Getting ready to leave on Saturday morning in the Hummer H3
This weekend I had the novel idea of going camping, figuring I should take advantage of all opportunities presented to me while in Utah. (You only live once, right?) I gathered some of my friends, bought a tent, rented a car and headed south to Moab to spend Memorial Day weekend at Arches National Park. The weekend began Friday night when I picked up the rental car. I decided that since 5 of us would be going I would rent a SUV and maybe have a little fun off-roading if the opportunity arose. Much to my surprise, expecting a Pathfinder or Trailblazer for the weekend, I was given a Hummer H3. From that moment on I knew our weekend trip was going to be a blast, but when we left on Saturday morning I don’t think any of us realized the adventure we were truly in for.
After driving 4 hours from Salt Lake City, we arrived in Moab around 2pm. Before heading to Arches our first mission was to find a camp site. The nice thing about Moab is road 228: campsites line the road and are available on a first come, first served basis. There are probably a
the damage done to the h3 after our off-roading adventure
couple hundred campsites within 20 miles of the park. Since we’re logical people we decided to start at the first campsite and work our way down the road until we found a place we could call home for the weekend. Campsite 1, no sites available, campsite 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…. No sites available. Apparently we weren’t the only ones in Utah that had the idea to go camping Memorial Day weekend. We drove up and down the road, and had no luck. It seems that we didn’t arrive early enough. We continued past all the campsites and drove10 miles down the road to another area which was quite some ways off the main road. This, in my opinion, was the best part of the trip. We were driving through streams in the desert up curvy dirt roads in a H3. It was amazing. The only thing that would have made it truly amazing is if we found a site. We stumbled upon a group site, but didn’t feel comfortable taking it as we only had 5 people and supposedly needed a minimum of 12 people to stay at the group site. However, it wasn’t reserved so we kept
Taken within the 2 minutes that the tent was set up.
that in the back of our minds and continued on our hunt to find a site. Up and down the road a couple more times with no luck we decided that since it was starting to get dark we would head back to the group site and if it was still unclaimed we would make it ours. Thankfully there was nobody there when we returned and decided that we would set up our tents. As luck would have it, the moment we unloaded the car and had everything set up and ready to go the Sheriff rolls in. “Look innocent, and pretend we don’t know what’s going on, and maybe the sheriff will drive by us” someone said. We did just that but had no luck. The sheriff pulls up, “Who does the car belong to?” he asks. “It’s a rental” we respond. “Who is the car rented to?” He asks. “Me,” I reply as my heart starts to beat faster. “Do you realize that this is an undesignated site?” he questions and then asks to see my license. “No, we we’re unaware of that, the post says Group Site B, we looked on the board and nobody had rented
it out, we thought it would be ok,” truthfully answering his question. “Group Site B is down the road, this is not a site…Do you have a portable toilet?” was his next question. “No” we responded. “You are required to carry a portable toilet with you if you camp here…and you are parked in the site which is off the designated road, which is considered ‘off-roading.’ I am going to have to write you up for this, may I see your license please?” “Sure” I said without any hesitation but the only words running through my head were 4 letter words that aren’t appropriate for this blog. Looking at my NY driver’s license he asked “What do you do for a living?” “We are all AmeriCorps volunteers,” we responded. “That’s nice, what do you do for a job?” He continued. “We are full time volunteers, AmeriCorps is our job.” He told us to pack up as he headed off to his car. A few minutes later he returned and handed me a slip of paper along with my license. “It’s a written warning, don’t let this happen again. The fine would have been $600.00, finish packing up and get out
Group shot while hanging out at Arches
of here.” He pulls away, I look at my ticket and the first thing I think is, sweet, I now have a souvenir from this trip. My second though was shoot! where do we go now? And my third though was, we can now go out to dinner and rent a hotel, we just saved $600.00. If only our night was that easy. Not only were all of the campsites in Moab booked, so were all of the hotels/ motels, and not only were all of the hotels/motels booked in Moab but they were booked in the 2 closest cities on both sides of Moab as well. Our only option was to head back towards Salt Lake City. At this point it was close to 11:30pm, this was the last thing we wanted to do. I felt like I was Mary in search for an inn, thankfully I wasn’t expecting the arrival of a baby. We were about an hour outside of Moab and came across a little town where we stopped for lunch that day called Green River. Thankfully there was one room available in that town at a Motel 6. Disappointed that we couldn’t camp, we were thrilled
Gettin in trouble
Between a rock and a hard place...
that we didn’t have to drive back to Salt Lake City. We ended up crashing when we got the room. When we woke up in the morning sweating we knew why there was only 1 room available in that town too, the air conditioning was broken.
The next day we woke up early and headed to Arches. On the way there we called all of the National Parks in Utah in hopes to find a place where we could camp out for the night. No luck, every camp site in the state of Utah was booked, or at least that’s what we were told. We didn’t let that ruin our trip though. We spent all day Sunday at the park. It was beautiful. After driving around and visiting many of the rock formations, we decided to go on a 5.9mile hike. It was intense, and after the 5 hours that it took us to hike we were wiped. The scenery was beautiful. The red rock with the mountains in the background, look surreal. There are overlooks that you can look at and just see land for miles, and miles, and miles, off into the horizon. It was a crazy
concept seeing as far as your eyes could look with no buildings, streets or people. It made me reflect and think that this is what America looked like at one point. In the not to distant past America was unsettled and it was just land. It was quite amazing.
Figuring we wouldn’t have any luck in Moab on Sunday we didn’t want to waste time searching for something so we decided that we would drive back to camp on Sunday night and then go somewhere in Salt Lake on Monday. We left Moab around 9:30pm and our estimated time of arrival back to camp was after 1am. Since it is mostly desert and mountains between Moab and Salt Lake City there were not many towns that we passed through. We really didn’t want to go back to camp though. We would pass through a couple small towns and as we approached them someone would call the motels in the area to see if there were any rooms available. We made it to Provo, about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake before we could find a reasonable room. We decided to crash there so that we didn’t have to cut
Another Group shot
standing in the middle of "Double O" arch.
our vacation short. Once again we crashed when we got to the room.
A little bummed that our weekend didn’t go exactly as planned mainly because we didn’t have the opportunity to camp we decided to go to Park City on Monday. Possibly one of the worst days weather wise to go there. It was 41deg and rainy. We made the most of it checking out all of the little shops and acting like goof balls. Before we left we headed up to the Olympic Park Museum. It was pretty cool. Constructed for the 2002 winter Olympics in Utah, it is now used as a museum/ practice area. It was fun to see.
From there we headed back to Camp I realized the lesson that we learned, once again, was that things never go according to plan. Yet it is the times when things don’t go according to plan that you get innovative and create your own fun. It’s the little surprises in life that make it so interesting, enjoyable, and keep you on your toes.
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