Tuesday, May 12
After breakfast we walk over to Swasey’s Beach. No one is here but us!
I read, sweep sand off the blue mat, listen to the radio while responding to blog comments, cook up a pot of potatoes, carrots, and green beans, walk over to a neighboring campsite and watch the river from a picnic table, wave to people riding a raft, stroll around the empty campground . . .
I chase after Spike, cuddle Bridget, sit in my camp chair and read about the pair of Western Tanagers who frequent our campsite, study the Utah atlas, dream about where we will go next, warm up meat for the crew, read news and emails online, edit photos and write a blog post, drink a cup of Yerbe Mate, reply to more comments, walk with the crew along the river’s edge at sunset, pick up pretty pebbles . . .
Wednesday, May 13
It’s mid-morning. I hear a man’s voice.
“Hello? Hello?” I jump up from my laptop at the rear table and go to the door. I’m surprised because I didn’t think anyone was nearby. A young man looks up at me.
“Hi. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mine giving me a jump start? he asks.
“Oh, is that you over at the dumpster?” I respond.
“Yeah, that’s us. My girlfriend and I were camping up in the canyon. Last night we stopped to dump trash and then it wouldn’t start. So we put up our tent and spent the night here.”
“I thought it was weird that someone would camp next to the trash bin. Well, I was about to leave to go into town anyway. I’ll drive over in a few minutes, okay?”
I pull up to his tired-looking, navy blue car with its nose pointed at the dumpster.
I tell the young man I’m Sue and he says his name is Chad. “And over there is my girlfriend, Victoria.” He tells me they’re from Salt Lake City.
“I hope it starts,” he mumbles as he leans over his battery with the cable clamps in hand. Once the cable is attached, he looks at me from his cloud of concern. “If it doesn’t start, would you let my girlfriend ride into town with you to get a tow?”
I get in the Perfect Tow Vehicle, say a little prayer, and start ‘er up.
Chad turns his key and the old car’s engine comes to life! He grins and pumps his fist. His worried face is transformed as it relaxes with relief. He gets out and thanks me.
“You have a safe trip,” and I drive away. Well, it was a good thing we didn’t leave a few days ago like we were supposed to.
The crew and I go to Green River and turn east.
Then we turn south. We’re on our way to Crystal Geyser which is less than five miles from town. It’s a beautiful day for a drive and this should make a nice, little excursion.
I expect this local attraction to be a non-event. I read that in recent years the geyser has lost its oomph. Whereas it once spouted several feet in the air, now it’s lucky to hit three feet. Why? Over the years people impatient for the geyser to blow threw rocks down the pipe to stir it into action and now the geyser is pretty much blocked. Oh well, it’s an excuse to take a short drive and see some more countryside.
A little background . . .
Crystal Geyser was formed in 1935 when somebody drilled a well hoping to find oil. Instead, a saturation of carbon dioxide forced water up the pipe and into the air. It continued to do so for decades at periodic intervals each day, reaching heights of forty feet or so, as late as 2005. Then the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging mutants came along and . . . .
It isn’t long into this little adventure that things start to go downhill.
Shoot. I shoulda’ taken the other road. We wind down a steep section and enter some badlands. Dang potholes!
The photo is misleading.
Nothing grows here except an occasional, valiant, yellow flower along the road. In some places the ground is green. Not your lush, spring-is-here-let’s-have-a-picnic green. This is LIME green.
What IS this place . . . Where chemists go to die?
We drive by a section of white ground. Next AQUAMARINE. This is awful! It looks like the earth threw up on itself. I forge ahead. Where IS that damn geyser?
I become aware that Bridget is whining.
Not her usual Spike-won’t-let-me-sit-on-the-bench-seat whine. This is very faint, emitted with every breath.
“What’s the matter, Bridge?” I ask, glancing over at her in the passenger seat.
I hit the brakes.
Bridget lies across the seat with her head hanging over the side. She lifts her head in response to my question and looks at me sadly, continuing to whine.
Dear God, something’s wrong! Her eyes are glazed, her lower eyelids are sagging . . . I place my palm on her head. It’s hot!
“To heck with Crystal F*#king Geyser! We’re getting outta’ here!”
Of course, there isn’t a place to turn around, not here nor in the near future. I turn us anyway, executing a jerky, eight-point turn. I hit the gas and we fly through the weirdly-colored, forbidding land..
Damn, she’s probably nauseous, too. I yell at the windshield, “I HATE THIS PLACE!”
We rumble over washboard. We dodge potholes. I bring down Bridget’s window for cool air to blow on her face.
At last we return to the land of the living.
In a few minutes, Bridget perks up and is her old self again.
“I’m so sorry I put you through that, Bridge.”
Later, that evening . . .
Moonlight through the curtains beckons me outside. I sneak out, careful not to wake the crew.
Gosh, I love this camp. The constant roar of the river. The soft sand of the beach. The birds in the cottonwood tree. The magnificent monuments all around. The peacefulness and solitude . . . This has been one of the best camps ever!
I hate to leave, but it’s time.
I LOVE RVSUE SHOPPERS!
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