Hurricane, UT, Day Six in Sand Hollow State Park
Eleven months in our bus.
SATURDAY, APRIL 19. MT. CARMEL TUNNEL AND THE PERIMETER OF ZION PARK.
I woke still feeling tired. We made breakfast again and sat for a while at the picnic table so once again (as on Thursday) we made a late start. We got in the car at 12:30 PM and we took the dogs with us. By then the wind had come up again and was just as strong as it was a few days ago.
After stopping for fuel, we went into Zion Park. There was a long line at the entrance station. We stopped at the first shuttle stop stations on SR-9 and we took lots of photos at the pullouts. The last time we were here, it wasn’t that easy to take photos while we were on the shuttle. After the first few stops SR-9 turned away from the canyon park road where only shuttles can go. We went east climbing above the canyon taking photos at all the pullouts until we came to the tunnel.
The Zion – Mt Carmel Tunnel is a little over a mile long. The tunnel goes through a mile wide mountain that runs north-south. North of the tunnel the mountain length stretches up to Zion Canyon. Visible from the valley floor, it has peaks called (from south to north) The East Temple, Twin Brothers, and Mountain of the Sun. Behind and parallel to these peaks is north-south Deertrap Mountain. Pine Creek cuts down on it’s east side running south to the Mount Carmel Highway where it turns west toward Zion Canyon. South of the tunnel the mountain length stretches to the East Fork Virgin River in the Parunuweap Canyon. In this section it is cut on the west by Hepworth Wash and on the east by Gifford Canyon. These creeks both run north and join Pine Creek, which runs into North Fork Virgin River.
The tunnel is 13’1” in the center but less than 12’ on the sides. To drive the bus through this tunnel, we would have to pay $15 for an escort. They would stop traffic and guide us through the center of the tunnel. No thank you. We need to go east but we will figure out how to bypass SR-9 and this tunnel. We descended down the other side taking more photos until we left Zion National Park.
By the time we passed out of the park, it was going on four and I was getting another headache. I needed a rest because we planned to return by some other route to avoid the long line of cars waiting to go through the tunnel from the east side of Zion Park. Immediately after we left the park, I saw a lodge and restaurant and asked Dennis to stop. We pulled into Mt. Zion Resort and it was very cute and homey. They rent cabins and they have a herd of buffalo and they have a restaurant called The Buffalo Grill that servs buffalo burgers, etc. for lunch. We had a table by a big window with a view of the back yard and then beyond a fence the distant field where the buffalo grazed. It was an odd restaurant that seemed to be Asian but offered a variety of foods with lunch and dinner menus. We had an odd chicken wrap that seemed to be a cross between Asian and Mexican, but it was very good. Afterwards we walked the dogs around the yard. The wind was very strong. There were signs saying not to get close to the buffalo or pet them because they are wild. In any case, they were nowhere nearby.
After lunch, we decided to go above the northern perimeter of Zion park so we turned north at Mt. Carmel Junction on US-89 passing through Mt. Carmel, Orderville and Glendale as we drove through Long Valley. This was a 20-mile drive. It was about five in the evening by then. The position of the sun in the valleys as we drove north gave a wonderful, clear afternoon light that was very beautiful. The towns and farms made me feel like we were in Wyoming or Montana. There were tall oaks and tall trees with no leaves and branches that were all white against the sun. I’ve seen this look in watercolors. The elevation was six to seven thousand and the alpine meadows were just recovering from snow and beginning to grow new grass up through the old. It was a beautiful sight. I loved this valley.
At Long Valley Junction, 7,513′ el., we left US-89 and turned west towards Cedar City on SR-14. This is a 40-mile drive that passes northwest through Dixie National Forest and Cedar Breaks National Monument. We continued to climb in elevation and there was snow on both sides of the road. This is a snowmobile mecca although there is skiing at Black Mountain. The summit is over nine thousand and the temperature dropped below fifty and the wind got very strong. We didn’t stop much except for a few photos. The scenery was mostly snow-covered meadows with pine trees. We dropped down a precipitous canyon returning to the typical sandstone canyons of the Hurricane Cliffs.
Cedar City appears to be a cute University mountain town but we didn’t stop to look around. We turned south to do another 30 miles running along the Pine Valley Mountains on I-15 to SR-9 at exit 16. It was almost 7:30 by the time we got back to the bus where the wind was still blowing violently. I went straight to bed where I read more of Powell and then watched TV.
SUNDAY, APRIL 20. PASSOVER AND A FULL MOON; A QUIET DAY IN OUR CAMPSITE.
I like this campground. The wind blew like crazy last night but I barely noticed it. It is warm enough so that we can open a window in the bedroom and it is quiet with no outside lights so we can enjoy the open window and open curtains. This morning there is no wind. I like the views and the silence and the privacy. It was one of the few times we’ve wanted to sit outside and enjoy a campsite because the weather is good and the campsite is pleasant.
We spent the entire day in the camp. We ate an oatmeal breakfast at the picnic table. It was cooler than our breakfast on Saturday and there was more wind. Dennis spent a lot of time using his long handled feather duster to clean the dust off of the bus. He even did the roof. He says the dust will stick unless you wipe it off. I tried to sit outside for awhile but the wind chased me in.
Surprise! My friend, Karen Magnuson, called me and my sister, Sally, called. Both are difficult to reach. So after weeks of silence, I finally got some telephone calls and news. Sally is very excited because she just finished her children’s story. It is a tremendous effort and I didn’t know she was continuing to work on it. I am amazed that she got through it. It’s a huge accomplishment. I told her to mail me a copy and she asked me where to mail it. I’ve been on the road now for almost a year and people — even my own sister, still don’t have our permanent forwarding address. They don’t even believe that we have any address at all. They behave as if we’d gone to Mars and left the USA postal system. It is so annoying.
In the evening, Dennis blew up about the TV. We watch different programs so he lies on the couch and watches the living room TV and I lie on the bed and watch the bedroom TV. But for months now, there’s been an annoying glitch. When I use my remote in the bedroom to look at the DirectTV Guide, it switches the living room TV to the Guide. That disrupts whatever channel and program Dennis is watching. I’ve tried everything to stop this. I shut the door and stand in a corner to point the remote away from the liing room. It still works in the living room! Last night somehow, it locked Dennis’s TV onto the guide starting at the 500 channel and he couldn’t change it. He shouted at me and said I’d messed up his TV with my remote.
I told him not to exaggerate. I didn’t do anything differently then I do every other night. He messed up his own remote because he got excited and pressed the wrong button.
His position is that I shouldn’t use the Guide: understandable but inconvenient. I’m not a channel flipper. I look at the Guide and plan the evening and set everything to program. After he finished venting, I used the original living remote to get his ABC news back. He knew he was wrong to yell at me about the Guide and by the time we went to sleep the tempest had blown over.
Things are not always perfect and we do have fights. Over the past year we have not only had to make adjustments about moving from a house into a motorhome. Dennis also retired at the same time and we’ve had to adjust to his not going to work. He has no other outlets and I no longer have privacy. The two of us are alone together and we co-exist in small quarters 24/7. I’m surprised we’ve done as well as we have.
MONDAY, APRIL 21. MAINTENANCE AND ERRANDS.
Today is John Muir’s birthday. I finished my Venetian Canals letter and tried to post it. The Internet is so slow and often it takes hours to be transfer new material to my website. Half an hour after I started the post, the Internet went down so I didn’t know if data was lost or not. Dennis brought our Verizon wireless back up again and the upload kept plugging away. Eventually it finished sucessfully.
Today we did some housekeeping inside the bus and we went into Hurricane and grocery shopped at Lin’s. We stayed for dinner at Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant. It was surprisingly good. Very authentic Mexican, we think.
In the next few days we plan to see more of Zion Canyon and take some hikes on trails from the shuttle stops.