Wednesday, August 19
I stop the Perfect Tow Vehicle on the forest road leading away from our Big Wood River boondock of the past few days.
“Ooh, look at the light on the grass! Hang on, guys. Let me take a few more pictures.”
Bridget and Reggie settle into their travel positions to nap.
We head southward on Route 75.
Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue, Shoshone, Jerome . . . Shortly before reaching Interstate 84 we stop at a KOA for propane.
A man walks up, looks admiringly at the PTV and BLT, and says, “Pretty nice set-up you have.” He’s curious and then surprised when he finds out that I’ve been living in my rig and traveling the West for four years.
Interstate 84 takes us east past Twin Falls.
We pass the exit for Burley and Heyburn. By this time I’m convinced we shouldn’t take the next exit in order to camp in the Albion Mountains south of here. A curtain of smoke hangs over the mountains.
At the fork with Interstate 86, we stay on 84, going southeast.
The Cotterel Mountains, the Black Pine Mountains . . . all are pastel blue-grey cut-outs against a white sky. As we cross the unpopulated and sage-strewn Curlew Valley, Bridget and Reggie wake up.
“Guess what, sleepy-heads. We’re in Utah!”
It’s around noontime. Not hot, but getting warm, climbing toward 90.
“Hang tight. It won’t be much longer.”
We ride over a hill and the town of Snowville comes into view.
Smoketown would be an apt name for it today. I follow the signs to Lottie-Dell RV Park. This looks good. Nobody here this early in the day. (A Class A pulls in about an hour later.)
A man appears and gives me a friendly hello. His name is Delbert. He’s a tanned and sinewy guy, average height, looks to be in his 60s. He tells me sites are $30 a night with electric and water hook-up. There are rest room, shower, and laundry facilities.
“You’re the owner here?” I ask.
“I am until September,” he replies. “I sold the place.”
As we leave the office together I notice a bulletin board covered with handwritten notes.
“Wow! Lots of memories here,” I remark as I scan the board.
Delbert nods. “Yeah, it’s going to be hard to leave all that.”
I choose a site with shade.
Always make sure the power switch at the pole is in the “off” position. Plug in before pushing the switch up to “on.”
Then you can turn on your big loads, like the air conditioner. Do not turn them on before you turn on the power switch at the pole!
(Lottie-Dell Campground doesn’t have 50-amp.)
I make myself a turkey sandwich which I share with the crew.
I put Bridget into her suit and the three of us walk around the park, passing the golf range. Then we relax outside.
“It’s nice here, isn’t it, sweetie.”
I tote the brimming basket over to the laundry house, holding onto Reggie’s tether.
I can count on Bridget to walk alongside me. She’s a good girl and no one here is going to mind her being off-leash.
“You’ve done a lot of work around here,” I remark.
“Yes, I have. And I did it all by myself,” he says, looking around proudly.
I mention his imminent retirement.
“I plan to do what you’re doing,” Delbert says. Then he adds, “I’m 80 years old.”
“WHAT?” I exclaim. “You’re kidding me! I thought you were in your 60s, just reaching retirement age!”
Delbert grins, enjoying my shock.
“You know what? I have over one hundred descendants.”
“You DO? One hundred? How many children do you have?”
“Eleven.” He pauses. “I’ve had six wives.”
With an amazing lack of tact I blurt out, “Not all at once!” (After all, this IS Utah.)
To my relief, Delbert laughs.
“No, one at a time.”
I leave the crew inside the BLT with the air conditioner on.
I sprint over to the shower house. The rest of the day I take advantage of the 4G internet signal (the park doesn’t have WiFi) or I’m outside with Bridget and Reggie. The smoke doesn’t bother us, although I’m sure we’re breathing it.
By early evening eleven more RVs are in the park. — Ten Class As and one Class C. The park is far enough away from the interstate to allow for a quiet night of good sleep.
Thursday, August 20
We wake to the sound of a rooster crowing.
Back on the interstate and heading toward – I must be crazy – Salt Lake City!
Actually I want to get out of smoke fast and I don’t dare take a long drive across empty desert and risk the heat becoming too much for us with no place to find relief. Look at a map and you’ll see what I mean.
For those of you who like to follow on a map, here’s the route we take:
Through Rattlesnake Pass to Tremonton, then on to Brigham City.
From there it’s insane city-interstate-multi-lane driving through smog and smoke . . . Ogden, Clearfield, Layton, Farmington, Bountiful, Salt Lake City (exit after exit!), Murray, Midvale, Sandy, Lehi, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Orem, Provo, Spanish Fork . . . one, big, stretched out metropolis!
By Payson the traffic lets up a bit. Have I been holding my breath the entire way?
I push on.
I’ll make this brief. We survived. It was a nightmare. Somewhere, as we crossed Salt Lake City, a long, box-type utility trailer swerved into our lane when we were sandwiched by a semi in the other lane. I thought for sure I’d lose the side mirror or our lives.
Next post . . .
The crew and I search for a camp for the night and the flight from smoke continues!
THANKS FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!