; not so great for shade. Only a few minutes through the trees and I was in the reservoir. Felt soo good!
Back to camp where I ate the rest of my burrito, so-so good, and drank tons of water. Went for a long walk around the bluff, visited with neighboring campers and their dogs, and showered, before settling into my site with music.
Got a text from James, who was super close to my location, and invited him and Jim to join me; Kenneth had left for home. My site was definitely big enough for his jeep, Jim’s tent, plus a few more; they kindly shared the fee. James demonstrated setup of his tent, which took only a few minutes. Very impressive!
Had a great time visiting with them late into the night and I saw my first live jackrabbit with incredible, big-ass ears! Slept good and it felt really nice having them there. In the morning, I took my time packing up, Jim made coffee and James crawled down from his jeep condo. Jim and I swam in the reservoir and I appreciated Jim telling me to call anytime, if scared or lonely. Changed, gave hugs and we all hit the road.
On I-191N, the air smelled like rain was on its way. Breathtaking views. Pulled into Shell off Purple Sage Road in Rock Springs, WY. Bought a 10 lb bag of ice and filled up ($2.99/gal). Got back on the road before 1p. Temp showed 90 with cloud coverage, but it felt twice that!
NOTE: There are NO toilets along 191 from Rock Springs to Farson!
Got to Farson and stopped at the Farson Mercantile. I didn’t buy their big cone ice-cream, but I did get a potty break, coke and wild buffalo jerky (for Michael). There were so many cool goodies I browsed through, before getting back on the road toward Boulder, WY (not Boulder, CO where I lived as a child).
Called it quits when I got to Boulder and stopped at Highline Trail RV Park for $15 (same price for cool teepee option). The owner’s adorable 12-year-old son, Robert, checked me in, provided brochure of places around, and change for laundry (spent $4.50 to wash and dry all my dirties). Beautiful property with only one flaw, not because of the owners. The amount of dog crap in the grass sucked! Seriously people, pick up after your poopers. Kicked it out of the way and set up my tent.
Enjoyed shower and a shave (finally), cleaned out truck, packed up clean clothes, and made salad for dinner. Yep, I was the only tenter amongst RV’ers. A woman walked over, asked me about my bungee chair and I invited her to check it out. I didn’t think about her being a bit heavy and thanks goodness she got in it slowly because her butt went straight to the ground. She laughed so hard and I apologized profoundly. Helped her out and we talked for a while, mainly about campsites around the Tetons; Gros Ventre was her favorite.
The Park offers free Wi-Fi, but my iPad was dead and I really didn’t feel like starting at electronics. Updated my journal, highlighted route taken in Atlas, took a long walk, enjoyed the gorgeous sunset, brushed my teeth, hit the potty one more time and then zipped up.