Wednesday, June 25
In a week’s time I’ve seen only one truck camper, one Class C, and one tent down by the lake. The crew and I have had the campground all to ourselves, as the others want to be close to the lake for fishing.
We take advantage of the cool morning and walk along the lake, stopping at empty campsites like the one in the photo above. No flies bother us as we mosey along.
I carry a dishpan of dirty dishes out to the picnic table to wash and dry in the shade of the shelter, while Bridget and Spike snooze. I read in my lounge chair most of the afternoon.
Thursday, June 26
I feel like going somewhere! I toss the crew into the Perfect Tow Vehicle and drive the back way to the town of Whiterocks, avoiding the fast traffic on Highway 40.
We pass through the tiny villages of Randlett and Fort Duchesne as we cross the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Many of the homes along the way are broken-down, single-wide trailers with neglected yards. I lose all interest in taking photographs.
We drive through the town of Whiterocks.
This can’t be the right road. I open up the Benchmark atlas. Oh, we missed the turn. Well, it’s just as long to go back as it is to go forward. The road loops around and intersects with Whiterocks Canyon Road. From there we can drive into the canyon and take a look at Whiterocks Campground.
We enter a barren area of blackened, dead trees.
Later I read a story from the archives of the Deseret News: “Killer Utah Fire Still Raging” about a boy barely escaping the flames in 2007. His father and grandfather didn’t make it.
Gee, this has been a tedious drive. Not exactly what I’d call scenic. Dilapidated homes. Ugly, burnt landscape. And now the sky is turning dark. Gee, that’s one mean-looking cloud moving this way.
Finally we reach Whiterocks Canyon Road.
As I look up the road to the canyon, rain begins to splatter on the windshield. It’s about 4 o’clock and the canyon is steep and dark.
“Ya’ know, guys? Sometimes it’s best to quit while ahead. Let’s go home.”
We’re up and outside very early. Another cool, fresh, and bright morning with low humidity. However, by mid-morning I can tell it’s going to be a hot afternoon.
I don’t like steep roads going uphill.
Well, if we’re ever going to see Flaming Gorge, we have to climb! At some point during the almost three years the crew and I have roamed the West, I realized that it’s not the actual uphill grades that bother me. It’s not knowing when they will end!
The next leg of our journey requires we climb through ten switchbacks.
Today I”ll drive the PTV through those switchbacks on Highway 191 and then I’ll know what to expect when I tow the Best Little Trailer up that steep ascent.
Before leaving the campground, I check the PTV’s oil.
As best I can tell from the ridiculously long dipstick, the oil is down almost a quart. I need to check this more often. While Spike and Bridget wait inside the PTV, I add the oil.
“Okay, nutcakes! We’re off to climb the mountain!”
In Vernal I stop for gas and go inside to pick up another quart of oil. (I always travel with at least a quart of oil in the PTV to have handy in case it’s needed.) While in the convenience mart, I grab a Pepsi. A big ol’ pretzel basking in the glow of the warmer catches my eye. Hmm . . . I haven’t had a pretzel in years. Something salty would taste great right now . . .
As I drive through Vernal I bite into the pretzel.
What? What is this? Oh my, melted cheese in the center. This has to be about 100 fat calories per bite. How decadent. How delicious! Well, I can’t very well return it and I’m certainly not going to let it go to waste . . . ahhh . . . mmm . . . glommy and so good . . .
Before reaching the ominous switchbacks on Highway 191, we visit two state parks.
Steinaker State Park is described at the website, Utah.com, as follows:
“Steinaker Reservoir offers a paved boat ramp and fishing is good year-round for rainbow trout. During summer, largemouth bass fishing is good. The park offers sandy beaches, swimming, boating and water sports. It also offers a secluded campground overlooking the water.”
You can hike from the campground to see 200-million-years-old dinosaur tracks in Steinaker State Park.
The reviews for the campground are glowing.
I find the sites too close together for my taste. That’s what happens when you boondock often in secluded places! Well, we could stop here to dump and to fill the fresh water tank.
Although it’s a clear day at Pelican Lake, the closer we drive to the mountain, the darker the sky. It’s very dark while we’re at Steinaker and the photos don’t come out well.
Next we visit Red Fleet State Park Campground.
The campground is located in a red rock area with dramatic scenery. The sites can accommodate rigs up to 30 feet. Some sites are full-hook-up. The boat ramp is next to the campground. Lots of tenters here today!
Red Fleet State Park Campground is very nice. We won’t camp here though. Too many people!
As we leave Red Fleet State Park and return to Highway 191, it starts to rain.
To be continued . . . .
THANKS, RVSUE SHOPPERS, FOR YOUR AMAZON ORDERS!