Monday, April 21
The crew and I leave Bluff on Highway 191 northward. At Blanding I stop for gas and the pump squawks at my credit card, telling me to go inside. This annoys me no end, so I leave. To heck with this place. I’ll get gas in Monticello.
This is my first mistake.
We arrive at Monticello and I’ve forgotten all about gas. I continue driving north with nary a clue. I’m excited to see Canyonlands National Park!
We pull into the second entrance, which goes to Needles Overlook. I park at the information kiosk. No one is around and we’re surrounded by acres and acres of empty grassland. Hmm . . . perfect for the crew to run around loose and get some exercise.
I open up the side door of the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
Bridget squeals and jumps out with Spike tumbling after.
I walk up to the kiosk and study the information and map on the bulletin board. I see on the map that Windwhistle Campground is about six miles up the road. Satisfied that I’ve absorbed what I need to know, I turn to check on the whereabouts of the crew. Okay . . . Bridget is sniffing a cow plop and Spike is . . .
“Spikey, you are too much,” I add, shaking my head and laughing.
Soon my hands are covered in red, gooey muck.
Oh, this is hopeless. I give up.
“In you go, mud-puppy.”
Holding him at arm’s length, I toss Spike onto the old quilt on the bench seat in the PTV. He can dry off on that and I’ll deal with the mess another day. Bridget jumps in and settles into her bed next to the driver’s seat.
I chuckle as we take off down the road. Gosh, you have to watch that dog every second.
“Oh, noooooo. I forgot to get the gas!” The needle is at less than one-eighth of a tank. How many thousands of miles have I driven and I always made sure I had plenty of gas, and now — when I’m MILES from a station . . . .
I chastise myself as I open up my atlas.
Oh, man, it’s a long way to the overlook. I could find a boondock around here and deal with it tomorrow. No, it will nag at me. Might as well skip the overlook and push all the way to Moab.
If we make it to Moab . . .
The drivers are in a frantic hurry. A huge motor home tail-gates us. I give plenty of warning, but it doesn’t back off. I roar off the highway in a cloud of dust, coming to an abrupt stop at Hole N’ the Rock. Thank God for brake controllers.
However, it’s not safe to take photos as I drive through this area. Actually, it’s not safe to drive at all through this area! We plummet down winding grades with several tons of steel, aluminum, glass, and what-not pressuring us to go faster, c’mon, c’mon, go faster, go faster . . . because 60 mph downhill isn’t fast enough! Incredible scenery zips past . . . Oh, well . . .
Welcome to Moab!
The gas gauge reads E as we fly into the Conoco station ($3.59 a gallon), dodging vehicles. Then with great fortitude I push our way through busy Moab and squeeze into a parking space at the crowded City Market.
From there we head out of town.
The BLM sign says to camp in designated sites only. There’s one big, parking-lot style camping area before the road goes into the canyon. In order to have internet, I choose the parking lot, find a level spot, and set up camp.
There are neighbors. It’s hot and there is no shade. I roll out the awning and drop into my camp chair with a glass of tea. Bridget and Spike lie down beside my chair.
I recall advising a reader of my blog, “You don’t need an awning, but there will be times when you’ll be glad you have it.” Hmm . . . This certainly is one of those times. It’s cool under this thing.
From our campsite we can see the mouth of Mill Canyon and Courthouse Rock (5,200 ft.).
The Moab story continues in the next post . . . .
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