It was a nice drive on 94 and 40 from Colorado Springs to Oakley, Kansas. It was pretty flat and very dry as we made the turn onto 40. 94 was a bit rough and narrow, but still tractor-trailers were making time at 65 mph.
We missed the turn at Kit Carson somehow, and went south for 20 minutes until we figured it out, but that cost us 45 minutes.
We set up in High Plains Camping near I70, which is a nice travel campground. They spread everyone out nicely. The people are very nice, and the showers good.
Trying to settle on a place to eat, we drove up to Buffalo Bill’s Bar & Grill where five trucks were parked outside. The overhead sign was falling apart, and the front door wasn’t very inviting, so we turned around and went to “The Bluff”. We were early at 6:00 and walked into a big dining area that was vacant except for one table with 8 men and women in deep conversation. As we passed, I asked if that was the City Council. They laughed, saying they could solve a lot of problems, and they invited us to join.
We smiled and took a small table two tables away. It was a shame, because I could barely catch a comment or two of their conversation, and they did seem to be addressing some of the local issues, one being marijuana and Colorado being so open.
We were a bit nervous about the place, and it was a while before a waitress came over. Martha ordered a beer and I ordered a $5 screwdriver with Absolut. Martha ordered a steak and I smothered chicken breast with cheese, onions and mushrooms. Their slices and grilled potatoes were great and so were the green beans.
As we sipped our drinks, people started coming in. It’s a small town (pop. 2046), and they all knew each other. One lady came in for a take out order of 8 boxes! There was a big take-out business, and the two men in the kitchen were hopping. Thankfully, another waitress came in, because the place was filling up.
It was the right choice. The food was good and the people very nice. It had a homey feel in a small town. I liked it! We drove back to camp where Tres Hermanos restaurant, right beside the campground, was busy. Looked like a good place. I would liked to have visited the Fick Fossil History Museum, but we were heading home now. Oakley is a nice, little town. Next time I’ll sit in with the “City Council”.
In Capitol Reef National Park, Karen and I got up at 6:00 to hike the Golden Throne hike at the end of the Scenic Drive, then down a gravel road to a parking lot in Capitol Gorge. I had some big concerns, too many to list, but I knew we had to hike up a very large mountain. How vertical would it be?
I was glad to see it wound its way around the cliff, deep into a canyon, across the other side, winding again. It could not have been made any easier, and it was very pretty. I stopped to catch my breath several times, as Karen let me set the pace until I took a wrong turn. Then she took the lead.
We arrived at a plateau looking up at the Golden Throne, which I suppose is golden in the right light. It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and it would be an easy down hill going back. We walked around to see if we could get a better view of the canyon, the only way through this massive 100-mile wall that is compared to an ocean reef. People have been coming through this canyon for thousands of years. Ancient petroglyphs decorate the walls, as well as Europeans who came through in the late 1800’s.
It was a beautiful morning with great views and an easy walk down. Driving back to our campsite, I let Karen out to run the last three miles. She is training for a 50-mile race.
It was moving day, so we began the process of packing up. Everyone pitched in, and we were beginning to get into a process that made it a lot easier. Melissa was in charge of closing and locking all the windows while Josh put up the stabilizers. Martha got the inside organized and ready while Karen and I hitched up.
We drove north to Torrey and turned southwest on Utah Rt. 12 where a sign declared it an America’s Highway. Martha looked up what that meant. There are Scenic Highways, but an America’s Highway is a step above. It deserves its designation. The changes in scenery were dramatic. First it was green on this side of the mountain and through a valley. Then we began a long climb up another series of mountains that were green, with pine trees covering everything.
Climbing to 9800’, we pulled over to a beautiful overlook. You could take all day stopping at overlooks on this drive to Bryce Canyon. Down the other side, now winding its way through solid, almost white rocks. Then back up on top of a ridge with incredible views on both sides. An Airstream was perched on top on one overlook where they had probably stopped for lunch. One stretch was along the top of a ridge barely wider than the road. I know the views were spectacular, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the road.
Back down the other side, we stopped at Escalante Mercantile for some lunch. A lady was training a young lady the ropes on her first day on the job. It is a very nice store/restaurant/bakery. It took us a while to figure out how to order, what to order and to get it ordered as locals and travelers stopped for lunch or a snack. It proved to be a great, little stop.
Then it was only 35 minutes to our campground at Bryce Canyon RV Resort. It was a KOA, but it now has new owners. It took a while to park in our tiny spot. A nice man across from us was nice in moving his truck so we could wiggle in. We started to level as we looked at some bigger and nicer spots on the other side.
Martha and I went back in and asked if we could move. The very nice ……, gave us some choices, explaining how they had recently bought the campground. I’m sure I had picked a spot away from the highway, but the sites were bigger and had some shade. It was a good move.
Josh was happy to see a basketball net with a paved playing area, so we went over and played Horse. Of course I won every game……NOT! …….came over to take some promotional pictures of the court being used. At 12 years old, Josh’s basketball skills have improved dramatically.
Tomorrow there is a half marathon and a 5K race. Karen signed up in a park in the cute, little town of Tropic. There was a fund-raising spaghetti dinner this evening, so we decided to come back for that.
Then we drove up to Bryce Canyon National Park to get the big picture. It was busy and crowded, but it was OK. We went to spectacular sunset point. I would have to stay up for another sunset. Then we drove the 15-mile scenic drive atop a grand mesa. Surely we would see lots of wildlife in the early morning or late evening. More pretty views in the land of Hoodoos. Like Goblin Valley, you could go down and walk among the giant Hoodoo maze.
We drove back to Tropic where the crowds gathered for the marathon spaghetti dinner, which was better than I expected, and very efficiently served. We talked with a man next to us about the race tomorrow and about the hike to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. He said it is a typical government-run drawing for tickets. Everyone lines up at 8:00 or 11:00 for tickets, then they all go for the hike together. Too many people for his liking, but they did it. I think Karen will be the only one to do this.
Josh lost his Apple Airbuds somewhere on the Scenic Drive in Bryson Canyon. All that getting in and out of the truck at different stops. Surely they will be gone tomorrow, but we will go look and check Lost-and-Found.