Having given up on a longer stay in Bryce National Park due to weather, we decided to start heading north and put some miles behind us.
As you know, we stay at quite a few Elks Lodges as we travel. We're big fans because often we are able to stay in a safe, secure and inexpensive place in areas that might otherwise bust the budget. Lodges near water or with extraordinary views, in and near larger cities seem to be doing well but, in a state like Utah with a sparse population, many struggle to stay open and some of them don't succeed. I just read today that the lodge in Moab closed.
We travel with a very outdated set of Lodge books, from 2009. The trouble with that is when we are on the move to reposition and plan a series of one night stops, sometimes we find that the lodge no longer exists. This is what happened when we left Page and arrived in Richfield, south of Provo. We tried calling but there was no answer.
Then we drove past the weed-infested building with a barely hanging on sign flapping in the wind and a faded For Sale sign. So off we went for an overnight at the local Walmart Supercenter instead.
The next day, we stayed at yet another Walmart near Ogden, UT, this time so that we could meet in person a long-time Facebook friend. Joann and her husband Mel were fulltimers for many years before Mel's illness forced them off the road. They were part of a big gang of folks that headed to Alaska in 2008 and we followed a couple of blogs of folks they met up with. I think that's how we became friends on Facebook. Sadly, Mel passed away last year. Joann is just now looking at future travels for herself, although not in an RV. It was so nice to finally meet her in person, and thanks again for the hats, Joann!
At our next repositioning stop we planned to stay put for three days. There is only so many one-nighters we can do before we start to get cranky. Our travel day was partly spent on a lonely Idaho road. It was a grey, miserable day, making us feel like we were alone in the world. Then it started to snow.
The last time I drove through this area was in 1981. My BFF Cindy and I were moving from Alaska to Texas and we decided to make our way down south in Cindy's un-air conditioned car, Hazel. I think it was a Pontiac Astre. She was a rough ride and drove like a tank but after more than 6,000 miles, she got us to our destination safe and sound! I'll give Hazel that much. :)
We visited a ton of places along the way, but as we made our way to Yellowstone, we passed through this desolate area of Idaho where the earth looked as though it had all been tilled, but in a massive way. We could not figure out what kind of earth-mover had churned up all this land, and for what purpose? We didn't know it at the time, but we were looking out at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
It was fun to be coming back, although the usually black lava fields and cinder cones were now covered in a beautiful layer of white snow. It was amazing! The snow only lasted a day but we toured around and saw the area, basically white one day and black the next. Very unique!
Quick story, then I'll wrap this up. Are you familiar with the whole Painted Rock phenomenon that is happening across the country? People paint rocks and then place them out in public places in hopes that they will be found and reported on the group’s Facebook page. Each participating town has their own separate page. Well a few weeks back, while we were in Temecula, I found one. It was a grey rock with a pair of boy's underwear painted on it, in bright red. On the back of the rock was a message to report the finding, then I could keep it, or re-hide it. I immediately became attached to the rock and really didn't want to re-hide it. But when we got to Craters of the Moon, the red paint really popped next to the black cinder. So, after a couple of days of indecisiveness, I let go of my rock and hid it in the campground. To this day, no one has reported finding it, which makes me really regret leaving it behind. I miss my undies rock! :)
Next up: Hello Oregon!