Day trippin’ around Uinta Basin, Utah

Wednesday, June  25

1-DSC05159Not many people camp at Pelican Lake in June.

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.

1-DSC05160The afternoon is warm with a slight breeze. 

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.”

1-DSC05205Friday, June 27

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.

1-DSC05204We need to go somewhere to keep cool in the PTV’s air conditioning . . .

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,, 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.

1-DSC05207The 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!

1-DSC05210A path goes down to the water where people swim in a deep pool with rock walls.  In the next photo, two people stand on a large rock above the water (out of frame).


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.

1-DSC05212Rain or no rain, we’re going up this mountain!

To be continued . . . .



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72 Responses to Day trippin’ around Uinta Basin, Utah

  1. BadgerRickInWis says:


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, now go read the post, dadgummit!! Haha!

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      Ok, so now I’ve had a chance to read the post 🙂

      What a horrible story about the fire. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for that poor boy to lead the firemen back to that scene.

    • Krystina McMorrow says:

      Hi Badger Rick…I am in Manitowoc, WI. I have been here for about 3 weeks. Road on the bike trail along Lake Michigan Saturday. Beautiful.

  2. FLKamper says:

    so close….

  3. Susan in Dallas says:

    Great start with Bridget in her usual pose. Wow, Utah is so beautiful!

  4. Thor 'n Drew says:

    What?! The nutcakes didn’t get a bit of pretzel? I avoid giving Thor bready stuff, but he loves cheese.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi again, Thor ‘n Drew,

      It never crossed my mind to share that pretzel. If it had, I still wouldn’t have shared it!

  5. Barb George says:

    Ah! A strong third!

    I always wonder where in the world is RV Sue… Like a Waldo book-LOL We could have a camp ground game, about SUE and Crew! LOL

    Enjoy the adventures. Trying to figure out how I can do some too. Feeling penned in!
    Hugs from Hoquiam!

    • Barb George says:

      Dangit now I know how y’all are doin’ this! I read the post first! Dangit Dangit Dangit!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      That’s a good way to describe that feeling… “penned in.” Good luck figuring a way to break free!

  6. AZ Jim says:

    Ok….now please go back and read the LAST post in your last issue. I knew you would sneak off before seeing it…..Grrrrrrrrrrr 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Now please, you go back and look! I did see it! You posted it while I was answering comments to this new post. Sheesh… I can’t keep up with this fast-moving blog!

  7. weather says:

    Oh this is so going on my map in huge gold letters-SWIM IN A DEEP POOL WITH ROCK WALLS!! The two people on the rock photo really gives an appreciation of the grandeur there when expanded,breathtaking,thanks.

    What good thinking to realize that by driving it out ahead of time,you’ll give yourself all you’ve ever really needed-the measure of where you are in the climb!I’m glad for you and impressed with your figuring that out and acting on it.Too many lose wonderful experiences because they give their fears power instead of just dismantling them.Applauding you,victory hoots and all,over here!You made my day Path-forger!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I like the word you used…. “dismantling” one’s fears. That’s exactly what the drive did for me!

      This blog has revealed to me many folks who want to do something (whether it be full-timing or towing a trailer or hitching up a trailer, etc.) and they are afraid to attempt it.

      Rather than not do it at all, “dismantle” it! I’ve mentioned on this blog before, the advice my father gave me…. “Every problem is a bunch of little problems.” Same with fears …. break those fears down into manageable little challenges and the big fear is conquered. Time for “victory hoots!” 🙂

      • weather says:

        Yep,whenever someone says the boogeyman’ll get me if I try what I want,I take out my crayons.Using stick figures,I draw pictures of start to finish.

        Me studying(the demographics-What sort of people do I need to be ready to deal with there?)
        Next,me doing the money,paperwork and calls stuff needed.Then more pictures as needed until I’m landing there grinning!Before I step into every little picture I say”I’m willing to at least start…and if I feel like it,I’ll finish.” Crayons have made my playground really,really BIG 🙂

  8. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    Have you tried the pretzel nuggets with the peanut butter inside!!!!! Oh my, my….there are s0000000000 good!!

    With each picture of the western scenery, I am more and more impressed on the magnitude of it. Everything is so big. Sure is wonderful to be able to go along with you on your travels. Every day is an adventure.

    Love you

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      Yeah, I’ve had the peanut butter pretzel nuggets. No comparison. The cheese-filled pretzels straight out of the warmer are better! Take my word for it. Don’t try them. Keep your new figure!

      Yes, West=Big. If I were to go back East, I bet everything would seem cramped and small.

      Love you, too.

  9. Crystal says:

    Totally unrelated to your blog, but I ordered 100′ of medium density window pile from Amazon through your link. On June 19 I got a confirmation and tracking number. Since it hadn’t arrived, I tracked the package today. It says it was delivered on 6/21. I never received it. I have emailed the seller and hope to get a response. We live in a small town where pretty much everyone knows everyone. No problem finding me. Did it come across your records? I assume it did, since I got a confirmation it was shipped. I wonder how I can prove I didn’t receive it. Ugh.

  10. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    11th? 🙂

    Oh my seems like we’ve covered the entire page of that Benchmark atlas I don’t have!

    Sure is beautiful.

    What? Ya didn’t share? That’s okay….tell them…oh no..this isn’t the one I wanted and could share with you…..cheese has a tendency to bind folks……and since you nutcakes are 1/10th the size…the chances are so much greater. With that (proceed to take a bite, chew and swallow)….I’m just looking out for your best interest! Continue to reassure them that…until the pretzel is totally gone!

    I know it was hard to eat it….with two sets of brown eyes glaring at ya! Once you saw that…you probably avoided ALL eye contact!

    Hah! Enjoy the evening!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I didn’t share! I didn’t even notice two pairs of eyes. My focus was on the pretzel! It was gone so fast Bridget and Spike probably didn’t know it was there. 🙂

  11. Bob's gotta bus! says:

    Growing up we used to melt cheese and dip pretzels. Not sure where my parents learned that. Extra sharp cheddar was the best. With the availability of so many cheeses today, you could experiment with your favorites. Of course, some hiking would be needed to work off the calories. But life happens just once.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Don’t encourage me, Bob! I’m wondering if I’ll be able to drive by a convenient mart without stopping.

  12. MK in NE GA for now says:

    Love the pic of Bridget “posing” for a shot! Quite a day for you. I wish you luck on your trip up the road. I was just discussing a really bad road on another forum it goes from Leadville to Aspen CO….don’t EVER take this road it’s about a lane and 1/2 wide and the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

    My heart aches for my sisters and brothers on the Rez. I’m mix blood NDN – not enrolled and I spent a lot of time on some of the big western Rezes in the 60’s and 70’s and go up to the Qualla in NC as much as I can – I have ancestors buried there. If anyone is ever interested in what it’s like on a big western Rez, you can watch a movie called “Skins” that takes place on Pine Ridge directed by Chris Eyre with Eric Shweig (Uncas in Last of the Mohicans) and Graham Greene who should have had golden statues on his mantle for his portrayal of Moogy. This film was based on a book by Adrian C. Lewis and was written, directed, produced and acted by NDN’s.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Okay. I’ll show my ignorance and ask… What is NDN? Does it mean Indian? If I don’t know, I’d guess there are readers across the U.S., Australia, Canada, Mexico, and wherever who don’t know what it means either.

      • Jeff says:

        Looks like it might be internet way to write Indians. Say it real fast and it makes sense.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I think that’s it, Jeff. It’s not only me I’m thinking of (whoa, that’s a change!) but also my readers who are a varied and far-flung group. Thanks, Jeff.

      • MK in NE GA for now says:

        NDN – say it outloud = Indian.

  13. Rocky Mtn Bob says:

    Sue that road to Flaming Gorge is winding, but remember big rigs pull it all the time. I used to pull it in the winter with a sno-cat & trailer (apx 8000 lbs) behind a Suburban w/4wheel drive on snow pack. The worst is in the mid-section (curves, switchbacks, etc). the top is nicer and straighter. Just gear down and hold a nice rpm (3000) all the way up. Well worth the drive after you’re on top. The more mountain driving you do the better you will feel about it.
    Enjoy, Rocky Mtn. Bob

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re thoughtful and kind to give me reassurance that I can do this, Rocky Mtn Bob. I was thinking similarly during my “test run” with the PTV. I saw tow vehicles that looked like they had less engine than the PTV and they were towing trailers heavier that the BLT.

      I drove through the worst of it, I think, without the BLT. I was counting those switchbacks out loud! “Four switchbacks, six to go…. Five switchbacks, five to go…” The most difficult part looks like the stretch between # 9 and #10… It’s the longest and steepest.

      I had to laugh on the way down the hill. There were signs doing what I did on the way up the hill. The signs showed a switchback symbol and then underneath “9 more” and so on, counting all the way down. I almost expected a sign to say “5 more. You’re halfway there. You can do it!”

      You’re right. I’ve been a flatland driver for a long time. I’m getting better with mountain driving. Like you say, I’ll feel better about it with time as I gain experience and my confidence grows. Thanks for writing, Bob.

  14. Carefully reading your blog today, I was surprised to see you were going to see Flaming “George”. I thought, “Hmm, RVSue is going to some kind of male revue show?”. This is a bit of a switch from her usual fare! Then I reread it! Oy, it really is time to get new glasses! But it did give me a real chuckle!

    While I’m here, thank you so much for taking us all along on your journey. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to get on the road anytime soon (if at all), I stopped reading the various RV blogs I had subscribed to. All of them except yours, that is! Your writing and photographs are so enjoyable. I love how you gracefully put out how you RV (keeping a quart of oil on hand in this case) so others can follow your lead (or not).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deborah,

      The first draft of this post did have Flaming George but I caught it . . . and it gave me a chuckle, too. “Whew! That was a close call!”

      Your comment is the first I read upon rising this morning. . . a very nice way to start my day! Thank you for sticking with me and the crew and for the compliments you sent my way. I also appreciate the feedback on the tidbits of information I throw into my stories about life on the road.

      Whatever the reason you are unable to RV, I hope that the situation will resolve for you or that you are okay with it. Have a very good day, Deborah. .. .

  15. Elizabeth in WA says:

    There are some sad places that are depressing to drive past…probably some in every state really. I think you did the best thing, turning around when you did, as you felt inside. Feelings are there for good reason. I do wish that we could help every single person who needs help…but we are doing good to help the few that cross our paths I guess. There are many homeless and begging in places in this part of WA. Hubby and I are always talking about what to do. Maybe we will come up with some better ways. We have given money sometimes…but really that is not the best either. Thanks for sharing, Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      When you mentioned there being “many homeless and begging in places in this part of WA,” I was reminded of the book I read recently — Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey

      The author’s experience with homelessness took place in Bremerton, WA. He wrote that there are so many homeless people there that the town has the nickname of Bummertown.

      On that sad note (!), I wish you and your husband a good day . ..

  16. You forgot to mention the lovely Stauffer Chemical Tailings Pond North, just west of Red Fleet.

  17. Robert says:

    Try a bag of planters peanuts in your Coke, gotta be a bottle, they still make em, but they come from Mexico. But it’s gotta be ice cold, with sweat running down the side, just toss in a few salty peanuts, sip and enjoy, crunch crunch!

    Taught to me by a wise old woman from Texas, she’s pushing 80 now….my mom, lol

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Robert,

      I never heard of Coke and peanuts before. . . hmm. . . . I don’t know. They have to be better than the boiled peanuts sold along the roadsides in Georgia. What a horrible thing to do to peanuts!

      Best wishes to you and mom for a beautiful day.

      • MK in NE GA for now says:

        LOL – you just upped my gag reflex – boiled peanuts are nasty. I made the mistake of trying one once..blech. The stands are now out all over in GA. I never see anyone stopped.

        • Elizabeth in WA says:

          I think it helps to be a native of Georgia like our brother-in-law….who likes peanuts however they come.

  18. weather says:

    Good Morning Sue,
    The cornflowers made this year’s first appearance among the purple thistles this morning!Growing roadside with Queen Ann’s lace by the macaun apple trees in the pasture,their color makes a perfect palette out of what’s never complete without them.Your having decorated the field in Georgia with them was one of the coolest things you wrote about doing!

    Strewing beauty about on the way through the journey …easily enough done as we fulfill bits of what we are meant to do…Life is such a pretty dance to take part in,isn’t it?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, weather,

      You remember the field of cornflowers! Amazing . . . . Those flowers transformed that lot full of weeds into something beautiful.

      What a lovely mix that must be… cornflowers, Queen Ann’s lace, and apple trees.

      One of the most glorious events in nature is the blooming of apple trees (yours are probably past the bloom stage?).

      I distinctly remember looking up into the boughs of my auntie’s apple tree when I was a girl . . . the lovely aroma, the delicate white flowers with a blush of pink . . . the essence of late spring in upstate New York!

      Ah, I wish life were a “pretty dance” for everyone. Troubles cloud the eyes. We are fortunate to see beauty all around us. God bless you, weather!

      • weather says:

        ….when I was a girl…. Sue,I’ve spent a lifetime,from pre-k age onward,trying to give the living around me what I sensed was needed.With everything I’ve learned and become in that pursuit to uncloud their eyes,I remain as I began-a girl.I’ve known hundreds that lost that in their womanhood,they can be recognized by their lack of wonder,adventure,wild nature and passion.I,thankfully,don’t count you and I among them.A loving woman full of strength,dignity and honor,you,my friend,intact through it all, have never stopped being a girl…taking her lunch in the woods

        thank you ever so for the blessing,may God bless you, too

  19. rvsueandcrew says:

    MESSAGE TO READERS: The crew and I are on the road today! We may or may not have internet connection where we land, but I’ll post again as soon as I can.

    Love y’all!

  20. AZ Jim says:

    This is a day not many Arizonan’s will forget. One year ago to the day we lost 19 “Hotshot” fire fighters in the Yarnell fire. It is the biggest loss of wildland firefighters in over 80 years. My thoughts are on those young men and their families this day.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Thanks for that Jim. I hope we don’t get a “whitewash” of the causes.
      “My thoughts are on those young men and their families this day.”

      • Mick'nTN says:

        From Dorothy (My other Surprise friend):


        These are from a book called “Disorder in the American Courts” and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

        ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
        WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
        ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
        WITNESS: My name is Susan!
        ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
        WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
        ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
        WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
        ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
        WITNESS: July 18th.
        ATTORNEY: What year?
        WITNESS: Every year.
        ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
        WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
        ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
        WITNESS: Forty-five years.
        ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
        WITNESS: Yes.
        ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
        WITNESS: I forget..
        ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
        ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
        WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
        ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
        WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.
        ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
        WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
        ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
        WITNESS: Yes.
        ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
        WITNESS: Getting laid
        ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
        WITNESS: Yes.
        ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
        WITNESS: None.
        ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
        WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
        ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
        WITNESS: By death..
        ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
        WITNESS: Take a guess.
        ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
        WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
        ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
        WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
        ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
        WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
        ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
        WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
        ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
        WITNESS: Oral…
        ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
        WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
        ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
        WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
        ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
        WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
        And last:

        ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
        WITNESS: No.
        ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
        WITNESS: No.
        ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
        WITNESS: No..
        ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
        WITNESS: No.
        ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
        WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
        ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
        WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

        • weather says:

          Laughed non-stop reading that,Mick.You’ve got my vote for “Who’s Posted the Most Fun To Read Comment?” 🙂

          • Gayle says:

            That was a scream! I used to proofread transcripts typed from tapes dictated by court reporters. One court reporter used to say “period, straight ahead” at the end of every paragraph. Well, the transcriber heard it as “pistons in the head.” There were 370 pages of “pistons in the head.” !!!

      • Diann in MT says:

        I have not laughed so hard in a looooong time! Thanks, blogorino bro, for lightening everything up!!!! I hope Sue deems you “court jester” for this blog!!!

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:

      AZ Jim

      That tragic day was etched into the minds of many….who will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they gave trying to save the lives and property of people they didn’t even know.

      Such courage. God Bless them and their families.

  21. Teri in SoCal says:


  22. AZ Jim says:

    Not really Teri…

  23. Teri in SoCal says:

    You made me giggle AZ Jim.

    Now? Last now?

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