Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

57 degrees at 6:00

A short rain early, but then cleared. The stars were amazing after the moon went down, and I saw several shooting stars. I am frustrated not having cell phone coverage, although a message or email will occasionally sneak through. I am way behind on the blog and I desperately need to get the Virginia Airstream newsletter out. 

Since we had a little rain, we decided to have a morning fire. I love a morning fire to take the chill off until the sun comes up. By 9:00 we had packed up, hooked up, filled our water jugs and set out on the gravel road from Bradfield Campground. We were nervous when we first pulled in on Sunday with a weekend crowd, but Sunday night they all left, except one camper, Chuck and his wife. We had three peaceful, beautiful nights there for $4/night.

We turned onto 491 north toward Monticello. It was only a two-hour drive, but we had some things to do. Our $4 campground didn’t have a dump station, so Martha searched on Campendium and found a Maverick Adventures First Stop gas station had a dump station! It was a big station with a big store and a tractor-trailer parking area. We were surprised there was no fee. They also had fresh water for an RV, but our hose wouldn’t reach. We could have, or should have, bought a second hose, but storage is always an issue, so we went to the Monticello Visitor’s Center. Jim Eberling greeted me and told me where two spigots were. There was a five dollar fee, which I paid. 

On my way out the door I noticed a cool museum across the hall, and called Martha to come see. They had some neat things, including moccasins from before the Anasazi! Jim got to talking to Martha about our travels, then took us to his desk to point out some things we shouldn’t miss. Sheez! There is so much stuff to see, especially in the amazing San Juan County, Utah, that it would take months or years to see. We did note “House on Fire” and Bear’s Ears National Monument. I need more time!!

Despite considerable wiggling, we could not get close enough to fill the water tank, so on we went to the next town, Blanding, and stopped in their Visitor’s Center. The nice lady said we could get water at the 7-Eleven five blocks away. Well, they had good WIFI and a nice sitting area outside under some trees, so we sat down to get email, get what I needed for the newsletter, and to fix my protonmail server. By then we were hungry for lunch. Across the street was Patio Diner, rated 4.6, so we went in. Martha got a Burger while I had a Chicken/avacado sandwich. 

Then down the road for water at the 7-Eleven. I enquired inside, and she said it was $5. I happily paid, and she handed me a telephone with a cord and a funny-shaped key attached. Showing me a map, she said pull in front of the station, over to a house to find the spigot. I crept across the lot with eyes searching for water in front of this house, and there it was – a water spigot with a padlock on it and a sign above. Using the key attached to a telephone, we unlocked the padlock and happily filled the water tank. We noticed there was an RV park just ahead of the spigot.

Now it was 1:00 and we still had an hour to go to Natural Bridges, and it was hot. Out of town, we took a right and were greeted by a sign warning us there are no services for the next 120 miles. We should have a full tank of gas, food and water. Sounds like the Loneliest Road through Nevada, only that is a lot further. 

Down we went into the valley toward the Colorado River, and the terrain became more desert-like. Winding our way around, we finally turned into Natural Bridges National Monument. We were greeted at the Visitor’s Center by a young woman who lacked all charm and warmth. After showing my senior pass and driver’s license, she tossed me a one-page description of the park. We looked around the small center and headed out to the campground. 

We could drive around, select our spot, and pay at the self-pay station. We were the only ones there, and selected site 4 for the views. Combined length should not exceed 26’. Well that eliminated us, but we might have to pay for another site for the truck. We’ll see. It’s considerably more expensive than our last site at $7.50/night with a Senior Pass. God Bless those passes!

After a little rest, we drove the “Loop”, which is 9 miles long, beside a lovely canyon. We got out in several places to take a look, and were impressed. Now we really are left with one day to try to see a lot. At the last overlook, we talked with a young lady, who was walking a pretty big hike. Her boy friend has just taken a job here, so she took some time off to explore the area. Like Karen, she is a big-time hiker, and soon she was off to get in a few more miles. She told us one way to do this is to hike down one side, walk along the bottom, and come up the other. Martha said, “Then you have to walk back across the mesa to get to your truck.” I’m sure someone would give us a ride, or you could leave a bike. 

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